The Heretics: A Legacy of Independence

A tribute to the skeptics standing athwart Al-Gore’s carbon-free utopia, yelling stop.

It’s time to wrap up The Heretics series. We haven’t come close to covering all of the scientists and researchers who question the tenets of global warming alarmism, but the small sampling of prominent skeptics featured on these pages should be enough to make it obvious that significant, sincere and scientifically valid arguments exist that refute the Gorethodoxy of so-called “climate change.”

In addition to the heretics we have featured, there are legions of others. Atmospheric physicists Fred Singer at the University of Virginia, Richard Lindzen at MIT and legendary meteorologist John Coleman, just to name a few, have been out on the front lines, waging a battle for scientific integrity, for years. The Heartland Institute, a cornucopia of information about global warming, has published the names of hundreds of skeptical scientists. More than thirty thousand scientists, including this one, have lent their names to the Global Warming Petition Project, declaring that they agree with the following statement:

“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

The myth of scientific consensus on global warming, once so prevalent, has been discredited to the point that only die-hard liberal policy makers still cling to it. About fifty percent of Americans now believes that natural planetary trends are responsible for climate change and public support for greenhouse gas regulation continues to dwindle. The alarmists are scrambling to repackage their message in hopes of rekindling the global warming fire, but they face daunting challenges. One can only cry wolf so many times before people start to tune you out.

When Al Gore’s disciples attempt to discredit skeptics, aka “denialists” in their world, they usually stick to a couple of themes. The first is to label the individual in question as a corporate stooge, usually with alleged ties to Exxon-Mobil, who has sold out science in exchange for a fat paycheck. The second is to declare that the skeptic is a crackpot who doesn’t really understand the science involved and is simply making wild, unverifiable assertions with no basis in reality. Neither claim can survive close scrutiny.

The supposed connection between Exxon-Mobil and skeptics, so near and dear to the hearts of alarmists like Greenpeace, is simply ludicrous. Consider just one example: According to Greenpeace’s website Exxon Secrets, the Heartland Institute is closely tied to the oil giant. However, Heartland points out that it has never received more than five percent of its funding from Exxon-Mobil and has not received any donations from the company since 2006.

Skeptic Dr. Roy Spencer works for the University of Alabama and has no ties to Exxon-Mobil or any other corporation. Skeptic Dr. Richard Lindzen is a respected professor at MIT, Steve McIntyre is a retired, independent mining engineer and Anthony Watts is a meteorologist. None of them can be tied to big oil, big coal or any other big business except by employing smears and innuendo. The skeptics, including this one, have been motivated by a deep respect for the scientific method, revulsion at the way that method has been perverted by alarmists and the fear that taking action to solve the non-existent problem of global warming will do irreparable harm to the global economy and the world’s inhabitants.

The second allegation, that skeptics don’t know what they are talking about, is equally foolish. Certainly there are those at the fringes of the blogosphere who make unsubstantiated, non-scientific arguments in opposition to global warming dogma. But, it’s equally true that there are plenty of people, including mainstream media figures like Thomas Friedman and Chris Matthews, who make equally unsubstantiated, non-scientific arguments in support of Gore’s agenda. When it comes to hard science, there is a strong body of legitimate research that suggests that while increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can affect the climate, that effect is insignificant when compared to natural forces.

That is and has been the core of what skeptics like Spencer, McIntyre and Steve Milloy have been saying for a long time. Every legitimate scientist will acknowledge that human activity can influence our environment. The real question is: How much? There is a growing body of evidence that seems to show that answer to that question is “not much at all.” We have the heretics to thank for that answer. Without them, the world would be much farther along toward realizing the economic disaster that would follow if we tried to implement Al Gore’s carbon-free utopia in full.