Posts tagged with: climate change

In what might be the coolest thing ever to happen to me, a Grand Rapids-based “progressive” news outlet has implied that I – as the creative dynamo behind the beloved and highly anticipated Global Warming Consensus Watch posts – am little more than a corporate stooge of Exxon. Yes, the good folks at Media Mouse are pointing the righteous finger of progressive accusation at yours truly for the unimaginable crime of “…running a regular blog feature dedicated to challenging the idea that there is scientific consensus on global warming. These recent activities fit within a history of advocating industry-friendly ‘free-market’ policies and attacking environmental regulations.” Acton also stands accused of giving a forum to an individual with nonstandard and non-“progressive” opinions on both the subject of Global Warming and Corporate Social Responsibility, Mr. Fred Smith. Thoughtcrime, my friends! Thoughtcrime!

Naturally, there must be a reason that we at Acton are so willing to engage in this sort of dangerous expression of subversive views, and Media Mouse has found the smoking gun: a $50,000 contribution to Acton – for general operations – from the Exxon Foundation! Yes, that must be it! That must explain why I, while browsing news on the internet, regularly notice articles published by independent news sources in which the “scientific consensus on global warming” is called into question by 1) scientists or 2) new scientific findings. (Presumably, the media outlets that publish these articles – which include Reuters, The Rocky Mountain News, The International Herald Tribune, The Huntsville Times, and The Financial Times among many others – must also be under the thumb of Exxon, as they’re the ones who actually publish the news articles that I have the audacity to notice.)

So I guess it’s settled: I am little more than a whore for Exxon. Each morning, I receive my talking points from corporate HQ, and every Friday I head down to my local Exxon station to pick up my bag of filthy oil money, a portion of which I use to light cigars that I then extinguish on the backs of the various downtrodden and oppressed wage slaves that I have acquired through my support of “free markets” to do menial labor on my palatial estate while I crank out another issue of Global Warming Consensus Watch.

Or perhaps I simply believe that the science isn’t as settled on this issue as groups like Media Mouse claim, and enjoy presenting a contrary view. Perhaps I didn’t know (and frankly couldn’t care less now that I do know) that Acton does, or ever has received support from Exxon.

Naaah, that couldn’t be it. It must be that we’re all corrupt. So I thought I’d do everyone a favor by just getting it out in the open once and for all.

I am an enemy of the people.

By the way, climate change is normal. And pay no attention to the massive disparity in the amount spent by Exxon in grants to organizations that oppose global warming alarmism last year ($2 million) versus the amount paid out to various alarmist organizations ($100-$150 million). And certainly don’t read this article, which notes that the “gotcha!” funding game can cut both ways. OOH! There I go again with the filthy dirty LIES!

More lies after the jump. (more…)

Representatives of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and the Evangelical Environmental Network faced off in informal debate Thursday, May 31, at the Family Research Council in Washington. Dr. E. Calvin Beisner and Dr. Kenneth Chilton represented the Alliance on a discussion panel about global warming hosted by the FRC. Opposite them were EEN representatives Dr. Jim Ball and Dr. Rusty Pritchard. To hear the panel discussion, click here.

Welcome to the latest edition of the PowerBlog’s GLOBAL WARMING CONSENSUS WATCH, a weekly news recap where we highlight the continuing strength and enduring permanence of the universal scientific consensus on the causes and effects of global warming.

THIS WEEK: A fungus among us – again; more on Mars; are weather satellites creating more hurricanes?; Live Earth isn’t totally worthless; Laurie David is the GREATEST HERO IN AMERICAN HISTORY; and human sacrifice on the altar of environmental religion.

All this can be yours – after the jump! (more…)

Back in September of 2003, Michael Crichton delivered an address in which he made the claim that modern environmentalism has become much more than a desire to be wise stewards of our environment; rather, he said, it has become a full-fledged religion. Here’s a sample:

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can’t be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people—the best people, the most enlightened people—do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don’t want to talk anybody out of them, as I don’t want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don’t want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can’t talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren’t necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It’s about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

While I may quibble with some of the details, overall that address is well worth a read in full. The reason I thought of it today was that I ran across a news item this morning which indicates to me that a certain someone has genuinely achieved sainthood in the church of environmentalism:

Visitors to the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa won’t find the Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer. Instead, on the bureau will be a copy of “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore’s book about global warming.

Thanks be to Gaia for inspiring the sacred, inconvenient word which was written down by Saint Albert, and through which we shall all be saved!

Update: John Reed – Media Relations at Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa – left a correction to the Bloomberg story quoted above in the comments to this post, noting that An Inconvenient Truth will not be replacing the Bible, but will rather be made available along with the Bible in each guest room.

Granted, that’s a little better than outright replacing God’s Word with the Goracle, but I still have to roll my eyes at the fact that it places Al Gore’s manifesto at the same level of importance as Holy Scripture…

Via Stephen Hayward at Planet Gore comes word of another scientist off the “consensus” reservation. According to David Evans (who, according to his bio, is a genuine rocket scientist – sweeeet…), “… in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical. As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?'”

Evans does a great job of laying out why the science on the issue of climate change is not settled, and also notes the potential dangers of the current “consensus”:

The evidence is not currently conclusive either for or against any particular cause of global warming. I think that it *is* possible that carbon emissions are the dominant cause of global warming, but in light of the weakening evidence I judge that probability to be about 20% rather than almost 90% as estimated by the IPCC.

I worry that politics could seriously distort the science. Suppose that carbon taxes are widely enacted, but that the rate of global warming increase starts to decline by 2015. The political system might be under pressure to repay the taxes, so it might in turn put a lot of pressure on scientists to provide justifications for the taxes. Or the political system might reject the taxes and blame science for misinforming it, which could be a terrible outcome for science because the political system is powerful and not constrained by truth.

Some people take strong rhetorical positions on global warming. But the cause of global warming is not just another political issue that is subject to endless debate and distortions. The cause of global warming is an issue that falls into the realm of science, because it is falsifiable. No amount of human posturing will affect what the cause is. The cause just physically is there, and after sufficient research and time we will know what it is.

Perhaps the best thing about this post is that it comes as part of a civil, rational debate about the merits of climate science, something that is sorely lacking in the current highly politicized climate. This sort of exchange is an encouraging sign that rationality may win out over hysteria in the end.

This week in the PowerBlog’s Global Warming Consensus Watch: A final pass at the Sheryl Crow/Toilet Paper controversy, just to ensure that the issue is wiped clean; The fight against climate change goes to 11; Global warming causes everything, and we’ve got professional athletes to prove it; and finally, what – if anything – are those carbon offsets offsetting? (more…)

An entire nation breathes a sigh of relief today, as Sheryl Crow has claimed that her proposal to restrict toilet paper usage to one square per restroom visit was a joke, as this blogger suspected. Unfortunately, Crow had no further comment on the status of her “dining sleeve” device.

You can count on the PowerBlog to bring you the latest news and updates on this important story as they occur.

More: Iain Murray at Planet Gore notes that all things considered, it was relatively easy to take Crow’s ludicrous suggestion seriously:

The reaction to it should tell her something about the environmental movement. People thought it was a serious suggestion because they are used to hearing equally ludicrous things coming from environmentalists. Even The Daily Show took her at face value last night. Until green environmentalists square the circle of modern life with their concerns about it and their proposed statist solutions, they’re going to face exactly the same problem.

Welcome to the first edition of the PowerBlog’s new GLOBAL WARMING CONSENSUS WATCH, where we keep you up-to-date on the latest news about the ever-strengthening, nearly invincible consensus that climate change is 1) unnatural and 2) a massive catastrophe waiting to happen.

  • Another scientist off the reservation: Somebody has to start doing something about all these “scientists” who openly question the unshakable, indisputable consensus on global warming. Like this guy, for instance. What in the world could he be talking about here?
    Spencer contends there is not yet enough known about the Earth’s atmosphere to understand exactly what occurs naturally to stabilize the earth’s climate.

    “I don’t think we understand what happens. We can watch it happen on the (climate) models, we know it happens, but we don’t know for sure how it happens…”

    Nonsense. Didn’t he see Al Gore’s movie?

  • Thank you sir, may I have another? Why certainly. Here’s Dr. Timothy Ball, a retired Canadian climatologist, on those climate models we hear so much about:
    As I have said for years, climate models are a useful but severely limited tool in the laboratory that must meet scientific responsibilities. Unfortunately, they are clearly not doing this, which is why we need an independent audit.

    When you go public and allow the output of the models to become the basis of global, national and regional policy there is a different set of responsibilities and these are definitely not being met.

    Worse, they are deliberately being manipulated and misused.

  • Balance = Bias: The potential catastrophe of global warming is too important to allow dissent on the issue in the media, according to Al Gore. And the major media seems to agree:
    Al Gore has complained that the media are biased against the inconvenient truth of global warming. “I believe that is one of the principal reasons why political leaders around the world have not yet taken action,” Gore told a “Media Ethics Summit” at Middle Tennessee State University back in February. Gore lectured journalists that any coverage of views opposed to his own was irresponsible, calling it “balance as bias.”

    It’s impossible to imagine the big TV networks actually accepting an edict from a conservative politician to report only their side of a major public policy issue, but a new Media Research Center study of ABC, CBS and NBC’s global warming coverage finds the networks are giving Gore practically everything he demanded. Not only does nearly every global warming story exclude any contrary voices, but the coverage of Al Gore personally has been exceptionally positive as well.

    It’s amusing to think that Gore could claim that his position on global warming hasn’t gotten a fair shake in the big media without being laughed out of the room. I think it’s much more in line with reality to say that the reason Al Gore even has a career these days is because the media has long ignored his calls to rid the world of the internal combustion engine or the fact that one can barely tell the difference between Gore’s environmentalism and the Unabomber’s (I scored a 25% on that quiz, by the way – you’re invited to drop your score into the comments).

  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Noted environmental expert Sheryl Crow (who has a career as a recording artist on the side) used to like to soak up the sun. But she’s changed her ways, and what she sees now is not a pretty picture. The consensus on global warming is strong enough that she’s ready to advise us all to make some cuts – and it’s true when they say that the first cut is the deepest:
    Singer Sheryl Crow has said a ban on using too much toilet paper should be introduced to help the environment.

    Crow has suggested using “only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required”…

    …”I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming,” Crow wrote.

    “Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating.

    “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting.”

    Now come on – this has to be a joke, right? No serious person would propose restrictions on how much toilet paper a person can use, right? It would be an understatement to say that this idea is “in the earliest stage of development.” For one thing, has she come up with a workable enforcement mechanism? The mind boggles. But this is a BBC article, not The Onion, so it at least has the faint odor of plausibility (no pun intended).

    On the other hand, the article also includes this tidbit:

    Crow has also commented on her website about how she thinks paper napkins “represent the height of wastefulness”.

    She has designed a clothing line with what she calls a “dining sleeve”.

    The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another “dining sleeve” after the diner has used it to wipe his or her mouth.

    OK, there’s no way this is real. Unless somebody can point out to me evidence that Crow (or any other Hollywood celebrity) is actually using the “dining sleeve,” I’m just going to write this whole article off as a parody. After all, even climate change is trumped by vanity and hypocrisy in Tinseltown.

Sheryl Crow highlights the nightmare scenario that threatens us all
Don’t be hitting it just yet, buddy.

Here’s an interesting piece from the April 16 issue of Newsweek by Richard Lindzen:

Judging from the media in recent months, the debate over global warming is now over. There has been a net warming of the earth over the last century and a half, and our greenhouse gas emissions are contributing at some level. Both of these statements are almost certainly true. What of it? Recently many people have said that the earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we’ve seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe. What most commentators—and many scientists—seem to miss is that the only thing we can say with certainly about climate is that it changes. The earth is always warming or cooling by as much as a few tenths of a degree a year; periods of constant average temperatures are rare…

…Is there any point in pretending that CO2 increases will be catastrophic? Or could they be modest and on balance beneficial? India has warmed during the second half of the 20th century, and agricultural output has increased greatly. Infectious diseases like malaria are a matter not so much of temperature as poverty and public-health policies (like eliminating DDT). Exposure to cold is generally found to be both more dangerous and less comfortable.

Moreover, actions taken thus far to reduce emissions have already had negative consequences without improving our ability to adapt to climate change. An emphasis on ethanol, for instance, has led to angry protests against corn-price increases in Mexico, and forest clearing and habitat destruction in Southeast Asia. Carbon caps are likely to lead to increased prices, as well as corruption associated with permit trading. (Enron was a leading lobbyist for Kyoto because it had hoped to capitalize on emissions trading.) The alleged solutions have more potential for catastrophe than the putative problem.

Well, surely Mr. Lindzen is a bought-and-paid-for mouthpiece of Big Oil, right?

Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies.

You’ll want to read the whole essay – it’s well worth your time. And here’s one more quote to consider, which is perhaps Lindzen’s most important: “the evidence for global warming thus far doesn’t warrant any action unless it is justifiable on grounds that have nothing to do with climate.”

I neglected this earlier, but a Hat Tip goes to my good friend Adam Barr.

German theologian and philosopher Michael Welker describes in his book God the Spirit (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994) the biblical relationship between the prophet and majority opinion:

The prophet does not confuse truth with consensus. The prophet does not confuse God’s word with the word of those who happen to hold power at present, or with the opinion of the majority. This is because powerholders and the majority can fall victim to a lying spirit—and this means a power that actually seizes the majority of experts, the political leadership, and the public (88).

He previously outlined some of these lying spirits that have dominated recent decades. Welker writes,

“Water and air are inexhaustible natural resources”; “Dying forests are not connected industrial and automobile emissions”; “With permanent armament we are making peace more secure!”—those were some of the many astoundingly public opinions of the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s that, as has become clear in the meantime, can be ascribed to a lying spirit (85).

But if we were to ask what is the increasingly dominant opinion of the experts, the political leadership, the media, and the public of the ’00s, what would the answer be?

I have little doubt that the answer is, “Human beings are causing global climate change.”

After last week, we even have a clear “consensus” opinion on human-induced climate change from the Supreme Court. But while Welker himself might be inclined to concur with this particular opinion rather than those of previous decades, his warning about the dangers of consensus are well-taken.

And those who have taken up the prophetic mantle of climate change, like Jim Wallis and Rev. Richard Cizik, would do well to heed Welker’s words.

What does it truly mean to be “prophetic” about the issue of climate change? Does it mean the partnering of the Evangelical Climate Initiative with the Union of Concerned Scientists?

Or might a “lying spirit” behind the “consensus” position on climate change? How are we to tell?

Scripture itself gives us a pretty good rule of thumb to discern the spirits. In Deuteronomy 18:14-22, we read the answer to the question, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” Verse 22 contains God’s answer to the people’s question about discerning the true prophet: “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”

So with this in mind we might have an avenue to respond to the sorts of predictions and claims about climate change popularized most notably by Al Gore. The advocates for government action to combat human-induced climate change ought to provide a specific set of predictions and criteria for the verifiability of their claims. Let them decide in which predictions they have the most confidence and which are the most easily provable. Give us a set of clear benchmarks for the next 1, 2, 5, or 10 years. Then perhaps we can begin to judge whether the prophets of climate change have “spoken presumptuously” or not.

But to demand such explicit and verifiable criteria is to expose what is perhaps the greatest weakness of the theory of human-induced climate change: its patent lack of testability. It is at once a theory that can account for any and all future climate contingencies, and is therefore really no theory at all. It is a theory of everything and of nothing.

In the most recent Interfaith Stewardship Alliance Newsletter (April 5, 2007), Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, adjunct scholar at the Acton Institute and spokesman for the ISA, links to a story that includes the following quote from an organizer of a mountain-climbing expedition intended to bring attention to the problem of global warming (which had to be canceled because of low temperatures): “They were experiencing temperatures that weren’t expected with global warming,” Atwood said. “But one of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability.”

Beisner writes,

Re-read that last paragraph and let its epistemological implications soak in. Now literally everything constitutes evidence for global warming. Something you predicted? It’s evidence for global warming. Something you didn’t predict? It’s evidence for global warming. Something you couldn’t possibly have predicted? It’s evidence for global warming. Can you spell tautology? American Heritage Dictionary gives as its second definition, specialized use in logic: “An empty or vacuous statement composed of simpler statements in a fashion that makes it logically true whether the simpler statements are factually true or false; for example, the statement Either it will rain tomorrow or it will not rain tomorrow.” Likewise tautological: “If what we predict happens, that’s evidence for global warming; if it doesn’t, that’s evidence for global warming.”

That of course is the beauty of the favored phrase “climate change,” because that term doesn’t necessarily imply warming or cooling. It could be either. And perhaps in some places neither, since we are so consistently reminded that these changes are really regional phenomena.

As so many of our scientifically-minded friends have been more than ready to remind us in the context of other debates, this raises the question: If it isn’t verifiable, is it really science?

And the theory of human-induced climate change isn’t science, what is it and what are the implications for the political debate about action to combat climate change? Welker gives us fair warning that the answer to the former question might well be, “A lying spirit.”