Shallow Science Criticized by Global Warming Experts

Published May 1, 2009

Willie Soon, a Harvard University astrophysicist and geophysicist with scores of peer-reviewed papers and books to his credit, said he is “embarrassed and puzzled” by the shallow science in papers asserting the Earth faces a climate crisis caused by global warming.

Soon told the second International Conference on Climate Change on March in New York City, “We have a system [of peer reviewing scientific literature] that is truly, truly appalling.”

Soon’s criticisms echoed an earlier presentation at the 2-1/2-day conference that was attended by about 700 scientists, economists, and policymakers considering the issue of “Global Warming: Was it ever really a crisis?”

John Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire, former chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, and holder of a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, had lamented what he called the “restrictive distribution of research funds” through government channels.

Funding Fairness Needed

Sununu called for a “fairness doctrine” to be “applied to the funding of research and to the journal review and publishing of papers.”

Sununu and Soon both said global warming alarmists, particularly the politicians and the few scientists who wrote the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, have captured the scientific paper process, and in Sununu’s words, have been successful in “taking control of who gets funding, who gets published, who gets acclaimed, and who gets demonized.”

“What happened to the peer-review process?” Soon asked rhetorically while reviewing egregious and complex examples of doctored data and sloppy scholarship in global warming alarmist literature.

Alarmists Fighting Growth, Development

Sununu warned the attendees the climate change debate will never be settled, no matter how persuasive sound science is. He accused alarmists of using global warming as a decoy to provide cover for anti-growth and anti-development activists.

Sununu noted these same anti-growth activists in the 1960s alleged a population crisis to justify restrictive command-and-control regulations, and then turned to global cooling as the alarm-of-the-decade in the 1970s. Climate cooling mutated into the dangerous warming cult of the 1990s and today.

Hansen Soundly Rebuked

In a separate presentation, John Theon, retired senior atmospheric scientist at NASA, accused his former underling, James Hansen, of embarrassing NASA with his increasingly strident claims of imminent death and destruction from global warming. Among other charges, Hansen has asked for a Nuremberg-style trial of climate realists who disagree with his predictions of upcoming global warming catastrophes.

Theon said some 300 scientists, including Hansen, reported to him when he was at NASA, “but [Hansen] didn’t receive the attention from me that he should have.”

Theon noted, for instance, that Hansen, a NASA astronomer, received a six-figure grant from the Heinz Foundation, run by the wealthy wife of U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and afterwards, endorsed Kerry for the presidency. Theon said Hansen’s endorsement violated the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from endorsing candidates. But Hansen, Theon said, had “too many powerful friends” in Washington, and so far has escaped discipline.

Theon added that since Hansen has engaged in many hundreds of interviews in recent years, he clearly has not been muzzled, as he claims.

Warming Myths Debunked

Lord Christopher Monckton, former science advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, brought the conference to a close with a standing ovation as he identified many of the deliberately misleading myths about climate change propagated by warming alarmists:

* “Global warming is happening now”—it’s actually cooling.

* “Global warming is getting worse”—it’s actually getting better.

* “Arctic sea ice is disappearing”—in fact there is no discernible trend in winter sea ice area over the past 30 years.

* “Antarctic sea ice is disappearing”—in fact the area of sea ice around Antarctica reached a 30-year record high in 2007.

* “The Great Barrier Reef is being damaged by global warming”—actually there is no trend in the sea surface temperature of the reef over the past 40 years.

* “Hurricanes are being made worse by global warming”—on the contrary, the accumulated cyclone energy index in October 2008 was at its lowest recorded value in the past 30 years.

‘Forces of Darkness’

Monckton closed the conference with ringing words of praise for the 700-plus who attended over 2-1/2 days.

“You, in this room, have bravely upheld the truth and the scientific method against all manner of lies, threats, sanctions, personal attacks, and entertaining revisions to your CreepyMedia biographies,” Monckton said. “Because you have not failed or faltered, the Forces of Darkness are now scuttling back into their lairs, there to snivel in the eternal darkness of utter oblivion and CNN.”

Dan Miller ([email protected]) is executive vice president and publisher for The Heartland Institute.