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The flat-head society
A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken the route of many who would rather call names than have a serious debate about “climate change.” He characterizes those who question “settled science” members of the “flat-earth”society. When people resort to name-calling, it is a sign they have lost an argument.
The hacked e-mails from the global warming center of the universe - the Climate Research Unit at Britain’s East Anglia University - could be the climatology equivalent of discovering the bones of Jesus.
If the veracity of the e-mails is confirmed and if they contain evidence of data “trickery,” as some global warming skeptics have suggested, their content could perhaps point to a vast cover-up of scientific evidence that some believe will disprove the “doctrine” of man-made climate change.
So who are the real flat-earthers? Are they the ones who won’t listen to any evidence except that which supports their cult-like faith, or are they the growing number who say the science is anything but settled and needs more study?
Leonard Weinstein has scientific credentials no reasonable person can deny. Mr. Weinstein is a former senior research scientist who worked more than 30 years at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
He is now senior research fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace, also in Hampton. Last April, he wrote an essay “Disproving the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Problem.”
Mr. Weinstein wrote: “In order to support a theory, specific predictions need to be made that are based on the claims of the theory, and the predictions then need to happen.” He lists six theories on which the AGW model is based and then proceeds to dismantle each of them.
The first AGW theory is: “The average Earth’s temperature will increase at a rate of 0.2 degrees to 0.6 degrees centigrade per decade at least to 2100, and will continue to climb after that if the CO2 continues to be produced by human activity at current predicted rates.”
To that, Mr. Weinstein responds: “It should be noted that the largest part of the last 150-year increase in CO2, which is blamed on human activity, did not occur until after 1940, so the largest temperature rise effects should have occurred in that time. The proponents of AGW have generally used the time period from 1970 to 2000 as the base line for an indicator of the rapid warming. In that base line period, the average temperature rose about 0.50C, which averages to 0.160C per decade. The claim was then made that this would accelerate due to continuing increases in CO2 level. However if we look at the temperature change from 1940 through 2008, the net increase is only 0.30C. This is due to a drop from 1940 to 1970 and a slight drop from 2000 through 2008. Now the average rise for that period is only 0.040C per decade. If the period from 1850 through 2008 is used as a base, the net increase is just under 0.70C and the average rise is also 0.040C per decade. It is clear that choosing a short selected period of rising temperature gives a misleading result. It is also true that the present trend is down and expected to continue downward for several more years before reversing again. This certainly makes claim one questionable.”
Mr. Weinstein similarly unravels the other five theories.
He concludes: “The final question that arises is what prediction has the AGW made that has been demonstrated, and that strongly supports the theory. It appears that there is no real supporting evidence and much disagreeing evidence for the AGW theory as proposed. That is not to say there is no effect from Human activity. Clearly human pollution (not greenhouse gases) is a problem. There is also almost surely some contribution to the present temperature from the increase in CO2 and CH4, but it seems to be small and not a driver of future climate. Any reasonable scientific analysis must conclude the basic theory wrong.”
If Mr. Brown thinks name-calling will deter those who seek the truth, perhaps he should join a movement that might be named “the flat-head society.”
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.
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