Scientific One-Sidedness on Global Warming

by HERBERT LONDON December 2, 2009
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the “inconvenient truth” of global warming may be less true than Al Gore will admit. Public confidence in the arbiters of climate science has been shaken by a leaked e-mail and document scandal which suggests that scientific consensus on global warming is not what it is cracked up to be.
Apparently those who do not share the prevailing consensus were excluded from publishing in the major journals of the climate research community. One climatologist, Mike Hulme, at the University of East Anglia from which e-mails were lifted said, “It is possible that some areas of climate science has become too partisan, too centralized. The tribalism that some of the leaked e-mails display is something more usually associated with social organization within primitive cultures; it is not attractive when we find it at work inside science.”
Defenders of the status quo contend that the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit represents the “best climate science” even if it continually disparages doubters and excludes contrary points of view. However, that is tautological. If only one point of view is permitted as legitimate, it is impossible to determine what is best. Presumably science is based on hypotheses that can be proven or disproven.
Some things about climate science appear to be dispositive. CO2 has reached a new high in the atmosphere (0.0385 percent). But what accounts for this condition is a matter of debate and whether it is harmful also remains unknown or is, at least, a matter of conjecture. Despite doomsday scenarios of various kinds, the increase in carbon dioxide has not resulted in a statistically significant influence on global warming for over a decade. In fact, for the last several years average annual temperatures have actually declined.
Some climatologists like Willie Soon at Harvard and Fred Singer argue that carbon dioxide plays a minor role in climate conditions with natural forces such as ocean currents, jet streams, water vapor, cloud cover, planetary alignments, the Earth’s orbit and cosmic ray levels being far more significant.
There is really no way of determining the absolute validity of these claims, but the systematic concealment and manipulation make it impossible to engage in an honest exchange of views. Apparently some scientists, and their popularizers like Al Gore, have built careers and reputations on conjuring datasets and computer models that reinforce their supposition that modern civilization’s use of hydrocarbons is about to destroy the planet.
This self reaffirming scientific stance is being employed to justify an expensive, intrusive and ultimately abusive laws and regulations that are bound to have a deleterious effect on national economies and restraint on personal freedoms. Yet when the legions of scientists, mountebanks, activists and journalists meet in Copenhagen a predictable barrage of climate horrors will be unleashed tied to a dubious set of climate principles that have not been formally challenged.
The alarmists and soi disant censors have established a system that prevents honest inquiry and the full airing of data. If the science is incontrovertible as proponents of global warming attest, why rig the system?
What appears to be at stake is a quasi scientific superstructure that cannot tolerate keen observation and testing. Truth has become a casualty to self interest and the promotion of an ideology. As I see it, the time has come for genuine transparency and accountability. Let us return to the basic and foundational precepts of science. And if the claims for global warming aren’t persuasive, perhaps it is time to put them in the dust bin of history rather than employ them as a lever for civilizational change. Contributing Editor Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University. He is the author of Decade of Denial (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2001) and America's Secular Challenge (Encounter Books).

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