Several months ago I would have been hard put to believe that there existed any credible opposition to the global warming juggernaut.
Steamrolling its way through the world, coopting, in its invidious way, our media, political class and intellectual elites, it had seemed to have ruthlessly demolished its opposition, crushing all common sense and castigating anyone who dared voice uncertainty as a heretic.
That all changed last week when I was invited to attend the Heartland Institute’s international conference in New York City, Global Warming : Was it Ever Really a Crisis? At this world gathering of climatologists, astrophysicists, journalists, policy analysts, pundits and politicians, I discovered a vast underground of activists and moles, some of whom have been laboring for years to thwart the progress of the doomsday philososphy. The level of sophistication and deliberation was beyond almost any other gathering of a similar nature I have ever attended. And I believe that the 800 or so other attendees, from all parts of the world, would readily agree with me.
By far the most impressive idea percolating through the conference was that predicting weather patterns and graphing changes in the atmosphere is an enormously hazardous undertaking fraught with the inaccuracy. That is because there are innumerable variables that play into producing our weather forecasts, from ocean currents to wind strength and to the power and duration of cosmic rays, none of which can be adequately measured nor always accounted for.
Weather predictions are generated by super computers which produce models after being fed appropriate data. Yet the quality and consistency of that data is always suspect when we consider the large amount variables that need to be gathered in order to produce a prediction. Most scientists retain a healthy skeptiism when it comes to climate modeling. In 2003 , when a German group polled over 500 climatologists on whether these climate models can accurately predict future climate conditions, only a thrid (35.1%) agreed,18.3% were uncertain and nearly half ( 46.6%) disagreed.
A second impressive statistic exposed Al Gore’s assurances that global warming is settled science, validated by at least 90% of the scientific community, as a fatuous lie. To prove it, the conference organizers reproduced a thick 300 page petition against global warming as foundational science, signed by 31, 291 scientists from around the world, 9,000 of whom hold Ph.Ds.
The third revelation was that the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere has historically followed an increase in temperature and never quite the other way around. This was demonstrated through a viewing of a documentary on the issue – Global Warming: Emerging Science and Understanding, which took to task Gore’s famous 30 foot graphs in his 2005 documentary An Inconvenient Truth,. Gore’s graphs, if you remember, plotted the rise and fall in world temperatures over the past 150 years, and compared that trajectory to a graph situated immediately below it which plotted the rise in carbon emissions over the same period. But the attempt to prove that carbon dioxide emissions paralleled the rise in global temperatue was misleading, if not deliberately fraudulent.
That is because the two graphs were presented one below the other, without superimposing their trajectories upon one another in order to definitively make its point. But if the two graphs are merged, as the documentary demonstrates,it becomes obvious that over the past 150 years, CO2 emmissons have actually followed , not preceded, the rise in global temperatures. In fact graphs offered by geophysicists’ reports confim that over a 650,000 year period the same phenomenon recurrs.
The fourth important understanding imparted by the Conference was the role governmental bureaucracies and supra-govermmental organizations play in controlling and manipulating the global warming agenda.
Man-made global warming theory is fed by pseudo- quantitative predictions from climate careerists working off mega computers and which involves scientists at the National Association for Atmospheric Research ( NCAR), NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Department of Commerce’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. These organizations have become multi-billion dollar scientific weather bureaucracies, as intent on self -preservation and budgetary enhancement as they are on accurately predicting the weather. They are, however, overshadowed in graft, collusion and obfuscation by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC) a scientific in body tasked to evaluate the risk of climate change caused by human activity. The panel was established in 1988 by the United Nations. It shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, an honor which hoisted it into the pantheon of the movement’s prophetic elite.
But the IPCC is not a gathering of expert scientists on the issues and includes very few real climatologists or atmospheric physicists. It is a political body, hewing to ideology and following politically correct lines of operation and reportage. One of the more damning ( and alarming) revelations at the conference was that of the controversy which surrounded the IPCC’s second report, The Science of Climate Change in 1995. According to insiders, the report had originally concluded that there was no evidence that human beings have had any influence on the climate. Yet the original version of the report was substantially edited with 15 different sections of Chapter 8 ( the chapter dealing with the extent of human influence) being amended to reflect the opposite point of view. The Executive Summary to the report, the only part that in practise most politicians ever read, clearly hewed to the accepted fact of human interference, contrary to the conclusions of the original manuscript.
That editorial hit job was almost certainly the work of IPPC’s first chairman, the alarmist Swedish professor Bert Bolin. But he did not get away scot free. Professor Frederick Seitz, the former chairman of the American Science Academy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on June 12th, 1996 that ” I have never before witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.”
He proceeded to demand that the IPCC process be abandoned. From then on,the IPPC’s serial campaign of disinformation only grew more robust and continues today as the flagship of the global warming armada.
Having said all this, it is the weather itself which seems to be having the last laugh on all of us, effectively closing the debate. This year, the United States experienced one of its most severe winters on record,with snow falling in such unlikely locations as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Alabama, and Georgia. Canada had its first ” White Christmas ” for the first time in 37 years. Satellite data, as recently as last week, revealed that three of the Great Lakes — Erie, Superior, and Huron — were almost completely frozen over. In Washington, DC, what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which all but shut down the capital. Only 2,000 global warming diehards turned up to protest global warming
Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of the loss of Arctic sea ice to the tune of 193,000 square miles — an area the size of Spain.
So much for Gore’s predictions on the melting of Greenland – or other parts of the Arctic Ice Cap.
The ultimate conclusion, of even alarmists, is that 2008 was the coolest year of the past decade, eclisping the steadily warming eight years of this century and rendering the average global temperatures over this period appreciably middling – neither too hot, nor too cold.
Predictably, none of this sems to have fazed the Alarmist lobby ( fittingly referred to as ” bedwetters” by Lord Monckton at the New York conference). The juggernaut is rolling on with Britain contemplating the issue of carbon footprint identity cards; the United States Congress about to debate the efficacy of Cap and Trade legislation; Al Gore pronouncing last week that global warming is still ” incontrovertible science” and the U.N. planning a major conference on climate change for December, on the lines of the farcical 1999 Kyoto gathering.
Why do they then persist in their misbegotten crusade? Well, there are a lot of people with a lot of things to protect. For one, there are oodles of money to be made by the alarmist industry and its supporters, and we know by just looking at our newspapers and magazines that going ” green” is the new fashionable statement, encouraging a raft of new industries to cater to the chic and prosperous. The scientists who have built their reputations on global warming alarmism run the risk of suffering career -ruining opprobrium should their science prove wonky, ultimately exposing them as the perpetrators of the most serious scientific scandal of the century. Then, of course , there are the social engineers and environmental idealogues who are salivating at the opportunity to control our political systems, our economies and our daily lives. ( Another Lord Monckton bon mot: might be appropriate here: ” the greens are just too yellow to admit they’re red.”)
But the stubborn facts of the Earth’s relative indifference to human activity endures. A common refrain among the conference participants was that the Earth is constantly passing through alternate periods of warming and subsequent cooling and little that man has done or not done over the past 10,000 years has altered this fact. During the Medieval period, right through to the mid-19th Century, the world traversed what is dubbed The Little Ice Age, exemplified, most tellingly, by the centuries long annual freezing of the Thames River in England ( which does not occur any longer) and the icing up of harbors inthe Netherlands. Correspondingly, since about 1850, the Earth has been passing through a period of gradual warming , which oddly enough seems to be coming to an end just as we are getting serious about it.
What remains is nature – indomitable, relentless nature – dynamic and mysterious and about which we still know too little. If the global warming alarmists reserved a little more reverence for the enigma of our planet and a little less bile for the human beings who populate it, then perhaps all the money, political capital and intellectual energy they have summoned could be poured into a real human problem that can be humanly solved.