Bast: Understanding the Global Warming Delusion (PJM Exclusive)

During the past year, the theory of man-made global warming took some serious hits. More than a few people are now saying the whole thing was a lie or an elaborate hoax, and that someday we’ll be laughing at how foolish we were to “fall for it.”

Certainly there is a solid basis for this view. Global temperatures during the past ten years stopped rising and started to fall, something computer models that claim to show a human influence on the climate did not predict.

Despite wall-to-wall promotion of global warming alarmism by the media and businesses seeking to cash in on public concerns, only 36 percent of Americans believe global warming is man-made, according to a Pew Research Center poll released in October. That's down from 47 percent the year before.

In November, a whistleblower or hacker released emails and other documents stored on computers at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The emails show a deliberate effort to falsify data and suppress academic debate in order to exaggerate the possible threat of man-made global warming.

Because the emails were written by leading scientists who edit and control the content of the reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climategate has caused the scientific case for global warming to come crashing down.

On December 20 another collapse occurred -- this one in Copenhagen, where representatives from more than 200 countries met but could not agree on a treaty to replace the Kyoto agreement, which expires in 2012. That same day, the Wall Street Journal reported that “White House officials ... agree [with Sen. James Inhofe that] a cap and trade bill will not pass the Senate next year.”

So is the great global warming delusion over?

Not quite.

Most of the scientists responsible for creating the delusion still believe global warming is man-made and will be a crisis. We know this from an international survey conducted in 2008 by Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch. They surveyed 373 scientists who work for climate research institutes and appear in the climate journals that are controlled by the now-notorious Climategate gang.

Thirty-five percent responded “very much” when asked the following question: “How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?” On a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 being “not at all” and 7 being “very much,” 83 percent answered 5, 6, or 7. Only 1 percent said “not at all” and only 11 percent answered 1, 2, or 3. Answers to the question “How convinced are you that climate change poses a very serious and dangerous threat to humanity?” were similar.

However, the Bray and von Storch survey also reveals that very few of these scientists trust climate models -- which form the basis of claims that human activity could have a dangerous effect on the global climate. Fewer than 3 or 4 percent said they “strongly agree” that computer models produce reliable predictions of future temperatures, precipitation, or other weather events. More scientists rated climate models “very poor” than “very good” on a long list of important matters, including the ability to model temperatures, precipitation, sea level, and extreme weather events.