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Gobal Warming: The Trials of an Unsettled Science By: David Solway
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 04, 2009

In 1956, a popular song called “Green Door” soared to the top of the hit parade charts. The question it posed was “what’s behind the green door” and the answer it gave was a merry band of revellers whom the singer wished desperately to be part of: “All I want to do is join the happy crowd behind the green door.” The song’s open sesame “Joe sent me” didn’t cut any ice; the correct password, proleptically speaking, would have been “Al sent me.” And Al has sent so many people through the green door that a vast new premises has become necessary to house the happy crowd that bloats and thickens by the day.


Speaking at the Second International Conference on Climate Change in New York in early March 2009, Czech President Vaclav Klaus warned his listeners that “These are people interested neither in temperature, CO2, competing scientific hypotheses and their testing, nor in freedom or markets. They are interested in their businesses and their profits—made with the help of politicians.” Those who have invested in this destructive fad will reap enormous benefits from trading in carbon licenses and from vast government subsidies for the construction of costly and unproductive “green” installations, driven by a radically unsettled science. Information has recently come to light that powerful corporate giants and traders in energy commodities worked diligently behind the scenes to promote the Kyoto Protocol and to influence the Organization for Economic co-operation and Development (OECD) and government energy policy in order to capitalize on the global warming ferment. Big money exercises significant control over global warming science (financialpost.com, May 30, 2009).


Green has become big business even though its effects have been largely counter-productive. An example in little of its baleful consequences is furnished by the “green cleaner” scandal in Canadian hospitals where inadequate green disinfectants have exposed our medical facilities to various pathogens like Norwalk Virus, C. difficile and other viral and microbial infections that claim up to 12,000 lives a year. It should be obvious by this time that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the ecological fence. It should be equally obvious that we need to set about cleaning up our act no less than our hospitals. Cleaning up our act can mean many things: putting the brakes on hasty and poorly thought-out Green infatuations, proceeding carefully and slowly to develop and introduce so-called “renewables” to offset at least a portion of our energy consumption without collapsing the economy, and, as geologist Dale Allen Pfeiffer concludes in GlobalResearch.ca for August 17, 2009, “to decrease consumption and relocalize.”


Michael Crichton was also right when he urged in State of Fear that we need “more people working in the field, in the actual environment, and fewer people behind computer screens.” No matter how sophisticated the regressive correlations and projective parameters used in computer simulations may be, there can be no substitute for concrete empirical work. One thinks of billionaire investor Warren Buffet who, speaking in the context of economic rather than climate meltdown, warned: “Beware of geeks bearing formulas” (Financial Post, March 2, 2009). Ultimately, we should agree, at the very least, that an enormous amount of comprehensive research still needs to be done before the science is sufficiently stabilized to yield results that are not perennially contestable.


We might also remember that the warmest year of the 20th century was 1934, an anomaly, perhaps, in a period of global cooling. The data accessed by Joseph d’Aleo, co-founder of the Weather Channel and head of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, shows that average U.S. temperatures, despite temporary spikes, have gone down over five of the last seven decades, including this one (Politico, November 25, 2008).


Consider in this regard the absurdity of the polar bear scare which has scavenged the popular domain. We are told that global warming has impacted adversely on polar bear colonies, which are diminishing rapidly and approaching extinction. The U.S. Congress is preparing to classify them as an endangered species. The facts of the matter declare otherwise. Biologist Mitchell Taylor, who works with the Nunavut Territorial Government of Canada, states categorically that their numbers in the Canadian north have increased by a factor of 25% (National Center for Policy Analysis, January 25, 2007; The Independent, February 10, 2009). Other reputable sources inform us that the total North American polar bear population was estimated at between 5000-8000 individuals in 1970; it is 25,000 today (Environment & Climate News, March 2007, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2008, and others.) Environmentalists have relied on a single study of only one of Canada’s 13 polar bear populations, which showed a decline in numbers; but it has been verifiably ascertained that 11 of these populations are either stable or growing. Mitchell Taylor has accounted for the one attested exception by competition for food, which indicates that the fundamental issue is one of overpopulation.


Recent reports indicate that subarctic weather is colder than usual and that polar bears have fattened owing to late break-up of ice and a longer hunting season. Complicating the picture for alarmists, the Greenpeace July 15, 2009 release warning that the Arctic will be ice-free by 2030 was retracted by outgoing Greenpeace leader Gerd Leipold. “That may have been a mistake,” Leipold ruefully conceded (Newsmax.com, August 30, 2009). Polar bears will be doing just fine. Which suggests, too, that the real problem lies with our ursine activists who suffer from a kind of bi-polar syndrome, seeing one thing transpiring in the Arctic while refusing the factual medication that would enable them to see another. But as with the polar bears, their numbers are also ramifying and their colonies prospering in the four quarters of the globe.


Indeed, geologist Don Easterbrook, Professor Emeritus at Western Washington University, is convinced that recent solar changes suggest the advent of a new cooling cycle which could be “fairly severe” (GlobalResearch, November 2, 2008). Fellow geologist David Dee, Chair of the 2008 International Geological Congress science committee, asks: “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?” (WorldNetDaily, December 11, 2008). According to Christopher Booker in the Telegraph for March 16, 2009, reporting on the 2009 Heartland Institute’s New York climate conference, the satellite-measured temperature curve torpedoes the programmed, “hopelessly astray,” United Nations IPCC computer models and indicates that, given the present trend, the world in 2100 would be 1.1C cooler than the 1979-1998 average.


But in pursuing their congenial agenda, Global Warmists will not shrink from the most blatant carelessness or even outright chicanery. It is interesting to note that the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has been caught in an embarrasing error—if error it was. The Institute, on whose statistical data the IPCC depends heavily for its reports, “typed in” the September 2008 temperatures for its October assessment, concluding that global warming had risen vertiginously. The finding was accepted in the major sites and media around the world as confirmation of the global warming thesis. When the error became known, the Institute admitted that it does not conduct independent verification of the data it logs, regrettably rendering some or even many of its prognostications all but useless. Fortunately, the other three major climate institutes, the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the Christy group at the University of Alabama and the Remote Sensing Systems Inc. in California, take up much of the slack.


Or at least until recently. Frank Tipler, professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University, has some intriguing news for us. The Research Unit at Hadley “has begun to eliminate the daily temperature records from its public websites,” taking a page from the Goddard Institute which has been deleting  facts and figures unfavorable to the global warming hypothesis for some time now, as well as adding “corrections” to the data “to obtain global warming” (Pajamas Media, August 9, 2009). This is not a little white lie but a big green one, which has reached the point where it must be maintained by the omission of details, the distortion of data and the suspicious liability to error.


Such practices, however, even after disclosure, do not seem to operate as a deterrent to persistence, and embarrassment is easily forgotten when there is a theory to uphold. Just as the Goddard Institute continues to abide by its errors, so does the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. This despite the fact that a faulty satellite sensor reading led it to estimate that the Arctic ice cap was receding dramatically—500,000 square kilometers of lost ice covering, to be exact, an area considerably larger than California (Bloomberg.com, February 20, 2009). While admitting its mistake, the NSIDC did not alter its view until April 2009 when it released a graph showing that Arctic ice extent had “actually increased by more than the size of Texas” (Watts Up With That, April 28, 2009). From the purported loss of California to the substantive acquisition of Texas represents a significant gain for the United Ice Fields of America.


Al Gore is among the most prominent of the ever-swelling herd of GW parasites and hypocrites. Fiona Kobusingye, coordinator of the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda, notes that Gore “uses more electricty in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year” (Townhall.com., July 29, 2009. ) Gore is a partner in the venture capital investment firm Klein Perkins Caufield & Byers, which has recently floated a $500 million special fund for “green investments” from which Gore will profit handsomely—this is the same firm, incidentally, that is behind Terralliance, an “oil wildcatter,” which is about as nongreen as one can get (Fortune Magazine, Brainstorm 2008 and VentureBeat Clean Tech, July 16, 2008).


But it doesn’t stop there. According to several news outlets (The Tennessean, March 17, 2000, The Wall Street Journal for June 29, 2000 and March 19, 2007, USAToday, March 18, 2007, and many others), Gore earned $570,000 in royalties from Pasminco Ltd. for a highly toxic zinc mine on his property. Quantities of zinc, barium, arsenic, chromium, lead and trace amounts of cyanide were released into into the adjacent Caney Fork River—which served as a backdrop to his film An Inconvenient Truth. The river and surroundings are plainly not “as pure as they came,” as Gore had insisted in his book Earth in the Balance that “the lakes and rivers [that] sustain us” should be.


There are also trace elements of pure insanity in Gore’s hypotheses. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2009, Gore suggested that the Earth was heading toward Venus-type CO2 levels. American Congressmen are obviously not aware that the atmosphere of Venus is made up of 97% CO2 while that of the Earth is .038%. But Gore continues to be coddled by the powers of officialdom.


Amongst the Western public at large, as well as many of the “experts,” global warming is more of a social and political issue than a genuinely scientific one. As German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk explains in Terror from the Air, we now live in an era of background “explication,” proccupied with “latency” and subject to the irruption of the invisible into our lives, culminating in an obsession with air. As a result, “modern nation states and political media-commentaries” are fixated on a “historically new kind of conversation, best described as a ‘climatological briefing’.” Individuals are thus mustered into “an audience of connoisseurs under a common sky.” From Sloterdijk’s standpoint, we have become a community that, breathing “the ether of the collective,” has succumbed to climatological madness and “will henceforth wage toxic war on itself.” We re-inhale, he says, the “toxic communions” of our own “exhalate,” and quotes philosopher Karl Kraus, who wrote, “Fumes from the sewage of the world brain pervade everywhere…”


But what is most distressing is the corporate and government resolve to monetize what we might call “climate consciousness” and to impose its radical agenda for increased social control, with all the power and profits that pertain thereto, upon the unsuspecting public. The totalitarian mindset, in whatever form and at whatever stage in its evolution, is a monstrous thing, and Climatocracy is one of its most arresting contemporary manifestations. Global warming, said Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London, “has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices” (Global Warming Politics, May 18, 2009). As Vaclav Klaus brooded in an article for the Financial Times (June 14, 2007), we might one day find ourselves living under a regime that would in many ways resemble the Communist nightmare from which half of Europe has only recently emerged.


The environmental fright has given these rabid enthusiasts and statist visionaries the “green light” to legislative domination of Western electorates. The numbers, graphs, charts and formulae regularly brandished before us look impressive, at least intitially, but they fail to hold up. It is becoming more and more evident that their purveyors are pulling a fast one. And let us not forget that jostling among this besotted crew are some very shrewd political practitioners who, in their peripatetic jog through the world media, have been hailed as bearers of the Olympic torch.


One of the most audacious of these operators is President Obama’s new Energy mullah John Holdren who has proposed the advisability of last-resort geoengineering options, such as “shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays” (AP, April 8, 2009). Climate modelling is really climate meddling. Apart from the possibility of unleashing a geoengineered climate disaster, the political and economic fallout from these hybristic policies is almost as disconcerting: the exorbitant raising of taxes to finance such grandiose and potentially destructive atmoforming schemes, and the concentration of power in the hands of a consortium of dirigiste ideologues responsible for what U.S. Senator James Inhofe called “the greatest single hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” (govtrack.us, April 7, 2005).


The happy celebrants living it up behind the green door are no longer merely a troupe of boisterous party-goers. They have segued into a fervid congregation of believers, do-gooders, talking heads, leftist apparatchiks, academic elitists, cynical exploiters and petty despots, all chanting together the glossolalia of climate warming. As the song puts it, “they play it hot behind the green door.” 


David Solway is the award-winning author of over twenty-five books of poetry, criticism, educational theory, and travel. He is a contributor to magazines as varied as the Atlantic, the Sewanee Review, Books in Canada, and the Partisan Review. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity. A new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, will be released by CanadianValuesPress this fall.

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