I suppose it was only a matter of time before the entire Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) issue ended up in the courts. And why should it not? Everything else does, eventually. Way back in 1988, in the midst of severe drought, Dr. Hansen of NASA issued an article about AGW. Global Warming was here, he declared. Human activity, namely in the form of Greenhouse Gases (CO2, Methane), was the cause. Later that summer the news magazine followed up with articles. Two years later, Al Gore published his The Earth in Balance. From that point on, AGW became more of an advocacy issue, and not a scientific one. As the Soviet Empire imploded, and pure Marxism suddenly died a short violent death, environmental issues became all the rage. Before you knew it, manufacturing toilets that flushed more than 2 gallons of water became a federal offence; destroying the habitat of the Snail darter could land a property owner in a prison cell with Bubba. Forest rangers in Montana and California began to take orders not from their respective bosses, but from Federal Judges. Saving the Earth became a full time vocation for everyone from elementary school teachers to UN officials. However, from a PR standpoint, the Movement lacked certain credibility. It was very top heavy in lawyers, spin artists, protesters, aging hippies, movie stars, and busybodies. What the movement really needed was the Imprimatur of Science.
In 1998 they got it. Doctors Mann, Bradley and Hughes published a series of papers known as MBH98 (the famous Hockey Stick temperature graph). The UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) gave MBH98 its stamp of approval without auditing the actual papers. It took Einstein eleven years to get his idea on relativity peer reviewed and proven. Mann’s data was approved immediately. Mann’s Hockey Stick graph took on an almost religious symbolism. The earth was not only warming fast, but it’s warming was catastrophic. The warming was not natural, but anthropogenic. Humans were destroying Gaia. Something must be done! Kyoto is what must be done! Here is where science and public policy mesh. According to most (even the President now admits AGW is serious), the “science is settled.” Everyone today is getting into the act. Not a day passes without an archeologist, paleontologist, botanist, geologist, or economist rendering a “study” about AGW. The summer of 2005 was the warmest summer since the Ice Age. AGW caused the east coast floods. AGW caused the bitterly cold winter in Eastern Europe. A recent poll even asked people how AGW affected their lives. Hysteria induced by groupthink reigns.
Of course the science is not settled. The June NAS Report artfully said MBH98 was correct, but the scientists used flawed methods and questionable data sets. By artful, I mean the committee said the science was wrong, but the results were correct. Also, the NAS Report casually reinserted the Little Ice Age (LIA) and Medieval Warm Period (MWP) back into the approved lexicon of climate studies — something Mann and others rejected. Congress last year asked the NAS (National Academy of Sciences) to review MBH98 for its accuracy. There were still a few people in Congress who wished to get a second opinion before consigning the U.S. economy to the ash heap of history. The almost knee jerk acceptance of MBH98 by the IPCC alarmed not just some in Congress, but also those involved in the field of research. Two Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, began to audit the findings of MBH98 themselves. From the beginning they began to find problems with the study. McIntyre published these findings in Nature magazine, and thus began the firestorms that eventually lead to congressional hearings and the NAS Report. McIntyre’s findings are very technical — they mainly deal with statistical methodologies, the accuracy of the Southwest Bristle Cone proxy, etc. The NAS Report recognized McIntyre’s findings, but in the end, the committee stood by the conclusions of MBH98 with certain caveats. The science may not be settled in their eyes, but the conclusions are. MBH98 findings are still correct — to a certain degree. Maybe.p>All of this may be a moot. Too many people have too much invested in AGW to let science steer the issue. Government bureaucrats, career government scientists, UN officials, former Marxists, Earthfirsters, as well as reputations of many who climbed on MBH98 bandwagon early on, cannot allow the slow pace of scientific research to stand in their way. Lawyers and judges may settle the policy questions with no regard for the science. Even the EPA, a regulatory agency, says they cannot regulate CO2, because Congress never gave them the legal means to do so. Besides, CO2 is vital for carbon based organisms (namely plants, animals, and humans). To say CO2 is a pollutant, and to regulate it as such is absurd. The EPA’s mandate is to regulate harmful pollutants. What many people are asking the EPA to do is to classify CO2 as a pollutant. Only Congress can do this — this they refuse to do. But that shouldn’t stop the activists, as everyone knows, Congress doesn’t write laws anymore — the courts do. One can only hope, there are five members of the SCOTUS who will write an opinion that reflects constitutional law, and not advocacy. br> — JP br> Indiana /p>
I can’t believe you published the following paragraph from “Taking a Molecule to Court.”. The paragraph states the global warming theory as though it were accepted fact. It is not! Scientists have not “connected the warming trend to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.” Only contorted versions of climate computer models have done that and then only in part. Other parts of the same models have simply proven themselves wrong.
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?