Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hey, Remember the 90s? Patrick Michaels is Bringing Climate Denial Back!

A lot of conservatives have moved on from trying to say global warming isn't happening, or even that it's not due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Instead people like President Bush say that while global warming is happening, we mustn't require anyone to do anything about it because they think American business is unable to innovate and will never be able to adapt. OK, they don't say that last part, but it's certainly what they imply.

But not Patrick J. Michaels. The disgraced wannabe Virginia state climatologist is a retro kind of guy. So now, in the tradition of Goat Boy, he's bringing us Hey! Remember the '90s, when global warming deniers ran wild.

Let's break it down

Global-warming myth
Washington Times
May 16, 2008

I love it. Don't be like that wishy-washy President Bush, trying to cover up your true beliefs and trying to at least sound rational and moderate.

Say what you mean. Go for the throat right in the headline. Global warming is made up!

By Patrick J. Michaels - On May Day, Noah Keenlyside of Germany's Leipzig Institute of Marine Science, published a paper in Nature forecasting no additional global warming "over the next decade."

Germany's Leipzing Institute of Marine Science - certainly much more of a known and trusted name than, say, NASA. Or the UN's IPCC.

And hey, why aren't you putting global warming in quotes like Drudge always does? Everyone knows if you put something in quotes it means it's made up.

Al Gore and his minions continue to chant that "the science is settled" on global warming, but the only thing settled is that there has not been any since 1998.

Not true. 2005 was the hottest year on record. 2007 tied with 1998 for the second-hottest year on record. But continue, Patrick J. Michaels. Let's not let a complete fabrication in your second sentence slow you down. And I like where you're going with the selective use of quotation marks.

Critics of this view (rightfully) argue that 1998 was the warmest year in modern record, due to a huge El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean, and that it is unfair to start any analysis at a high (or a low) point in a longer history.

I wouldn't argue that because 1998 wasn't the hottest year on record. You'd think a climatologist would be able to get that right. But generally speaking, I'd agree -- can't start a review of any data by cherry-picking an abberational year and starting from there. Like, saying the Red Sox are the best team ever because they have the most titles since 2004 (when they had none in the 86 years before that). That would be dishonest.

But starting in 2001 or 1998 yields the same result: no warming.

Wait, didn't you just say that would be dishonest? I mean, we knew he'd manipulate the data and facts to fit his argument, but isn't it a little weird to actually say, "You know what would be dishonest? What I'm about to do."

The Keenlyside team found that natural variability in the Earth's oceans will "temporarily offset" global warming from carbon dioxide. Seventy percent of the Earth's surface is oceanic; hence, what happens there greatly influences global temperature. It is now known that both Atlantic and Pacific temperatures can get "stuck," for a decade or longer, in relatively warm or cool patterns. The North Atlantic is now forecast to be in a cold stage for a decade, which will help put the damper on global warming. Another Pacific temperature pattern is forecast not to push warming, either.

Yes. Projections. Models. Forecasts. All valuable. Keep these words in mind, kids. There will be a quiz in couple of paragraphs.

Science no longer provides justification for any rush to pass drastic global warming legislation. The Climate Security Act, sponsored by Joe Lieberman and John Warner, would cut emissions of carbon dioxide — the main "global warming" gas — by 66 percent over the next 42 years. With expected population growth, this means about a 90 percent drop in emissions per capita, to 19th-century levels.

BAM! "Global warming" in quotes. Means it's not true. Global warming now exists only in Imaginationland.

But yes, the Climate Security Act would dramatically slash our greenhouse gas emissions. It's not the first time America has asked science and industry to lead a revolution. Apollo project. Building a military machine to stop the Nazis. Big problems, big solutions. We can do it.

Other regulatory dictates are similarly unjustified. The Justice Department has ruled that the Interior Department has until May 15 to decide whether or not to list the polar bear as an endangered species.

Pressure to pass impossible-to-achieve legislation, like Lieberman-Warner, or grandstanding political stunts, like calling polar bears an "endangered species" even when they are at near record-high population levels, are based upon projections of rapid and persistent global warming.

WHAMMY! Endangered species don't exist anymore, either. Relax, giant pandas! You're doing fine.

And again with the impossible-to-achieve-ness. Great things are hard to do. If they were easy, they wouldn't be great. I just picture Patrick J. Michaels watching the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan with his arms folded and shaking his head saying, "This is going to be a short movie. They'll never make it."

Proponents of wild legislation like to point to the 2007 science compendium from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deemed so authoritative it was awarded half of last year's Nobel Peace Prize. (The other half went to Al Gore.) In it there are dozens of computer-driven projections for 21st-century warming. Not one of them projects that the earth's natural climate variability will shut down global warming from carbon dioxide for two decades. Yet, that is just what has happened.

Yes, we wouldn't want to rely on computer projections and models, would we? Wait, what's that? Patrick J. Michaels was talking about a computer models and forecasts just five paragraphs ago? Well, you see, that's a model he agrees with. That's fine. The thousands of models he disagrees with are all bullshit.

The next half-dozen paragraphs are more "this one guy is right and the entire rest of the scientific community is wrong." Let's skip to the end.

One final prediction: The teeming polar bear population will be listed as "endangered," and in the next year or two, Congress will pass a bill mandating large and impossible cuts in carbon dioxide.

Um, that's not one prediction. That's two. No wonder this guy can't figure out which year was the hottest on record.

What is "settled" is the politics, not the science.

The science isn't settled! Teach to the controversy! Evolution is a theory! Wait, what were we talking about?

Patrick J. Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute.

We even get a revealing tidbit in the tagline. Patrick J. Michaels works for the Cato Institute, which is funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil and General Motors. Gee, do you think that might color his perspective? Just a little bit?
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