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CITIZEN JOURNALISM: ‘Realists’ challenge claim of consensus on warming
Several hundred scientists, politicians and activists participated in the third annual International Conference on Climate Change on Tuesday, marking another stage in the timeline of a scientific social movement.
The conference, sponsored by the nonprofit Heartland Institute, hosted panels of climatologists and meteorologists as well as members of Congress to address questions surrounding global warming and climate-change legislation.
In its 25 years, Heartland has drawn together about 31,000 scientists, more than 9,000 of whom hold doctorates, to provide a forum for scientific debate on the issue of man-made global warming.
Self-titled “global warming realists” who are scientific members of Heartland’s community band together to fight the misconception of scientific consensus on the issue of global warming.
The third conference opened with the publication of “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.”
Mirroring the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the nongovernmental group, NIPCC, claims membership by several hundred scientists skeptical of IPCC’s findings. Although individual members of the NIPCC have questioned the U.N. body’s claims for years, the release of their own 800-page report makes their arguments difficult to ignore, said Heartland Institute President Joseph L. Bast.
“This is the first time the realists have had a comprehensive reply to the IPCC,” he said. “The other side kept saying, ‘Where is your report? Where is your IPCC?’ This book says we’re here, we have got our act together.”
The report, the largest collection of independent research on the topic, doesn’t claim perfection.
“This is not the last word on climate change,” Mr. Bast said. “It’s much more intellectually honest.”
Conference speakers said openness to questions is missing in the global-warming debate.
“It’s not about discussing facts,” said astrophysicist and geoscientist Willie Soon of the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “It’s always been a non-engaging debate. It’s all about how much money you get from Exxon Mobil.”
Environmental activists also attack Heartland for its past ties to Exxon Mobil Corp. Mr. Bast countered that the foundation’s emphasis on global warming predated funding from the corporation.
Scientists at the conference disputed the claim that human activity and emissions of carbon dioxide cause catastrophic global warming. Instead, they examine climate change in the context of history and credit natural atmospheric cycles with recent warming.
“Cooling, warming, change in general are natural features of the climate,” said Richard S. Lindzen, professor of meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The mere existence of change tells us nothing beyond this.”
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