Global warming follies

Posted by on Feb 18, 2007 in conservative, extremism, global warming | 2 comments

Personally, I have to wonder whether Curt at Flopping Aces (and all those who think like him) are intentionally getting it wrong, simply refuse to engage the facts of the science, or just don’t get it. Because they continually get it wrong. Something is surely amiss. It’s become so ideological they are blinded.

Curt’s latest is more of the same: avoid the real science, toss in partisan “science” with a few examples of scientists who depart from the pack. (As if dissenting opinions in science are difficult to come by in the first place.)

For starters Curt focuses on an appearance by Christopher Horner on Fox News by laying out Horner’s credentials, such as they are:

Who is Christopher Horner? He wrote the book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism” and is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

I suppose to Kurt such impeccably conservative creds must be the ticket, but call me cynical. Yes, Horner is indeed a Senior Fellow at CEI. He’s paid around 100k to further the agenda of the CEI funders who are decidedly pro-oil, pro-business and anti-environmental and anti-global warming. Who pays Horner’s salary speaks volumes:

* Aequus Institute
* Amoco Foundation, Inc.
* E.L. Craig Foundation
* CSX Corporation
* Fieldstead and Co.
* FMC Foundation
* Ford Motor Company Fund
* Precision Valve Corporation
* Prince Foundation
* Sheldon Rose
* Texaco, Inc.
* Texaco Foundation
* Alex C. Walker Foundation

Oil and oil dependent interests and a nice dash of theocrats for good measure. Not a non-partisan group to be sure. What do they have to gain by attacking global warming science? Money. Lots of it. So, Curt’s citing of a CEI Fellow as a source is dubious by definition.

Given the list above, how could anyone ever think that such an organisation would actually support the global warming science one iota, given that they so ardently believe it threatens their profits? Would you? Doubtful. But, Curt apparently sees no problem with this at all. And, the icing on the cake: CEI has been accused in the past of deliberately misrepresenting scientific information. Classic. It gets even better.

Curt then quotes from Horner’s appearance on Fox, where Horner states, referring to global warming proponents apparently:

Obviously, they’re the ones overreacting because it’s very simple. We admit climate change, and that’s what they deny. Climate changes – it always has, it always will. The Vikings used to farm Greenland, and if we get two degrees Celsius warmer they may again

The truth is it’s an essential premise of the global warming science that the climate changes through time. It’s actually stated outright in An Inconvenient Truth a number of times (as anyone who’s seen it knows), and as this interview with two scientists from the National Ice and Snow Data Center shows.

Horner’s statement is a misrepresentation. The issue isn’t whether the climate is changing, it’s how much it’s changing, how fast the climate is changing in the recent short term compared to the long term geologically, and finally why it’s changing and the effect it is having upon the Earth. (And, perhaps someone should tell Horner that there are no more Vikings to farm Greenland if it does turn green again… Just sayin’.)

Then, it gets really good. Curt continues with quoting from Horner’s appearance on Fox:

Brian: The glaciers are melting. You saw Al Gore just talk about that.

Horner: Yes, glaciers are melting all over the world. Glaciers are growing all over the world. The problem is…and also glaciers are receding by growing which is in Al Gore’s movie. When they grow too far – grow is the key word — they break off. That’s not melting he shows, that’s called calving. But what happens is they say melting glaciers is proof of global warming. By that logic, for lack of a better word, receding glaciers is proof of global cooling. They can’t both be true and in fact neither are.

There are a number of falsehoods in this statement, none of which Curt picks up on at all. But the most important is the first one:

Glaciers are growing all over the world. The reality is that recent satellite and geological surveys show a massive retreat of glaciers worldwide, and a much smaller amount of growing glaciers. (in blue)

Who puts forth this “theory” that a larger number of glaciers are retreating? The Environazis at the US Geological Survey and NASA’s Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project. Stated Jeffrey Kargel who is the Project Leader at the USGS located in Flagstaff, Arizona:

“Glaciers in most areas of the world are known to be receding […] But glaciers in the Himalaya are wasting at alarming and accelerating rates, as indicated by comparisons of satellite and historic data, and as shown by the widespread, rapid growth of lakes on the glacier surfaces.

And, if one is to go over and check out the Glacier Studies Project at the USGS, low and behold, it states pretty clearly in the very first sentence of the Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World (PDF):

Most mountain glaciers worldwide have been retreating since the late1800s, and global sea level has risen about 15 centimeters since then.

Okay, so that’s just one group of scientists. Granted, the USGS is pretty much the gold standard in these type of matters, but so what, right? There’s always someone who will disagree.

Because they can.

Andrew Olmsted has an interesting angle on all of this which merits a read.

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