Signing Global Warming’s Certificate of Death

By Alan Caruba

The sixteen names of the scientists who jointly signed the article in The Wall Street Journal, “No Need to Panic About Global Warming”  on January 27th are mostly unknown to the general public. Perhaps the best known would be Harrison H. Schmitt, a former Apollo 17 astronaut and U.S. Senator. Others might recognize Burt Rutan, an aerospace engineer and designer of Voyager and SpaceShip One.

Moreover, not only were the signers distinguished scientists, but they came from places like Paris, France and Cambridge, England, Jerusalem, Israel, and Geneva, Switzerland. Mostly climatologists and meteorologists, some were physicists and astrophysicists. Antonio Zichichi, one signer, is president of the World Federation of Scientists. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the combined credentials of these men represent some of the best minds on planet Earth in their respective fields.

What brought them together? On the surface it was just another of the countless articles that have been published over the years as scientists of real merit and courage took on the juggernaut of those for whom global warming had become a vast flow of government and foundation funding.

The effort was to “prove” that carbon dioxide (CO2) was building up in the atmosphere and would soon incinerate Earth by trapping the heat from the sun. It had not done that in the 5.4 billion years of the Earth’s existence, but the “warmists” claims came day after day and year after year. They permeated every aspect of society and you can go into any school in America and find textbooks still selling this garbage.

Until, that is, 2009 when thousands of emails between the small clique of scientists working for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were leaked on the Internet and it became clear that even they knew the Earth had entered a cooling cycle around 1998. The challenges to their bogus computer “models” were coming like cannon balls against their academic castles in America and England.

Starting in 2008, The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based 27-year-old, non-profit research organization, sponsored four international conferences on climate change, attracting the top scientists and world leaders courageous enough to speak out against the global warming hoax. The momentum of opposition began to build against those who, from the late 1980s had warned that, in Al Gore’s words, “the world has caught a fever.”

The Wall Street Journal article said, in the plainest language, that candidates for public office “in any contemporary democracy…should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true.”

In fact, scientists had been signing petitions opposing the global warming hoax for a very long time. The problem was that the mainstream media either paid them no attention or dismissed them as “skeptics” and “deniers”.

With a light touch, the Wall Street Journal article noted that “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over ten years now.” It wasn’t as if the warmists did not know it. It was more like they regarded it as a problem to be solved by changing references to global warming to “climate change.”

Their current dying gasps have to do with warnings about “extreme climate events” that have been occurring for eons; tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods and earthquakes; now all routinely attributed to too much carbon dioxide.

The article calmly said, “The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant.” Indeed, more CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing, aiding increasing crop growth and healthier forests and jungles worldwide.

Someone needs to tell that to the Environmental Protection Agency that is striving mightily to shut down coal-fired energy plants for emitting CO2. Add their efforts to do the same to a wide swatch of American industry and you get an agency that is in great need of being abolished.

“There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.”

In time, historians may look back and conclude that the January 27th article was, in fact, global warming’s death certificate, signed by an international group of scientists who could not be disputed no matter how many times the warmists jump up and down and cry that the sky is falling.

It has taken a very long time for most of the public to come to the conclusion that they have been the object of an elaborate hoax. In America polls demonstrate that global warming is at the very bottom of their concerns these days. In time, wind and solar power, electric cars, biofuels, and other environmental delusions will join that list.

5 thoughts on “Signing Global Warming’s Certificate of Death”

  1. I have audited these lists of "scientists" and I have discovered that:

    (1) Many of them are engineers (not scientists)

    (2) Many of them are science faculty at institutions that do not do peer reviewed research

    (3) Many of the real scientists are not climatologists

  2. Ed, if Harrison R Schmitt is a former astronaut and senator, then it's very unlikely he's also a scientist. If Burt Rutan is an aerospace engineer then he's…not a scientist.

    Now, I understand that people can be polymaths. In 2003 as a programmer I published Build Your Own .Net Language and Compiler (Apress-Springer 2004) but today I'm a teacher, writer and actor. Noam Chomsky was a linguist and then a political activist.

    I work with climatologists as a scientific editor as one of my writing tasks. But this doesn't make me a climatologist and the people who believe global warming don't come to me for support, despite the fact that I agree with them. Unlike the anti-inconvenient-science boys at the Journal, who need every scientist, engineer, flyboy, high school science teacher, wack job, and programmer they can get, the Inconvenient Truthers don't need me.

    It is very unusual for a polymath to speak with authority in any one field.

    Chomsky spoke with authority on early modern linguistics but then became an antiwar activist. His contribution to linguistics ended there.

    John "A Beautiful Mind" Nash, whom I was honored to assist with mathematical software when I was at Princeton, made no contributions to math during his schizophrenia or recovery (yet the lists compiled by Forbes and the WSJ seem to include people with troubling records). My assistance gives me no chops in math.

    Scientists, who speak with authority especially on grave matters of public policy, have to be full time lifers. Sure, Einstein was a patent clerk in 1905 when he, working part time, developed the Special Theory of Relativity, to pay the rent in an antisemitic society where it was difficult for Einstein to get an academic position (and, most such entry-level positions involved teaching, and at teaching, Einstein sucked).

    But after Einstein's 1905 paper was peer reviewed and after his prediction that light would be bent by the sun's mass was proven correct by an eclipse in 1919, Einstein was indeed able to get access to President Roosevelt, to warn the President of the possibilities that Hitler's boys might use what he'd discovered to make a bomb.

    If a P-48 fighter jock with a degree from Case Western had developed the same idea, even using correct science, FDR would not have seen him and that's just too bad. Our time is limited.

    During my long career in software, I found myself, along with computer SCIENTIST Edsger Dijkstra, fighting a battle with the confusion of engineering (with its commitment to being "practical", and getting it done) and science (with its commitment to a collective and peer-reviewed search for truth). For example, I maintained that given constant change in user requirements, it is silly to, in an engineering spirit, try to nail requirements in detail, and better to provide the user with a language for talking about the problem truthfully as it changes, using compiler technology.

    Global warming is a truth. Many engineers do not like it because it might prevent them from doing engineering. They might find themselves laid-off. Boo hoo. They must not lie for careerist purposes and distort the truth: for example, the climate boys don't say that "CO2 is a pollutant", they say that it traps the sun's heat, and they've proven that it does.

    Engineers, unlike many scientists, haven't studied Hume and have therefore an unclear idea of what certainty is. That there is doubt doesn't make a theory untrue, and Sir Karl Popper's addendum to Hume was that the existence of contrary evidence which can be explained strengthens the theory in question…it makes it falsifiable which means that the theory, unlike Communism or conspiracy theory, is all the more credible.

    A failure for temperatures to increase worldwide at some projected level doesn't by itself refute a trend which has existed since 1750, and the evidence of this (which is sketchy) has to be confronted by my observation that in the 1950s, the only tornados known were funnel clouds: these are now the wimp tornadoes every season because they are dwarfed every season now by monster, mile wide tornados that were unseen in the 1950s. The climate scientists never predicted that temperatures would increase smoothly but they did predict volatility, and world wide, people are DYING of volatility including massive, unprecedented flooding in Asia, massive, unprecedented drought in Africa, drought in Texas and spring storm seasons that people now look forward to with dread.

  3. @1, @2, Edward, Thank you for your comments.

    You may notice the first link in the article above takes you to the original letter by the 16 scientists and engineers. As I identify in my introduction, indeed, several of the signers are engineers.

    This discussion requires we define our goal.

    Are we attempting to count the number of scientists on each side of the global warming issue and determine truth by vote? Probably not. Scientific truth cannot be determined by voting.

    Are we saying that engineers are not qualified to find a problem with a scientific hypothesis? I don't think we are. While it may take a good scientist to develop a good hypothesis, it does not take an equally good scientist to find a hole in the hypothesis. The hole is identified when a prediction fails. Certainly, engineers are capable of knowing when a prediction fails.

    Are we saying we can qualify the capability of scientists based upon some objective criteria? Probably not because any criteria rapidly becomes subjective. I have seen this argument degrade into attempts to disqualify scientists on the other side because of irrelevant subjective criteria.

    Are we saying one must be a "climatologist" in order to pay the game of global warming? I think not. Atmospheric science is composed of several sciences, mostly physics, meteorology, geology, and climatology. Ecologists, who can get a PhD without learning math or physics, are not qualified in this field, nor are "environmentalists" who have no in atmospheric science.

    Finally, are we going to debate the science or are we going to debate the "fire power" of those scientists who say the global warming hypothesis fails and fails miserably?

    So we are back to science. Global warming is street language for a complex scientific hypothesis. A hypothesis must be able to make predictions that can be tested. If a hypothesis makes predictions that are contradicted by data then we must abandon the hypothesis. Of course, we know this does not mean throwing out all the parts of the hypothesis since some parts may be valid. But it does mean throwing out the final hypothesis.

    The burden of proof is upon those who claim a hypothesis is correct. If they lose one round, then they lose the game. The null hypothesis is

    Global climate changes are presumed to be natural unless and until specific evidence is forthcoming for human causation.

    Many data demonstrate the global warming hypothesis fails. For an initial demonstration of this, go to climatephysics.org and review the two documents used to defeat the Climate Change Petition brought by environmentalists last June to the Montana Supreme Court. These documents and their many references are sufficient to defeat any attempt to show the global warming hypothesis is true. They even contain references to peer-reviewed papers that show your statements about tornadoes are false.

    Others will point out that your admission that temperatures have increased somewhat regularly since 1750 is itself evidence the global warming hypothesis is false, since humans did not really start their carbon dioxide emissions until about 1950. Clearly, nature, not human carbon dioxide, was responsible for temperature increases in the 200 years before 1950. If all the climate changes before 1950 where caused by nature then where is the evidence that the changes since 1950 have been caused by human carbon dioxide?

    Harrison "Jack" Schmitt was a qualified scientist in geology long before he became the last man to walk on the moon. We were classmates at Caltech in our undergraduate years. I know him well. I invite you to search the many references to Schmitt's articles in PolyMontana and on climatephysics.com. Select Harrison Schmitt from the Author category.

    But let's go further. When top-rated physicists like William Happer, Ivar Giaever, William Kininmonth, Richard Lindzen, Nir Shaviv, Henk Tennekes, and Antonio Zichichi are among the thousands of atmospheric scientists who boldly say the global warming hypothesis is invalid, then it behooves the many ecologists, environmentalists, government bureaucrats, and others to at least stop and question their proclamations about global warming being a fact.

    The believers are obligated to take one more step: show the significant peer-reviewed evidence that disproves global warming is false. They have not done so. Therefore, we must conclude man's contribution to climate change is insignificant compared to that of nature.

  4. Couple of points, then, in response, Dr. Ed.

    The changes, not the emissions, took off after 1950. Indeed, around that time (in 1954) there were so few controls on emissions that London had a major disaster (a killer smog) caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

    Dickens noted a hundred years before (in Bleak House) how foul London's air had become with the interactions of fossil fuels with the Thames Valley's mists. Since particulates were not measured in the 1850s we can accept his testimony in evidence.

    Because of pollution by the steam locomotives of the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads, those railroads electrified their lines running into New York City in the early twentieth century; my brother and I used to go on the platform at Harrisburg and watch the switch with fascination when we were kids.

    Carbon emissions started with the deforestation of Western Europe after about 1750 and the use of a concentrated and "efficient" form of carbon, coal, for energy in place of wood. Then in the early twentieth century, oil started to take off to power ships and then cars without reducing the demand for coal which remained the domestic fuel and the fuel of steam locomotives until the middle of the twentieth century, when labor leader John L. Lewis demonstrated the power of coal mining unions to Harry Truman, and as a result the railroads converted to Diesel…and Truman and the Dulles brothers initiated our dependence on foreign oil, the latter by overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran.

    This use was the factor that ended "the little ice age" which started in the early 17th century although evidence of the "little ice age" persisted until 1816 ("the year without a summer").

    Now, let us audit two of the scientists you provide:

    (1) William Happer: older and not a climatologist, a specialist in optics. When he denies that CO2 is "not a pollutant" he's being absurd: for the Inconvenient Truthers never said it was a "pollutant".

    A "pollutant" is a low-lying particulate which affects health directly.

    CO2 while being safe and a part of the atmosphere is part of an interaction which is over the long term unsafe. It's not a pollutant per se, nor is it dangerous except when it traps the sun's rays in a greenhouse effect. Happer is burning a straw man.

    Ivar Giaevar won a Nobel…in the physics of semiconductors. Because semiconductors are impure science (both in the jokey sense of being about impurities which affect conductivity, and in the not-joking sense of being about big money), semiconductor physics attracts men like Shockley who misused his scientific authority to air crackpot views outside of his professional remit on eugenics.

    [Einstein also aired views about the need for peace. But these views weren't crackpot or racist and were understood to flow out of a commitment to truth. Whereas second-raters like Linus Pauling and Shockley go off the rails when they misuse scientific prestige. If this is elitism, fine.]

    It is indeed paradoxical. In my direct experience in software engineering including compiler development, microcode and telephony, the American business corporation imposes a conformity of views on engineers far stricter than any conformity required of pure scientists at a place of Princeton, again in my direct experience there, and in a university here in Hong Kong.

    The influence of the proposition that above all, business people must be allowed to make a profit has in engineering "science" an unquestioned status, so unquestioned as to not be a polite subject of discussion in bull sessions and a termination offense, in some companies, to even raise. Disturbingly this has had approximately the same effect on American science and engineering as Marxism in the Soviet Union on Soviet science; my book on "Mathematics, Its Content, Methods and Meaning" by several prominent Soviet mathematicians of the 1960s has almost nothing on finite or computer math, because the remit of Soviet mathematicians in the 1960s was to support giant analogue projects.

    Engineering, as my engineering drafting prof told us, ain't science because in engineering that is funded by an entrepreneur, you must make him a profit and in tax-funded civil engineering thou must not waste the taxpayer's dime.

    In engineering the atomic bomb, the bottom line was you must kill a lot of Japs to end this damn war.

    Nothing wrong with any of this, especially as one of my spiritual mentors, who was in the Army Air Corps, was concerned…the bomb saved his butt.

    But it occludes the bare possibility of a disinterested individual or group search for truth and drives it underground.

    And…one truth is that Montana's ecosystems are fragile and always have been such because of the rain shadow of the mountains and its extremities of climate. Consider the Moose I met in neighboring Idaho. He knew instinctively to seek a low-lying wetland since he cannot reach the lowest branch of trees given his anatomy, and was ready to defend this turf.

    If you start selling Montana's natural resources, its timber, its coal, perhaps its oil shale, to the Chinese, then you will destroy Bullwinkle's habitat and this will have a complex network effect.

    Consider the changes in animal behavior we have seen over our lifetimes. When I was a kid, bears sought berries and honey. But in Washington State in backcountry in the 1990s we had to do an elaborate "bear hang" every evening because bears have been trained by us to like Trail Mix, and to interact with humans. Which of course endangers idiots in Yellowstone who put their kids on grizzly bear backs for a photo and are slaughtered. And then this results in calls for permits to go and slaughter grizzlies.

    When I pack it in, I pack it out, including a honey bag full of used toilet paper (you don't need this in the Cascades on the other side of the rain shadow, where you can use pine cones if you bury them, and the bears don't find your spoor). To me, there's nothing wrong with the Federal government telling me to walk lightly on the earth. What is it about the wilderness that makes people want to harm it?

    I was climbing a mountain near Idaho Falls, and this was in neither a state nor Federal park, so some local cowboys were using dirt bikes to get to the top. They were friendly enough and offered me a ride. They were surprised when I said, no thanks. Dirt bikes are attractive in the same way a horse was damnably attractive to a Lakota in the 17th century. But they create gouges which breed aggressive insects which soon make a simplified ecosystem and a wider trail and the next thing you know there goes the leaf canopy over the trail. I say that someone has to draw a line in the sand, and it might as well be Washington. Bozeman is too dominated by men who need, or think they need, to make money, and cowboys who owe child support who need, or think they need, jobs.

    Private business, unlike WPA projects of the 1930s or Jobs Corps projects today, create jobs as its purpose. Rather, for the private entrepreneur or developer, it will create the mathematical minimum number of jobs. Each employee will have to be certified in the latest fossil fuel using technology such as the forklift.

    Working in mainland China, I was watching the lads building another high-rise on the way to work and I was struck by the sight of a tool my grandfather taught me how to use, because I'd not seen it in a workingman's hands since the 1950s: a simple hand saw, which is replaced by the chainsaw today at job sites.

    I'm afraid that in your case, engineering education on the West Coast, which applied science fostered during WWII, has been ideological, and for this reason you allow aging scientists and engineers to speak just outside their professional remit on global warming. Just as an engineering project team in a private corporation needs every swinging dick "on board", and no nonconformists who go off and Do It My Way, scientific groups need buy in and consensus around the truth. Demurral doesn't make the truth, untrue.

    Only in math do we know what we know. Even in physics, the heliocentric theory can be shown by recalculation to be no better than the old earth-centric theory, to predict the same observable motions of the planets. Einstein famously refused to agree with the "Copenhagen Interpretation" of physics.

    But ethically, just as Einstein ethically went to President Roosevelt because of the risk that Hitler would get the bomb, scientists have in the final analysis the responsibility to tell business about a climate risk even if they don't have "six sigma" certainty.

    I conclude that in the future, people who seek to live in Montana better learn to live simply, to trap and hunt, and not expect jobs selling the state to the Chinamen.

  5. Error report: for "Private business, unlike WPA projects of the 1930s or Jobs Corps projects today, create jobs as its purpose", read "Private business, unlike WPA projects of the 1930s or Jobs Corps projects today, does not create jobs as its purpose".

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