One would have hoped that a scientist would have put scientific points to Morano but it was not so. Bill Houck [email@example.com] (the Bill Houck of the EPA, I assume) wrote rather condescendingly to Marc Morano (of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee) as follows:
Assuming you are sincere in your beliefs about the lack of evidence proving `global warming', I would encourage you to look back 45 - 50 years ago and consider the (400 or so) "prominent scientists" or doctors the tobacco companies would parade around who would insist that cigarette smoking was not proven to be seriously harmful to your health. Perhaps 400 said no while many thousands accepted the obvious about smoking without feeling compelled to write or make public statements about it. After all, it was obvious.
Even if the warming/dimming concerns are exaggerated, there's no great down side to halting excessive and unnecessary pollution. Certainly everyone would want an environment that is as clean as possible.
Morano replied politely as follows:
Thank you for writing. You may have a good point with your tobacco analogy. Please read this article, I do tend to agree with the comparison.
As for the "thousands" of scientists who believe we face a "climate crisis," where are they? The UN IPCC had only 52 scientists write the alarmist Summary for Policymakers in 2007. There are no "thousands" of UN scientists. Even the UN says "hundreds" but they are not involved in the media hyped summary. Many of the "hundreds" of UN scientists are skeptical of the alarmist summary written by the 52 scientists. Many of the skeptics are profiled in our report.
Even the National Academy of Sciences and American Meteorological Society's "consensus" statement was only voted on by two dozen or so governing board members, rank and file scientists never had a say. Take a look at this post, an environmental scientist admits he never looked at evidence of man-made climate fears, he just parroted the UN's line. Because of the new Senate report of over 400, he is now reconsidering his views. See here
Finally, as for your "no great downside" to halting pollution. Of course that statement is true. But that is not what we are facing. Because of fears of a "tipping point" and we "must act now" and "it's cheaper to act now than wait" the US and other nations are being rushed into meaningless and ineffective international treaties and complete climate symbolism for huge costs domestically.
In over three decades of global warming fears, there has been no single proposal that would have a detectable impact on temperatures if fully enacted and the alarmists are correct about the science. Even if Kyoto, the grandaddy of all climate agreements were being complied with, it would not have a detectable impact on temps 50 or 100 years from now. (this is not in dispute, Gore's own scientist Tom Wigley has said this).
There is no such thing as an "insurance" policy against warming when it comes to current proposals. The upcoming cap-and-trade LIeberman-Warner bill in the Senate would not have a detectable impact on global temps, but will cost poor and middle class Americans huge amounts in higher energy bills. All economic pain for no climate gain.
Would you buy and insurance policy that had a huge up front premium for absolutely no payout at the end of the term? If you would, then by all means support all of the current climate bills. But if they were "insurance policies" they would be shut down for insurance fraud for taking money and not paying any benefits.
Cleaner burning technology and wealth creation go hand and hand. Saddling our economy with UN mandates and new layers of federal bureaucracy will only make us poorer and not 'solve' the "climate crisis."
After attending the last four UN climate conferences in a row, I can tell you unequivocally that if we were facing a man-made climate "crisis' and the UN were our only hope to "solve" it, we would all be doomed.
Please read this very long speech to understand the scientific and economic and technological issues.
Please do not continue parroting the meaningless line about "insurance" policies or how "thousands" of scientists endorse a mythical "consensus" unless you can show a shred of evidence for your claims.
Above exchange received by email from Marc Morano [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Science and soothsaying
By Daniel B. Botkin, professor emeritus at University of California, Santa Barbara, and president of the Center for the Study of the Environment
Now that the Bali conference is over and climate scientists have warned us again about the dire predictions of their climate models, a question remains: Will their forecasts come true? Given the current international focus on global warming, you would think that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, many people will want to know whether today's predictions proved accurate.
But, in fact, people rarely look back to see if their old forecasts were on the mark. Foretelling the future has always been difficult and almost always wrong. Charles Mackay, in his wonderful 1841 book "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," observes that the so-called necromancers of earlier centuries who purported to divine the future were grouped with the worst alchemists. Today, however, computers seem to have undermined our natural skepticism. Many of us put our faith in complex software that most of us cannot understand.
My own experience makes me skeptical of how environmental forecasting is being used. In 1991, several colleagues and I drew national and international attention when we used a computer model to forecast possible effects of global warming on an endangered species. Our computer program forecast that the Kirtland's warbler, the first songbird in America ever subjected to a complete census, would likely face extinction by 2010. Its habitat, jack pine trees, would be unable to thrive in conditions that climate computer programs forecast for southern Michigan, the only place and only trees where the bird nested.
The computer told us these declines should be measurable even in the year we made the forecast. We suggested that measurements of jack pine growth be started to verify the forecasts and to see whether the potential effects of global warming on the diversity of life were actually occurring. People could have started going to southern Michigan to check out our forecasts 16 years ago. Nobody did. I tried to get funding to do this, but no government agency or private foundation was interested.
Even today, amid the furor over global warming, no one is rushing out to verify that it does indeed threaten the Michigan jack pine. (But, happily, independent action by the government, the Audubon Society and private individuals has brought the Kirtland's warbler back from the brink of extinction.)
What could explain the lack of interest in verifying a dated computer forecast? After all, computer forecasts are the basis for the current alarm. Did people perhaps decide that a 16-year-old forecast had to have been based on inferior methods?
But wait a minute. Given the usual progress of science, won't forecasting methods in the future always be better than in the past? What this suggests is that today the primary uses of, and interest in, such forecasts are political, not scientific - that scientists as well as politicians are using forecasts for political and ideological purposes to influence public behavior here and now. The question is not really whether the forecasts are scientifically valid, but how much impetus they can provide to influence society.
It wasn't always this way. In the 1960s, when research into global warming was just beginning, it seemed impossible that people could change the global environment; the Earth was just too big. Charles Lyell, the father of modern geology, considered the possibility in detail in the mid-19th century and decided it was impossible because the mass of living things amounted to less than a drop in the bucket compared to the weight of all the materials in the oceans, atmosphere, soil and rocks.
In the 1970s, however, scientists began to realize that life had in fact greatly changed the Earth's environment, starting more than a billion years ago. At the same time, evidence was building that burning fossil fuels was increasing the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. In 1957, Charles Keeling began the first continuous measurements to study carbon-dioxide change over time at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. By 1973, he reported at a landmark conference at Brookhaven National Laboratory on "Carbon and the Biosphere" that carbon dioxide showed a definite increase in 15 years, consistent with releases from burning fossil fuels. For those of us working on these issues, the scientific and environmental implications were vast.
Global environmental change began to become a political issue in the 1980s. Climatologists and astrophysicists showed that a nuclear war could put so much dust in the air that disastrous cooling would occur, the infamous nuclear winter. With the end of the Cold War, the focus shifted to global warming. At that time, climatologists explained that their computer models were crude approximations of the real atmosphere and pushed the limit of computer technology, requiring months of computing for a single simulation. You could accept either the results of these crude models or the less-formal projections by the most experienced meteorologists. The primary focus continued to be on the implications of what we knew.
In 1988, in a move that marked a shift to the politicization of forecasts, Congress asked the Environmental Protection Agency to report on the potential effects of global warming. Computer forecasting became much more complex; output from the huge climate models became input into ecological models. My projection for the little warbler was part of that work. The attempt was to be more realistic, but the result was that forecasts became more difficult to verify and also more alarming, thus drawing more and more public attention.
Thinking over this history, I see three primary uses of environmental computer forecasts: to understand the implications of what we know (Can living things change the global environment?); to know the future; and to influence public behavior. Only the first can be strictly scientific. The third is wandering farther and farther away from science.
Since proving the validity of long-term forecasts is difficult and the ultimate tests would take years, and since many scientists are alarmed at the dire scenarios, my colleagues are beginning to talk about whether it is O.K. to exaggerate and push forecasts that are not currently provable if the only way to get societies to act is to frighten people. I think it is not O.K. It is a short-term view, and even if it works, it will inevitably debase science and scientists.
Soothsayers have always tried to persuade people that they could predict the future. What is new today is that the incredibly powerful tools of science - nuclear weapons, flights to the moon, computers, iPods - have such huge implications for civilization that they may contain the seeds of their own destruction. Thirty years from now, we will probably not be interested in today's specific computer forecasts, but we may have lost our faith in science, a deeper and, to me, a more important problem.
Scientific evidence builds to counter global warming
Heads of state, government bureaucrats, environmental activists, and the news media -- 15,000 strong -- have just completed a global warming conference in Bali, Indonesia. They intended to force mandated reductions in man-made carbon dioxide emissions (CO2 ) in order to avert the catastrophic consequences of global warming.
But respected and skeptical climate scientists were banned from panel discussions, censored, silenced, and threatened with removal by the police if they tried to present peer-reviewed evidence contradicting the ''prevailing wisdom.'' The message was that, ''the debate is over; don't confuse the issue with facts; it's time to move ahead.''
But, the nations of the world refused to commit to CO2 reductions because the consequences to their economies would have been truly disastrous. Perhaps the scientific evidence that man-made global warming does not exist somehow sneaked into the conference, and caused doubt about the conventional wisdom, the so-called ''scientific consensus'' that humankind causes global warming. Albert Einstein once said that a scientific consensus is undone by one fact.
I'm not making this up. Here's a quote from a Dec. 13 letter to Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, by 100 top scientists, many of whom are themselves on the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change: ''In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is 'settled,' significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of human-caused global warming.'' This letter can be found here.
Concurrently, writing in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society, three top climate scientists say that ''our research demonstrates that the ongoing rise of atmospheric CO2 has only a minor influence on climate change. We must conclude, therefore, that attempts to control CO2 emissions are ineffective and pointless -- but very costly.''
And there's more. The 2007 report issued by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee details the views of over 400 prominent scientists from more than 25 countries who voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called ''consensus'' on human-caused global warming. Many of these scientists are current or former members of the IPCC, and are criticizing the claims of the IPCC. This blockbuster report lists the 400-plus scientists by name, academic/institutional affiliation, country of residence, and features their own words -- verbatim.
The thing that is glaringly absent from the global warming theory is testing. The scientific method requires exhaustive testing to validate a hypothesis, and also requires that a test be applied that would show the hypothesis to be false. This was not done, but instead, the environmentalists cherry-picked only periods of time when CO2 and temperature were both increasing. The problem is, that has rarely happened.
The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the IPCC show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Also, satellite-based temperature measurements show little, if any, global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 percent). And, there are strong indications from solar studies that Earth's current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades.
We should care a great deal about the great global warming scare, because the actions being pushed on us would ruin the world's economies, and result in reduced standards of living for us, and food shortages around the world as energy production dropped. The proposals are insane: carbon taxes, carbon caps, carbon credits, carbon trading -- all for nothing.
His Eminence promotes climate skepticism
Article below by Cardinal archbishop of Sydney George Pell
ANOTHER year has passed quickly; too quickly for those who will run out of time before they run out of money. Undoubtedly, the most important event in the Australian year was the election last month of a new federal government. The transition was smooth, and the new Prime Minister is striving to avoid antagonising the various elements of the broad coalition that brought him to office.
The unions are impatient about the proposed pace of change to workplace regulations, while the maverick ACT Government's proposals to downplay marriage are causing apprehension among Christians.
The Bali summit on the Kyoto Protocol and climate change was a public relations triumph, although I'm hopeful the new government will not impose major costs on the people for dubious versions of climate goals. We need rigorous cost-benefit analysis of every proposal and healthy scepticism of all semi-religious rhetoric about the climate and, especially, about computer models for the future. It is difficult to predict what the weather will be like next week, let alone in 10, 20 or 100 years. We hope the drought is coming to an end in country areas, but Australia will always be susceptible to recurrent droughts until the arrival of the next ice age.
There is little reason to be optimistic about peace in the Middle East despite the Annapolis meeting, and unfortunate, suffering Lebanon teeters on the edge of another disaster. Australian troops will remain in Afghanistan, probably for years of struggle, and will slowly withdraw from Iraq, where fragile signs of an improving situation have been appearing.
US President George W. Bush survives as the only continuing head of government from the major allies of the "coalition of the willing". Tony Blair has resigned as UK prime minister, although his government is still in office. One of the most remarkable politicians of his generation, Blair possesses communication skills rivalling those of Bill Clinton. Apparently a religious man, Blair remains an enigma at many levels. He has attended Mass every Sunday for many years with his wife and family, and has just become a Roman Catholic. Yet he implemented and personally supported anti-Christian legislation over the years.
The Holy Father is not too keen on Warmism either
Pretty remarkable when even a Pope feels a need to advise skepticism
AT midnight mass in St Peter's, Benedict XVI conjured in his sermon with an image from the writings of Gregory of Nyssa, of the whole universe torn and disfigured by sin. "What," the Pope wondered, "would he say if he could see the state of the world today, through the abuse of energy and its selfish and reckless exploitation? Anselm of Canterbury, in an almost prophetic way, once described a vision of what we witness today in a polluted world whose future is at risk."
At first blush, it seems as though he's talking about global warming. That's certainly the way Ian Fisher, the Fairfax stringer in Rome, framed his story about the event and construed those passing remarks in a sermon mainly devoted to the incarnation. "Benedict has spoken out increasingly about environmental concerns and the Vatican has purchased carbon offsets, credits to compensate for carbon dioxide emissions created by the energy consumed in the world's smallest state, Vatican City," Fisher's report said.
There are three problems with such a gloss. The first is that the line about selfish and reckless abuse of energy might be no more than a reference to the First World's consumption of dwindling oil reserves. The second is that the idea of a polluted world whose future is at risk could just as well be interpreted as an allusion to acid rain, contaminated waterways, general environmental degradation and the problem of nuclear proliferation.
The third and most conclusive objection is that we already know what Benedict thinks about global warming. He made a telling intervention during the Bali conference earlier this month, releasing a message prepared for World Peace Day fully three weeks earlier than scheduled just to emphasise the point. Whether some Vatican bureaucrat - who probably got the project under way in the dying days of the previous reign - has bought some tokenistic carbon credits is neither here nor there. What matters is what the Pope himself says.
He warned that "any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not dubious ideology ... Fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disaster are nothing more than scaremongering. While some concerns may be valid, it is vital that the international community bases its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement ... Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions."
It cannot have escaped the Pope's attention that carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere but the mean planetary temperature hasn't increased significantly for nearly nine years. Similar misgivings about how well the greenhouse theory fits the available facts informed the views of his leading local representative, Cardinal George Pell. In February this year Pell wrote a column calling for caution over exaggerated claims of severe global warming. He said he is "deeply sceptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence. What we are seeing from the doomsayers is an induced dose of mild hysteria, semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition. I would be surprised if industrial pollution and carbon emissions had no effect at all, but enough is enough."
A reporter with a sharper eye for coded messages could have found one at least that was unmistakable in the text of the sermon and within the rest of the liturgy half a dozen actions that spoke far louder than words.
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