Climate Change Debate Over? It's Just Begun!

Ronald Reagan used to say of the Soviets that they liked the arms race a whole lot better when they were the only ones in it. The same could be said of Al Gore and global warming -- oops, excuse me: climate change. Mr. Gore was much happier to dash around the world in his water-vapor-powered personal jet to preach the green gospel of environmentalism. He would tell us which truths were inconvenient. Any dissenters were shouted down as "deniers." No pope would ever make claims as far-reaching, as extravagant, or as all-embracing as Saint Al did.

But now comes the pushback. Just before the World Summit on Climate Change at Copenhagen last December, several hundred e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were leaked. It appeared that Dr. Phil Jones had urged colleagues, including some at Penn State University, to "hide the decline" in world temperatures and encouraged others to do some of their usual "tricks" to get the right result from ambiguous data. A huge scandal erupted, instantly dubbed "Climategate."

Jones stepped down as director of CRU and even went so far, he confessed to the Times of London, as to contemplate suicide. God forbid. Truly, these are serious questions, and we have serious objections to what Dr. Jones and his colleagues were caught doing, but we want no one involved in this affair to become so despondent as to take his own life. Dr. Jones says his hope for his five-year-old granddaughter is what helped him to banish thoughts of self-destruction. "I wanted to see her grow up." Dr. Jones, I pray that you will.

If Al Gore has not become any humbler, it's at least good to see Dr. Jones somewhat chastened by the revelations that some of his data may not be as reliable as we have been led to believe. And it is not only the reading public that may have been misled. Dr. Jones' CRU is one of the primary institutions responsible for feeding data to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It was this IPCC that shared with Al Gore the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. (Note: They did not win the Nobel Prize for Science.)

The Left is wringing its hands over the "failure" of the World Climate Summit at Copenhagen to approve a binding treaty. But perhaps they should thank God (or Gore) for that fact. That's because the mere threat of job-killing cap-and-trade legislation has been enough for independent voters in the U.S. to abandon left-leaning politicians in droves.

Along with stiff carbon taxes and straitjacket regulations inevitably comes population control. At Copenhagen, China's Peggy Liu, chair of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, bragged about Beijing's brutal one-child policy. That policy, said this winner of Time Magazine's "Hero of the Environment" award, "reduces energy demand and is arguably the most effective way the country can mitigate climate change."

Soviet Communist Party boss Joe Stalin would be proud. "You have a problem with a man. If you get rid of the man, you get rid of the problem," said the top Communist of the Twentieth Century. (Come to think of it, Uncle Joe Stalin even topped Peggy Liu. He was named Time's Man of the Year not once, but twice -- 1939 and 1942.)

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times hails China's one-child policy as "reasonably enlightened." He likes the fact that Beijing's rulers -- unburdened by those pesky voters voting out their betters -- can "impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century." Friedman's bestselling book is titled The World is Flat. (And liberals accuse us of being the Flat Earth Society?)

Isn't it really funny how all the "errors" made by the climate scientists seem to fall on one side of the debate? If the glaciers of the Himalayas are all going to melt by 2035, that's a real problem. But if they're not expected to melt until 2350, it's another matter. Guess which date the IPCC chose to publish? Just a typo?

What if the globe is indeed warming, but the warming is part of a cyclical pattern of warming and cooling? That's the thesis of Dr. S. Fred Singer. Dr. Singer and co-author Dennis Avery write in Unstoppable Global Warming that "evidence from North Atlantic deep-sea cores reveals that abrupt shifts punctuated what is conventionally thought to have been a relatively stable Holocene [interglacial] climate. During each of these episodes, cool, ice-bearing waters from north of Iceland were advected as far south as the latitude of Britain. At about the same times, the atmospheric circulation above Greenland changed abruptly....Together, they make up a series of climatic shifts with a cyclicity close to 1470 years (plus or minus 500 years). The Holocene events, therefore, appear to be the most recent manifestation of a pervasive millennial-scale climatic cycle operating independently of the glacial-interglacial climate state (emphasis added)."

Dr. Singer has been abused by Left-wing bloggers, called a denier, and denounced as a tool of industry. He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, worked with NASA for decades, and is thoroughly conversant with satellite measurements of earth's climate. And he taught environmental sciences at the University of Virginia for twenty-five years. Dr. Singer might be wrong. He might be seriously in error. But so far, no one has demonstrated that his arguments are wrong. Reviling him, calling him names, trying to shut him up and close him down -- none of this constitutes a reasoned argument. It is nothing more than (in the words of Al Gore) an assault on reason. Stay tuned, folks. The earth may be warming -- but not as fast as the debate over climate is heating up.

Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union and National Rifle Association. 
Ronald Reagan used to say of the Soviets that they liked the arms race a whole lot better when they were the only ones in it. The same could be said of Al Gore and global warming -- oops, excuse me: climate change. Mr. Gore was much happier to dash around the world in his water-vapor-powered personal jet to preach the green gospel of environmentalism. He would tell us which truths were inconvenient. Any dissenters were shouted down as "deniers." No pope would ever make claims as far-reaching, as extravagant, or as all-embracing as Saint Al did.

But now comes the pushback. Just before the World Summit on Climate Change at Copenhagen last December, several hundred e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were leaked. It appeared that Dr. Phil Jones had urged colleagues, including some at Penn State University, to "hide the decline" in world temperatures and encouraged others to do some of their usual "tricks" to get the right result from ambiguous data. A huge scandal erupted, instantly dubbed "Climategate."

Jones stepped down as director of CRU and even went so far, he confessed to the Times of London, as to contemplate suicide. God forbid. Truly, these are serious questions, and we have serious objections to what Dr. Jones and his colleagues were caught doing, but we want no one involved in this affair to become so despondent as to take his own life. Dr. Jones says his hope for his five-year-old granddaughter is what helped him to banish thoughts of self-destruction. "I wanted to see her grow up." Dr. Jones, I pray that you will.

If Al Gore has not become any humbler, it's at least good to see Dr. Jones somewhat chastened by the revelations that some of his data may not be as reliable as we have been led to believe. And it is not only the reading public that may have been misled. Dr. Jones' CRU is one of the primary institutions responsible for feeding data to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It was this IPCC that shared with Al Gore the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. (Note: They did not win the Nobel Prize for Science.)

The Left is wringing its hands over the "failure" of the World Climate Summit at Copenhagen to approve a binding treaty. But perhaps they should thank God (or Gore) for that fact. That's because the mere threat of job-killing cap-and-trade legislation has been enough for independent voters in the U.S. to abandon left-leaning politicians in droves.

Along with stiff carbon taxes and straitjacket regulations inevitably comes population control. At Copenhagen, China's Peggy Liu, chair of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, bragged about Beijing's brutal one-child policy. That policy, said this winner of Time Magazine's "Hero of the Environment" award, "reduces energy demand and is arguably the most effective way the country can mitigate climate change."

Soviet Communist Party boss Joe Stalin would be proud. "You have a problem with a man. If you get rid of the man, you get rid of the problem," said the top Communist of the Twentieth Century. (Come to think of it, Uncle Joe Stalin even topped Peggy Liu. He was named Time's Man of the Year not once, but twice -- 1939 and 1942.)

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times hails China's one-child policy as "reasonably enlightened." He likes the fact that Beijing's rulers -- unburdened by those pesky voters voting out their betters -- can "impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century." Friedman's bestselling book is titled The World is Flat. (And liberals accuse us of being the Flat Earth Society?)

Isn't it really funny how all the "errors" made by the climate scientists seem to fall on one side of the debate? If the glaciers of the Himalayas are all going to melt by 2035, that's a real problem. But if they're not expected to melt until 2350, it's another matter. Guess which date the IPCC chose to publish? Just a typo?

What if the globe is indeed warming, but the warming is part of a cyclical pattern of warming and cooling? That's the thesis of Dr. S. Fred Singer. Dr. Singer and co-author Dennis Avery write in Unstoppable Global Warming that "evidence from North Atlantic deep-sea cores reveals that abrupt shifts punctuated what is conventionally thought to have been a relatively stable Holocene [interglacial] climate. During each of these episodes, cool, ice-bearing waters from north of Iceland were advected as far south as the latitude of Britain. At about the same times, the atmospheric circulation above Greenland changed abruptly....Together, they make up a series of climatic shifts with a cyclicity close to 1470 years (plus or minus 500 years). The Holocene events, therefore, appear to be the most recent manifestation of a pervasive millennial-scale climatic cycle operating independently of the glacial-interglacial climate state (emphasis added)."

Dr. Singer has been abused by Left-wing bloggers, called a denier, and denounced as a tool of industry. He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, worked with NASA for decades, and is thoroughly conversant with satellite measurements of earth's climate. And he taught environmental sciences at the University of Virginia for twenty-five years. Dr. Singer might be wrong. He might be seriously in error. But so far, no one has demonstrated that his arguments are wrong. Reviling him, calling him names, trying to shut him up and close him down -- none of this constitutes a reasoned argument. It is nothing more than (in the words of Al Gore) an assault on reason. Stay tuned, folks. The earth may be warming -- but not as fast as the debate over climate is heating up.

Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union and National Rifle Association. 

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