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Friday, Jul 25, 2014

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Climate-change denial: Not just for know-nothings

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It’s not just know-nothings, oil bidness billionaires and other self-interested greed-heads who resist or deny the “scientific consensus” behind man-made global climate change. As readers of the Wall Street Journal were reminded Thursday, certain bona fide climate scientists also flatly reject the findings of their peers.

This is important because doom-and-gloom climatologists, in concert with social scientists and power-grabbing political leaders, forecast doom (with Secretary of State John Kerry’s ill-timed speech in Indonesia Sunday as the most recent example of climatological hysteria) if we don’t fundamentally alter our energy infrastructure.

Here’s the essence of what well-credentialed authors Richard McNider and John Christy, professors of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and fellows of the American Meteorological Society, have to say:

“Most of us who are skeptical about the dangers of climate change actually embrace many of the facts that people like Bill Nye, the ubiquitous TV ‘science guy,’ say we ignore. The two fundamental facts are that carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased due to the burning of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, trapping heat before it can escape into space.

“What is not a known fact is by how much the Earth’s atmosphere will warm in response to this added carbon dioxide. The warming numbers most commonly advanced are created by climate computer models built almost entirely by scientists who believe in catastrophic global warming. The rate of warming forecast by these models depends on many assumptions and engineering to replicate a complex world in tractable terms, such as how water vapor and clouds will react to the direct heat added by carbon dioxide or the rate of heat uptake, or absorption, by the oceans.

“We might forgive these modelers if their forecasts had not been so consistently and spectacularly wrong. From the beginning of climate modeling in the 1980s, these forecasts have, on average, always overstated the degree to which the Earth is warming compared with what we see in the real climate.”

Comparing the current stubborn “consensus” to similar 18th-Century obstinacy by the British Admiralty’s onshore Sick and Health Board of scientists and physicians over the cause of scurvy (in the face of good results by ships’ captains who regularly took on stores of fresh vegetables and fruits), McNider and Christy conclude:

“ ‘Consensus’ science that ignores reality can have tragic consequences if cures are ignored or promising research is abandoned. The climate-change consensus is not endangering lives, but the way it imperils economic growth and warps government policy making has made the future considerably bleaker. The recent Obama administration announcement that it would not provide aid for fossil-fuel energy in developing countries, thereby consigning millions of people to energy poverty, is all too reminiscent of the Sick and Health Board denying fresh fruit to dying British sailors.

“We should not have a climate-science research program that searches only for ways to confirm prevailing theories, and we should not honor government leaders, such as Secretary Kerry, who attack others for their inconvenient, fact-based views.”


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