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The warm period has been recognized in the climate textbooks for decades, and it was an obvious embarrassment to those claiming that the 20th-century warming was a true anomaly. Also, the earlier changes occurred when fossil-fuel consumption could hardly have been the culprit. They would prove that warming could occur without human intervention.
Consider, in this context, the experience of David Deming with the University of Oklahoma’s College of Geosciences. In 1995, he published a paper in the journal Science, reviewing the evidence showing that bore hole data showed a warming of about one degree Celsius in North America over the last 100 to 150 years. Deming continues:
Whether intentionally or not, that is exactly what Mann’s “hockey stick” did.
Once doomsayers convince us that we are experiencing something new, they feel free to claim that we face a catastrophe. They can extrapolate from the minor and beneficial warming that we may (or may not) have experienced in the last generation and argue that temperatures will keep on rising until the ice caps melt and cities flood.
Then the hockey stick was challenged by a Toronto minerals consultant named Stephen McIntyre, who, remarkably, had no credentials as a climatologist. He spent two years and $5,000 of his own money trying to uncover Mann’s methods. Mann at first did give him some information, but then cut him off saying he didn’t have time to respond to “every frivolous note” from nonscientists. McIntyre was joined by another Canadian, and in 2003 they published a critical article. Mann had “used flawed methods that yield meaningless results.”
In a rebuttal, Mann revealed new information that had not appeared in his original paper. It had been published in the British journal Nature, which later published a correction. McIntyre thinks there may be more errors but still doesn’t know how the graph was generated. Mann has refused to release his secret formula. A Wall Street Journal reporter doggedly pursued the matter and contacted Mann. He told the reporter: “Giving them the algorithm would be giving in to the intimidation tactics that these people are engaged in.”
Michael Mann now concedes it is plausible that past temperature variations may have been larger than thought. Fred Singer, a leading critic of warming scares and founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, says that “the hockey stick is dead.” He was recently nominated by warmists to receive the First Annual Flat Earth Award for being “the year’s most prominent global warming denier.” Nominated along with him were Rush Limbaugh and Michael Crichton, the thriller writer.
IN HIS RECENT BOOK State of Fear, Crichton unexpectedly emerged as a powerful critic of modish conclusions about global warming. He studied the subject for a couple of years before writing his recent book, to which he added an appendix comparing global-warming science to eugenics. Earlier, in a speech at Caltech, he had compared it to the search for extraterrestrials (which he says is based on bogus science). There may have been some warming as a part of a natural trend, Crichton allows. But “no one knows how much of the present trend might be natural or how much man-made.”
“Open and frank discussion” of global warming is being suppressed, he believes. One indication is that “so many of the outspoken critics of global warming are retired professors.” They can speak freely because they are no longer seeking grants or facing colleagues “whose grant applications and career advancement may be jeopardized by their criticisms.”
Environmentalists have become adept at de-legitimizing their opponents by saying they are “supported by industry,” but studies funded by environmentalist organizations are “every bit as biased,” Crichton added. They have become a special interest like any other, with legislative goals and millions spent on lobbying.
Myron Ebell, who works for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in Washington, D.C., one of the few groups that examines global-warming claims skeptically, says that environmentalism is now a $1.5 billion industry. In Washington, skeptics (like himself) are outnumbered by global warming advocates perhaps by a margin of 300 to one. Yet CEI, greatly underfunded by comparison with groups like the Sierra Club, tends to be characterized in the media as “industry supported.” The enviros’ problem is that they have “everything going for them except the facts,” Ebell says.
Some environmentalists have begun to echo the complaint that they are a special interest. A few months ago, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Norhaus wrote a widely circulated 14,000-word essay called “The Death of Environmentalism.” It “provoked a civil war among tree huggers,” Nicholas D. Kristof wrote in the New York Times. In effect, it was a cry of anguish: Why have we been unable to win on our top issues, especially global warming? They called it “the world’s most serious ecological crisis,” which “may kill hundreds of millions of human beings over the next century.” They looked back to their golden age in the 1970s — the time when they began “using science to define the problem as ‘environmental.’”
“Using science” is what they were doing, all right, and the rest of us were blinded by it, for about 25 years. But the problem wasn’t that the use of science had led them to propose unattractive “technical fixes,” when they should have been appealing to something larger in the human spirit. The problem was that their science was never very good to begin with. And as its inadequacies became more apparent, their scare tactics became more apparent, too.
To keep the money rolling in, environmentalists always need a crisis. It looks as though they will have to cook up a new one.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?