William Happer and Klingon

The Heartland Institute held a conference in Madrid in mid December 2019, to coincide with COP25 – The United Nations Climate Change Conference – also in Madrid. One of their speakers was Dr William Happer.

I had intended to feature another Happer speech, made at Princeton in September 2014. I enjoyed that one, not least when at 4:25 he shows photographs from Al Gore’s book, Our Choice. Gore has created an image of what the world will look like if we don’t follow his lead over climate. Gore is full of such predictions as we remember from his film An Inconvenient Truth. Predictions in that film have long passed their sell-by date, and none has materialised. The prediction in this image from the book has similar themes like land disappearing under the rising sea, and an abundance of hurricanes. Happer points out that one of the hurricanes is depicted revolving the wrong way round. Along with the audience I laugh out loud at such an elementary error.

However, that other video being six years old was very fuzzy. How technology has improved since I began this blog!

Happer begins by thanking “James for that kind introduction”. At the beginning of this video we momentarily see James leaving the platform. James is James Taylor, and we see him properly later when Happer’s speech gives way to Q&A.

Since beginning this blog in 2012, I have lost count of the climate speeches I have studied – several times as many as I have featured. Very early I spotted that whereas alarmists focus on alarm, sceptics focus on data. When you fail to show the workings that underpin your argument, what does that say about your argument? Not only did sceptics show their workings but they provided links to the data. I’m not a scientist, but I’m quite good at spotting whether one number is higher than another; and over the years I have developed a habit, when I hear the media announcing some alarming climate news, of going straight to the data source to check. It’s almost tedious, the regularity with which the alarming news is shown to be nonsense.

Einstein is quoted as having said something like if you can’t explain it to a five-year-old you don’t properly understand it yourself. Happer is pretty good – when necessary – at explaining to a non-scientist like me; but here he is speaking to a scientific audience, and therefore there is a brief section where he could be speaking Klingon for all I get from it.

However, to my delight, at 18:50 he addresses the infamous 97% consensus thing. My data-checking habit long-since revealed that 97% to be garbage. There have been a couple of supposed surveys that claimed to have established it, and both collapse under scrutiny, but it doesn’t stop alarmists and lazy journalists from parroting it.

Even before I began analysing speeches for this blog I had been made suspicious. Al Gore used to bang on about how “the debate is over”. What debate? I had never seen or even heard of a debate. I now have seen very many sceptics challenge alarmists to debate, but somehow the alarmists always run for cover – meanwhile calling for sceptics be no-platformed.

Today the matter has gone far beyond science into politics, the economy (the climate industry is worth trillions), even religion. This last is witnessed by e.g. the Pope supporting it; and at 1:09 Happer quotes a Hawaii Senator as saying that climate is more religious than scientific. These are powerful forces to be ranged against the holding of a debate when their case is as thin of substance as the air.

President Trump has promised a debate, and he tends to honour his promises, but his presidency has thus far been beset with a range of distractions. If he gets a second term will he honour this one? Happer has worked with several administrations as senior adviser on matters scientific. That includes Trump’s, so if there is a debate perhaps we shall hear a lot more of him.

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