January 25, 2009
Climate: Change You Can't Believe In
Barack Obama campaigned for the White House on a promise he'd deliver "change you can believe in." And the popular totals suggest that 52% of voters believed indeed. But according to a recent Rasmussen Poll, there's one change that only 41% of Americans can believe in - manmade climate change. That's down from 47% just nine months ago, and before moving the country down an unpopular green-paved road to disaster, the "unity" promising freshman president would be well advised to understand why.
For starters, the rapidly expanding number of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) dissenting international scientists, many rising from within the alarmists' own ranks, has thoroughly shredded the misleading fallacy of "consensus." And a full decade sans warming and concluding with pronounced cooling despite ever-rising atmospheric CO2 levels has left Green House Gas (GHG) force-feeders with frosty egg on their faces. Remember the sea ice that doomsters warned would soon be gone? It's now at the very same level it was in 1979. And the sea level rise of 3.1 mm/year the IPCC declared took place between 1993 and 2003 -- purportedly as sea ice melted -- decreased by 20% to 2.5 mm/year in the five years that followed. That historically natural, centuries-long gradual creep falls a tad short of portending Al Gore's 20 foot tall civilization changing soaker.
We can't even believe in "official" measurements, as data sets relied upon to track global temperatures have again been shown to be contaminated and otherwise compromised in an effort to heighten public hysteria. Ironically, to a populace once confused by the mass media's heat hyping, clarity came not from scientific debate, nor CO2 concentration, nor bad data nor even ice and sea levels -- but rather from cold reality.
Record low temperatures and snowfall have caused misery everywhere from Slovenia (-49°C) to Sioux City (-20°F), and that's real change real people can believe in. Is it any wonder then that warnings of a coming ice age and forecasts of immediate sustained climatic cooling suddenly ring more plausible than those of a scorched and marginally inhabitable Roger Cormanesque planet laughably besieged by giant man-eating snakes, bubonic plague and even ravenous cannibals? Or that Thursday's Pew Research Center poll ranked global warming dead last in a list of 20 issues Americans want the new administration to focus on? Dead last!
Tough break for Liberal policy makers -- what with recent elections and political appointments breathing new hope into their lifelong dreams of commerce and lifestyle-dictating legislation and regulation, only to be dashed by the unpredictability of the very force they averred to predict.
So we're seeing the offense from the now defense-playing alarmists accelerate and intensify, for fear that as current cooling trends continue, the percentage of those blindly believing will plunge precipitously. Their bluff called, they are, in effect, "all-in" and must now play the hand they have dealt themselves -- and the world -- or admit to their chicanery. That's why newly installed House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) didn't even wait for Inauguration Day to announce that "Comprehensive global warming legislation will be sent to the House floor by Memorial Day."
With the clock running down, it's all hysterical hands on deck.
Embattled Warmists Circle Their Wagons
While Democrats in both Houses race to get their previously tabled stealth Carbon taxation plan onto President Obama's desk, fellow Big Green Scare Machine cogs strive to restore popular "belief."
On a very cold January 15th, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)'s Gavin Schmidt calmly explained to ABC News that:
"It's always a little bit difficult to talk about global warming when you're gonna have the coldest day of the year. But you have to realize that weather isn't abolished just because there's a long-term trend in the climate."
Sounds almost reasonable -- particularly given the source. But marvel not, for around that same time last week, his colleague (and our antihero) James Hansen made the hysterical declaration that "President Obama's administration is the last chance to avoid flooded cities, species extinction and climate catastrophe."
Now that's the GISS we've come to know and instinctively distrust. Sure, a prolonged record global freeze is by no means evidence of cooling -- but every rainfall, hurricane, drought, tsunami and heat-wave are irrefutable proof of manmade warming. This comes from the same agency that, in 2007, predicted "a record global temperature" to be expected "within the next 2-3 years." Nice call -- the following year turned out to be the coldest in a decade. But Hansen's boys are nothing if not belligerent. Despite last year's freeze, they are sticking to their overheated guns and are now predicting that "a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years." That sure satisfies any concerns whether the 400 million dollars plus the House Democrats' economic stimulus plan would pump into NASA climate change research programs will be money well spent.
Simultaneously -- the liberal blogosphere flew into panicked overdrive to restoke their retreating inferno.
On the same day Schmidt was dispatched as damage control, a Huffpo piece complained that a Google blog search for 2008 items using the terms "global warming" + lie, "global warming" + hoax, "global warming" + alarmists and "global warming" + skeptic returns twice the results as those for 2007. The author faulted the results of the Rasmussen Poll on this: "the internet is now a larger source of news for people than newspapers." So who was this criticizing the availability of uncensored on-line information? Why, none other than Kevin Grandia, Managing Editor of alarmist propaganda site DeSmogBlog.
Grandia claims that "the internet is exploding" with information that "the majority of the mainstream media is unwilling to cover." And truer words he's seldom spoken.
But then he describes that thankfully obtainable insight as "the nonsensical junk science of the right-wing think tanks and their cadre of scientists for hire." And as do all cooling deniers, he cites as skeptic-damning authority the debunked agenda-driven reports from the "top climate scientists from around the world " of the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that "global warming is ‘very likely' -- or 90 per cent certain--caused by humans burning fossil fuels."
This is the same U.N. globaloney espoused by Media Matters for America in its recent attacks on Lou Dobbs, beginning on December 18th when Heartland Institute senior fellow and science director Jay Lehr told the CNN anchor that "'[t]he last 10 years have been quite cool' and that ‘the sun' -- rather than humans -- is responsible for recent climate change." An enraged MM insisted that the IPCC 2007 Synthesis Report "specifically rebuts the suggestion that the sun, rather than humans, is responsible for climate change."
In the weeks that followed, MM quoted the same report as gospel twice more. Once when rare bird Hollywood-conservative Douglas Urbanski rightly proclaimed that "there is no evidence that there is man-made climate change occurring." And again when Dobbs "questioned the impact of humans on global warming and suggested that solar activity may be far more responsible for global warming" during his January 5th show.
And yet, this IPCC report, much-hyped-and-hallowed by alarmists and media-drones alike, represents the combined work of only 52 carefully cherry-picked UN scientists. But the 231-page U.S. Senate Minority Report containing the IPCC-countering findings of more than 12 times that number (over 650 dissenting -- including many current and former UN IPCC -- scientists) is either gratuitously ridiculed or all but ignored by these same agents. And last year's Manhattan Declaration was similarly impressive in its signatories, and similarly mistreated by alarmists and their hand-puppets throughout the green-entranced MSM.
Grandia refers to a "cadre of scientists for hire" and Al Gore and Gorebots the likes of IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri refer to dissenting experts as flat-Earthers and variants of big-oil whores and label their views "outside the scientific consensus."
When in fact, even were consensus a foundation of science, there exists infinitely more that Al Gore, James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, Joe Romm, Kevin Grandia et al are snake-oil salesmen than of any anthropogenic impact on climate. And recent claims of a vaguely worded on-line survey with a 30% response rate from unnamed "scientists" being touted by the alarmists as proof otherwise change nothing.
So 59% of Americans aren't buying it; climate experts across the globe aren't behind it; yet the alarmists continue to sell it and Democratic politicians remain steady customers.
All The President's Men (and Women) of Science
Indeed, whether born of ignorance, denial, or just political corner-painting, our new president continues to position fossil-fuel induced warming high on the list of immediate challenges he'll tackle, even when speaking in single-digit wind-chill locales, as he did last Saturday in Philadelphia. And that was just days after new E.P.A. chief Lisa Jackson avowed that "If confirmed, I will serve with science as my guide," and the very day after Interior secretary Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) promised to "put science first" in department decision-making.
Jackson -- who testified at her confirmation hearing that "curbing global warming" would be an E.P.A. priority -- has yet to disclose whether she'd move to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act, an extremely dangerous possibility nonetheless provided in 2007 by the wrongly decided Supreme Court decision of Massachusetts v. EPA. But as a committed GHG hypochondriac and avid supporter of cap-and-trade -- serving "as Vice President of the Executive Board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," which has already launched the nation's first carbon trading system, her trump card -- should legislation fail -- is a no-brainer. And such radical regulation would empower unelected bureaucrats to impose massive behavior-modifying fines upon a broad range of residential and commercial "polluters."
Meanwhile, Salazar remains vague about further acting upon the remarkably bad decision to include global warming as an Endangered Species Act concern, stating that "it is something that we will take a look at." But look out -- immediately upon taking office on Tuesday, Obama halted progress on a Bush-installed revision that would wisely "block the law from being used to fight global warming." As we've pointed out in the past, the convergence of CO2 declared a greenhouse "pollutant" and animals listed as endangered by "climate change" creates a virtually unlimited potential for federal control over all manners of commerce and day-to-day existence.
Science first? My ice cold butt!
And speaking of furthering government control, Carol M. Browner -- Obama's choice for the new inanely-named position of "global warming czar" -- is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist. She's one of 14 leaders of Socialist International's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which, according to the Washington Times, "calls for ‘global governance' and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change." For more on the eco-Marxism scam, see Noel Sheppard's NASA's Hansen to Obama: Use Global Warming to Redistribute Wealth and my own The Climate Alarmist Manifesto.
Then there's new energy secretary Steven Chu, another cap-and-trade champion, who declared at his confirmation hearing:
"Climate change is a growing and pressing problem. It is now clear that if we continue on our current path, we run the risk of dramatic disruptive changes to our climate in the lifetimes of our children and our grandchildren."
And let's not forget Obama's director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Boston Globe recently reminded us of John Holdren's own "contempt for researchers who are unconvinced that human activity is responsible for global warming, or that global warming is an onrushing disaster," calling their ideas which "infest" public discourse "dangerous," and that "paying any attention to their views is ‘a menace.'" Holdren also "contributed to a published assault on Bjorn Lomborg's notable 2001 book ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist'- an attack the Economist described as ‘strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance.'"
Card-carrying carbochondriacs -- the lot: Unwavering advocates of a scheme proven both wholly ineffectual in GHG abatement and clearly antithetical to our essential economic recovery by its international precursors. And Americans are waking up to the fact that the green power they and those driving them desire derives not from infeasible wind, solar or geothermal sources, but rather from economic command and control.
It's obvious that were they pure of motive, green ideologues could stick to tangibles like clean water and air, and breaking OPEC's strategically-dangerous strangle-hold on our energy supply; even limited intangibles like peak-oil and ambiguous "green jobs" -- and people could still believe. So why sully the believable with the unbelievable, particularly when the goals are supposedly identical?
And by the way, Obama's inaugural pledge to "restore science to its rightful place" wasn't alone in its incongruity on the subject. He also promised that the era of "protecting narrow interests" is over, reinforcing his campaign pledge that his administration "would not be beholden to special interests." But in fact, the green lobby represents perhaps the broadest and most dangerous of all influence peddlers -- those who literally want to micromanage not only the air we breathe and the food we eat, but also our homes, our businesses, our pastimes and even our vacation spots - not to mention what, how often and how far we drive or fly in shuttling between them.
Current polls affirm that despite a protracted and intense campaign of misinformation and dissent-gagging, Americans now want the debate Al Gore once declared over to actually begin. And they want it free of the mind-policing tactics advocated by Obama's science director, and long before any action is taken by climate zealots in either his cabinet or Congress.
Later in Tuesday's speech, the president swore to "restore the vital trust between people and their government." That was right before he promised the freezing crowd he'd "roll back the specter of a warming planet."
Of course -- until he and his appointees take stock of the facts regarding the latter, there's little hope of success in the former.
Marc Sheppard is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments.