Earth Day turns 40 today, April 22, a good time for scientists, politicians, journalists and the public to dump climate-change orthodoxy. Too many facts are interfering with the familiar story line.
The earth is getting warmer and the cause is modern industry. Unless we curtail industry, and much other human activity, disaster is at hand in the form of catastrophic storms, sea-level rise, and global chaos. This all comes billed as a matter of settled science, and alarmists have been comparing skeptics to Holocaust deniers. But as the recent “Climategate” scandal revealed, the alarmists have problems of their own.
The Climate Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University plays a prominent role in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Phil Jones, head of the CRU, now concedes that his raw data can’t be replicated or verified. That’s a big problem for someone purporting to deal in unalloyed science, which concerns observation and measurement.
As Almanac of Environmental Trends author Steven F. Hayward notes, “the gap between observation and conclusion in this subfield is so dependent on statistical techniques rather than direct measurement.” Mistakes are bound to ensue, and infallibility does not apply in this field.
The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) may have been warm as today, which nixes the charge that modern industry is to blame for global warming. Mr. Jones admits that the medieval warm period may have been as warm as today. He also agrees that for the last 15 years no statistically significant warming has taken place.
Record cold weather continues in some areas, but alarmists chant that “weather is not climate,” like saying rain is not moisture. Al Gore and his followers have been claiming that all types of weather prove global warming. This is not how science works.
Other controversies involve Michael Mann’s “hockey stick graph,” and significant errors in temperature reconstructions by James Hansen of NASA, a leading climate alarmist. Contrary to what such alarmist claim, the science is not settled, and there is more at stake here than argument.
“The climate policy process contemplates trillions of dollars in costs to economies around the world based partially on this incompetent work,” notes Hayward. Politicians, unfortunately, have welcomed climate superstition with fathomless credulity. The fortieth anniversary of Earth Day is a good time to review, and if necessary rescind, legislation and regulation based on climate orthodoxy.
Legislators should base public policy only on the best science. Journalists also have a part to play. They too have greeted apocalyptic claims with credulity.
George Monbiot of the British Guardian conceded last year that “I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely.” The public, likewise, has good cause to be more skeptical of sweeping claims from high-profile alarmists.
Global warming is a hoax inside a fraud wrapped in a myth. Its devious promoters deploy scare tactics to quash economic growth and expand government. The fortieth anniversary of Earth Day is a good time to dump climate dogma and remember some overlooked realities.
Economic growth is consistent with environmental quality. It remains true that the affluent society does not want to be the effluent society. The data also show that, in many ways, the earth is a cleaner place than it was in 1970. That is something to celebrate in 2010.
K. Lloyd Billingsley is the editorial director at the Pacific Research Institute.