A Convenient Fact: Al Gore is full of Global Hot Air!
The day that Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth", opens. It's already been seen at Sundance, and I believe, Canne's. For those of you who saw the post below, and failed to find the Easter egg message.....tsk, tsk. I encourage you to go back and look the post over carefully. It wasn't really about the old movie, of course.
We tend to put our faith in scientists not to spin facts. But scientists are human with their own biases, sometimes influenced by the funding they receive, and are not always the dispassionate observers we wish them to be. Most submissions to scientific journals get rejected. They are subjected to intense scrutiny by their peers; and it is not so uncommon that the works that do pass the screening process, a few years later, turn out to be wrong or irrelevant. How often have we seen this happen in other fields? Where certain food is bad for you...then good for you..then bad for you in this way....no, no...it's good for you in moderation like so....
Ever since James E. Hansen, the top NASA climate scientist, spoke out in the NY Times and on 60 Minutes about how the Bush Administration was preventing him from speaking out, I've been wanting to do a post on global warming. It's a convenient truth, that scientists like Hansen are pushed by environmentally liberal journalists as the authoratitive voice on the matter; and a convenient lie for them to be dismissive of opposing expert views, like that of Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT. He had this to say:
"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."You might hear from news headlines about how 1,600 scientists signed a letter warning about the dangers of global warming....yet have to dig around to find out how 17,000 other scientists signed a petition saying there is no convincing evidence that greenhouse gases will plunge us into the next climactic climate disaster. : Better information has since been brought to my attention; so although it's a source with a liberal agenda, I offer the following and concede that this trumps my earlier belief:
Stossel presents some deceptive evidence: "You may have heard that 1,600 scientists signed a letter warning of 'devastating consequences.' But I bet you hadn't heard that 17,000 scientists signed a petition saying there's 'no convincing evidence' that greenhouse gases will disrupt the Earth's climate."
The implication is that 10 times as many scientists question global warming. What Stossel doesn't note is that while the first petition was circulated by a group well-respected in the scientific community, the second petition has been famously discredited.
The first, smaller petition came from the Union of Concerned Scientists and its signatories included 110 Nobel laureates, including 104 of the 178 living Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, along with 60 U.S. National Medal of Science winners. The latter petition was a project of the George C. Marshall Institute, whose chair, Frederick Seitz, is also affiliated with the Global Climate Coalition (an industry group calling itself the "voice for business in the global warming debate"), in conjunction with the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine, a lesser-known group whose leader, wrote columnist Molly Ivins, is a biochemist who "specializes in home schooling and building nuclear shelters" (Los Angeles Times, 8/17/98).
Though OISM's signatories did include reputable scientists, it also included dentists, nutritionists and others with no expertise in climatalogy; the only requirement for signing on was a bachelors degree in science. In fact, OISM's screening process was so lax that for a time the list also included a number of gag names added by environmentalists, including Ginger Spice and Michael J. Fox. The OISM petition also came under fire for being deceptively packaged: The petition was accompanied by an article purporting to debunk global warming that was formatted to look as though it had been published in the journal of the respected National Academy of Sciences. The resemblance was so close that the NAS issued a public statement that the OISM petition "does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy."
None of this controversy was mentioned in Stossel's report.
Vanity Fair on its cover says "global warming is a threat graver than terrorism".
Time Magazine says "Be Worried. Be Very Worried" on the cover of an issue dated March 26, 2006. The article opens with these lines:
No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth.What utter bunk....It is eco-imperialism. It is based on junk science. Earth Day is over, and the latest word out is that The World is Getting Cleaner, Al Gore Notwithstanding.
Since 1970, carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. are down 55%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Particulate emissions are down nearly 80%, and sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced by half. Lead emissions have declined more than 98%. All of this has been accomplished despite a doubling of the number of cars on the road and a near-tripling of the number of miles driven, according to Steven Hayward of the Pacific Research Institute.
Mr. Hayward compiles the "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators" published around Earth Day each year by PRI and the American Enterprise Institute. It serves as an instructive antidote for the doom and gloom that normally pervades environmental coverage, especially of late.
This year, for example, Vanity Fair has inaugurated an "Earth Issue," comprising 246 glossy, non-recycled pages of fashion ads, celebrity worship and environmental apocalypse. Highlights include computer-generated images of New York City underwater and the Washington mall as one big reflecting pool. The magazine also includes a breathless essay by U.S. environmental conscience-in-chief Al Gore. The message is that we are headed for an environmental catastrophe of the first order, and only drastic changes to the way we live can possibly prevent it.
If arguments were won through the use of italics, Mr. Gore would prevail in a knockout. But as Mr. Hayward notes in his "Index," the environmental movement as a whole has developed a credibility problem since the first Earth Day 36 years ago. In the 1970s, prominent greens were issuing dire predictions about mass starvation, overpopulation and--of all things--global cooling. Since then, population-growth estimates have come way down, biotechnology advances have found ways to feed more people than the doomsayers believed possible, and the global-cooling crisis has become the global-warming crisis without missing a beat.
There's no doubt the greens have succeeded in promoting higher environmental standards, which in turn have contributed to cleaner air, water and land almost everywhere you look. Today, game fish have returned to countless American streams and lakes, the Northeast has more forestland that at any time since the 19th century and smog is down dramatically in places like Los Angeles. But environmental activists don't want to believe their own success, much less advertise it. They need another looming catastrophe to stay relevant, not to mention to keep raising money.
Three decades ago, the latest "fad" was for apocalyptic environmental scientists to warn us of the dangers of global cooling and the coming ice age:
- Science magazine (March 1, 1975) is led by a National Academy of Sciences report to conclude that a long "ice age is a real possibility."
- Science magazine (December 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation."
- The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster than Even Experts Expect,'' Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance,'' "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter'' and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.''
- Newsweek ("The Cooling World,'' April 28, 1975): "the earth's climate seems to be cooling down." There is also a sense of urgency in doing something as meteorologists "are almost unanimous'' that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that The New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age.''
- The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable'' now that it is "well established'' that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950.''
- International Wildlife (July 1975,'In the Grip of a New Ice Age,', Nigel Calder writes, "The facts have emerged, in recent years and months, from research into past ice ages. They imply that the threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind." (Hat tip: Anna Puna).
- And according to the February 1973 issue of Science Digest, "Once the freeze starts, it will be too late."
Global warming happens; it is happening. But how much of it is directly related to human causes? There's discrepancy on that, even among those who acknowledge human activity does contribute, yet scoff at the wild claims that burning coal and greenhouse emissions from our automobiles is a big factor. What are the big factors for climate changes? How about the fluctuation of heat generated by the sun during different eras? The climate has been going through changes since the beginning, regardless of human activity, and before modern man's presence on the planet. The first half of the 20th century had more than the 2nd half did in temperature changes.
Paul Driessen, author of "Eco-Imperialism", writes this:
However, it’s a fact of life here on Planet Earth that our climate can be as unpredictable and cyclical as the solar and orbital variations that play prominent roles in determining that climate. Thus we get mild temperature shifts every 40 years or so, and much more significant changes every few hundred years – amid interglacial periods that are marked at either end by massive walls of ice flowing down from this same Arctic, obliterating everything in their path: forests the last time, maybe entire cities the next.Vanity Fair weaves its scare-piece to show how British leadership have had grave concerns while President Bush held everyone back from signing onto Kyoto.
The global environmental movement, however, has long portrayed our planet as a stable, idyllic utopia – until evil people, corporations and technologies ruined everything. It has a nice, neat Garden of Eden ring to it. But it ignores the Ice Ages, Medieval Warm Period, Viking colonization of Greenland back in the days (900-1300) when people could actually grow crops there, and Little Ice Age (1300-1650 and beyond) when northern seas were often choked with ice and Europe was plunged into an era of cold, wet, stormy weather that destroyed crops, caused famines, and hammered populations, communities and cultures.
The ample historical record of these events underscores how turbulent and uncertain Earth’s climate has always been. (It’s doubtful that cavemen, Vikings, Medieval alchemists or a lost race of aliens from another galaxy caused those past climate mood swings.) To suggest that we have suddenly arrived at an immutable ideal state may serve the pressure groups’ political ends, but it is not reality.
The best thing we can do is continue to adjust to changing climates, just as our ancestors did. After all, the Inuit people survived the Medieval Warming and 1930s, when Arctic temperatures were even warmer than today. The worst thing we could do is follow the alarmists’ prescriptions, and agree to hobble our institutions, forego future health and prosperity, and impose permanent poverty on our Earth’s least fortunate citizens – in the name of preventing a purely conjectural problem.
But it wouldn't matter how much Britain cut its greenhouse-gas emissions if other nations didn't do the same. The U.S. was key, not only because it was the world's largest emitter but because its refusal to reduce emissions led China, India, Brazil, and other large developing countries to ask why they should do so.I believe the U.S. is blamed for 25% of the world's emissions; but 20 years from now, India and China will be the worst polluters. 80% of the rest of the world is exempt under Kyoto from following similar sacrifice. Not only this, but it has yet to be scientifically proven, that human activity contributes significantly to affecting global temperatures; or that even if all the nations who signed on (including the U.S.) faithfully executed their reduction goals, that it would put a dent in reducing global warming.
President Bush's budget for the last 5 years has already spent 20 billion; and we're on track for the next 5 years to spend another 20 billion. That's more for global climate science and technology development than the rest of the world combined; and 55% more than what was spent under President Clinton.
As Richard Lindzen points out:
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.
President Bush's punishment by Mother Nature? Hurricane Katrina. It's funny how the bottom excerpt wants to connect Katrina to global warming (in terms of preventability if only we act now!) and global warming to President Bush as responsible, in not signing the Kyoto Treaty (what happened to former President Clinton?):
No one can say for sure whether global warming caused Hurricane Katrina [but lets lead go ahead and lead you down that rabbit hole, anyway, shall we?], which slammed into the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. But it certainly fit the pattern. The scientific rule of thumb is that one can never blame any one weather event on any single cause. The earth's weather system is too complex for that. Most scientists agree, however, that global warming makes extra-strong hurricanes such as Katrina more likely because it encourages hot oceans, a precondition of hurricane formation.
"It's a bit like saying, 'My grandmother died of lung cancer, and she smoked for the last 20 years of her life—smoking killed her,'" explains Kerry Emanuel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has studied hurricanes for 20 years. "Well, the problem is, there are an awful lot of people who die of lung cancer who never smoked. There are a lot of people who smoked all their lives and die of something else. So all you can say, even [though] the evidence statistically is clear connecting lung cancer to smoking, is that [the grandmother] upped her probability."
I think the second paragraph shoots the first paragraph right in the foot. Association is not causation. What a crap for an analogy. The next few paragraphs, then concludes that New Orleans may have been the first "major casualty of global warming, yet most Americans still don't know what hit us". The whole entire article uses scare tactics, using words like "might", "no one knows for sure, but...", and showing what New York City would look like if it went under water.
I'm concerned about the environment. I love this planet. I love the trees and the animals.
I'm sure Al Gore is a swell guy who's heart is in the right place. He loves his planet too. He battles for us...and for our children and our children's children. And he was a former Vice President. Who invented the internet. He is the man who came close to beating my President. I respect him for all of these accomplishments and for the desire to do good in the world, for the world. That being said, I only wish to add one final thought on him.
Recommended further reading:
Al Gore Playing on Our Fears
The Real 'Inconvenient Truth'
Vanity Fair Goes Green Over Warming
There is a problem with global warming...it stopped in 1998
Bjorn Lomborg The Skeptical Environmentalist Rebuttal more
Roger A. Pielke's Climate Science
FOX News Special
Media Matters counter to FOX News Special
Review of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science"
The South Park episode
Provided to me from skye: Kyoto, No Go
ExposetheLeft.com exposes Al Gore's own energy consumption
Hugh Hewitt links to a couple of YouTube videos and others
(to be updated later today)