The Week That Was
October 20 , 2007
NO TWTW ON OCT 27: SEPP debate at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh
NEW NEW NEW
A note to our subscribers: Format Change: The TWTW e-mail letters will carry only summaries, easy to print out. The full stories, in formatted form, are in the mailed Attachment.
Our website < http://www.SEPP.org > will show the summary but allows access to the full newsletter through ‘READ more’ or through ‘Archives.’
For quick access to summaries online, visit our NEW blog at < http://science-sepp.blogspot.com/ >
“The Nobel Peace Prize is worse than a joke. It's a fraud.” [Manchester (NH) Union–Leader]. Alfred Nobel must be spinning in his grave. Unlike the Nobel science prizes, which are awarded by the competent Swedish academies, the Peace award is a purely political process determined by the composition of the Norwegian Parliament. In 1994, the five Norwegian politicians who award the prize gave it to “peace-loving” Yasser Arafat. Two years before that they gave it to literary fraud Rigoberta Menchu, whose autobiography was largely fabricated.
The reaction around the world [ITEM #2] has been largely tepid to negative: What does global warming have to do with peace? The NY Times and Wash Post [ITEM #3] are notable exceptions
The Big Question: How will the Nobel Prize affect the choice of the Democrats’ presidential candidate in 2008? Even Teheran papers are commenting [ITEM #4]. After all, Gore is a known vote-getter, has solid experience, etc – compared to Hillary and Obama. It will be interesting to watch Hillary. How will Republicans react? Will Rudy, Mitt, and Fred have to take a crash course in climate science? Or will they leave this task to the Vice Presidential candidate –Jeb Bush? [Remember, you heard it here first.]
1. THE GOLDEN CHAD
Ceci n'est pas un Prix, c'est un morceaux non decoupe d’oree
Though struck from an equally hefty kilogram of solid gold, the Nobel Peace Prize has little in common with the science and literature awards. While handed out by Sweden's King, it is awarded by a committee of Norway's parliament, the Storting. Anyone who wins a seat can nominate anybody for the award, but the disconnect from science and the arts hardly tarnishes its luster. Hollywood's savvy Greens can raise this media event to the eminence of the Oscars or American Idol, so forget the Florida election. Only the court of public opinion can decide the outcome of the race for this golden chad.
The method of electing the winner ensures a political outcome. Other Nobel prizes are assigned by committees of experts in the orbit of the Swedish Academy of Science, but the Peace Prize winner is determined by a committee reflecting the current strength of Norwegian political parties. Were Norway's anti-immigrant Progress Party to gain a majority, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize might well be Pat Buchanan.
Will The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Go To Pat Buchanan? Four out of five members of the parliamentary committee that selected Gore are former cabinet members (the fifth, Mjoes, was president of the University of Tromso). So Democrat Gore owes his prize to a constellation of Progressives, Social and Christian democrats and Green socialists reflecting Norway's ruling coalition. Little wonder Francis Sejersted, past chairman of the committee, admits: "Awarding a peace prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act."
And all politics is local. None of the other worthy Peace Prize nominees one might list, from Burmese monks to the embattled opponents of tyranny in Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe, can increase the value of Norway's oil and gas reserves. Giving a prize that amplifies the credibility of the world's foremost advocate of carbon taxes most assuredly can.
Investing $750,000 in Al's power to pontificate on behalf of his carbon-trading business could pay Norway and OPEC handsomely. The return could exceed a million to one, since Al's crusade to double coal's cost by taxation should translate into far higher prices for the lower-carbon North Sea oil and gas that are the mainstay of the Norwegian economy. Oslo stands to gain hundreds of billions of Euros on its multi- billion barrel reserves, a truly extraordinary return on a one-kilogram disc of gold.
If congratulations are due to Gore, the Oslo committee surely deserve the Nobel Prize in Economics for awarding him the Peace Prize. Their decision wisely reflects the best Viking fiscal tradition, while avoiding the recrimination that so often attends rapine, pillage, looting and burning. Especially the last--nowadays the Viking's loot might scarcely cover their carbon offsets.
2. GORE'S PRIZE: A FRAUD ON THE PEOPLE
(Manchester Union Leader)
Excerpt: Five Norwegians gave a prize to Al Gore, and all the world is supposed to heed his counsel henceforth. No, thanks. Alfred Nobel felt horrible about the uses to which his invention -- dynamite -- was put. So he endowed the Nobel Peace Prize and instructed that it go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".
Al Gore has done exactly none of those things. Gore, however, did write a book and make a film about global warming. He has become the second environmental activist to win the peace prize in the past four years. Wangari Muta Maathai won it in 2004 for planting trees. Thus we have indisputable confirmation that the Nobel Peace Prize is no longer a serious international award.
In 1994 the five Norwegian politicians who award the prize gave it to the murdering thug Yasser Arafat. Two years before that they gave it to literary fraud Rigoberta Menchu, whose autobiography was largely fabricated. (An example: The brother she supposedly watched die of malnutrition was later found by a New York Times reporter to be very much alive and well.)
On Friday the prize was given to Al Gore and the International Panel on Climate Change. Two days before, a British judge ruled that Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," contained so many errors (read: lies) that it could be shown in British public schools only if accompanied by a fact sheet correcting the errors.
The Nobel Peace Prize is worse than a joke. It's a fraud. It is such a transparent fraud that the five Norwegian politicians who award it have been reduced to defending their decision by concocting elaborate rationalizations. This year they laughably claimed that Gore deserves the prize because, well, global climate change" may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the Earth's resources," and "there may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars." (Emphasis ours.)
And Islamic terrorists may give up jihad and sing Kumbaya after listening to old Cat Stevens records. But that's no basis for distributing the world's formerly most prestigious prize. If winning this useless medal prompts Al Gore to get into the presidential race, which we doubt, the irony will be that the American people will turn a more skeptical eye to His Smugness than the Nobel committee did. The American public won't accept at face value Gore's self-righteous proclamations or his self-serving predictions of looming global catastrophe. And Gore has to know that, which is why he will almost certainly stick to the world of make-believe -- Hollywood and International Do-Goodery -- where he can pretend to be the great sage and savior he wishes he really were and left-wing Europeans and thespians try to convince us he is.
SOME INCONVENIENT TRUTHS FOR GORE
Al Gore's documentary on climate disaster has been ruled a work of fiction by a British judge. In legal terms, his global warming hysteria has been assuming facts not in evidence, says Investor's Business Daily.
According to Justice Michael Burton of the High Court in London:
o Gore's claim of a 20-foot rise "in the near future" was dismissed as "distinctly alarmist," and in reality, a rise could occur "only after, and over, millennia."
o On Gore's claim that the loss of Mount Kilimanjaro's snows was due to climate change, the judge said the scientific community had been unable to find evidence of a direct link.
o Gore's suggestion that the Gulf Stream that warms the North Atlantic would shut down was contradicted by the IPCC's assessment that it was "very unlikely" to happen.
Burton also ridiculed Gore's claim that polar bears were drowning while searching for ice melted by global warming. The only drowned polar bears the court said it was aware of were four bears that died following a storm.
As has been noted before, the scientific consensus is that sea levels might rise anywhere from 7 inches to 23 inches, but it would take a century for that to occur, says IBD. Even the latest IPCC report suggested that it would take a thousand years of higher-than-historic temperatures to melt the Greenland ice sheet, the basis of Gore's claim.
Source: Editorial, "Some Inconvenient Truths For Gore," Investor's Business Daily, Oct 11, 2007.
CRITICS SLAM NOBEL WINNER GORE
President Vaclav Klaus cast doubt on Gore's contribution to the cause of peace, the ostensible purpose of the Norwegian prize. In a statement, the climate change sceptic said he was "a bit surprised that Al Gore has received a peace prize because the connection between his activities and world peace are vague and not very clear".
In Norway, the main opposition party expressed its surprise at the decision. Gjermund Hagesaether, from the far-right Progress Party, said: "We believe it is strange to give the prize to Al Gore for having made a film on climate that is subjective, one-sided and full of one-sided assertions."
Bjorn Lomborg, author of A Sceptical Environmentalist, said: "The Nobel Prize committee should have focused on the other great forgotten problems like malnourishment, malaria, the lack of free trade in farming, rather than climate change." And one of the world's foremost meteorologists called the theory that helped Al Gore win a share of the Nobel Prize the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works".
Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, spoke to a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina and said humans were not responsible for global warming. "We're brainwashing our children," said Gray, 78, a longtime professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie and being fed all this. It's ridiculous." AFP
AN IGNOBEL PRIZE
(Biogeographer Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor Of The University Of London)
Excerpt: The joint-award of the Nobel Prize for Peace to [the IPCC] and US failed-Presidential candidate Al Gore, is a dangerous disgrace, although one entirely to have been expected. As Samuel Johnson said when questioned by James Boswell about ‘predestination’ and the Book of Common Prayer, ‘global warming’ is now the PC ‘clamour of the times’, especially in Old Europe -- and Norway is Very Old Europe. The temptation to give George W a kicking just can’t be resisted. Moreover, this new secular religion of the liberal elites must have its saints to carry the Green Flag, however questionable their qualifications. The names of recent Nobel Peace laureates read like a list of bien-pensant characters from the political left:
ET TU, GORUS?
Excerpt: Why would a committee award such a prestigious prize right on the heels of his documentary being proven inaccurate and prone to exaggerations? Coming in the same week that Marion Jones is asked to return medals to the Olympics, one has to wonder if such a fate will befall Gore in the future. Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is being shown in schools in England. But a recent High Court ruling stated the film must be distributed with caveats to prevent ‘promoting partisan political views’, citing 9 inaccuracies: Claims of 20 feet sea level rise from Greenland and Antarctica - Evidence is that will not melt for millennia. Rising sea levels causing inundation of Pacific islands - Court observed that this was a false claim. Gore claims global warming will shut down the Ocean Conveyor - the judge said this was ‘very unlikely’ Graphs showing CO2 versus temperature over 650,000 years were claimed to be an exact fit - The judge said that ‘the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts’. Snowmelt on Mount Kilimanjaro evidenced global warming – deforestation reducing moisture into upslope winds is the cause. The film showed drying Lake Chad, claiming caused by global warming - Court determined that this was false. Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming - Court determined it was ‘not possible’ to attribute singular events to global warming. Polar bears drowned due to disappearing arctic ice - Gore misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned due to a particularly violent storm. Global warming caused species losses including coral reef bleaching - Court found this claim difficult to support. In light of these inaccuracies, there are now calls emerging for the producers of Gores film to return the Oscar for ‘best documentary’.
EDITORIAL: NOBEL DOES NOT MAKE GORE 'ANY LESS A LIAR'
(Waterbury Republican-American Newspaper)
Excerpt: Al Gore now has a Nobel Peace Prize to pair with his Academy Award for "An Inconvenient Truth." But neither accolade makes him any less a liar. As it did when it gave the prize to Jimmy Carter in 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee honored Mr. Gore and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to make a left-wing political statement. Though it did not mention "An Inconvenient Truth" by name, the committee spoke glowingly of Mr. Gore's political activity, lectures, films and books for reducing the "danger of violent conflicts and wars." The film details Mr. Gore's arguments on global warming, but his arguments are a tissue of lies. Justice Michael Burton of the High Court of London used "exaggeration," "apocalyptic vision," "distinctly alarmist" and "one-sided" to describe the film. If teachers show it to students without disclosing those lies or presenting contrary viewpoints, they could be charged under British law with the crime of political indoctrination. Climate experts admitted in court no evidence supports Mr. Gore's assertions that warming caused Hurricane Katrina, the melting snows of Mount Kilimanjaro and the bleaching of coral reefs. In the case of drowning polar bears and the evacuation of some Pacific atolls, they couldn't even document those phenomena occurred. < > By endorsing Mr. Gore and his lies, the Nobel committee will not further its goal of contributing to "a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world's future climate." Rather, it will preclude objective, rational debate on climate change, and the world will be more dangerous for it.
3. GORE V. BUSH: THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE COMMITTEE HANDS A VICTORY TO AL GORE.
washingtonpost.com Saturday, October 13, 2007; A18
FOR FORMER vice president Al Gore, sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is vindication. He was green when green wasn't cool. For more than 20 years, Mr. Gore persisted in the face of intense skepticism and criticism with his warnings about the impact of global warming on the planet.
"He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted," the Nobel committee wrote.
His movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," about the effects of climate change, was a box-office hit and an Oscar winner. That achievement is impressive and important, notwithstanding factual misstatements and exaggerations such as the "nine significant errors" in the film cited by a British judge Wednesday. By also awarding the prize to the IPCC, the Nobel committee bolstered the more solid scientific assessments of the U.N.-sponsored organization, which served to strengthen Mr. Gore's message about the dangers of global warming while moderating some of his more questionable assertions.
The Nobel committee chairman said that awarding the prize to Mr. Gore and the IPCC was not meant to be "a kick in the leg to anyone." The White House said it didn't see it that way, either. But these denials are hard to take seriously from a group that has handed the peace prize to adversaries of President Bush in several recent years. Mr. Bush said, through a spokesperson, that he was "happy" for Mr. Gore. But there was no congratulatory phone call, and commentary around the world, particularly in Europe, took delight in a yet another perceived rebuff to the unpopular president.
When it comes to global warming, the ire is warranted. Mr. Bush's inaction on climate change is one of the major failings of his presidency. He squandered nearly seven years by questioning the science of global warming and undermining efforts to do anything substantive about it. His recent efforts to demonstrate leadership -- from finally recognizing global warming as real to hosting a climate summit with the major emitters of greenhouse gases -- are undermined by his insistence that nations pursue voluntary "aspirational goals" to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is not the kind of leadership the world is looking for.
Fortunately, Congress is beginning to consider climate-change legislation. Support is growing for putting a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system with mandatory emission-reduction targets. Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.) will introduce their climate bill next week. Mr. Bush could and should be an active and productive participant in the debate to follow. This is the stuff of legacy: He has the chance to transcend any talk of besting or being bested by Mr. Gore if he helps put in place concrete solutions to the problems so dramatically outlined in "An Inconvenient Truth." If the president continues to sit on the sidelines, not only the Nobel committee but history as well will judge him poorly.
SEPP RESPONSE: LETTER TO EDITOR, WASHPOST (UNPUBLISHED)
As a co-Nobel laureate (by way of being one of the 2000-2500 IPCC scientists and a listed Reviewer), I don’t share the views in your Oct 13 editorial (“Gore v. Bush: The Nobel Peace Prize committee hands a victory to Al Gore”). No further comment is necessary on Gore’s “factual misstatements and exaggerations;” we can safely ignore the hype that predicts a 20-foot rise in sea level and other such disasters. But it is certainly necessary to correct the scientific assessment of the U.N.-sponsored IPCC. Their major conclusion – their near-certainty that global warming is caused by human-generated greenhouse gases – is unsupported by any firm evidence. To the contrary, it is contradicted by the actual atmospheric temperature data, assembled and displayed in a key report of the US Climate Change Science Program that has just been reviewed and blessed by the National Academy of Sciences. Under these circumstances, President Bush has been absolutely correct in rejecting crippling restrictions on energy use – such as would follow from a cap-and-trade bill now being considered by the Congress. Bush is simply following the 1997 Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously and rejected mandatory emission-reduction targets. Ironically, so did Clinton-Gore -- while in office.
S. FRED SINGER ARLINGTON
The writer is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and has served as director of the US Weather Satellite Service.
4. SELECTION OF GORE REVEALS NOBEL COMMITTEE'S 'HOPES FOR A DEMOCRATIC VICTORY IN 2008'
Excerpt: The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to former Vice President Al Gore is a political statement by the European bourgeoisie about the policies of the Bush administration and the politics of the United States. Rarely has there been such an open intervention by the European ruling elite in the internal politics of America. The political significance of Gore’s selection is clear, given that he is still an active figure in American politics, widely mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, who has on occasion attacked both the foreign and domestic policies of the Bush administration. At the very least, the award can be taken as a signal from the Norwegian political establishment—from which the selection committee is chosen—that it hopes for a Democratic victory in the 2008 presidential election.
5. THE WARMING DEBATE'S GRAY AREA
Dr. William Gray, a top climate scientist and professor emeritus of the atmospheric department at Colorado State University calls the theory that won Al Gore an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous." Others, he says, would speak out if they didn't fear retribution from those who put ideology over science.
According to Gray:
o A natural cycle of ocean temperatures related to the amount of salt in ocean water was responsible for global warming, which he acknowledges has taken place.
o As part of this natural cycle, global temperatures will eventually cool again.
o Fluctuations in hurricane intensity and frequency, Exhibit A in Gore's inquisition, have nothing to do with carbon dioxide levels or human activity, but with changing ocean currents.
o There were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared with 83 from 1957 to 2006, when the earth warmed.
"It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong. But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants. We'll look back at this in 10 or 15 years and realize how foolish it was," says Gray.
Source: Editorial, "The Warming Debate's Gray Area," Investor's Business Daily, Oct 15, 2007.
DR VINCENT GRAY (PUBLISHER OF THE NEW ZEALAND CLIMATE TRUTH NEWSLETTER) ON THE IPCC
Excerpt: The whole process is a swindle, The IPCC from the beginning was given the licence to use whatever methods would be necessary to provide "evidence" that carbon dioxide increases are harming the climate, even if this involves manipulation of dubious data and using peoples' opinions instead of science to "prove" their case.
The disappearance of the IPCC in disgrace is not only desirable but also inevitable. The reason is, that the world will slowly realise that the "predictions" emanating from the IPCC will not happen. The absence of any "global warming" for the past eight years is just the beginning. Sooner or later all of us will come to realise that this organisation, and the thinking behind it, is phony. Unfortunately severe economic damage is likely to be done by its influence before that happens. < >
I have been an "Expert Reviewer" for the IPCC right from the start and I have submitted a very large number of comments on their drafts. It has recently been revealed that I submitted 1,898 comments on the Final Draft of the current Report. Over the period I have made an intensive study of the data and procedures used by IPCC contributors throughout their whole study range. I have a large library of reprints, books and comments and have published many comments of my own in published papers, a book, and in my occasional newsletter, the current number being 157.
I began with a belief in scientific ethics, that scientists would answer queries honestly, that scientific argument would take place purely on the basis of facts, logic and established scientific and mathematical principles. Right from the beginning I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely.
Over the years, as I have learned more about the data and procedures of the IPCC I have found increasing opposition by them to providing explanations, until I have been forced to the conclusion that for significant parts of the work of the IPCC, the data collection and scientific methods employed are unsound. Resistance to all efforts to try and discuss or rectify these problems has convinced me that normal scientific procedures are not only rejected by the IPCC, but that this practice is endemic, and was part of the organization from the very beginning.
I therefore consider that the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt. The only "reform" I could envisage, would be its abolition.
MISPLACED TRUST: INCONVENIENT TRUTHS ABOUT THE UN’S GLOBAL WARMING PANEL.
by David Henderson
Wall Street Journal Europe on 11 October 200.
Governments across the world are mishandling climate-change issues. Policies to curb greenhouse-gas emissions too often take the form of costly specific regulations, rather than a general price-based incentive such as a carbon tax. More fundamentally, there is good reason to question the advice on which governments are basing their policies.
This advice is brought together through an elaborate process which governments have themselves created. The process is managed by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established in 1988. This panel is made up of government officials, not all of whom are scientists.
The IPCC process has since produced four massive Assessment Reports, designed to provide the basis for climate-change policy. These cover the whole range of issues, including economic, scientific and technical aspects. The latest in the series, AR4, will be completed next month. It will run to more than 3,000 pages, and its preparation has involved a network of some 2,500 experts.
Because of this extensive and structured expert participation, the IPCC process and its findings are widely taken to be professionally above reproach. Yet the expert network is only one of three main groups of participants in the process. The Panel itself, at the center of the process, is a separate body from the network. Third are the national-level agencies the policy makers that it reports to.
Governments have formally laid down, in the principles governing IPCC work, that Panel reports should be neutral with respect to policy. But this instruction can apply only to the expert reporting process. As officials, the Panel members and those who appoint them are of course identified with the policies of their governments. And virtually all governments are formally committed, within the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to the stabilization of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Since 1992, the risks arising from human-induced global warming have been officially taken as proven. Policies have been framed accordingly.
These committed Panel members, and their equally committed parent departments, provide the lists of persons from which the expert network is largely chosen. They also review, amend and approve the draft Assessment Reports. Hence departments and agencies which are not and cannot be neutral in relation to climate-change issues are deeply involved, from start to finish, in the reporting process.
Policy commitment often shades into bias. From the outset, leading figures within the IPCC process have shared the conviction that anthropogenic global warming presents a threat which demands prompt and far-reaching action. Indeed, had they not held this belief, they would not have been appointed to their positions of influence. Both they and their ministers are apt to make confident, alarmist statements which go well beyond the more guarded language of the Assessment Reports. A notable instance was the October 2006 joint statement by two European prime ministers that We have a window of only 10-15 years to take the steps we need to avoid a catastrophic tipping point.
The expert reporting process itself is flawed, in ways that reflect this built-in high-level official bias. Despite the numbers of persons involved, and the lengthy formal review procedures, the preparation of the IPCC Assessment Reports is far from being a model of rigor, inclusiveness and impartiality.
A specific weakness in some IPCC documents is the treatment of economic issues, which is not professionally up to the mark. One aspect of this has been the use of invalid cross-country comparisons of real GDP, based on exchange rates rather than purchasing power parity estimates.
A basic general weakness is the uncritical reliance on peer review as a qualifying criterion for published work to be taken into account in the assessments. Peer review is no safeguard against dubious assumptions, arguments and conclusions if the peers are largely drawn from the same restricted professional milieu. What is more, the peer-review process as such is insufficiently rigorous, since it does not guarantee due disclosure of sources, methods and procedures.
Failures of disclosure, such as many journals would not tolerate, have characterized published work that the IPCC has drawn on. The Panel has failed to acknowledge this problem and take appropriate action to deal with it. The issue is simply evaded in the relevant sections of AR4.
So far, despite the prospective high costs of what could be mistaken policies, governments have paid little attention to telling outside criticisms of the IPCC process. As a former Treasury official, with later close dealings with economics and finance ministries in OECD member countries, I have been surprised by the way in which these ministries have accepted uncritically the results of a process of inquiry which is so obviously biased and flawed.
Even if the IPCC process were beyond challenge, it is imprudent for governments to place such heavy reliance, in matters of extraordinary complexity where huge uncertainties remain, on this particular source of information, analysis and advice. In fact, the process is flawed, and this puts in doubt the accepted basis of official climate policies.
In relation to climate change, there is a clear present need to build up a sounder basis for reviewing and assessing the issues. Governments should ensure that they and their citizens are more fully and more objectively informed and advised.
Two broad lines of action could be taken to this end. One is to improve the IPCC process, by making it more professionally representative and watertight. The other is to go beyond the process, by providing for alternative sources of information and advice. An independent expert review of AR4 would be a good place to start.
Mr. Henderson, a former chief economist of the OECD, is a visiting professor at the Westminster Business School in London.
6. LONDON BOOK REVIEW. Published October 10, 2007
Title: Unstoppable Global Warming
Authors: S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield
When David Miliband, who was then Britain's Environment Minister, said 'I think that the scientific debate has now closed on global warming, and the popular debate is closing as well,' he was merely reiterating a commonly held view. It has been repeated so often and by so many people, that to doubt it is now akin to doubting the truth of evolution or the force of gravity. And yet the reality is that far from debate closing down, the scientific debate is growing. The science of climate change is as volatile and as unsettled as the weather is.
At first glance 'Unstoppable Global Warming' sounds like the title of another alarmist episode from Al Gore, but it's followed by the punch line: 'Every 1.500 Years'. Whatever this is, it's not of the same ilk as Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'. In fact authors Dennis Avery and Fred Singer explicitly set out to demolish the myth of scientific consensus on all aspects of climate change.
They do this with some skill and passion, quoting extensively from a wide range of scientific sources, referring constantly to papers published in well-known peer-reviewed journals. They counter the hype, exaggeration and alarmism both of populist adherents of the 'man-made global warming theory', including Al Gore, but also some of the statements made by partisan scientists such as Michael Mann (who came up with the controversial 'hockey stick' graph that purported to show the evidence of man-made warming).
As should be clear from the subtitle of the book, the authors counter the theory that we are in the midst of man-made global warming with an alternative that suggests that the earth's climate is always in flux and that this is a natural cycle. They present evidence both in terms of our climate history, but also by pointing to evidence in favour of the cosmo-climatology theory presented by Henrik Svensmark and his co-workers (as detailed in the Chilling Stars).
Furthermore, Avery and Singer look at a range of claims made by proponents of the 'consensus' view, including sea-level rise, species extinction, increases in hurricane frequency and intensity and so on. Again quoting from the literature, the authors debunk the alarmist headlines and show that there is little scientific evidence to support many of these misconceptions.
In contrast to the Chilling Stars, this is a book that has a decidedly polemical tone. Given the propensity for the mass media to leap on to the most alarmist of climate change stories, and for politicians to seek to exploit the issue in order to gain some legitimacy, the polemical stance the authors have adopted is understandable. To dispute the myth of consensus is to invite censure and the accusation of being a 'climate change denier'.
Far from being over, the popular debate on climate change has barely started. Those who air dissenting views are not often heard above the constant din of those who believe in the 'consensus'. This book is an effective, well written and ultimately convincing rebuttal of the 'consensus'. For those who have believe what the media tell them, this is bound to be sobering reader, and is to be recommended on those ground alone. In short, this is highly recommended.
© London Book Review 2007. Published October 10 2007