It is the best of times, it is the worst of times — for science. Over the past several years, the world has been spectator to an alarming meltdown as one serious scandal after another has publicly exposed many of the world’s most prestigious scientific organizations, institutions, and publications as being captives of rigid ideologues who employ rigged computer models, fraudulent “evidence,” censorship, and intimidation to advance a radical “green” political agenda and to squelch genuine scientific inquiry and debate.
Some of the preeminent scientists involved in promoting global-warming alarmism have been disgraced and discredited, after being caught in flagrante in unethical and illegal activities. Even before the 2009 “Climategate” e-mail scandal, many leading scientists who had earlier been true believers in man-made global warming (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW) had begun jumping ship and joining the AGW skeptic side. Since then, the defections have turned into a veritable flood, making this one of the great untold stories of the major establishment media, which continue to trumpet the alarmist propaganda.
Two defections were particularly striking as world leaders and tens of thousands of delegates, NGO activists, and journalists gathered in Rio de Janeiro in June for the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. In an interview with the U.K. Guardian on the eve of the summit, James Lovelock (photo above), the British inventor, NASA scientist, author, and originator of the Gaia Hypothesis, mocked sustainable development as “meaningless drivel,” and said the UN makes “a mess” of everything it gets involved with. In 2006, Lovelock, one of the world’s most famous environmentalist gurus, asserted that due to global warming “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.” He now says his predictions were “alarmist,” and he criticizes his former comrades for having turned environmentalism into a “green religion.” Lovelock also endorses nuclear power and expanded development of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” But his ultimate heresy is his withering rejection of so-called “renewable energy,” especially wind power, as a viable replacement for carbon-based fuels. (See here and here).
“We rushed into renewable energy without any thought,” says Lovelock. “The schemes are largely hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant.” He has upset many of his erstwhile green brethren for attacking wind turbines and wind farms as “ugly and useless.”
Professor Fritz Vahrenholt is another recent green heretic. A founding father of Germany’s environmental movement and a director of one of Europe’s largest alternative energy companies, Vahrenholt stunned the "greens" in February of this year with publication of the climate-skeptic book Die Kalte Sonne (The Cold Sun), which scorches the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other alarmists. Co-authored with noted geologist/paleontologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning, the book was published by one of Germany’s premier book publishers and (amazingly) received hugely positive reviews in the major German media. On February 7, Germany’s leading daily newspaper, Bild (16 million circulation), devoted a half page to the Vahrenholt story, under the headline: “The CO2 Lie: Renowned team of scientists claim the climate catastrophe is fear-mongering by politics.” Bild followed up with a series of stories on Vahrenholt’s defection and the mounting evidence of massive fraud from the climate alarmists.
Germany’s flagship weekly news magazine Der Spiegel featured a four-page exclusive interview with Vahrenholt. Europe’s climate-alarmism industry was shellshocked. On June 18, two days before the opening of Rio+20, Vahrenholt sent another shock, with an op-ed in Britain’s Telegraph entitled “Global warming: second thoughts of an environmentalist.”
“For many years, I was an active supporter of the IPCC and its CO2 theory,” Vahrenholt wrote in the Telegraph. “Recent experience with the UN’s climate panel, however, forced me to reassess my position. In February 2010, I was invited as a reviewer for the IPCC report on renewable energy. I realised that the drafting of the report was done in anything but a scientific manner. The report was littered with errors and a member of Greenpeace edited the final version. These developments shocked me. I thought, if such things can happen in this report, then they might happen in other IPCC reports too.”
Vahrenholt faults the IPCC for, among other things, treating the solar influence on our climate as negligible. Current research by many scientists, he points out, indicates “it is really the Sun that shaped the temperature roller-coaster of the past 10,000 years.”
Crash Goes the “Consensus”
“All agree that climate change is an existential threat to humankind,” stated UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, before the UN’s 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “All agree”? “Existential threat”? In this statement, the chief UN bureaucrat took the false “consensus” claim a quantum leap beyond even Al Gore’s lurid assertions. The Gore choir has been declaring for years that there is an overwhelming “consensus” among scientists that catastrophic AGW is real and imminent. According to Ban Ki-moon, we’ve gone beyond consensus to unanimity, and not just among scientists but “all,” presumably meaning every person on Earth agrees that global warming is a dire threat to humanity’s very existence. That, of course, is nonsense.
However, while Ban’s unanimity plea is easily recognizable as patently ridiculous, the consensus claim has bamboozled a great many people, including scientists who should know better. Aside from the fact that science is not determined by consensus, but by observation, experimentation, and measurement, the truth is that the AGW “consensus” involves a relatively small coterie of climate scientists who have been placed in key gatekeeper positions, enabling them to co-opt the claim of “scientific consensus” on AGW, while squashing dissenting voices and branding all dissenters as “cranks,” “outliers,” or, even, “deniers.” The use of the “denier” label is an especially odious tactic, intentionally aimed at smearing fellow scientists who dissent from AGW theory as equivalent to Holocaust deniers. The Climategate e-mails showed top climate activists at major universities and other institutions conspiring to punish scientists with opposing viewpoints and to prevent them from being published in the scientific literature. It also showed that they were going to great lengths to doctor their evidence to make it “prove” their preordained outcomes. What’s more, they have refused to make their data publicly available to scientific peers for independent review — as genuine scientific procedure demands — and when pressed on the issue, have claimed that the evidence has been “lost.” Some of the top names in climate alarmism — Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Kevin Trenberth, Rajendra Pachauri, Stephan Ramsdorf, James Hansen, Peter Gleick — demonstrated repeatedly that they are engaged in abusing science for a global political agenda.
The AGW consensus scam is one of the most astounding frauds in all of history, not only because it is patently false, but also because it is being used to propel the most sweeping and authoritarian scheme for global economic, social, and political regimentation the world has ever seen. This is not merely a theoretical scientific debate; the alleged “science” is being used to drive policy and legislation — at a global level. The policies they have already succeeded in imposing have caused devastating impacts, especially on the world’s poorest populations. The additional policies they propose would cause even more horrendous results. The AGW alarmists insist that “science has spoken,” and it is telling us, they say, that we must subject ourselves to UN-mandated global governance — which is to be determined, of course, by scientists who toe the UN-approved, IPCC-certified party line.
Although the liberal-left mainstream media has chosen to side with the climate alarmists, the other side of the story has been getting out through the alternative media. In April of this year, 49 former top NASA scientists and astronauts released a letter they had earlier sent to NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressing their belief that the claims of NASA, and specifically its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), “that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated.”
A large number of noted climatologists, paleoclimatologists, meteorologists, atmospheric physicists, geophysicists, oceanographers, geologists, and scientists in virtually every field has been challenging the claims of the UN’s IPCC and vigorously denouncing the politicization of IPCC “science” to promote costly and draconian global policies. Some of the IPCC’s most severe critics are scientists who have served as lead authors and expert reviewers of IPCC reports and have witnessed from the inside the blatant bias and politics masquerading as science. Former and current IPCC experts who have spoken out against the IPCC’s abuse of science include such prominent scientists as:
Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT climate physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of meteorology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences;
Dr. John Christy, a climatologist of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and NASA;
Dr. Lee C. Gerhard, past director and state geologist with the Kansas Geological Society and a senior scientist emeritus of the University of Kansas;
Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, former Virginia State climatologist, a UN IPCC reviewer, and University of Virginia professor of environmental sciences;
Dr. Vincent Gray, New Zealand chemist and climate researcher;
Dr. Tom V. Segalstad, geologist/geochemist, head of the Geological Museum in Norway; and
Dr. John T. Everett, a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) senior manager and project manager for the UN Atlas of the Oceans.
The above-mentioned IPCC experts represent only a tiny subset of the scientists involved in the climate debate who take serious issue with the alarmist claims. More than 31,000 scientists in the United States have signed a petition urging the U.S. government to reject the kinds of AGW policies proposed by the UN and environmental extremists. The Petition Project, organized by Dr. Arthur Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences, refutes claims that there is any kind of “consensus” regarding man-made global warming as a crisis or existential threat. The petition reads, in part:
The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.
More than 1,000 internationally renowned scientists have gone further; they have not merely signed a petition, but have made public statements challenging key claims of the AGW alarmists. Published in 2010, in a report by Marc Morano of ClimateDepot.com, this important collection of statements is an update of a similar report of 700 scientists’ statements published by Senator James Inhofe of the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. The 1,000+ lineup of scientists reads like a Who’s Who of the global scientific community. It includes:
Dr. William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Bracket professor of physics, Princeton University;
Dr. Leonard Weinstein, 35 years at the NASA Langley Research Center and presently a senior research fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace;
Nobel Prize-winning Stanford University physicist Dr. Robert B. Laughlin, formerly a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory;
Dr. Anatoly Levitin, the head of the geomagnetic variations laboratory at the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radiowave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
Swedish climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring of the Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics Unit at Stockholm University;
Burt Rutan, renowned engineer, inventor, and aviation/space pioneer;
Dr. Willie Soon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center astrophysicist;
Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, emeritus professor of physics, and Founding Director, International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks;
Dr. Bjarne Andresen, physicist, and professor, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark;
Dr. Ian D. Clark, Professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, University of Ottawa, Canada.
Again, the aforementioned experts represent but a small sampling of the distinguished company of international scientific heavyweights who dispute the so-called AGW consensus. This is important to note, as the climate alarmists have gone to great lengths in using the logical fallacy of “argument by authority” to convince us that only right-wing whackos and illiterate wingnuts reject Al Gore’s “the science is settled” trope. The IPCC alarmists and their media allies never weary of telling us that the IPCC’s reports represent the views of 4,000 climate scientists who endorse the IPCC’s sense of crisis and alarm. However, as researcher John McLean reported in his 2009 study entitled “The IPCC Can’t Count Its ‘Expert Scientists’: Author and Reviewer Numbers Are Wrong,” the UN’s preeminent science body double-counts scientists and further pads their numbers by counting many non-scientific personnel who participate in the research assessments. Finally, the IPCC’s non-scientist policy wonks who write the political conclusions of the IPCC reports hijack whatever real science has been done by its qualified experts, falsely attributing a nonexistent consensus or unanimity to the scientific teams and ignoring the reservations or dissenting opinions of the non-conformists. McLean’s analysis, published by the Science & Public Policy Institute (SPPI), found that the “4,000 scientists” consensus claim for the IPCC’s 4th Assessment (2010) was spectacularly exaggerated. He notes:
Fifty-three authors and five reviewers are all that might generously be said to have explicitly supported the claim of a significant human influence on climate. Forget any notion that 4,000 scientists supported the claim or even the 3750+ people as mentioned by the IPCC. Also forget any notion that all 2890 individuals who were authors, reviewers or both supported the claim. The only explicit evidence is for support from just less than 60 individuals.
Please note, the number of scientists in the IPCC report that the organization may honestly be able to say have endorsed the IPCC’s AGW catastrophism, is more on the order of 50-60 individuals, not 4,000. That is a very significant discrepancy, to say the least! It has taken a long time for the thousands of AGW skeptics (or “climate realists,” as many prefer to be called) to come to the fore. Why is that? Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a former AGW believer himself, says most scientists are so busy in their own specialties that, like most laymen, they don’t consider that the “consensus” may be completely contrived. But that has changed, he says. “Each one of us was working in his or her own niche,” says Shaviv. “While working there, each one of us realized that things just don't add up to support the AGW picture. So many had to change their views.”
Until recently, the AGW alarmists definitely had the upper hand. For one thing, they have been organized. For another, they have been outspending the climate realists by a huge order of magnitude. In 2007, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, showed that proponents of man-made global warming enjoyed a monumental funding advantage over the skeptics. The alarmists had received a whopping $50 billion — mostly from the federal government — compared to “a paltry $19 million and some change” for the realists. A 2009 study entitled “Climate Money,” by Joanne Nova for the Science & Public Policy Institute, found that the U.S. government had sunk $79 billion into climate-change-related activities (science research, alternative energy technology, foreign aid, etc.) between 1989 and 2009. That total does not include additional massive funding from state governments, foundations, and corporations. Similar levels of funding have been poured into “climate policy” by European Union institutions and the national governments of European nations and Japan. This super-extravagant lavishing of state funding on a new scientific field has created an instant global climate industry that is government-fed and completely political. However, these sums, impressive as they are, represent only the very tip of the mountain of “climate cash” that has the political classes panting and salivating. They smell not only tens of billions of dollars for research and technology, but also hundreds of billions for “climate debt” foreign aid, and trillions to be made in CO2 cap-and-trade schemes.
The politicization and corruption of climate science is, perhaps, most clearly evident from the continuing cavalcade of shocking scandals: Climategate, Climategate 2.0, Himalayan Glaciergate, Alaskan Glaciergate, Amazongate, Sea Levelgate, Fakegate, Satellitegate, Antarctic Sea Icegate, Hockey Stickgate, Hurricanegate, Surface Weather Stationgate, Russiagate, etc. The Germany-based engineer P. Gosselin has catalogued 129 climate scandals at his website, NoTrickZone.com. Fortunately, each of these transgressions against the integrity of science has caused new circles of scientists to become aware of, and outraged by, the chicanery being employed by the political operatives masquerading as scientists. And the genuine scientists are stepping into the gap in increasing numbers to fight for truth and to expose the climate-change flim-flam artists who are perverting science.
Photo: James Lovelock