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Debunking the Myth of Global Warming
Commentary by Greg Lewis / OpinionEditorials.com
Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri is an Indian-born scientist who currently chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He's also an unabashed environmental activist, a role he acts out as head, since 2001, of the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI). This organization sponsors in thousands of India's schools the Green Olympiad movement, which is a competition designed to test and enhance the knowledge of Indian schoolchildren about environmental issues and whose winners will be invited to participate in Terraquiz, the only environmental quiz show on Indian national television. Well, thank God for small favors. At least there aren't two environmental TV quiz shows in India.
Dr. Pachauri has been in the headlines recently for two reasons. First, in his position as IPCC Chairman and shameless Kyoto-Treaty flak, he's prominent at the Conference of Parties (COP10) meeting in Buenos Aires this week, the theme of which conference is climate change. Second, mainstream media, for some reason, have got it into their heads that he has something important to say about climatological matters. The problem is that Dr. Pachauri, like so many in the scientific community, spouts misinformation about global warming as if he didn't know any better.
It's highly likely, however, that he actually does know better, but that he's so politically committed to the trumped-up unscientific hogwash that is brought forward to support the global warming agenda that he can't back out now. Minimally, if he did actually admit what indisputable scientific data demonstrate to be true, his funding would get yanked and his standing in the worldwide leftist scientific community would diminish dramatically.
One of the reasons it's so hard to take environmental scientists seriously is because they sometimes, in unguarded moments, reveal their true agendas. Stephen Schneider, for instance, a scientist who criticized the overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Bjørn Lomborg amassed against global warming in his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," has offered this assessment of what scientists need to do to convince people that global warming is real: "[W]e have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, make little mention of any doubts we might have . . . decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."
In other words, it doesn't really matter what the evidence indicates. Never mind that Lomborg presented a meticulously researched and massively documented ("The Skeptical Environmentalist" contains more than 3,000 footnotes!) case against global warming and many other environmental disasters predicted by "science." What really matters to environmentalists is to promote an anti-capitalist agenda, specifically one which says that industrial civilization is bad for the environment across the board, in this instance because it tends to generate inordinate amounts of the gas carbon dioxide, which ostensibly contributes to the greenhouse effect, which in turn is going to lead, within our children's lifetimes, to massive changes in the earth's climate that will render many regions of our planet uninhabitable and create unimaginable chaos in our descendants' lives.
Never mind that, to cite only one counter argument among many, the United States is a net decrementer of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because our country is literally so "green" that the huge quantities of oxygen emitted into the air by our forests and other green spaces far outweigh the amount of carbon dioxide our cars and lawnmowers and manufacturing and power plants and other diabolical creations of our capitalist society manage to throw off into the atmosphere. And never mind that it is only in advanced capitalistic societies that real progress against the ostensible threat carbon dioxide poses is being made, that it is in modern western industrial democracies where the most effective progress in cleaning up the environment is occurring.
In fact, the real polluters, the heaviest contributors to the carbon dioxide problem are generally developing nations, which are following the same relatively unregulated path toward industrialization that our own country pursued through the first half of the last century. The good news, though — and Lomborg, again, makes this case convincingly — is that when industrialization and modernization in these developing countries reaches a critical mass, they too will, as we have done and continue to do, clean up their act.
But the real problem with the global warming hysteria that is being perpetrated by otherwise intelligent and educated scientists who should know better is that global warming itself is a phenomenon that has only become an issue in the past decade or so. Take a look at these dire predictions about the climatic future of our planet from a 1975 Newsweek Magazine article entitled "The Cooling World":
"There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically. . . . A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972."
The article went on to paint a doomsday picture of crop failures and widespread starvation due to the dramatic cooling that had been taking place in the previous quarter century and was continuing at a rapid pace. The question is, What happened between 1975 and the early 1990s, when predictions suddenly reversed and scientists began to caterwaul about global warming and the disastrous effects of the increase in the earth's temperature many of them had begun to "observe?"
First, there is the ascendancy of the computer model as the digital "bible" of so-called scientists. A computer model is a program into which its users enter suspect and incomplete and inevitably inaccurate data and arrive at conclusions about the future of the future of our planet that have virtually no way of being verified but will inevitably, if their conclusions are somehow weighed against the outcomes they purport to predict, prove those who stand behind them to be absolute idiots, except for the fact that those who have have stood behind them will be long gone by the time we can verify or discredit their conclusions. Paul Ehrlich (who is still alive to see what an idiot he was) predicted in the early 1970s that before the turn of the 20th century, the "population bomb" would explode and that hundreds of millions of people, especially in third world countries, would die in the massive famines that resulted because of overpopulation. Not even close.
Second, and equally important, there is the politicization of science. If it hadn't been for the fact that George W. Bush has been occupied with cleaning up the mess left by Bill Clinton's ignoring the real threats to our nation's safety, such as Islamist terrorism, while "science" was ginning up fears about global warming, I would argue that the Bush Presidency should be busy turning the tables on bought-and-paid-for science and selling us on global cooling. President Bush, however, has other battles to fight.
Scientific research has become a variant of the television show "Family Feud." In its heyday, that show, you'll remember, rewarded people for coming up with the same answers as those revealed by a survey of audience members. Now, however, instead of "Name three things you find in the bathroom," you're more likely to hear "Name three global conditions that could disastrously affect mankind's future on earth." Survey says: Global warming. Nuclear war. Unregulated telemarketers.
Unless and until we stop listening to such disingenuous charlatans as Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri and start paying attention to the fact that none of the credible data gathered on the issue of CO2-generated climate change, when brought together and analyzed responsibly, point to anything remotely resembling the "crisis" that so-called "concerned scientists," in collusion with I'm-happy-to-be-led-by-the-nose liberal-agenda media honks, are trying to sell us, we're doomed to be inundated by so-called "news" that predicts our collective climatological demise because we failed to limit our carbon dioxide emissions.
The bottom line is this: It's not that we need more data (though the data we gather over the next decade and beyond will certainly be a welcome addition to the rather funky and incomplete stuff collected thus far); it's that we need a more dispassionate and less agenda-driven assessment of the data currently available to us in order to better determine where we (and our planet) stand with regard to this issue of global warming. Until such credentialed (albeit compromised) scientists as Dr. Pachauri and his cohorts stop making global environmental issues the occasion for America-bashing and unsupported scaremongering, we can be assured that they are not using their knowledge and authority to serve the interests of the people of this planet.