Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Climate of Fear

This is a rather lengthy article, but worth reading for people trying to understand how people all over the world have been misled, and manipulated by the believers in global warming and man-caused climate change. It is a sad situation, more than a bit scary, and something that is costing us dearly. Please think about this the next time you vote, or pay your utility bills.

Opinion JournalYour friend Peter thought you might be interested in this
article from Opinion Journal and forwarded it to you. Peter included a message:a
must read article....---------------------------------

Fear Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence. BY

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, orclimate--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 cleancoal 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 inthe atmosphere have increased by about 30% over thesame 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'sresponsibility 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. If the models are correct, global warming reduces thetemperature
differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in
temperature,you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in
fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support
for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John
Houghton of the U.N.'sIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a
warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances.The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to
drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and
calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based
upon there being more humidity,not less--hardly a case for more storminess
with global warming.

So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up
about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not
merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton
issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors
seeking the details behind ataxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s
were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium.
Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr.
Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so
before his work could be replicated and tested--a task made difficult because Mr.
Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The
scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh.
The president of the National Academy of Sciences--as well as the American
Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union--formally protested,
saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of
intimidation. All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific
community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In
1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting
scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate
alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice
president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witchhunt to discredit anti-alarmist
scientists--a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled
scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuelindustry. Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg.

In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch
Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global
warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director ofthe U.N.'s World Meteorological
Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the
coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors
Alfonso Suteraand Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in1991,
apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions. 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 "IrisEffect," 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 ourknowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council
instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming--not whether it would
actually happen. Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, itappears, is
essential to maintaining funding. And onlythe most senior scientists today can
stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate
scientists, advocates and policymakers.

Mr. Lindzen is Alfred P. Sloan Professor
of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

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