Weekly Standard gør status over klimadebatten

Diverse — Drokles on March 12, 2010 at 6:42 am

Steven Hayward skriver i Weekly Standard

The Himalayan retraction has touched off a cascade of further retractions and corrections, though the IPCC and other organs of climate alarmism are issuing their corrections sotto voce, hoping the media won’t take notice. The IPCC’s assessment that 40 percent of the Amazonian rain forest was at risk of destruction from climate change was also revealed to be without scientific foundation; the WWF was again the source. The Daily Telegraph identified 20 more claims of ruin in the IPCC’s 2007 report that are based on reports from advocacy groups such as Greenpeace rather than peer-reviewed research, including claims that African agricultural production would be cut in half, estimates of coral reef degradation, and the scale of glacier melt in the Alps and the Andes. Numerous other claims were sourced to unpublished student papers and dissertations, or to misstated or distorted research. 

Peer reviewers in the formal IPCC process had flagged many of these errors and distortions during the writing of the 2007 report but were ignored. For example, the IPCC claimed that the world is experiencing rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather related events brought on by climate change. But the underlying paper, when finally published in 2008, expressly contradicted this, saying, “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses.” Perhaps the most embarrassing walkback was the claim that 55 percent of the Netherlands was below sea level, and therefore gravely threatened by rising sea levels. The correct number is 26 percent, which Dutch scientists say they tried to tell the IPCC before the 2007 report was published, to no avail. And in any case, a paper published last year in Nature Geoscience predicting a 21st-century sea level rise of up to 32 inches has been withdrawn, with the authors acknowledging mistaken methodology and admitting “we can no longer draw firm conclusions regarding 21st century sea level rise from this study without further work.” The IPCC ignored several published studies casting doubt on its sea level rise estimates.

The IPCC isn’t the only important node of the climate campaign having its reputation run through the shredder. The 2006 Stern Review, a British report on the economics of climate change named for its lead author, Lord Nicholas Stern, was revealed to have quietly watered down some of its headline-grabbing claims in its final published report because, as the Telegraph put it, “the scientific evidence on which they were based could not be verified.” Like rats deserting a sinking ship, scientists and economists cited in the Stern Review have disavowed the misuse of their work. Two weeks ago the World Meteorological Association pulled the rug out from under one of Gore’s favorite talking points—that climate change will mean more tropical storms. A new study by the top scientists in the field concluded that although warmer oceans might make for stronger tropical storms in the future, there has been no climate-related trend in tropical storm activity over recent decades and, further, there will likely be significantly fewer tropical storms in a warmer world. “We have come to substantially different conclusions from the IPCC,” said lead author Chris Landsea, a scientist at the National Hurricane Center in Florida. (Landsea, who does not consider himself a climate skeptic, resigned from the IPCC in 2005 on account of its increasingly blatant politicization.)

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The rout has opened up serious divisions within the formerly closed ranks of the climate campaign. Before Climategate, expressing skepticism about catastrophic global warming typically got the hefty IPCC report thrown in your face along with the mantra that “2,500 of the world’s top scientists all agree” about climate change. Now the IPCC is being disavowed like a Mission Impossible team with its cover blown. Senate Environment and Public Works chairman Barbara Boxer insisted on February 23 that she relied solely on U.S. scientific research and not the IPCC to support the EPA’s greenhouse gas “endangerment finding.” In her opening statement at a hearing, Boxer said, “I didn’t quote one international scientist or IPCC report. .??.??. We are quoting the American scientific community here.” The U.N. has announced that it will launch an “independent review” of the IPCC, though like the British investigation of the CRU, the U.N. review will probably be staffed by “settled science” camp followers who will obligingly produce a whitewash. But Pachauri’s days as IPCC chairman are likely numbered; there are mounting calls from within the IPCC for Pachauri to resign, amid charges of potential conflicts of interest (like Gore, Pachauri is closely involved with commercial energy schemes that benefit from greenhouse gas regulation) but also in part because Pachauri chose this delicate moment to publish a soft-core pornographic novel. (The main character is an aging environmentalist and engineer engaged in a “spiritual journey” that includes meeting Shirley MacLaine, detailed explorations of the Kama Sutra, and group sex.)

Hayward bemærker syrligt at “The climate campaign is a movement unable to hide its decline.”

The climate campaign camp followers are exhausting their invective against skeptics. Harvard’s Jeffrey Sachs wrote in the Guardian that climate skeptics are akin to tobacco scientists—some of the same people, in fact, though he gave no names and offered no facts to establish such a claim. In the Los Angeles Times Bill McKibben compared climate skeptics to O.J. Simpson’s “dream team” of defense attorneys able to twist incontrovertible scientific evidence. Not to be outdone, Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) compared climate skeptics to appeasers of Hitler in the 1930s, a comparison, to be sure, that Al Gore has been making since the early 1990s, but Sanders delivered it with his patented popping-neck-veins style that makes you worry for his health. 

For til slut at bryde processen ned i en række stadier

The unraveling of the climate campaign was entirely predictable, though not the dramatic swiftness with which it arrived. The long trajectory of the climate change controversy conforms exactly to the “issue-attention cycle” that political scientist Anthony Downs explained in the Public Interest almost 40 years ago. Downs laid out a five-stage cycle through which political issues of all kinds typically pass. A group of experts and interest groups begin promoting a problem or crisis, which is soon followed by the alarmed discovery of the problem by the news media and broader political class. This second stage typically includes a large amount of euphoric enthusiasm—you might call this the dopamine stage—as activists conceive the issue in terms of global salvation and redemption. One of the largest debilities of the climate campaign from the beginning was their having conceived the issue not as a practical problem, like traditional air pollution, but as an expression, in Gore’s view, of deeper spiritual and even metaphysical problems arising from our “dysfunctional civilization.” Gore is still thinking about the issue in these terms, grasping for another dopamine rush. In his February 28 New York Times article, he claimed that an international climate treaty would be “an instrument of human redemption.”

The third stage is the hinge. As Downs explains, there comes “a gradually spreading realization that the cost of ‘solving’ the problem is very high indeed.” This is where we have been since the Kyoto process proposed completely implausible near-term reductions in fossil fuel energy—a fanatical monomania the climate campaign has been unable to shake. In retrospect it is now possible to grasp the irony that President George W. Bush’s open refusal to embrace the Kyoto framework kept the climate campaign alive by providing an all-purpose excuse for the lack of “progress” toward a binding treaty. With Bush gone, the intrinsic weakness of the carbon-cutting charade is impossible to hide, though Gore and the climate campaigners are now trying to blame the U.S. Senate for the lack of international agreement.

“The previous stage,” Downs continued, “becomes almost imperceptibly transformed into the fourth stage: a gradual decline in the intensity of public interest in the problem.” Despite the relentless media drumbeat, Gore’s Academy Award and Nobel Prize twofer, and millions of dollars in paid advertising, public concern for climate change has been steadily waning for several years. In the latest Pew survey of public priorities released in January, climate change came in dead last, ranked 21st out of 21 issues of concern, with just 28 percent saying the issue should be a top priority for Congress and President Obama. That’s down 10 points over the last three years. 

(…)

“In the final [post-problem] stage,” Downs concluded, “an issue that has been replaced at the center of public concern moves into a prolonged limbo—a twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest.” The death rattle of the climate campaign will be deafening. It has too much political momentum and fanatical devotion to go quietly. The climate campaigners have been fond of warning of catastrophic “tipping points” for years. Well, a tipping point has indeed arrived?—just not the one the climate campaigners expected. 

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