A recent poll of 530 climatologists in 27 countries showed 34.7 percent of interviewees endorsed the notion that a substantial part of the current global warming trend - which might see temperatures rise by a degree or two, on average, by century's end - is caused by man's industrial activities: driving cars and the like.
More than a fifth - 20.5 percent - rejected this "anthropogenic hypothesis." Half were undecided. The skeptics now include the 85 climate experts who signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration; the 4,000 scientists from around the world (including 70 Nobel laureates) who signed the Heidelberg Appeal, and the 17,000 American scientists who signed the Oregon Petition.
Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, who bought the sky-is-falling scenario until he bothered to check some of the numbers, which led him to do his own research, at which point he wrote the book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" and became the Man The Greens Love to Hate, reminded the folks at Tech Central Atation last November that most economists believe the projected level of warming would either have no effect or be beneficial.
Cold weather kills people, Lomborg reminded us. "It is estimated that climate change by about 2050 will mean about 800,000 fewer deaths." And that's before we even get around to increased food production. (If you want a real climate catastrophe, let's talk about the next Ice Age, which is due relatively soon.)
What's more, scientists at Ohio State University announced Feb. 12 that Antarctic "temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models." In fact, they went down. So why would one get the sense from the daily barrage of electronic news that "all experts now agree" the earth is heating catastrophically, and that mankind's use of fossil fuels is at fault?
First, pay attention to the wording. Just as many who want American taxpayers to provide welfare schooling and welfare health care for everyone who can walk here from Mexico and points south blithely lie and say their opponents "oppose immigration" - rather than acknowledging the debate is about "illegal immigration" - so are those who aim to cripple the industrial economies of the Western world careful to ridicule those who "deny global warming," instead of acknowledging that most skeptics agree there is indeed some minor warming going on, only objecting to the notion that this is a crisis and that mankind's activities are primarily "at fault" - along with the corollary nutty prescription that destroying every power plant and automobile in America and Western Europe would make much difference.
As demonstrated in the book "Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1,500 Years," by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, based on the climate cycle discovered by Dansgaar, Oeschger, and Lorius (who received the Tyler Prize - the "environmental Nobel" - in 1996), those who attribute the bulk of the warming cycle to man's modern technology willfully ignore the similar fluctuations known to history as the medieval warming period (when Greenland supported Viking farms), the Roman warming period, and the Holocene Climatic Optimum, when SUVs and coal-fired electric plants were notably thin on the ground.
But the second reason a casual viewer could conclude the skeptics have disappeared is that "Spreading the global warming gospel with unified voice are 12,000 environmental groups controlling about $20 billion in assets," the Tucson-based Doctors for Disaster Preparedness reported last month. In comparison, "Truth seekers have at most a few million, lack the support of the press or Hollywood, and are generally shut out of government-funded schools and universities."
Which is where the foulest and most inexcusable abuses occur, of course. In direct contravention of the First Amendment guarantee that our tax dollars will never be spent to impose any "establishment of religion," our children are in fact being spoon-fed the Green doctrine of global warming - memory bytes in doggerel and song - when they're far too young to bring any critical faculties to bear on this hypothesis.
And some critical perspective sure is needed. Spiralling energy costs fueled by green hysteria "have caused the loss of 100,000 jobs in the UK over 18 months," report Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, again citing Tech Central Station. Al Gore's anti-global warming plan would leave the average person 30 percent poorer by 2100, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Singer & Avery book points out that scrapping every car, truck and SUV in America would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by only about 2 percent. Meantime, merely extinguishing all the coal deposit fires that continue to burn unchecked around the world would reduce those emissions by 2 to 3 percent. Which is a more sensible thing to try?
Clearly, those who want to cripple our industrial economy have some other motive. And maybe that explains how shrill they can get in their attempt to silence the hated "climate deniers," who they now liken to "Holocaust deniers."
According to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe's own Web site, she and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, sent a letter to ExxonMobil chairman Rex Tillerson in October of last year, demanding the firm stop funding "a small cadre of scientists" who question global warming dogma, instead insisting the heavily regulated oil company "publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it."
ExxonMobil, whose executives presumably know where gas taxes and offshore oil leases come from, cut off its funding for the Competitive Enterprise Institute last year.
Viscount Monckton, a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, in a Dec. 11 letter to the senators protested this heavy-handed attempt to silence critics, lauding the courage of the "free-thinking scientists who continue to research climate change independently - despite the likelihood of refusal of publication in journals that have taken a preconceived position; the hate mail and vilification from ignorant environmentalists; and the threat of loss of tenure in institutions of learning which no longer make any pretense to uphold or cherish academic freedom."
But when it comes to intimidating the opposition, the senators are pikers.
The British foreign secretary "has said that skeptics should be treated like advocates of Islamic terror and denied access to the media," Doctors for Disaster Preparedness report in their January newsletter. George Monbiot wrote in England's "Guardian" that "Every time someone drowns as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned."
Grist magazine has called for Nuremberg-style war crimes trials for those who deny the internal combustion engine is about to cause a global climate disaster. Heidi Cullen, host of the weekly global warming TV show "Climate Code," has called for the American Meteorological Society to strip its certification from any weatherman (or gal) who publicly questions anthropogenic global warming.
Meantime, European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas tells the BBC that people should view the battle against climate change as a war - accepting the privations of a wartime economy and expecting millions of casualties.
And we were wondering why we only seem to hear one side of the story, these days? Isn't that kind of like asking why no one ever stood up in church in early 16th century Europe and started explaining how unlikely it was that these witches were really flying around at night, causing other people's cows to go dry?
James Nash is a climate scientist with Greatest Planet (www.greatestplanet.org). Greatest Planet is a non-profit environmental organization specialising in carbon offset investments.
James Nash is solely responsible for the contents of this article.