U.S. Supreme Court Recommends Freeman Dyson

Global Warming, 21 June 2011

Sam Katzman

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on carbon dioxide provided some welcome relief to those concerned that the Court might say something, deliberately or otherwise, that would buttress the claims of global warming alarmists.  The Court said no such thing.  In fact, it seemed to step back from the suggestions in its 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA ruling that the scientific debate over anthropogenic warming had largely been settled.  Yesterday’s ruling does mention hurricanes and heat-related deaths and melting ice-caps, but only in characterizing EPA’s view of global warming, not the Court’s.  And the Court quickly distances itself from EPA’s views with an interesting footnote:

“For views opposing EPA’s, see, e.g., Dawidoff, The Civil Heretic, N. Y. Times Magazine 32 (March 29, 2009). The Court, we caution, endorses no particular view of the complicated issues related to carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.”

The second line of that footnote would have sufficed all by itself to make clear that this ruling was not about global warming science.  But the Court went beyond that to cite a 2009 N.Y. Times Magazine cover story about physicist Freeman Dyson and his skepticism about anthropogenic warming.  Alarmists had been up in arms when that story was published, arguing that it would give the skeptics unwarranted respectability.

Now bear in mind that the N.Y.Times article appeared before the Alan Carlin-EPA whistleblower scandal, before ClimateGate, and before the subsequent series of embarrassments regarding the IPCC report (which itself was repeatedly cited by the 5-4 majority in Massachusetts v. EPA).  One can speculate on why, of all the articles available to it, the Court chose to single out this one.  But regardless—I’m glad that all those angered by the Times story two years ago now have reason to get angry all over again.

see also

Rebel with a Cause: The Optimistic Scientist


Read the Supreme Court ruling here