More heresy

The WSJ has a piece signed by 16 scientists:

the number of scientific “heretics” is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts. Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 “Climategate” email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade — indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections — suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.

The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere’s life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere.

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted — or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before — for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired

The list of heretics is getting pretty long now.

2 Responses to “More heresy”

  1. Bruce Abbott Says:

    I had an interesting experience concerning this article in the WSJ. Real Clear Politics republished a response to it from the Political Animal Blog of the Washington Monthly, by Ed Kilgore. The response was full of sarcasm but very short on fact, and I submitted a response pointing out many aspects of the AGW problem that it ignored. Another respondent, DiscustedByItAll, responded with personal insults and condescending comments directed at me personally. I tried to respond to him with reasoned arguments, rebutting his assertions, but each exchange only elicited more abuse. I finally gave up in disgust, telling him that he was not worth debating. I have been giving the matter a lot of thought; do you suppose that DisgustedByItAll considers the comment sections of these articles “Battle Space” and seeks to control them to give the impression of strenght, or is this just some idiosyncrasy of a rude SOB?

  2. Neil Says:

    Bruce,

    The pertinent lessons for understanding the AGW crowd are the lessons we all learned in middle school. Mob dynamics and bully behavior contain their own rewards–neither strategy nor random behavior has anything to do with it.

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