Thursday, February 15, 2007


An email from Joel Schwartz

You may have heard about a recent story in the British newspaper the Guardian insinuating that scholars from the American Enterprise Institute attempted to bribe climate scientists to lie about climate change with money supplied by ExxonMobil. The Guardian's false accusations, which appear to have been planted by Greenpeace and/or the Public Interest Research Group, are quickly unraveling. Here are the latest developments, as well as background information on the false allegations:

1. Steve Hayward and Ken Green, the AEI scholars accused by the Guardian, write about their experience and place it in the larger context of the climate debate in "Scenes from the Climate Inquisition" in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard.

2. Joe Nocera of the New York Times called the bribery charge "ridiculous" in an article on ExxonMobil a couple of days ago.

3. The British newspaper the Independent has retracted its charge that Exxon tried to bribe climate scientists, as reported in this blog (I confirmed the quote from the Independent with a Nexis search)

4. I've been told that National Public Radio also corrected its story, but I haven't been able to track down an actual transcript or audio file yet. If you have a link, or know when the retraction ran, please let me know.

5. Several senators sent AEI an "are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic"-style letter reiterating the bribery insinuation. Chris DeMuth, AEI's president, sent a reply. The reply includes the senators' original letter. It also includes Hayward and Green's original letters to climate scientists and economists inviting them to participate in the AEI project that was the subject of the Guardian's hit piece.

Something to keep in mind as you review these materials is that these same senators all voted to repudiate the Kyoto treaty in the Byrd-Hagel resolution (vote: 95-0). The Senate is also free to vote to ratify Kyoto at any time, but has so far chosen not to do so, despite senators' claimed worries over climate change and U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Senator Bernie Sanders's press release on the senators' letter described above. As of this writing, the press release is still posted on the Senator's web site.

7. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on the Guardian's smear story last Friday. See here

8. The New York Sun ran an editorial on the smear today. See here

9. AEI's David Frum wrote about the Guardian's tactics here. AEI has a web page devoted to the Guardian affair here.


Climate change in the coming decades may be even worse than predicted, according to German scientists, who say the dangers have been "underestimated." The new assessment comes in the wake of alarming data released earlier this month on observed climate trends from 1990 to the present day. The data included atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, global air temperatures and sea level. These measurements were then compared with the changes predicted in the 2001 Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Increases in average surface temperature of both land and sea were found to be in the upper part of the range predicted by the IPCC. Carbon dioxide concentration followed the IPCC forecast almost exactly, but sea levels appeared to be rising at a faster rate. Satellite readings showed an increase in sea level of 3.3 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2006.

The IPCC report predicted a best-estimate rise of less than two millimetres a year. But the German experts warned that the new estimate for how quickly sea level is rising was 25 per cent faster than the rate in any 20-year period over the past 115 years. The scientists, led by Dr Stefan Rahmstorf, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, wrote in the journal Science: "The data now available raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly than climate models indicate."


Satirical comment on the above report below by another German: Benny Peiser:

There you have it: The IPCC is misjudging the potential dangers of climate change and should not be trusted. Whatever happened to the scientific consensus? While climate alarmists claim that the IPCC is underestimating the dangers, other climate sceptics believe the IPCC is overestimating the risks. Welcome to the club, Dr Rahmstorf!

Please allow me a few words: Real Climate Alarmists would be well advised to concede that the IPCC not only rejected their claim of accelerating sea-level rise. It would also be wiser to acknowledge, instead of denying it, that the IPCC revised the estimates for 21st century sea-level rise slightly downwards (See here).

Be that as it may, I welcome your courage as a small minority of IPCC sceptics to stand up against the establishment and question their consensus. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Last week's news coverage on the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was some of the worst journalism I've seen in a long time. It was due largely to a disease that inflicts journalists from time to time - an illness known as pack journalism. Pack journalism is kind of like a cancer that can grow rapidly throughout the industry, turning otherwise nosy, inquisitive and skeptical people - qualities any half-decent reporter should have - into obedient, vacuous soldiers of some political agenda.

Like dogs, journalists sometimes behave differently in large packs, following each others behaviour with such wild abandon they forget some of the fundamentals of journalism. It doesn't occur that often. Normally, journalists ask the right questions and talk to enough relevant people in their stories so they can give their readers, listeners or viewers something as close to the truth as humanly possible. Some do it better than others. But more often than not, reporters try to give at least two sides of a story. It's pretty standard stuff. You can't inform the public about an issue without telling them who the winners and losers are, what benefits and harm may be caused or why there may be more than one interpretation of the issue at hand. We rely on reporters not only to give us the facts, but to also give us context, clarification and balance.

If government announces it's cutting taxes to help stimulate the economy, for example, it's incumbent upon the reporter to speak to opponents of the tax cut and have them explain why they think it's a bad thing. Sadly, this did not happen when the IPCC released its report earlier this month. Rather than question how the report was penned, what role government operatives - not scientists - played in writing the "consensus" document, reporters simply regurgitated the spin. Global catastrophe They reported as fact that humans were causing global warming and that if we don't drastically change our ways, we're headed for some type of global catastrophe.

In reality, the idea that humans are causing global warming is not a fact, it's a theory. Many would argue that it's a very solid theory supported by considerable scientific evidence. But it's still not a fact. It's a theory that remains the subject of a very vigorous debate in the scientific community. Just because one large group of scientists agrees that it's "very likely" that humans are causing global warming, it doesn't make it a fact. Unfortunately, it's been largely reported that way.

When I read or watch coverage of something like the release of the IPCC report, I want to know what the report says, what the proponents of it have to say and what it may mean for the world. But I also want to read what scientists with an opposing or different view have to say. Now, I didn't read every newspaper in Canada nor watch every TV network the weekend the report was released and maybe I missed something. But I consumed a considerable amount of mainstream media on the topic and I didn't read or see a single interview with a scientists who challenged the findings.

I read a couple of opinion columns challenging the findings. But I'm not talking about op-ed pieces here. I'm talking about news stories. I write op-ed pieces. I use facts to make an argument. But it's still my opinion. I'm not supposed to be balanced. I don't give the other side of the story. That's not what an opinion column is. A news story, on the other hand, is supposed to give us the other side of the story. And from what I read and saw on the release of this report, the other side got no coverage.

It's not because there aren't qualified scientists out there who are skeptical about the findings or who reject them entirely. There are plenty. I've heard from them before. But for some reason, reporters and editors chose not to tell that side of the story. I don't know exactly how or why pack journalism occurs. My theory is that it's borne out of fear of looking stupid. If all your colleagues are accepting a theory as fact and you challenge the theory by seeking out an informed, opposing few, you may fear ridicule from your peers. After all, some journalists that weekend were likening skeptics of the findings to flat Earthers - morons, essentially. Rather than risking ridicule, journalists just go along with the spin. And suddenly, without any new scientific information, the theory that humans are causing global warming became fact overnight.

I'm not a scientist. I have no idea if humans are responsible for some, most or all of global warming - or none at all. But I do know there's a pretty healthy debate on it by scientists who actually study this stuff. And I'm not talking about unqualified frog counters like David Suzuki, either. I'm talking about scientists who are knowledgeable in the field. I wanted to hear from them. I wanted the other side of the story and I didn't get it. The mainstream media let me down.



ARMAGEDDON is almost upon us if our modern doomsayers are to be believed: if climate change doesn't get rid of us, world terrorism will, or name your choice.

I seem to have always lived with prophets of gloom predicting the end of the world is nigh. When I was young we were going to ``nuke'' our world into oblivion or, if that didn't work, over-population was going to bring the end-time.

Throughout history, True Believers of one sort or another have prophesied imminent doom. Somehow we've managed to survive and, terrible isn't it, we've also prospered. Wealth today is shared much more equitably than at any previous time in history. This, despite the rent-a-mob deniers who turn up for every international finance meeting to push their case with violence rather than reason.

I'm of the generation in the 1960s who believed that ``Dr Strangelove'' was just around the corner, who worried population would outstrip food supply, a resurrection of the prophesies of 18th century English political economist, Thomas Robert Malthus. We watched as the non-violent armies of British philosopher Bertrand Russell's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament roamed the streets of the Western world, with their catchcry ``better Red than dead''.

But Communism is no more, while the birth control pill and scientific advances in agriculture helped bury Malthus again, at least for a time, despite unparalleled population growth. We lived through ``the second French Revolution'' in 1968 when students and young workers stormed the streets of Paris and then Germany, Holland, Czechoslovakia and the USA. Some saw the old world about to crumble!

That generation settled down and its Socialistic idealism somehow morphed into the materialism of the ``me'' generation, who built today's global capitalism. But, about this time, a much more important and longer-lasting revolution was taking place, led by a most unlikely figure. The book Silent Spring by American biologist, Rachel Carson, burst onto the scene in 1962 -- two years before the author's death -- warning that through pesticides and other means, man was destroying nature. Within a few years the international debate on ecology was joined. But we survived once again.

Nearly 50 years after her death, the end of the world as we know it is again being predicted because of global warming. And, Malthus is back again, with claims world population this century will grow from the current six billion to nine, or is it 11 or perhaps it's really 15 billion, but anyway, to a non-sustainable level.

Some things don't change! The modern True Believers pay homage to global warming and climate change, making catastrophic predictions if we don't act yesterday, but according to reports of the UN international meeting on climate change last week, the future is nowhere as bleak as the panic merchants make out.

Much more immediate problems are world poverty and, perhaps, population explosion, both of which impact on climate change. People with empty bellies, don't have the luxury of Western middle-class moralists to worry about what may or may not happen 100 years down the track. If their economic salvation, as in China, is a factory belching goo into the atmosphere, they're happy to live with that to put bread on the table.

China is the world's second biggest greenhouse polluter after the USA, but is happy to put the onus on the older industrialised countries to clean up their acts as it plays catch-up. Australia is a big greenhouse gas polluter -- per capita -- but minute on a world scale.

Most people now accept the fact of climate change and that our modern industrial society is one of its causes. Prime Minister John Howard warns against bringing Australia to its knees by devastating its coal industry, a major energy source, not only for Australia, but also for China. He also advocates nuclear energy for Australia because it is clean.

Conservationists, on the other hand, are quite happy to sacrifice the coal industry, among other things and will not even contemplate nuclear energy. Scientific advances, coupled with a little bit of old-fashioned common sense have upset the predictions of past generations of Doomsayers. I reckon this also will be the case in the future and that panic now, as in the past, serves no useful purpose.


The Warming religion in Australia leads to amazing academic dishonesty

Scarier than global warming is that even -- even? -- our top academics exaggerate so wildly about it. No, I'm not talking again about Tim Flannery, our Australian of the Year, but of his former friend and colleague, Mike Archer. Read on, to see again how recklessly even our men of science now feed you hype.

Archer is dean of science at the University of NSW, where, you'd hope, he teaches students to stick to the facts. But this week he wrote an apocalyptic piece on global warming for the Sydney Morning Herald, warning of a Noah's flood: "For example, if the Greenland and Antarctica icesheets melt (which they are doing in spectacular fashion), sea levels could rise, as they have done many times in the past, by 100m. If that were to happen, forget the metre-in-a-century mantra, and forget half of Sydney, along with most of the world's coastal populations."

Got it? Forget the seas rising a metre by 2100. Says Archer, the melt of Greenland and Antarctica is so "spectacular" our beach by then will start at Eltham. Except for this. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has whipped up most of the warming panic, but even its latest report -- out today -- will challenge every claim Archer makes. As Reuters reported yesterday, a draft of that report, the work of 2500 scientists, concedes that, no, Antarctica may well gain snow cover, even Greenland may not be melting overall and the seas will rise not by 100m in the 100 years, but at most by 43cm.

It continued: "More snows could also offset any thaw of the vast Antarctic ice cap and the smaller cap on Greenland. If both melted over thousands of years world sea levels would be about 65m . . . higher . . . (emphasis added). "In a warmer climate, models suggest that the ice sheets could accumulate more snowfall, tending to lower sea level," the draft says. But "rapid thawing at the fringes has probably outweighed any such trend in recent years."

Confirming what I wrote on Wednesday, Reuters added: "The IPCC is . . . set to predict sea level rises this century of between 28 and 43cm . . . a lower band than forecast in the 2001 report." So, how could a dean of science at a top university exaggerate so recklessly? Answer: because global warming is a religion, so facts don't count. Beware.



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 generally 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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