March 9, 2010
We appear to have been battered to a submissive intellectual pulp by the pro climate change lobby, although it was only 35 years ago, when I interviewed the world s principal climate experts for the Washington Post, the consensus was that the earth was cooling. Today some of these same scientists rubbish those who hold the previous hypothesis.
Within as short space of twenty years they had fundamentally changed their minds. But 20 years is nothing compared with the very slow evolution that they were looking at. How could they argue the reverse of what they thought it was such a short time before?
When has scientific discovery moved so fast? The climate warming lobby started with a handful of then maverick scientists and in a few years gathered speed as the media hyped their research and funding agencies, who rarely know a lot about what they are giving money to, were intrigued by the new "evidence". The proponents had their tail up and within five years if you wanted to get a research grant to examine global cooling you had little chance.
Has everyone already forgotten how at the turn of the century the computer boffins told us that at midnight at the start of the year 2000 the world s computers would crash? Apparently they had been programmed long before these clever people thought there might be a year 2000.
The prediction led to a re-building of the world s computer industry. Businesses, hospitals, universities, airlines etc spent a fortune on retooling with new computers. On the dot of midnight of the new millennium nothing happened. The old computers worked. Alas, all too quickly the false hype and panic were forgotten.
Now it seems that some of the evidence on global warming has been tampered with. An Indian government study has shown that the Himalayan glaciers are not melting at as significant a rate as previous "research" suggested. Evidence for a number of changes documented by the UN s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change has been shown to be misleading in important aspects. Where were the organisation s top scientists who were supposed to toothcomb what junior researchers said was the truth?
Statistics have been simplified to the point of being misleading, whether it was on the evidence of melting glaciers or on the state of the Amazon forest, and doubtless many other things that have yet to see the light of day.
Worst of all we now know, thanks to leaks to the press, that the supposedly high flying, climate research department at the UK s University of East Anglia, was manipulating the evidence.
Can these things happen? Of course they can.
When Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to lead Britain to war with Iraq his government published a paper to set out to prove Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It turned out that a lot of the evidence presented in the paper had been lifted verbatim from a PhD student s thesis, including his misspellings and typing errors, not to say his facts. Is it a coincidence that Blair s next great cause became global warming?
Do we want to find, like we did after Iraq had been invaded and tens of thousands killed, that there were no weapons of mass destruction, no climate missile racing towards us?
I am not arguing that there is definitely no global warming but that in the seven and a half thousands of years that civilised man has walked the earth there have been ups and downs in the climate. There have been ice ages and periods of warming, as every school child knows, but they came and went and happened almost imperceptibly slowly.
Time is on humanity s side. Let s wait for a couple of decades to see if the evidence holds up. If there is global warming we have time to measure its speed and amount. Twenty years is nothing for an in-depth scientific research project. Meanwhile, any part of the earth facing flooding, which has always happened since the time of Noah, can be helped.
No one doubts there is terrible pollution and that the conventional car and lorry should see their last day or that factories should stop belching toxins. But that is an argument in its own right and should be tackled urgently irrespective of the global warming debate. The global warmers have been adept at muddling that debate by wrapping the two distinct issues around each other and trying to pull the wool over the eyes of public opinion, the press and governments. And now the press and governments do the same.
All the money planned to avert global warming should be spent on big problems that affect us right today, especially the poor of the Third World- abolishing malaria, polio, the tsetse fly, finding a vaccine for AIDS, upgrading education and providing wells and clean drinking water. Within a decade or two all these problems could be solved for relatively small amounts of money. These should be the world s priorities in 2010.
Copyright © 2010 Jonathan Power