Lawrence Solomon: The lost debate

(May 4, 2012) Readers resist the triumph of cosmic rays over CO2.

Last fall, after public opinion polls showed most of the Western world’s citizens had turned against global-warming alarmism, after governments started to slash their subsidies for renewable energy, and after whining from the alarmists showed that they, too, knew the game was over, I concluded that Al Gore et al. had decisively lost the global-warming debate. Global temperatures had stopped climbing, hurricanes hadn’t materialized in abnormal numbers, the Arctic ice had largely recovered while the Antarctic ice had steadily grown, polar bear populations were on the increase, and on and on — in effect, every major global-warming scare had been debunked. As important, the alarmists could no longer rhetorically ask, “If humans aren’t changing the climate through CO2, what is?”

There was now an impressive answer: cloud cover, caused by the interaction of cosmic rays and the Sun. To the distress of the alarmists, new research at the Danish Space Research Institute and Geneva-based CERN were affirming this cosmic ray-Sun theory, and other prestigious scientific bodies were giving it credence. Last week, in one of the few columns I’ve written in the last six months on the now-passé issue of global warming, I described the Royal Astronomical Society’s publication of an important new work that continues the ascendancy of this theory.

While most members of the general public by now realize that global-warming was overhyped, two groups lag behind: the large number who don’t follow the issue closely and the small number of true believers who do, but selectively and with outrage. For a sampling of the views of this latter group, see some of their letters here. They are among the many that responded to my last column about the press’s failure to cover dissenting global-warming views, such as the recent recantation of James Lovelock, the world’s best-known environmentalist. The peculiar object of some letter-writers’ outrage: my one-sentence comment on “ice in both the Arctic and the Antarctic — both are now at or above average levels.”

One of the letter writers cites the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., to rebut me on the Arctic. Ironically, NSIDC was my source. On April 25, the date I was referring to, NSDIC shows that the Arctic ice had expanded enough from its lows of 2007 to meet the average level that existed over the last three decades. Another source, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, shows the Arctic ice to have exceeded the three-decade average. The satellite graphic that you see shows the Arctic as a whole that same day — not much water up there for those polar bears to splash around in.

In fact, those polar bears’ ancestors had much more water to play in a little over a half century ago, when the Saint Roch, a boat owned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, crossed the Northwest Passage. And a full century ago, when Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen also did so. Yet in the face of this incontrovertible evidence that today’s Arctic has been experiencing no unprecedented melting, the true-believing alarmists cling to their faith in the culpability of man, searching for data, any data, that might bolster their beliefs.

What of the alarmists’ disbelief in the extensive evidence that shows global temperatures to have stopped climbing, when NASA shows global temperatures continuing to rise? NASA seems like a credible source, until you realize that the scientist who controls the data also massages it — he is none other than uber-climate alarmist James Hansen, Al Gore’s sidekick and the object of a recent unprecedented protest by 50 former NASA astronauts and scientists who asserted that Hansen’s Goddard division at NASA was ruining the organization’s reputation: “With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from Goddard Institute for Space Studies leadership, it is clear that the science is not settled,” the 50 astronauts and scientists wrote.

The big picture: There is not a scrap of compelling evidence that points to man-made global warming representing a danger for society. The only scary “evidence” that exists, in fact, is based on computer models, none of which have been proven to work and all of which reflect the biases of the people loading in the data.

To see the Royal Astronomical Society’s publication on the role of cosmic rays in controlling climate on Earth, click here.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe.

This article first appeared in the Financial Post.

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About Lawrence Solomon

Lawrence Solomon is one of Canada's leading environmentalists. His book, The Conserver Solution (Doubleday) popularized the Conserver Society concept in the late 1970s and became the manual for those interested in incorporating environmental factors into economic life. An advisor to President Jimmy Carter's Task Force on the Global Environment (the Global 2000 Report) in the late 1970's, he has since been at the forefront of movements to reform foreign aid, stop nuclear power expansion and adopt toll roads. Mr. Solomon is a founder and managing director of Energy Probe Research Foundation and the executive director of its Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute divisions. He has been a columnist for The Globe and Mail, a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the editor and publisher of the award-winning The Next City magazine, and the author or co-author of seven books, most recently The Deniers, a #1 environmental best-seller in both Canada and the U.S. .
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One Response to Lawrence Solomon: The lost debate

  1. Koos Conradie, Johannesburg, South Africa says:

    “The only scary “evidence” that exists, in fact, is based on computer models, none of which have been proven to work and all of which reflect the biases of the people loading in the data.”

    The models also reflect the biases and limitations of the mathematical assumptions and formulas on which they are based and effectively are “self-full-filling” prophesy generators!

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