Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: What's so hot about fickle science?
Posted on 02/04/2007 4:48:09 AM PST by Tom D.
What's so Hot About Fickle Science?
February 4, 2007
BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist
From the "Environmental News Network": "Science Is Solid on Climate Change, Congress Told." "The science is solid," says Louise Frechette, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations.
"The science is solid," says Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
"The science is really solid," says TV meteorologist Heidi Cullen. "The science is very solid."
And at that point, on "Larry King Live" last week, Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT, remarked: "Heidi says the science is solid and I can't criticize her because she never says what science she's talking about."
Indeed. If the science is so solid, maybe they could drag it out to the Arctic for the poor polar bears to live on now that the ice is melting faster than a coed's heart at an Al Gore lecture.
Alas, the science isn't so solid. In the '70s, it was predicting a new ice age. Then it switched to global warming. Now it prefers "climate change." If it's hot, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's cold, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's 53 with sunny periods and light showers, you need to grab an overnight bag and get outta there right now because "climate change" is accelerating out of control.
The silliest argument is the anecdotal one: "You only have to look outside your window to see that climate change is happening." Outside my window in northern New England last week, it was minus 20 Fahrenheit. Very cold. Must be the old climate change kicking in, right? After all, December was very mild. Which was itself a sign of climate change. A few years ago, the little old lady who served as my town's historian for many decades combed over the farmers' diaries from two centuries ago that various neighbors had donated to her: From the daily records of 15 Januarys, she concluded that three were what we'd now regard as classic New Hampshire winters, ideal for lumbering or winter sports; eight had January thaws, and four had no snow at all. This was in the pre-industrial 18th century.
Today, faced with eight thaws and four entirely snowless Januarys, we'd all be running around shrieking that the great Gaia is displeased. Wake up and smell the CO2, people! We need to toss another virgin into the volcano. A virgin SUV, that is. Brand-new model, straight off the assembly line, cupholders never been used. And as the upholstery howls in agony, we natives will stand around chanting along with High Priestess Natalie Cole's classic recording: ''Unsustainable, that's what you are.''
As we say in the north country, if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. And if you don't like the global weather, wait three decades. For the last century or so, the planet has gone through very teensy-weensy warming trends followed by very teensy-weensy cooling trends followed by very teensy-weensy warming trends, every 30 years or so. And, even when we're in a pattern of "global warming" or "global cooling," the phenomenon is not universally observed -- i.e., it's not "global," or even very local. In the Antarctic, the small Palmer peninsula has got a little warmer but the main continent is colder. Up north, the western Arctic's a little warmer but the eastern Arctic's colder. So, if you're an eastern polar bear, you're in clover -- metaphorically, I hasten to add. If you're a western polar bear, you'll be in clover literally in a year or two, according to Al Gore.
And, if you really don't like the global weather, wait half-a-millennium. A thousand years ago, the Arctic was warmer than it is now. Circa 982, Erik the Red and a bunch of other Vikings landed in Greenland and thought, "Wow! This land really is green! Who knew?" So they started farming it, and were living it up for a couple of centuries. Then the Little Ice Age showed up, and they all died. A terrible warning to us all about "unsustainable development": If a few hundred Vikings doing a little light hunter-gathering can totally unbalance the environment, imagine the havoc John Edwards' new house must be wreaking.
The question is whether what's happening now is just the natural give and take of the planet, as Erik the Red and my town's early settlers understood it. Or whether it's something so unprecedented that we need to divert vast resources to a transnational elite bureaucracy so that they can do their best to cripple the global economy and deny much of the developing world access to the healthier and longer lives that capitalism brings. To the eco-chondriacs that's a no-brainer. As Mark Fenn of the Worldwide Fund for Nature says in the new documentary ''Mine Your Own Business'':
''In Madagascar, the indicators of quality of life are not housing. They're not nutrition, specifically. They're not health in a lot of cases. It's not education. A lot of children in Fort Dauphin do not go to school because the parents don't consider that to be important. . . . People have no jobs, but if I could put you with a family and you could count how many times in a day that that family smiles. Then I put you with a family well off, in New York or London, and you count how many times people smile. . . . You tell me who is rich and who is poor."
Well, if smiles are the measure of quality of life, I'm Bill Gates; I'm laughing my head off. Male life expectancy in Madagascar is 52.5 years. But Mark Fenn is right: Those l'il malnourished villagers sure look awful cute dancing up and down when the big environmentalist activist flies in to shoot the fund-raising video.
If "global warming" is real and if man is responsible, why then do so many "experts" need to rely on obviously fraudulent data? The famous "hockey stick" graph showed the planet's climate history as basically one long bungalow with the Empire State Building tacked on the end. Completely false. In evaluating industrial impact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used GDP estimates based on exchange rates rather than purchasing power: As a result, they assume by the year 2100 that not only South Africans but also North Koreans will have a higher per capita income than Americans. That's why the climate-change computer models look scary. That's how "solid" the science is: It's predicated on the North Korean economy overtaking the United States.
Could happen. Who knows?
But that's the point: Who knows? You could take every dime spent by every government and NGO and eco-group to investigate "climate change" and spend it on Internet porn instead, and it wouldn't make the slightest difference to what the climate will be in 2050.
However, it would make a dramatic difference to the lifestyle of the "climate change" jet set. Which is why, even before latest new IPCC doomsday scenario was released, the Associated Press was running stories like: "New Climate Report Too Rosy, Experts Say." The AP's "science writer" warns that even this "dire report" is the "sugarcoated version." It's insufficiently hysterical, in every sense.
© Mark Steyn 2007
I don't know what its been like elsewhere, but it's been pretty chilly around Eastern North Carolina lately.
Excellent. Thanmks for posting it.
You would think most could see right through all this hysteria. Everyday we see the pushy hard sell tactics of the left. Steyn nails this one.
Globull Warming Bump
Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.
Man he's funny.
Yes, there's frost on the ground here in Laurinburg.
I'm approx 26 miles SW of downtown Chicago and right now, it's -7oF with a wind chill of -18 F. Over night it hit -10.8oF. And last night about 6:00pm the wind chill was -24oF. (One independent 'weather station' two mile from the house (Lisle, IL) says it's -11oF as of now)
So Al and Heidi et-la, take your 'climate change' and global warming crap and shove it.
The problem is even GW is officially taking it serious now.
If anyone has a Mark Steyn ping list, please add me. Thanks.
EASILY the worst winter in Dallas since we moved here 6 years ago.
CLIMATE CHANGE! ;-)
The Global Warmists really hit pay dirt with that phrase. Everything and anything gets lumped into "climate change", and it never ends. How convenient.
Overpopulation will kill everybody.
Man-made Pollution is going to kill us - and all wildlife.
Fish stocks in the ocean will be gone by 2000.
We'll be out of oil sometime in the 1990s.
My personal favorite:"The Next Ice Age".
Since then, we've had Ozone holes, AID's epidemics, Bird Flu.... the list goes on.
The only thing all of these "problems" have in common is this:
NONE of them happened - Not one.
Now, add to that a study of Climate history and one will find that, since the earth cooled, The climate has been changing. I have Palm Tree Fossils from the Mountains of West Virginia - there's no palm trees there now.
We've had anywhere from 5-20 "mass extinction events" on this planet - depending on your school of thought. We have had at least 6 Ice Ages.
In between the Ice Ages - which is where we are now - we have had periods of much higher temperatures.
None of this was man-made.
Everyday, we have a warming and cooling cycle - we call it a "day & night".
Every year, we have a warming and cooling cycle - we call it "summer & winter".
Now, suddenly we happen to live in a time where we can "notice" the 1500 year long heating and cooling cycle - and we're doomed.
And, not only are we doomed - it's also "our fault"
No, we're not doomed.
And no it's not "our fault".
It is no more "our fault" than the daily and yearly cycles are "our fault". And, even if this bigger cycle would kill us (which it won't), we can no more stop it than we could stop summer from arriving.
Nor would we want to.
Could you imagine the devastation that would occur if we could stop the tilt of the earth on it's axis in order to prevent winter??? It would be 10 times worse than the effects of winter itself. Back in the old days, before science learned a few things, a comet would appear in the sky or a volcano would explode and the natives would think "we made the Gods angry" and they would go and cut out the hearts of a few perfectly good virgins or burn them alive on the altar.
Now, we know that the natives didn't have the power "to make the gods angry", and what was happening was a natural occurrence.
Not surprisingly, most of the time, the leaders of these people knew that the sacrifices actually did nothing to appease the Gods either - but it sure helped them keep hold of thier power-base.
Fast forward 2000 or so years and just look at new sophistication. Oh, sorry, there IS no new sophistication. The natives are doing the same thing!!
The climate is changing. We don't "understand it". Our leaders tell us it is because "the Gods are angry at our evil SUV's and our evil indulgent lifestyles".
Our only "new sophistication" comes from knowing that sacrifing virgins won't do anything. Instead, we'll install new laws to tax and cripple the best economies in the world - while, once again, cementing the hold on power by those in charge.
Same ploys, same tactics, slightly different parameters - and the natives STILL fall for it. Amazing.
The only thing that would cause me to worry is if the climate ever stopped changing.
Mars is undergoing "global warming". Experts believe Pluto is also undergoing "Global warming". Hmm.... what's the common thread.
Could it be this:
As I have said many times, look around. Think for yourself. Follow the money. When one has a car inspected to get tags and registration, they ALWAYS find something wrong. Why, there's no money in not finding anything wrong. Same thing holds true in Climatology - only the dollar amounts are much, much bigger. So relax, enjoy the warmer weather. Grow more tropical plants. I myself, have 6 palm trees in my yard in Maryland. They're doing great! And, call me vile, but I am smugly happy about it.
Steynping. Also see #10. Sidenet would like to be added to the list. Thanks!
"Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get."
I haven't heard that one since I worked in WX research at the University of Chicago!
This is what makes Steyn fun.
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