The April 26 Free for All letter from Brant Olson of Forecast the Facts argued that The Post should stop publishing “misinformation” about climate change on its opinion pages. Apparently, Olson thinks there cannot be two opinions on this issue if one of those opinions conflicts with “the conclusions of climate scientists.” He then went on to say that climate scientists have “different answers” as to what civilization will look like in the future based on computer modeling and “educated guesses.” Despite these different answers, he alleged that there is a consensus among climate scientists and that anyone who disagrees with it is spreading “misinformation.”
Olson’s argument of authority based on consensus has been addressed by Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has been unafraid to point out the nature of this “consensus,” calling it a very conscious strategy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In a 2013 statement to a congressional subcommittee, Curry stated: “Given the substantial uncertainties in climate science, the IPCC has arguably adopted a ‘speaking consensus to power’ approach that attempts to mediate uncertainty and dissent into a consensus. The ‘speaking consensus to power’ strategy acknowledges that available knowledge is inconclusive, and uses consensus as a proxy for truth through a negotiated interpretation of the scientific evidence.”
It appears to me that this “consensus” of “educated guesses” is, in fact, quite fragile. The debate is far from settled, and The Post should do everything within its power to further a balanced discussion.
Robert H. Braunohler, Washington
In his April 26 Free for All letter, “Missing the mark on climate change,” Brant Olson of the group Forecast the Facts took issue with Charles Krauthammer’s April 11 op-ed column, “Thought police on patrol.” Krauthammer’s piece appeared on the op-ed page, which is where opinions are printed. Olson wants “The Post’s leadership” to “step in” to stop Krauthammer and others from expressing certain views on climate science, stating that they “should have no place in a space intended to further an informed debate.” This certainly proves Krauthammer correct about the “intolerance” and a “totalitarian” attitude by some with regard to dissenting viewpoints on climate change.
Nancy Switzer, Columbia