Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Warming Skepticism

Environmentalists are loud and persistent in claiming that the Earth is undergoing "catastrophic global warming', due entirely to human interference. Reporters, most of whom have no training or expertise whatsoever, have bought into this feel-good campaign just as they did with the "new ice age" mantra thirty years ago. Articles decrying human existence and claiming that the Earth is in imminent danger clog the news media. But how accurate is all this?

Not very, according to a paper released today by the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The release states that, "Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics." The paper then follows up this statememt with a list of some of the prominent climatologists who have changed their opinions about global warming based on new research.

This serves to tell us two things:

First, reporters should not be trusted when they opine on topics of this sort, since most of them have absolutely no knowledge or expertise regarding the subjects on which they write. Their pack mentality, coupled with their espousal as a group of far-left ideologies make them prone to emotional, agenda-driven writing, whether the facts bear it out or not. And they also tend to see non-government organizations through a rose-colored lens, applying none of the highly skeptical focii that they would give to a corporate entity. One has only to look at the media's coverage of Hurricane Katrina or the coverage of the Enron vscandal versus the Teamsters scandal to see these trends in action.

Second, climatology is a science of uncertainty. I freely admit I am no expert, which is why I tend to be skeptical. However, please remember that meteorologists can't even predict the weather for a weekly period with any accuracy. Why should we trust them to be able to predict long-term trends with any more success? In addtition, as many meteorologists and climatologists will admit, there is no reliable data for the period prior to approximately 1900. All we have are computer models, and as a computer scientist myself, I know that the output is only as good as the formulations that create said output. Since no one has any real idea, the data parameters are based on guesswork- not the best foundation for research on an issue of this potential magnitude.

A fair sample of journalistic standards (or lack thereof) where global warming is concerned is this article from Sky News. Note the screaming headline and how only a single report (from an environmenttalist group that has heavily invested in convinving us that climate change is necessary) is used as a source. No counter-evidence is included. And of course, when this article ineveitably turns out to be wrong (five years till climate disaster? really?), the staff writers will deny any responsibility for needlessly inflaming fears. The media is infamous for writing screaming headlines and then tyring to pretend that it never happened when they turn out to be wrong, as they have on virtually everything in the last thirty years. I am not surprised that more and more scientists are coming around to skepticism as regards global warming. I am surprised only that so many fell for this alarmist, thinly-sourced campaign in the first place.

No comments: