Saving the planet was the great cause that brought delegates from 193 lands two weeks ago to Copenhagen for the great Climate Change Conference. They were told that if they agreed upon a treaty to reduce carbon emissions the earth’s temperatures would not go up, glaciers would not melt, oceans would not rise and low-lying islands would not be swamped.
Evidence of the seriousness of the undertaking was made clear by a U.N. estimate that 40,500 tons of carbon dioxide would be pumped into the atmosphere during the 12-day event, most of it from air travel, but some of it from talk and some from enjoying the winter delights of Copenhagen.
Speaker after speaker warned them that inaction was “not an option.” Inaction would lead to catastrophe. Though just before and during the conference new reports were released or leaked to underscore the claims.
On the conference’s last day President Obama flew there to exhort the audience to pass an agreement. He then lobbied various sideline caucuses, but failed to persuade China that it should agree to verification of CO2 reductions. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had already promised $10 billion a year for 10 years from the U.S. to help Third World countries cope with the coming disaster. The elites of some of these countries routinely siphon off foreign aid money to line their own pockets.
In the end, to borrow a phrase, the Copenhagen mountain labored mightily and brought forth a mouse. The delegates promised to reduce carbon emissions, but it wasn’t a treaty they passed, no one would be bound by it and they would meet next year to discuss it again–just as they have every year or two as far back as most remember. Mr. Obama, with his usual hyperbole, called the non-agreement “an unprecedented breakthrough.”
What caused these delegates–some scientists; many bureaucrats–to believe that “the science is settled” about global warming? Their conclusion rests on computer models whose original input was based upon data the U.K.’s University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit says it lost or misplaced. The CRU has been the international clearinghouse for global warming data.
Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, wrote recently, “The measurement used, the Global Averaged Temperature Anomaly (GATA), is always changing. Sometimes it goes up; sometimes down and occasionally–such as for the last dozen years or so–it does little that can be discerned. The claim that climate change is accelerating is bizarre.”
The data in computer models do not account, for example, for the effects of clouds or sunspot activity. Nevertheless, despite evidence of global cooling in recent years, every aberration in climate is promoted by the global warming faithful as proof that a dangerous long-term warming trend is afoot. The promoters are echoed by the pliant news media who never employ journalism’s vaunted skepticism.
Many scientists, however, are not pliant, but skeptical. Professor Lindzen is but one. The recent revelation of hundreds of e-mail messages between CRU scientists and others makes it clear that they suppressed data that did not support their conclusions, bad-mouthed skeptics and attempted to prevent skeptics’ papers from being peer-reviewed. This is science?
Broadly, there are three groups with a stake in making global warming a settled matter:
High Priests of the Deep Ecology movement; risk-averse bureaucrats and delegates from low-lying Third World lands who have been persuaded they would soon be inundated.
Two high priests stand out. One is James Hansen of NASA who, for years has beaten the drum for global warming. During the George W. Bush Administration he claimed he was being muzzled.
That’s true only if giving 1,400 media interviews constitutes “muzzling.”
Another is the current White House Science Advisor, John Holdren, formerly on the faculty at the University of California/Berkeley. Holdren is a professional alarmist. In the early ‘70s he co-wrote a book which called for “de-development”of the United States and redistribution of the wealth of industrialized countries to the rest of the world.” In those days he was predicting the same dire consequences of a coming ice age that he is predicting now for global warming.
Apparently, he was ordained by the Church of Deep Ecology. A Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess, coined the term in 1973 to describe the belief that human and non-human life are equal in value and that humans have plundered the planet and over-populated it. Holdren seems to subscribe fully to this notion. At one point he argued for forced abortion and for putting chemicals in drinking water supplies to sterilize all the population except for those deemed by the elite to be worth of exemption. This may be a religion, but science it’s not.
The risk averters populate bureaucracies such as the Environmental Protection Agency. They may say, even though such-and-such hasn’t been proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, the possibilities are real and we should immediate take action — just in case. Carry this argument to its logical conclusion and you would never go outdoors for fear a passing truck would jump the curb and flatten you.
The Third Worlders may be simply unwitting victims of global warming hype or thrilled by the hope of huge redistribution of wealth–or both.
Although there has been much hand-wringing over the Copenhagen failure, there is a silver lining. All those delegates get to come together again next year for another all-expense-paid vacation.