Skeptics Agree on Basics, Refuse to Force Consensus

Published May 1, 2009

Some in the mainstream print media portrayed the second International Conference on Climate Change as hampered by dissension, exemplified by this observation from the March 9 New York Times: “Global warming’s skeptics are showing signs of internal rifts.”

But as Heartland President Joseph Bast noted in his opening remarks for the March 8-10 conference, “The 80 scientists, economists, and policy experts speaking at this conference have no shared agenda and no institutional interest in inflating the risks of climate change, and they bow to no government overseers. They speak out against what the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and many in government and the media claim to be a consensus because their own independent research suggests otherwise.”

Although global warming realists don’t sing out of the same hymnal, they did agree on several points:

* The science and temperature record are definitely moving in the direction of climate realism. NASA satellite data show temperatures in 2008 were no higher than in 1979, when the record started, and no warming since 2000.

* Newly calculated or discovered facts undermine the doom-and-gloom scenario from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and climate realists are winning on the key points of the causes and severity of climate change.

* Disagreement among the skeptics is a blessing, not a liability, in the debate. Many facts and theories undermine the claim that the modern warming is unprecedented or manmade.

* The high cost of reducing emissions and the potential for a massive increase in the power of government are legitimate worries.

* Mandates to lower carbon dioxide emissions or increase use of alternative fuels should be opposed. The world is not at risk of running out of oil any time soon; we have centuries’ worth of fossil fuels available (including coal and tar sands that can be converted into liquid fuel).