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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Further Evidence (If Any Was Needed)....

Global warming is a lie, just like the Club of Rome overpopulation scare of the 1970s was. It's junk science, of which I am something of a connoisseur. I love popular delusions masquerading as science and collect literature on them. I have a very respectable library of primary sources on eugenics and early-20th century race theory, for instance. I have a pretty good selection of Freud -- who was about as consistently wrong as it is possible to be and still be called a "scientist." I have followed the Darwinian's failure to explain the evolution of species through natural selection (not the variations within species, but the generation of new ones) with much delight. This stuff just fascinates me. So, of course, I am a great fan of global warming theory.

Why do such delusions come about? That's the really interesting part. There's always an agenda behind them. I am by no means a conspiracy thoerist; I believe emphatically that conspiracies aren't necessary (and fail as often as not), but that consensus can form spontaneously within groups that share common interests, and those forms of consensus evolve into jealously guarded orthodoxies. How else can one explain Roman Catholic thoeology?

In the case of the global warming crowd, much of the motivation is the same that got the Club of Rome types whipped into frenzies trying to convince us that we'd be hip-deep in Pakistanis by 1995: an anti-Western, anti-capitalist, envronmentalist meme of leftist internationalism runs through most of the literature and domminates the college faculty break rooms and academic journal offices that control publishing and peer review on envronmental issues and climatology.

Richard Lindzen, writing in the WSJ Opinion Journal, has an excellent peice about how the liberal envronmentalist orthodoxy has had personal and professional repercussions for those who dissent from the party line concerning global warming:

There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?

The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science--whether for AIDS, or space, or climate--where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.


And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest. However, even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an "Iris Effect," wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2. Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as "discredited." Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming--not whether it would actually happen.

Dr Lindzen is in a position to know a thing or two about which he speaks: He is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, hardly a hotbed of "conservative" scientific non-conformism. Read the whole thing

I am confident that the truth will out. I think in ten years, "global warming" will have as much serious credibility as the cover of the National Inquirer. The science behind it isn't much more credible than aliens paving Nazca (I also collect Eric Von Danniken), the Malthusian overpopulation scare of 1972, or "Love Child of Jennifer Anniston Has Tatoo of Virgin Mary von Scalp, Claims Extrasensory Powers."


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