I can’t recall the wheels coming off the bus of any expert-driven hysteria as fast or as completely as they are now coming off the global-warming scare.
I suppose they must have come off faster from Y2K. At 12:00:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2000, when airliners didn’t fall from the sky and power plants didn’t shut down spontaneously or computers didn’t freeze up all over the world, the air came out of the Y2K scare instantly. Billions had been spent on preventing that disaster-that-never-was up until midnight on the final day of 1999, then almost not a penny afterwards.
That is faster than the wheels are coming off the climate-change bus. But AGW — anthropogenic global warming — is a very close second.
News of the manipulations, distortions and frauds perpetrated to advance and preserve the environmentalists’ cause celebre are so numerous and coming so fast, it’s hard to keep up.
First, of course, there were the e-mails and computer files leaked from Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) — one of a handful of climate-research centres around the world that are the pillars of the United Nations’ claims about impending climate doom. The CRU leaks showed many of the world’s leading climate scientists discussing how they could torque their research to show more recent warming than there has been, conceal their "tricks" from other scientists and government investigators, and pressure scientific journals not to publish reports by dissenting scientists.
Then a couple of weeks ago came the news that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s climate change arm, had based its most recent findings on Himalayan glacier melt on an old study that had never been peer-reviewed or even published and which was based entirely on the speculation (not research) of a single Indian scientist who now works at the environmental think-tank run by the head of the IPCC, economist Rajendra Pachauri.
This by itself wouldn’t be devastating, except that the scientist in charge of the glacier chapter of the IPCC’s latest assessment report (AR4) admitted he had known the melt estimate was wrong but had included it anyway because "we thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action."
That’s not climate science, it’s environmental activism, pure and simple — using misleading figures to whip up alarm and bring about political action.
Another revelation of malfeasance this week was the discovery that the chapter on Amazon rainforests in the IPCC’s AR4, the one that included the often-repeated claim that 40 per cent of the forest is under imminent threat from climate change, was written not by climate scientists but by a policy analyst who works for environmental groups and a freelance environmental author. Like the glacier chapter, it was written not to present the latest dispassionate scientific data, but to present a propaganda case that would produce the policy outcome the UN and the IPCC want. It confirmed that the UN is a player for one side in the climate debate, not the source for object facts.
In all, so far, at least 16 major claims made in AR4 (the report for which the IPCC won a Nobel Prize) have been shown to have originated with environmental groups rather than scientists, including the claim that climate change is making tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires and floods worse.
Last week, we also learned that NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) may have been playing fast and loose with its own calculations of global average temperature. Among the four main repositories of global temperature records, GISS is the only one to show the Earth still warming during the past decade. Now two American climate researchers — Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts — believe they know why: scientists at GISS may have been cherry-picking the weather stations they take their records from to increase global averages artificially.
The pair write that there was a "major" decline in the number of stations GISS scientists were taking readings from "and an increase in missing data from remaining stations, which occurred suddenly around 1990 . . . a clear bias was found toward removing higher elevation, higher latitude, and rural stations — the cooler stations — during this culling process." The pre-1990 temperature records, though, continued to include these cooler stations. These changes tended to make temperatures before 1990 appear extra-cool and those after 1990 extra-warm.
This probably shouldn’t surprise — GISS is run by James Hansen, the scientist who first set off the global-warming scare in 1988 and who is an adviser to former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.
Hansen has testified in court on behalf of ecovandals charged with damaging a British power plant, insisting they are guilty of no crime because they were acting in defence of humanity and he has called coal trains "death trains" and coal-fired power plants "factories of death."
Again, those are the words of an activist, not a scientist.
Does all this prove global warming is a hoax? I believe it does. But at the least, it shows the science is far from settled.