With the number of government-sponsored events, legislative agendas, and international treaty negotiations regarding climate change climbing, the political debate regarding the environment grows ever hotter – far faster than the climate itself. That’s a bit of a wonder given a rather amazing discovery this past month in England.
The University of East Anglia (UK) hosts one of the world's foremost respected climatology research centers, so the discovery of massive scientific fraud by climate scientists at that institution should have thrown a cold dose of reality onto the debate.
Surprisingly, it did not.
The daily onslaught of global warming propaganda continues unabated. Neither the media, politicians, popular celebrities, the educational establishment, or global warming "scientists" appear to be the least bit interested with the issue of corrupted data. The truth, it seems, is irrelevant. Scientific integrity, a quaint anachronism, is to be likewise discarded.
If we need evidence of the degree to which environmentalism has become a religion, here we have it.
So the public debate on global warming continues, in barbershops, beauty salons, cafés and kitchens, all across America, indeed across the globe, based on significant amounts of false information.
Worse yet, educational standards in most of the West are now so low as to render sensible debate on the subject pointless, even if the data were reputable. But let's set that lamentable fact aside. Let's assume we are all geniuses from Punahou or Andover. There is still a critical problem in addressing the issue: We are a society of specialists.
Since the industrial revolution very few of us know much about anything in great detail, except for the professional specialty in which we majored in college, if we attended college. The Renaissance man (with pardons to Christine de Pizan) went out with, well, with the Renaissance. Sure, there are a few autodidacts of great knowledge still lingering about, who managed to slip though the system, their minds undimmed, but they are the exception, not the rule.
With that in consideration, wouldn't it be in everyone's best interest to recognize that most of us are NOT qualified to intelligibly discuss the finer points of climatology, but to also recognize that we ARE being stampeded into doing so?
Those who will benefit through the political process of climate change legislation, and the economic adjustments that would follow, have much to gain in manipulating our fears. We must then assume they are doing so. To do otherwise would be to ignore an inconvenient truth: power corrupts and it even corrupts environmentalists. That corruption will grow far worse once they become carbon billionaires.
Should we not be asking ourselves, are we to be as cattle stampeded over a cliff by unknown forces, or are we to stand as men and women and rationally determine our own course through informed assessment of credible data? Are we truly willing to lay aside all that we have gained since the Enlightenment to return to a Dark Age where superstition and fear trumps science and reason, or are we willing to fight for an Enlightened future based on reason and verifiable evidence?
Global weather patterns are immeasurably complex, so much so that chaos theory suggests that we cannot yet begin to understand them accurately. This is why the weather forecasts are so often wrong. It becomes hubris then to presume that any one species (i.e. Man) can impact such a complex system in a way that the system cannot adequately mediate. The biosphere has been mediating the eruption of super volcanoes and the impact of massive meteors for as long as there has been an atmosphere to support life – and yet life has survived.
So, admittedly, there is much we do not know, perhaps cannot know.
The hysteria of the climate change fear mongers is all based on this lack of knowledge, not on knowledge itself. Many of them will even admit to this, rationalizing their position as, "it is better to be safe than sorry." That can be translated as, "it is better to stay in bed than to risk getting hit by an asteroid if you go outside."
Nonetheless, there are a few simple things that we do know.
All historical evidence regarding climatology indicates that long-term warming and cooling periods are normal cyclical events that have occurred regularly throughout earth's history – and that they occur over periods of millennia (not decades, or even centuries). For those who say, "I remember winters were colder when I was a kid, that is confabulation – which is another natural phenomenon, of the psycho-physiological variety."
Historical evidence also demonstrates periods where the climate has changed radically in one direction or another for short periods, sometimes due to volcanic activity, possibly due to sunspots, and in many cases for reasons unknown.
But here is the critical point: These short-term and long-term shifts have been occurring in the historical record long before the arrival of the industrial revolution – which is what the folks at East Anglia were trying to hide. In short, while the evidence that we are in a period of global warming is fairly incontrovertible, the evidence that it is caused by man (is anthropogenic) is rather less clear – some would argue without support at all. More investigation is clearly needed, and it needs to be conducted with more scrutiny, in an environment of scientific integrity.
Sadly, the East Anglia incident isn’t even the first of its kind. Similar discoveries regarding fraudulent temperature and sea-level data were discovered as early as 2006. Those incidents failed to gain traction as the result of a coordinated counterattack by the climate-change industry on the scientists who questioned the validity of the data. Now, however, thanks to the efforts of some socially responsible hackers – who were clever enough to upload the East Anglia evidence simultaneously to multiple public servers beyond the jurisdiction of American and European law enforcement – clear evidence of premeditated climate-change fraud is finally being brought to light in a manner which doesn’t allow for the vested interests to cover it up.
Somehow, I suspect that wasn’t the kind of transparency that President Obama was expecting when he was preaching transparency on the campaign trail. It may be the kind of transparency we need though.
The ethical issue of “transparency sourcing” aside, here is the crucial point to be learned from the East Anglia incident: many scientists are no longer scientists. The easy spoils of government funding has turned far too many scientists into activists; activists who are all too willing to abandon scientific method in order to guarantee next year's round of government funding.
As long as political popularity is distorting the scientific process in this manner, we must recognize that we have no reliable way to know whether there is long-term global warming, or not, and whether it is anthropogenic, or not. As well, we have no way to assess whether any warming process might even be beneficial – something that everyone appears to assume to be untrue simply because they cannot imagine positive change (more evidence of an approaching Dark Age). That is something that no real scientist would accept as a given.
Life is changing, and life is adapting. It is almost impossible to define life without those qualities. Changing and adapting is what man has been doing on this planet since long before we crawled out of the oceans and later swung down from the trees – both of which occurred in a world that was rather hotter than the one we know today.
It is at the point when we stop changing, when we stop adapting, that we should begin to worry. It is at the point when our environment stops challenging us to change that we should begin to fear.
Stasis is what we should be afraid of, not change. Change is what keeps us alive. It is what defined us as we are now, and it will define what we become in the future – if we let it. The alternative is every bit as unthinkable as would have been choosing to stay in the caves.