By John Stossel, ABC 20/20
Recently on “20/20,” I said “give me a break” to Al Gore for claiming that the global-warming debate is over and suggesting that all dissenters were in it for the money. I interviewed independent scientists who say Gore is wrong.
Some people were relieved to finally hear the other side: “Thank you, thank you, thank you for your report on climate change. … I’m sick of hearing ‘the debate’s over’ and writing anyone who differs off as a nut. This report showed the true nature of the debate and true lack of consensus, something you can’t get anywhere else.” Others were just mad: “Your 20/20 report on Global Warning made me sick. ... Your sarcastic ridiculing of Al Gore … I have lost all respect for you and your reporting.”
Yes, the globe has warmed, but whether severe warming is imminent and whether human beings are causing it in large degree are empirical questions that can’t be answered ideologically. The media may scream that “the science is in” and the “debate is over,” but in fact it continues vigorously, with credentialed climate scientists on both side of the divide.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may present a “consensus view of scientists,” but the “consensus” is not without dissent. “Consensus is the stuff of politics, not science,” says Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute. The scientific process ought to be left to play itself out with as little political bias as possible. Politically influenced research is poison to science. Read more here.
By Christopher Booker and Richard North, UK Telegraph
No one can deny that in recent years the need to “save the planet” from global warming has become one of the most pervasive issues of our time. Inevitably, many people have been bemused by this somewhat one-sided debate, imagining that if so many experts are agreed, then there must be something in it. But if we set the story of how this fear was promoted in the context of other scares before it, the parallels which emerge might leave any honest believer in global warming feeling uncomfortable.
Evidence now has been accumulating to show that, despite the continuing rise in CO2 levels, global temperatures in the years since 1998 have no longer been rising and may soon even be falling. It was a telling moment when, in August, Gore’s closest scientific ally, James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was forced to revise his influential record of US surface temperatures showing that the past decade has seen the hottest years on record. His graph now concedes that the hottest year of the 20th century was not 1998 but 1934, and that four of the 10 warmest years in the past 100 were in the 1930s.
Furthermore, scientists and academics have recently been queuing up to point out that fluctuations in global temperatures correlate more consistently with patterns of radiation from the sun than with any rise in CO2 levels, and that after a century of high solar activity, the sun’s effect is now weakening, presaging a likely drop in temperatures. If global warming does turn out to have been a scare like all the others, it will certainly represent as great a collective flight from reality as history has ever recorded. The evidence of the next 10 years will be very interesting. Read more here.
By Hans H.J. Labohm, Independent Economist
Climate scepticism has now gained a firm foothold in various European countries. In my own country, the Netherlands, the situation has markedly improved. In line with the tradition of consensus-seeking, it has been possible to establish something close to a real dialogue between AGW adherents and the climate sceptics. Personally, I have even been invited by the Netherlands Royal Meteorological Institute (KNMI) to become expert reviewer of the IPCC. As such, I have submitted many fundamental criticisms on the draft texts of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Panel (AR4). What happened to my comments? To be honest, I have not the faintest idea. Most probably, nothing at all.
Nevertheless, in my capacity as expert reviewer of the IPCC, I have also received (a tiny) part of the Nobel price, which has been awarded to Al Gore and the IPCC (yes, thanks for your congratulations). Should I be grateful? I don’t think so. Both ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and the latest IPCC report labour under cherry-picking, spindoctoring and scare-mongering (Al Gore’s movie more than the IPCC reports). Awarding the Nobel price for such flawed science is a disgrace.
And what about our kids? Well, they have survived the story of Santa Claus without any visible scars. Wouldn’t they survive the nonsense of man-made global warming as well? Read more here.
By Sewell Chan, New York Times
Is the environmental movement, like the war on terror, premised on a “politics of fear”? In other words, does it try to unify people by scaring them with threats to their basic survival? That was the provocative thesis advanced by Alex Gourevitch, a doctoral candidate in political theory at Columbia University, at a panel discussion on Tuesday evening at the New York Public Library. He was confronted by vigorous dissent from his fellow panelists and from some members of the audience.
Let’s say it: Environmentalism is a politics of fear. It is not a progressive politics. When I say it is a politics of fear, I don’t mean that it just deploys hysterical rhetoric or that it exaggerates threats, which I think it does. I mean it in a much deeper sense. Mr. Gourevitch did not portray himself as a skeptic of climate change, but he argued, “What the science cannot tell you is what our political and social response should be.” Science cannot determine whether humans should focus on mitigation or adaptation, he said.
Mr. Gourevitch quoted Al Gore as describing the climate change not only as the most urgent issue of our time, but also as a unique opportunity for current generations to affect the course of history. Mr. Gourevitch summarized this approach as “the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the human need for transcendence.”
He added: Environmentalism is not just some politics. It’s a political project, a full-bodied ideology, and one that presents itself in terms of progress and aspiration. But when you look at what this ideology is built on, it’s built on the idea that a collective threat that makes security the basic principle of politics and makes the struggle for survival the basic and central aim of our social and political life. This, to me, is not a progressive politics at all. Most provocatively, Mr. Gourevitch compared the environmental movement to the war on terror, which he said relies on a unity based on fear. Read more here.
By World Climate Report
A couple of weeks ago, New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin wrote a piece titled “Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts” in which he described this year’s record low Arctic summer sea ice extent and the how the dramatic decline over last year had caught many sea-ice scientists by surprise. Revkin goes on to interview a variety of experts on the topic of sea ice, most of which realize that some (most) of the sea ice decline observed over the past several decades is likely related to anthropogenic changes to the earth’s climate, while admitting that undoubtedly, some natural (non-human-influenced) processes likely contributed to the decline as well. Revkin starts out by noting “astonished by the summer’s changes [in ice extent], scientists are studying forces that exposed one million square miles of open water—six Californias—beyond the average since satellites started measurements in 1979.”
Perhaps he could consult the writing of noted early to mid-20th century Arctic researcher Dr. Hans Ahlmann. Ahlmann wrote a number of papers describing climate changes taking place in the Arctic in the first half of the 20th century, often referring to the warm-up that occurred back then as a “climate improvement.” He wrote: “The extent of drift ice in Arctic waters has also diminished considerably in the last decades. According to information received in the U.S.S.R. in 1945, the area of drift ice in the Russian sector of the Arctic was reduced by no less than 1,000,000 square kilometers between 1924 and 1944. The shipping season in West Spitsbergen has lengthened from three months at the beginning of this century to about seven months at the beginning of the 1940s. The Northern Sea Route, the North-East Passage, could never have been put into regular usage if the ice conditions in recent years had been as difficult as they were during the first decades of this century.”
Granted, one million square kilometers is not the same as Revkin’s one million square mile anomaly, but it is a healthy portion of it (~40%) and, it only pertains to the “Russian sector,” so, it is possible that additional declines occurred in other portions of the Arctic Ocean as well. Likely the source of Ahlmann’s comments and the source of Dr. Mahoney’s data are one and the same. But even so, they seem to provide tantalizing evidence that large-scale sea ice variations took place in Arctic sea ice extent prior to human alteration of the earth’s greenhouse effect.
Perhaps the revelation of this early Russian sea ice data will cause modern day ice researchers to scratch their heads even more than they are doing already when trying to understand the processes that are involved in controlling Arctic sea ice conditions. Read more here.
California is now heavily populated with homes everywhere. People move their because, as the song from the 60s goes, “it never rains in southern California”. The region attracts people because it is warm and dry. When the area was not populated there were frequent smaller fires which burned away lots of brush. But as people move in those fires are controlled so the brush accumulates adding more fuel to the fires—literally. When the normal heat and normal Santa Ana winds combine with this accumulated fuel the fires we’ve seen are the result.
And at least one study of wildfires in the West, published in Science, recently found no increase in wildfires in southern California. In addition here are the actual raw precipitation rates for Fairmont, California as provided by the U.S. Historical Climate Network. I don’t see a pattern of increased dryness over earlier years in the last century. And in Brawley, California the statistics from USHCN show the driest period in recent history was from around 1940 to 1975 and that the last 25 years were actually wetter.
And both these stations were picked precisely because they are in the midst of the fire regions.The reality is that, once again, any event that is tragic or unfortunate is being exploited to push warming alarmism. Media pundits and environmental activists do this routinely. And what science they may have on their side of the debate is discredited because of it. No doubt they will next trot out Al Gore to preach to the sinners about the evils of consumption and other such vices.
Read full blog and see plots here.
By Bill Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Tribune
This swing to subjective journalism on environmental issues began decades ago. But it reached a tipping point in 2001, when both U.S. News & World Report and Time jettisoned all pretense of objectivity and cranked out sensationalized cover stories about the various apocalypses that anthropogenic global warming was certain to bring to our tender planet. Since then, most mainstream journalists effectively have decreed that the global warming debate is over, that man’s fossil-fuel burning is the primary culprit and that anyone who doesn’t parrot the James Hansen-Laurie David party line is in bed with ExxonMobil or is the moral and intellectual equivalent of a Holocaust denier.
Scientific American has devolved into a huckster for Al Gore. The senile tough guys at “60 Minutes” have gone soft. Only John Stossel of ABC’s “20/20” can be counted on to regularly challenge the media’s alarmist consensus on climate change. Compare skeptic Stossel to Anderson Cooper. For his laughably one-sided “Planet in Peril” special last week, Cooper jetted to Greenland’s treacherous ice sheets to demonstrate, ad nauseam, that global warming is causing glaciers there to melt at a faster rate than 10 years ago.
No ice chip of skepticism threatened CNN’s scary story line. Cooper—who made a major gaffe when he said 40 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet had gone away in the last 40 years—did manage to admit it was not likely the island’s 630,000 cubic miles of ice were going to melt anytime soon. See full story here.
By Noel Sheppard, Newsbusters
As media regularly accuse every scientist skeptical of man’s role in global warming as being on the payroll of Big Oil, you almost never see a news report addressing the funding of those responsible for spreading climate alarmism. This all changed Thursday when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an op-ed by the John Locke Foundation’s Paul Chesser detailing how one environmental advocate receives funds from largely liberal donors to encourage state governments to impose strict regulations on all things speculated to be causing global warming.
Chesser’s fabulous exposé began: Imagine you are an advocacy group and want to sway a government’s policy development, but really want to keep your activism a secret. You could learn a lot by observing and then avoiding the practices of the Center for Climate Strategies, a group of global warming worrywarts.
CCS in recent years has approached many states, including Washington, with an inexpensive, tantalizing offer: to establish and manage a process for climate change policy development. The results are a study legitimized by government that promotes onerous regulations, property rights infringement through smart growth initiatives, and new taxes and fees on fuels and utilities. Read more here.