In the great, never-cooling debate over the causes and consequences of global warming, it’s always clear whose side Fred Singer is on: not Al Gore’s. Singer, who was born in Vienna in 1924, was a pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology and holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton. Now president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project research group (sepp.org), his latest book (with Dennis Avery) is “Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years.” I talked with Singer on Oct. 27 by phone from his offices in Arlington, Va.:
Q: What did you think upon hearing of Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize? A: First of all, I was really not surprised. The peace prize is a political exercise. Remember that Yasser Arafat got the peace prize for, ha, contributing to lasting peace in the Middle East. It’s very interesting, the peace prize selection committee comes from the Norwegian Parliament, so they’re all politicians. The government is a very left-wing government right now. I spoke about it this morning, in fact, and said that if the government changes -- if the Progress Party, which is an anti-immigration party, gains majority control -- it might give a peace prize to Pat Buchanan. It’s purely political, unlike the other prizes, which are awarded by the Swedish academies and which are based on committees that know something about the subject.
Q: Have you seen Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”?
A: Yes. I saw a slide show at a presentation, which he made in Washington. I saw the movie and I read the book. They’re all the same amount of bunk. They’re all very, very well presented -- very skillfully presented from a technical point of view. But the science is really shoddy.
Q: A lot of people have seen the movie but they don’t really keep up on this global-warming debate, which is very complex and very nasty sometimes about which science is true and which isn’t.
A: It is nasty, but it shouldn’t be complex. The issue is very simple. The only really important issue is, is the warming we are experiencing now natural or is it man-made? That’s really the only issue. Everything else is commentary.
Q: Now the Gore camp will say global warming is man-made and they'll point to all kinds of things to prove that.
A: And they’re all wrong.
Q: Is there anything that they point to where you say, “Yes, that’s true but …?”