Cold Water on "Global Warming"

Thomas Sowell

2/28/2008 12:01:01 AM - Thomas Sowell

It has almost become something of a joke when some "global warming" conference has to be cancelled because of a snowstorm or bitterly cold weather.

But stampedes and hysteria are no joke -- and creating stampedes and hysteria has become a major activity of those hyping a global warming "crisis."

They mobilize like-minded people from a variety of occupations, call them all "scientists" and then claim that "all" the experts agree on a global warming crisis.

Their biggest argument is that there is no argument.

A whole cottage industry has sprung up among people who get grants, government agencies who get appropriations, politicians who get publicity and the perpetually indignant who get something new to be indignant about. It gives teachers something to talk about in school instead of teaching.

Those who bother to check the facts often find that not all those who are called scientists are really scientists and not all of those who are scientists are specialists in climate. But who bothers to check facts these days?

A new and very different conference on global warming will be held in New York City, under the sponsorship of the Heartland Institute, on March 2nd to March 4th -- weather permitting.

It is called an "International Conference on Climate Change." Its subtitle is "Global Warming: Truth or Swindle?" Among those present will be professors of climatology, along with scientists in other fields and people from other professions.

They come from universities in England, Hungary, and Australia, as well as from the United States and Canada, and include among other dignitaries the president of the Czech Republic.

There will be 98 speakers and 400 participants.

The theme of the conference is that "there is no scientific consensus on the causes or likely consequences of global warming."

Many of the participants in this conference are people who have already expressed skepticism about either the prevailing explanations of current climate change or the dire predictions about future climate change.

These include authors of such books as "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years" by Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, and "Shattered Consensus," edited by Patrick J. Michaels.

This will be one of the rare opportunities for the media to hear the other side of the story -- for those old-fashioned journalists who still believe that their job is to inform the public, rather than promote an agenda.

The subtitle of the upcoming conference -- "Global Warming: Truth or Swindle?" -- is also the title of a British television program that is now available on DVD in the United States. It is a devastating debunking of the current "global warming" hysteria.

Nobody denies that there is such a thing as a greenhouse effect. If there were not, the side of the planet facing away from the sun would be freezing every night.

There is not even a lot of controversy over temperature readings. What is fundamentally at issue are the explanations, implications and extrapolations of these temperature readings.

The party line of those who say that we are heading for a global warming crisis of epic proportions is that human activities generating carbon dioxide are key factors responsible for the warming that has taken place in recent times.

The problem with this reasoning is that the temperatures rose first and then the carbon dioxide levels rose. Some scientists say that the warming created the increased carbon dioxide, rather than vice versa.

Many natural factors, including variations in the amount of heat put out by the sun, can cause the earth to heat or cool.

The bigger problem is that this has long since become a crusade rather than an exercise in evidence or logic. Too many people are too committed to risk it all on a roll of the dice, which is what turning to empirical evidence is.

Those who have a big stake in global warming hysteria are unlikely to show up at the conference in New York, and unfortunately that includes much of the media.