In 1997 during the Kyoto Protocol Treaty negotiations in Japan, Dr. Robert Watson, then Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was asked about scientists who challenge United Nations conclusions that global warming was man-made. He answered, “The science is settled…we’re not going to reopen it here.” Thus began one of the greatest propaganda lines in support of the theory of human-caused global warming.
On June 19 this year, the University of Northern Iowa held a debate on climate change titled, “Climate Instability: Interpretations of Scientific Evidence.” Dr. Jerry Schnoor of the University of Iowa presented an effective case for the theory of man-made warming and I presented the case for climate change driven by natural causes. The video contains 30 minutes of presentation by each side and then 30 minutes of questions and rebuttal, presented to a small audience of faculty and students.
Formal debates on the theory of human-caused warming are somewhat rare in our society today. Former Vice President Al Gore stated on the CBS Early Show on May 31, 2006:
…the debate among the scientists is over. There is no more debate. We face a planetary emergency. There is no more scientific debate among serious people who’ve looked at the science…Well, I guess in some quarters, there’s still a debate over whether the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona, or whether the earth is flat instead of round.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson declared to Congress in 2010, “The science behind climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming.” Even President Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address said, “But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”
The Los Angeles Times announced last year that they will not print opinions that challenge the concept that humans are the cause of climate change. The BBC has taken a similar position. Many of our universities will not allow an open debate on climate change. The Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University posted an image last year of two professors holding a match to my book.
In contrast to the “no debate” positions of our political leaders, news media, and many universities, the event at the University of Northern Iowa was a breath of fresh air. Thanks to Dr. Catherine Zeman and the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at UNI for their sponsorship of an open debate on the “settled science” of climate change.