Anti-science propagandist falsely claims to be a physicist

John Droz, who grew up in the Adirondacks and still summers here, recently wrote a rebuttal to Dr. Curt Stager’s piece in the Adirondack Almanack (1) where Dr. Stager referred to Mr. Droz as a “climate-change denier.” (Mr. Droz is considered one of the most influential climate-change deniers.) In that rebuttal Mr. Droz falsely identifies himself as a physicist and argues that Dr. Stager, a professional climate scientist, has misused the “scientific method.” It is true that Mr Droz studied physics in college in the ’60s, but his profession has been real estate. He has also been associated with fossil fuel industry-funded conservative think tanks, where he specializes in writing opinion pieces opposing wind farms. (2) His CV is linked to below (3) along with a bio (4).

Mr. Droz’s most successful endeavor, however, was as an “expert witness” before the North Carolina legislature, where he convinced the Republican legislators to make it illegal for the zoning commission to take future climate-change-induced rising sea levels into consideration (4). His anti-scientist presentation was a 168-plus slide show (5) arguing that climate scientists are unscientific and are usually wrong for a variety of socio-psychological reasons. He also naively argued that scientists are prone to simple logical errors — such as “correlation is not causation” or not following correct scientific methodology. Failure to follow scientific methodology is a recurring charge in Mr. Droz’s criticisms of people with whom he disagrees.

Mr. Droz’s slide show consists primarily of a first-year-undergraduate-level lecture describing science for non-scientists. His point is that not all scientific conclusions should be taken as gospel. Ironically, he commits most of the scientific sins he describes. He cherry-picks the few studies that support his position. His presentation is designed to influence public policy. He plays talking-point word games. He claims that scientists exploit their reputation as objective, non-political truth-tellers to influence public policy and then proceeds to falsely claim to be a physicist.

Mr. Droz does not challenge the actual data supporting climate change. These are simple temperature measurements, after all, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read a temperature/CO2 vs. time chart. It would, however, take a climate scientist to challenge the underlying methodology for generating the data, and Mr. Droz does not have the training to be able to do so. Instead, Mr. Droz simply claims that the scientists are not following his nae version of the scientific method.

Mr. Droz and anti-science propagandists like him cause genuine harm. Sea levels are rising, and flooding from storm surges are worse than in the past. Rivers flood more often and more seriously. Coastal communities and people living in flood plains need to be able to plan for how to deal with worsening flooding. Our Navy needs to plan for further damage to our naval shipyards. Ideally, our elected national leaders would consider doing something to slow the process, even if it means spending some tax dollars (thinking of you, Ms. Stefanik).

Mr. Droz may well believe what he is saying, but his need to falsely claim that he is a physicist strongly casts doubt on his credibility. His charge that his opponents are “not following correct scientific methodology” would not have the same weight coming from a real estate professional — something he surely understands. His opposition to wind farms and strict coastal zoning regulations would be viewed very differently as well.

Peter Hahn lives in Ray Brook.


1. Curt Stager: “What Climate Deniers Get Wrong,” Adirondack Almanack, March 11, 2019, https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2019/03/curt-stager-what-climate-deniers-get-wrong.html

2. Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power, Aug. 10, 2018, www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1835064846576694&id=137375209679008; “Twenty-One Bad Things About Wind Energy — and Three Reasons Why,” by John Droz Jr. — March 22, 2018, www.masterresource.org/droz-john-awed/21-bad-things-wind-power-3-reasons-why/ https://www.energyandpolicy.org/george-david-banks-trump-wind-power/; “The Guardian Exposes Fossil Funded Groups Coordinating Renewable Energy Attacks,” By Steve Horn, May 8, 2012, https://www.desmogblog.com/comment/727309; “Conservative think tanks step up attacks against Obama’s clean energy strategy,” Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/may/08/conservative-thinktanks-obama-energy-plans?newsfeed=tru

3. John Droz Jr, Casual CV, http://wiseenergy.org/Energy/JohnDroz_Energy_CV.pdf

4. Scientific American, The Sciences, “The Man Who Makes Sea Level Rise Go Away: Armed with a 168-slide PowerPoint and a message that resonates with North Carolina’s conservative Legislature, John Droz has notched a remarkable record fighting sea-rise science, coastal development limits and renewable energy plans,” by James Borden, The Daily Climate, Sept. 30, 2013, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-man-who-makes-sea-lev/

5. “Science Under Assault,” John Droz slide presentation https://www.slideshare.net/JohnDroz/lockewindpresentation


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