Preaching the climate catechism
Mon 29 Jan 2007
Section: Issues & Ideas
Byline: Lorne Gunter
On Friday, the United Nations' global warming spin factory will switch into high gear with the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest report.
Actually, the spin will come mostly in the Summary for Policy Makers. The report itself, running to several hundred pages, will consist mostly of dry scientific papers that are usually far less definitive about the causes and effects of climate change.
Expect the summary -- which is not written by scientists, but by politicians and activists -- to be highly alarmist. It will almost certainly insist that since the last report in 2001, proof of a coming man-made climate disaster has mounted and the scientific consensus has grown stronger.
It will infer the only solution is a massive remaking of industrialized society presided over by international bureaucrats and environmentalists.
Even the scientific papers in the IPCC report will have been doctored a bit. In past versions, scientists who have refused to swallow whole the orthodoxy that Earth is going to hell in a handbasket courtesy of SUVs, power plants and the consumer culture of the developed world have been dropped from the committees that write and review the IPCC report's individual chapters.
Their doubts, no matter how substantial and well-documented -- have been expunged from the final drafts.
You've no doubt heard there is an international scientific consensus that the planet is warming, that the warming will likely be catastrophic and it is being caused by human-produced emissions. The IPCC shows how this vaunted consensus is reached, not by getting all scientists to agree, but by defaming or ignoring those with opinions and research cast doubt on the dogma.
That's not science, it's shunning, the ancient religious punishment for heretics.
If you saw Al Gore's propaganda film, An Inconvenient Truth, you may be familiar with Naomi Oreskes, the University of California social scientist who claimed to have found 100% agreement among climate scientists. In a much-quoted article in Science magazine, Ms. Oreskes claimed that of the 928 scientific paper's whose abstracts she reviewed, not a single one disagreed with or raised objections to the man-made warming theory.
Not reported though -- because it doesn't reinforce the climate catechism -- was a review of Ms. Oreskes' report by British scientist Benny Peiser. He found that Ms. Oreskes had failed to examine nearly 11,000 other climate reports that may or may not have supported her conclusion. And even among the 928 she carefully selected, only 2% "wholly endorsed the view that human activity is driving global warming," while several "actually opposed that conclusion," even though Ms. Oreskes claimed their support, too.
Remember headlines late last year such as "Greenhouse gases help make 2006 warmest year ever"? What didn't get reported was the fact those doom-laden records were based on only the first 11 months of last year. When the temperatures for December were added to the mix last week, 2006 turned out to be the coolest year in the past five.
But that hardly feeds the public hysteria needed to justify remaking the world's economies in the environmentalists' image.
The January issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, contains an article by scientists at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, in Liverpool concluding "the rates of sea level change observed over the past 20 years were not particularly unusual." In fact "the rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of the [20th] century in comparison with the latter part."
In the past decade, the Southern Hemisphere has warmed only half as fast as the Northern Hemisphere. Ice cover at the South Pole is expanding, rather than melting. Since 2003, the upper layer of the Atlantic has lost 25% of the extra heat it had built up in the past three decades. Worries that the Atlantic currents were slowing due to warming have been shown recently to be unfounded: For thousands of years, Atlantic currents have sped up and slowed down as they are doing now. And the broad consensus among solar scientists is that the Earth's warming is almost entirely explicable by increased solar activity that began about 100 years ago, and which will end around 2020.
But don't expect any of that to be in the IPCC's release. These inconvenient truths would be bad for the cause of international central planning.
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