Climategate

Now we know that the numbers were fudged, data was hidden, and scientific objections were suppressed. The case for global warming is looking pretty shabby. Now, distinguished academics are popping up and saying “yeah, it was all bunk.” So, what happened here? Why did so many climatologists try to paint such a misleading picture? As Bret Stephens describes, just follow the money. Millions have been pouring into climate studies from governments and foundations. My guess is that climate studies never really got the funding that its practitioners thought it deserved. Global warming changed all that and few wanted to slow down the milk train.

Why did so many others follow the global warming banner? Easy. The global warming scare created lots of opportunities for folks like Al Gore to get very rich, usually at taxpayer expense.

So why did politicians jump on the bandwagon? (Remembering that many are there still, politicians always being the last to know). Global warming was a great excuse to have greater government control over everything, enhancing their ability to reward their friends and punish their enemies. This is just about the oldest game in town. Usually it’s the threat of war that lets politicians centralize power, but global warming scare has worked just as well.

It’s shameful, of course, but not unexpected or even unusual. Many of the gullible are still believing and politicians are still hoping we won’t see though the mess. I’d be happy to accept the reality of global warming if the data wasn’t mangled and critics silenced. I’d be happy to accept the findings of good science. But it ain’t happened yet.

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One response to this post.

  1. “Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.

    It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.

    A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.

    Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.

    But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.

    The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.

    All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.

    It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.

    Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

    Reply

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