Global warming: more fizzle than sizzle

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007 12:01 pm by Neal

If we’re not careful, all of this talk about global warming might start to generate its own heat. Already, tempers on both sides are flaring and passions are heating up. Where will it end? There is a consensus among global warming advocates that free speech is starting to taint the global warming debate and interfere with all the hard work that has been done by the anti-capitalists in the UN and IPCC. As Dennis Prager observes below, “it would not be surprising that soon, in Europe, global warming deniers will be treated as Holocaust deniers and prosecuted.”

Here are just a few of the articles from the last week.

Writing at, Dennis Byrne has this piece, “Bad Research, Worse Reporting on Global Warming”

In trying to prove that the Bush administration is throttling research into global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists rolled out some breathtakingly bad science. …

Explaining the problem in more detail was the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a non-partisan a watchdog at George Mason University that tries to correct misinformation in the media springing from bad science, politics or ignorance. …

Naturally, editorial writers, egged on by faulty science and faulty reporting, raised the usual alarms, such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s “Bush’s blatant abuse of climate scientists.”

One explanation for such appalling journalism is the industry’s willingness to be spoon-fed by the likes of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who gladly sanctified the bad science by giving it a platform on his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “It appears there may have been an orchestrated campaign to mislead the public about climate change,” Waxman said.

And if anything makes Bush look bad, some in the media will show up. Like NBC’s Brian Williams, for example, who intoned on his nightly newscast: “The question in Washington was this: did the Bush administration…try to cook the books on the topic of global warming?” …

I’m not surprised, but I can’t excuse, how the Union of Concerned Scientists, the inexhaustibly liberal and self-appointed guardians of scientific purity, can try to corrupt science for its own ends. But I never can get over how so many of my media colleagues allow themselves to be so easily manipulated by junk science.

Mark Steyn has “Don’t ruin economy over tiny temp rise”

Our Thought For The Week comes from the Boston Globe’s Ellen Goodman: “I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.” …

The record of experts in this field — or, at any rate, the record of absolutist experts in this field — is not encouraging. Just to cite Ellen’s corporate masters at the New York Times Company, here (from Christopher C. Horner’s rollicking new book The Politically Incorrect Guide To Global Warming) is the Times’ shifting position on the issue:

“MacMillan Reports Signs Of New Ice Age” (Sept. 18, 1924)

“America In Longest Warm Spell Since 1776: Temperature Line Records A 25-Year Rise” (March 27, 1933)

“Major Cooling Widely Considered To Be Inevitable (May 21, 1975)

“Past Hot Times Hold Few Reasons To Relax About Global Warming” (Dec. 27, 2005)

“Climate change” isn’t like predicting Italian coalition politics. There are only two options, so, whichever one predicts, one has a 50 percent chance of being right. The planet will always be either warming or cooling.

By now you’re probably scoffing: Oh, come on, Steyn, what kind of sophisticated analysis is that? It doesn’t just go up or down, it could sorta more-or-less stay pretty much where it is.

Very true. In the course of the 20th century, the planet’s temperature supposedly increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius, which (for those of you who want it to sound scarier) is a smidgeonette over 1 degree Fahrenheit. Is that kinda sorta staying the same or is it a dramatic warming trend?

And is nought-point-seven of an uptick worth wrecking the global economy over? Sure, say John Kerry and Al Gore, suddenly retrospectively hot for Kyoto ratification. But, had America and Australia signed on to Kyoto, and had Canada and Europe complied with it instead of just pretending to, by 2050 the treaty would have reduced global warming by 0.07C: a figure that would be statistically undectectable within annual climate variation. And, in return for this meaningless gesture, American GDP in 2010 would be lower by $97 billion to $397 billion — and those are the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s somewhat optimistic models.

And now Jerry Mahlman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research says “it might take another 30 Kyotos” to halt global warming: 30 x $397 billion is . . . er, too many zeroes for my calculator.

So, faced with a degree rise in temperature, we could destroy the planet’s economy, technology, communications and prosperity. And ruin the lives of millions of people.

Dennis Prager also takes issue with Ellen Goodman’s comments in his article, “On Comparing Global Warming Denial to Holocaust Denial”

First, it reflects a major difference between the way in which the Left and Right tend to view each other. With a few exceptions, those on the Left tend to view their ideological adversaries as bad people, i.e., people with bad intentions, while those on the Right tend to view their adversaries as wrong, perhaps even dangerous, but not usually as bad. …

A second lesson to be drawn from the Goodman statement is that it helps us to understand better one of the defining mottos of contemporary liberalism: “Question authority.” …

Third, the equation of global warming denial to Holocaust denial trivializes Holocaust denial. …

Fourth, the lack of response (thus far) of any liberal or left individual or organization — except to defend Ellen Goodman — or from the Anti-Defamation League, the organization whose primary purpose has been to defend Jews, is telling. …

Fifth, and finally, the Ellen Goodman quote is only the beginning of what is already becoming one of the largest campaigns of vilification of decent people in history — the global condemnation of a) anyone who questions global warming; or b) anyone who agrees that there is global warming but who argues that human behavior is not its primary cause; or c) anyone who agrees that there is global warming, and even agrees that human behavior is its primary cause, but does not believe that the consequences will be nearly as catastrophic as Al Gore does.

If you don’t believe all three propositions, you will be lumped with Holocaust deniers, and it would not be surprising that soon, in Europe, global warming deniers will be treated as Holocaust deniers and prosecuted. Just watch. That is far more likely than the oceans rising by 20 feet. Or even 10. Or even three.

Lastly, Thomas Sowell has a second installment on global warming, “Global Hot Air: Part II.” We wrote about part 1 yesterday.

Propaganda campaigns often acquire a life of their own. Politicians who have hitched their wagons to the star of “global warming” cannot admit any doubts on their part, or permit any doubts by others from becoming part of a public debate.

Neither can environmental crusaders, whose whole sense of themselves as saviors of the planet is at stake, as they try to stamp out any views to the contrary. …

It is a classic notion on the left in general, and of environmentalist zealots in particular, that no one can disagree with them unless they are either uninformed or dishonest. Here they dispose of scientists who are skeptical of the global warming hysteria by depicting them as being bribed by lobbyists for the oil companies.

While such charges may be enough for crusading zealots to wrap themselves ever more tightly in the mantle of virtue, some of us are still old-fashioned enough to want to know the actual facts.

On it goes.

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