Political Climate
May 14, 2008
McCain’s Assault on Reason

By Roy Spencer, National Review On-line

John McCain’s global-warming speech on Monday made it clear that there will be no presidential candidate this year willing to question the assertion that global warming (a.k.a. “climate change”) is manmade, or the assertion that we can fix global warming by passing a few laws.

Along with Clinton and Obama, McCain’s proposal to attack global warming now gives voters three choices for a car color - as long as it is black. Like Clinton and Obama, McCain’s proposal involves a “cap and trade” mechanism to legislatively limit CO2 emissions in the coming years, with the free market minimizing the economic damage by allowing a trading of emission credits between companies. He also includes an allowance for carbon offsets, although everyone (except Al Gore) believes this to be more smoke-and-mirrors than a real-world strategy for reducing carbon emissions.

What worries me is the widespread misperception that we can do anything substantial about carbon emissions without seriously compromising economic growth. To be sure, forcing a reduction in CO2 emissions will help spur investment in new energy technologies. But so does a price tag of $126 for a barrel of oil. Finding a replacement for carbon-based energy will require a huge investment of wealth, and destroying wealth is not a very good first step toward that goal.

When the public finds out how much any legislation that punishes energy use is going to cost them, with no guarantee that anything we do will have a measurable impact on future climate, there will be a revolt just like the one now materializing in the U.K. and the EU. At some point, as they are faced with the stark reality that mankind’s requirement for an abundant source of energy cannot simply be legislated out of existence, the public will begin asking, “Just how sure are we that humans are causing global warming?”

And this is where the science establishment has, in my view, betrayed the public’s trust. Read more here.

May 13, 2008
Environmentalists’ Wild Predictions

By Walter E. Williams, Town Hall

Now that another Earth Day has come and gone, let’s look at some environmentalist predictions that they would prefer we forget. At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.” In 1968, Professor Paul Ehrlich, Vice President Gore’s hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and “in the 1970s ... hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” Ehrlich forecasted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Ehrlich’s predictions about England were gloomier: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome warning the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987 and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992. Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book “The Doomsday Book,” said Americans were using 50 percent of the world’s resources and “by 2000 they [Americans] will, if permitted, be using all of them.” In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, “The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000.”

Harvard University biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, “… civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” That was the same year that Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in Look Magazine, that by 1995 “… somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” Read more here.

Walter E. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from California State University (1965) and a master’s degree (1967) and doctorate (1972) in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1980, he joined the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and is currently the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.

May 12, 2008
The Hockey Stick Scam That Heightened Global Warming Hysteria

By Dr. Tim Ball in The Canada Free Press

By the time of the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR), the politics and hysteria about climate change had risen to a level that demanded clear evidence of a human signal.  An entire industry had developed round massive funding from government.  A large number of academic, political, and bureaucratic careers had evolved and depended on expansion of the evidence. Environmentalists were increasing pressure on the public and thereby politicians. In addition, the bar of proof was raised by claiming the 20th century and especially the last decade had 9 of the 10 warmest years in history; warming beyond anything previous and therefore unnatural.  These claims were to become their downfall because, as some climate experts knew, there were much warmer periods in the historic record. There were hundreds of research papers from a wide variety of sources confirming the existence of a period warmer than today just a thousand years ago known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP).

This period was clearly warmer than present temperatures and warmer than some computer model predictions for the future. Its existence was a serious problem because it negated the claims that the 20th century temperatures were unprecedented. What to do? This was effectively done by what became known as the “hockey stick”.  The name came from the shape of a graph which showed no temperature increase for 1000 years (the handle) with a sudden rise in the 20th century (the blade). It was ideal, two strikes with one event. The MWP was gone and the sudden rise in the 20th century was clearly unnatural. It had to be due to human activity. 

Research that produced the hockey stick came from dendroclimatology, the reconstruction of past climates from tree ring data--but they tacked on modern temperature data for the blade. They incorrectly assumed tree rings are only a function of temperature and cherry-picked those trees that gave the desired result. When challenged on this, one dendroclimatologist justified this practice by telling a US Congressional committee, “You have to pick cherries if your are going to make cherry pie.”

Read more of this disgraceful part of the history of our great science here. A great place to start for newbies on this issue. 

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