Michael Fumento

What state ranks third in unemployment, second in foreclosures, has the nation’s worst credit rating, is running a $19 billion deficit — yet insists on spending billions on a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan that can’t possibly impact global warming?

Yes, it’s California, land of the Governator, who four years ago signed a bill that will shortly begin saying “Hasta la vista, baby!” to perhaps a million jobs. Yet there’s hope the prosperity terminator can be stopped, with Prop 23 to be voted on in November.

Read about how incredibly bad the legislation is and how the state foisted it on an ignorant (not stupid) public in my new article, “California’s Jobs Terminator” at Forbes.com.

The key sentence in the letter is this, “‘Denialist’ is an ad hominem argument, the meaning of which is defined entirely by the user, intended to discredit the accused without evidence.”

The “anti-denialism” campaign is, to use a word I rarely employ, a literal conspiracy–albeit something of an open one in that it’s openly pushed by Chris Mooney. (Inset.) The purpose is two-fold.

1) Brand those with the “wrong” scientific views not just as “kooks” or “nuts” but as literally pathological. This from a recent article in The New Scientist:

Instigators of denialist movements have more serious psychological problems than most of their followers. ‘They display all the features of paranoid personality disorder [according to one quoted “expert”]‘ “including anger, intolerance of criticism, and what psychiatrists call a grandiose sense of their own importance.” The “expert” goes on to say, “Ultimately, their denialism is a mental health problem. That is why these movements all have the same features, especially the underlying conspiracy theory.

2) Lump those whose ideas you wish to defame with people who truly are whacko. Thus there’s no difference between not accepting the party line on global warming and believing vaccines cause autism or HIV doesn’t cause AIDS.

It is truly insidious and we’re going to be hearing a lot more from these people.

“President Obama tried Wednesday to channel public outrage about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill into support for a climate-change bill, seeking to redefine an issue that threatens to tarnish his presidency,” according to the Washington Post.

I’ve written on how absolutely anything, and I do mean anything, can and has been used to show the ill impact of global warming, including:

Brain-eating amoebae, brothels struggle, cannibalism, circumcision in decline, Earth to explode, earth upside down, football team migration, Garden of Eden wilts, invasion of king crabs, Italy robbed of pasta, killer cornflakes, Loch Ness monster dead, mammoth dung melt, opera house to be destroyed, seals mating more, spiders invade Scotland, squid larger, squid tamed, UFO sightings, Vampire moths, violin decline, witchcraft executions.

Now it appears absolutely anything can be used as an excuse to pass climate change legislation. I think we should all help our president by coming up with even more reasons! I’ll start it off and you can send your contributions, which I can then post and subsequently hand deliver to our Chief Executive. The best will probably be those that relate in some way specifically to Obama.

  • The pet dog, Bo, piddled the carpet in the Oval office.
  • “Those idiot birthers just won’t quit!”
  • “30 Rock” last night was a rerun.
  • Obama saw a cloud formation that looked just like global warming.
  • His organic bread turned green overnight. (No, wait! That happened to me!)
  • “Those damned “v1agra” and “V!agra” emails are getting through the spam filter.
  • Michelle had “a headache” last night.
  • To honor veterans of the Seminole Indian War.
  • Obama had the strangest dream in which cute little bunnies became man-eating snails.
  • They’ve released another DVD edition of The Wizard of Oz.

Some global warming skeptics have been using the remarkably cold winter and record snowfalls to attack the idea of global warming. Believers are crying foul. “You’re confusing weather with climate!” they insist.

And they’re right. But they invented the game a long time ago and have been deftly playing it ever since.

Among the complainers is Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, “The Earth is really, really big,” he condescendingly but correctly observes in a nationally syndicated column. “It’s so big that it can be cold here and warm elsewhere – and this is the key concept – at the same time. Even if it were unusually cold throughout the continental U.S., that still represents less than 2% of the Earth’s surface.”

He makes other points, too, but what he somehow misses is that the warmists never hesitate to use any unusual phenomena to assert their case. “Any?” you ask with incredulity. “Any!” I respond with assurance. Check out the list at this Web site. One glance blows you away. It includes everything from “acne” to “yellow fever,” with “short-nosed dogs endangered” in between.

Moreover, time and again the warmists have use terribly cold weather and blizzards to say “global warming is at it again!” and that includes a Bill McKibben column that appeared in the Washington Post just five days before Robinson’s column!

Read about it in my new Forbes Online piece, “Weather Hype, Climate Trype.”

Global warming as religion

by Michael Fumento on February 21, 2010

in Blog

Everything I write that I plan to place in a publication I first run past my best friend Matt, a truly gifted editor. One of his special “talents” in my case, though, is that he has no great expertise in science or health or really any of the topics I write about. Therefore things I often assume the reader will understand he’s able to help me reframe wording and arguments to make them more comprehensible.

What Matt does well is religion. He’s very much a C.S. Lewis fan, but has an extremely broad background in theological writings. He’s more into the moderns than the classics.

As it happens, of all the science and health issues I do write about, which is a lot, the one that’s truly caught Matt’s imagination is global warming. Mind you, sometimes I catch onto things instantly that other people never grasp. It’s part of my forte. But other times I can be a bit slow to grasp what others might more quickly. So I had to ponder Matt’s fascination with global warming whereas you, gentle reader, might have latched onto it pretty quickly.

The answer, of course, is that global warming is a religion.

Mind, I’m not saying it doesn’t have scientific aspects.

The earth has measurably warmed since the mid-1800s. And there is validity to the greenhouse effect theory. We just don’t know why the earth has warmed, save that it also warmed during medieval times without any need for man-made greenhouse gases.

As to the greenhouse effect theory, as I understand it it suffers in two major ways. First, there are all sorts of natural phenomenon that serve to counteract the effect of GHGs reflecting heat back into outer space. Second, we don’t know what concentrations are required to do this reflecting. It could be vastly higher levels than we’re at or in fact will ever reach, because every ton of GHG released into the atmosphere has slightly less of an effect than the ton before.

But many religions have a lot of truth at the core, even as others were made up by a single person out of whole cloth.

The idea of global warming as religion is hardly new, insofar as a Google search on the term brings up seven million references. It appears to have been popularized by the late novelist Michael Crichton whose 2003 essay on it can be found here.

I’m not going to summarize it for you, but save to say global warming has at least two major features associated it with religion.

First is the tremendous reliance on faith. No matter how many times the warmists are refuted on the data, they never waver in their faith. But the second, and the truly obnoxious aspect, is the fanaticism. Religious wars tend to be the bloodiest, and these people tend to be incredibly vicious in every way, whether trying to identify all serious skeptics as being associated with industry (I’ve been “linked to” ExxonMobil in a dozen ways, yet I’ve never gotten a bit of support, financial or otherwise, from any petroleum company) or merely being crackpots.

Today I read we’re “the same people who told you smoking wasn’t harmful.” Golly, I don’t recall ever saying that. I’ve have said smoking is just about the stupidest thing healthwise an individual can do.

Apologies to those of you for whom this is nothing new (but nobody forced you to read this far!), but I thought that what was novel was that my friend, whose tremendous love in life is theology, picked up on this aspect probably without anybody overtly suggesting to him that global warming was a religion. Like the canary in the coal mine, he simply picked up on the danger.

Eugene Robinson in today’s Washington Post protests that global warming skeptics are using the current (though very long) cold snap in the mid-Atlantic region, which encompasses the nation’s capital, to confuse weather – a short-term phenomenon – with climate.

Robinson, who last year won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, correctly notes that, “the Earth is really, really big. It’s so big that it can be cold here and warm elsewhere – and this is the key concept – at the same time. Even if it were unusually cold throughout the continental United States, that still represents less than 2 percent of the Earth’s surface.”

True enough. And he adds:

Those who want to use our harsh winter to ‘disprove’ the theory that the planet’s atmosphere is warming should realize that anecdotal evidence always cuts both ways. Before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, crews were using earth-movers and aircraft to deposit snow on the ski runs – the winter had been unusually warm. Preliminary data from climate scientists indicate that January, in terms of global temperatures, was actually hotter than usual. Revelers participating in Rio de Janeiro’s annual carnival, which ended Tuesday, sweltered in atypical heat, with temperatures above 100 degrees. Fortunately, the custom during carnival is not to wear much in the way of clothing.

Again, true enough. And regrettably I once again missed going to the Rio Carnival, but hope springs eternal.

But here’s what he doesn’t say. His people have long played exactly the same game.

There’s a wonderful website that keep a more or less comprehensive list of all the things that warmists have attributed to “global climate change” – and mind you, the very term “global climate change’ was coined precisely to be able to tie any change, including things associated with cooling – to the effects of greenhouse gases. One glance at the site blows you away. I want you to click on this link right now and not continue with this blog until you have.

No. Stop. You didn’t click on the link. Do it now.

Okay, the point is made, isn’t it? It includes everything from “acne” to “yellow fever” with “short-nosed dogs endangered” in between. And there are lots of instances of weather change.

In fact, time and again cold weather and its fall-out, including blizzards, have been attributed to “global climate change.”

This is from an article of mine that appeared 13 years ago:

But there it was, the cover of the Jan. 22 Newsweek: “Blizzards, floods & hurricanes: Blame global warming.” There also was the New York Times front-page article by William K. Stevens headlined “Blame global warming for the blizzard” and a nationally syndicated article by environmentalist Jessica Matthews that ran under titles such as “Brrr, global warming brings our blizzard.”

Moreover, I note. Moreover, I say for emphasis, while this was a perfect opportunity for Robinson to show he was playing fair, he could have pointed out they’re doing it even now.

Moreover, Robinson could have seen it in his own newspaper from just days ago.

There it was, right in the headline of a column by uber-environmentalist Bill McKibben, “Washington’s Snowstorms, Brought to You by Global Warming.”

Time magazine also argues “climate change could in fact make such massive snowstorms more common, even as the world continues to warm.”

And of course I could go on and on, but point made.

If you live in the mid-Atlantic, don’t go out without a coat. But hypocrisy is a mantle never worn well.

Obama has done something right concerning nuclear energy; credit where credit’s due. But he also did something very wrong, which we’ll get to.

The president has promised $8.33 billion in federal loan guarantees for a pair of Georgia nuclear reactors, saying it would give new life to the U.S. nuclear power industry. These would be the first new U.S. nuke plants in more than three decades.

More through symbolism than anything else, he’s right about the new life. It’s a liberal Democratic president saying, “Hey! Nukes are okay!”

He also offered words of wisdom. “If we fail to invest in the technologies of tomorrow, then we’re going to be importing those technologies instead of exporting them,” he said. “We will fall behind. Jobs will be produced overseas instead of here in the United States of America. And that’s not a future that I accept.”

Nuclear power already provides about 20 percent of this nation’s energy, even with the same plants that once only provided about 10 percent. They’ve gotten more efficient a lot faster than wind turbine or solar power technology has. Nobody has ever died from a nuclear accident in the U.S., and yet the newer generation of power plant is much safer than, say, Three Mile Island. France gets about 70 percent of its energy from nukes and I’ve been to European cities like Berlin where they have nukes right in the middle of town.

The GOP has called for building as many as 100 new such plants and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) called it a “good first step.”

But that’s all it is.

Heritage Foundation fellow Jack Spencer told the Washington Post, “Loan guarantees do not a nuclear renaissance make.” They don’t fix “the problems that have plagued nuclear energy for 30 years: the regulatory structure and nuclear waste [disposal] and too much government dependence.”

Right. And one major contributor to the problem has been Barack Obama. Opponents of nuclear power say the president shouldn’t be supporting the building of more power plants that will produce even more radioactive material, so long as the government hasn’t figured out where to put it all. Thing is, it had been figured out and Obama killed it.

Over many years and spending billions of dollars, the government decided the best place was caverns in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. But Nevada Sen. Harry Reid wrapped himself in the mantle of demagoguery and declared “Not in my backyard, you don’t!” As he knew it would be, it was popular with the voters. Obama, in what from a scientific viewpoint appears to have been nothing more than a sop to Reid, who faces a tough re-election bid, canceled the project.

Notwithstanding that the vast majority of nuclear waste is incredibly low-level, nevertheless it continues and will continue to have to be stored on site. To the extent it is dangerous, we don’t want that. There was a solution and Obama squelched it.

So fine. After the November elections are settled, it’s time to revisit Yucca Mountain. That will show real support for nuclear power.

From the very top of the earth to the bottom, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just can’t get it right.

I recently wrote of how the panel’s latest (2007) report, the one that split the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, was finally caught on what was an obviously false statement: That the glaciers atop the Himalayas would be melted by 2035 because of global warming. It would take an incredible amount of sustained heat to do that. The only question was what source the panel used, and that proved to be an off-the-cuff assertion by a global warming activist as reprinted in an environmentalist journal – with a mathematical error to boot!

Now it’s been revealed that the panel grossly overstated how much of the Netherlands is below sea level.

Its latest report says 55 percent of the country is below sea level, leaving it highly prone to flooding along rivers that would ostensible rise with warming temperatures. But Netherlanders can take off their clogs and relax. According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, just 26 percent of the country is below sea level and 29 percent susceptible to river flooding. You can see a lot of pretty maps regarding the subject by the Dutch Ministry of Transport here.

The IPCC insists that it’s a minor point in a report 3,000 words long and doesn’t affect the core conclusions that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, are warming the globe. Of course it doesn’t, any more than does the Himalayan nonsense.

But this latest wooden shoe to the butt again illustrates that this allegedly thoroughly documented reports by the allegedly top experts in world has a nasty tendency to simply include anything that will make its case seem stronger. Taken in light of the recent “Climategate” revelations that scientists who came to the “wrong” conclusions had their materially systematically excluded from the report and other IPCC documents, it shows just how shaky this house of cards is.

There has been no global warming for a long time, as I wrote recently in Forbes Online (”Show Me the Warming,” Nov. 30, 2009).

I noted that Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of the warmist bible, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporttold Congress two years ago that evidence for manmade warming is “unequivocal.” He claimed “the planet is running a ’fever’ and the prognosis is that it is apt to get much worse.” Yet in one of the released emails he admitted that data showed there was no warming “at the moment.” I then explained:

But Trenberth’s “lack of warming at the moment” has been going on at least a decade. “There has been no [surface-measured] warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995,” observes MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen. “According to satellite data, global warming stopped about 10 years ago and there’s no way to know whether it’s happening now,” says Roy Spencer, former NASA senior scientist for climate studies.

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
The atmospheric concentration of CO2 keeps going up, yet temperatures for the last decade have been flat

The importance of this is that during the past decade, we’ve belched so-called “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) into the atmosphere at ever greater rates, from 6,510 million metric tons in 1996 to 8,230 in 2006—a 26% increase. Atmospheric concentrations have also reached the highest levels ever observed.

Now Professor Phil Jones, director the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Center and the central figure in the ‘Climategate’ affair, has conceded there’s been no ‘statistically significant’ warming. Naturally he said it was a “blip” and not a trend, and he may well prove right. But that doesn’t eliminate the problem that this “blip” has been occurring with historic GHG emissions, therefore the grossly simplistic formula of GHG emissions = warming is false.

He also made what may be the strongest admission by a major warmist that the earth could have been warmer during medieval times (about 800 – 1300) when mankind was emitting essentially no GHGs. (Viking ships did use sails, you may recall.) And he said that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from settled.

Heretofore, warmists tried to dismiss this altogether or say it only applied to northern climes.

Nevertheless, “There is much debate over whether the MWP was global in extent or not,” Jones admitted, adding “The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.”

He said that, “For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere” and “There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.” Still, “If the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented.”

In that case, he should be informed of a Nature magazine study last year indicating water temperatures in the area of Indonesia were the same in the MWP as they are today.

You can read some of the specific questions and answers here with annotations by Indur Goklany.

Let’s salute Phil Jones’s honesty – even if he only came by it relatively late in life.

The Washington Post Sunday edition devotes a page to the discussion of what impact the current cold snap and immense amount of snow (a record in the nation’s capital) has and should have on the global warming debate generally and legislation specifically. Most of the space goes to the liberal but often thoughtful Dana Milbank, with snippets to others.

Score one for both science and humor when Milbank asserts “As a scientific proposition, claiming that heavy snow in the mid-Atlantic debunks global warming theory is about as valid as claiming that the existence of John Edwards debunks the theory of evolution.”

He’s right of course. For the zillionth time, weather and climate are two entirely different things. A hot year with a drought doesn’t prove the globe is heating up, much less than the alleged heating up is man-made. But the greens make such claims time and again. It’s no more valid for other to say a cold, snowy winter shows the opposite. That’s just the point Milbank goes on to make:

Still, there’s some rough justice in the conservatives’ cheap shots. In Washington’s blizzards, the greens were hoist by their own petard.

For years, climate-change activists have argued by anecdote to make their case. Gore, in his famous slide shows, ties human-caused global warming to increasing hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought and the spread of mosquitoes, pine beetles and disease. It’s not that Gore is wrong about these things. The problem is that his storm stories have conditioned people to expect an endless worldwide heat wave, when in fact the changes so far are subtle.

Other environmentalists have undermined the cause with claims bordering on the outlandish; they’ve blamed global warming for shrinking sheep in Scotland, more shark and cougar attacks, genetic changes in squirrels, an increase in kidney stones and even the crash of Air France Flight 447. [There’s a website that lists over 600 things that have allegedly been caused by global warming, from “acne” to “yellow fever.”] When climate activists make the dubious claim, as a Canadian environmental group did, that global warming is to blame for the lack of snow at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then they invite similarly specious conclusions about Washington’s snow — such as the Virginia GOP ad urging people to call two Democratic congressmen “and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend.”

Says Milbank, “Argument-by-anecdote isn’t working.”

The Post then asked “political and environmental experts whether the record snowstorms buried climate change legislation this year.” Here are some excerpts:

Environmental Protection Agency administrator from 2001 to 2003; governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001; chair of the Republican Leadership Council

It shouldn’t, but it will. Among the reasons winter storms will make this issue more politically challenging are overreach and simplification – on both sides of the debate. “An Inconvenient Truth” brought the issue of climate change to the fore, but many of the charts implying that the world’s end is near were overly dramatic.

Resident scholar and F.K. Weyerhaeuser fellow, respectively, at the American Enterprise Institute

The corpus of climate legislation was already cooling before Snowmageddon. The cold wind that buried its chances this year didn’t come off the snow burying Washington: It came off horrific unemployment reports, lackluster economic growth, massive Tea Party rallies and vicious town hall meetings. After the breakdown in Copenhagen, the explosion of “Climategate” and the election of Scott Brown, the Democrats’ rapid pivot to focus on jobs was inevitable.

Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate programs

Sorry, nothing worth excerpting!

Democratic pollster and author

The recent bout of wintry weather and the overall political climate have almost certainly killed climate-change legislation this year.

The science that supports the causes and effects of global warming has become increasingly open to doubt and question. The weather this winter, particularly in the past week or so, makes it more difficult to argue that global warming is an imminent danger and suggests that global warming may well not be as inexorable a force as some believe.

Further, the political downside to supporting the legislation is unambiguous. Americans are primarily concerned with jobs and the economy. Any significant effort spent on other legislation will reignite charges, originally hurled during the lengthy and unsuccessful health-care debate, that the White House and Democrats in Congress are out of touch with voters’ needs.

Federal global warming program director of Environment America

The snowstorms that ground the nation’s capital to a halt only underscored the need for bold action to fight global warming. Heavier, more frequent snowstorms are just what scientists predict in a warming world, as extreme weather events – whether blizzards or heat waves – become more common.

Well! I guess there’s something to be said for predictability!

White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; chairman of BGR Group

There is global climate science and then there is the Global Warming Movement. The movement hijacked the science a long time ago, and it has had its share of setbacks lately. Its leaders have tried to stiff-arm their way past errors, lies, fraud, pointless tax increase proposals and some really peculiar posing in Copenhagen.

Now they have suffered a coup de grace: public ridicule brought on by a record-breaking blizzard blasting their East Coast home base. The movement was already dead in Congress for 2010 (its climate-change bill has been sidelined), but Snowmageddon buried it. How could it be that heat waves evidenced global warming, but so did a cold wave? The public isn’t buying it anymore.

In November, the public will give a cold shoulder to a bunch of intellectually frozen hypocrites who demand economic sacrifice to solve a problem that voters don’t see or feel. At least for a while, the left will have to think up a new way to dictate a lifestyle for the rest of us. Maybe now the science can continue without the clumsy overreaching of the movement’s priestly class.

And finally, on a different page, uber-environmentalist Bill McKibben argues that, yes, the cold weather and blizzards are the result of global warming. So it goes.