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Roger L. Simon

The Economist Breaks with the Climate Orthodoxy

April 1st, 2013 - 12:15 am

No subject has convinced me more that modern liberalism is the most primitive religious faith on the planet (possibly excepting Wahhabism) than man-made global warming, aka climate change.

So it was with some amusement that I read the other day that that most august of publications The Economist was having second thoughts:

IT MAY come as a surprise to a walrus wondering where all the Arctic’s summer sea ice has gone. It could be news to a Staten Islander still coming to terms with what he lost to Hurricane Sandy. But some scientists are arguing that man-made climate change is not quite so bad a threat as it appeared to be a few years ago. They point to various reasons for thinking that the planet’s “climate sensitivity”—the amount of warming that can be expected for a doubling in the carbon-dioxide level—may not be as high as was previously thought. The most obvious reason is that, despite a marked warming over the course of the 20th century, temperatures have not really risen over the past ten years.”

The publication elucidates in an extended article from the same edition:

OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

Am I wrong or was the whole theory of anthropogenic global warming based on a correlation between greenhouse-gas emissions and rising temperatures?  Oh, well, maybe Al Gore will explain it to me.  (I’m sure his knowledge base has improved since his unfortunate ‘D’ in college geology. After all, he’s a “climate sensitive” guy.)

I especially hope he will since those pesky Russians are predicting something far worse — a new Ice Age:

Russian scientist Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, of the St Petersburg Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, painted the Doomsday scenario saying the recent inclement weather [in Europe] simply proved we were heading towards a frozen planet. 

Dr Abdussamatov believes Earth was on an “unavoidable advance towards a deep temperature drop”. The last big freeze, known as the Little Ice Age, was between 1650 and 1850.

Uh-oh.  Maybe Time and Newsweek were right all along when they made similar predictions back in the seventies. Maybe this photoshop wasn’t even photoshopped.

All this climate silliness could be regarded as comical at this point if so many – particularly scientifically illiterate politicians – didn’t still believe — much like the cardinals in Brecht’s Galileo — in the warming religion.

Principal among these scientific illiterates is our president, whose college grades, unlike Al Gore’s and just about everybody else’s, remain a state secret reminiscent of the Politburo.  I would be willing to bet my house, however, that his scientific qualifications are somewhere between non-existent and embarrassing.

So he must rely on the advice of supposed experts.  But who are they?  Usually scientists and business people who stand to profit by emphasizing the perils of warming. (Maybe he should listen to the Russians — he seems to like them.)

Even more dangerous – and closer to Obama’s heart – are the bureaucrats of the Environmental Protection Agency.  It’s hard to imagine what they think when they read — if they read — an article like the recent one in The Economist. Could it conceivably make them question what they do?  I doubt it.

Last Friday the Washington Post’s WonkTalk asked: Is the EPA ready to tackle climate change? In a video, their Brad Plumer — who apparently is convinced CO2 causes global warming — noted that Congress is not likely to do anything about climate. It will be up to the EPA, working under the guidance of the White House, to tighten rules and regulations around all sorts of emissions to protect us from what they view as an over-heated Armageddon.

If I were in the energy business, I’d have my lawyers ready.  The recent research should be very useful to them.  But the question remains – is anybody listening?  Or will we all be broke first?

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage by Shutterstock.com.)

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Top Rated Comments   
Great article, Roger. The trouble seems to be that although the science behind global warming gets debunked, it never seems to stick. Somehow that meme, that religion, if you will, has a life of its own.

The saddest thing is the selling out of science, of research science. The same thing seems to be happening in the health and nutrition field if Gary Taubes's amazing expose "Good Calories, Bad Calories" is to be believed. This is science at its very cynical worst, that is science to prove a pre-set, politically correct or politically desirable, conclusion.

As Americans become more and more accustomed to sell-out science, their trust falls away. Not a good thing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To understand leftism, one must understand the metamorphoses of Uncle Joe's "One Nation Socialism" toward Bill Ayers "small c communism".

Small c communism, Cloward-Piven's "minimum income standard scheme", and George Soros' "break their back, by breaking their bank" ...combined with Obama's "talk to the people of non-color in soothing terms, so as to lull them into a false sense of security".

Obama ALWAYS believed in conning people rather than confronting people in order to achieve his daddy's dream of imposed leftism. And Frank Marshall Davis, and the Midwest Academy and the radical professors and Bill Ayers and Carl Davidson and Danny Davis and the New Party and UNO and the Socialist Scholars and Jeremiah Wright and Don Warden.

You don't form an army and invade, you infiltrate and tear it apart from the inside.

Basically, you hide your intentions and drone the economy, drone the Bible, drone the Constitution. Picking off isolated targets one at a time, incrementally. Revolution at invisible heights....so, they can't see it coming.

All you need, is a co-conspiratorial media. And that...he has...in spades.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Liberalism is the flock.

Leftism is the shepherd.

Follow the redistribution scheme. It was never about the weather. It was about Cloward-Piven on steroids. You soak the "rich"...on a level of nations.

And, you take from the "rich" to give to the "poor".

This hoax needed to "hide the decline", because the people in the "rich" countries wouldn't respond to ...well, lying...about weather, in order to give up their accumulated wealth.

Leftism is all about destroying wealth. Overloading the free market democracies with leftist gunk, so that their well oiled market machines break down. It's an anti-poverty scheme that makes everyone poor...except the Martha's Vineyard golfing vacationers and various sex poodles.

Don't follow the money, that's going down a rat hole. Follow the redistribution...where being forced to pay "your fair share", comes from the "mean, colonialist, imperialist countries clinging to their religions and guns". (Western Europe, America, Israel)

Cratering those economies, by any means necessary...will be...their chickens coming home to roost.

The global warming hoax was an ECONOMIC policy, not a climate policy. And, it was all runaway leftists...doing their leftist thing.
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/11/18/breaking-un-ipcc-official-admits-we-redistribute-worlds-wealth-climat
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (95)
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Mr. Whittle, in a recent "Hot Seat" nearby at PJTV (Mar, 29, members only), makes some interesting observations about CAGW. Most interesting, he refers us to Burt Rutan's 99-page analysis of the true believers' own data. Rutan approaches it as an engineer not a scientist. Bottom line: Nothing there. Worth looking at in detail: Google "Burt Rutan on global warming."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You should have mentioned that the very same Jim Hansen in the 1970s was advocating "doing something NOW!" (like pumping out massive volumes of CO2) to "combat global cooling to prevent the coming ice age).
In the early 1980s he and others were claiming that increased CO2 levels would actually trigger that same ice age, by the late 1980s he was claiming it would trigger "uncontrollable global warming".
Now he's startingg to come full circle again.

The only thing that never changes in his rethoric is an obsession with CO2.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Where did you get that idea from?

No reputable scientists ever concluded we were heading for a new Ice Age. That hypothesis was seriously examined--and then discarded. But you know how the popular press is, they just like to publish anything that gets a headline, whether it's UFOs or global cooling.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
LIAR.

Pick up a copy of Eco-science. Harvard researchers (including your favorite guy, John Holdren) were ABSOLUTELY advocating the nonsense delusion of Global Cooling.

Now, those same people (including the same John Holdren) are chanting Global Warming. And guys like you are helping them.

Useful idiot. Tool of the State.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
WRONG. And I just love how you Eco-nazis just love to make that lie, lol. The VAST MAJORITY of ALL mainstream scientists in the 70's believed we were heading for a new Ice Age. Why is it you Eco-nazis claim that no reputable scientists ever concluded we were heading for a new Ice Age when there are literally THOUSANDS of articles from those very reputable scientists all available to be read because they all happen to be in the public record? Why do you Eco-nazis choose to blatantly lie when the truth is blatantly obvious to those of us who have done ACTUAL research on the matter, lol?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I feel like I live in a village on an island and as the tide rolls out the local shaman yells, "All the water is vanishing from the world!" and as the tide rolls in he yells, "Our island is sinking!" How many times can he shout these opposing warnings back and forth before the villagers just end his nonsense?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, the villagers should chuck the Malthusians into the sea.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I like the fictional theory (not meant seriously, I guess) in the Niven/Pournelle/? novel that BOTH theories are correct, and that global lwarming is the only thing keeping us from a new ice age.

I know it was kind of a joke, but wouldn't it be - er - cool - if it were true?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My theory is that leftists can't believe in the Christian apocalypse so they invented one of their own. There seems to be a psychological need for human beings to feel like one day, everything is going to be destroyed. Why is that? I mean, most Christians accept what the Bible says about it, but certain Christians are thoroughly obsessed with the subject. You know, those guys who pop up every so often claiming the End is coming this very year. The metaphysical naturalists seem to have their own share of worry-warts. I can't help equating Al Gore with Harold Camping.

Of course, Christians believe everything will be destroyed so it can be replaced by something much better. For the leftist, there's only the destruction - we're all screwed, end of story. The Christian urges repentance. The leftist urges vast, expensive, centrally-managed, unlikely-ever-to-occur international programs, usually involving restrictions on commerce and travel which, if fully implemented, would bring civilization to a standstill. In which case, we're still screwed but at least the weather will be nice.

People like Camping want to feel important - like they have special insight into the Mind of God, that they've figured out, all by themselves, what the Big Guy is REALLY up to, and it's their special duty to tell mankind the news. I think people like Gore have the same feeling about their relationship with nature and science. An important difference, though, is that Gore possess a strong desire to be in charge - to be in control of vast forces, massive movements of people and money, history-changing initiatives of the kind which hardly ever succeed. Liberals are collectivists, and every problem they identify must have a collectivist solution.

The religious solution: repent before God. The environmentalist solution: submit to government.

There really is more psychology than physics involved here. I wish somebody would analyze it more closely rather than simply saying "environmentalism is a religion." That formulation hides a lot more than it exposes. We need to expose - personal backgrounds, motives, mindsets, and pathologies. Because I guarantee, people like Al Gore are not supremely rational individuals who came to logical conclusions about Global Warming by objectively considering the evidence presented by science.

In fact, they are crazy. Not necessarily crazier than you or I. The difference is, they have chosen (or not, maybe they have a compulsion) to inflict their personalities on the rest of us - on the whole WORLD, in Gore's case.

It's actually OK to shoot the messenger if the messenger is dangerously crazy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wish somebody would analyze it more closely rather than simply saying "environmentalism is a religion."

http://www.pe.tamu.edu/DL_Program/graduate_seminar_series/Documents/MichaelCrichton_evironmentalism.pdf

It's a start.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge."

From Crichton's speech. This is what I'm talking about.

Don't analyze Al Gore's book, analyze Al Gore. Why is he doing this? And does his personal psychology matter if his facts are correct? I think they do, because they affect (or determin) WHAT he does about his facts.

On paper, Lenin had the highest, most human motives. But Lenin had a personality. His personality determined how he acted out his idealism. We know how that turned out.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ive done some writing on the subject as well. They have their own creation myths....biogenesis theories in and around Evolution and their own Doomsday narrative, Global Warming....where salvation is offered for repentence and you follow the dictates of the Anointed Ones.

That is a quick and dirty rundown of the newly evolving religion coming out of the Left.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have no problem with biogenesis theories, evolution, Darwin, etc. - as long as we remember they're theories, subject to continuing research and revision.

What I'm not sure about is how these things lead inevitably to AGW apocalypticism. Like I said, it's almost like there's a psychological hole in the human mind that needs to be filled with Armageddon, and we don't care whether it comes from God or Gaia.

Is it all cynical - cooked up, as you say, to scare people? Or is it really some sort of Jungian thing, built into the structure of our minds?

People are weird.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Doomsday Armageddon mythology is important to scare people into acting in a moral manner....saving the planet by following Leftwing recommendations and policy prescriptions.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The leftist religion in America descended in significant part from the Calvinst Puritans. They too believed in the essential iniquity of man, guidance in all aspects of life from an educated and credentialed elite and submission to authority, that of God and his earthly representatives, the clergy.

When the modern, intellectualized liberal New England Protestants lost their faith in God and began to adopt their secular faith, they retained the dim view of humanity's earthly doings and their faith in a credentialed (now secular) governing elite. Their faith in the essential iniquity of Man, to be answered by divine (now "Planetary") retribution is now called environmentalism. But it's really Calvinism without God.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I just read some background on Calvinism (Statism) and it reflects your points. Nice job
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The question is: How much of this is fact and how much of it is individual psychology, mass psychology, culture, history?

Why did Jean Paul Sartre come up with Existentialism? Was it because he was a really smart guy? Or was it because he was a Frenchman living in post-WWII France?

Is the world really warming up, or are the elites simply scared of the future, of technology, of an impersonal and uncaring Nature?

I think 9/11 has something to do with it. I think it threw a scare into a lot of people who thought they had all the answers. Kind of like European cultural elites prior to WWI.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, he just popularized it. But read Paul Johson's "Intellectuals" for the true character of these men, and especially how Marx was simply a poet with an apocolyptic vision and fudged data.

It's amazing how no-one checked his data for so long and many still take Marx/Engels seriously. Makes you wonder about other settled beliefs of the modern age.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That has the ring of truth about it. I think you're on to something.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Simply put, they're Luddites. Not hard to understand. Look at the (since disproven) stuff about limits published in the 60's and 70's.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The important point is that none of James Hansen's or other 'warmists' theoretical caculations have matched(even approximately) the actual measured temperature data. This was first pointed out by Prof. Richard Lindzen of MIT. If the theory is highly unreliable for the past 15 years, it is not wise to depend on the theory to sxtrapolate the next century of climate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger, I know a lot of atmospheric scientists. They fall into roughly three categories:

1) Climatologists who believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). These are the smallest number.

2) Climatologists who do not believe in catastrophic global warming. I know more of these, some of whom used to be CAGW believers. Many of these refuse to publish or even comment about CAGW, due to peer pressure and very real career threats.

3) Meteorologists who have little climatology knowledge. Most of these believe in CAGW.

Beyond that, the majority of scientists in all sorts of fields believe in CAGW but have no serious knowledge of the subject. Most are happy to sign ominous sounding proclamations by their professional societies on the subject.

This illustrates why "consensus" beliefs of scientists are useless (even beyond the fact that science works by facts, not votes): most scientists who sign consensus documents or answer for the consensus in polls have very little knowledge about CAGW research.

As an aside, virtually every one of these scientists belief, correctly IMO, that increasing CO2 will increase temperature by *some* amount. But the catastrophe theories assume that the fundamental physics ( temperature goes up 1.2C per doubling of concentration) is multiplied by an as yet to be verified positive feedback to achieve alarming levels.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What a great summary term of the three necessary assumptions:

(1) That it is occurring.
(2) The it is man-made.
(3) That it is a bad thing. (or in your case, a VERY bad thing).

By meteorologists, do you mean weather scientists or weather forcasters?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
20 or more highly sophisticated satellites geosynchronically circle Earth with specific aims of recording all such alterations in Earth's oceans, temperature, ice caps, landmasses, desert increases(decreases) etc. Two of importance, are Landsat, and Jasonsat. Coupled with ongoing, decades old Antartic geological research, Earth's temperature (and size)has remained surprisingly stable. Antartic ice mass increases some 200 billion tons in the Winter(larger than continental Africa) and recedes in summer months reducing in size to roughly that of continental USA. Below this Antartic ice mass are "brine vents."These vents release "heavy, super cooled" water, sinking to an oceans deepest ravines. All circulation of these brine laden waers constantly navigate every ocean deepest crevices, maintaining Earth's temperatures contant. Recently a deep ocean'brine sea" was discovered in America's Gulf of Mexico.Scientist's, Geologists and Climatologists have been collating and cataloguing this data for the past forty decades or so...only Al Gore and his "chicken little" hubris hasn't bothered to research this mountain of data and information .Evetually, the truth will out. Pray. Amen. God Bless America.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A couple of years ago, over on Jerry Pournelle's site, I asked about an experiment we launched on some NOAA TIROS polar satellites in the mid-80's. It was called Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and was to measure the amount of IR going into the Earth from space and the amount re-radiated back out. I thought it odd that I had never heard about the results of ERBE, given that it would seem to be key data relative to GW. After all, at 450 NM altitude the satellites are well above any CO2 effects. Jerry agreed it was of interest and asked for input.

The response we got back from someone presumably in the know was that ERBE showed that as tropical oceans warm up they radiate an increasing amount of energy back into space. And that the models everyone was citing to predict GW assumed the oceans did not radiate more back out as the temperature increased. But I guess they ignored that. Note that this data became available starting in the late 1980's.

Aside from the actual data, it would seem to me that assuming that when something got hotter it did not radiate more is an odd idea. Perhaps they thought that the CO2 levels would prevent re-radiation - but it appears the data shows they do not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What is interesting is that many of these climate scientists deny or downplay the Sun's role in Earth's climate. Most of the models also discount the Sun's activity, though I have read claims that it is "too difficult" to program that in.

Now consider that the Sun has few sunspots over the last decade or so. This winter it has had practically none, something which surprised solar scientists enough to publish an article about it within the last couple of months. Fewer sunspots seems to go with cooler temperatures. That certainly would help to explain why this winter was so cold. Also, since solar observation was just beginning during the Little Ice Age, it was noted then the sun spot activity was very low for the entire period. If so and this period of Double Dip Solar Minimums keeps happening and sun spots start trending lower than average in number, we could be headed for another extended cold snap.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Exactly. This current solar cycle has been far less active than predicted and lo and behold, winters across the globe have also been viciously cold unlike anything in recent memory. You have to go back to times more like the Little Ice Age to reach the last time rivers like the Danube had to be shut down in the winter because they froze.

Instead of worrying about how we're going to survive a drastically heated globe, we might be better served to study how we'll adapt to one with shorter growing seasons unless the sun livens up soon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Then we would need all those power plants Obama is shutting down and more oil because so much more energy would be spent on heating. But, rather than admit they were wrong, the greens will just tell us to put on more clothes and huddle up, while following Al Gore's example they jet from their well-heated mansions to conferences in the tropics.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In the meantime, the AGW's false premises underlie science education in our schools. The next couple generation of voters already accept it as putative fact.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not only that, many nations have instituted carbon taxes or trading - New Zealand, Australia, California, several Canadian provinces, India on coal, S. Korea, Japan, China planning, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, Costa Rico, Brazil and S. Africa.

While it seems like the skeptics are winning this battle, we are actually losing. Most of our politicians are don't care enough to follow the ongoing science. We could still lose this war.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's no money in not believing in Global Warming. How do you tax people if the globe isn't going to die of our own CO2? Politicians never let an opportunity to steal other people's money go to waste.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are you serious?

The entire coal industry would make a whole lot more money if global warming didn't require coal plants that can't sequester CO2 from being phased out.

There would be fantastic profits to be made, if we could use all the fossil fuels we want without worrying about global warming.

Unfortunately, we can't.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger; I'm not convinced the anyone ever really believed this garbage. The "Green Movement" which spawned a lot of this started a Soviet disinformation opp. This was always about power, (breaking the power of the USA and Nato) and money. Billions have been siphoned off of "real" projects. It is an always was a scam. And Al Gore and the rest of the con men always knew it! And the leaders of the con have gotten rich.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You may be right, EthanP. At least many of them never believed it. The reasons are in James Delingpole's book - WATERMELONS (green on the outside, red on the inside).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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