Common Sense from Canada


Scientists respond to Gore’s warnings of climate catastrophe and Mr. Gore is unlikely to like what he hears.  The article discusses the difference between actual climate experts and scientists who have complementary specialties but are not themselves climatologists and cites numerous real experts who question the currently popular notion of global warming.

Another good recent article is Chill out over Global Warming which also addresses the matter by speaking with genuine climatologists and presents several compelling vignettes including a reference to the issue of Newsweek from 1975 assuring us of the impending new ice age as a consequence of global cooling.

I’m often amused to note the incredible lack of tolerance from those who profess an undying affinity for diversity and will take advantage of the opportunity to direct you toward two recent books, one fiction and the other of fact.  Michael Crichton has written bestselling works that can truly be labelled science fiction for many years. State of Fear is another such work and in a more perfect world might have been reasonably criticized more for the two dimensional nature of the characters and overtly theatrical staging of the action scenes (it was a truly tedious read).  Instead, he has endured an absurd amount of grief among the chattering class for the sin of leaving the reservation.  His personal observations from the afterword, as best I remember them, are that he suspects that human activities may be responsible in some minor way for some of the observed effects, but that the general trends are the results of forces beyond the ability of man to manipulate.

Apparently Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, is an even greater sinner.  Lomborg counts himself an environmentalist and has long been a member of Greenpeace.  He explores environmental issues from a public policy perspective with an economist’s eye for prioritization and finds the evidence for global warming to be less than compelling.  For this, he has been vilified by global warming ‘advocates’ in ways that would make Al Capone blush.

The careful reader will note that neither of the mentioned books are by climatologists.  This is not entirely by accident as I categorically reject the appeal to expertise as a sole premise for public policy.  It is commonly known that automobiles get their best gas mileage at around 35 mph because of atmospheric and rolling resistance.  Such speeds would also doubtless result in a drastic reduction in fatalities on our roadways.  Both of these goals are laudable in themselves, but when balanced against other legitimate needs of people will usually lead to higher speed limits in most places.

I also reject the appeal to fear.  As a purely theoretical exercise, it makes sense that if there were no humans there would be no environmental impact whatsoever from them, and if there were one hundred billion humans their effects would be numerous and dramatic.  Since we have somewhere between those numbers of persons, it seems likely that the effects are also between none and catastrophic. Human actions in most totalitarian countries (China, USSR, the former Soviet Bloc countries, African and South American dictatorships) have certainly produced catastrophic effects on a local and regional level in my lifetime.  I’ve also seen some shameful things done in this country, so I’m not letting anyone off the hook here.

Further studies seem prudent even if they ultimately prove to be a wasteful expenditure of public money.  As for making dramatic changes now for questionable benefits later, color me unconvinced.


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