When did we debate?

Al Gore says the debate is over on global warming? Who was invited? Where did it take place?

From what I can tell, the global warming debate got politicized about the mid-1980s and early 1990s. I can never remember there being a "consensus."

For example, did the Little Ice Age affect only Europe or was it a global? Should the temperature readings around cities be given priority over rural locations when heat dispersal is factored in? If there are shifts in the major ocean currents, how should that be considered?

My tendency to lump most global warming arguments into the political propaganda pile is because despite the hype, there has never been agreement among the climate scientists about global warming. Even though you are continually told that there is.

Today's OpinionJournal.com covers that.

The media rarely help, of course. When Newsweek featured global warming in a 1988 issue, it was claimed that all scientists agreed. Periodically thereafter it was revealed that although there had been lingering doubts beforehand, now all scientists did indeed agree. Even Mr. Gore qualified his statement on ABC only a few minutes after he made it, clarifying things in an important way. When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim--in his defense--that scientists "don't know. . . . They just don't know."

So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the "consensus." Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template--namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.

They are less so otherwise. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why.

Now, does the Wall Street Journal have an objective in publishing this opinion?


So does Mr. Gore in making his film.

So do I in publishing this website.

The "debate" on global warming has never taken place. It has never been allowed to take place.

The reasons for suppressing the debate are many, but be sure to include that newspapers and magazines sell more if they resort to big panics. That scientists need grants. That global warming justifies economic and political control. For almost twenty years, these considerations have shaped the global warming proclamations. Not the science. Not the history.

We can not afford to let panic drive our policy.

I'll go one step further and say we can't afford a policy until we've established a good reason that amounts to more than computer models and pretty slides. I've sat through too many budget meetings.

— NeoWayland

Posted: Mon - July 3, 2006 at 06:33 AM  Tag

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