Talking Climate in the Windy City
There must be some irony in holding a climate conference in Chicago, but I'm not sure what it is. Nevertheless, something close to eight hundred people have assembled at the Marriott on the Magnificent Mile to hear more than 70 scientists, economists and other experts opine on whether our globe is heating up. Naturally, since this is a skeptics' event, most of them think not very much, as do the American people at this point.
Not surprisingly, however, the whole affair has been branded as corrupt by our colleagues at the Huffington Post who claimed the conference was bought and paid for by those nefarious fellows in the energy industry. (Wasn't BP now supporting AGW? Oh, never mind.) The Heartland Institute, the conference organizers, emphatically deny this support. I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide the truth.
Unlike the HuffPo, I'm more interested in the science (not their long suit). And I have been getting an earful, spending most of my time in a conference room oddly name the "O'Hare" (it in no way resembles an airport), interviewing one scientist and expert after another for PJTV.
On the first day, two, especially, were notable -- Lord Christopher Monckton and Richard Lindzen of MIT. I interviewed these gentlemen extensively practically back-to-back. Fortunately, neither of them knew my calculus grade in high school and I was able to slyly avoid being revealed as the scientific nincompoop that I am by sagely nodding my head at the appropriate moments. This was a good strategy because, I must say, I learned a lot.
I spoke first with Monckton who, I'm sure many readers know, has essentially become the verbal spokesman for the climate skeptic movement. Only allowed one witness to the Democrats' four, ranking Republican Cong. Sensenbrenner chose Monckton, a British politician, not a scientist, to testify on the skeptics' behalf before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
I asked Monckton why he thought he was chosen and he said it was because he was a politician and could withstand the hectoring from the majority members of the committee. Indeed I think he relished it. Outnumbered as he was, the Viscount evidently gave the Democrats a piece of his mind. I wish I had been there, because there is no question this man has an extraordinary command of the English language. For rhetoric alone, the Democrats should have been taking notes.
But that's part of the point. This is no longer about science, if it ever was. Listening to Richard Lindzen lay out the whole history of "climate science" for me was fascinating, as he plotted the various motivations for the transition from the global cooling fears of the seventies (remember the Newsweek cover?) to the beginnings of the warming movement in the eighties.