Opening Remarks by Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change

July 07, 2014

LAS VEGAS — Below are the prepared remarks by Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast to open the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change on the evening of July 7, 2014 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

The conference runs from 7:45 p.m. PDT tonight until 4 p.m. PDT Wednesday, July 9. You can view the entire conference via the live-stream at the conference websiteClick here for a full schedule, click here for a list of speakers, and click here for list of publicly announced award recipients.

For more information about the conference, or to schedule an interview with one of the speakers, contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org or via cell phone at 312/731-9364.

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OPENING REMARKS BY HEARTLAND INSTITUTE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BAST AT THE NINTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

MANDALAY BAY, LAS VEGAS, JULY 7, 2014

Good evening! Welcome to the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change.

Thank you for the introduction, James. James Taylor, a Heartland senior fellow and editor of Environment & Climate News, once again recruited most of the speakers for this conference, so a big round of applause, please, for him.

We will hear from some 64 speakers from 12 countries, 13 if you count the Moon as a country and figure Walter Cunningham can claim residence there, 14 if you think Washington DC is its own planet.

Scientists, economists, and policy experts from around the world are skeptical about the claims of global warming alarmists, not just those here in the U.S.

Cosponsors

And it isn’t just The Heartland Institute in the U.S. that thinks the threat of man-made global warming is being over-blown. This year’s ICCC is cosponsored by 32 organizations –  their names have been scrolling on these screens while you were eating. Many of them agreed to pay $150 and some even more to help us offset the cost of hosting the conference and sponsoring awards to some outstanding individuals.

In particular, I would like to recognize and thank the Media Research Center, Cornwall Alliance, Science and Environmental Policy Project, Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, CFACT, and the George C. Marshall Institute, for their help.

Please give all the cosponsors a big round of applause.

Funding

Speaking of funding and for the record, except for $150 from the Illinois Coal Association and another $150 from Liberty Coin Service, a great little coin shop in Lansing, Michigan, owned by my old friend Pat Heller, no corporate money was raised for this conference. And no, not a nickel from the “Koch brothers.”

About the conference

This conference will have panels featuring prominent scientists discussing the latest physical science such as the Apause@ and the failure of models to predict it, the IPCC=s fifth assessment report and NIPCC=s Climate Change Reconsidered II, polar ice caps, and much more.

Also on the program are economists and policy experts explaining the social BENEFITS as well as the social COSTS of fossil fuels, the futility of spending trillions of dollars attempting to stop uncertain and perhaps unknowable climate changes a century from now, and the need to repeal the bad energy policies and other policies that were adopted at the peak of the global warming scare and are now understood to be unnecessary, costly, and counterproductive.

You will also hear from bloggers, meteorologists, elected officials, and some of the most effective public speakers on earth about how to communicate the truth about climate change in a world in which most people are content to believe in climate change, rather than understand it.

This is a scholarly conference that many professional scientists are attending, and the speakers are prepared to handle their tough questions. But it is also entertaining and a little provocative, because unlike many alarmists, skeptics can take a joke.

Some speakers can’t help themselves but make fun of such leading proponents of global warming alarmism as Al Gore, Prince Charles, John Kerry, and even our new climate-scientist-in-chief, President Obama.

We have an Austrian rapper who going to entertain us tonight with a remarkable song he wrote about global warming following dinner tonight. It’s not a full-fledged Broadway play, but then again, we didn’t get $700,000 from the National Science Foundation to pay for it.

Missing from the program this year are any prominent global warming alarmists. We wish to debate those who disagree with us, but once again none of the alarmists we invited to speak showed up to defend their faith. So tomorrow’s headline may read “Global Warming Skeptics Refuse to Debate Their Opponents.” It’s not our fault. It’s hard to have a debate, over even a civil conversation, when the other side refuses to show up.

The Heartland Institute

This conference is a project of The Heartland Institute’s Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, which produces an ambitious program of research and educational projects in defense of free-market environmentalism. The world needs voices devoted to sound science and market-based, rather than government-based, solutions to environmental problems. The Heartland Institute helps find and amplify those voices. The nation’s air and water quality, the safety of its food, and the health and productivity of its forests all depend on bringing the best-available science and economic research to bear on protecting the environment.

We have brought together a team of leading scientists and economic experts to participate in the production of books — including four volumes in the Climate Change Rconsidered series, produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change — plus policy studies, videos, a monthly public policy newspaper, events like this one, and other educational activities.

If you aren’t already a donor and supporter of The Heartland Institute, I hope you’ll decide to become one over the next three days. More information and donor forms are on your table.

Theme for ICCC-9

As some of you know, we devoted a lot of effort to coming up with a theme for this year’s conference. This conference is scholarly but also a little entertaining and provocative. It offers contributions by scientists, economists, public policy experts, and professional communicators, and the audience includes all of the above plus elected officials, grassroots activists, and (it seems) about 1,000 retired engineers.

How to capture all that in a few words? I solicited ideas from a network of interested folks, and got an amazing number of suggestions, not all of them appropriate. Some of my favorites, though, in alphabetical order, were:

A lie repeated is still a lie

Beyond alarmism

Beyond the IPCC

Climate science vs. climate consensus

Climate change for dummies: A primer for Gore, Kerry, and Obama

Earth to Man: I barely notice you

And

Flogging a dead horse

And that was just some suggestions starting with the letters A through F!

We settled on “don’t just wonder about global warming, understand it!” I think that captures in just a few words the key difference between alarmists and skeptics in the global warming debate.

Alarmists see what they believe, while skeptics believe what they see. Alarmists think every change in the weather is evidence of a human impact on climate, and a human impact is necessarily bad. They believe only government can solve big problems, and man-made climate change would be the biggest problem ever discovered.

Skeptics believe what they see. They look at the data and see no warming for 17 years, no increase in storms, no increase in the rate of sea level rise, no new extinctions attributable to climate change, in short, no climate crisis. They ask how that could be, since humans obviously emit massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and affect climate in other ways, such as through agriculture, coastal development, and damming rivers.

They study the data – not the models, which just assume much of what is unknown – and come to understand climate They conclude – many of them, anyway -- that climate is a chaotic system that makes reliable long-term forecasts impossible, that natural variability swamps whatever effect humans might have, and that trying to control the weather by controlling how much carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere is folly, plain and simple.

That’s what I’ve come to understand to be the truth about climate change. One of the neat things about global warming skeptics is that they seldom agree on anything, so I dare not speak on behalf of anyone else. But I think most skeptics would say this is pretty close to it.

Climate Science Awards

Global warming has been called the most important public policy debate of our age. Those who believe in man-made global warming call for draconian reductions in the use of fossil fuels that would destroy millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth, and impoverish millions of people. Rather than defend the science behind their cause, global warming alarmists typically claim “the debate is over” and demonize their critics.

Global warming “skeptics” question whether the scientific debate is truly settled and ask for real data to support the claims of the alarmists. For this, they have been viciously attacked in the press, by politicians (including President Barack Obama), and on countless blogs and Web sites.

Some of the world’s most distinguished scientists, such as S. Fred Singer, Frederick Seitz, Sherwood Idso, Richard Lindzen, and Freeman Dyson, are global warming skeptics. They have been accused of dishonesty, incompetence, and worse.

In Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. federal government spent $22.5 billion on “global warming.” It spent $200 billion over the past 20 years. By one estimate, the world is spending $1 billion a DAY on projects that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for global warming alarmism.

All this spending has created a global warming industry that marginalizes, demonizes, and sometimes outright attacks the thousands of scholars and other professionals willing to speak out against a popular delusion. Scientists, economists, journalists, politicians, civic and business leaders – have had their careers ended or ruined by daring to speak truth to power.

The voices that ordinarily would speak out against crimes against free speech – we used to call them liberals, or free-thinkers -- are silent, either because of ignorance, ideological bias, or financial conflicts of interest.

Seven organizations have stepped forward to nominate award recipients and organize the award ceremonies to honor the brave men and women willing to speak out against global warming alarmism. Two of these awards will be presented tonight.

These awards deliver long-overdue recognition and encouragement to their recipients.

They also increase public awareness of the global warming realism movement and send a signal to the academy and other elite institutions saying if they won’t recognize our heroes, we will.

END OF REMARKS