John Christy, who is somehow a professor of atmospheric science, believes that almost all of his associates (97% of them to be inexact) are approaching climate change wrong. He believes that their claims of climate change being settled science and a clear threat are misstated or overstated, and that the threats posed by climate change are not as great as they are made out to be. Why, you might ask? Well because John Christy is pedantic. In his own words:
"I detest words like 'contrarian' and 'denier,' " he said. "I'm a data-driven climate scientist. Every time I hear that phrase, 'The science is settled,' I say I can easily demonstrate that that is false, because this is the climate — right here. The science is not settled."
The problem with the above quote, and the basic mistake all
contrarian climate deniers people who look at the charts Christy was pointing to with a skeptic view, is that it misses the point and nitpicks the data. There is no question that temperature records and model predictions are not going to align perfectly, but this doesn't mean we need to reject them all together. The fundamental flaw in Christy's argument is that he cannot see outside of the tunnel he's in.
Beyond the fact that Christy has managed to piss off most people he considers colleagues, Christy's words are sweet, sweet music to the ears of climate conspiracy theorists, climate deniers, and oil companies. By muddying the water, Christy makes straightforward climate science an impossibility. Understandably, his colleagues want to
punch him in the face disassociate themselves from him. From amateur dark comedian, professional atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel:
"It's kind of like telling a little girl who's trying to run across a busy street to catch a school bus to go for it, knowing there's a substantial chance that she'll be killed," said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "She might make it. But it's a big gamble to take."
I want to believe that Christy genuinely believes what he is doing is the right course of action, but it is hard to do so when he allows himself to be propped up like a ventriloquist's dummy, spitting in the face of all his colleagues. There really is no leverage for him here. He has chosen the side he wants to be on for, reasons. Unfortunately for him, that side has been shown to be a haven for poor methodologists and even worse logicians. Yet, as is always the case in politics, the one who shouts loudest is often heard the most, and Christy does not shut up.