A Free-Market Energy Blog

The Climate Debate: Ad Hominem Will Just Not Do

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 24, 2015

“It is time to welcome the good news about climate science–the exaggeration of warming and harm by too-hot climate models. It is past time to hurl ad hominem at those intellectuals who reject neo-Malthusians on theoretical and empirical grounds.”

“Ad hominem—is that all you got? I happen to hold my views because I believe in them. Is there something wrong with that?” Such was my response to a professor who complained about an opinion-page editorial I published in the Daily Oklahoman: “Rob Bradley: Is Sourcewatch wrong? We simple folks in Oklahoma just like to know who butters your bread.”

And another comment:

So no bias at there being your boss is Koch, huh? Sure. we TOTALLY believe you are not carrying water for the Koch brothers and that if you had a totally different opinion, you wouldn’t loose that kushy job… I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in.

Well, there is a lot more butter — taxpayer and Left-foundation churned — on the other side of the debate. And why should those of us who are arguing for voluntary relations between consenting adults carry the burden of proof against those who advocate coercion where ‘the government’ forces consumers and taxpayers to do what they do not want to do? Isn’t it human to deal with each other peacefully and not resort to experts and government to arrange us like “the pieces upon the chessboard,” as Adam Smith put it centuries ago?

Boston Globe Letter

Here is my brief letter from February 22, 2015, that sparked the vitriolic response on the part of some readers:

Divest not from fossil fuels but from climate alarmism

KUDOS TO to Jeff Jacoby for saluting the benefits of fossil-fueled living (“A valentine for fossil fuels,” Op-Ed, Feb. 12). It is also worth pointing out that while the benefits of using fossil fuels are innumerable, the costs are small and vanishing.

Activists cite “catastrophic climate change” as the impetus for “divesting” from companies that produce natural gas, oil, and coal. But warming has flat-lined since the late 1990s, even as carbon-dioxide emissions have continued to rise; severe-weather events are less common; and the North Pole is still ice-covered, despite Al Gore’s prediction that it would be ice-free by sometime last year.

The simple fact is that the famed climate models got it wrong. An analysis by scientist Roy Spencer found that more than 95 percent of climate simulations have over-estimated Earth’s warming trend since 1979.

The benefits of using fossil fuels are as obvious as ever. Instead of breaking up with fossil fuels, let’s divest from climate alarmism.

Robert Bradley Jr.

Ad Hominem Responses

Here is one comment (by an anonymous writer):

Do look up the Institute for Energy Research. It’s an organization of climate-change-deniers, originally funded by the Koch brothers (maybe still is; does it matter?).

Bradley’s claims about the current state of the climate are so absurd and counter-factual that they do not deserve to be answered individually. Just go find any legitimate scientific study on the current state of the climate, and you will see what rubbish this is.

All I have to say to Mr Bradley and his cohorts is: I hope what you are being paid to disseminate this disinformation is worth the cost of dancing on our grandchildren’s graves (or is it great-grandchildren’s – does it really matter?). Because that’s what’s at stake here, and you have taken the side of those who are so blinded by greed that they are willing to risk the future of life on earth to maximize their quarterly profits.

And this hate e:mail that was send to me personally the day that my letter was published:

Anyone who can praise the recent article by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe concerning fossil fuels must be whoring for some major oil company and spouting  extreme free market baloney.

 Sure enough on checking your biography – 20 years at Enron, 7 years as  Corporate Director for Public Policy and speech writer for Kenneth Lay (one of the most corrupt companies ever,  that stole hundreds of millions of dollars, you should be in jail for your crimes).  

Now your bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other corporate leeches whose only desire is to enrich themselves with more lies about how benign fossil fuels are.  That people still listen to you is a testament as to how money can distort and create a climate where your  propaganda and  lies are believed by so many people.  Well there will be a day reckoning for people like yourself Mr. Bradley.

I strongly believe it will come during our lifetimes and the horrific calamity that will envelope much of the poor regions of the world and then our world as well can be placed at your doorstep.  But again you are so self-righteous and arrogant you and your kind will never admit guilt.   But by then, though it be too late,  the public will finally learn and see the truth and know they were hoodwinked by con artists like you.  

To which I respond: I did my darndest to get Enron out of the crony-capitalist climate alarmism/renewable transportation business; global warming readings are little changed from Enron’s heyday; and the neo-Malthusians are still sucking air with their doom-and-gloom predictions across the spectrum. (Enron was a champion of climate alarmism and wind power.)

It is time to welcome the good news about climate science–the exaggeration of warming and harm by too-hot climate models. It is past time to hurl ad hominem at those intellectuals who reject neo-Malthusians on theoretical and empirical grounds.


  1. Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)  

    If you hadn’t noticed, despite the complete lack of any trends backing them up, the failure of their models and the wholesale corruption of the alarmist academics and NGOs … skeptics have failed to win the climate wars by constant regurgitation of the same data and graphs which overwhelmingly proves us right but apparently goes down like a lead balloon with most journalists, politicians and environmentalists.

    For these science illiterates, the whole argument is this: “someone they deem to be an authority in society because they are referred to as a ‘scientist’ says … doomsday warming is happening.”

    No end of graphs showing that it hasn’t warmed for 18 years or showing that similar warming and cooling periods are prevalent throughout CET will convince these scientific illiterates.

    Instead we have to stop them believing that some academic with no more claim to speak on climate than you or I, should be accepted as an “authority”.

    Whether it’s highlighting that Phil Jones can’t use Excel, James Hansen was using his public job to gain a vast personal fortune or that Michael Mann cannot produce computer code that works, or the simple fact that none of these climate academics can predict the climate and “academic” is what they are and not scientists, we must make the public aware that these people are not credible as any kind of authority, let alone one that would be taken seriously by international governments.


    • Ed Reid  


      Even if every energy company worldwide pooled their funds to support skeptics, their efforts would be swamped (as they are now) by the massive funding governments are pouring into climate alarmism. Fortunately, the most avid and convincing climate skeptic at present is good old Mother Nature, who is steadfastly refusing to go along with the alarmists.


  2. rbradley  

    Thanks Mike … More ad hominem was announced today as House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) sends letters to universities asking for data.


  3. David Appell  

    Robert: Why didn’t your Boston Globe letter include disclaimers about any relevant funders of the Institute for Energy Research?

    And where can I find a list of them?


    • rbradley  

      We don’t disclose our funding–but we do not accept government (taxpayer) money. We are 100% a voluntary, civil society educational nonprofit organization, I am proud to say!

      I personally am a donor–and in the history of IER, my late father was at the top of the donor list for most of our quarter century.

      Donors agree with our libertarian energy policy perspective. Crony capitalists are less interested in us. I never asked nor received a dime from Enron, for example, because of their climate alarmism and renewable energy cronyism.

      David, we would welcome you as a donor. But we will not tell others about it per policy.


      • David Appell  

        Who are you donors?
        And why are you so unwilling to say?
        What are you hiding? (It clearly seems to be something.)


        • rbradley  

          This post is about ad hominem argumentation, which is intellectually specious. Questions of funding are grist for the ad hominem mill. Are you able to assess the merits of my arguments on their own?


          • David Appell  

            Robert: Your refusal to identify your funding sources is glaring. It’s the major reason why no one really takes you seriously — they higly suspect you’re in the bag, and you give them no reason to doubt it.

        • Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D.  

          David, it is an intellectual shortcut to claim that the source of income necessarily invalidates the argument one is making. If such invalidation were true, then catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis claimed by many government-funded scientists also would be invalid. This is because the ‘truth’ of their hypothesis would grant great additional powers to government, which history demonstrates is usually considered highly desirable by governments. Governments act in their interest as much as individuals do in theirs.

          I agree with Robert on what he has stated in his published article. I came to that conclusion based on my scientific evaluation of the physics that lies at the base of the claim that CO2 causes a significant increase in surface temperatures. The usual argument can be shown to violate the law of energy conservation. Many problems with the physics in their argument for the major effect of CO2 on surface temperatures are the reason that their computer models have clearly failed the empirical test.

          I own and operate a materials analysis laboratory that uses radiation to characterize materials. I have received funding from fossil fuel companies, nuclear power companies, and alternative energy companies. The amount of funding from alternative energy companies or projects exceeds that from fossil fuel companies handily. Alternative energies often have valid niche markets, but do not have the potential to compete with fossil fuels for most of our energy needs. The commitment that too many have to end or greatly reduce our use of fossil fuels has the consequence of greatly lowering our standard of living. It should be understood that a lower standard of living or a lowering of its improvement rate will result in more deaths of our grandchildren and great grandchildren than would a mild warming of the planet over a 100 years even if such a warming were to occur for man-made or natural reasons.


          • Steve  

            You realize that by using scientific words and jargon in your response, you just went waaaaaaay over David’s head. It’s almost comical that he is so concerned about where the funding is coming from but he doesn’t seem to give a wit that all the faux scientists claiming we are all gonna get cooked and die from rising oceans are receiving BILLIONS from the governments to keep regurgitating the same tired lies over and over.

      • David Appell  

        Robert: As a science writer, I (of course) don’t give money to any organization that has a stake in the energy or climate debate, hidden or not. The vast majorities of my donations go to animal shelters and puppy rescue operations. And a little to Wikipedia, and the rest to my niece and nephew’s school activities.

        So stop trying to be cute by asking.


  4. John W. Garrett  

    Truth will out.

    Keep up the good fight, Mr. Bradley


  5. David Appell  

    Cut down to size? Not at all. The lower bound of equillibrium climate sensitivity has been reduced to 1.5 C, from 2.0 C. That’s about it.


    • rbradley  

      The fall in the lower end was rather huge. It might well fall more if there is still an IPCC ‘consensus’ in the future.

      The upper end is laughable–sort of like the peak oil declarations for the 1970s.


  6. Ronald Chappell  

    Trying to rise above the name calling I find that I may finally become a believer.
    According to the UNIPCC Technical Summary Report, AR-5 pp. 39; the average global warming *MEASURED* heating rate over a 39 year period averaged 0.42 watts/m^2. This is less than 1/10 of the heating rate used in the IPCC global climate models to generate their claims of 3 +- 3 degrees warming per 100 years.
    Maybe they and thus the EPA should start believing their own science and stop this insane regulation vendetta on coal fired power plants.


  7. Ronald Chappell  

    By the way the funding for these measurement systems and the measurements and equipment was all provided by the government.


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