- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

We fear that the venerable Royal Society of London, the world’s oldest science academy, has succumbed to global warming fever. Having maintained for several years that the science of global warming is “settled,” it now tries to stifle debate. A letter to the British branch of Exxon Mobil found its way to the Guardian newspaper, which quotes from it:

“It is now more crucial than ever that we have a debate which is properly informed by the science. For people to be still producing information that misleads people about climate change is unhelpful. The next IPCC report should give people the final push that they need to take action and we can’t have people trying to undermine it.”

Ironically, the Royal Society letter calls for debate while trying to close it off. It doesn’t identify the objectionable class of “people,” but presumably they are the same ones that Al Gore refers to as “deniers.”

The Royal Society wants Exxon to stop supporting studies that might reveal that the current warming is due to natural causes and is not man-made. Too late. The U.S. government released a report last May that clearly shows how observations disagree with results calculated from greenhouse models. Yes, that’s how science works. It’s a fundamental principle that one can never “prove” a scientific hypothesis; one can only falsify it. Here the hypothesis is that the current increase in greenhouse gases, presumably from the burning of fossil fuels, will cause temperatures to rise — and, according to models, most rapidly in the high atmosphere in the tropics. But the data don’t show this — and thereby falsify the hypothesis.

We recommend that the Royal Society and other concerned parties check for themselves and view the U.S. Climate Change Science Program report, which summarizes years of work with balloon and satellite temperature data, supported by many billions of dollars of federal money (www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/default.htm). Look at figure 5.4G in Chapter 5 of the report. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discover that the observations disagree with climate models. This means that the current warming is mainly due to causes other than greenhouse gases — most likely the sun.

One other interesting fact: The report’s executive summary and press release both claim “clear evidence” for human-caused warming. But that’s not what the report itself says.

Perhaps Congress should exercise its oversight responsibility and find the reason for this strange discrepancy.

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