Years ago politicians said that the world was going to end if we didn’t do something about “Global Warming” — now, now, now (i.e., cede more individual liberties to the guys who are now totally cool with indefinite detention without a trial, sending drones to blow up Americans overseas and NSA wiretaps on your phone calls because Diane Feinstein thinks you might be a terrorist … in the future).
Well, Global Warming didn’t pan out, so the term was changed to “Climate Change.” It might not get as toasty as the scientists thought, but it was going to get really violent out there unless you coughed up more freedom and tax dollars to the guys who were going to “solve” the problem (e.g, men like Congressman Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who believe if Gaum becomes too heavily populated it will “tip over and capsize” into the ocean). Why talk about the potential of liquid fluoride thorium reactors when we can talk about expanding the size and scope of the federal government?
Anyway, the New York Times is looking around at the lack of devastation due to man-made globalwarmingclimatechange (one word), and it wants to assure you: even though scientists don’t know what’s going on — they’re right. They can’t prove that they’re right, but they are.
As unlikely as this may sound, we have lucked out in recent years when it comes to global warming.
The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.
The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists.
How do you know it’s “luck” if it’s a “mystery”?
True, the basic theory that predicts a warming of the planet in response to human emissions does not suggest that warming should be smooth and continuous. To the contrary, in a climate system still dominated by natural variability, there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts.
President Obama said “progress comes in fits and starts.” It’s comforting to know that the Climate Change apocalypse will follow the same pattern.
But given how much is riding on the scientific forecast, the practitioners of climate science would like to understand exactly what is going on. They admit that they do not, even though some potential mechanisms of the slowdown have been suggested. The situation highlights important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system, some of which cannot be closed until we get better measurements from high in space and from deep in the ocean.
“Important gaps”? I thought this was a done deal? That’s what we’ve been told for decades now (unless you were alive in the 70’s, at which time they said we were on the verge of a new ice age).
As you might imagine, those dismissive of climate-change concerns have made much of this warming plateau. They typically argue that “global warming stopped 15 years ago” or some similar statement, and then assert that this disproves the whole notion that greenhouse gases are causing warming.
Rarely do they mention that most of the warmest years in the historical record have occurred recently. Moreover, their claim depends on careful selection of the starting and ending points. The starting point is almost always 1998, a particularly warm year because of a strong El Nino weather pattern.
Somebody who wanted to sell you gold coins as an investment could make the same kind of argument about the futility of putting your retirement funds into the stock market. If he picked the start date and the end date carefully enough, the gold salesman could make it look like the stock market did not go up for a decade or longer.
Hmm. The New York Times is saying that if you don’t quite believe the scientists who say it’s all going to end soon unless we fork over authority to the federal government, then you probably like to fudge data. That’s really odd, since that’s exactly what globalwarmingclimatechange (one word) advocates got caught doing on a massive scale.
Here’s a short summary of “Climategate,” via Watts up with That, to refresh your memory:
1. The scientists colluded in efforts to thwart Freedom of Information Act requests (across continents no less). They reference deleting data, hiding source code from requests, manipulating data to make it more annoying to use, and attempting to deny requests from people recognized as contributors to specific internet sites. Big brother really is watching you. He’s just not very good at securing his web site.
2. These scientists publicly diminished opposing arguments for lack of being published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In the background they discussed black-balling journals that did publish opposing views, and preventing opposing views from being published in journals they controlled. They even mention changing the rules midstream in arenas they control to ensure opposing views would not see the light of day. They discuss amongst themselves which scientists can be trusted and who should be excluded from having data because they may not be “predictable”.
3. The scientists expressed concern privately over a lack of increase in global temperatures in the last decade, and the fact that they could not explain this. Publicly they discounted it as simple natural variations. In one instance, data was [apparently] manipulated to hide a decline in temperatures when graphed. Other discussions included ways to discount historic warming trends that inconveniently did not occur during increases in atmospheric CO2.
4. The emails show examples of top scientists working to create public relations messaging with favorable news outlets. It shows them identifying and cataloging, by name and association, people with opposing views. These people are then disparaged in a coordinated fashion via favorable online communities.
What the emails/files don’t do is completely destroy the possibility that global climate change is real. They don’t preclude many studies from being accurate, on either side of the discussion. And they should not be seen as discrediting all science.
Wow. Hey. That last paragraph sounds pretty measured. It sounds like a guy who acknowledges that humans have an impact on the environment, but that it might not be nearly as consequential as we’re being led to believe.
When push comes to shove, the scientists are forced to acknowledge that for all their knowledge, they don’t know s**t. The conservative knows this (e.g., we don’t think 535 people can “plan” a $14 trillion economy), which is why they aren’t enthusiastic about handing over individual liberties to Big Brother in the name of saving Mother Earth.
And with that, I leave you with George Carlin, who nails environmentalists to the wall:
Note: Check out Hube’s take over at the Colossus of Rhodey.