- The Washington Times - Monday, July 11, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

David Rothbard and Craig Rucker weren’t exaggerating when they wrote that the Sixth International Climate Change Conference in Washington would “reinforce the lack of evidence for man-made Armageddon” (“The U.N.’s climate of desperation,” Commentary, June 29).

Speaker after speaker showed that the climate scare simply does not stand up to serious scientific scrutiny.

However, what I found most impressive about the Heartland Institute’s conference was the uncensored climate-science debate it held. After all, when was the last time you witnessed a real honest-to-goodness debate between leading climate experts about climate-change causes or a debate devoid of dirty tricks and ad hominem attacks that are so common in the climate controversy?

It has been a long time since we’ve witnessed a contest in which the moderator gave equal time and equal respect to both sides, even allowing the debaters to question each other and take uncensored questions from the audience, or a debate that treated the audience like intelligent adults, leaving them to decide for themselves whom they believed, if indeed they believed anyone.

Until this event, most people, myself included, would have to answer “never.” Certainly, it has never happened in Canada, even though climate realists in groups such as the Geological Association of Canada have tried to organize such a debate. Climate alarmists are simply not interested.

“The science is settled,” they reply, when they bother to respond to debate invitations at all.

They are wrong, of course. Anyone remotely familiar with the field knows that the scientific investigation about the causes of climate change is only beginning. Yet virtually all conference organizers, even those who understand this, avoid real public debates like the plague. They see the wrath usually unleashed when audience members question climate alarmists in public. Bringing realists and alarmists face to face in front of an audience would simply end up in mudslinging and so ruin their conferences, organizers have told me.

The Heartland Institute proved them all wrong. The Chicago-based nonprofit group showed that civilized climate-science debates are not only possible, but a crucially important part of climate conferences. They should be a mandatory part of all serious climate conferences from now on.

TOM HARRIS

Executive director

International Climate Science Coalition

Ottawa, Ontario


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