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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are the “Climate Change” Emails a Tempest in a Teapot?

For “climate change” skeptics like me, the recently revealed emails from scientists who aggressively have promoted the current political doctrine are very telling. Not surprisingly, those at the center of this controversy are claiming that the words we have read mean nothing, and that governments must continue their environmental policies – or else.

A gaggle of scientists, journalists, academics, and politicians have been telling us for years that unless governments can push through policies that will end modern life as we know it, then “global warming” will, uh, end modern life as we know it. Another way to put it is that unless the governments of the earth agree with one another to commit suicide, we are going to die.

Perhaps, the best analogy for this entire affair is the Wizard of Oz’s telling Dorothy and her friends to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” When scientists explain in private emails how they try to make sure that only their views are published in academic journals, but now tell us they really are just trying to keep “bad science” out of the discourse, then one only can conclude that this is an update of the famous movie scene.

As one who has published a number of academic papers, I can recognize a rigged system, and what Americans have had foisted on them for the last decade is fraudulent. However, we need to understand how the game is played and how the outcomes are fixed.

In 1998 three researchers published a paper that claimed that for thousands of years global temperatures had held steady, but in the last century, as people allegedly released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, world temperatures suddenly shot upward, creating the infamous “hockey stick” effect. For environmentalists and politicians like Al Gore, this was a godsend. We had “proof” that human beings were causing “global warming,” and unless something was done now, we were going to burn up the earth.

A decade earlier, NASA scientist James Hansen had testified before Al Gore’s Senate committee that not only had “global warming” arrived and that it was human-caused, but the drought that hit much of the U.S. farm belt that summer was a direct result of that warming. (That the next summer was relatively cool and wet also was attributed, perversely, to warming. In fact, the True Believers have attributed every cold day and every snowstorm to the same thing: global warming.)

The “hockey stick” was all that was needed to move the process from creating mass hysteria to “doing something,” which has meant draconian environmental policies that already are creating perverse economic effects. Not surprisingly, Gore made the “hockey stick” the centerpiece of his An Inconvenient Truth documentary, which won him both an Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, the “hockey stick” itself had huge problems. The first was that other scientists could not replicate the results using the same data. When one publishes a paper with statistical analysis, one is supposed to make the data available so that others can try to find the same results, which is a powerful tool in keeping researchers honest.

It turned out that the mathematical algorithm used to transform the data was created in a way that no matter what one put into the equation, one received the same results. This is fraud, pure and simple, but because the “hockey stick” resonated with environmentalists and their political allies, it became the centerpiece for anyone who wanted to claim that modern economies are killing the planet.

Furthermore, governments have rigged the game by funding most “climate science.” How likely are they to finance studies that don’t justify the political class’s ambition to control the lives of others?

Hansen suggests that the executives of energy companies be tried for crimes against humanity and nature because they have given the public “misinformation” about global warming. And Gore has called for them to be charged with securities fraud for denying its severity.

Their “science” may be a joke, but these people are dead serious about imposing their will.

  • Dr. William Anderson is Professor of Economics at Frostburg State University. He holds a Ph.D in Economics from Auburn University. He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.