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March 9, 2009
First Dispatch from the Climate Sanity Front
Sunday – March 8th – NYC. For the next 2 ½ days, I will be assuming the role of your humble correspondent at this year’s International Conference on Climate Change – where the only alarm I expect to hear will be waking me for breakfast. Each evening, I will attempt to homogenize my notes from both interviews and countless expert panel discussions I’ve attended that day.
There are some amazingly impressive names here at the beautiful Marriott Marquis in Times Square. And many will be presenting speeches and taking questions at the plenary meal sessions, as well as at the 6 main sessions, each comprised of four simultaneous panels discussing Paleoclimatology, Climatology, Climate Change Impacts, or Economics & Politics.
And the first thing I’d like to report is that we appear to be experiencing a “Reverse Gore Effect.” Unseasonably cold temperatures at last week’s DC global warming event have suddenly given way to an unseasonably warm metropolis for ours. Yesterday’s temps danced around in the 60’s like girls in calve-high patent leather boots. Can’t imagine the alarmists will miss the opportunity to exploit this exquisite turnabout. They’ve been bashing this – the gathering they rightly fear most -- for weeks.
Anyway, today was essentially a travel / arrival / reception day, and the only official business was the Opening Dinner in the massive Broadway Ballroom. But there’s already a feeling of excitement in the 380ppm CO2 air here
Dan Miller, Executive VP of main sponsor The Heartland Institute, welcomed the dining crowd of over 700 scientists, economists, legislators, policy activists, and media representatives and quickly turned the mike over to our MC, Heartland President Joseph Bast. Bast set forth some of the questions to be explored in the next few days, and highlighted one with this quote from the great Charles Krauthammer: “Other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy.”
This set the stage for the two featured speakers – President of both the Czech Republic and (currently) the European Union, Vaclav Klaus, and MIT meteorologist Dr. Richard Lindzen. (Note: I paraphrase throughout)
Klaus got an immediate laugh when he sighed and observed that “last year’s speech didn’t help much.” He then described his recent frustrating experience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he faced fellow participants who “took anthropogenic global warming for granted.” So you can imagine their response when he pointing out that Kyoto compliant nations have had ZERO effect on CO2 levels.
As the Czech president explained, WEF participants are interested in business, not temperature or CO2 or freedom. They profit from writing and speaking and carbon trading and investments in non-carbon fuel products.
Next came the topic of educating decision makers, as most policy makers subscribe to the idea that IPCC publications represent THE climate science. In truth, says Klaus, there is no fixed relationship between CO2 and temperatures, as clearly illustrated by the up and down temps of the 20th century despite the continuing rise in CO2. But enviros don’t really want to change our environment, but rather our behavior. That’s why they push preventive, not adaptive remedies.
Klaus brought the house down with his closer: Environmentalists claim to be saving the planet – but from what and whom? We need to protect US from THEM.
Next, our old friend Dr. Lindzen stood up and immediately countered his podium-mate’s comment about last year’s effectiveness with “we should never stop trying,” which, of course, was also quite well received.
Lindzen said we need to remind people of “a few certain truths our side sometimes forgets.” Being skeptical doesn’t make you a good scientist. Nor does endorsing GW make you a bad one, as doing so makes their lives easier (my emphasis throughout). And the good professor gave many examples of how underfunded scientists write a single paper endorsing GW and are suddenly inundated with offers. Even ambiguous science that can be easily spun is financially beneficial to the scientist, so they don’t complain about the spin.
Ever wonder why you never stop hearing about studies finding GW responsible for everything from kidney stones to bee populations? Explains Lindzen: It’s become standard that whatever you’re studying, include global warming’s effects in your proposal and you’ll get your funding.
The professor then segued into tech talk, explaining how climate models depend entirely on positive feedback and ignore the cooling effects of negative feedback, which nature does not. And that the warming alarmists alarm us about is so miniscule that there’s no need for any external forcing to achieve it. He believes most scientists are unaware that doubling or even tripling CO2 will have only marginal impacts on temperatures. And that when they do become aware, they’ll likely alter the data. Big laughs again.
To setup his closer, Lindzen charged that sustained flat global temperatures have proven that the assumptions of the IPCC were wrong. And that denying this must represent either “gross ignorance or gross dishonesty.”
And I’ll leave you this evening with his spot on punchline:
Unfortunately, when it comes to global warming hysteria, neither has been in short supply.