Despite what this newspaper's editorialists aver ("A New Year's resolution," Jan. 2, 2009), there is no scientific proof that "time is running out for mankind to take the needed actions to thwart the most disastrous effects of climate change." Nor is it anything more than an unproven assertion to argue that "the relevant scientific community has reached a clear consensus: Many decades of unchecked fossil fuel consumption has pushed the planet far beyond the natural cycle, and the impact of this enhanced warming, especially the forecast rise in sea level this century, could ultimately lead to human suffering on an epic scale."
The Baltimore Sun confidently urges the next president to avoid the temptation of postponing drastic action on this matter because of other pressing problems, such as the worldwide economic slowdown, our wars in Eurasia, etc. - the most important thing in the long term is to "reduce global warming." To this I say: "Nonsense." Oops, that makes me a "flat-earth type," and an all-around bad person, perhaps allied with "certain deep-pocketed traditional energy interests such as coal producers." As you probably know, proponents of global warming are very well funded as well, but space is limited, so let us move on to the idea of scientific consensus, which is oxymoronic.
Michael Crichton put it this way in a 2003 speech: "Let's be clear: The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period."
The talismanic word consensus is hauled out and used to beat skeptics about the head and shoulders only in cases where the science is far from convincing. Besides, the consensus is not actually there. Search for the book The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution and Fraud and you'll find a list of some of the scientists who depart from the supposed consensus.
The idea that we can predict anything at all about what the next century has in store for us and further generations is patently ludicrous. We don't know what the weather will be like over the next two weeks, yet the global warming crowd insists that computer modeling shows imminent disaster and actions must be taken immediately, no matter the cost, to avert it.
S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery wrote a book, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, a New York Times best-seller, providing details on scientific studies that disprove the arguments put forth by Al Gore (and The Baltimore Sun) about human activity causing climate change. The 1,500-year cycle of climate change is not based on unproven, theoretical computer modeling, but on actual ice core sampling and satellite measurement of the sun's varying rays. The evidence from the actual measurements is that variation in solar activity - sun spots - is what causes global warming and cooling.
The fact is that the latest global warming began about 18,000 years ago, long before man started spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. At that time, thick layers of ice covered much of the Earth. The even bigger picture to keep in mind shows that for several million years, the dominant climate on this planet has been that of ice ages, which last approximately 100,000 years and which are interrupted by far briefer periods of warming, called interglacial periods, lasting for about 15,000 to 20,000 years. The current one in which we humans and other species developed and thrived should last a while longer before the extreme, life-unfriendly deep freeze returns. Warming is what enables and enhances life and is therefore something to be welcomed, not something to be feared.
Ron Smith can be heard weekdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., on 1090 WBAL-AM and WBAL.com. His column appears Wednesdays in The Baltimore Sun. His e-mail is email@example.com.