Amer­i­cans not drink­ing the ‘cli­mate’ Kool-Aid

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Though pro­fes­sional hys­ter­ics may seek to “hide the de­cline,” there has been a no­tice­able drop in the num­ber of Amer­i­cans who be­lieve that global warm­ing is a man-made phe­nom­e­non. Pause on that for a mo­ment. Though Amer­i­cans have been ha­rangued about global warm­ing for more than a decade, only 35 per­cent told a re­cent Pew sur­vey that global warm­ing is a se­ri­ous prob­lem, com­pared with 44 per­cent the pre­vi­ous year.

This skep­ti­cism pre­dated the ex­po­sure of the East Anglia e-mails — those play­ful mis­sives that re­veal some of the most prom­i­nent cli­mate re­searchers to be, if not out­right char­la­tans, at least par­ti­sans.

Why don’t peo­ple buy global warm­ing? Doubt­less the poor econ­omy has pushed less im­me­di­ate wor­ries to the back­ground. But even be­fore the emails re­vealed that sup­pos­edly neu­tral truth seek­ers were pre­pared to “rede­fine peer re­view” and en­gage in sta­tis­ti­cal sleight of hand “to hide” in­con­ve­nient truths, there were am­ple rea­sons for skep­ti­cism.

It’s chilly: There is the pesky fact that, con­trary to the dire pre­dic­tions of cli­mate alarmists, there has been no mea­sur­able in­crease in world tem­per­a­tures since 1998. Yet the amount of car­bon diox­ide pumped into the at­mos­phere has con­tin­ued to rise. The com­puter mod­els im­mor­tal­ized by Al Gore did not an­tic­i­pate this; in fact, they pre­dicted that tem­per­a­tures would con­tinue to rise steeply more or less for­ever, ex­cept that hu­man be­ings would all die in 50 years or so with un­known (though pre­sum­ably salu­tary) ef­fects on the by-then Venus-like sur­face of planet Earth.

Bul­ly­ing: Ev­ery time a sci­en­tist or pol­i­cy­maker slammed his hand on a desk and growled “The sci­ence is set­tled!” he demon­strated how re­mote he was from the sci­en­tific method. In true sci­ence, noth­ing is ever set­tled.

It’s Freudian: The Vi­en­nese an­a­lyst taught that if you say you hate your mother, you hate your mother. And if you say you love your mother, you are in de­nial about hat­ing your mother. Cli­mate change be­liev­ers are like Freudi­ans. If the weather is warm, it’s proof of global warm­ing. But if the weather is cool, this, too, is ev­i­dence of the sin­is­ter tricks global warm­ing can play.

Sunspots: Look at the graphs com­par­ing sunspot ac­tiv­ity since 1860 with global sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures. They look like match­ing S curves (un­like the graphs com­par­ing tem­per­a­tures with CO2 out­put). Har­vard as­tro­physi­cist Dr. Wil­lie Soon notes that 2008 may have been a cold year be­cause sunspot ac­tiv­ity was low. The sun has been quiet in 2009, too. “If this deep so­lar min­i­mum con­tin­ues,” Dr. Soon ex­plains, “and our planet cools while CO2 lev­els con­tinue to rise, think­ing needs to change. This will be a very telling time and it’s very, very use­ful in terms of sci­ence and so­ci­ety in my opin­ion.”

Nu­clear en­ergy: Global warm­ing priests, while ser­mo­niz­ing about the need to spend tril­lions on new en­ergy sources, al­most never have a kind word for nu­clear power — cast­ing doubt on their mo­tives. If the goal were re­ally to re­duce our car­bon out­put (and not to re­cast our way of life), clean, ef­fi­cient, af­ford­able nu­clear power would be the ob­vi­ous choice.

Fool me once: The same peo­ple whose hair is on fire now about cli­mate change have dressed up in fright masks be­fore. Thirty years ago, they were (no joke) enor­mously ag­i­tated about the com­ing new ice age. From th­ese same precincts (the Club of Rome, 1972) we were warned that the world was rapidly run­ning out of oil, gas, alu­minum, lead, zinc, cop­per, tin, and ura­nium. (We didn’t.) At the same time, all of the smart peo­ple were ab­so­lutely con­vinced that over­pop­u­la­tion was the great­est threat to the globe and to hu­man­ity it­self. Paul Ehrlich, au­thor of “The Pop­u­la­tion Bomb,” of­fered in 1980 that “If I were a gam­bler, I would bet even money that Eng­land will not ex­ist in the year 2000.” That same year, the Carter ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a global fore­cast pre­dict­ing that “the world in 2000 will be more crowded, more pol­luted, less sta­ble eco­log­i­cally [. . .] and the world’s peo­ple will be poorer in many ways than they are to­day.” Um, no.

The scare­mon­gers’ track record is poor. For peo­ple who seem to wor­ship Mother Earth, they are oddly ar­ro­gant about their abil­ity to un­der­stand com­plex sys­tems like cli­mate. Ev­ery day brings new dis­cov­er­ies about the in­cred­i­bly com­pli­cated in­ter­play of oceans, at­mo­spheric gases, al­gae, wind, plants, an­i­mal ex­cre­tions, so­lar ra­di­a­tion, and so forth.

The East Anglia e-mails re­veal a priest­hood be­com­ing more and more hys­ter­i­cal as their cer­tainty evap­o­rates. Like all or­tho­dox­ies un­der duress, they are mak­ing war on heresy.

It’s not il­le­gal. But it’s not sci­ence.

Mona Charen is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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