by Joseph Bast, President, The Heartland Institute
I appreciated the careful tone of your article in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Energy Agency Warns Governments to Take Action Against Global Warming.” Rather than repeating the discredited claims by environmentalists of a “consensus” on either the role of man-made emissions in causing climate change or its future trajectory, you were careful to say “many scientists” believe or see things the way environmental advocacy groups and the IPCC present the issue.
Your last sentence, though, isn’t quite right. It says
“Most climate scientists agree with the U.N. conclusions, although recent polls show a growing proportion of the public in many countries is skeptical of climate change.”
This implies a growing disconnect between scientists and the general public. In fact, there is a convergence.
I’ve studied the various reports claiming a “scientific consensus” on climate change and talked with scores of scientists who do not share the IPCC’s views; see this essay among others. I’ve concluded that most academic climate scientists indeed “believe in the IPCC,” but their own research contradicts the science and computer models that form the basis of the IPCC’s claims. Their faith in the IPCC is unearned, and as more and more scientists come to realize that, the credibility of the IPCC is dissipating.
Meanwhile, most practicing scientists and the general public never put as much faith in the IPCC as did the academic scientists. Operating in the “real world” and not swayed by government and foundation research grants, they “looked under the hood” (or perhaps you say “looked under the bonnet” in London) of the global warming scare and found extensive doubt and contradictions. They generally conclude that natural variation greatly exceeds any human impact, and that future climate trends are difficult or impossible to forecast …
The science, they say, doesn’t justify the conclusions stated by the IPCC.
In 2009, The Heartland Institute worked with scientists in more than 20 countries to produce a comprehensive critique of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. Two months ago, we released a 400-page interim report that summarized new research published in peer-reviewed journals. Both reports make it clear that disagreement and dissent are the rule, not the exception, in the scientific debate over climate change.
I hope you might consider including a quotation from Drs. Idso, Singer, or Carter the next time you write on this subject. I’m sure they would appreciate hearing from you, and you would enjoy talking with them.
The Heartland Institute