In the opening chapter of The Assault on Reason, its seldom reasonable author accuses the Bush administration of exploiting people's fears "to short-circuit debate and drive the public agenda without regard to the evidence, the facts, or the public interest."
Shamelessly abusing lingering September 11th and nascent Iraq anxieties, he argues that the roles of "reason, logic and truth" have been eroded from the American decision-making process. This lack of focus and clarity, charges Al Gore, is personified by an administration that ignores expert advice, circumvents analysis and debate, and suppresses evidence to promote predetermined, agenda driven policies.
What's most confounding about these stinging allegations is that they were penned by the very same man whose Oscar awarded fear-exploitation-film proclaimed - in a gross distortion of prevailing evidence and facts -- that:
"Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet's climate system into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced -- a catastrophe of our own making."
Indeed, Gore's cataclysmic forecasts of worldwide famine, rising sea-levels, vanishing species, et al, are themselves the very epitome of the same agenda-driven, illogical, expert advice cherry-picking, closed debate, unfounded fear-mongering he devotes the majority of his recent Bush-bashing book to deriding.
For over 15 years, Al Gore has painstakingly ravaged all non-anthropogenic (NA) climate change theories (solar, cosmic, volcanic, etc) along with those scientists advancing them. During that same period, he has helped craft a worldwide global warming orthodoxy which holds the misdeeds of homo sapiens sacrosanct to its dogma and has pulverized anyone in its self-righteous path "without regard to the evidence, the facts, or the public interest." (See Gore's Grave New World)
Reason, Logic, Analysis and Debate
Can there truly exist any reason in such visceral antagonism to natural causation hypotheses given that solar fluctuations throughout retrievable history (observed as sunspots, auroras, etc) tend to sympathize with available climate proxies (e.g. tree-ring chronologies, glacial core and sea sediment samples and other repositories of plant and animal materials)?
In his recent National Post essay, noted Paleoclimatologist R. Timothy Patterson lends voice to the countless researchers who suggest not:
"Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change."
Patterson cites numerous studies correlating variances in solar output with shifts in solar wind, which in turn impact upon galactic cosmic ray atmospheric penetration and, ultimately, cloud formation on Earth. Increased solar output thereby warms the planet in 2 ways -- by direct radiation and decreased cloud cover. Conversely, when the sun is less bright:
"More cosmic rays are able to get through to Earth's atmosphere, more clouds form, and the planet cools more than would otherwise be the case due to direct solar effects alone. This is precisely what happened from the middle of the 17th century into the early 18th century, when the solar energy input to our atmosphere, as indicated by the number of sunspots, was at a minimum and the planet was stuck in the Little Ice Age. These new findings suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change."
Is it logical, therefore, to disregard all possible forces beyond mankind-emitted CO2 based primarily on hypothetical computer models? Or reasonable to brand those arguing the gas's contribution or suggesting an alternate cause and effect relationship (oceans warmed by NA forces produce more CO2, rather than manmade CO2 causing the warming) as duplicitous shills of big oil interests?
Particularly when, as Patterson points out:
"By comparison [to solar influence], CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales."
So why do so many scientists continue to sing the Al Gore C-shanty?
Reid A. Bryson, the Emeritus Professor and founding chairman of the University of Wisconsin's Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences knows a thing or two about the subject. As recipient of only the 30th PhD in Meteorology granted in the history of American education, he is often referred to as the father of modern scientific climatology, much as Al Gore ought be credited as the father of modern hysterical climatology. And, while the professor considers all the hype over Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) "a bunch of hooey," he certainly appreciates that:
"There is a lot of money to be made in this. If you want to be an eminent scientist you have to have a lot of grad students and a lot of grants. You can't get grants unless you say, 'Oh global warming, yes, yes, carbon dioxide.'"
Given these patently extortive efforts to circumvent analysis and debate, how can the alarmist marching tune, "the debate is over," possibly resonate as either reasonable or logical in anyone's ears?
The Truth about the IPCC
Adding a false sense of legitimacy to the over-hyping of CO2's potential greenhouse gas (GHG) effect on warming is the oft-Gore-quoted yet woefully compromised Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These United Nations based "consensus builders" summarily dismiss solar activity in favor of more politically favorable culprits.
One former member and current outspoken critic of the panel testified to its bias before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in May of 2001. As I wrote following the release of the Working Group I Summary in February of this year, Dr. Richard Lindzen swore that, based on his experiences as a member, the IPCC was actually created specifically to support negotiations concerning CO2 emission reductions and would accept no contrary findings from its members:
"...throughout the drafting sessions, IPCC ‘coordinators' would go around insisting that criticism of models be toned down, and that ‘motherhood' statements be inserted to the effect that models might still be correct despite the cited faults. Refusals were occasionally met with ad hominem attacks. I personally witnessed coauthors forced to assert their ‘green' credentials in defense of their statements."
Perhaps it's the IPCC's assessment that they and only they already know the truth and can little afford allowing expert advice or facts to interfere with it.
To be sure, there's nothing to be gained by blaming either NA forces or the most abundant of the atmosphere's GHG's - naturally occurring water vapor. Yet, there's everything to be gained (fear yields regulation which, cleverly crafted, yields untold political power) by blaming a byproduct of human advancement - CO2. Both the UN and their EU kick-line are all too well aware of this progression, as are their newly restored majority cheerleaders in the U.S Congress.
It's no wonder the rebuke of Carbon is such a high priority to them: Between corrupt cap and trade schemes and the specter of limitless U.N regulatory powers, Karl Marx himself couldn't have envisioned a better potential wealth redistribution plan -- truth be damned.
And the Consequences
Among the many "consequences" of Global Warming alarmists portend, perhaps the most dramatic and overly hyped is a catastrophic sea-level rise resultant to melting glaciers, mountaintops and icebergs.
Gore believers were outraged when this year's IPCC Fourth Assessment cut previously inflated estimates of such rise completely in half. But even these relaxed numbers now appear to have been cooked in order to promote predetermined, agenda driven policies.
Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner is the head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden and, unlike any of the IPCC report writers, a bona fide expert on sea level changes. Dr. Mörner questions the IPCC use of computer based models to produce desired sea-level predictions which contradict the observable physical measurements of his fellow geologists.
Furthermore, the Doctor scathingly charged, in a recent interview, that the IPCC applied arbitrary "correction factors" to predictive data graphs, thereby artificially creating the illusion of uplift. The models would then match their own sea level observations based on tide gauges which themselves were a deliberate fraud:
"IPCC chose Hong Kong, which has six tide gauges, and they chose the record of one, which gives 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level. Every geologist knows that that is a subsiding area. It's the compaction of sediment; it is the only record which you shouldn't use. And if that figure is correct, then Holland would not be subsiding; it would be uplifting. And that is just ridiculous. Not even ignorance could be responsible for a thing like that."
Mörner describes myriad additional IPCC falsifications and even the destruction of a tree on a Maldive Island by IPCC hacks in an effort to suppress evidence that their sea-rise predictions were pure baloney.
So much for regard to evidence, facts, and the public interest, huh Al?
The Architects of Anxiety and Fear
In fact, when U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon wrote a WaPo piece this month actually blaming the genocide in Darfur on AGW, his was, not all that surprisingly, not the first. In fact, back in April, Stephan Faris had suggested in an Atlantic Monthly article that:
"The violence in Darfur is usually attributed to ethnic hatred. But global warming may be primarily to blame."
And yet, it is the Bush administration's alleged use of fear to further its agenda that Gore's book targets when the author cites Barry Glassner, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, who:
"argues that there are three techniques that together make up ‘fearmongering': repetition, making the irregular seem regular, and misdirection. By using these narrative tools, anyone with a loud platform can ratchet up public anxieties and fears, distorting public discourse and reason."
Say, Al, how about the repetition of the counterfeit phrase "the science is settled," when in fact thousands of papers are published on the subject each year? Or, perhaps, making the irregular concept of a gas essential to life on Earth (CO2) actually representing a life-adverse pollutant seem regular? Or how about the misdirection of claimed "consensus" among panelists when scientists with reasoned yet contrarian evidence, facts and theories are systematically denounced, defunded, demoted and, ultimately, demonized?
Are these not the same narrative tools for ratcheting up anxieties and fears and distorting public discourse that you speak of, Al - with which you and your doomsday legions launch your own implacable assaults on reason each and every day?
Note: Emphasis added throughout.