Saturday, November 13

Crying Wolf

Now that the election is over, it's time to start blaming the Bush administration for everything. A letter in the KC Star this morning accuses the President of crying wolf while earth burns, to mix some metaphors. But Lynn Cheatum has her metaphors mixed worse that I.

In Letters to the Editor, November 13, Cheatum writes about global warming, "Our Asian and European allies believe in scientific research, while the Bush administration cries wolf." If I remember the story about the boy and the wolf correctly, the boy kept calling the warning about a non-existent wolf. That's exactly what the 300 so-called scientists Cheatum refers to are doing. The cry is the infamous Kyoto Treaty, the wolf is global warming.

Now, no one is going to doubt that the globe has warmed since the end of the last ice age. The question is why? And by how much?

Serious scientists who conduct professional experiments differ but don't attract the press that the pseudo-scientists do. Take, for instance, the research of Willie Soon, a mild-mannered Malaysian native teaching at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and his colleague at the center, Sallie Baliunas. With the help of other Harvard researchers, they published a paper saying that the 20th Century was not, after all, the warmest century in the last 1,000 years.

In The Emperor's New Climate: Is Global Warming Real? Duncan Maxwell Anderson writes: "Soon and Baliunas confirmed that from 800 to 1300 a.d., average temperatures in many regions worldwide were 2 to 4 degrees or more higher than the allegedly sweltering 20th century. It’s referred to as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), and the extra warmth made life better, not worse. It is not only the arcane techniques of paleoclimatology, such as testing core samples of glacial ice for radioisotopes, that testify to the MWP, but history — such as people’s contemporary accounts of what they grew in their fields. Decent wine grapes grew in Merrie England. (No more, alas.) Olives grew in 13th-century Germany, where St. Albert the Great also noted abundant fig and pomegranate groves in Cologne and the Rhine valley — places too cold for those crops today. Renaissance culture awakened and flourished throughout Europe.

The MWP also explains why Greenland, now essentially a glacier, could credibly be called Greenland. It was a Danish colony, and things actually grew there.

Following the MWP, the Greenland colony died out as average temperatures plummeted 3 to 5 degrees — about 2 degrees colder than our climate today. This Little Ice Age (LIA) finally moderated but lasted in most places until about 1900. For whatever reason, many regions have warmed up about 1 degree since 1900."

One degree? In a century?

Soon and Baliunas have continued to conduct experiments, trying to disprove their own conclusions. “I am still trying to disprove my theory, to see if it is correct," Soon says. "But from the data, I still cannot rule out the possibility that I am right.”

These aren't the only scientists who disagree with the Kyoto Treaty and the "scientists" who supported it. Dr. Fred Singer keeps a web site documenting progress in global warming science at
S. Fred Singer is internationally known for his work on energy and environmental issues. A pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology, he devised the basic instrument for measuring stratospheric ozone and was principal investigator on a satellite experiment retrieved by the space shuttle in 1990. He was the first scientist to predict that population growth would increase atmospheric methane--an important greenhouse gas.

Now President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project, a non-profit policy research group he founded in 1990, Singer is also Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University and professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. His previous government and academic positions include Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Transportation (1987- 89); Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1970-71); Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water Quality and Research, U.S. Department of the Interior (1967- 70); founding Dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences, University of Miami (1964-67); first Director of the National Weather Satellite Service (1962-64); and Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Maryland (1953-62).

Singer has received numerous awards for his research, including a Special Commendation from the White House for achievements in artificial earth satellites, a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for the development and management of the U.S. weather satellite program, and the first Science Medal from the British Interplanetary Society. He has served on state and federal advisory panels, including five years as vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmospheres. He frequently testifies before Congress.

Singer did his undergraduate work in electrical engineering at Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books and monographs, including Is There an Optimum Level of Population? (McGraw-Hill, 1971), Free Market Energy (Universe Books, 1984), and Global Climate Change (Paragon House, 1989). Singer has also published more than 400 technical papers in scientific, economic, and public policy journals, as well as numerous editorial essays and articles in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Republic, Newsweek, Journal of Commerce, Washington Times, Washington Post, and other publications. His latest book, "Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate," was published in late 1997 through the Independent Institute.

About the Kyoto Treaty, Dr. Singer writes on his website "Computer models forecast rapidly rising global temperatures, but data from weather satellites and balloon instruments show no warming whatsoever. Nevertheless, these same unreliable computer models underpin the Global Climate Treaty, negotiated at the 1992 Rio de Janeiro "Earth Summit," and are the driving force behind United Nations efforts to force restrictions on the use of oil, gas, and coal. The Third Conference of Parties (COP-3) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) (a.k.a. Global Climate Treaty), meeting in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 agreed to set mandatory limits and timetables. Politicians were told that the science is "settled" and "compelling," when in reality, scientific experts still strongly disagree on the evidence."

But why, you ask, would certains scientists intentionally mislead the politicians and the public about something so important? Anderson has the answer. He asked "Patrick J. Michaels — a climatologist, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, and author of "The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming."
. . .Michaels says: 'No one in Washington gets large grants by saying something isn’t a problem. Meanwhile, the $10 billion thrown at climate modeling research in the last 15 years was wasted.'"

And if that's not enough, Michaels adds, "“Picture this: It’s 1992 and there’s a hearing. Senator Albert Gore says he thinks global warming is a serious issue, and do you think it would be worthwhile to spend $1 billion or so studying it? No one is going to speak up and say it’s an overblown problem. If he did, all his colleagues would take out their knives and throw them into his back before he could leave the hearing room.” The result is a theory of impending doom that’s hard to test, since the proof is 100 years away. In the meantime, you could argue that it has become a form of welfare for liberal scientists."

The story of the Kyoto Treaty is a fascinating one, available at by Candace Crandall and , an interviewwith Dr. Malcolm Ross (recently retired research mineralogist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He holds a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University. Dr. Ross is past president of the Mineralogical Society of America and has published 84 papers and 63 abstracts in peer-reviewed journals. He is currently affiliated with the Science and Environment Policy Project in Fairfax, Virginia and is a research associate with the Environmental Sciences Laboratory, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York.)

Check Dr. Singer's website for a list of more.

Another really serious question is why doesn't the American media publish this side of the issue? Nearly 100% of the articles and TV programs concerning the issue come down on the side of the panic-mongers. Very seldom is even a balanced view presented. Money, I suspect, and the desire to be "politically correct" are the two dominating influences -- never mind that the money could be better and more productively used in other areas of society.

Now, in the interest of "fairness" (although I'm not sure it's fair to lead the reader in a false direction so let's call it opposition instead), check out the people who profit most by the global warming panic at

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