By A.K. Gupta
A perusal of arguments put forth by the climate skeptics reveals a sophisticated evolution to dismiss the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that human activity is affecting the climate.
Deny warming is happening. Mother Jones states Sallie Baliunas and fellow physicist Willie Soon published an article in 2003, “partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute,” that came to the conclusion “the 20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climatic period of the last millennium.”
Dr. Fred Singer has claimed the urban heat-island effect is distorting temperature measurements. According to Skeptical Inquirer magazine, scientific studies of the heat-island effect show that its impact on “the mean global surface temperature is almost negligible.”
Admit warming is happening but deny that it is human caused. In 1995, Baliunas told the Wall Street Journal, “No evidence can be found in the temperature measurements to support the theory of catastrophic global warming caused by human activities.”
Richard Lindzen told Fox News last year, “there is no agreement that the warming we’ve seen is due to man.”
Admit warming may be human caused, but extol its alleged benefits. At a 2003 conference at the Exxon-funded Cato Institute, University of Alabama atmospheric science professor John Christy said, “I don’t see danger. I see, in some cases, adaptation, and in others something like restrained glee, at the thought of longer growing seasons, warmer winters and a more fertile atmosphere.”
Admit negative effects far outweigh any positive ones but maintain nothing can be done about it. Bjorn Lomborg, who came to fame in recent years by claiming in the Skeptical Environmentalist that everything was really hunky-dory with the biosphere, told Congress last year that “the best climate models show that immediate action will do little good.” Grudgingly admit that even if something can be done, it is far too costly. Appearing on CNN’s Capital Gang in 2002, Patrick J. Michaels said the Kyoto Treaty “costs a fortune, and it does nothing.
When all else false fails, compare your opponents to Nazis. Author Michael Crichton has been lionized by the right for his novel State of Fear. Mother Jones describes it as “an anti-environmentalist page-turner in which shady ecoterrorists plot catastrophic weather disruptions to stoke unfounded fears about global climate change.” During a January 2005 talk at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, “Crichton drew an analogy between believers in global warming and Nazi eugenicists,” saying “Auschwitz exists because of politicized science.”
The Skeptics’ Club
Dr. Frederick Seitz is “the granddaddy of globalwarming skeptics.” Seitz is a former director and shareholder of a company that operated coal-fired power plants. The past president of the National Academy of Sciences, Seitz headed up a report “designed to look like an NAS journal article saying that carbon dioxide poses no threat to climate,” according to exxonsecrets. org. The Academy disassociated itself from Seitz in 1998.
Dr. Fred Singer, former director of the National Weather Satellite Center, is the “skepticin-chief.” He is affiliated with no fewer than 12 Exxon-funded outfits. His writings can be found in the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Singer serves as president of The Science & Environmental Policy Project, which has received multiple grants from Exxon in the past decade. This didn’t stop Singer from claiming in a letter to the Washington Post that he hadn’t received any oil money since the early 1980s.
Patrick J. Michaels holds a Ph.D. in “ecological climatology.” Michaels signed the infamous 1995 “Leipzig Declaration” that claimed to tally nearly 100 prominent scientists who disputed that humans were causing global warming. Of the 84 actual signatories, 25 were TV weathermen, according to the PR expose website, sourcewatch.org. Michaels has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the German Coal Mining Association, the Western Fuels Association and the Intermountain Rural Electric Association.
Astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas’ specialty is arguing that sunspots, not fossil fuels, are the cause of global warming. She has been involved with three energy-funded institutes, including the Global Climate Coalition, which was the most prominent corporate front group attacking global warming during the 1990s. Founded by a who’s who of U.S. corporations involved in oil, steel, electricity, forestry, chemicals and auto manufacturing, it disbanded in 2002 after numerous corporations withdrew, admitting that global warming was real.
M.I.T. Professor of Meteorology Dr. Richard Lindzen is considered to be one of the highestprofile climate skeptic scientists because he was a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In April he told the BBC that ExxonMobil is “the only principled oil and gas company I know in the U.S.” Lindzen has reportedly received $2,500 a day consulting for oil and coal interests.
For more info on global warming skeptics, see exxonsecrets.org.