Kanab legislator Mike Noel says he was joking when he told USU President Stan Albrecht to get his professors “in line up there” after a USU faculty member criticized a fellow scientist’s conclusions about global warming.
Even if it was in jest, Noel’s comment has a sinister ring to it.
Politicians and lay people pretending to be a scientific authorities is one thing — this has become comically commonplace in the global warming debate — but even the hint of political pressure on academia to fall in line on a hot-button issue like this not funny at all. And as we all know, things said “in jest” often betray true feelings.
Robert Davies is the USU faculty member Noel was referring to, and Noel still insists he wants an apology from Davies for portraying as “totally fringe” the findings of a fellow climatologist that global warming is primarily caused by nature, not man. Those findings were presented recently to a legislative committee.
Quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune, Davies pointed out that the scientific establishment overwhelmingly supports the concept of man-caused global warming, and he questioned why a view with minimal scientific support was presented. “The only conclusion I can discern,” Davies said, “is that they (lawmakers) are looking for cover to make decisions that go against what the scientific community has recommended.”
Think what you want about global warming, but Davies is dead right in saying the vast majority of his colleagues subscribe to the belief that it is a product of human activity. The few raising a voice against this are indeed fringe.
Davies has been a prominent local crusader for action to slow global warming, but he is not one to shout or be pushy about making his points. Civil dialog is his calling card.
As far as we know, there has been no apology from Davies for speaking out. But we would argue if an apology is needed, it should be to Davis from Noel, and even more so to Albrecht from Noel. Lawmakers should know better than to speak of scientists and college administrators as political pawns, even in a joking manner.