I began this series of critiques of the greenhouse fearmongers with an evocation of the papal indulgences of the Middle Ages as precursors of the “carbon credits”–ready relief for carbon sinners burdened, because all humans exhale carbon, with original sin. In the Middle Ages they burned heretics, and after reading through the hefty pile of abusive comments and supposed refutations of my initial article on global warming I’m fairly sure that the critics would be only too happy to cash in whatever carbon credits they have and torch me without further ado.
The greenhouse fearmongers explode at the first critical word, and have contrived a series of primitive rhetorical pandybats, which they flourish in retaliation. Those who disagree with their claim that anthropogenic CO2 is the cause of the small, measured increase in the average earth’s surface temperature are stigmatized as “denialists,” a charge that scurrilously combines an acoustic intimation of nihilism with a suggested affinity to those who insist the Holocaust never took place.
The greenhousers endlessly propose that the consensus of “scientists” on anthropogenic climate change is overwhelming. By “scientists” they actually mean computer modelers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and their computer-modeling coterie include very few real climatologists or atmospheric physicists. Among qualified climatologists, meteorologists and atmospheric physicists, there are plenty who do not accept the greenhousers’ propositions. Many others have been intimidated into silence by the pressures of grants, tenure and kindred academic garrotes.
Peer review, heavily overworked in the rebuttals I have been reading, is actually a topic on which the greenhousers would do well to keep their mouths shut, since, as the University of Virginia’s Pat Michaels has shown, the most notorious sentence in the IPCC’s 1996 report (“The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”) was inserted at the last minute by a small faction on the IPCC panel after the scientific peer-review process was complete. The former head of the US National Academy of Sciences (and president of the American Physical Society), Frederick Seitz, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.”
I should acknowledge one imprecision in my description of Dr. Martin Hertzberg’s graph in my first column–“the smoothly rising curve of CO2″–which prompted several intemperate responses, charging that I couldn’t possibly expect CO2 or carbon levels to drop just because of a one-third cut in manmade CO2. Indeed, I should have written, “One could not even see a 1 part per million bump in the smoothly rising curve.” Even though such transitory influences as day and night or seasonal variations in photosynthesis cause clearly visible swings in the curve, the 30 percent drop between 1929 and 1932 caused not a ripple: empirical scientific evidence that the human contribution is in fact less than a fart in a hurricane, as Dr. Hertzberg says.