"Ozone Man," said Al Gore recently on 60 Minutes referring to the folks who doubt his global warming scenario and arguing that they are part of a "tiny, tiny minority now." "They're almost like the ones who believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the earth is flat. That demeans them a little bit."
Gore went on, condescendingly, "But it's not that far off ..."
Gee, Al, thanks for not trying to be too demeaning!
In Lawrence Solomon's new book -- The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud — and Those Who Are Too Fearful to Do So -- the environmental columnist for Canada's National Post lists a few of the "kooks" who haven't attained Al Gore's exalted level of scientific knowledge:
- Dr. Antonino Zichichi, a former president of the European Physical Society who discovered nuclear antimatter and is one of the world's foremost physicists. He calls global warming projection models "incoherent and invalid."
- Dr. Christopher Landsea, the past chairman of the American Meteorological Society's Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones. Says he: "There are no known scientific studies that show a conclusive physical link between global warming and observed hurricane frequency and intensity."
- Prof. Freeman Dyson, one of the world's most eminent physicists. He asserts the models used to justify global warming alarmism are "full of fudge factors" and "do not begin to describe the real world that we live in."
- Prof. Paul Reiter, chief of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the famed Pasteur Institute. He notes, "no major scientist with any long record in this field" accepts Gore's claim that global warming spreads mosquito-borne diseases.
- Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, a world-renowned expert on the ancient ice cores used in historical climate research. He says the U.N. "based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false."
But what would they know, anyway!
Solomon was a member in good standing of the vast left-wing environmental conspiracy when he began a series of columns on prominent scientists who doubt or deny human influence in global climate change.
A founder of the Energy Probe Research Foundation, Solomon has focused on halting the growth of nuclear power and preserving the rainforest. "When I began," Solomon writes, "I accepted the prevailing view that scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change threatens the planet. I doubted only claims that the dissenters were either kooks on the margins of science or sell-outs in the pockets of the oil companies."
Instead, like Gen. Lew Wallace -- who set out to disprove the existence of Jesus Christ, and ended up writing Ben Hur -- Solomon was rocked to his core by what he discovered.
The first "denier" Solomon profiles relates the story of the Incredible Disappearing Hockey Stick and is a perfect example of how Gore's "consensus" was formed.
A few years ago, Dr. Michael Mann of the University of Massachusetts devised a graph known as "the Hockey Stick." It soon became, in Solomon's words, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's "poster child in the global warming debate."
Mann's graph showed a steady decline in world temperature throughout the 1800s, then a steep spike throughout the 20th century -- coinciding, it was implied, with industrialization. This was evidence that human activity caused global warming.
The Hockey Stick, the headlines screamed, proved that the 1900s were the warmest century in world history. We were all about to fry.
But a Canadian mining engineer named Stephen McIntyre noticed that Mann had left out the great warming cycle of the Middle Ages. He created enough of a fuss that the U.S. Congress called on Dr. Edward Wegman, one of the world's leading statisticians, to investigate.
In short order, Wegman so thoroughly demolished the Hockey Stick that it disappeared from the IPCC's publications. But it had already scored its goal — the myth that the 1900s were the warmest century persists to this day.
So why would so many scientists jump on the bandwagon? That's where the money is, Solomon reports. While Gore and the "consensus" accuse anyone who raises objections to their hysteria, the real money is in government grants.
But it's more insidious than that. While peer review failed in the Hockey Stick case, peer ostracization rarely misses. As Solomon notes, calling the doubters "deniers" is a deliberate attempt to lump those who are not on the global warming bandwagon with Holocaust deniers. Ironically, it is those who bandy the "denier" term about who enforce a fascistic confomity.
In a late chapter of the book called Some Inconvenient Persons, Solomon tells the stories of those who defy the orthodoxy of global warming. Among the first is a man whom Gore thought of as his mentor and to whom he refers to incessantly in Earth in the Balance.
Dr. Robert Revelle pioneered the notion that increased carbon in the atmosphere might lead to increased CO2 and, possibly, some global warming. But Revelle was fairly sanguine about what would happen if that were true, unlike Gore, one of his Harvard students.
Three months before he died of a heart attack, Revelle co-authored an article called What to do About Greenhouse Warming: Look Before You Leap, which urged caution in any so-called solutions to global warming -- particularly any that could be "economically devastating."
In the vice presidential debate a year later, Gore was called out on the difference between his outlook and that of the man he claimed as mentor. Gore simply replied Revelle must have become senile before his death. Nice.
While Solomon sarcastically eviscerates Gore and his claims of the coming catastrophe wrought by global warming, he ends the book by refuting the position espoused by presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain (though he does not name him). Solomon summarizes McCain's view as the "better safe than sorry fallacy," which might be the most dangerous stance of all.
Solomon writes he personally respects the opinions of the pro-global warming scientists and is open to the idea that they might be right, but he is adamant in attacking this bit of political pablum.
McCain 's argument — which I heard him expound to a huge crowd in Clawson, Michigan -- goes like this: Even if global warming isn't man-made, what's the harm of pursuing green technology? We will create new jobs and leave our children a cleaner world.
Responding to this insidious happy-talk takes knowledge of both science and economics, putting it above the heads of American presidential candidates.
So here's a formulation that should be simple enough for even them: Why bring on certain economic disaster in order to prevent an unproven and unlikely apocalypse?
Solomon rips into the Kyoto treaty, saying it is "not an insurance policy, it is the single greatest threat to the environment, because it makes carbon into currency."
Among the unintended consequences of the Kyoto madness that Solomon lists are the incentives to cut down old growth forests, starvation in poor countries with a rise in food prices as biofuels take up agricultural lands and the resurgence of huge hydroelectric dams as coal become politically incorrect.
The Deniers is a lively, and concisely written book, but it's not one the average layman is likely to read straight through without interruption. It's best consumed a chapter at a time.
As Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen did in Embryo, Solomon takes every aspect of global warming theory and systematically presents a scientific argument to the contrary.
Solomon says the point of The Deniers is not to debunk global warming, ut to prove that the science is "not settled," and to defend those who pursue true scientific inquiry in the face of political pressure.
But as Solomon points out, the scientific credentials of his "deniers" far outstrip those of their critics in the vast majority of his cases.Their case is also bolstered by the fact that they are willing to stand up for their positions in the face of overwhelming political and financial pressure.
Most enviro-weenies with whom you're apt to argue trumpet Al Gore's "consensus" and go straight to name-calling. While The Deniers answers that larger point very well, it is also a handy reference for those who try to argue specific science, as it is logically laid out and puts real science conveniently at your fingertips.
For the carbon-ophobic Left, this is one inconvenient book.