AP columnist totally off-base in end-of-year sensationalism
Associated Press columnist Seth Borenstein ends his latest eco-catastrophe article, “2012 another record-setter, fits climate forecasts”, published by hundreds of main stream media outlets today, by quoting leading alarmist, Michael Mann:
“Take any one of these events in isolation, it might be possible to yell ‘fluke!’ Take them collectively, it provides confirmation of precisely what climate scientists predicted would happen decades ago if we proceeded with business-as-usual fossil fuel burning, as we have,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said in an email. “And this year especially is a cautionary tale. What we view today as unprecedented extreme weather will become the new normal in a matter of decades if we proceed with business-as-usual.”
This is simply part of the excited claims endlessly repeated by environmentalists the world over – ‘climate change science is settled. Experts agree that humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions are causing a global catastrophe and it has already started! To stop it, we need to revolutionize the way we generate energy.’
This is hopelessly naive.
Leading experts in the field understand that climate science is exceptionally immature. We are in a period of ‘negative discovery’ in that the more we learn about climate, the more we realize how little we know. In addition, much of the data used by campaigners to try to convince the public that we are in an unusual period climatically has been revealed to be either wrong or highly suspect.
Rather than “remove the doubt,” as Al Gore tells us should be done in his Climate Reality Project, we must recognize the doubt in this, arguably the most complex science ever tackled.
Many of the ideas expressed by opinion leaders such as Borenstein, Gore, David Suzuki, Environment Minster Peter Kent and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are the consequences of a belief in what professors Chris Essex (University of Western Ontario) and Ross McKitrick (University of Guelph) call the “Doctrine of Certainty.” This doctrine is “a collection of now familiar assertions about climate that are to be accepted without question” (Taken by Storm, 2007).
Essex and McKitrick explain,
“But the Doctrine is not true. Each assertion is either manifestly false or the claim to know is false. Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.”
Yet, as long ago as 1989, Gore insisted there was “no dispute worthy of recognition” about the dangers of man-made climate change. Since then, his certainty, and that of the U.N. and most member governments, has solidified into a dogma that few politicians, media, educators or industry leaders dare question.
But that dogma is being questioned by more and more reputable scientists who are finally speaking out in an organized fashion. For example, on August 29, 2011 a blockbuster science document was published that totally refutes climate alarmism—the Interim Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).
Co-authored by a team of scientists recruited and led by climate experts Dr. Craig Idso, Professor Robert Carter, and Professor Fred Singer, the NIPCC shows that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has ignored or misinterpreted much of the research that challenges the need for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas controls. For example, the IPCC has unjustifiably downplayed research that strongly suggests that variations in solar output have far greater impact on climate than all human activities combined. In other words, the NIPCC demonstrates that much of the science being relied upon by governments to create multi-billion dollar climate policies is likely wrong.
Climate change and extreme weather have always happened and always will no matter what we do. Therefore, instead of vainly trying to stop them from occurring, we need to adapt to such phenomena by hardening our societies to these inevitable events. Adaptation measures would include burying electrical cables underground, reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure, and preparing for a continuation of sea level rise. We must also ensure reliable energy sources so that we have the power to heat and cool our dwellings as needed.
It is time to listen to reputable experts who say that while someday we may be able to meaningfully predict climate, it is not possible now. And actually controlling global climate will remain science fiction for the foreseeable future.
That may not be a comforting thought for climate crusaders, but that is the true climate reality.
Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition and an advisor to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.