To a large degree, the debate over global warming has been confined to the realm of science vs. economics. Anyone viewing the House debate over the Waxman-Markey bill could not miss how proponents of the legislation relied upon their unyielding belief that the “science is settled” with respect to climate change, and how the planet is imperiled from a rapidly warming planet. On the other hand, opponents of the legislation cited endless studies and statistics about the economic damage that would ensue should this far-reaching legislation become law. Lost in the debate, however, was any substantive discussion of the actual science underpinning global warming theory. That is a shame.
As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal article by Kimberly Strassel, many nations around the world are beginning to re-examine the science supporting the global warming theory. From France and Japan to Poland and Australia, increasing numbers of skeptics are beginning to emerge in both the scientific and political world willing to speak out against what they see as a extremist Green agenda. As explained by Strassel:
In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming. In the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus remains a leading skeptic, today only 11% of the population believes humans play a role. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country’s new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. New Zealand last year elected a new government, which immediately suspended the country’s weeks-old cap-and-trade program.
The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. — 13 times the number who authored the U.N.’s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world’s first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak “frankly” of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming “the worst scientific scandal in history.” Norway’s Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the “new religion.” A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton’s Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists’ open letter.)
The collapse of the “consensus” has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth’s temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.
One can only hope that as the debate moves forward on cap and trade, there will be a willingness here in America to similarly re-examine the scientific basis undergirding the global warming theory.