Recently, the Washington Post published an editorial, "Climate Insurance," insisting that "the Earth is warming," and that humans have been partly responsible. There are "few reputable scientists who would disagree," the paper said.
The Post was displaying its continued fealty to the official story. Nothing had changed, the paper was telling us. It would be ignoring the accumulating snowball of reports from news media around the world that have cast more and more doubt on the official theory.
A few days earlier, on a National Public Radio program in Washington, John Broder, who covers global warming for the New York Times, metaphorically raised his right hand and proclaimed his own loyalty to the warmist faith. When Diane Rehm asked him directly Broder said: "I believe there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate is warming, and that humans are responsible."
After the Post editorial appeared. I sent a letter to the paper, asking them to identify a few scientists who believe in man-made global warming and who are neither employed by government agencies, nor are members of university departments that receive climate-change grants from government agencies.
Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (a part of the Department of Commerce), averred on the same Diane Rehm program that "the planet is warming." I'm quite sure that all the scientists who work under her at NOAA agree. Ditto all the scientists who work under James Hansen at the Goddard Institute for Space Science (GISS), a NASA institute.
I want to try to get this idea across. Climate change alarmism has been promoted by government-paid scientists whose promotion of these scares has done wonders for government agency budgets. In requesting $5.6 billion for NOAA's 2011 budget -- up from $4.3 billion in FY 2009 -- Lubchenco said that the recent budget request "reflects the commitment of the President and the Secretary of Commerce to job creation, science and the environment."
Job creation! Who at NOAA or NASA or GISS is going to jeopardize his or her job, or the government mission of job creation, by challenging the climate-change gravy train? Why is oil-company money said to subvert science, but not government money?
Government agencies have spent over $30 billion pursuing and promoting the global warming scare that keeps so many scientists and bureaucrats fully employed.
Meanwhile, Phil Jones, the University of East Anglia scientist at the center of the leaked emails, told the BBC recently that there hasn't been any statistically significant global warming since 1995.
How can the Washington Post or the New York Times make decisions about the truth of global warming without relying on the claims of government-funded scientists? They can't.
James Hansen was the crucial originator of the global warming scare and I imagine that in the years to come awe-filled books will be written about the scam that he came so close to pulling off. His goal was nothing less than bringing an end to the industrial age. Recently, his political agenda has become more and more extreme and blatant. He flew to Europe to testify in defense of Greenpeace eco-terrorists, and has referred to trains carrying coal to power plants as "death trains."
I believe that Hansen's science is inseparable from his politics and it's an extraordinary scandal that the head of a government institute should be engaged in blatant political agitation on behalf of the "science" that he himself largely cooked up. But the one thing that he has never had to worry about is that reporters in the mainstream media will ever ask him an awkward question.
Here is one report you will not have read about. Neither the Post nor the Times has covered it. At the end of January two meteorologists names Joseph D'Aleo and Anthony Watts put out a 110-page report titled "Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?" It is available on the web. Here is what it says in a nutshell.
Global temperature cannot be measured at one place, obviously. You have to take readings at many different locations around the world; then you go back year after year and compile a lengthy record to see if the average temperature has been increasing with time. What D'Aleo and Watts tell us is that the government agencies compiling this data kept changing the places where the surface temperature was measured. Here is a quote from page 6 of their report:
Around 1990, NOAA began weeding out more than three quarters of the climate measuring stations around the world.… It can be shown that they systematically and purposefully, country by country, removed higher-latitude, higher-altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler.
Science and Environmental Policy Project's Fred Singer, a longtime skeptic who today is independent of any government or grant-seeking biases, told me recently that some bureaucrats in Siberia in the Soviet era would deliberately report low temperatures in their godforsaken locations in order to qualify for higher fuel allocations from Moscow. Hence, again, the source of the more recent "increase."
Singer founded the National Weather Bureau's Satellite Service Center and was its first director. He has long insisted that only satellite temperature readings -- available from 1980 onward -- can be relied upon to be free of human and political bias. Global satellite readings have shown no warming throughout that 30-year period.
On one point everyone might agree. Assembling worldwide surface temperature data today and comparing it with data from decades earlier is an immensely complex task; comparing it over a period of centuries, when we must rely on such proxies as tree rings and ice cores, is even more difficult.
Then, if there has been some change in average temperatures over time, claiming that human activity was the cause raises the level of difficulty and uncertainty to a much higher level still. Some scientists (including Singer) insist that no such determination (blaming humans for the warming) can be made. The problem is that the number of variables is so large and the uncertainty surrounding each is so great that no proper scientific determination can be made. It's like a single equation with ten variables. It cannot be solved.
I can hardly expect readers to accept everything that I say but let me reassure you of this. If you are interested in the subject and want to know more, a vast amount of material is available on the web. If you have a couple of weeks with nothing else to do, you might be able to scratch the surface. Here are a few websites, from both the skeptical and the official point of view.
ClimateDepot, run by Marc Morano, gives a useful daily roundup of skeptical news; "Watts Up With That?" (Anthony Watts) is one of the most read sites; Joe D'Aleo's Icecap.us is another. Go to ClimateAudit for the Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre and the economist Ross McKitrick. Between them they dismantled the infamous hockey stick (alleging a sudden increase in global temperatures in recent decades). "The Week That Was" started by Fred Singer, is another valuable weekly compilation of skeptical news.
For the official version go to NASA GISS (Hansen), NOAA, and RealClimate.org. At the last you will hear from the likes of Michael Mann and other seekers after U.S. government "climate change" grants. Former New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin now does a Times blog called Dot Earth. He is sometimes worth reading.
There is vastly more material here than you will ever be able to absorb. I realized as I ploughed my way through it, or some of it, that the conclusion is encouraging. I am confident now that the official version is going to be overwhelmed, and that the mainstream media reporters are going to be overwhelmed, too. They are right now facing their own Tsunami of dissent. Politicians know very well what is happening, and cap and trade will not pass the U.S. Senate.
Coverage at such warm-supporting organs as the Washington Post and the New York Times has been reduced to a strategy of denial. They have been forced to deny that that there is any problem with the official story beyond what the climate officials themselves admit (and they admit very little -- little more than typos).
But it doesn't matter. The web has made all the difference and the reporters working to uphold the official version have more and more been forced into a defensive crouch. The exposure of this massive fraud will be a watershed in the history of environmentalism and it will continue to unfold whatever the mainstream media think or say.