Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Is global warming melting?


I think the bloom is finally coming off the global warming hysteria. A voice of reason and authority, NASA administrator Mike Griffin accidentally went off the reservation when he shared a scientific opinion regarding the religion that is global warming. On NPR, he said:
I'm aware that global warming exists. I understand that the bulk of scientific evidence accumulated supports the claim that we've had about a one degree centigrade rise in temperature over the last century to within an accuracy of 20 percent. I'm also aware of recent findings that appear to have nailed down — pretty well nailed down the conclusion that much of that is manmade. Whether that is a longterm concern or not, I can't say.
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I have no doubt that … a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.
And my favorite:
NASA is not an agency chartered to, quote, battle climate change.

Of course, any apostate such as Mr. Griffin has to face the inquisition and the denunciations of the truly faithful. ABC News headlines "Scientists Surprised by NASA Chief's Climate Comments."
NASA administrator Michael Griffin continues to draw the ire of preeminent climate scientists inside and outside of NASA, as well as members of Congress, after apparently downplaying the need to combat global warming.
ABC News was able to quote two, count 'em two, scientists that criticized Griffin. James Hansen, who ABC News described as "NASA's top climate scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York" and Michael Oppenheimer, who ABC News described as a Princeton University atmospheric scientist and lead author of some of the latest reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. They editorialized that the IPCC is the international body, made up of thousands of climate scientists is considered one of the most authoritative bodies on global warming. THE international body, not an international body. Of course, there is no indication by whom the IPCC is considered anything.

Dr. Hansen made his reputation testifying before Congress in the 1980's about, guess what, global warming. He has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration's global warming policies. Dr. Oppenheimer believes that global warming is "the world's number one problem for the 21st century." Forget those pesky terrorists and psychotic dictators with nuclear weapons.

Of course, ABC News wouldn't want to quote any of the scientists that support Dr. Griffen's statements. Heck, they don't even want to acknowledge that any support exists.

Scientists Rally Around NASA Chief After Global Warming Comments
"NASA's top administrator, Michael Griffin, speaking on NPR radio made some refreshingly sensible comments about the present global warming scare," said Robert Ferguson, Director of the Science and Public Policy Institute. "Many rationalist scientists agree with him, clearly demonstrating there is no scientific consensus on man-made, catastrophic global warming," said Ferguson.
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Said Dr. Walter Starck, an Australian marine scientist, "Griffin makes an important distinction between the scientific findings of climate change and dramatic predictions of catastrophic consequences accompanied by policy demands. The former can be evaluated by its evidence, but; the latter rest only on assertions and claims to authority. Alternate predictions of benefits from projected changes have been proposed with comparable authority and plausibility. For example, unless one chooses to define the Little Ice Age as "normal" and "optimal" the net effect of any warming has only been beneficial and any anthropogenic contribution very small indeed. Dramatic predictions of imminent disaster have a near perfect record of failure. Griffin's note of caution in the escalating concern over climate change deserves sober consideration.

Another Australian, who testified before a Senate panel last year, Professor Robert Carter, observed, "My main reaction to Michael Griffin is to congratulate him on his clear-sightedness, not to mention his courage in speaking out on such a controversial topic."

Dr. Tim Ball, a Canadian climatologist, responded: "Griffin's statement is sensible because it allows time for the testing of the man-made global warming hypothesis to continue as it should."

"I certainly support Griffin's comments," said William Kininmonth, a former head of the Australian National Climate Centre. "Not only is it speculative to claim that humans can in any way influence the course of climate but it is arrogant to suggest that today's climate is getting worse than it has been in the past. For example, who would prefer to return to pre-industrial conditions as they were during the Little Ice Age? Frost Fairs were common on many rivers of Europe and the London diarist John Evelyn records that in 1683-84 the Thames River froze from late December to early February. Conditions were terrible with men and cattle perishing and the seas locked with ice such that no vessels could stir out or come in. The fowls, fish and exotic plants and greens were universally perishing. Food and fuel were exceptionally dear and coal smoke hung so thickly that one could scarcely see across the street and one could scarcely breathe."

Kansas geologist, Lee Gerhard added, "Griffin's statement focuses on the hubris that affects much of public policy. It is great to know that someone out there besides geologists understands that humans do not dominate earth's dynamic systems.

Said Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph, "Claims of major, impending catastrophe are speculative and go far beyond what has been credibly established by researchers to date. Hence Griffin's view is not at all controversial or out of step with available evidence, and he should be commended for having the courage to say it. The fact that it took courage, however, points to the deeper problem that questioning the catastrophic propaganda we hear so much is now considered politically incorrect."

Dr. Pat Michaels at the University of Virginia agrees: "NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's statement about whether or not it is in fact a "problem" is supported by a scientific literature that his employee, James Hansen, appears to ignore. It is well-known that much of the Eurasian arctic was between 4 and 12 degrees (F) warmer than modern temperatures for much of the 6,000 years between 3,000 and 9,000 years ago, and that such warming was caused by a massive intrusion of warm Atlantic water into the arctic. Given that the only way it can get there is to flow east of Greenland, Mr. Hansen's well-publicized fears that a massive amount of Greenland's ice will fall into the ocean in the next 100 years is mere science fiction. It is ironic that today President Bush appears to have given in to Hansen's hysteria rather than to the calm reason of NASA Administrator Griffin."

Finally, Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl praised Griffin's climate comments, calling them "sensible." On his public blog, Motl said he applauds Michael Griffin and encourages him to act as "a self-confident boss of a highly prestigious institution." "I have always believed that the people who actually work with hard sciences and technology simply shouldn't buy a cheap and soft pseudoscientific propaganda such as the 'fight against climate change,'" Motl added.
OK, so ABC News, with all their prestige and resources, could find two scientists who were willing to criticize Dr. Griffin. And they couldn't (or, more likely, wouldn't) find any scientists who approved of his comments. Meanwhile, E-Wire found 9 from around the world who were willing to go on record in support.

The basic issue that there isn't enough information to warrant raising the cost of my tequila. Whenever someone starts talking global warming to me I ask, "What's so bad about that? Weren't you cold last winter?"

I agree with Dr. Griffin that it is the height of arrogance to propose that our current climate is the perfect climate for all times.

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