Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its report scheduled to be released on Sept. 27, not only significantly reduces its estimate of the Global Warming threat, but actually suggests that it is more likely than not that over the next 70 years, the benefits of Global Warming will outweigh any economic or ecological harm.
Wow. And more “wow” still, because none of this takes into account all of the other recent scientific studies that tend to indicate that the IPCC even now is still off its rocker, to such a degree that the world may actually be facing the Global Cooling everyone was worried about in the Seventies.
This is clearly a big deal, less because of the science and more because of the bigger point I’ve been making for years: we shouldn’t be stampeded into draconian (and socialist, but that’s actually not the main point) global public policy changes over the well-funded, highly-incentivized opinions of some guys who can’t ever shoot straight.
If the shoe were on the other foot, liberals would understand this intuitively. Let’s say, for a somewhat silly example, that The Powers That Be “discovered” something for which the “absolutely essential” solution was bowing toward Mecca five times a day and taking away all of the rights of women. There are certainly folks who believe something like that, but if they were in power here (as they are in certain other places), would liberals just instantly accept their program “because they said so?”
There are two parts of this. First, those promoting the Global Warming (or “Climate Change”) position do not limit themselves to scientific theory: they uniformly promote specific political solutions which look a lot like, well, things they’d be proposing regardless of global warming. That makes them more than a little suspect, and their theories look more than a little convenient. This is especially true when you realize that there are other solutions to their problem (assuming there is a problem): simply shifting a handful of coal-fired electrical plants to natural gas (thank you, fracking!) over the past 24 months dropped the U.S. far below the carbon-emissions targets set by the Kyoto Treaty. Europe and Canada completely failed to achieve anything like this — doing those things envisioned by the Kyoto framers, including the whole carbon credits scheme now outed by The Atlantic and others as a giant fraud — while we knocked it out no-sweat with one technology advance that, conveniently, the GloWarmers all oppose based on yet another highly dubious theory.
This is far from the only thing. Jim Pinkerton spoke at this weekend’s NFRA convention on carbon sequestration projects that could solve the problem, and that the left has tended to ignore or oppose. Best I can see, there’s no desire on the part of these people to reduce carbon emissions for the sake of the climate. There seems, however, to be a lot of desire to reduce carbon emissions as a means to grow the power of international organizations and to socialize the economy. Oh, and in the case of the highly fraudulent carbon trading scheme, to get fabulously wealthy on the backs of the poor.
Second, even if that weren’t an issue, the data just isn’t what they said. Al Gore and company promoted sea level rises that even their most ardent scientific supporters had to repudiate. The 2007 IPCC report was claimed to be based exclusively on peer-reviewed papers: it turned out that a lot of its most sensational claims — such as the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers — not only was false but was based on unsourced op-eds. Then there was the “unfortunate” paper trail uncovered in the email record at CRU demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that the most important climate scientists were actively suppressing any opposing opinion and manipulating their own data for public consumption. Now we’ve had fifteen key years with no warming, and the IPCC itself has had to radically revise its 2007 claims.
But we’re supposed to make public policy on this? How about just building some more natural gas plants and Teslas instead?
Finally, the demonization of all who disagree is not merely dangerous to a free society, it tends to force skepticism. It certainly has in me. Copernicus and Galileo were outside the consensus once, and the scientists in the current consensus were all advocating Global Cooling in my lifetime (while, as noted above, many of the best foreign scientists are advocating Global Cooling right now). But opponents of this are supposed to be “Climate Deniers” — invoking anti-Semitism and even Naziism — and, according to many leading liberals, should not only be ignored but actively silenced.
Are you kidding me? I think a lot of people would happily bake the Earth rather than stand for that sort of totalitarian thuggery. And again, if the shoe were on the other foot, liberals would understand that intuitively.
I have always held an open mind on whether the Earth might be warming, and if so, what might be causing it. The fact that other planets have shown similar warming in a similar time frame and then ceased to warm at the same time that Earth has tends to indicate to me that this is mostly a function of solar activity (high in the 1990s, shockingly low right now) in the period immediately following the end of the Little Ice Age only 150 years ago, but what do I know?
Mostly I know this: people who go to the extremes these folks have not just to convince you of a scientific position but to force you into specific massive public policy changes tend to have more than altruism in their hearts. And it hasn’t been that long since a unified scientific consensus was pushing apartheid and Jim Crow on the (idiotic) grounds that black people were “demonstrably subhuman.” So you’ll forgive me, I trust, if I’m not quite ready to sell my soul for the latest political stampede covering itself with a scientific fig leaf. Since even the IPCC admits it’s previous predictions were bogus, we have some time to wait and see (“coincidentally” enough, the one thing they promised we absolutely did not have).