At the start of the last show for 2018, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd proclaimed, dare I say Ex Cathedra, “We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The earth is getting hotter, and human activity is a major cause. Period.
We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. …“The science is settled even if political opinion is not.”
During the time that Tim Russert hosted Meet the Press, it achieved almost universal acclaim as the best news talk shows on TV. It achieved that position because Russert worked very hard in preparing for each show. Whoever was the guest, whatever was the topic, Russert schooled himself on facts. He displayed a level of journalist rigor and honesty that is long gone and totally absent in Chuck Todd.As Roy Spencer pointed out Todd set up a straw man because virtually no one denies that climate change is real or that human activities have affected climate. So, who is Todd talking about?
In saying that the “science is settled”, Todd revealed his ignorance. Someone found a way to make him a shill for the climate orthodoxy. If he continues down this road, Meet the Press will become just another purveyor of fake news.
There is one thing that is certain. Either Todd did not read the most recent IPCC work group1 scientific assessment, which is different from the political tome that it released in October, or he did read it but has no comprehension of what it says.
On pages 7 and 14 of that scientific assessment, the IPCC presents two charts—one on extreme weather events; the other on radiative forcing elements. For both, the IPCC uses subjective probability estimates of high, medium, and low confidence. For extreme weather events, it only has medium confidence that humans are the cause of heavy precipitation and low confidence of human causality for the intensity/duration of droughts and increases in the tropical cyclone cycle. For radiative forcing factors, it only has medium confidence on the effects of short-lived greenhouse gases, the albedo effect caused by land use changes and solar irradiance, and low confidence in the effect of aerosols on clouds.
If the science was indeed settled, the level of confidence would be much higher. Also, the estimate of climate sensitivity—the effect on temperature from doubling CO2—would not vary by a factor of 3.Not only does Chuck Todd not know what he is talking about but his comments are sophomoric. The only interesting question is who or what got to Todd? Was it his superiors at NBC or was it the Group Think psychological pressures from his social circle?