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Who Are the Real Climate Deniers?

Both style and substance bespeak the weakness of climate-warmist arguments.

David Solway


May 24, 2013 - 10:31 pm

I recently attended a fascinating and informative talk by Tom Harris, director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), delivered at a branch of the Ottawa Public Library. The lecture was, in part, framed as a response to a presentation held the week before by Dave Rhynas, an Al Gore-trained speaker, who followed the warmist party line faithfully. As Harris wrote afterward about it in a circulating email, “The talk was very ‘canned,’ no significant new material from what we are all used to hearing from Gore, so it would have been very easy to take it apart scientifically” — which is precisely what Harris proceeded to do during his subsequent presentation.

Harris is a genial and soft-spoken man, carrying the heft of his encyclopedic knowledge of climate science with effortless good humor and a reluctance to traffic in mere polemics. He weighed both sides of the argument with scrupulous fairness and conceded that many of those on the other shore of the climate divide approach the subject with undoubted moral concern, though not, regrettably, with scientifically valid objectivity. Harris is always willing to give the benefit of the doubt respecting the ethical character of his opponents, even when it is not entirely warranted. His adversary, I’m sorry to say, who sat in the audience two chairs down the row from me, was the polar opposite: dour, grim, portentously solemn in his demeanor, patently disapproving, interrupting more than once, listening as if he were painfully unwilling to listen and taking copious notes as if he were stockpiling ammunition. The body language and general comportment of the two men spoke volumes; one, accommodating and engaging, the other, stiff and piliated, as if underscoring the difference in their philosophies.

Harris’s main point is that the science is far from settled and that if we were honest with ourselves and wished to approach the subject with scientific rigor and impartiality, we would have to modestly agree, in his own words, that “the more we learn, the more we realize that we just do not know. Climate change and extreme weather have always happened and always will, no matter what we do. Perhaps instead of trying to stop it from occurring, we need to adapt and promote a sensible approach to a range of energy and environmental topics.” We plainly need “to learn more about the vast uncertainties in the field of climate change and discuss sensible policy actions.”

Uncertainty, however, is not synonymous with confusion or ignorance. We do not know everything or even enough, but we still know a fair amount about climate realities, as Harris’s discourse made clear. We know the long history of climatological variations, the many different factors that impinge upon and largely account for vast fluctuations in weather over the centuries and millennia, and the response of the scientific community, often, it must be said, disingenuous and repressive, to the data at its disposal.

We know, via proxies like ice core samples, fossil remains, marine specimens, temperature-dependent remanence measurements, as well as historical documents, etc., that there were periods in history when the earth was significantly warmer than it is today, though human beings were not pumping CO2 into the atmosphere — CO2 levels during the Ordovician Age 440 million years ago were ten times higher than they are at present and happened to coincide with an ice age; closer to home, during the Medieval Warm Period the Scandinavians farmed Greenland and in the Roman Warm Period olive groves flourished in Germany. We know that the Northwest Passage was open during the early part of the 20th century and that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, as recounted in his The North West Passage, navigated the strait between 1903 and 1906. (Its “gates” have been “forced…ajar,” he writes, and “traced from end to end by one ship’s keel” — his own.)

We know that solar activity is a primary driver of climate change. We know that temperatures have stabilized since 1998 and may possibly have declined by a fraction of a degree, and that we are currently in what is defined as an “interglacial” — and in fact, temperatures recorded at the American base at the south pole show it to be colder today than when the base was established over 50 years ago. We know, as Harris explained, that there is no “hotspot” in the troposphere, indicating that an increased greenhouse effect cannot be a cause of global warming.

We know, too, that Michael Mann’s celebrated “hockey stick” graphs depicting an abrupt spike in temperatures in the recent era are fraudulent and are in process of being retired; that computer models are notoriously unreliable and are unable even to retrodict the past; that temperature reading stations are both too few and egregiously misplaced, often in urban areas and near man-made structures that capture or produce heat, thus recording misleading data; and that the media contention that the majority of the world’s scientists are firm adherents of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) thesis is simply false.

No mention is made in mainstream media reports of the more than 31,000 scientists who added their signatures to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine “petition project” in 2008, repudiating the 600 or so scientists who have signed on to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warming consensus. Further, it seems, as the petition states,that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth,” a subject Harris also touched on but one studiously avoided by the warmists.   

We know that a number of major players in the climate game, such as Canada’s David Suzuki, Rajendra Pachauri who heads the IPCC, and Al Gore, have all grown obscenely wealthy huckstering the global warming canard. Suzuki, as Ezra Levant of Sun News Network has shown, profits handsomely from various multi-national organizations that finance his campaigns, including Canada’s Power Corp that operates in totalitarian China, one of the world’s leading carbon emitters. Suzuki has been intensely busy franchising himself.

Pachauri, who sits on the boards of several climate-related companies and runs The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), seems implicated in a number of suspicious commercial manipulations. Dennis Ambler, writing for the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), comments in a devastating exposé of Pachauri’s diverse business associations, “Conflict of interest has been taken to new levels.” As for Gore, described by his detractors, correctly, as “a limousine liberal and climate alarmist who lives a jet-setting, carbon-profligate lifestyle while preaching asceticism for everyone else,” he reaps his dividends from many sources, such as a toxic zinc mine on his property, his exorbitant speaking fees, his lucrative co-owned Generation Investment Management carbon trading company, including $1.2 million in salary and bonuses he pays to himself, and the sale of his cable TV network to Al-Jazeera, which is owned by the petrochemical sheikh of  oil-rich Qatar.

We know that assessments counter to the prevailing orthodoxy have been deliberately suppressed and that the evidence for AGW was often just made up — witness the infamous “hide the decline” email dumps emanating from the mysteriously hacked Hadley Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which have disclosed the duplicitous and counterfeit nature of its methods and procedures. The lead researcher at the East Anglia CRU, Phil Jones, has gone so far as to recommend deleting all incriminating emails and/or changing the wording of others. As I wrote in Global Warning: The Trials of an Unsettled Science, “What we are seeing is the unfolding of a Climategate scandal that, one hopes, will put paid to a vast and tenacious hoax.” The climate mavens will stoop to practically anything to defend their ideological patrimony.

Indeed, new information has just come to light regarding the obdurate and self-righteous posture of the global warmist tribe, amounting at times to a kind of Savonarola-type zealotry. Perhaps we should not be overly shocked at the way such zealots can deal with the productions of dissenters. History is rife with instances of doctrinaire vengefulness and violence of one kind or another. This stunning, if predictable, example features two professors at the San Jose State Meteorology Department, who photographed themselves setting fire to an offending book (The Mad, Mad Made World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania) by Steve Goreham, executive director of the Climate Science Coalition of America. (As one reviewer quips, “Goreham, the antidote for Gore.”) Such fanatic ardor, to cite the department’s brochure, will, apparently, “benefit the science community and enhance our students’ learning environment.” With such devoted firebrands as teachers, who respond to opposition and criticism not with reasoned argument but with auto-da fés, students are definitely in for a memorable learning experience.

Which brings us back to the Ottawa Library event, also a learning experience but a far more useful one. When Harris had finished his disquisition and opened the question period, the Gore disciple monopolized the little time left before the library locked its doors, not by posing questions, but by releasing a fusillade of obiter dicta intended to refute Harris’s argument. He began by announcing, as if relevant, that the Rideau Canal skating rink — one of Ottawa’s premier winter attractions — had closed down several weeks early in the past winter owing to global warming — a localized and short-term epiphenomenon that, as Harris had just demonstrated, proves absolutely nothing about long-term and global climate trends. Rhynas did not pause to consider that the rink had often remained open for the full season, and when it did happen to shut down early, it was just as likely the result of budgetary shortfalls as of a shortened winter.

He next exhumed the wizened cliché about Big Oil subsidizing climate “deniers,” stating that whenever he reads the arguments of climate-warming skeptics, he always looks first to determine their funding sources, convinced that these reveal their dishonest advocacy — though he has obviously refrained from querying the fiscal activities of his mentor and others involved in the thriving warmist trade. Further, aside from the fact, as Tom Harris immediately pointed out, that it is better to test an argument scientifically than to dismiss it out of hand for contextual reasons (and where, one might ask, is Rhynas getting his funding?), the fact is that major oil companies have for some years now been hedging their bets by investing in green energy projects, geothermals, and biofuels, ironically oblivious to the Solyndrification of their enterprise.

Moreover, big money is pouring into the global warming industry from opulent NGO foundations such as Moore, Hewlett, Packard, Oak and Tides to prevent the development of fossil resources — especially in the Canadian oil sands — and from national governments funding the IPCC and many research institutions and individual scientists promoting the AGW myth. (Interestingly, Harris enjoys little in the way of grants and perquisites to finance his work.) Rhynas then fell back on the “majority argument,” claiming that 98% of the world’s nations support the (so-called) “settled science” of global warming, implying that therefore it must be true. This is, of course, pure hogwash. Probably 98% of the world’s institutions, governments, religious hierarchies and populations once believed the earth was flat — which, it appears, had no discernible effect on its curvature.

In essence, the contrast between the two men was unrelievedly stark. Harris mobilized a veritable cache of credible mathematical and graphic detail to demonstrate that the science was to some extent still, so to speak, up in the air, but that the evidence persuasively suggested nonetheless that global warming, as understood and promulgated by the climatocracy, was not only a theory but quite conceivably a fallacy — and he did so humbly and with appealing courtesy. (As Harris wrote in the above-mentioned email, his adversary seemed “surprised that I am not the rich, right wing, evil fire-breathing denier he probably expected.”) Rhynas, for his part, had no factual or scientifically compelling information to propose in defense of his Gorean hypothesis. He could only retail his personal impressions, his literalist sentiments and his jotting points — and did so sanctimoniously and with unabashed didacticism. There was no real science in his riposte.

It is also telling that in a radio debate between Harris and Rhynas that took place following Rhynas’s initial presentation, the former agreed to take questions from the public but the latter refused. Surely it says nearly everything one needs to know about probity and cognitive assurance when a speaker refuses to debate on facts and logic with his audience. Rhynas’s performance serves as an illustration of the misuse of reason, calling to mind the French-Algerian religious philosopher Muhammad Arkoun, who declared that the sole function of reason “is to shape, bend and systemize reality in accordance with God’s signs” — God in our case being Gaia and her Prophet, Al Gore. What we dub “climate science” is not so much a science as a religion, and as in the ultra-theological realm the application of authentic rational arguments is rejected as a violation of faith. In this domain, the function of reason is to support unreason. We can say that Rhynas and those like him do not have an argument, they have a position, which is impervious to proof and reason. By contrast, Harris is a true scientist and an independent thinker who believes in the supple and genuine use of reason whereas Rhynas is a man of the meteorological cloth who believes in sticking to the letter of an unreformed holy text.

One cannot but conclude that the difference in their styles is revelatory of the difference in their postulates, in brief, it is the difference between inquiry and pedantry. And one cannot but wonder: who are the real climate deniers?

David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012. Visit his Website at and his Facebook page here.

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Top Rated Comments   
PJM recently changed the format for commenting. We used to be able to post with hypertext. They've screwed it up royally and refuse to do anything about it. Most of us are getting pretty good at copying the pertinent pieces of a link and finding the target web page. All requests to enable hypertext posting has fallen on deaf ears.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Some where - some time - some one is going to finally use the 'word' meant to end all argument - the word used to silence conservatives when the argument seems otherwise lost. The knuckle-draggers will be called RACIST! for doubting AGW. Its about all the argument the left has remaining. Its apparent to just about any thinking person how stale the argument for AGW has become in the face of mounting evidence that warming has seemingly taken a vacation. When is the last time The Goracle has argued any of the points he so passionately (tongue in cheek) spews out? I think a good high school debater could take Gore's argument apart - and Gore knows it - which is why he shies away from confrontation - however mild it might be.

We must continue to beat back their weak claims. These true believers are in the schools preaching to the youth of our country. They train teachers how to present these lies to our youth. Sooner or later a tipping point will be reached where the youth begin to pay attention to current events - and begin en mass to vote. Unless we are all waddling around assh*le deep in snow in mid June these persistent morons may well have their way. And their end game? A society free of oil and all the products that it delivers - a wide spectrum of products that currently cannot be made by any other means. Products that make our lives more convenient and make living more comfortable. In other words we'll be heading back to caves to live. You don't need to get off your butt to see something in your home that was made from oil. Imagine if you could strip out everything made from oil that is in your home - and the products that your home is built of. What would be left? Thats what these true believers are wishing upon you and I.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have Google alerts activated so I know when things are being written about me and ICSC. Normally we are being attacked in one way or another with childish statements about us being deniers, etc., so imagine my happy surprise when I saw the above article. What a great way to end the day!

To end off the above story about CFRA radio and the Al Gore-trained speaker, David Rhinas, the radio show host, John Counsell offered David the chance to have another open debate on radio with me, this time with both of us bringing in scientists of our chosing to be on radio with us. Mr. Counsell offered a whole 2 hour slot on live radio with himself acting as a neutral moderator.

The Al Gore rep declined because he said that holding such a public debate would give the impression that there is any debate at all about the causes of the "climate crisis". The host was pretty mad and blasted him on air, as you can hear at the beginning of the following audio:

Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (Mech.)
Executive Director,
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)
Ottawa, Canada

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (51)
All Comments   (51)
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
480 million years ago, when plants began to lay down fossils, CO2 was at least 20 percent of the atmosphere. Photosynthesis converts one CO2 to one O2. Yet atmospheric temperature then was in a range such that plant life thrived. Heavy jungles covered much of the earth.

Compare 20 percent CO2 480 million years ago with 0.04 percent CO2 today.
The explanation why far higher CO2 content long ago did not heat the atmosphere is found in the Stephan/Boltzmann black body rule: If the temp of a black body in equilibrium with its heat source (the sun) and black body cold space heats a small amount above the equilibrium temperature, then long wave radiation to space increases, causing the body (the earth) to cool to equilibrium temperature.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Can any of the scientist her explain why the major player in CO2 emission is never spoke of. Namely insect respiration. We don't even generate half.
Where is the balance Al is letting all these cockroaches have a pass.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To claim that the "Northwest Passage" was open early in the 20th Century based on Amundsen's trip across the Artic Ocean is a real stretch. I almost doubt that Mr. Solway actually read Amundsen's account. The Gjoa was locked in the ICE FLOE for roughly two and a half years. The westward drift of the ice carried Amundsen (and crew) in their boat from open water on the east where it froze in to open water on the west where it thawed out and then the boat sailed to San Francisco where it mouldered at Ocean Beach for a number of years. The point being that Amundsen's drift (not voyage) across the "Northwest Passage" does not demonstrate anything about global warming and certainly would not prove to even the most vigorous anti-Goracle that the "Northwest Passage" was, in any real sense, open.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting and useful.I'm an MD who stopped my PH.D I don't have a strong feeling either way,because I have better ways to spend my time than on this. I recall a Thanksgiving dinner at Lake Forest where I asked my aunt -by marriage aka Mrs Wealthy Orthodontis-was so angry when asked to convert40 F to C that she banned me from the dinner
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your aunt could have figured it out even if she did not recall the conversion equation:
100 C = 212-32 or 180 F (0C starts at 32F)
1F = 1/1.8 C
40F = 0C plus 8F
8F converts to 8x1/1.8 C or 4.44 C
40F = 4.44 C
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>>who are the real climate deniers?<<<

Both extremes. Climate change is not a hoax.

"Model-predicted differentials between decadal rates of increase in temperature at the surface (TS) and in the lower troposphere (T2LT) from latitude 20º N – 20º S in response to anthropogenic enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect by emission of carbon dioxide and other well-mixed greenhouse gases (pink hatched rectangle) do not overlap at any point with real-world observations from RATPAC radiosondes (purple circles); HadAT2 radiosondes (green circles); University of Alabama at Huntsville satellites (blue squares); and RSS satellites (red squares)"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In May 2007, Professor Reid Bryson, the father of climate science, gave an interview to the Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News including the following Q&A:

Q: Could you rank the things that have the most significant impact and where would you put carbon dioxide on the list?

A: Well let me give you one fact first. In the first 30 feet of the atmosphere, on the average, outward radiation from the Earth, which is what CO2 is supposed to affect, how much [of the reflected energy] is absorbed by water vapor? In the first 30 feet, 80 percent, okay?

Q: Eighty percent of the heat radiated back from the surface is absorbed in the first 30 feet by water vapor…

A: And how much is absorbed by carbon dioxide? Eight hundredths of one percent. One one-thousandth as important as water vapor. You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.

One may read the entire piece, "The faithful Heretic" at
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I keep on asking, how exactly does one count or poll "scientists"? How would you define them, and how would you find them, particularly those in induistry?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would leave out the "earth is flat" argument; the Greeks had already worked that out. I would be more inclined to compare it to the idea that overwhelmong majority of the UN declared there is a state called "Palestine".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When I read these articles, I am amazed at how we continually seem to miss the obvious. They are:
1. The United States contributes only about a quarter of all the CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) to the plant's atmosphere. Why is it that we arrogantly assume that any changes we make to our own industries will fix the global problem when other countries refues to become involved? Yes, any help in the right direction is better than nothing, but if the ship is sinking then what difference does it make if the ship sinks in 2034 rather than 2035?
2. If global warming is correct then increasing GHG will result in higher global temperatures. During various periods of the Earth's history, GHG levels were much, much greater than they are today and yet life continued. The planet did not become so very hot that life could not survive.
3.People who are so very concerned about global warming are not so concered about the having mankind survive, rather that are more concerned about maintaining the status quo. It does not matter what the cause might be, environmentalists feel strongly that the world should not be allowed to change even though change has and always will occur. We can spend monumnetal amounts of time and money to combat change, but it is unlikely we will be successful.
4. If GHG are increasing, if global warming is occurring, if the US cannot, by ourselves, stop global warming, then why are we looking at potentially destroying our businesses and economy attempting to combat GHG increases? Wouldn't it make far more sense to acknowledge that we cannot do any real good by ourselves and then take all that money and time and invest it, instead on combating global warming, on preparing for a warmer Earth? If we know it is coming, why do we put our heads in the sand and ignore the inevitable. If we start now, we could corner the market on global warming technologies. For every bit of shoreline that is lost to global warming, acreage in Canada, Alaska, SIberia, etc., become more habitible and resources located there become more easily available.

We need to stop with the "All is lost" banter and replace it with "There is great hope for the future" and prepare accordingly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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