Conservative skeptic warns lawmakers about climate science

Dozens, including a few lawmakers, gathered in the legislative auditorium today for a presentation by conservative climate-change skeptic John Droz.

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Laura Leslie

At least three lawmakers were among about 60 people on hand today for a special presentation on climate science by John Droz.

Droz is a well-known figure in conservative circles. He’s a senior fellow at the right-wing think tank American Tradition Institute, a group that targets environmental regulation, as well as a featured speaker for the John Locke Foundation. He was invited to address lawmakers by Onslow Republican George Cleveland.

In his lecture, Droz told lawmakers that current environmental science, especially in regards to climate change, is “faith-based” and at odds with the Judeo-Christian tradition.

“We and our students are being brainwashed to accept a new secular religion with its own value system,” he warned. “Sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”

Droz is a retired solid-state physicist and realtor with no formal background or peer-reviewed research in climate science, environmental science, or geology.

In fact, his presentation, available here, dismisses the peer-review process as inconsequential at best and misleading at worst, and says misconduct among published scientists is increasing rapidly.

“We are telling these degree people that they need to follow the scientific process,” said Droz.  

After his talk, Droz said he would sum up his message to lawmakers in two parts. “We do have science and environmental issues facing us. We need to use real science to solve this.”

Asked what he means by real science, Droz said, “Real science has nothing to do with consensus, as an example. That’s not real science. Science is based on the scientific method, or scientific process. It includes four elements we explained in our talk there - comprehensive, independent, transparent, and empirical.”

Droz played a role in last year's bill banning the state from recognizing or using scientific projections of rising sea levels.

Environmentalists and scientists say Droz, not climate science, is the problem.

“At least he accurately titled his presentation “Science under attack,” quipped Derb Carter with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

“Mr. Droz’s perspectives are not only outside the mainstream view but on the very fringe,” Carter said. “With so many world renowned scientists in North Carolina, that the legislature would invite him for a lecture on climate change shows what a sad situation we are in.”

Scientist Sam Pearsall, recently retired from the Environmental Defense Fund, is one of those “degree people,” with a PhD in ecology.

“Mr. Droz spoke for the better part of an hour as he argued that America's scientific community has been corrupted by the adoption of bad scientific method and the use of non-scientific propaganda. He failed in his purpose entirely,” Pearsall said.

“Instead, he delivered an anti-scientific, propagandistic speech in which his own arguments demonstrated every fallacy he claimed to warn against. He presented no facts to support his own case. Meanwhile, he also made absolutely no case that climate change is not happening, nor that it is not urgent, nor that it is not caused by human combustion of fossil fuels.”

“There was no science in his talk,” said Pearsall. “On the whole, it was entertaining, not informative, and potentially dangerous to the gullible.”


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