By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
In recent months, global warming alarmists have lamented that they need to do a better job communicating to the public. Apparently, they have found their voice in: argumentum ad hominem. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway have authored a new book titled “Merchants of Doubt.” TWTW will reserve specific comments on the book until later.
For now, it is sufficient to discuss the review of this book, and eight others from the alarmist chorus, by Philip Kitcher, Department of Philosophy at Columbia University, as published in Science Magazine. One quote from the book, used in the review, provides an adequate summary:
“There are many reasons why the United States has failed to act on global warming, but at least one is the confusion raised by Bill Nierenberg, Fred Seitz, and Fred Singer.”
Governments have spent tens of billions of dollars on global warming alarmism. The environmental industry has spent hundreds of millions touting it. Yet, these three gentlemen are singled out as a principal reason for the derailment of the global warming express. Their powers of persuasion must be super-human.
Throughout his review, the good Professor of Philosophy fails to differentiate between Medieval science, when knowledge was believed to come from authority (expert opinion), and modern, empirical science where knowledge comes from rigorous application of the scientific method – with all relevant physical evidence considered. He considers expert opinion satisfactory.
The Professor states that the issue may be too complex for many to understand. That argument would, of course, apply to both sides. But complexity is not a sufficient reason to accept the views of those who claim to be authorities, yet ignore the physical evidence contradicting their views.
[Full disclosure: The late Fredrick Seitz was Chairman of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and S. Fred Singer is the founder and current Chairman of SEPP. Both founded the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).]
On Thursday by a 53 to 47 vote, the US Senate defeated a proposal to remove from EPA the power to regulate carbon dioxide. Perhaps the length of the bill was confusing. After passing legislation ranging over 1,000 pages long without reading it, senators may have been perplexed by a simple bill which had a published length of eight lines.
The dire, false claims from the environmental industry were predictable. Comments by some senators were equally absurd. Senator Barbara Boxer (D. California) declared voting for the bill was equivalent to repealing the laws of gravity.
The Kerry-Lieberman cap and tax bill is in difficulty because it has provisions for off-shore drilling – which, thanks to the BP spill, is in great disfavor. Proponents of cap and tax are now endeavoring to produce another bill without off-shore drilling.
The BP oil spill continues to illustrate the inability of the Federal Government to work effectively with BP and local governments to contain the damage from the spill. EPA’s erratic actions concerning use of chemical dispersants were presented last week. According to reports, EPA also objected to the proposal from Governor Jindal of Louisiana to build berms to protect the coastal wetlands and shorelines. The berms would have openings, thus would not be 100% effective. Apparently, EPA’s thinking is that a break in the berm is similar to a breach in the dyke – a small breach will flood the entire area – and did not consider the possibility of partial protection from a berm.
Upon request from the administration, seven members of the National Academy of Engineering made recommendations on drilling in light of the BP disaster. According to their statements, the engineers recommended that new deep-water drilling permits be suspended for six months and a temporary pause in drilling be implemented for already-permitted deep-water wells so that additional testing can be done. The administration claimed the engineers recommended a six month moratorium on all such drilling which they did not. Fortunately, the engineers stood up to this distortion.
Last week’s TWTW referenced articles on NASA-GISS predicting that 2010 may become the hottest year on record, surpassing its surface record established in 1995. On his web site, Roy Spencer reports that the May satellite data indicates a temperature of 0.53 degrees C above the satellite norm and temperatures, thus far for 2010, are slightly less than the satellite record established in 1998. The Hadley Center did not agree with NASA-GISS in its projections of surface temperatures for 2010, but stated NASA-GISS extrapolates Arctic temperatures where Hadley Center does not.
The comments prompted a visit to the Danish Meteorological Institute web site which posts daily mean temperature measurements above the 80th parallel. http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php. Up to the last few weeks, the daily mean temperatures were generally above the mean values calculated for the period 1958 to 2002. The calculated mean values range from about 243 degrees K to 275 degrees K, or slightly above freezing at 273.15 degrees K (0 degrees C).
What is interesting is reviewing the graphs of the data over the previous years. In the winter, the measured temperatures frequently varied from the mean values by ten degrees or more. In the spring and fall, measured temperatures frequently varied from the mean values, but by a lesser extent. But the measured temperatures for the approximately 70 days of summer, when temperatures were above freezing, were strikingly consistent, showing little variation from the calculated mean, throughout the entire 51 year period covered.
It will be interesting to compare these measurements with NASA-GISS extrapolations in the upcoming summer.
1. Senate surrenders to the EPA
Editorial, Washington Examiner, June 11, 2010 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
2. Drilling Bits of Fiction: Seven experts say the White House distorted their views
[SEPP Comment: Shades of IPCC.]
3. The Gulf Spill and the Limits of Science: TV has fueled unrealistic expectations of a quick fix.
By Lawrence Krauss, WSJ, June 11, 2010
4. ‘Green New Deal’ is a raw deal for the U.S.
Europe’s path deeply inhuman, economically destructive
Holger Krahmer [EU Parliament], Washington Times, June 4, 2010
5. An Energy Strategy for Grown-Ups: Wind power is not a realistic substitute for oil
By Lamar Alexander, WSJ, June 11, 2010
6. Move over, global warming
Biodiversity is the next central organizing principle of human civilization
By E. Calvin Beisner, Washington Times, June 4, 2010
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Warming in Last 50 Years Predicted by Natural Climate Cycles
By Roy Spencer, June 6, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Using a simple model with three climate variables – the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, and the Southern Oscillation Index – Roy Spencer hindcasts the rate of temperature change over the last 50 years for the Northern Hemisphere, where the recent warming largely occurred. The results show that the rates of temperature change for the past 50 years may be explained by natural events, thus not caused by carbon dioxide emissions as claimed by the IPCC. Of course, Spencer’s approach must be repeatedly tested.]
Climatic Effects of Warming Due to Ultraviolet Chemistry
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, June 6, 2010
Subsidizing CO2 Emissions via Windpower: The Ultimate Irony
By Kent Hawkins, Master Resource, June 10, 2010
Rich nations could increase emissions under pledge loopholes, UN data shows
By Joan Vidal, Guardian, UK, June 9, 2010, [H/t Bob Kay]
Meet the Green who doubts ‘The Science’
By Peter Taylor, Spiked, June 9, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]
Legal verdict: Manmade global warming science doesn’t withstand scrutiny
By Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, June 6, 2010
Defending the Orthodoxy
The Climate Change Debates
By Philip Kitcher, Review of Books, Science Magazine, June 4, 2010, [H/t Tom Sheahen]
[SEPP Comment: The one thing in this book review on which we can all agree is the last statement: “Perhaps, in the end, truth-and wisdom-will prevail.”]
By Stephen Stronberg, Washington Post, June 9, 2010
Climate deal blueprint could curb US emissions and poor nation’s growth
Draft text from UN proposes that rich countries cut emissions up to 40% but requires poor countries peak’ emissions by 2020.
By John Vidal, Guardian, UK, June 11, 2010
ClimateGate and Consequences
By Patrick Michaels, Townhall, June 6, 2010
Climate change loses traction for greens
By Stephen Murgatroyd, Nova Scotian, June 6, 2010 [H/t Charles Schafer]
By Margaret Munro, Montreal Gazette, June 10, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]
Cap and Tax and Other Policy
Climate splitting Democrats
Editorial, Orange county Register, June 10, 2010
R.I.P. Climate Legislation
By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, June 8, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
Lindsey Graham Said What About Climate Change?
By Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones, June 9, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
BP Spill and Its Consequences
By Jeffry Ball, WSJ, June 10, 2010
IBD Editorials, June 4, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Those who declared they have been in charge since day one apparently do not have a clue.]
Drilling moratorium is a jobs moratorium: Economy must be a priority even in times of environmental disaster
By John Engler, Washington Times, June 9, 2010
Group Calls on Recipients of BP Grants and Contributions to Return Donations for Use in Cleanup
Press Release: The National Center for Public Policy Research, June 11, 2010
EPA and Other Regulators On The March
California’s Diesel Regulations Are Hot Air
And they may portend a disturbing national trend.
By Henry Miller and James Enstrom, Forbes, June 9, 2010
E.P.A. Tightens Sulfur Dioxide Limits
By John Broder, NYT, June 3, 2010
[SEPP Comment: How solid is the science? The cost-benefit analysis is unlikely.]
The Human Equation in Water Disputes
By Felicity Barringer, NYT, June 4, 2010
New Fears to Replace Fading Fear of Global Warming
Climate change made apes vanish in ancient Europe
By Katia Moskvitch, BBC News, June 7, 2010 [H/t Malcolm Ross]
France and Japan propose an ‘IPCC for nature’
By Juliette Jowit, Guardian, UK, June 9, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]
[SEPP Comment: Those organizations claiming interest in biodiversity should endeavor to stop the destruction of Indonesian rain forests for palm oil plantations to produce biodiesel. Also, they should promote replacement of charcoal as a fuel for the third-world poor with either liquid natural gas products or electricity. How many will take such actions?]
Miscellaneous Topics That May Be Of Interest
West of Netherlands is sinking
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, June 9, 2010 [H/t Clifford Thies]
[SEPP Comment: Imagine the outcry if it were due to sea level rise.]
Effects of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on a Temperate Coral
Rodolfo-Mtalpa, et al. Reviewed: NIPCC Report.org, May 26, 2010
“Yes, all is not the “doom and gloom” the world’s climate alarmists make it out to be.”
The Canadian Arctic is Greening
Jia, et al. Reviewed: NIPCC report.org, June 1, 2010
“In conclusion, therefore, when combined with the results of Alcatraz-Segura et al. (2010), the results of these studies depict a significant increase in vegetative growth for the entire boreal-to-arctic zone of Canada, which is certainly good news for this vast biologically awakening region.”
Scientists unmask ‘Ghost Mountains’ of Antarctica at last
Newsdesk.org, June 10, 2010 [H/t Watts Up With That]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Sen. Boxer’s Demagoguery Knows No Bounds
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming.org, June 10, 2010
Our Hero Barbara Boxer
By William Yeoman & Jeremy Lott, American Spectator, June 6, 2010 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
Imagining Life without Oil, and Being Ready
By John Leland, NYT, June 5, 2010