What if we applied corporate standards to the “science” that is driving global warming policy?
Imagine the reaction if investment companies provided only rosy stock and economic data to prospective investors; manufacturers withheld chemical spill statistics from government regulators; or medical device and pharmaceutical companies doctored data on patients injured by their products.
Media frenzies, congressional hearings, regulatory investigations, fines and jail sentences would come faster than you can say Henry Waxman. If those same standards were applied to global warming alarmists, many of them would be fined, dismissed and imprisoned, sanity might prevail, and the House-Senate cap-and-tax freight train would come to a screeching halt.
Fortunately for alarmists, corporate standards do not apply – even though sloppiness, ineptitude, cherry-picking, exaggeration, deception, falsification, concealed or lost data, flawed studies and virtual fraud have become systemic and epidemic. Instead of being investigated and incarcerated, the perpetrators are revered and rewarded, receiving billions in research grants, mandates, subsidies and other profit-making opportunities.
On this bogus foundation Congress, EPA and the White House propose to legislate and regulate our nation’s energy and economic future. Understanding the scams is essential. Here are just a few of them.
Michael Mann’s hockey-stick-shaped historical temperature chart supposedly proved that twentieth century warming was “unprecedented” in the last 2000 years. After it became the centerpiece of the UN climate group’s 2001 Third Assessment Report, Canadian analysts Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre asked Mann to divulge his data and statistical algorithms. Mann refused. Ultimately, Mc-Mc, the National Science Foundation and investigators led by renowned statistician Edward Wegman found that the hockey stick was based on cherry-picked tree-ring data and a computer program that generated temperature spikes even when random numbers were fed into it. (1)
This year, another “unprecedented” warming study went down in flames. Lead scientist Keith Briffa managed to keep his tree-ring data secret for a decade, during which the study became a poster child for climate alarmism. Finally, McKitrick and McIntyre gained access to the data. Amazingly, there were 252 cores in the Yamal group, plus cores from other Siberian locations. Together, they showed no anomalous warming trend due to rising carbon dioxide levels. But Briffa selected just twelve cores, to “prove” a dramatic recent temperature spike, and chose three cores that “demonstrated” there had never been a Medieval Warm Period. It was a case study in how to lie with statistics. (2)
Meanwhile, scientists associated with Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) also withheld temperature data and methods, while publishing papers that lent support to climate chaos claims, hydrocarbon taxes and restrictions, and renewable energy mandates. In response to one request, lead scientist Phil Jones replied testily: “Why should I make the data available, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” Of course, that’s what the scientific method is all about – subjecting data, methods and analyses to rigorous testing, to confirm or refute theories and conclusions. When pressure to release the original data became too intense to ignore, the CRU finally claimed it had “lost” (destroyed?) all the original data. (3)
The supposedly “final” text of the IPCC’s 1995 Second Assessment Report emphasized that no studies had found clear evidence that observed climate changes could be attributed to greenhouse gases or other manmade causes. However, without the authors’ and reviewers’ knowledge or approval, lead author Dr. Ben Santer and alarmist colleagues revised the text and inserted the infamous assertion that there is “a discernable human influence” on Earth’s climate. (4)
Highly accurate satellite measurements show no significant global warming, whereas ground-based temperature stations show warming since 1978. However, half of the surface monitoring stations are located close to concrete and asphalt parking lots, window or industrial-size air conditioning exhausts, highways, airport tarmac and even jetliner engines – all of which skew the data upward. The White House, EPA, IPCC and Congress use the deceptive data anyway, to promote their agenda. (5)
With virtually no actual evidence to link CO2 and global warming, the climate chaos community has to rely increasingly on computer models. However, the models do a poor job of portraying an incredibly complex global climate system that scientists are only beginning to understand; assume carbon dioxide is a principle driving force; inadequately handle cloud, solar, precipitation, ocean currents and other critical factors; and incorporate assumptions and data that many experts say are inadequate or falsified. The models crank out (worst-case) climate change scenarios that often conflict with one another. Not one correctly forecast the planetary cooling that began earlier this century, as CO2 levels continued to climb.
Al Gore’s climate cataclysm movie is replete with assertions that are misleading, dishonest or what a British court chastised as “partisan” propaganda about melting ice caps, rising sea levels, hurricanes, malaria, “endangered” polar bears and other issues. But the film garnered him Oscar and Nobel awards, speaking and expert witness appearances, millions of dollars, and star status with UN and congressional interests that want to tax and penalize energy use and economic growth. Perhaps worse, a recent Society of Environmental Journalists meeting made it clear that those supposed professionals are solidly behind Mr. Gore and his apocalyptic beliefs, and will defend him against skeptics. (6)
These and other scandals have slipped past the peer review process that is supposed to prevent them and ensure sound science for a simple reason. Global warming disaster papers are written and reviewed by closely knit groups of scientists, who mutually support one another’s work. The same names appear in different orders on a series of “independent” reports, all of which depend on the same original data, as in the Yamal case. Scientific journals refuse to demand the researchers’ data and methodologies. And as in the case of Briffa, the IPCC and journals typically ignore and refuse to publish contrary studies.
Scandals like these prompted EPA career analyst Alan Carlin to prepare a detailed report, arguing that the agency should not find that CO2 “endangers” human health and welfare, because climate disaster predictions were not based on sound science. EPA suppressed his report and told Carlin not to talk to anyone outside his immediate office, on the ground that his “comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” which the agency supposedly would not make for several more weeks. (7)
The endless litany of scandals underscores the inconvenient truth about global warming hysteria. The White House, Congress and United Nations are imperiling our future on the basis of deceptive science, phony “evidence” and worthless computer models. The climate protection racket will enrich Al Gore, alarmist scientists who get the next $89 billion in US government research money, financial institutions that process trillion$$ in carbon trades, and certain companies, like those that recently left the US Chamber of Commerce. For everyone else, it will mean massive pain for no environmental gain. (8)
Still not angry and disgusted? Read Chris Horner’s Red Hot Lies, Lawrence Solomon’s Financial Post articles, Steve Milloy’s Green Hell, and Benny Peiser’s CCNet daily climate policy review. Go to a premier showing of Not Evil Just Wrong. (9)
Then get on your telephone or computer, and tell your legislators and local media this nonsense has got to stop. It may be that none dare call it fraud – but it comes perilously close.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of many articles on energy and the environment. He has degrees in sciences and environmental law.