Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Kyoto-speak brainwashers
The Globe and Mail ^ | Saturday, December 7, 2002 | MARGARET WENTE

Posted on 12/08/2002 7:14:50 AM PST by freeforall

The Kyoto-speak brainwashers


Saturday, December 7, 2002 – Page A23

Chris Essex remembers 1988 as the year the global warming scare really heated up. That summer was a scorcher. There were droughts in the midwest and wildfires in the west. Al Gore convened his climate hearings, and one high-profile scientist said he was "99 per cent certain" that humans were responsible for global warming.

Dr. Essex and his friends -- fellow scientists -- were stunned. "He's gone too far," they agreed.

Since then, Dr. Essex has watched the world of official science diverge more and more sharply from the world of real science. He has watched the doctrine of global warming gain such a grip on popular opinion and official policy that it is now virtually unquestioned. Even people who oppose the Kyoto Protocol, which Canada is expected to ratify next week, don't challenge the science of climate change. Instead, they say that Kyoto will be too costly, or that it shouldn't be implemented until the costs are known.

Meantime, serious scientists have given up trying to explain to the public just why the entire edifice of global warming is an intellectual house of cards. "Over the past 10 years, the voice of scientists has disappeared from the discussion," says Dr. Essex. "We're like spectators with our noses pressed up against the glass."

Dr. Essex is a serious player in the world of climate science. A professor at the University of Western Ontario, he specializes in the underlying mathematics, physics and computation of complex dynamical processes such as climate. Now he and Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at Guelph, have published a new book that sets out to explain the limitations of climate-change science to a scientifically challenged public. The book, Taken By Storm,is both irreverent and devastating. Whether it will make a difference is anyone's guess. As Dr. Essex says, "We're about as welcome as skeptics at a seance."

Dr. Essex and Dr. McKitrick effectively demolish most of what you think you know. For example, they explain why the concept of one big "global temperature" is meaningless. They explain that some of the central problems of climate science, such as turbulence, remain uncracked. And they explain the serious limitations of climate models, which spit out all the forecasts and predictions that form the basis for Kyoto. (Dr. Essex is an expert in all the things computers can do to get the totally wrong number.)

About the only certainty they leave unchallenged is that the climate is, indeed, changing. Always has, always will. Almost everything else remains a matter of significant debate. "On the core issues," they conclude, "we are confronted by an absence of knowledge." Contrary to popular opinion, this conclusion is not confined to scientific mavericks. It's shared by most leading climate scientists.

But the real eye opener is their account of how the politics of global warming has produced a doctrine of certainty in public discourse. It starts with pressure from environmentalists and the public, who convince policymakers that something should be done, who appoint sympathetic experts to head up massive studies, who hire like-minded people to carry them out, which are then synthesized by bureaucrats into executive summaries from which all doubt and uncertainty have been stripped away. These summaries are said to be the "consensus view," and are used as the ultimate authority invoked by politicians to justify their calls for urgent action.

Dr. Essex and Dr. McKitrick call this phenomenon "the convection of certainty." This certainty is then amplified by the media, which search out stories that appear to further prove the doctrine. Is the ice melting early in the Arctic? Must be global warming.

"Lots of stuff gets published in the scientific literature that throws a monkey wrench into the story," says Dr. McKitrick. "But we never hear much about it." Instead, the uncertainty of the field has given way to the certainty of policymakers and politicians. Even the oil industry doesn't publicly question the underlying science. It would be like speaking out against motherhood.

According to David Suzuki, anyone who casts doubt on climate change is in the pocket of Big Oil. But the real story is how science has been corrupted by the official doctrine. Governments, including Canada's, hand out millions to people to conduct research into climate change -- but only if the research confirms the central thesis. No others need apply.

In 1994, Craig Bohren, an atmospheric physicist at Penn State, made an impassioned speech lamenting what the global warming issue was doing to his profession. "The government's response to clamouring from an electorate frightened by global warmers to do something about global warming is to recklessly toss money to the wind, where it is eagerly grasped by various opportunists and porch-climbers," he said. "Incompetent, dishonest, opportunistic, porch-climbing scientists will provide certainty where none exists, thereby driving out of circulation those scientists who can only confess to honest ignorance and uncertainty."

At its core, the doctrine of global warming is deeply anti-intellectual and anti-scientific. That's because it pretends to certainty and dismisses debate. Yet doubt, uncertainty and skepticism are exactly what good science is all about.

"The whole way you become a scientist is not believing in experts," says Dr. Essex. "Most scientists feel quite squeamish about the idea of consensus."

I suspect that our belief in global warming is at root theological. The tendency to blame ourselves for natural calamities dates back to the dawn of time. Floods and fire, droughts and locusts, were signs that humans had made the gods angry. Eighteenth-century European chronicles are full of accounts of crop failures and plague that must have been brought on by human sin. Today, there is widespread unease that our chief sin is materialism and progress. The signs (melting Arctic ice etc.) are everywhere. There is no time to waste. If we do not atone, we'll destroy the planet.

To say otherwise is like standing up in church and yelling God is dead. For more about the shaky science of climate change, check out the Web site of Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist; the Web site for the Science and Environmental Policy Project, run by scientist Fred Singer; and speeches and interviews by MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: globalwarming; kyoto

1 posted on 12/08/2002 7:14:50 AM PST by freeforall
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: freeforall
It's all about population control.
Human being = pollution
2 posted on 12/08/2002 7:35:40 AM PST by Free_at_last_-2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freeforall
Around the world, each year, there are over 10,000 volcanic eruptions. We don't hear about most of them, because they're in remote places. Nonetheless, each releases massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere - collectively, about 10 times what all humanity releases.

Humans are NOT the driving force in climate change - never have been, and never will be. Nature is.

Kyoto is an expensive, useless, feel-good idea. Nothing more.
3 posted on 12/08/2002 7:41:46 AM PST by canuck_conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freeforall
The signs (melting Arctic ice etc.) are everywhere. There is no time to waste. If we do not atone, we'll destroy the planet.

We could always sacrifice a virgin, or maybe an ex-vice president and former presidential candidate.

4 posted on 12/08/2002 7:46:24 AM PST by alaskanfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
It's also a cash-cow for the former eastern bloc.
5 posted on 12/08/2002 7:46:52 AM PST by JPJones
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: jodorowsky
UWO kyoto ping
6 posted on 12/08/2002 7:48:56 AM PST by freeforall
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freeforall
The warming you experience in the 30 minutes it takes to drive from the sticks to the big city is several times greater than the warming the entire planet will experience in the next 100 years.

That simple fact poses a real problem to the global warming lobby. It's been hard enough for the enviros trying to get the Kyoto Protocol implemented—imagine their difficulty in forcing the population of the world's cities to disperse and live peacefully in small communes tending to their organic farms and composting toilets.

From The World Climate Report
7 posted on 12/08/2002 7:49:18 AM PST by cebadams
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: alaskanfan
If Algore really believed the dire predictions he wrote about in his book, he should be spending every waking moment fighting the coming scourge of global warning. However, like OJ searching for the true killers, he has lots of time for other things.

This should speak volumes about his belief in his own global warming rhetoric.
8 posted on 12/08/2002 7:55:14 AM PST by BigBobber
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: BigBobber
Follow the money.
9 posted on 12/08/2002 8:19:16 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: freeforall

Another example of depression-causing dishonesty is global warming:  The poverty-creating Kyoto-Treaty-type laws are fashioned from 1990s-chic pervarications.  Socialist/fascist green armies led by demagogues who politicized spurious global warming are increasingly crippling American business, decaying world economies, and lethally shriveling human standards of living, especially for poverty-stricken underclasses. …Applaud President Bush for withdrawing America from that destructively irrational treaty. 

Dishonesties reign supreme as pseudo-environmentalists use demagoguery, scientisms, and outright lies to 'prove' that humans are the cause of global warming.  For, scientifically-valid, statistical examinations of long-term weather trends show that the combined activities of humans today have little or no measurable effect on nature’s overwhelmingly-massive weather patterns that alternatively produce lethal ice ages and then life-enhancing warm ages.  That fact becomes evident upon analyzing the world climate changes during the past 12,000 years, from the Neolithic Age to the present age. 

Most important, global warming brings the greatest natural benefits to human life.  For, it brings massive increases of free, clean sun energy to this world.  Through the millennia, global warming has been the single greatest factor for increasing human standards of living. …Global warming means huge expansions of arable land yielding more-and-better food with improving living conditions not only for human life, but for plant and animal life as well. 

Of course, long-range climatic changes bring gradual changes in topography and water conditions that can cause inconveniences to some people in certain geographical locations.  But, the huge net benefits that global warming provide life and society vastly surpass such inconveniences -- inconveniences that human adaptability can easily handle, especially with the resulting increases in world wealth combined with modern-day technology. …So, if and when man can noticeably increase global warming, bring him on to do the job!

However, the mounting smog pollution in non-capitalist countries -- especially third-world, totalitarian/socialist countries -- is causing increasingly lethal health problems in those unfree countries. …Free enterprise, science, and capitalism are the resources to overcome such problems. 


10 posted on 12/08/2002 8:40:06 AM PST by Zon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Thud
It looks like the Kyoto crowd has turned environmental science into a clone of Middle Eastern studies -- nothing from it can be trusted because of political purges and punishments.
11 posted on 12/08/2002 8:51:40 AM PST by Dark Wing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: freeforall
Interesting to see this in the Globe and Mail, which is normally the most politically correct of newspapers. Maybe it's a hopeful sign that some rethinking is going on.

I tell my kids that global warming is a bucket of hogwash, but they won't believe me as long as they get it from all their teachers, the TV, their peers, and everywhere else. It's much too complicated to sit down and draw them a diagram. But if the media finally get it through their thick heads, the whole thing could give way to whatever new fad the PC crowd comes up with next. In the meantime, development of the Canadian tar sands has stalled, and will not proceed as long as Chretien is in charge.
12 posted on 12/08/2002 11:16:14 AM PST by Cicero
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cicero
Ms Wente does deserve some credit; she and Rex Murphy are about the only reason I read the Globe.

13 posted on 12/08/2002 11:27:46 AM PST by freeforall
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: freeforall

White man not respect rain dance! Plenty feelings hurt of shamans and medicine men! Environment displeased by simplistic opinions of unbeliever! Must dance twice as hard now!


14 posted on 12/08/2002 1:12:29 PM PST by jodorowsky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
Kyoto is an expensive, useless, feel-good idea. Nothing more.

BZZZTTT! Wrongo! It's a very great more but its principal proponents aren't talking. Here's a clue from the article...

Even the oil industry doesn't publicly question the underlying science. It would be like speaking out against motherhood. Indeed it would, especially when "motherhood" is the profit they look forward so ardently to deriving via the "carbon credits" scam mandated by Kyoto. This treaty is driven by banks, old oil money, and politicians. There is a very good reason all that PR is paid for, and it isn't altruism.
15 posted on 12/08/2002 3:00:26 PM PST by Carry_Okie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: jodorowsky
Government backs 'ministry of sensible walks'

The Department of Transport is designing a sensible walking strategy.

It aims to encourage people to walk more by creating safer environments and slowing down cars.

The move is being compared to the Monty Python comedy sketch featuring John Cleese as an official from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Plans are being drawn up plans for wider pavements and pedestrian crossings which allow more time to get over the road.

It is all a response to figures which show people are walking a quarter less than they did in the 1970s.

Ministers think more walking - especially among children - will lead to healthier lifestyles.

A transport department spokesman told The Sunday Times there would be no instructions to people on how to move their legs. Officials just want to make the idea of walking more attractive.

One development is likely to be intelligent 'puffin crossing' which sense of a pedestrian is still on the road and so keep the traffic lights on red.

16 posted on 12/08/2002 3:50:42 PM PST by freeforall
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: freeforall
17 posted on 12/09/2002 6:31:28 PM PST by freeforall
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson