Friday, February 16, 2007

Consensus and Censorship:
Global Warming Inquisition

More thoughts following my previous, ultra-linky post today.

This adds to the confusion:

Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions
COLUMBUS , Ohio – A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

I was a teenager in the 70's. I remember the threat of global cooling. We were all gonna starve and then freeze. Now, we're gonna have to get hurricane shutters and sizzle. Maybe tomorrow we'll find out we're going to have longer springs and shorter falls. ::::shrug::::::

What does worry me is when political agendas and personal agendas merge and overcome science. I really hope we find a way to get all the grudges and phobias out of the way and really look and study and find out what the hell is happening. If Kyoto proponents can't keep to Kyoto, and so many nations are just plain LYING about their emissions, maybe we need to find some other way before we start inflicting punitive measures, period.

And we need to stop shutting people up. A censorship tide is rising:

Despite all the historical shifting from one position to another, many in the media no longer welcome opposing views on the climate. CBS reporter Scott Pelley went so far as to compare climate change skeptics with Holocaust deniers.

Now, that's scary.

And it's not just reporters shutting down dissent. The "consensus" aims to shut it down, too. Here, from a climatologist:

Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.

No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.

I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.

This is not a debate that should be shut down by P/C reporters or environmentalists or politicos or scientists with an agenda, either way.

Beware consensus in this one, folks. Stay a bit skeptical. Just enough to keep the dialogue going. For all our sakes.

And let us end on a somewhat lighter note courtesy of Mark Steyn:

And, if you really don't like the global weather, wait half-a-millennium. A thousand years ago, the Arctic was warmer than it is now. Circa 982, Erik the Red and a bunch of other Vikings landed in Greenland and thought, "Wow! This land really is green! Who knew?" So they started farming it, and were living it up for a couple of centuries. Then the Little Ice Age showed up, and they all died. A terrible warning to us all about "unsustainable development": If a few hundred Vikings doing a little light hunter-gathering can totally unbalance the environment, imagine the havoc John Edwards' new house must be wreaking.

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