The PJ Tatler

Climate Conference: 'Real Science. Real Choices'

The 7th annual International Climate Change Conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute got underway in Chicago on Monday in the shadow of the NATO meeting being held just a few blocks away.

Cognizant that the thousands of protestors running around the Loop might get bored protesting NATO and look for another target to vent their wrath, conference organizers issued a unique warning to conference goers in the welcome packet given to each attendee:

We expect the NATO Summit and our own International Conference on Climate Change to attract the attention of protestors. As safety precautions, we suggest you:

Do not wear your name badge outside of the hotel.

Carry your personal identification at all times.

Be aware of your surroundings; leave an area if it appears unsafe.

Avoid — don’t engage — any protestors.

That last bit of wisdom is as much for the benefit of the loony lefties as it is for conference attendees. With the sparkling lineup of scientists and other experts on tap for the three-day  event, any dose of realism and logic regarding climate change might cause a few of the more excitable warming zealots to spontaneously combust.

The theme of the conference — “Real Science. Real Choices” — reflects that difference. The climate skeptics (or “realists” as many like to be called) have made tremendous strides both in combating the junk science and scare mongering that has come from the side of warming advocates, as well as slowly making up ground in the realm of public opinion. Even if the warming advocates in the scientific community scoff at skeptics, smear them, and attempt to delegitimize their work, the public is beginning to ask their own questions. And the ICCC, and the groups that sponsor and promote the conference, have a lot to do with that progress.

Looking at the program for the conference, one has to be reminded that this is first, and foremost, a gathering of scientists. While there are many lay people in attendance, the work at many of  the breakout sessions, where information and research is exchanged and discussed, is the meat and potatoes of what the event is all about. In his welcoming letter to attendees, Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, points out that more tha 60 scientists and policy experts would be speaking and participating on panels “discussing what the real science is telling us about climate change.” Bast also writes of the “real choices” confronting us as scaremongerers impose policies on consumers that are both ruinously expensive and anti-growth. Experts will be addressing rewnewable energy “and the economics of adaptation and emissions control” — two subjects  that have become more urgent as the Obama administration continues to spend tens of billions of dollars on these “green schemes.”

One of the first panels on Monday dealt with “Climate History and Physics” and some of the groundbreaking work done by luminaries like Niv Shaviv, whose seminal work on the the effect of cosmic rays on earth’s climate has gained considerable attention. There was also a panel on the effect on health and welfare that climate change would bring. You might be surprised to learn that not all health effects related to climate change — or changes in temperature zones — would be catastrophic.

It should be noted that some of the scientists present have come to the conclusion that the earth is indeed warming, but they doubt that humans are the driving force behind the temperature rise. This view presents its own set of challenges to policy makers and will be discussed alongside those who are convinced that temperatures aren’t rising at all. What all of the scientists and experts share is a devotion to the scientific method and respect for their peers.

At the Monday luncheon, PJ Media contributor Tom Harris gave a fascinating presentation on new research into how our worldview shapes how we process information about global warming. It’s no surprise that left and right tend to accept information that buttresses their own views about warming, but there is a fascinating correlation that can be graphically shown between how “individualistic” or “communitarian”one believes themselves to be and how skeptical of — or how fervently they believe in — global warming. Forbes columnist Larry Bell quoted from an emotional email sent to him by a struggling academic who finds himself unable to find permanent work in academia because he refuses to toe the company line on warming. Both presentations highlighted the work that needs to be done in not only preaching to converted skeptics, but also in trying to engage those who might be persuadable. Harris made the point that the research shows that even communitarians can become more skeptical if presented with strong evidence.

The keynote speaker at Monday’s dinner will be Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, a champion in Europe of climate realism and one of his nation’s most beloved leaders. A report on his address will follow tomorrow.