The Trump administration has asked a conservative group known for promoting climate skepticism to help recruit academics for a “red team” on global warming, the Washington Examiner reported Monday.
President Donald Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have enlisted the help of the Heartland Institute, a group widely considered to be the central hub for the academic push against what conservatives call “climate alarmism.” The institute has become a type of boogeyman in liberal circles, mostly because of its skeptical position toward manmade global warming.
“The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached out to the Heartland Institute to help identify scientists who could constitute a red team,” Jim Lakely, the group’s communications director, told reporters Monday. The Heartland Institute accepted the Trump administration’s offer.
“This effort is long overdue,” Lakely said about Trump’s idea to build a “red team vs. blue team,” which essentially pits climate skeptics against academics who argue that human beings are the primary drivers of climate change. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt first announced the idea in June, and has since suggested that the debates should be televised.
“The climate scientists who have dominated the deliberations and the products of the IPCC have gone almost wholly without challenge,” Pruitt said. “That is a violation of the scientific method and the public’s trust.”
Military and intelligence agencies use similar tactics to expose vulnerabilities to strategic systems. Skeptics say it would give needed balance to climate science, a field of research many believe has been monopolized by activists.
Environmentalists and scientists, meanwhile, say it’s “dangerous” to elevate dissenting voices that disagree with them on global warming.
“Such calls for special teams of investigators are not about honest scientific debate,” wrote climate scientists Ben Santer and Kerry Emanuel and historian and activist Naomi Oreskes.
They argue that the existing peer-review process works better than a “red team vs. blue team” project. The authors also said that scientific bodies, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, provide a forum for scientific debates.
Elements within the Obama administration promoted the idea. Steve Koonin, a former Energy Department head during Obama’s tenure, for instance, suggested a red team-blue team approach in an April editorial to put the issue to rest.
“A Red/Blue exercise would have many benefits,” Koonin wrote. “It would produce a traceable public record that would allow the public and decision makers a better understanding of certainties and uncertainties. It would more firmly establish points of agreement and identify urgent research needs.”
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