The Week That Was
June 16 , 2007
This past week, George Bush successfully finessed the Global Warming issue at the G-8 Meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany. He gave German chancellor Merkel a propaganda victory for domestic consumption while maintaining the US position against emission limits. [ITEM#1] In fact, he managed to shift the ‘bad-guy’ image to China and India, with the US now as the mediator to persuade them to adopt the European position on GW mitigation. How did he do this?
Meanwhile, the Democrats in Congress are split on a GW bill as regional divisions dominate over partisan divisions. [ITEM#2] Interesting!
And as the science to buttress global warming hysteria becomes shakier, increasing numbers of political leaders are coming forth to publicly say so.
a] The latest is former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who just this week said the topic of global warming is "hysterical, overheated, and that is especially because of the media. We've had warm- and ice-ages for hundreds of thousands of years.” He added that believing we can alter global warming by any plans made at the G-8 is ‘idiotic.’
b] Schmidt’s comments follow similarly strong statements by Czech President Vaclav Klaus (who has referred to Al Gore as ‘insane’) and former French Socialist Party Leader Claude Allegre.
What is at risk is not the climate, but freedom
By Vaclav Klaus
Published: June 13 2007
We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 degreesC for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.
In the past year, Al Gore’s so-called documentary film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain’s more or less Tony Blair’s Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together, and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.
The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the established truth, although a lot of people including top-class scientists see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.
As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term ‘scientific consensus,’ which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
Instead of speaking about the environment, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.
The writer is President of the Czech Republic
c] Here from Lord Leach http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25390-2646004,00.html
“Sir, As a non-scientist I cannot have read one-hundredth of the number of scientific articles read by Robert May, yet I am familiar with at least a score (each citing a score more) questioning key parts of the theory that there is a threat of catastrophic man-made global warming. So when Lord May claims (April 6) that not one respected scientist is unconvinced, far from persuading me he only makes me doubtful of his other claims.
Moreover, by applying the term denial (with all its loaded undertones) to sceptical scientists; by referring to them inaccurately as well funded by the oil industry; and by likening those who stress the uncertainties of climate science to unprincipled lobbyists for tobacco companies, Lord May enters on the field of personal vilification not a suitable place for a distinguished former President of the Royal Society.
There is a great deal more money and acceptability available to consensus scientists than to dissenters. This suggests that the work of the doubters should be taken very seriously, since it brings with it problems both of funding and of exclusion from the friendly embrace of the Establishment. I admire such people, much as I have admired other dissidents like Solzhenitsyn, Pastor Bonhoeffer -- oh, and Galileo and Darwin.”
LEACH OF FAIRFORD
Matheson & Co, 3 Lombard Street, London EC3.
d] Vice Chair of IPCC Breaks Global Warming Consensus
April 19, 1500EDT (EIRNS)--The much-vaunted consensus over global warming shattered like ice yesterday, when the Russian vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) penned an op-ed for Ria Novosti news agency questioning the "panic over global warming." "I think the panic over global warming is totally unjustified. There is no serious threat to the climate," wrote Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Izrael. Academician Izrael is the head of the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology in Russia, and one of three vice-chairmen of the IPCC, the international body whose reports have claimed that human-induced global warming is a scientific certainty. "There is no need to dramatize the anthropogenic impact, because the climate has always been subject to change under Nature's influence, even when humanity did not even exist," Izrael wrote. He does not dismiss that there are changes in climate going on, but writes that "we are more threatened by the cold than by global warming."
GW fears cause real harm [ITEM #3]. Richard Lindzen on what it means to be a ‘contrarian’ [ITEM #4]. Lawrence Solomon’s remarkable series on lack of ‘scientific consensus.’ [ITEM #5]. An essay on scientific dissent [ITEM #6]. Global warmists are having kittens [ITEM #7].
An essay on TGGWS by SFS
TGGWS in German
The IPCC report is now available in final form (for free)
Finally, “Welcome to “Apocaholics Anonymous” – Join Me in a Crusade for Panic-Free Living.”
1. THE HEILIGENDAMM TESTAMENT
From The Scientific Alliance newsletter
The latest G8 summit ended in a breakthrough on climate change policy...or not. The US government has finally signed up to taking action to curb emissions... or not. The outcome of the summit was, in the way of such things, ambiguous, and interpretation depends on your point of view.
In practice, George Bush has taken some of the heat off the US by agreeing to join talks about a post-Kyoto agreement, but he has not accepted the need for clear Kyoto-style emission reduction targets. China and India will also be talking, but have made it clear that they are making no commitments and that their primary target is continued growth. It is a typical diplomatic fudge, where all can claim some credit but few are really happy. Angela Merkel and Tony Blair can say they have achieved something, George Bush and the major developing countries agree to talk. In the meantime, Kyoto remains a dismal failure, and weather monitoring records and scientific evidence continues to accumulate. By the time a (probably equally ineffective) son of Kyoto is agreed, our understanding of climate science will hopefully have moved on.
Opinion: Changing The Climate: G8 And Climate Politics
By Jonathan H. Adler
National Review Online, 12 June 2007
On May 31, the president announced support for a new international framework on climate change under which the 15 largest emitters of greenhouse gases would adopt their own parallel commitments on climate change on the way to a long-term emission-reduction goal. The president also stressed the need to accelerate the transfer of advanced technologies to other nations by eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers on clean-energy advances and making clean energy a new priority for international financial institutions.
Whereas as the Kyoto Protocol and European proposals sought to establish firm near-term emission-reduction targets that few nations would actually meet, the Bush stressed the development and deployment of efficiency-enhancing and emission-reducing technologies in an effort to reduce carbon intensity. In this regard the president's plan built upon the preexisting, but little noticed, Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, an agreement among the United States, Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea to develop and deploy clean energy technologies among member nations.
Environmentalists and some European environmental ministers were quick to dismiss Bush's plan. Yet others, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon praised the president's initiative. Japan and Australia were downright enthusiastic, and China responded more favorably than it has to Europe's emission-reduction demands. Within a week, Bush had transformed the climate-policy dialogue. The president's proposal became the basis for the G-8's climate resolution and, for the first time, created an opportunity for developing nation participation in a meaningful climate-policy framework. Not bad for a president often accused (sometimes rightly) of obstructionism on environmental issues.
2. DEMOCRATS FACE OFF OVER EMISSIONS BILL
By Richard Simon, Times Staff Writer
The Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2007
California lawmakers lead opposition to a draft that would prevent states from taking tougher action than the federal government.
WASHINGTON — An unusual rift has emerged between top congressional Democrats over a draft global-warming bill that would prohibit California and other states from taking tougher action than Washington to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. On one side are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and a number of her California colleagues, fighting to preserve their state's landmark law to cut tailpipe emissions. Pelosi has said that action to curb global warming is one of her most important initiatives. On the other side are Reps. John D. Dingell, a Democrat from auto-producing Michigan, who has expressed support for the legislation, and Rick Boucher (D-Va.). Dingell is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will shape the bill, and Boucher is the chairman of a key subcommittee writing the bill.
On Thursday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) rounded up a dozen signatures from members of Dingell's committee on a letter that strongly opposes the draft. "We have serious concerns about the direction in which the committee is currently heading," the letter says.
California's senators, Democrats Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, also vowed Thursday to use "all means at our disposal" to block any effort to preempt California law, suggesting a possible bill-killing filibuster, if necessary. The swift reaction against the proposal could doom the plan.
Perhaps the most important foe is Pelosi, who earlier tangled with Dingell by forming a special panel to consider global warming legislation. Also opposed are California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, and governors and attorneys-general from other states, including several seeking to follow California's lead in regulating tailpipe emissions.
"While federal action is necessary and long overdue on climate change, Congress must not deny states the right to pursue solutions in the absence of federal policy," said a letter to Boucher sent by eight governors, including Schwarzenegger.
Dingell and Boucher showed no sign of retreating Thursday. "Unlike local air pollution, which can be cleaned up by requiring cleaner cars to be sold in that area, climate change is a much larger problem that must be addressed nationally and internationally," Dingell said.
The fight, which comes as the energy issue moves to center stage on Capitol Hill, underscores Democratic leaders' challenge in passing comprehensive legislation to reduce global warming and U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Energy policy and environmental regulation often scramble the usual party-line divisions, splitting lawmakers based on their region's economic interests rather than ideology. As Democrats prepare to debate their first energy bill since taking control of Congress in January — a measure expected to come before the Senate next week that calls for stricter miles-per-gallon rules for vehicles — some of the stiffest opposition comes from Democrats from auto-making states.
A House subcommittee is to vote next week on a measure that includes the provision to prevent states from imposing stricter standards than the federal government has on vehicle emissions. California has been fighting to win the Bush administration's approval to implement its law requiring automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Automakers oppose the plan. The federal Clean Air Act permits California to set stricter anti-pollution rules than the federal government because of the state's legendary smog problems, but only if the Environmental Protection Agency approves.
On Thursday, an auto industry group spoke out in support of federal preemption of state laws. "The United States needs a consistent national policy that avoids the marketplace chaos that would surely arise from a patchwork quilt of conflicting state fuel economy/carbon dioxide mandates," Dave McCurdy, president and chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, told a House energy subcommittee.
Dingell said Congress gave federal regulators the authority to set vehicle fuel-efficiency standards because of "long-standing congressional concerns about the burden that would be placed on auto manufacturers selling cars across the country if they were forced to comply with regulations from multiple authorities."
Boucher cited the recent Supreme Court ruling that the EPA must regulate greenhouse gas emissions unless it can demonstrate a compelling reason not to. He said automakers could come under the authority of the EPA; the federal Department of Transportation, which sets fuel-economy standards; and the state of California. "The automakers are understandably concerned about this regulatory confusion," Boucher said. "You could have at least three different regulations that would be inconsistent and make it impossible for them to manufacture their product."
Regional Divisions Complicate Debate Over Global Warming
By David Whitney
McClatchy Newspapers, June 7, 2007
WASHINGTON - The debate over legislation to curb global warming opened Thursday in the House of Representatives. The opening salvos came at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's energy and air quality panel, which released a draft bill last week that's heavy on developing new fuels but weak on reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, which most scientists think are the leading cause of global warming.
The most controversial feature of the draft measure is the pre-emption of a tough new California law to lower emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. California, supported by 11 other states with similar laws, has pleaded with the federal Environmental Protection Agency for a Clean Air Act waiver so it can implement its law. The draft legislation would kill California's law, replacing it with a national standard.
Opening statements by subcommittee members Thursday revealed the extent of the divisions on the panel. The sides line up along regional lines more than political ones, with members from states tied to the automobile, oil and coal industries largely aligned against large coastal states with severe air-pollution problems.
The draft legislation, for example, drew praise from Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill, the former House speaker, whose state is rich in coal and corn, used to make ethanol, and from Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., whose district is Dearborn, the capital of the flagging U.S. auto industry. Dingell is the powerful chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Hastert is the senior Republican on the energy and air quality subcommittee. Hastert said the draft bill "levels the playing field" for alternative fuels that could help make the country less dependent on foreign oil. Dingell called the measure "well balanced" and a "superb starting point."
But other members - led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., himself a powerful force on the committee as its second most senior Democrat, behind Dingell - charged that the bill was a gift to the energy industry, especially coal producers, and would do little to curb global warming. "This doesn't step up to the urgent challenge before us," Waxman said. "It blinks, and then steps back."
The regional divisions were an early frustration to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Realizing that Dingell and the Energy Committee were likely to oppose enacting anything like the California law, Pelosi created a separate global-warming panel headed by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. Markey denounced the subcommittee draft Thursday, charging that it "cuts the legs out of the states just as they are beginning to sprint forward" behind California's leadership with tough curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. "This draft is one I cannot support," Markey said. "It does not reflect the spirit of what I think the country wants to see happen."
Pelosi later issued a statement saying that any legislation affecting California's law or curbing the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions "will not have my support."
But there may be enough votes to pass such a bill out of the Energy Committee. While Waxman wrote a letter to committee leaders chastising the bill Thursday and 11 other committee Democrats signed it, those 12 critics don't add up to even half the full committee's Democrats, and represent only about a quarter of the 57-member committee.
Committee approval of the bill could present Pelosi with a dilemma. Even fellow California Democrat Jane Harman, who supports retaining California's law, said she opposed any legislative maneuvering that would constitute an "end run" around the committee, a signal to Pelosi that she wouldn't have Harman's vote for an alternative global-warming package coming out of the Markey panel or the House Rules Committee, which the speaker controls. The same regional divisions split the Senate, where Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Many industry leaders have coalesced behind an approach that, while far more sweeping than the draft bill in the House, would set a national standard and pre-empt states from enacting anything tougher.
Boxer has said she'll oppose anything that limits the California law. But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the state's senior Democratic senator, had considered a pre-emption clause in legislation she introduced until prevailed upon by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislative leaders.
The voting will start Tuesday in the subcommittee. Pelosi has said she'd like global warming legislation to clear the chamber by the July Fourth break.
3. FIRST DO NO HARM
Published May 27, 2007
The Washington Times www.washingtontimes.com Forum:
In Assisi, Italy, the mountaintop town where St. Francis lived in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, the inside walls of a beautiful church from that era are painted entirely white. Colorful murals originally covered the walls until the Black Plague swept through in the 14th century. Officials became convinced the sickness somehow came from the paint, so they ordered the walls whitewashed. Unfortunately, this destroyed most of the murals. Only fragments survive. Of course, it did nothing about the plague.
The rush to fight the sickness with every possible means caused irreversible damage to priceless art. The Black Death was a recurring feature of the cold period called the Little Ice Age -- i.e., approximately AD 1300 to 1870. We now know the highly contagious plague incubated in crowded, unhealthy living spaces infested with flea-ridden vermin. In the context of primitive 14th-century medical understanding, stopping the Black Death was impossible. The legendary town of Hamelin came closest to a true solution when it hired the Pied Piper to clean out the rats. (The town cheated him after he did the job. In retaliation, he lured the town's children away.)
In that pre-technological age, people were only vaguely aware that it had grown colder since the previous Medieval Warm Period (AD 900-1300) when food was plentiful and people led healthier, outdoor lives. There were occasional measurable indications of how cold the LIA was -- glacier expansion, for example. In the 15th and 16th centuries, glaciers threatened some Alpine villages. Alarmed residents asked the church to intercede with God to arrest the grinding advance of the ice. Priests prayed and incanted, and for a time the ice slowed or even stopped. Later, the glaciers again advanced until late in the 19th century.
LIA glaciers also encroached on Greenland where Viking settlers had farmed at the warm era's zenith. Cold weather brought poor harvests, starvation and eventual extinction by the 15th century. Arctic explorers who "rediscovered" Greenland a century later found only unpopulated remnants of the former settlements. (Until well within my lifetime, scientists puzzled over Greenland's fate. We now know it simply froze over.)
In Assisi, where rats were not yet suspected of complicity in the plague, officials did only harm in their haste to "do something." (Only the whitewashers' union came out ahead.) Alpine church officials might (or might not) have stopped the glaciers' advance, but at least they did no harm. These are cautionary tales for us. Clearly, the climate has warmed before -- most recently during 1870-1940, when industrialization was far below present levels -- and actually cooled during the highly industrialized period, 1940-1980.
Despite these facts, a wave of environmentalism has now convinced much of the industrialized world (except for growing industrial powers India and China) that carbon dioxide emissions are causing the current warming that began around 1980. Dissenting scientists who argue that warming and cooling are directly related to greater and lesser sunspot activity are vilified and shouted down. Their research funds -- and, in some cases, their lives -- are threatened.
Al Gore -- riding high as doom-is-nigh environmental preacher -- wants new taxes and draconian changes in Americans' lifestyles (except his own). The "dream scenario" of a problem that can't be solved, no matter how much is spent on it, lures big corporations to join the global-warming crusade. Prospective billions in transnational carbon-taxes have visions of world control, including deconstruction of Earth's industrial powerhouse (the U.S.A.), dancing in the heads of United Nations officials. A cadre of preachers -- including mega-church guru Rick Warren -- insist the greenhouse science is "settled" and that reducing our "carbon footprint" is a moral issue. A retro-primitive lifestyle is seriously pushed in some circles as the responsible solution to the global warming "crisis."
All but the truest of true believers in the greenhouse-gas story privately admit that reducing CO2 cannot cool the climate. But this is not their aim. The global-warming story is only the means to convince a gullible public to pay higher taxes and relinquish more control over their lives to experts who will "save" them. (Environmental extremists want the Earth's population reduced to about 300 million people. Do all those nice, religious people know that?)
The rush to put draconian emissions-measures in place quickly has an obvious political motive: When the climate again cools, environmentalists will claim credit for averting disaster. High taxes, artificially costly fuel, irreparable damage to our industrial base, reduced living standards, and arrested Third World development will be cited as the sure prescription for climate-stabilization. We shall hear that the greenhouse theory was correct: Humans were indeed warming the planet. Activists will ignore actual data showing CO2 levels are still increasing as the climate cools. (Climate scientists like Dr. Tim Ball say this is already happening.) With the desired policies in place, the data won't matter.
It is hard for Americans to get aroused about these issues, having long felt secure in their political leaders' sensible resistance to radical environmental actions that might injure the nation. Even liberal Bill Clinton didn't ask the Senate to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, recognizing its protocols would harm the economy. Mr. Bush has similarly resisted, until recently. After Democrats won a new congressional majority, Mr. Bush signaled he would support "climate control" initiatives. (We already spend more than $4 billion a year on climate research.)
If Democrats take the presidency and retain the Congress in 2008, Americans could find that the stalking horse of radical environmentalism has become a ravening beast -- poised to gobble up wealth, livelihoods and comfortable lifestyles. The results will be a lot more serious than a few murals whitewashed away. If it happens, it will be because we were too ignorant to stop it.
WOODY ZIMMERMAN Author of a weekly column, "At Large," in the Atlantic Highlands Herald, an Internet newspaper (www.ahherald.com).
4. ON GLOBAL WARMING HERESY
Special to the Cornwall Alliance, March 16, 2007
By Richard S. Lindzen
Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I am frequently asked to describe my experiences as a contrarian about global warming. I still find the request somewhat annoying, and in this piece I would like to explain why. For starters, to be a contrarian generally implies an automatic tendency to go against popular wisdom. That is not my position.
What in the world does it really mean to be a ‘contrarian’ on the issue of global warming? On an issue where virtually all popular depictions depend on long chains of uncertain connections, support for all these linkages would constitute more a religious faith than a scientific position. On the other hand, where the elements of the picture do deal with relatively basic issues, there is, in fact, little disagreement. Some examples may help clarify the situation.
For instance, there is little argument that levels of C02 in the atmosphere have risen from 315 ppmv when we began systematic measurement in 1958 to about 380 ppmv today. There is also relatively little argument that preindustrial levels were about 280 ppmv. There is no disagreement that C02 is a gas with important absorption bands in the infrared.
There is agreement that at the level of fractions of a degree, the earth’s global mean temperature is always varying, and there is widespread agreement (though with appreciably greater uncertainty) that over the past century there has been net warming of between 0.5 and 0.75C (depending on which analysis one uses). This warming has, as far as anyone can tell, been irregular, with warming between 1920 and 1940, modest cooling between about 1940 and the mid 70's, warming between about 1976 and the early nineties, and little of either since.
Even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that greenhouse forcing is currently about three quarters of what one would expect from a doubling of C02, and yet we have seen much less warming at the surface than the models project - even with models that have oceans which are supposed to delay the response.
Here the argument amounts to one between those like me, who think that the most likely reason for the discrepancy is that models are exaggerating the response, and those who think the models are correct, but that aerosols have cancelled much of the warming. However, even the IPCC acknowledges that our confidence in the aerosol cooling is low.
Agreement goes even further: there is general agreement that the famous ‘blanket’ picture of the greenhouse effect that Gore likes to present is, in fact, misleadingly wrong. Rather, the real greenhouse climate effect requires most warming to occur in the middle of the tropical troposphere (cooling at the surface is mainly by motion systems, with the heat deposited in the middle of the troposphere where it is then radiated to space), and as a recent report of the National Research Council notes, warming trends at this level in the tropics appears to actually be even smaller than at the surface.
For me personally, I find that the low climate sensitivity is consistent with my research on cloud feedbacks and other matters, but when it comes to current research one doesn’t normally seek general agreement.
So where is there significant disagreement?
The main focus of disagreement has remained much the same since I first went public with my objections to catastrophic claims in 1988. (It is sobering to realize how long we have been told by environmental groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists that the end of the world as we know it is imminent due to global warming.) At that time, I felt confident, on the basis of my own research over the previous decade or more, that our knowledge didn’t warrant these claims.
Given the long term nature of climate, it should not be surprising that there is little reason to change this position. Nevertheless, it has, since the 80's, led to an important disagreement with some of my colleagues over whether our present limited knowledge warrants deep concern or not. I, personally, don’t think so, but I respect my colleagues’ right to feel otherwise.
This difference is distinct from the issue of whether concern is tantamount to feeling that specific actions are warranted. Most of my colleagues would agree, for example, that Kyoto is merely symbolic with little potential for affecting climate. Some favor other approaches, but I think there is widespread acknowledgment that with presently known or anticipated technology there is little that one can do to significantly cut greenhouse gas levels, and even less that one can do to significantly reduce radiative forcing by greenhouse gases (which, in the case of C02, goes up much more slowly than the level of C02 itself).
There are, of course, some who feel that warming concerns are a good excuse for implementing their pet energy policies. Here, I share with the late Roger Revelle (whom Gore points to as his mentor in this area) the view that current evidence does not warrant any drastic actions that cannot be justified independently of climate concerns.
Given my views, I am happy to be at an institution like MIT. At least most people at MIT are sufficiently technically savvy to appreciate the arguments involved with this issue.
In the world at large, the situation is certainly different. No scientific issue has likely ever been as politicized as this one.
Global warming has for about 20 years been a major focus of environmental advocacy groups and their political allies. In the last two years, they have greatly expanded their efforts to spread alarm to the public at large, including elementary school children, who lack any ability to understand the issue and are apparently suffering an appreciable degree of anxiety.
In any marketing effort, it is useful to offer the objects of the propaganda something that they value. In the present instance, they are offered at least two such benefits. First, they are given a sense of virtue: simply by changing light bulbs or (for the wealthier) buying a Prius or even by paying some outfit an indulgence to cancel their carbon footprint, they are made to feel that they are saving the world. Second, their intellectual insecurity when confronting such a complex issue is relieved by being told that all scientists agree with whatever propaganda they are fed. Under the circumstances, they are made to feel that in going along with the propaganda, they are displaying intelligence, and acquiring the right to consider anyone who does not as being either stupid or hopelessly corrupt.
Thus, the existence of questions about the validity of the global warming alarmism threatens both their virtue and their intelligence, and it should not be surprising that the response to such threats can be emotionally intense.
However, judging from my email, a great many people are beginning to resent being exploited in this manner. I fully expect that this latter group will eventually be vindicated, and that alarm over global warming will go the way of Y2K and the Club of Rome forecasts for hunger (not to mention the fears over global cooling of just 30 years ago).
5. THEY CALL THIS A CONSENSUS?
Financial Post, June 2, 2007
By Lawrence Solomon
"Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled."
So said Al Gore ... in 1992. Amazingly, he made his claims despite much evidence of their falsity. A Gallup poll at the time reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren't sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn't think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.
Today, Al Gore is making the same claims of a scientific consensus, as do the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and hundreds of government agencies and environmental groups around the world. But the claims of a scientific consensus remain unsubstantiated. They have only become louder and more frequent.
More than six months ago, I began writing this series, The Deniers. When I began, I accepted the prevailing view that scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change threatens the planet. I doubted only claims that the dissenters were either kooks on the margins of science or sell-outs in the pockets of the oil companies.
My series set out to profile the dissenters -- those who deny that the science is settled on climate change -- and to have their views heard. To demonstrate that dissent is credible, I chose high-ranking scientists at the world's premier scientific establishments. I considered stopping after writing six profiles, thinking I had made my point, but continued the series due to feedback from readers. I next planned to stop writing after 10 profiles, then 12, but the feedback increased. Now, after profiling more than 20 deniers, I do not know when I will stop -- the list of distinguished scientists who question the IPCC grows daily, as does the number of emails I receive, many from scientists who express gratitude for my series.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists -- the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects -- and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position.
What of the one claim that we hear over and over again, that 2,000 or 2,500 of the world's top scientists endorse the IPCC position? I asked the IPCC for their names, to gauge their views. "The 2,500 or so scientists you are referring to are reviewers from countries all over the world," the IPCC Secretariat responded. "The list with their names and contacts will be attached to future IPCC publications, which will hopefully be on-line in the second half of 2007."
An IPCC reviewer does not assess the IPCC's comprehensive findings. He might only review one small part of one study that later becomes one small input to the published IPCC report. Far from endorsing the IPCC reports, some reviewers, offended at what they considered a sham review process, have demanded that the IPCC remove their names from the list of reviewers. One even threatened legal action when the IPCC refused.
A great many scientists, without doubt, are four-square in their support of the IPCC. A great many others are not. A petition organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine between 1999 and 2001 claimed some 17,800 scientists in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol. A more recent indicator comes from the U.S.-based National Registry of Environmental Professionals, an accrediting organization whose 12,000 environmental practitioners have standing with U.S. government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. In a November, 2006, survey of its members, it found that only 59% think human activities are largely responsible for the warming that has occurred, and only 39% make their priority the curbing of carbon emissions. And 71% believe the increase in hurricanes is likely natural, not easily attributed to human activities.
Such diversity of views is also present in the wider scientific community, as seen in the World Federation of Scientists, an organization formed during the Cold War to encourage dialogue among scientists to prevent nuclear catastrophe. The federation, which encompasses many of the world's most eminent scientists and today represents more than 10,000 scientists, now focuses on 15 "planetary emergencies," among them water, soil, food, medicine and biotechnology, and climatic changes. Within climatic changes, there are eight priorities, one being "Possible human influences on climate and on atmospheric composition and chemistry (e.g. increased greenhouse gases and tropospheric ozone)."
Manmade global warming deserves study, the World Federation of Scientists believes, but so do other serious climatic concerns. So do 14 other planetary emergencies. That seems about right. –
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Urban Renaissance Institute and Consumer Policy Institute, divisions of Energy Probe Research Foundation. Email: LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com
National Post's Deniers series: Scientists who challenge the climate change debate
Statistics needed -- The Deniers Part I
Warming is real -- and has benefits -- The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part III
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=b228f4b0-a869-4f85-ba08-902b95c45dcf&k=0 Polar scientists on thin ice -- The Deniers Part IV
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=63ab844f-8c55-4059-9ad8-89de085af353&k=0 The original denier: into the cold -- The Deniers Part V
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=fee9a01f-3627-4b01-9222-bf60aa332f1f&k=0 The sun moves climate change -- The Deniers Part VI
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=17fad0e2-6f6b-41f3-bdd8-8e9eeb015777&k=0 Will the sun cool us? -- The Deniers Part VII
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=9bc9a7c6-2729-4d07-9629-807f1dee479f&k=0 The limits of predictability -- The Deniers Part VIII
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=edae9952-3c3e-47ba-913f-7359a5c7f723&k=0 Look to Mars for the truth on global warming -- The Deniers Part IX
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=069cb5b2-7d81-4a8e-825d-56e0f112aeb5&k=0 Limited role for CO2 -- The Deniers Part X
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=216ca730-10f0-4614-9692-fc37d99cbac3 End the chill -- The Deniers Part XI
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=975f250d-ca5d-4f40-b687-a1672ed1f684 Clouded research -- The Deniers Part XII
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=2f4cc62e-5b0d-4b59-8705-fc28f14da388 Allegre's second thoughts -- The Deniers XIII
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=67ac2d90-ec56-4460-a831-75aacc20670d The heat's in the sun -- The Deniers XIV
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=7e23a550-9cc4-4697-b730-b2d094f1628a Unsettled Science -- The Deniers XV
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=0ea8dc23-ad1a-440f-a8dd-1e3ff42df34f Bitten by the IPCC -- The Deniers XVI
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=94b7d021-c5da-4e82-b37f-53d338709fb1 Little ice age is still within us -- The Deniers XVII
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=985641c9-8594-43c2-802d-947d65555e8e Fighting climate 'fluff' -- The Deniers XVIII
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=5b824408-9df0-4189-86fc-cf6465bf0aa8 Science, not politics -- The Deniers XIX
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=58e0c50c-1631-46ca-8719-778c0973526e Gore's guru disagreed -- The Deniers XX
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=25526754-e53a-4899-84af-5d9089a5dcb6 The ice-core man -- The Deniers XXI
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=121163d6-d6b9-45bb-830c-5d27f88f899a Some restraint in Rome -- The Deniers XXII
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=7bd269b6-b2e7-44d2-85e0-e7749714ba34 Discounting logic -- The Deniers XXIII
6. MORE DISSENT ON GLOBAL WARMING
Kevin Shapiro - 6.11.2007 - 5:05PM
Though the fear of man-made global warming has come to dominate our cultural discourse, the science behind the scare is looking increasingly uncertain. David Evans is representative of scientists who have become disillusioned with the theory that industrial carbon dioxide emissions are the root cause of global warming: as he points out, the computer models don’t seem to fit the data, while at the same time evidence is mounting in favor of alternative hypotheses, like the idea that climate change may be caused in large part by fluctuations in solar radiation. A series of articles by Lawrence Solomon, who has profiled prominent climate-change dissenters, demonstrates that Evans is hardly alone and calls into question the often-parroted assertion that there is some sort of scientific consensus on the issue (whatever that might mean).
One of Evans’ interesting asides is that the integrity of the scientific community will win out in the end, following the evidence wherever it leads. Although this is true in the long run, it’s a bit simplistic. Once a theory gains ascendancy, it may take years or even decades before its adherents are willing to abandon it, even in the face of contradictory data. (See Thomas Kuhns landmark book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for a picture of this phenomenon.) At the most basic level, scientists have their jobs and reputations to think about; it’s only natural to resist the suggestion that one has spent one’s career trying to prove, or solve, a nonexistent problem. No doubt this would be true even in the absence of external pressure. But with the political stakes now so high, scientific integrity is at a decided disadvantage.
In this case, the direct evidence doesn’t support the theory of anthropogenic climate change, so proponents have clouded the issue by seizing on unrelated phenomena in a more or less desperate and blatantly opportunistic way. Global warming has reflexively been invoked as the explanation for everything from the devastating 2005 hurricane season (but not the barely noticeable 2006 hurricane season) to the recent proliferation of stray cats. For about two years now, its been possible to predict that any report of a noticeable change in the environment or in plant or animal behavior will now be chalked up to global warming, with the implication that we must therefore take some sort of radical action to atone for the sin of carbon dioxide emission.
What’s important to bear in mind is that these observations have absolutely nothing to do with the claim that human activity is causing climate change. Consider, for example, the recent report in the Washington Post that conditions in Greenland are becoming more favorable for cod fishing and agriculture due to a slight increase in average temperature. Oddly, the Post article fails to mention that Greenland must have been just as balmy when it was first settled by the Vikings more than a thousand years ago. Proponents of global warming hysteria prefer to play down this historically inconvenient medieval warm period, explaining it as a local anomaly. Whether or not this is true (and it probably isn’t), how do we know that Greenland’s current good fortune isn’t also a local trend? And, more to the point, if a warmer Greenland is indeed a symptom of global warming, how do we know that human activity is the cause? It’s troubling that questions like these are no longer even asked, because the answers aren’t at all clear.
7. GLOBAL WARMISTS ARE HAVING KITTENS!
<OpinionJournal@wsj.com> of June 7
It's raining cats and dogs, LiveScience reports. Well, cats anyway. OK, not exactly raining, but--whatever, global warming is to blame!
*** QUOTE ***
Droves of cats and kittens are swarming into animal shelters nationwide, and global warming is to blame, according to one pet adoption group.
Several shelters operated by a national adoption organization called Pets Across America reported a 30 percent increase in intakes of cats and kittens from 2005 to 2006, and other shelters across the nation have reported similar spikes of stray, owned and feral cats.
The cause of this feline flood is an extended cat breeding season thanks to the world's warming temperatures, according to the group, which is one of the country's oldest and largest animal welfare organizations.
*** END QUOTE ***
We were wondering just how much global temperatures went up between 2005 and 2006, so we checked with NASA http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt . It turns out the average global temperature actually declined by 0.09 degrees centigrade. Maybe the cats had to go into heat to keep warm.