|The Week That Was
December 16 , 2006
Senators Rockefeller and Snowe try to intimidate Exxon into dropping support for climate research that might uncover “inconvenient truths.” Read the WSJ editorial (ITEM #1) and comments by Avery, Singer, Monckton, and Murray. Ironically, a NY Times editorial (“Muzzling Those Pesky Scientists” Dec 14) complains about the White House but doesn’t mention the senators’ letter.
BBC’s Richard Black asks for evidence of discrimination against skeptics by granting agencies or scientific journals. I don't think he realizes the can of worms he has opened! It will be an interesting exercise. See response by John Brignell (Numberwatch) (ITEM #2): “Scientists of the old school are not just sceptical about global warming, they are sceptical about everything. That is the way we were trained.” Read also David Whitehouse on ‘scientific mavericks.’ “If mavericks do not play a prominent role in scientific debate, and if they do not play a role in journalism. then it would be a catastrophe.”
EPA labor unions calling for hearings on regulating CO2 put the EPA administrator and White House into a difficult position with respect to the Supreme Court case (ITEM #3). Are there any EPA scientists (as opposed to NOAA or NASA) with recognized competence in this subject? Of course, EPA employees push for enforcement; their careers are at stake. With air and water becoming ever cleaner, they might even lose their jobs.
New books (ITEM #4): Goklany: The Improving State of the World. Horner: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. Singer and Avery: Unstoppable Global Warming (see review in column by Debra Saunders)
Senator Inhofe to become Ranking Member of EPW Committee (ITEM #5), with hearings on climate change in the offing. European Union tries to force CO2 regulation (ITEM #6) while Germany objects and industries depart.
Victory for socialism in capitalistic countries requires only targeting their sources of energy -- Lenin
Die Welt-Interview of 19 February 2006 with Rudolf Hickel, German economics professor:
“Capitalism is a highly resistant affair that can only be forced to its knees through environmental controls”
1. GLOBAL WARMING GAG ORDER
Wall Street Journal , December 4, 2006;
Washington has no shortage of bullies, but even we can't quite believe an October 27 letter that Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe sent to Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Its message: Start toeing the Senators' line on climate change, or else.
We reprint chunks of the letter here and the full text on OpinionJournal.com, so readers can see for themselves. But its essential point is that the two Senators believe global warming is a fact, and therefore all debate about the issue must stop and Exxon Mobil should "end its dangerous support of the [global warming] 'deniers'." Not only that, the company "should repudiate its climate change denial campaign and make public its funding history." And in extra penance for being "one of the world's largest carbon emitters," Exxon should spend that money on "global remediation efforts."
The Senators aren't dumb enough to risk an ethics inquiry by threatening specific consequences if Mr. Tillerson declines this offer he can't refuse. But in case the CEO doesn't understand his company's jeopardy, they add that "Exxon Mobil and its partners in denial have manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years." The Senators also graciously copied the Exxon board on their missive.
This is amazing stuff. On the one hand, the Senators say that everyone agrees on the facts and consequences of climate change. But at the same time they are so afraid of debate that they want Exxon to stop financing a doughty band of dissenters who can barely get their name in the paper. We respect the folks at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, but we didn't know until reading the Rockefeller-Snowe letter that they ran U.S. climate policy and led the mainstream media around by the nose, too. Congratulations.
Let's compare the balance of forces: on one side, CEI; on the other, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, the U.N. and EU, Hollywood, Al Gore, and every politically correct journalist in the country. We'll grant that's a fair intellectual fight. But if the Senators are so afraid that a handful of policy wonks at a single small think-tank are in danger of winning this debate, they must not have much confidence in the merits of their own case.
The letter is so over-the-top that we also wonder if Mr. Rockefeller in particular has even read it. (He and Ms. Snowe didn't return our call.) The Senator hails from coal-producing West Virginia, where people know something about carbon emissions. Come to think of it, Mr. Rockefeller owes his own vast wealth to something other than non-carbon energy. But perhaps it's easier to be carbon free when your fortune comes from a trust fund.
The letter is of a piece with what has become a campaign of intimidation against any global warming dissent. Not only is everyone supposed to concede that the planet has been warming -- as it has -- but we are all supposed to salute and agree that human beings are the definitive cause, that the magnitude of the warming will be disastrous and its effects catastrophic, that such problems as AIDS and poverty are less urgent, and that economic planners must therefore impose vast new regulatory burdens on everyone around the world. Exxon is being targeted in this letter and other ways because it is one of the few companies that still thinks some debate on these questions is valuable.
Every dogma has its day, and we've lived long enough to see more than one "consensus" blown apart within a few years of "everyone knowing" it was true. In recent decades environmentalists have been wrong about almost every other apocalyptic claim they've made: global famine, overpopulation, natural resource exhaustion, the evils of pesticides, global cooling, and so on. Perhaps it's useful to have a few folks outside the "consensus" asking questions before we commit several trillion dollars to any problem.
Imagine if this letter had been sent by someone in the Bush Administration trying to enforce the opposite conclusion? The left would be howling about "censorship." That's exactly what did happen earlier this year after James Hansen, the NASA scientist and global warming evangelist, complained that a lowly 24-year-old press aide had tried to limit his media access. The entire episode was preposterous because Mr. Hansen is one of the most publicized scientists in the world, but the press aide was nonetheless sacked.
The Senators' letter is far more serious because they have enormous power to punish Exxon if it doesn't kowtow to them. A windfall profits tax is in the air, and we've seen what happens to other companies that dare to resist Congressional intimidation. It's to Exxon's credit that, in its response to the Senators, the company said that it will continue to fund free market research groups because "there is value in the debate" that helps promote "optimal public policy decisions." Too bad that's not what the Senators care about.
Senators' 'Chill Out' Letter to Exxon Creates a Heated Reaction
WSJ, December 13, 2006
In regard to your Dec. 4 editorial "Global Warming Gag Order1":
Sens. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D., W.Va.) are threatening Exxon Mobil with congressional censure if it keeps encouraging the scientific skeptics who doubt that humans caused the earth's recent warming trend.
But more than 70% of the warming observed since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 occurred before 1940, and thus before much human-emitted CO2. The senators are apparently unaware of the broad and impressive evidence from hundreds of recent scientific studies that document a better explanation for the modern warming -- a moderate, natural 1,500-year global climate cycle.
The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming had already been created when researchers retrieved the first long ice cores from Greenland and Antarctic in the 1980s. The ice cores revealed 400,000 years of the planet's temperature history -- and a 1,500-year cycle that was too long and moderate to be discerned by Celtic tribes or Viking seamen. Physical evidence of the 1,500-year climate cycle has also been found by more than 100 recent peer-reviewed studies by leading research institutes -- in the bottom sediments of six oceans and hundreds of lakes, in ancient relict tree rings from around the northern hemisphere, and in the cave stalagmites and glacier movements of every continent plus New Zealand. The North American Pollen Data Base shows nine complete reorganizations of our trees and plants in the past 14,000 years, or one every 1,650 years.
Science outranks senators. Galileo was a consensus of one.
Dennis T. Avery
S. Fred Singer
(Messrs. Avery and Singer co-authored "Unstoppable Global Warming -- Every 1,500 Years," Rowman and Littlefield, 2007.)
Sens. Rockefeller and Snowe defied every tenet of democracy when they suggested in an open letter to Exxon Mobil that it should refrain from exercising its right of free speech in supporting scientists who dare to question how much the increase in atmospheric CO2 may warm the world. The disastrous duo should withdraw their letter and apologize to Exxon Mobil. The senators say climate change is "a matter of urgency for all mankind." It is not. The U.N. is about to cut its high-end estimate of sea-level rise in 2100 from three feet to just 17 inches. The panic is over. The senators are jumping on the climate-change bandwagon just as the wheels are falling off.
The U.K. foreign secretary recently said climate skeptics were like supporters of Islamic terror and should be denied access to the media. After a decade of socialism, freedom of speech does not figure in the U.K. constitution. But let me cite the First Amendment to yours:
"Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
I call upon the two senators to live by those noble words.
(Lord Monckton was science and technical adviser to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.)
Harrisonburg (VA) Daily News-Record
Here’s a note to all environmental alarmists. Doomsday has been postponed.
According to the British newspaper The Independent, a pending United Nations report will downgrade the influence mankind has on global warming. In fact, the report states that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gases. (American cars are responsible for 6 percent.)
A second British newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, has also noted that a report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is downgrading predictions on how much sea levels will rise due to global warming.
The IPCC lowered its from 34 inches to 17 inches its upper estimate for sea levels to rise by the year 2100.
Seventeen inches? Well, lets all start building the sea walls now. The world will soon be awash in ocean waves.
The one man who will be particularly pleased with the reports is scientist Fred Singer, who is speaking at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week. Singer is the author of a book "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500" and argues the Earth warms every 1,500 years due to a solar-link cycle. The influence of men, or animals, while real, is minimal on it, he says. For such views he was personally attacked by former Vice President Al Gore. Mr. Singer was a tool of big energy, Mr. Gore claimed.
Yes, the reach of big energy is extremely long. Now it must even include U.N. panels. Then again, who knows what great damage 17 more inches of ocean water can do?
Comment: The IPCC’s lower limit estimate is 6 inches. My mean value is 7 inches. SFS
Eco-Censorship: The Effort to Thwart the Climate Change Debate
By Iain Murray
The New Atlantis, Number 14, Fall 2006, pp. 134-137.
Eppur si muove—“and yet it moves”—was supposedly Galileo’s final statement after being forced by the Church to retract his revolutionary cosmological theories. He had run up against the overwhelming consensus of his time—that the Earth was the center of the universe and that saying otherwise was detrimental to the public good, not to mention Galileo’s health. For centuries, the scientific method has been an antidote to such persecution. Right or wrong, scientists should be free to advance their theories without the threat of extra-scientific censure, except perhaps when national security is at stake. Science alone should judge scientific validity.
Yet today, there appears to be a band of scientists and agitators who are willing to use the methods of Galileo’s persecutors to protect their own cherished theories. In the field of climate science, some people want to declare the scientific debate closed, allowing only those public statements that advance the approved idea that global warming is occurring, that man is responsible for it, and that it will probably be catastrophic unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically curbed.
In its most extreme form, this phenomenon has involved calls for scientific versions of the Nuremberg Trials (from a writer at the environmental magazine Grist) and the equation of “climate change denial” with Holocaust denial. Others have branded as criminal those who question restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. In September 2006, on CNBC’s Global Players program, Jeremy Leggett, CEO of a solar power company, called for fellow guest Fred Smith, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (the think tank where I work), to be locked up for expressing his views. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who has vociferously complained in the media of being silenced by the Bush administration for his research on global warming, suggested—without a hint of irony—that Mr. Smith should not even have been given such a platform for his views.
So just what is the nature of the “denial” that these scientists and environmentalists want to eradicate? First, there is the proposition that the Earth may not be warming at all. The truth is that there are not many scientists who publicly express this view nowadays. While there are many who question the reliability of surface temperature records, there are few who dispute the evidence from satellite records showing that the Earth has warmed 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade since the start of the data in the 1970s. These records, however, also show virtually no warming in the Southern Hemisphere (global warming isn’t very global). There is ongoing scientific debate about the calibration of the data, but essentially this debate is over: The Earth has warmed since the 1970s.
Yet that isn’t a very long time at all, certainly not long enough to establish whether or not the warming is so unprecedented that civilization and the biosphere have not had to deal with similar warming before. So the second target of the “denial” charge is those who dispute that the current warming is unprecedented. Yet here there is clearly ongoing scientific debate, with developments in just the past few months. A small group of paleoclimatologists issued a series of temperature reconstructions finding that global temperature was mostly stable for the past thousand years until a precipitous recent rise. Questions, however, were raised about the quality of the data and the statistical methods used to achieve this result. A team of eminent statisticians charged by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to investigate the scientists’ methodology confirmed that the methods they had used virtually guaranteed the result they obtained. Meanwhile, the National Research Council (NRC) found that the quality of the historic data meant that nothing more could be said with certainty than that the current warm period is warmer than at any time since the 1600s, which the NRC agreed was part of the “Little Ice Age”—something that the paleoclimatologists’ reconstruction suggested had not occurred. The NRC found that the suggestion that the current warm period was the warmest for a thousand years was merely plausible, but both unprovable and unfalsifiable given the current state of the historic data. The NRC also upheld the methodological criticisms. It is therefore somewhat of a stretch to claim that science has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the current warm period is unprecedented.
Third, the “denial” charge is aimed at those who purportedly suggest that mankind has nothing to do with the current warming. This represents a considerable oversimplification of the issue. Such “contrarian” scientists—such as S. Fred Singer, Patrick J. Michaels, and Richard S. Lindzen—have affirmed time and again that mankind is responsible for some of the warming. Basic physics indicates that the more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the more heat will be trapped there. Yet there are far more climate “forcings” than just greenhouse gases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the NRC both admit that our current understanding of these other forcings is low. Until we know much more about land-use change, aerosols, and solar activity, to name but a few, we cannot be certain that greenhouse gases have been driving the recent warming trend. That is why the NRC concluded that, “Because of the large and still uncertain level of natural variability inherent in the climate record and the uncertainties in the time histories of the various forcing agents (and particularly aerosols), a causal linkage between the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the observed climate changes during the twentieth century cannot be unequivocally established.”
The final charge against “deniers” is that they fail to acknowledge that global warming will be catastrophic. Most deniers would happily cop to this accusation, and they have plenty of evidence to back up their stance. When Al Gore talks about twenty feet of sea-level rise from the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), he is failing to acknowledge the science. The IPCC estimates less than a meter of sea-level rise this century and considers catastrophic destabilization of ice sheets unlikely. Even if the WAIS were to melt, research indicates it would take several thousand years to do so, more than enough time for people to get out of the way.
The facts are similar with regard to most other supposed “catastrophic” impacts. Even if the theories linking increased sea surface temperature to more intense hurricanes are correct—and the hypothesis is the subject of intense ongoing debate—hurricanes will only be about 5 percent stronger by 2100 in a worst-case scenario. Polar bear biologists dispute whether or not the Arctic ursines are under any real threat from the melting of Arctic ice—15 of 17 populations do not even appear to be affected. Some evidence from nineteenth-century Arctic explorers even suggests that ice sheet extents were as receded then as they are today. The same holds true for claims about air quality, heat waves, and precipitation. There is no uncontested, compelling scientific evidence that the effects of global warming will be catastrophic to health and welfare.
So if that’s all that the climate change denial charge can mean, why is it being made with such enthusiasm? The answer seems to be the chilling effect it has on the scientific debate. It makes public profession of opposing views unpalatable. Thus, Richard Lindzen of M.I.T. argues, “Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks, or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.”
There is another, even more worrying result of the denial charge. It enables alarmists to portray the science as dispositive. The only way to solve the problem, science supposedly shows, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions radically. Anyone who argues against this conclusion is deemed a denier.
Yet in public policy, science is not dispositive. Economic, political, and moral considerations also need to be taken into account. Practical tradeoffs and competing priorities need to be considered. By tarring those opposed to climate-change policy with the charge of denial, the alarmists have elided the economic, political, and moral debate to their great advantage.
Even worse, the denial charge obscures the many uncertainties that surround our understanding of climate change and its implications. Global warming is a serious enough subject that it needs to be debated fully, submitting every hypothesis to rigorous testing and hardheaded analysis. When the alarmists say the debate is over, responsible scientists and policymakers must reply, like Galileo, “And yet it moves.”
—Iain Murray is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
2. SCEPTICS: CARDS ON THE TABLE PLEASE!
VIEWPOINT -- BBC NEWS
"Climate sceptics" would do society a favour, argues our environment correspondent Richard Black, if they would open their claims to scrutiny that science is biased against them.
An ex-colleague of mine used to groan in frustration at the playground language that has now, unfortunately, become almost routine in exchanges on climate issues.
His point was that most people involved in the field were trying to do their honest best; to assume otherwise, and to slag off those holding an opposite point of view as idiots, frauds, careerists or worse was not taking the world anywhere constructive.
While sharing his frustrations, I can understand the passions involved.
If you accept the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consensus view of climate science, humankind is involved in an unprecedented and highly risky experiment with the only ecosphere it has, and climate sceptics are simply vandals laying a tree trunk across the train tracks which society must traverse to escape its fiery grave.
If you dissent from the consensus, you take the view that public opinion and much of politics has embarked on a wild decarbonising goose chase which will break economies, restrict personal movement and distract resources from other important societal challenges.
When this fundamental divide erupts in parliaments, in media, in alehouse arguments, that is fair enough; much of society works, for better or worse, on the basis of airing disagreements and having a good old rant, with your ability to shout loudly outweighing the intrinsic merit of your argument.
It is not, however, the way that science should be.
Of all the accusations made by the diverse community of climate sceptics, the most damaging by far is that the institutions of science have become biased against research which questions the IPCC consensus, or which builds alternative explanations for the warming we have seen over the last century or so, and the other physical trends which go along with it.
Here, in the internet prairie, we find comments such as: "Science has become as blatantly biased in the direction of tragedy as television. But, given the way we fund and reward science and scientists, it was inevitable."
We find the IPCC criticised along the lines that it is "...an artfully constructed presentation of just the science that supports the fear of human-induced climate change. It is as one sided as a legal brief, which it resembles."
We find blanket condemnations such as: "We know that one's career and income are closely related to one's position on global warming."
These, aimed at the heart of science, are serious accusations. It is as though the apple tree, rather than the fruits, were rotten.
Now, if political parties hear only the arguments they want to hear, that is the way of the world.
If two politicians look at the same evidence and come honestly to opposing conclusions, that is also the way of the world; after all, finance ministers have been conducting experiments with economies since governments existed, and still there is no universally agreed blueprint for building an economy which brings happiness to the citizenry.
Equally, it is entirely natural that some media organisations, which traditionally plough a slanted furrow, should find suitable angles on climate issues.
Journals are meant to publish the best research irrespective of whether it accepts that the sky is blue, or finds it could really be green That one newspaper, say, should commission articles on climate science from people with a vested interest in business as usual, while another censors columns which are not lurid enough for its catastrophe-driven climate theology, should not surprise anyone.
No, it is the accusations of scientific bias that hit hardest.
Science is supposed to be evidence-based, open, inclusive.
Journals are meant to publish the best research irrespective of whether it accepts that the sky is blue, or finds it could really be green. Scientific conferences should showcase the full panoply of thought in a given field; the societal remit of consensus bodies such as the IPCC is to consider all the evidence, not just the convenient bits.
So the accusations that all is not well at the heart of climate science, and that censorship is rife in organisations which award research grants, the editorial boards of journals and the committees of the IPCC, should be examined seriously.
As we come up to the release of the fourth IPCC assessment report, the first for half a decade and undoubtedly the major event of next year in climate terms, the issues raised by the loose and diverse community of sceptics will become doubly prominent.
For that reason, we on the BBC News website will be spending some time over the coming months looking at these issues; and the allegations against science come first.
I may be crazy to ask this given my already bulging inbox, but here goes. If you have evidence of research grants turned down because of a clash with the prevailing consensus, of instances where journals or conference organisers or consensus bodies have rejected "inconvenient" findings, please send it to us; my email address is at the bottom of this article.
(But please use send us your comments for general thoughts on this article, as usual.)
For our part - the Science and Nature team on this website - we undertake to deal with what you send in seriously.
For your part, I ask for two things. Firstly, focus on science, and leave to one side, for all the reasons given above, issues concerning possible bias in politics, the media or the wider spheres of society.
Secondly, be selective. "Evidence" does not mean links to blogs, websites, other news articles, or vague rambling condemnations of science and scientists; it means some sort of documentary proof. Fewer and better leads will make our initial sifting much more effective.
I don't expect this exercise to change the tone of wider climate discourse one iota. Sceptics and catastrophists will still make their arguments, I'm sure, with the full armouries of vim and vitriol at their disposal; emails of abuse will still reverberate around the blogosphere.
But if research is being skewed and distorted, we ought to know, because good climate science is the key to good climate policy.
If it is not, then the most damaging accusation raised by the sceptical community will have been laid to rest.
Click here: BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Sceptics: Cards on the table please!
"If you have evidence of research grants turned down because of a clash with the prevailing consensus, of instances where journals or conference organisers or consensus bodies have rejected "inconvenient" findings, please send it to us;"
John Brignell, Number Watch, 2 December 2006
Dear Richard Black
I will take your piece (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6196804.stm) at face value and assume that you are not being disingenuous.
What on earth makes you believe that we sceptics think that science is against us? We know that science is for us. Science and its methods are essentially sceptical.
From the Bacons, through the likes of Locke, Hume and Russell, to the magnificent climax of Popper’s statement of the principle of falsifiability, the scientific method was painfully established, only to be abandoned in a few short decades. The method was essentially sceptical, as Thomas Huxley put it:
"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin."
Scientists of the old school are not just sceptical about global warming, they are sceptical about everything. That is the way we were trained. Fortunately, even in this new era of blind faith, there are an admirable few among the new generation who also adhere to the principles of pure science.
It is not science that is against us, it is the Green establishment politics, media and, alas, the major scientific institutions and journals. Consensus had never had a legitimate place in science. As Einstein is reputed to have remarked, when the Nazis published a book in which one hundred German scientists pronounced him wrong, “It only needed one of them to be right.” There was indeed a consensus in physics at the start of the twentieth century that “the science is settled”, but that was blown apart by Einstein and his contemporaries.
As for the implication that there is no evidence of bias in publication and the award of research grants, that arises from one of the fallacies of the historical method. No one is going to write down the fact that they made a decision through pure bias. People do not leave behind an audit trial of their misdeeds for posterity. To see an example of how it works, you only have to look at the history of the editor of Nature jumping through hoops to prevent publication of valid criticism of the so-called hockey stick; or the authoritative Wegman Report. That theory was a ludicrous contradiction of the findings of history, art, archaeology, entomology and many other disciplines, yet it was strenuously maintained by voluntary censorship.
Take it from one who found it more honourable to take early retirement (and write independently about these and other matters) than conform to the diktats of the Green establishment; for the last decade there has been only one game in town as far as research is concerned. When your university is locked in a struggle for financial survival and is dependent on large chunks of taxpayers’ money for politically approved programmes, you do not earn friends by rocking the boat. Thus, with a few notable exceptions, the sceptics (the true scientists) have been weeded out. Would-be researchers are told the fields in which funding is available. They are no longer physics, chemistry, engineering etc. They are new subjects, such as sustainability and pollution.
You create a Catch 22 situation by specifically excluding web sites as sources; for that is where the sceptics are now mainly obliged to operate, some of them very distinguished professors emeriti.
Your final paragraphs:
"But if research is being skewed and distorted, we ought to know, because good climate science is the key to good climate policy. If it is not, then the most damaging accusation raised by the sceptical community will have been laid to rest" contain two misunderstandings. The first is one of hubris, that there can be a “climate policy”. Human effects are orders of magnitude below natural ones and lost in the noise.
The second is in the way that science works (or, more accurately, used to work). If in any field there were a disagreement, a conference or colloquium would be called. The opponents would carry on a vigorous altercation to resolve the issue. Then they would retire amicably to the bar.
Now there have to be two conferences, one for the traditional scientists, which is largely ignored, the other a lavish media and political jamboree, which receives wide coverage. Furthermore, any sceptic who raises his head above the barricade can be assured of a campaign of calumny and ad hominem attacks from self-appointed guardians of political correctness.
Whether so designed or not, your campaign will produce the result of clearing the establishment of bias, which will be, of course, a great surprise to all of us.
A Bending Author
PS Then there is Galileo
While a maverick's story is not in the least an example to follow, it may carry the following useful message: a good sprinkling of diversity is just as indispensable to the good functioning and survival of science as it is to the welfare of society as a whole."
Lord Rees says that "It used to be controversial whether smoking causes cancer." True. But this example is actually an argument against his thesis. Today of course no one doubts the causal link between smoking and cancer but in the 1950's the scientist who suggested such a link was regarded as a scientific maverick. Sir Richard Doll's work was first published in 1950 (although there had been indications of a cancer-tobacco link for decades, especially in research carried out in Nazi Germany) and again in 1954. It wasn't until 1957 when the Medical Research Council in response to a request from the government that the idea became firmly established. Before 1957 the link certainly had its advocates but a journalist writing an article on the subject could have described Sir Richard Doll as a maverick and some of leading ennobled scientists of the day dismissed him as such.
Finally, here is a list of some mavericks:
James Logie-Baird - Television.
S. Chandrasekhar - Black Holes.
Sir Richard Doll - Smoking and Cancer.
Ernst Doppler - The Doppler Effect.
Galvani - Bioelectricity.
William Harvey - Blood Circulation.
Galileo - Copernicanism.
Copernicus - Geocentrism.
Robert Goddard - Rockets.
B Marshall - Ulcers caused by bacteria.
Barbara McClintock - Transposons.
J. Newlands - pre-Mendeleev Periodic Table.
George Ohm - Electrical Resistance.
Louis Pasteur - Germ theory of disease.
Stanley Prusiner - Prions.
Alfred Wegner - Continental Drift.
If mavericks do not play a prominent role in scientific debate, and if they do not play a role in journalism then it would be a catastrophe.
3. EPA'S LABOR UNION CALLS FOR CONGRESSIONAL CLIMATE HEARINGS
EESI Climate Change News - December 1, 2006
This week, labor leaders representing more than 10,000 Environmental Protection Agency scientists, engineers, and staff asked Congress to hold oversight hearings on the agency's own greenhouse-gas emissions programs. The labor leaders, who are presidents of the EPA's 22 union locals, sent its petition to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The petition says the agency isn't doing enough to encourage the use of current technology to control carbon-dioxide emissions under the Bush administration's voluntary approach, calls on lawmakers to ensure that agency experts are allowed to speak freely and openly about global warming with the public and Congress "without fear of reprisal," and asks lawmakers to "support a vigorous program of enforcement and reduction in GHG [greenhouse-gas] emissions."
"The science is too clear and the consequences are too grave" to continue down the voluntary path the administration is following, says William Hirzy, an EPA senior scientist and vice president of the National Treasury Employees Union chapter that represents employees at EPA headquarters in Washington.
Supreme Court Hears Massachusetts vs EPA Case on Regulating Carbon Emissions
On November 29, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments from parties to decide whether the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles under the Clean Air Act (see Climate Change News 10.27.06). The arguments focused on two issues - whether the plaintiffs, represented by Assistant Attorney General James R. Milkey of Massachusetts, had the legal standing to bring the lawsuit to the federal court; and, whether carbon dioxide is an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act and EPA has the authority to regulate it (and if EPA is obliged to exercise its authority). The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in June 2007.
As globe warms, can states force the EPA to act? The agency argues that climate change requires a global solution, not federal regulations. The Supreme Court weighs in this week. By Warren Richey | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor WASHINGTON – Arctic sea ice is melting. Glaciers are in retreat. Sea levels are rising. So what is the Environmental Protection Agency doing about it?
That's what a group of state officials and environmentalists want to know. In the Monitor Friday, 12/01/06
Seven years ago, they asked the EPA to get involved - to take an initial step in response to scientific evidence that suggests greenhouse gases are causing global warming.
The agency refused, saying there were too many unresolved questions about the causes and effects of global warming. The state officials took their case to court, charging that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to take immediate action.
On Nov. 29, the dispute arrives at the US Supreme Court, where the justices must decide whether the EPA is required to take action or whether the agency retains the discretion to decide for itself how best to respond to worldwide environmental threats.
The case will test the authority of special interest groups and state governments to sue federal agencies and force them to adopt certain regulatory policies that they favor. The case could also establish important legal precedents that might help or hinder state efforts to regulate greenhouses gases on their own in the absence of federal action.
On a broader level, the case raises questions about the role of the judiciary in resolving litigation over regulatory policy arguments. Should judges defer to controversial decisions made by administrative agencies on whether or when to pass regulations? Or should judges aggressively enforce what they see as the underlying purpose of statutes that govern agencies?
At issue in Massachusetts v. US Environmental Protection Agency is whether EPA officials acted properly when they declined to issue national regulations limiting the release of four greenhouse gases from new automobile models. The gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons.
EPA officials say the agency lacks the power to regulate greenhouse gases. The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to take action to reduce and control agents that cause "air pollution." But agency officials have concluded that greenhouse gases are not agents of air pollution. They say the Clean Air Act does not address global climate change.
As a fallback position, EPA officials say that even if they do have authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act they also have discretion under the act to decide when to initiate such measures. The officials have said there was scientific uncertainty about global warming and that they wanted to wait for more research and additional action by Congress before crafting an appropriate response.
Massachusetts along with 11 other states, three cities, a US territory, and numerous environmental groups are urging the Supreme Court to order the EPA to faithfully enforce the law as passed by Congress.
"A straightforward reading of the language of the Clean Air Act shows that carbon dioxide and other air pollutants associated with climate change are 'air pollutants' potentially subject to regulation [under the Clean Air Act]," writes Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General James Milkey, in his brief. "When Congress has spoken as plainly as it has here, an administrative agency is bound to obey that legislative command."
In his brief, US Solicitor General Paul Clement defends the EPA's earlier legal positions. He also argues that Massachusetts lacks the legal standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place. Mr. Clement says Massachusetts officials are unable to draw a direct link between harm to the state and the EPA's decision not to pass the requested regulations.
Massachusetts and other petitioners in the case complain of "profound harms" caused by climate change including the inundation of coastal property, damage to seaside facilities, and additional emergency response costs from more frequent and intense storms. Clement argues that the state's generalized concerns are not enough to demonstrate that such cataclysmic harms are a direct result of the EPA's decision not to regulate.
The specific request was for the EPA to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from new cars. Such emissions make up only a fraction of greenhouse gases released worldwide.
Clement says that 80 percent of all greenhouse gases are from countries other than the US and that, of US emissions, 70 percent are from non-transportation sources. The solicitor general adds that of the remaining 30 percent, the requested regulation would only affect new vehicles models - leaving the vast majority of emissions in the US and throughout the world not covered by the new regulations.
In effect, Clement says, the threat of global warming is an international threat that requires an international solution. Since the EPA acting alone cannot solve the problem, lawyers from Massachusetts don't have legal standing to try to hold the EPA responsible for a problem it can't solve without international cooperation.
Mr. Milkey says the primary concern of Congress in the Clean Air Act was for the agency to determine whether certain pollutants can reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. Where they pose such a threat, Milkey says, the agency must act to protect the public.
SEPP Comment: Since the suit applies to cars, it is really CAFE in disguise
But Congress gave that job to NHTSA and to itself – not to EPA
4. NEW BOOKS
1. The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet (Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2006)
From Beijing to Bratislava, more of us are living longer, healthier and more comfortable lives than at any time in history; fewer of us are suffering from poverty, hunger or illiteracy, says economist Indur Goklany in his book, "The Improving State of the World," published by the Cato Institute.
We should be especially proud of the fact that humanity has never been better fed, says Goklany:
o The daily food intake in poor countries has increased by 38 percent since the 1960s to 2,666 calories per person per day, on average.
o The population of those countries has soared by 83 percent during that time.
o Together with a 75 percent decline in global food prices in real terms in the second half of the 20th century -- caused by improved agricultural productivity and freer trade -- fewer people than ever before are going hungry.
There is still a long way to go; but never before in human history have so many people been liberated from extreme poverty so quickly, says Goklany:
o The number of people subsisting on $1 a day has declined from 16 percent of the world population in the late 1970s to 6 percent today, while those living on $2 a day dropped from 39 percent to 18 percent.
o In 1820, 84 percent of the world's population lived in absolute poverty; today this is down to about a fifth.
Even life expectancy in poorer countries has improved quickly, notes Goklany:
o In China it has surged from 41 years in the 1950s to 71 years today; in India it is up from 39 years to 63 years, almost doubling the average lifespan of 2 billion people.
o In 1900 average life expectancy around the world was a mere 31 years; today it is 67 years and rising.
Source: Allister Heath, "The world is richer and healthier," Spectator, December 2, 2006; based upon: Indur Goklany, "The Improving State of the World," Cato Institute, November 2006. Courtesy NCPA
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.
by Chris Horner
Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC
It will hit the shelves on the day that Al Gore will be awarded an Oscar for Best Docu-Ganda, 25th February 2007.
The cows missed the movie
By Debra J. Saunders
Washington Times, December 16, 2006
Two British news reports could not have come at a better time for Fred Singer, a scientist and global-warming denier, who has incurred the wrath of global-warming guru and former Vice President Al Gore.
The Independent reported Sunday that a new U.N. report found that livestock is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gases. In other words, in the universe of global-warming alarmism, cow gas does more damage to Mother Earth than SUVs. (American cars are responsible for some 6 percent of greenhouse gases.)
The Sunday Telegraph reported that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is downgrading its predictions as to how much sea levels will rise due to global warming. The IPCC lowered its upper estimate for sea-level rise by 2100 from 34 inches to 17 inches.
In "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore warned that global warming would cause sea levels to rise by some 20 feet. "I claim that Al Gore is a contrarian because he disagrees with the IPCC," Singer said. If there's one thing that irritates him, it is Gore's belief that there is a scientific "consensus" about human-induced global warming, even as Gore incessantly complains about scientists who deny global warming.
"Well, which is it?" Singer asked. If there is a consensus, there should be no deniers. Singer has co-written a book, "Unstoppable Global Warming -- Every 1,500 Years," that argues that the Earth warms every 1,500 years due to a solar-linked cycle. The book begins in the year 1100, when Vikings grew vegetables on Greenland, where the population reached 3,000 before creeping glaciers and cold killed the remaining residents. Now, Greenland is warm again.
Don't blame manmade global warming for rising sea levels, the book argues. "Sea levels have been rising steadily since the peak of the last Ice Age about 18,000 years ago. The total rise has been 400 feet." For the last 5,000 years, sea levels have risen about 7 inches per century. No surprise, Singer sees the new IPCC take on sea levels as "more realistic" than past predictions.
5. SENATE EPW COMMITTEE: JIM INHOFE TO REMAIN AS RANKING REPUBLICAN
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe will remain as ranking Republican on the panel and keep his incredibly effective staff in place. With Barbara Boxer (D-CA) taking the chair, the EPW committee is expected to be ground zero in the war over "global warming." Many Democrats and more than a few Republicans want to force the substance of the so-called Kyoto Protocols on the country even if they can't round up the votes in the full Senate to ratify the treaty itself. It has become an article of faith among liberal Democrats that global warming-induced climate change is real and the greatest threat to life as we know it.
Like Al Gore, liberals are so convinced they are right that they seem to earnestly believe that anyone who dares to disagree with the science is either a little nuts or in the pay of giant corporations willing to destroy the earth itself to make one last buck before everything comes crashing down around us. Given the seriousness of the situation as they perceive it, liberals are prepared to do just about anything they can to silence anyone standing in their way. This was compelling demonstrated just before the election when Congressman Henry Waxman threatened investigations and government action against corporations that express doubts about the accuracy of this liberal wisdom or contribute to researchers or think tanks that do not tow the "global warming" liberal line.
As far as the liberal community is concerned the discussion is over; every sane human being is with them and it's time to sweep away the skeptics so we can get on with the task of saving ourselves and the earth. Waxman and his colleagues don't really think free speech guarantees should extend to people who are too obstinate to agree with them when they are so obviously right. Their attitude has made it impossible, as Robert J. Samuelson recently observed in Newsweek, to have "an honest conversation" on the topic.
6. EU OUTLINES NEW CARBON PERMITS
The European Union has established carbon limits for the second phase of the carbon-trading scheme, a key step in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
BBC NEWS: Published: 2006/11/29 13:43:10 GMT
The European Trading Scheme (ETS) aims to cut emissions by 8% of 1990 levels. But critics say that nations involved in the scheme had set their carbon allowance levels too high, and have not been aggressive enough in cuts.
The EU set allowances for the 2008-2012 period to an average of 7% below the levels proposed by member states. "Today's decisions send a strong signal that Europe is fully committed to achieving the Kyoto target and making the ETS a success," said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.
By creating a market for carbon, firms are meant to have a financial motive to cut emissions. Heavy polluters, notably power firms, are obliged to own the right for each metric ton of carbon dioxide they produce. Depending on their needs, they can buy or sell permits. Trading carbon is meant to enable firms to cut emissions at the lowest price.
Even so, there are concerns that the plan will do little to ease problems. Critics argue that the plans are unlikely to help improve pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases. According to Tony Ward, Energy Director at Ernst & Young, the cuts imposed by the EU "will make little material difference to the reduction of Europe's carbon emissions against a backdrop of accelerating global emissions. "The move is small and is unlikely to encourage the necessary substantive behavioural change," he said.
Günter Verheugen, the EU's Industry Commissioner, has warned that Europe's competitiveness could be affected if the targets are too strict.
The latest emissions plans concern the UK, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia and Sweden. France has withdrawn its plan for carbon allowances and will submit a tougher outline in a number of weeks, a French environment ministry spokeswoman said.
The ETS scheme is the largest of its kind and was developed by the EU as a way to meet targets under the Kyoto protocol. While the ETS currently covers large polluters - such as power firms and oil refineries - in time it is set to include emissions from planes, among others.
Allocations will be set on Wednesday and they cannot be changed.
Now however, as reported by Reuters/Planet Ark, Germany is balking at the additional cuts demanded by the EC. "Germany will ignore a ruling by the European Commission on Wednesday that rejected Berlin's climate change targets for 2008-12, the economics ministry said on Friday.
Joachim Wuermeling, a high-ranking economics ministry official said Germany planned not to implement the EC's changes. It was up to member states how they fulfilled their Kyoto Climate Protocol targets, he said.
Germany felt relaxed about a possible law suit if the EC sued as it could take years to be resolved, which was not in the Commission's interest, he said."
Ironically Germany has said it wants to put climate change at the top of the agenda of the G8 next year while it is chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A spokesman for the Commission said that there was no appeal against its ruling. The crackdown on carbon follows the ETS's disastrous first year, in which the price of carbon permits plummeted because of massive over-allocation of permits by EU governments. Under the scheme, governments are expected to allocate carbon permits to firms such that emissions are capped at a level that creates a shortage of permits and an incentive to reduce emissions.
Comment: Will the last company out of Europe please shut off the...ah.......er....oh well never mind. The whole continent just went dark! Ayn Rand is batting a 1000! Atlas is shrugging big time!