About 45 years ago, a handful of climatologists surrendered to new evidence and switched sides. They moved from predicting a coming ice age to warning of the dangers of impending global warming. With the promise of a flood of federal grants, they were joined by a growing chorus of academics. They began chirping the warming alarms like a house full of defective smoke detectors. Today that theory has become so mainstream in academia that anyone who even questions it will be banished from the campus.
Without much empirical evidence, they assigned the blame for their predictions of the coming atmospheric calamity. It was CO2. More to the point, it was human activity in general and American’s insatiable demand for fossil fuel energy in particular. Never mind the fact that carbon dioxide makes up a tiny fraction of our atmosphere. They had their computer models, hockey stick charts and of course, a consensus. Most experts are willing to concede that carbon dioxide levels have been increasing. Many even agree that human activity contributes to this. Historic data concerning the correlation between global temperatures and CO2 levels is less conclusive.
Missing from a serious discussion of these matters is the role that plants play in mitigating any CO2 increase. It is well understood that plants consume carbon dioxide and express oxygen. As carbon levels in the atmosphere increase, so will plant growth. Everyone who grows things in hot houses knows this.
After a decade of data which did not support the warming theory or their hockey stick predictions, the alarmists again pivoted. Alarmists dismissed this as a pause. They conveniently replaced “global warming” with “climate change”. If there wasn’t evidence to support their hockey stick chart, there was daily evidence of change. The same people who tell us not to confuse climate with weather are the first to rush to the microphones whenever there is a wild fire, flood or hurricane on the horizon. All as if discerning people wouldn’t notice. Some of us noticed. Americans became more skeptical. So did a small group of scientists who were brave enough to start asking serious questions and reviewing the data.
Not that long ago, that was what most scientists did.
One such skeptic is Tony Heller. He is not a climate scientist. (Neither is Al Gore or Bill Nye, the Science Guy.) Heller is a computer scientist who enjoys digging into data. He has a website, realclimatescience.com. His YouTube video My Gift to Climate Alarmists is well worth the watch. In it, he demonstrates just how charts are manipulated by the climate alarmists. By selectively setting the beginning or ending date of a particular graph or chart, it can be made to fit their narrative. It is deliciously deceptive.
One such example is a chart that demonstrates rising sea levels. Since the end of the last ice age, sea levels have risen by 400 feet. Somehow life on earth adapted. Alarmists claim that the rate of this rise has increased in recent years due to climate change. But, Heller points out that if you simply extend the chart back to the time of Abraham Lincoln, you will see that sea levels, as measured at Battery Park on lower Manhattan, have increased at a fairly steady 2.84 millimeters annually. He also shows how sea ice charts are being manipulated. Heller has even developed a software program so that you can debug the alarmist’s charts at home.
Dr. Patrick Moore was a co-founder of Greenpeace and remains a self-described environmentalist. He too has become a healthy skeptic of the climate alarmists. In his book Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout, he uses some of the same charts as Heller. Dr. Moore puts the climate hysteria into some perspective. As the Left is wont to do, he has been personally maligned by the alarmists. They seldom challenge his facts. The facts, like the skeptics, are not their friends.
The real question is where are the real scientists? The ones who claim to believe in the scientific method where theories were meant to be challenged. The ones who believed that science by consensus was an oxymoron.
Peer pressure may be powerful. But never forget, so are facts.
Gil Gutknecht is not a scientist, but he did serve twelve years on the Science Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.