Thursday, October 12, 2006

Inhofe correct on global warming

Comment by David Deming, a scientist who also knows history:

Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe has been taking a lot of heat lately for his skeptical stance on global warming. He's been called a "social dinosaur" for his failure to accept the politically correct view. But in my opinion, Sen. Inhofe is absolutely correct to be skeptical. As the Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot said, "skepticism is the first step towards truth."

I'm a geophysicist who has conducted and published climate studies in top-rank scientific journals. My perspective on Sen. Inhofe and the issue of global warming is informed not only by my knowledge of climate science, but also by my studies of the history and philosophy of science.

The media hysteria on global warming has been generated by journalists who don't understand the provisional and uncertain nature of scientific knowledge. Science changes. For years we were told that drinking coffee was bad for our health and would increase our risk for heart disease. But more recent studies have shown that not only is coffee safe for our hearts, it can decrease the risk of liver cancer and is chock full of healthy antioxidants.

I read in the Edmond Sun Oct. 1 an article by an economist which indicated that temperatures are now higher than at any time in the past 12,000 years. The fact that the thermometer wasn't invented until the year 1714 ought to give us pause when evaluating this remarkable claim. Reconstructions of past temperatures are not measurements, but estimates. These estimates are based on innumerable interpretations and uncertain assumptions, all invisible to someone who only reads the headline. Better studies -- completely ignored by the major media -- have shown that late-twentieth-century temperatures are not anomalous or unusually warm.

I also read last week that in a mere 50 years mean global temperatures on Earth will be higher than they have been for the last million years. We all know that in recent years weather forecasts have become more accurate. But meteorologists can't predict what the temperature will be in 30 days. How is it that we are supposed to believe that they can reliably forecast what the temperature will be in 50 years? They can't, because Earth's climate system is complex and poorly understood.

It is not surprising that some scientists today find evidence to support global warming. True believers always find confirming evidence. In the late 18th century, a school of geologists known as Neptunists became convinced that all of the rocks of the Earth's crust had been precipitated from water. British geologist Robert Jameson characterized the supporting evidence for Neptunism as "incontrovertible." The Neptunists were completely wrong, but able to explain away any evidence that appeared to contradict their theory. A skeptic pointed out that not all rocks had their genesis in the ocean because he had observed molten lava from a volcano cool and solidify into rock. Unperturbed, the Neptunists calmly explained that the heat of the volcano had merely melted a rock that had been originally generated in water.

Around 1996, I became aware of how corrupt and ideologically driven current climate research can be. A major researcher working in the area of climate change confided in me that the factual record needed to be altered so that people would become alarmed over global warming. He said, "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."

The Medieval Warm Period was a time of unusually warm weather that began around 1000 AD and persisted until a cold period known as the "Little Ice Age" took hold in the 14th and 15th centuries. The warmer climate of the Medieval Warm Period was accompanied by a remarkable flowering of prosperity, knowledge, and art in Europe. But the existence of the Medieval Warm Period was an "inconvenient truth" for true believers in global warming. It needed to be erased from history so that people could become convinced that present day temperatures were truly anomalous. Unfortunately, the prostitution of science to environmental ideology is all too common.

Sen. James Inhofe is not only correct in his view on global warming, but courageous to insist on truth, objectivity, and sound science. Truth in science doesn't depend on human consensus or political correctness. The fact that the majority of journalists and pundits bray like sheep is meaningless. Galileo, another "social dinosaur," said "the crowd of fools who know nothing is infinite."


(David Deming is a geophysicist, an adjunct scholar with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (, and an associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma)


The entire global warming scare is based on similar arbitrary "models"

We are used to politicians suppressing the truth. When scientists do it as well, we are in trouble. Not one of the Government's senior advisers, from Sir David King, the chief scientist, downwards, has yet dared to confirm in public what most experts in private now accept, that the mass slaughter of farm animals in the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak was not only unnecessary and inhumane, but was also based on false statistics, bad science and wrong deductions.

The mistakes that were made in attempting to control the outbreak are laid bare in a devastating paper recently compiled by Paul Kitching, one of the world's leading veterinary experts, and published by the World Organisation for Animal Health. It finds that, of the ten million animals slaughtered, more than a third were perfectly healthy; out of the 10,000 or so farms where sheep were killed, only 1,300 were infected with the disease; scientists were wrong to claim that the FMD virus was being spread through airborne infection; the epidemic had reached its peak before the culling began; the infamous 3km killing zone was without justification; estimates of infected premises were little better than guesswork.

The language used in Dr Kitching's report has a controlled anger about it. He talks of "a culling policy driven by unvalidated predictive models", mentions the "public disgust with the magnitude of the slaughter" and concludes: "The UK experience provides a salutary warning of how models [statistics used to predict the course of an epidemic] can be abused in the interests of scientific opportunism."

Those models used by the Government were badly flawed because they relied on computers rather than advice from vets and virologists who understood the nature of the disease. "No model will produce the right output when fed the wrong input," says the report. The Government, late in reacting to the outbreak, fatally moved decision-making away from FMD experts to the Cabinet Office briefing room (Cobra). The result was "carnage by computer" , as one farmer put it - a slaughter that was "grossly excessive", according to the report.

There are vital lessons here about how we should control future outbreaks, avoiding the horrendous cost and slaughter of the last. Thus far, there is no sign that those lessons have been learnt.



Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, last night warned growing industrialisation and prosperity in the developing world is accelerating climate change and risks global disaster. She told the UN's annual General Assembly in New York: "If we all try to free ride, we will end up in free fall, with accelerating climate change the result of our collective failure. "If we don't act on climate change, we risk undermining the basis of the prosperity and security we are seeking to achieve."

Ms Beckett highlighted China's transition into an economic powerhouse as an example of the dilemma of matching progress with conservation. "No-one wants this growth to stop. But it is based in China as elsewhere, on a rapidly increasing use of the fossil fuels creating climate change."

Her call comes amid signs of increasing strain between developed and developing nations over who is blame for climate change. Developing nations such as China insist they must have the right to increase industrialisation, and therefore pollution, to catch up with the prosperity of the West. The United States, the greatest single global polluter, continues to refuse to sign up to the Kyoto agreement limiting emissions.

Ms Beckett said the solution to squaring the circle of prosperity without pollution lay with new technology. "We have much of the technology we need to move to a low-carbon economy. We must deploy it more rapidly."



A European Union threshold to avoid dangerous climate change is proving a more difficult goal to achieve than anticipated, according to Foreign secretary Margaret Beckett. The EU has set a goal that global average temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels if dangerous interference with the climate is to be avoided. "The scientific discussion now suggests that is more difficult to achieve than thought," Beckett told reporters on Thursday at a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "That doesn't mean the EU has given up the goal, it simply means that there is a growing recognition that actually it is a tougher task than had been anticipated."

Late last month the head of the International Energy Agency Claude Mandil said it may be too late to keep within the threshold. The IEA set out six ways for dealing with global warming in a recent report on energy technology options, issued as part of its role as energy adviser to leading industrialised countries. European university scientists have told Reuters that even the most ambitious of those may not be enough to prevent a 2 degree rise in global temperatures.

The EU's Emissions Trading Scheme launched last year is the world's first market to buy and sell the right to emit greenhouse gas carbon dioxide amid mandatory limits on power plants and industries.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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