In the early days of the Global Warming debate, now called climate change, writer Ron Bailey in an article observed, freeze or fry, wet or dry the problem is always the same—human consumption of fossil energy—and the solution is also the same—more government control over energy use and personal freedom. The recent “arctic vortex” has led a number of climate ideologues to blame it on global warming.
President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, is leading that charge. He recently made the following comments. “If you’ve been hearing that extreme cold spells like the one that we’re having in the United States now disprove global warming, don’t believe it.” …(N)o single weather episode can either prove or disprove climate change. However a “growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.” This is the same person who 40 years ago was a leading voice that the world was running out of resources—the Limits to Growth crowd—and that there would be mass starvation as a result. Of course, just the opposite has happened. Holdren and ideologues like him have been on the wrong side of major environmental issues for decades because of ideology and intellectual arrogance. They would do well to read Frederich Hayek’s scholarly article, The Use of Knowledge in Society.
The IPCC—Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—released its 5th Assessment Report in November and in its Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) continued to make claims that are not supported by the report itself or empirical data. According to Professor Judith Curry of Georgia Tech, the SPM states, “It is extremely likely (>95% confidence) that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” She goes on the point out that this conclusion is at odds with information contained in the underlying Work Group report. That report WG-1 acknowledges that there has been a lack of warming since 1998 and that there are increasing discrepancies between climate model projections and actual temperatures. More important, WG-1 finally acknowledges that climate sensitivity—the key to model projections—is less than previously assumed.
The longer we go without significant warming or scientific support for claims about sea level rise or extreme weather, the less relevant subscribers to the climate orthodoxy will be. Like the long forgotten and now irrelevant members of the Club of Rome and Limits to Growth crowd, they will become footnotes in the history of pseudo science. The real damage will not be the waste of billions of dollars, which could have been spent to gain knowledge about the climate system, it could be the loss of faith in the scientific enterprise. If that happens innovation and technology, the keys to progress, will be damaged and diminished. Actions have consequences and the consequences of orthodoxy masked as science are not healthy.
This article appeared on the FuelFix weblog at http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/01/15/climate-change-the-crumbling-foundation/