The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Increasingly Off-Key

President Obama spent three months conducting a detained analysis of his Afghanistan strategy, before making the decision to send more troops and at the same time, define an exit strategy. His supporters in politics and the media praised his careful and complete review in which (if we can believe White House insiders) the opinions of all parties were presented and discussed at length.

This week, the President jets off to the UN Copenhagen Conference to commit the United States to a variety of environmental goals all related to the increasingly controversial and scandal-plagued anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. I find it fascinating that the same administration that has been praised in the MSM as "deliberative" has spent relatively little time conducting a detained analysis of the science associated with AGW. The President (via his spokeman) seems unconcerned with the growing ClimateGate scandal that calls into question the data and models that are used to justify much of the Cap and Trade taxation and trillions in economic impact that he supports. His administration seems to dismiss the growing concerns of many serious climate researchers, continually suggesting that the science is settled. Odd.

It’s as if President Obama doesn’t want to do a detailed deliberative analysis of AGW because he and his staff are afraid of the conclusions that may come out of it.

He might, for example, ask his staff to read and report on an excellent layman’s summary of both the science and the politics of AGW written by Steven Hayward . Discussing ClimateGate, Hayward writes:
As in the furor over Dan Rather's fabricated documents about George W. Bush's National Guard service back in 2004, bloggers have been swarming over the material and highlighting the bad faith, bad science, and possibly even criminal behavior (deleting material requested under Britain's Freedom of Information Act and perhaps tax evasion) of a small group of highly influential climate scientists. As with Rathergate, diehard climate campaigners are repairing to the "fake but accurate" defense--what these scientists did may be unethical or deeply biased, they say, but the science is settled, don't you know, so move along, nothing to see here. There are a few notable exceptions, such as Guardian columnist George Monbiot, who in the past has trafficked in the most extreme climate mongering: "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," Monbiot wrote in a November 23 column. "The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. .  .  . I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them. .  .  . I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely." Monbiot has joined a number of prominent climate scientists in demanding that the CRU figures resign their posts and be excluded from future climate science work. The head of the CRU, Phil Jones, announced last week that he will temporarily step down pending an investigation.

The President seems hell-bent on making commitments that could have a deleterious impact on our economy, and worse, do little or nothing to affect the earth’s climate.

George Will comments on the President’s commitments:
Barack Obama, understanding the histrionics required in climate-change debates, promises that U.S. emissions in 2050 will be 83 percent below 2005 levels. If so, 2050 emissions will equal those in 1910, when there were 92 million Americans. But there will be 420 million Americans in 2050, so Obama's promise means that per capita emissions then will be about what they were in 1875. That. Will. Not. Happen.

Before he acts precipitously and makes promised that cannot be kept, he might live up to his image as an intelligently deliberative leader and spend some time studying the problem before he concludes that “the science is settled.”

Hayward states what many of us who have questioned AGW hysteria over the past few years believe:
Climate change is a genuine phenomenon, and there is a nontrivial risk of major consequences in the future. Yet the hysteria of the global warming campaigners and their monomaniacal advocacy of absurdly expensive curbs on fossil fuel use have led to a political dead end that will become more apparent with the imminent collapse of the Kyoto-Copenhagen process. I have long expected that 20 or so years from now we will look back on the turn-of-the-millennium climate hysteria in the same way we look back now on the population bomb hysteria of the late 1960s and early 1970s--as a phenomenon whose magnitude and effects were vastly overestimated, and whose proposed solutions were wrongheaded and often genuinely evil (such as the forced sterilizations of thousands of Indian men in the 1970s, much of it funded by the Ford Foundation). Today the climate campaigners want to forcibly sterilize the world's energy supply, and until recently they looked to be within an ace of doing so. But even before Climategate, the campaign was beginning to resemble a Broadway musical that had run too long, with sagging box office and declining enthusiasm from a dwindling audience. Someone needs to break the bad news to the players that it's closing time for the climate horror show.

The problem is that our President and much of his administration, along with some in the Congressional leadership, have already bought tickets to this “Broadway musical that had run too long.” As they hum their favorite tunes, they’re sounding increasingly off-key.

Update (12/7/09):

Marc Shepard provides a detailed discussion of the CRU’s (and Al Gore’s) “hockey stick” temperature proxy measurements and the dishonest (and potentially fraudulent) effort to hide the cyclical nature of global temperatures over the past millennium. Although this article presents detailed science, it does so in an understandable fashion. Read the whole thing.