Here’s a pretty good summary of the current state of affairs in the increasingly acrimonious debate about global warming, or the lack thereof, by Ed Hiserodt in New American:
Last December, as even every cloistered monk and Third World inhabitant probably knows, there was an International Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, attended by government functionaries from around the world. The pampered delegates, who evidently weren’t worried about their own carbon footprints, caused a Scandinavia-wide shortage of black stretch limousines.
The conference actually had very little to do with climate change, ignoring almost out-of-hand the prominent news at the time: the Climategate scandal — the release of the e-mails indicating top global-warming scientists were skewing temperature data and engaged in a smear campaign against climate-change skeptics. But the conference had much to do with money. So-called Third World countries demanded reparations for damage done to their satrapies by CO2 emissions from industrial nations, totally ignoring the fact that but for those nations said delegates would be sleeping in huts instead of five-star hotels. Certainly there was little room for science or the consequences of turning the economies of the world on their heads through instituting carbon-emission limits.
In stark contrast to the Copenhagen affair, the 4th International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute, convened May 16, 2010 on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Without their hands in taxpayers’ pockets, attendees had to pony up $540 for the conference, and nearly $300 per night for a room. Some 800 in attendance came from over 40 countries, including a sizable contingent from “down under” where a “cap and tax” debate has been raging for the last few years and recently soundly defeated. But how many of you heard about the Chicago conference and the long list of experts who gave presentations there, making the case that global warming is not a problem?
Let’s look at some of the general subjects of inquiry and extract parts of many presentations that are applicable to those subject areas. First we’ll look at something simple: Is the Earth warming?
Is the Earth Warming?
Ha, ha. That’s my little joke, being as determining some mean temperature of the Earth is anything but a trivial problem. Where the heck are we going to stick the thermometer?
Surface Temperatures: As in most scientific matters, terrestrial temperatures are measured in degrees Celsius. So if we add the daily low temperatures for every point on Earth to the corresponding high temperatures, then divide by two, we should be able to get the average temperature for the Earth for that day. Then we add these up for a year, divide by 365 and get the average temperature for the year. We’ll compare this to previous years where this same procedure was done, and we can tell if we’re warming or cooling. Of course, we’re not measuring temperatures at all points on Earth, and in fact the number of weather stations has decreased. (In Canada the number fell from 600 in 1975 to 35 in 2009.) And to whom should we entrust these data?
There is, in general, much anecdotal information showing that the Earth has been warming in recent times. Both Revolutionary and Civil War records describe rivers that were frequently frozen during winters of their day, but do not freeze today. An example is the Arkansas River at Little Rock, where Union Army reports speak of an annual ice bridge across the river capable of supporting both foot and wagon traffic, something no one alive today has ever seen. As a result of these sources, there has been general agreement that we are in a warming trend since the 18th century, and this trend has continued into the late 20th and early 21st century. This was more or less a “given” in the debate over climate change.
On November 19, 2009, this house-of-concurrence over recent global temperature records came tumbling down when the holy-of-holies repository for all these records — not just the modern ones since we’ve had thermometers, but the paleotemperature analyses that give us a historical account of what temperatures were in the Middle Ages and earlier — was caught fudging data and committing other improprieties. Where were the records held? They were at the CRU — the Climatic Research Unit — located at East Anglia University in merry old England. And the chief keeper of records? None other than discredited Professor Phil Jones.
As Cato’s Dr. Patrick Michaels pointed out in his keynote address at the Heartland conference, we should have been suspicious of Jones all along…
[continues in New American]