Global warming, an important issue which deserves to be examined seriously, has been taken over by alarmism and irrational terrors that overlap with the legitimate worries of the scientific community and the public. It is necessary now to separate the research of the scientists from the demagoguery, and to notice that not all the scientists agree on the link between human activity and global warming.
The Oregon Petition, signed by about 31,000 scientists, states: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Addressing this, professor Timothy Ball, who taught Climatology at the University of Winnipeg, has published an article entitled: “Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?” in which he maintains: “Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification”. Additionally, Yuri Izrael, vice-president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the United Nations, argues that there is no relationship between human activity and global warming.
One of the most famous sceptics, professor Willie Soon, astrophysicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Chief Science Adviser at the Science & Public Policy Institute, says that global warming is due to solar activity variations and by no means caused by human activity. In 2003, professor Soon, together with Sallie Baliunas, published an article in the scientific journal “Climate Research.” Quoting several scientific studies, Soon claims that the twentieth century was not the warmest century of the last millennium -- discrediting the official dogma that postulates the evidence of climate change. After the publication of the article, half the editorial board of the journal resigned.
The question is: Why are scientists who contradict the dogma of the link between CO2 and global warming not simply subject to refutation by critics, but to ostracism by the academic community?
Shouldn’t scientists have the freedom to debate and exchange their ideas freely? Why, on the contrary, does free debate on this topic seem to be so difficult?
A tentative explanation has been proposed by Donald W. Miller, professor at the Washington University, author of “The Government Grant System: Inhibitor of Truth and Innovation?” which describes how, in the United States, research funding is allocated by the government, which tends to fund research in conformity with its views. In other words, politics decides the line to follow, and scientists get funding to demonstrate its validity. Since politics, therefore, particularly after Al Gore’s documentary “An Unconvenient Truth,” decreed that there is a sound link between CO2 emissions and global warming, scientists conformed to that view. Such a system has a tendency, according to professor Miller, to produce an artificial, and possibly incorrect, consensus of the scientific community on the basis of political choices (read: grants), inhibiting critical thought and debate. In the US, this situation ahs become highly politicized: Democrats maintain it is necessary to control CO2 emissions to prevent global warming; Republicans, after evaluating the evidence, tend to be more sceptical about the links between the two.
Further, part of the environmentalist movement presents the issue in purely ideological terms as a struggle between Good and Evil. Environmentalists often seem to be moved more by anti-capitalistic drives than by a genuine will to understand and solve the problems of our planet. Moreover, they seem persuaded that the panacea for all the problems of the world is the massive expansion of the prerogatives of the state.
In short, the whole debate about the global warming seems to be driven more by an ideological agenda of accruing control and dispensing largesse than by a scientific one of examining the proof.
Many commentators are therefore wondering if we should really hope that the Copenhagen agreement will be signed.
In the article “Has anyone read the Copenhagen agreement?” published October 28 in “The Wall Street Journal,” Janet Albrechtsen hopes that the world leaders will not reach an agreement in Copenhagen: The draft of the treaty provides for a transfer of sovereignty from the nation states to an unelected transnational government, giving this still-unnamed institution huge powers in economic, financial, fiscal and environmental matters. Science fiction? The draft of the treaty, entitled “United Nations Framework Conventions for Climate Change” can be read online.
The Treaty also provides for a wealth transfer from the rich to the poor countries – possibly, experience shows, establishing the transfer billions of dollars to the secret bank accounts of the dictators and the oligarchs who oppress the Third World, without any real improvement of the living condition of the population. Lord Christopher Monckton, advisor to former Prime Minsister Margaret Thatcher, has already roundly denounced the treaty, pointed out its risks, and publicly invited the United States not to sign it.
If there is doubt that global warming is caused by human activity, there is no doubt that the Copenhagen Treaty can have a devastating effect on our economies, causing dramatic increases in taxes and unemployment.
Is this what the world economy needs while it is attempting with difficulty to come out of the consequences of the international financial crisis? The debate is, we hope, still open.
This article originally appeared in a slightly different form in Oil Tabloid.