The Kerry Climate Capers
It looks like John Kerry's peace efforts may not garner him a Nobel Prize - so why not try Global Warming?
"The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don't have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society. And in a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction." - John Kerry, in Jakarta on Feb 16, 2014
Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, sometimes known as "Ketchup Kerry," has serious ambitions for fame and fortune. Actually, he has already achieved fortune -- by marrying two wealthy women, the second of which made him a billionaire - with five residences, a yacht, and a private jet. But fame has eluded him -- so far. Many speculate that he is trying to get the Nobel Peace Prize, like Barack Obama and Al Gore before him -- and PLO terrorist chieftain Yasser Arafat before them.
One sure way would be arranging a real and lasting Middle East peace accord between Arabs and Israelis. Good luck with that! The Palestinians' popularly elected Hamas government, now ruling Gaza with an iron hand, has already made it crystal-clear that they do not want any kind of peace agreement. The other half of the Palestinian Authority (PA) runs the disputed West-Bank territories, which Israel captured in a defensive war in 1967. On the West Bank, there is no elected government; at least there hasn't been one for many years. Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), whose term as president of the PA expired six years ago, does not want to risk an election, which he is sure to lose to the terrorist Hamas.
Another big hope for Kerry is to achieve a nuclear breakthrough with Iran. But such a feat is also likely to elude him, since it seems fairly certain that Iran will break any agreement in order to build a nuclear weapon.
Never discouraged, Kerry is also trying to achieve peace in what has become a civil war in Syria. Not much chance of that, either. Bashir Assad, backed by Iran and maybe Russia, will never resign as president of Syria -- and the Sunni Moslem majority fighting him is unlikely to give up. These rebels feel sure that demography will win out in the end -- and they draw major support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Sunnis elsewhere.
But ever resourceful, Kerry has now tried a new gambit: Climate Change, formerly known simply as "Global Warming." In a heavily publicized speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, he slammed climate skeptics, labeling them "deniers," "shoddy scientists," likening them to believers in a "flat earth." For good measure, he also invoked the phony 97% consensus on climate science.
However, a survey of more than 1,800 members of the American Meteorological Society showed that less than half believe humans are the primary cause of any recent warming. Reviews of published climate papers by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report on thousands of peer-reviewed studies that contradict the alarmist global-warming narrative; the Chinese Academy of Sciences has published a condensed version of NIPCC reports. But many scientific organizations and academies are still sharply split on the issue of dangerous AGW (anthropogenic global warming).
Clearly, Kerry is aiming for the big climate meeting in Paris in 2015, which he hopes will lead to a new Kyoto Protocol. Good luck with that also! Quoting Dr Charles Battig, "the failed 2010 Kerry-Lieberman 'American Power Act' apparently lives on in Kerry's psyche." Also, Kerry seems to have forgotten, conveniently, that as a Senator in July 1997 he voted for the anti-Kyoto Byrd-Hagel Resolution. Perhaps someone should remind him.
Much has changed since 1997; but one constant is that the proponents of AGW have yet to publish any firm evidence that man-made CO2 is doing anything dangerous. They hadn't done it in 1988 when James Hansen told a Congressional committee that we are headed to disaster; they hadn't done it in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was signed by almost 200 countries (but never ratified by the US Senate); and they haven't done it now.
So the science about global warming cannot be called "settled." It no longer supports AGW -- if indeed it ever did; in fact, there has been no significant warming trend for at least 16 years, while atmospheric carbon dioxide increased by more than 8%. Japan, India, and Russia are opposed to a new Kyoto Treaty, as are Australia and Canada. The position of China is enigmatic; apparently, Kerry takes their polite smiles for assent. But economic considerations, and the need to create more jobs, dictate further industrial expansion and use of the cheapest means to create energy: fossil fuels, primarily coal.
So how is Kerry doing these days? Not at all well on his foreign policy ventures -- and his pronouncements on climate have been ridiculed by most scientists, except for confirmed "Global Warming Nazis" -- to use the label invented by Dr Roy Spencer.
Kerry's "flat earth" analogy has been neatly shot down by Professors Richard McNider and John Christy, of the University of Alabama. They point out, quite logically, that the flat earth position was held by the Establishment and that the skeptics of that time, including Pythagoras, relied on empirical evidence that the Earth was round. So Kerry has the argument just exactly 180 degrees wrong.
Kerry also raises the specter that AGW is worse than weapons of mass destruction (WMD). So how many millions has AGW killed so far? If truth be told, a slightly warmer climate (since about 1850) and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have promoted more productive agriculture and may have saved many millions from starvation. Besides, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was warmer than today and permitted a higher standard of living. It was the Little Ice Age (LIA) that killed off millions by starvation and disease during 1400-1800.
Two Democratic lawmakers are defending John Kerry's remark likening climate change to a weapon of mass destruction. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) were wrong to criticize Kerry's speech on the consequences of climate change. "Secretary Kerry needs allies in this fight for the future of our planet," the Democrats wrote in a letter to McCain and Gingrich. "History will not look back and fault him for leading the charge to prevent the worst impacts of climate change while we still have time. But," they added, "history may question why Republican leaders who were once their party's champions on climate change fled the field at a crucial moment." Gingrich took to Twitter and airwaves to call Kerry "delusional" and "dangerous to our safety." McCain also faulted Kerry for comparing climate change to terrorism, poverty and epidemics, asking "on what planet does he reside?"
[Incidentally, the latest fear imagined by Global Warming Nazis is the "methane bomb." They imagine that a warming will release billions of tons of methane from frozen tundra, and maybe even from the ocean, causing overwhelming greenhouse warming. However, we can point to the warmer MWP and the much warmer periods of 5000-8000 years ago: no such methane release was observed.]
Yet, there are plenty of controversies left. Scientific supporters of AGW are still working earnestly, trying to explain the absence of a significant warming trend of the last 16 years. In the meantime, mischief-makers, actively promoted by the White House, are trying to blame global warming for weather disasters. Good examples are the instability of the Polar Vortex that brought extremely cold weather to the US this past winter -- while Obama has been trying hard to blame the California drought on AGW. In Britain, chief meteorologist Dame Julia Slingo has blamed the unusual flooding in southwestern England on AGW. Her views have been disputed by the UK Met Office; her own scientists have "hung her out to dry."
Meanwhile, Algore is still actively promoting AGW -- just to show he really earned his Nobel Peace Prize. At the 20-million-dollar home of Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge-fund manager trying to raise 100 million dollars for AGW propaganda, Gore referred to him as "Mr. Tipping Point." The group does not ignore extra-terrestrial concerns about Global Warming. At the recent annual UFO conference, it was announced that Aliens want a warmer planet before they will come to Earth. Apparently, they've forgotten the remarkable speech by the late Michael Crichton: "Aliens Cause Global Warming."
When it comes to AGW, Kerry is as much of a clown as Gore -- and so is the White House staff. The serious argument now is the one before the Supreme Court, which has to decide by July whether the EPA Endangerment Finding (EF) about CO2 can be used to effectively stop the building of new coal-fired electric plants and even shut down existing ones. The bad science of the EF will likely be rehashed by the Court, but there is a little chance of reversing its truly awful 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which declared non-toxic and beneficent CO2 a pollutant. On the contrary, all signs point to the fulfillment of Obama's 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices "sky-rocket." How sad.
S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project. His specialty is atmospheric and space physics. An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere. He is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute, and an elected Fellow of several scientific and engineering organizations. He co-authored the NY Times best-seller Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years. In 2007, he founded and has since chaired the NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change), which has released several scientific reports [See www.NIPCCreport.org]. For recent writings, see http://www.americanthinker.com/s_fred_singer/ and also Google Scholar.