Monday, February 15, 2010

Toronto Star Resumes Global Warming Alarmism

Well, it seems that Richard Gwyn's fair and balanced article on the expanding Global Warming scandal the other day could not be allowed to go unanswered for long by the true believers at the Star. Today we have an op ed piece written by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, which pleads with the public not to let the attacks on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change affect their faith in Global Warming. The headline reads: "UN climate panel's errors no excuse to put work on ice. World can't afford further delay in facing up to the challenges of climate change." It is "business as usual alarmism" and shows no sign of humility in the face of months of embarrassing revelations.

This article is not the calm voice of reason advocating that science be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it leads; rather, it is the panic-stricken, shrill voice of a Global Warming true believer pleading that we ignore the mounting evidence of fraud, misuse of science and one-sided policy advocacy in the name of objective science.

But the article is a masterful piece of propaganda. By making it appear that the author accepts the fact in question - that the prediction of Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 leaving a billion people without an adequate water supply - the author is able to skillfully downplay the nature of the problem to the point of making it seem insignificant. He never mentions that the IPCC chair was defending this erroneous claim as late as the run-up to the Copenhagen summit. He never mentions that skeptics have been pointing out how ridiculous it is for years. He actually calls the Himalayan glacier claim a typographical error! This in spite of the fact that the IPCC Chairman,
Rajendra Pachauri, not only defended this erroneous claim, but actually called those who contradicted it practitioners of voodoo science. So Steiner completely misrepresents the nature of the error.

But that is not the half of it. The real problem here is not only that the Himalayan glacier prediction (which was spectacular enough to get the attention of policy-makers, which is undoubtedly why it was included in the report in the first place) was wrong. Even more significant that that was the revelation that it was based on a non-peer-reviewed journal in an advocacy group magazine. This led the skeptics to go digging through the citations and they came up with dozens of examples of citations of non-peer-reviewed articles, including in one case: literally a newspaper clipping.

Whenever critics of AGW say anything, the immediate response is always: "But that evidence does not come from a peer-reviewed article." AGW alarmists have discovered that "peer-reviewed" works like a magic talisman in warding off the barbarian hordes of skeptics. All they have to do is to wave it around menacingly and the barbarians (who still retain a superstitious belief in reason and science as objectively true) immediately back off.

This tactic has been found to work so well that the leaked emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (which is currently under investigation and whose disgraced Director has stepped down) contains discussions between leading scientists which could be interpreted as manipulating the peer-review process to keep skeptics' papers out - not because of flaws in their methodology or the rigor of their thought - but simply because they do not fit within a predetermined viewpoint. And keeping them out allows the "no peer-reviewed papers contradict our point of view" argument to be viable.

Now for the skeptics to discover that the IPCC - the Nobel peace prize winning "Bible" of the AGW alarmist movement - is itself not always based on peer-reviewed articles like it always has claimed to be is sweet vindication for the skeptics.

The skeptic's arguments have always been based on the proper interpretation of objective scientific data, not on wish fulfillment. The skeptics are not trying to prove anything and have no particular agenda. They simply ask for science to be careful and to avoid being swept up in the fervor of environmental religion. But the AGW alarmists accuse the skeptics of being biased when it is clearly the AGW alarmists who have the religious fervor and the political agenda in this case.

The basic issue here is that it is unacceptable for the AGW alarmists to say that the science is settled when it clearly is not yet settled. That is the fundamental problem and everything else is detail.

Skeptics are legitimately angry at the hijacking of science for a religous-political cause called environmentalism. Skeptics know that too much has been claimed and political manipulation has occurred. This affects everybody in the world and it involves gigantic political issues like whether or not we need a global governance body with power to tax and whether or not the economies of the industrialized world should be crippled with excessive taxation and regulation. There is noting innocent or noble or heroic about manipulating science to get your own way in politics. It is stupid, evil and shameful. And those caught up in this con-job had better realize soon that the skeptics are not going away and propaganda won't work forever. Sooner or later, public policy will be decided on the basis of real science unmixed with environmentalist faith.

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