Political Climate
Mar 03, 2008
Gore Vs Klaus

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

I will be at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York City this week sponsored by the Heartland Institute and many other organizations. Hundreds of the world’s leading scientists, economists, and policy analysts will come together to explore key issues overlooked by advocates of the theory of man-made global warming. There will be over 90 speakers presenting or discussing major climate issues. I am speaking on the importance of the oceans and sun in climate change.  At the conference I am looking forward to hear among all the others, Vaclav Klaus, Czech president speak on the issue of climate change. See a recent speech here. It will be interesting to see how much media coverage this conference gets.

It appears both sides of the issue recently have been getting more media coverage to the dismay of the alarmists. See Andy Revkin’s New York Times story “Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell” and the angry comments back.

I have seen Al Gore’s movie and read his speeches pushing for more action now. See his latest rant here in the AFP story ”Climate Crisis Getting Short Shrift in US President Race: Gore”. Gore used the stage at a prestigious Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Monterey, California, to call for activism to push climate change to the top of the candidates’ political agendas. “As important as it is to change the light bulbs, it is more important to change the laws,” Gore told an elite gathering of scientists, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and Internet superstars. “We have to become incredibly active as citizens in our democracy. In order to solve the climate crisis we have to solve the democracy crisis, and we have one.”

Meanwhile, Paul Klemperer, Oxford University’s Edgeworth professor of economics in the London Financial times notes ”If Climate Sceptics are Right, It is Time to Worry”. Al Gore says the science on global warming is clear and there is a major problem. Vaclav Klaus, Czech president, contends that climate change forecasts are speculative and unreliable. Whose claims are scarier? Of course, Mr Klaus exaggerates (he is a politician) but if he is partly right, we should be more concerned, not less. Likewise, if our understanding of climate systems is flawed, our best guess about the dangers we face may be less pessimistic, but extreme outcomes are more likely.

He continues “Mr Klaus is probably right that there are fewer certainties than many claim. Even commentators who support the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change point to methodological weaknesses in its economics. A UK High Court judge recently required that a list of “scientific errors” be sent to schools that show Mr Gore’s remarkable polemic, An Inconvenient Truth – confirming the impression that the film goes some way beyond established facts (Mr Gore is also a politician). The continuing scientific uncertainty about the pace of climate change should make us more concerned, not less. And it is those who doubt the climatologists’ models who should be the most frightened.”

Indeed we have more to fear from a sudden turn to colder if the cooling of the Pacific is more than a temporary blip and the next solar cycles are duds as more and more solar scientists believe. The last few decades will be looked on as a modern climate optimum.  Our colder eras historically have been periods of course of more snow and winter cold, spring floods and severe weather outbreaks, summer heat and drought in some key growing areas and early on more landfalling hurricanes.

Feb 29, 2008
Cold Water On ‘Global Warming’

By Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

It has almost become something of a joke when some “global warming” conference has to be cancelled because of a snowstorm or bitterly cold weather. But stampedes and hysteria are no joke—and creating stampedes and hysteria has become a major activity of those hyping a global warming “crisis.” They mobilize like-minded people from a variety of occupations, call them all “scientists” and then claim that “all” the experts agree on a global warming crisis. Their biggest argument is that there is no argument.

A whole cottage industry has sprung up among people who get grants, government agencies who get appropriations, politicians who get publicity and the perpetually indignant who get something new to be indignant about. It gives teachers something to talk about in school instead of teaching. Those who bother to check the facts often find that not all those who are called scientists are really scientists and not all of those who are scientists are specialists in climate. But who bothers to check facts these days?

A new and very different conference on global warming will be held in New York City, under the sponsorship of the Heartland Institute, on March 2nd to March 4th—weather permitting. It is called an “International Conference on Climate Change.” Its subtitle is “Global Warming: Truth or Swindle?” Among those present will be professors of climatology, along with scientists in other fields and people from other professions. They come from universities in England, Hungary, and Australia, as well as from the United States and Canada, and include among other dignitaries the president of the Czech Republic. There will be 98 speakers and 400 participants. The theme of the conference is that “there is no scientific consensus on the causes or likely consequences of global warming.”

The bigger problem is that this has long since become a crusade rather than an exercise in evidence or logic. Too many people are too committed to risk it all on a roll of the dice, which is what turning to empirical evidence is. Those who have a big stake in global warming hysteria are unlikely to show up at the conference in New York, and unfortunately that includes much of the media. Read more of the op ed here.

Feb 29, 2008
Are Drought-Tolerant Plants on the Horizon?

By the Scientific Alliance

The innovation which enabled every other aspect of human development was farming. There is nothing natural about clearing land and growing crops which have been bred to meet our own criteria and cannot survive in the wild. Whether they are grown intensively, organically, even bio-dynamically, is very much of secondary importance. We tend to forget this, because agriculture is so pervasive that it seems “natural”. In clearing forests we have changed the ecological balance completely, favouring some species and disadvantaging others. We would certainly not consider skylarks as native birds in the UK if farmers did not provide a suitable habitat.

But we are still wary of new developments in farming, perhaps because the pace of change has accelerated so much. Now, research reported by scientists from the University of California in San Diego and the University of Helsinki gives promise that drought-tolerant crop plants could become a reality. They have discovered the mechanism by which plants control the opening of leaf pores (stomata). Closing them at times of water stress could increase the chances of surviving drought, and probably help to make use of irrigation water more efficient. 

The researchers also found that the stomata close to protect the plant from damage when ozone levels rise, but at the same time this reduces the ability of carbon dioxide to be absorbed and so reduces overall photosynthetic efficiency. This is important because, other things being equal, higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase plant growth. The ability to influence plant growth and water use by genetic modification could yield enormous benefits in both industrialised and developing countries. Nevertheless, there will be those who resist the introduction of such crops. This is part of the Scientific Alliance Weekly Newsletter available here.

Icecap Note: Similarly this story in Science-A-Go-Go told of news in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of a new genetically modified (GM) tomato plant that can thrive in drought conditions. The research team, from Texas A&M University, modified tomato plants to over-express the gene AVP1, which resulted in stronger, larger root systems that made better use of limited water.


This may become more important because if the Pacific is cooling and we are returning to a colder era like the 1950s to 1970s, drought will become more prevalent in some key growing regions.

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