A smarmy article in Politico has gained a wide audience in recent days after being featured on the Yahoo homepage. It includes extensive reporting peppered with many quotes. The theme is the tendency among Republican candidates for high office this year to be more explicit in challenging the science of global warming. Some say it is not true, others say it is not proven and still others say that even if true and proven we cannot cure it by bankrupting ourselves with restrictive legislation.
The reporter, Darren Samuelsohn, grants the final say to Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters. "Republicans running for Senate, House and governor who question the sound and settled science of climate change are following in the footsteps of a Republican leadership team that is heavily financed by and strongly influenced by Big Oil," he said. This despite Politico's own reporting in previous articles that oil companies have been giving evenly to Democrats and Republicans since 2008, with Barack Obama receiving more from BP than any politician over the last twenty years.
Putting aside the asinine comment by this activist bully, who should never have been quoted in a serious analysis, we have a presentation which assumes a series of points. 1. Global warming is scientifically proven. 2. No serious thinker would legitimately dispute this premise. 3. Any politician maintaining otherwise is either ignorant, pandering to ignorant constituents or corrupted by venality.
My challenge to Mister Samuelsohn and his too-numerous-to-enumerate brethren practicing putatively objective journalism is to stop picking a fight with politicians who can be accused of pettiness. Stand up and do battle with me, a public intellectual with no interest beyond the truth. I spend my life reading and studying for the sole purpose of educating myself sufficiently to provide salutary guidance to readers. What I say here is what I believe (if I held otherwise I would be saying it in The Nation), if anything toned down a tad in the interests of diplomatic discourse.
NOW THAT IT'S YOU AND ME, PAL, here we go. Not only is global warming not true, not only is it not proven, but any reasonable person can determine those things by thinking straight with no prejudice.
Firstly, the theory of global warming currently espoused is only about twenty years old. It was not developed by millions of scientists simultaneously cross-checking data from multiple disciplines. There has been no trillion dollars of governmental research. No Manhattan project, no space program. We all read the newspapers and we are well aware when huge world-beating globally interacting monumentally financed projects are being carried out over decades. Nothing of the sort happened here. Pfizer spent more developing Lipitor and devoted more lab hours to that end than this entire misbegotten venture can boast.
Take a moment to think about this. The very fact that the nerve center of all research on global warming is East Anglia University should tell you all you need to know, even were the professorial e-mails generated there models of pristine objectivity. Wait, East Anglia, isn't that where they split the atom?
Secondly, the field of climatology is in its infancy and has never proven itself. It has not demonstrated the ability to predict accurately the weather conditions of the next year, the next decade, the next century. Until quite lately, we never heard of climatology. All weather-related information, whether practical or theoretical, was in the purview of meteorology. Here is a thought experiment: can you name a single famous climatologist? A single major theory developed by this field? A single major innovation credited to this discipline? This is not an area populated by Einsteins and Fermis, with all due respect.
Thirdly, the theory of global warming has not been tested nor can it possibly be without a few hundred years, perhaps a few thousand years. The first rule of "sound and settled' science is that a theory must be falsifiable. The only way to disprove the projection of continued warming is to observe the opposite, or the lack thereof, over the coming centuries. Thus, at the very best this theory is a speculation which is prevented by circumstances from being verifiable any time soon. Whatever warming has occurred thus far has been slight, about one degree over the past hundred years.
Additionally, as I have pointed out in a previous column, these same scientists agree that the earth is some thirteen billion years old. That does not sound like a heck of a lot in the world of Obama where we borrow that many dollars every three days. But in mathematical terms, that 13,000,000,000 is an awful lot of zeroes. In climatological terms, that means the stability of planetary temperature has survived every imaginable permutation.
Okay, I'm just warming up, no pun intended. For today let's stop right here. We have seen that a group of no-name scientists in a field with no track record have produced without much research an unproven and unprovable theory which assumes that the earth could survive the Ice Age and the Stone Age but not the Cadillac Age. And you mean to tell me that any politician who raises an eyebrow has to lower his profile? Piffle, I say. You lose, Mister Samuelsohn, and I did not even need the obvious Son-of-Sam joke to put you away.