Image "What's going on with Global Warming?" asked my buddy Al, as I entered his coffee shop last week. He had the papers spread out in front of him on the counter.

"I imagine it's getting warmer, isn't it?" I replied. "Al Gore is running around saying the planet is going to explode, we're all going to roast, the ice caps are going to melt, and New York will be under water. (Actually, I'm not sure that would be bad.)"

"Well, I don't know," said Al (not Gore). "There's not much in the papers about it. Last month, that's all you saw: the Earth concerts - or whatever they were - and all the politicians saying that it's settled and something must be done. Now - nada." Al kept looking while I read the comics.

It's true that news reports about Climate Change - the new buzzword - have dwindled. I see at least three reasons for this. One is that reports from actual climate scientists - like Dr. Fred Singer, Professor Emeritus of environmental science at UVA, and Canadian Dr. Timothy Ball, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project - show that global temperatures since 1999 have been flat. Translation: it hasn't been getting warmer for the last 8 years. This is bad news for Al Gore and the global catastrophe prophets. They've been making a nice living predicting doom, unless we stop driving cars and hand over all our money, immediamente. For news brokers, it's a good reason to soft-pedal global warming. The whole scare might blow over like last year's non-hurricane hurricane season.

The second reason for diminished coverage, I think, is that global warming is flying below the radar screen. This political forces of global warming are succeeding. Billions of tax dollars are going into programs that will "do something" about climate change. Indeed, one sign of that success lies in the adoption of the new term, "climate change". CC is preferable to GW because it looks like the climate might actually be cooling. That would obviate the need for spending. (Why spend, if warming has stopped? Duh!) The new approach is to study climate change, with the implied goal of preventing it. (Isn't change good? Why not in this case?)

As pointed out previously in this space {1}, this would be a politicians' "dream scenario" - a problem that can never be solved, no matter how much money is thrown at it. Climate change has been happening for millions of years for reasons that remain elusive. Some scientists theorize that fluctuations in the sun cause CC. Although Green Al Gore and other activists finger carbon dioxide emissions as the culprit causing warming today, ice core samples from the polar regions do not verify this linkage. Instead, they show that the climate did not warm, even when CO2 levels were ten times today's levels. At other times, the climate warmed significantly while CO2 levels were low. In 1900, temperatures were warmer, while CO2 levels were below today's.

Despite these logical flaws in the CO2-warming case, billions are being poured into research grants for CC-prevention. This money will not stop climate change, but will merely enlarge the legions of spear-carriers who support the official story in order to keep their rice bowls filled. Writing from Brisbane, Australia, Dr. John Ray says:  "The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. The global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?"

During my career in the technical government-contracting industry, back bench cynics (including yours truly) called our trade "prostituted science" because of the pressure to produce findings the customer wanted. Valuable contracts could be lost, should the contractor become momentarily diverted from the customer's desires into an esoteric pursuit of "truth". I don't mean to imply that research was always corrupted in this way, but it was sometimes. One always needed to know which way the wind was blowing. Government-funded research is not "pure research".

Thirdly, there is the "disaster fatigue" factor. Culminating in Al Gore's el floppo Earth Day concerts, the global warming movement seemed to reach such a crescendo of hysteria that perhaps its champions thought it prudent to lie low for a spell. Under the steady gong-beat of "doom-doom-doom", the public tends to develop scare-numbness - particularly when the disaster is posited a hundred years out. You don't have to be a Harvard Ph.D to see that climate gurus who can't predict the weather three days from now might have a problem or two predicting it correctly 36,500 days from now. If you have a stake in getting the public to buy a far-away disaser, you don't want anyone doing too much analytical thinking about these issues. Maybe the scare campaign worked, so let's tone it down for a while.

However, Preacher Al's campaign to rid the world of carbon emissions "before it's too late" is drawing increasing attention - some scientific, some financial, and some political. Data and information are leaking out. In the aggregate, this has damped-down the warming-hysteria. Here are some notes from all over on what's happening on that front:

(1) Scientific Consensus.

In a recent interview, Dr. Nigel Calder, former editor of The New Scientist and author of innumerable books and articles on science, including "The Chilling Stars", was asked if scientific consensus on climate change is now so entrenched that it can't be shifted.

His reply: "The idea of a settled consensus is alien to productive science. In any branch of research that isn't moribund, battles rage between the entrenched bigwigs and their cronies, versus others who challenge their hypotheses. What makes science so valuable ...is that eventually errors are corrected and ideas shift. But that can be a slow and painful process taking 10-20 years." Dr. Calder added that control of climate science public research funding by the "warming consensus" retards the error-correction process. He expects general recognition, in the near future, that the climate has not warmed since 1998.

(2) Climate Driver.

Dr David Whitehouse - an astronomer, former BBC science correspondent, and author of The Sun: A Biography - makes these comments about what drives earth's climate:

"...Annual global temperatures ...[indicate] that the last decade shows no warming trend and recent successive annual global temperatures are well within each year's measurement errors.  Statistically the world's temperature is flat. The world certainly warmed between 1975 and 1998, but ...no scientist could honestly look at global temperatures over the past decade and see a rising curve. It is undisputed that the sun ...[late in] the 20th century was behaving differently from that of the beginning.  Its sunspot cycle is stronger and shorter and, technically speaking, its magnetic field leakage is weaker and its cosmic ray shielding effect stronger.  ...When the sun's activity was rising, the world warmed.  When it peaked in activity in the late 1980s, within a few years global warming stalled... The sun is by far the single most powerful driving force on our climate, and the fact is we do not understand how it affects us as much as some think we do. So look on the BBC and Al Gore with skepticism.  A scientist's first allegiance should not be to computer models or political spin but to the data: that shows the science is not settled."

(3) Climate Change and Fuels.

Some excerpts from CNN's recent interview of Trilby Lundberg -  publisher of the Lundberg Survey, a national survey of gas prices quoted regularly by major news organizations:

CNN: What are the effects of alternative fuels?

TL: [Government] subsidization of alternative fuels - non-petroleum fuels - has already added a great deal of cost for gasoline consumers here in the U.S. To further mandate these uneconomic sources that cannot compete - even with heavy subsidy - would make gasoline prices higher and hurt consumers. When the market is ready - if it ever is - for such fuels, then they will not need subsidy. Meanwhile, the much heavier use of ethanol in the United States is affecting world prices - not only U.S. gasoline prices, but world prices for those consumables that use corn.

CNN: So you see these as hurting Americans more than helping them?

TL: Yes. The use of tax money to prop up these uneconomic sources of fuel is itself a negative for consumers... The use of ethanol ...makes gasoline prices higher than they otherwise would be, through the difficulty of achieving EPA regulations and the final gasoline product...

CNN: As far as conservation, what are the trends you are seeing?

TL: I'm hoping that consumers will see through the rhetoric about consuming less, demanding less, as faulty. It is not a given that consuming less [is] good for our economy or for our personal freedom. It is not even established for our environment that we [should] deprive ourselves of gasoline for our personal mobility as well our commerce. ...to deprive ourselves of this great product that makes the country go around, commercially and individually, I think is flawed.

I'm hoping consumers and voters will ...ignore some of the most extreme suggestions... [from] decades of extremist views that have now achieved mainstream acceptance. The No. 1 item among those affecting current oil politics in Washington is ...global warming. I don't accept it as established fact, nor do I accept that it [is] caused by petroleum consumption, nor do I accept that the human species should not affect its environment. So even if it were someday ...shown to have some small effect on the environment, I see no crime. In fact, taking into account the many, many millions of people around the world that envy our way of life, it would seem more humanitarian to wish them the kind of plentiful petroleum products and vehicles ...that we enjoy ...to lift themselves out of [a] backward, poor way of life.

(4) Rockin' Australia.

Here are a few responses to Martin Durkin's BBC film, The Great Global Warming Swindle {2}, recently aired by the Australian Broadcasting Company, and to the subsequent panel review which bashed it (excerpts were attributed only to internet "handles"):

  • "Global Warming is being driven by two factions. The first are the earth worshiping pagans. They see man as an infestation on their god. By definition, everything this infestation does is evil. Man must be punished. The second group are socialists who are riding this to increase the size of government, throw our economy into recession and then create a permanent welfare state that replaces our current free market."
  • "It's good to see the global warming scam being exposed. Anything ...touted so strongly by a lying American politician must be some kind of giant scam. I read that Al Gore is making money in the carbon credit swindle because he has invested in a company that sells carbon credits. Anyone touting a solution to the natural event of global warming should be thrown in jail for fraud like any other con artist."
  • "The liberal left has found a new movement; some say it's even a religious movement. This farce has gotten so out of control that a blatant scam has emerged called ‘Carbon credits'. It's a way for the limousine and Learjet liberals to live their lavish lifestyle, while wagging their finger at the middle and lower class to conserve energy. If this isn't enough, law firms are setting up shop to sue corporations for altering the micro climate around them. This will ultimately... [affect] the single family home owner..."
  • "Science of any discipline should always be strongly questioned and debated. The fact that those who promote 'human-caused global warming/climate change' refuse to be questioned, analysed and debated - and desire everyone to mindlessly believe - leads me to think that their 'science' is indeed flawed and unable to withstand interrogation and cross-examination. So I will remain a skeptic right up until the day that 'human-caused global warming/climate change' has gone through the same rigorous questioning and cross-examination as what has been inflicted upon those who profess different opinions."
  • "I like living in a house, with electricity, and heat; being able to drive my car to the grocery store and to visit my friends and relatives. The global warming crowd want to take this away from me, or force me to pay exorbitant surcharges for the privilege. Of course, they will not be inconvenienced because they will either exempt themselves from their draconian demands, or have enough money to pay the surcharge (carbon offsets; what a joke). I keep hoping that we are only hearing from the lunatic fringe and that most of the world sees this for the complete idiocy that it is."
  • "The computer models Mr. Durkin speaks of, are garbage. You simply cannot predict global temprature change with only 10-11 variables, as used in the particular computer model Al Gore cites in his movie. I pointed this out to a friend, (mathematics professor) at KSU here in America, and he concurred. Why so many faculty/scientists at major universities continue to allow themselves to be railroaded by political hacks like Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio is beyond me." (Yo! It's the money. - WZ)
  • "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." (Mark Twain).
  • "Men defend most violently, not the things they know to be true, but the things they fear may be false." (G. K. Chesterton)

(5) Roman Counsel.

Finally, this snippet from Dr. Fred Singer's weekly info-mail, from which several excerpts for this article were drawn:

"The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: ‘The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.'"

Maybe it's not hopeless yet. Thank God (or Al Gore?) for the Internet. It is now the people's most powerful tool in defeating crazy ideas.

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{1} "Politicians' Dream"; AHH, 2/5/2007. http://www.ahherald.com/content/view/1136/27/

{2} "The Great Global Warming Swindle"; AHH, 3/27/2007.  http://www.ahherald.com/content/view/1446/27/