A Crash Course NATO Leaders Cannot Afford to Miss

For the first three days of this week the most important climate change conference of the year is being hosted by the Heartland Institute at the Chicago Hilton. Billed as the 7th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7), the event offers something no other conference does — the opportunity to hear from, and casually meet with, dozens of the world’s top climate change skeptics speaking in a language that anyone can understand.

Fortunately for politicians and government officials, ICCC-7 gets underway just as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit of Heads of State and Government concludes less than two miles away. While ICCC-7 is open to everyone, it is especially important that our NATO representatives extend their visit to the Windy City long enough to take in at least part of Heartland’s event. They have heard plenty over the past twenty years from Al Gore and his allies at the UN, mainstream media, the environmental movement, and government-funded scientists. Our leaders now must hear the other side of the story if they are to have any chance of developing policies that make sense in the real world.

Many politicians are starting to recognize that the climate alarmist movement is disintegrating. To prepare themselves for a new realty, one in which most of the public see “stopping global warming” as an expensive and useless albatross weighing down societies already mired in economic distress, government officials need to understand why the wheels are falling off the climate scare. They also must learn how to properly defend very different strategic positions on climate as basic economics forces them to wind down many of today’s nonsensical green energy plans. The current strategy of NATO leaders to employ climate alarmist rhetoric to prop up economically ruinous policy will not work much longer.

Incredibly, aside from a small group of U.S. politicians as well as one from the United Kingdom (MEP Roger Helmer) and one from the Czech Republic (President Vaclav Klaus), not a single NATO official or politician is slated to attend ICCC-7. They are obviously too frightened to be seen in the company of those who dare question political correctness on climate and alternative energy. But a far greater problem awaits political leaders who continue to turn a deaf ear to well-qualified alternative voices on these topics. They will, in the not too distant future, be seen as having betrayed their countries’ economic futures simply for short-term political convenience. This week they can learn about the scientifically stronger side of the climate debate by taking a ten dollar taxi ride up Michigan Avenue and quietly slipping into ICCC-7. Admission is free for government officials, and organizers say that only a quick advance notice and proper identification is needed for them to gain entry.

So, what would NATO officials learn at ICCC-7?

First they will discover that climate realists, as skeptics prefer to be called, are not evil, politically extreme right wingers focused on making a profit no matter the environmental damage. Most realists care deeply about the state of the natural world and want policies that reduce air, land, and water pollution and protect species at risk. They want their children to live in a world that is cleaner, more peaceful, and more prosperous than they inherited themselves. And the best way to accomplish that, presenters at ICCC-7 will demonstrate, is to base policy decisions on real science, politically correct or not. Hence the theme of the conference, “Real Science, Real Choices.”

Our leaders would also be able to attend and participate in short, easy-to-understand briefings with leading realists — scientists, economists, communications and policy experts from major universities, research establishments and think tanks — concerning the latest climate change developments. This includes not only up-to-date climate realist science, energy, and economics findings, but also the most recent research about science communications and strategy formulation on climate.

Perhaps most interesting will be Tuesday’s two hour breakfast discussion addressing the April 10th open letter sent to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden from former astronauts and scientists — including the ex-boss of the Johnson Space Center — requesting that the agency refrain from including unproven remarks supporting climate alarmism in the media. “We believe the claims by NASA and GISS [NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies], that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data,” wrote the 49 former NASA leaders. Tuesday’s panelists will include the only scientist to walk on the Moon, Apollo 17 astronaut Dr. Harrison Schmitt, and Apollo 7 Command Module Pilot Walter Cunningham. Both of them signed the open letter and contest NASA’s climate alarmism.

For their own benefit, and that of their citizens, NATO leaders and their strategists must quickly get up to speed on what climate realists have been saying for years. ICCC-7 is a crash course they cannot afford to miss.