Monday, November 23, 2009

“Dr. Suzuki to Emergency! Stat!”

As all hell breaks loose in the world of Global Warming, Canada’s leading voice for environmental protection and climate change seems to have suddenly gone quiet. Where is the reaction to last week’s bombshell revelations from Dr. David Suzuki?

Did he know about any of this?

And if he did, what does he have to say now?


For those who still get their news from the mainstream media, on November 19, 2009, a large amount of climate change related data was stolen from servers at the University of East Anglia by a hacker and subsequently posted on the web.

Contained in the hundreds of purloined documents, verified as authentic by Phil Jones, director of the institution’s Climate Research Unit, are scientific papers, research test results and emails overwhelmingly suggesting that Global Warming has been a well orchestrated fraud.

The released files include emails between some of the most respected scientists researching climate change in which they collude to make certain their findings support their Manmade Global Warming thesis when the actual test results do not.

Instructions are given on erasing any email trails that might reveal their collusion. And in some cases, people are instructed on how to destroy the reputations of fellow scientists who might question their findings.

The material contains countless passages like this one, “I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which were not always the same. I worried that you might think I gave the impression of not supporting you well enough while trying to report on the issues and uncertainties.”

In other words, researchers aware that peer approval and billions in research grants were only there for those who supported the concept of Anthropomorphic Global Warming were willing to skew or bury contradictory results and maybe find ways of helping the cause at the same time.

You can find more thoughtful explorations of the implications of all this through the links at the end of this post.

But I still want to hear from Dr. Suzuki.

Like most Canadians, I learned most of what I know about Science through the CBC radio show “Quirks and Quarks” which Dr. Suzuki started in 1974 and “The Nature of Things” his CBC TV series that has been a network mainstay since 1979.

I’d venture to say there is barely a Canadian with any environmental awareness who doesn’t owe it, in whole or in part, to the good doctor. He’s long been one of our most admired citizens and in the past years has also been our point man on Climate Change, hammering one local or foreign government after another for dragging their heels in addressing Climate Change.

A couple of years ago, however, I was stunned when Suzuki angrily walked off a Toronto radio show after being asked a fairly benign question about the so-called “Global Warming Debate”. As far as Suzuki was concerned, the debate was over, the science was settled, man-made emissions were the cause of the problem and without an immediate change to the way we live, the planet was doomed.

He wasn’t wasting his time changing minds anymore.

It was the phrase, “the science is settled” which bothered me and bothered me more as I heard it from other environmentalists and political activists like former US Vice President Al Gore.

It was a phrase that seemed to be spit in the face of people sincerely asking what they felt were legitimate questions. It was the way environmental activists pulled informational rank on anyone who would dare question their facts and predictions.

We know this is true. There is no longer any debate. The science is settled.

There have been several times in history when the science was apparently settled. There were times when 13 year old virgins were prescribed by doctors as the only way for a man to get rid of Syphilis, times when every Victorian era doctor carried a jar of leeches in his medical bag to alleviate depression and a famous moment when the Catholic Church settled science by giving Galileo the choice of repudiating his proof that the Earth revolved around the Sun or being turned over to the Inquisition.

Science is never settled.

But for David Suzuki and others in the environmental movement it was. And anyone who dared question them was humiliated or shunned.

Meanwhile, the movement evolved from doing scientific research to dictating social policy. How many times have you heard somebody slam Stephen Harper or some other world leader for wanting more information before initiating “Cap & Trade” and “Carbon Offset” legislation that promises to make some people very rich and others far worse off than they are now.

That’s always been swaddled in the promise of a cleaner planet, a planet free of all kinds of impending catastrophes and a planet that will then be able to support several future generations of our species.

But now it appears the “settled science” was entirely something else.

And I’m not sure that comes as a complete surprise. There’s something about the way Climate Change advocates have conducted themselves lately that has caused many people to wonder if they really knew what they were talking about.

About a week ago, Al Gore, former VP, Nobel Prize winner for his Climate Change work and owner of an Academy Award for the grand-daddy of all environmental films “An Inconvenient Truth” appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with Conan O’Brien. Here’s a snippet…

Let’s take the misinformation in order here…

“Geo-Thermal Energy is a relatively new solution to our energy problems.”

Actually, in places like Iceland, it’s been in use for more than 300 years. And the ground source heat pump was invented more than 100 years ago.

"Two kilometres or more down there are these incredibly hot rocks.”

Geo-Thermal energy can be accessed by drilling as little as 75 and at most 300 feet. And if you want to get to the “really hot rocks”, you’ve actually got to go down about 3000 kilometres.

“The Earth is extremely hot, several million degrees.”

Well, nobody’s been down there with a thermometer yet, but best estimates from bouncing sound waves off the center of the planet say the temperature is probably around 5000 degrees Centigrade.

“We have a 35,000 year supply of energy just from Geo-Thermal.”

Actually, since Geo-Thermal energy is stored energy from the Sun, it’ll last as long as the Sun does.

“They’ve figured out how to do the drilling with new drill bits that don’t melt in that heat.”

At 300 feet, you’re looking at a ground temperature of around 200 degrees. Hot for us, but not damaging to most metals. The metal with the highest melting point is Tungsten, which begins to liquefy at 3410 degrees Celsius and that’s been in common usage since the 18th Century.

“Deeper than we’ve ever drilled before.”

BP has one oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that is already 5 km deeper than the hole Al wants to drill.

How smart am I to know all this? Not that smart at all.

I found it all on Mr. Gore’s last invention, the Internet, in about 20 minutes.

Better question might be, “Is it possible that the guy running against George Bush in the 2000 American Presidential election was even dumber than the eventual winner?”

And it kind of makes sense that this is all spewed out to a TV host whose parent company, GE, will be one of the big winners in Cap and Trade legislation and probably isn’t equipped to know the holes in Gore’s argument in the first place.

And since much of the show’s audience was already half asleep or hooked to a bong, Gore’s “facts” just automatically get accepted as fact.

Just like what appears to be a lot of Global Warming “Research”.

But I want to hear all this explained by Dr. David Suzuki. If he was duped by the research in the same way we were fooled, I’ll understand.

But if he’s been lying to me, lying to Canadian kids and supporting those lies with the taxpayer money that funds “The Nature of Things”, I think we have a right to know.

Speak up, Doc. Tell me the Emperor actually has some clothes.


Background on the CRU Hack can be found here and here. Both of these links now include additional links to mainstream media who have been slow in responding but must know this is not a story they can afford to ignore.


MarkCF said...

Thanks for that. I agree. Let the good Doctor step up.

DMc said...

Hi Jim.

I'd like to hear Dr. Suzuki talk too. But maybe not exactly to the hysterical point you seem to be sharpening.

(Congrats, by the way, that Pajamas and Redstate reading is paying off... you're getting really good at that style.)

No, what I'd like to hear Suzuki address is what's happened to the quality of understanding about science in the years since, thanks to cost cutting, newspapers have increasingly left science reporting in the hands of general reporters. Time was, the person writing about science was at least, you know, good at it. And didn't make dumb mistakes.

Not anymore.

Now, I don't want to impugn the quality of the sources you note here, but there's a long and fabulous history of the right wing noise machine "smoking gun game changer" that never was. You're not really going to make me go back and find the "smoking gun" certitude about...

a) Obama's birth certificate.
b) How the Clintons killed Vince Foster.
c) How Whitewater was 'definitely' a smoking gun.
d) The 'slam dunk' case for WMD's in Iraq

etc. etc. ibid.

The news media's false equivalency of taking this scientist and throwing them up against that scientist and saying, "well people aren't sure" belies the true opinion in the scientific community about Global Warming.

Not cap and trade...not clean coal...the fact of global warming - is not in dispute. And you can draw a pretty straight line between the quality of the dispute between global warming deniers and the quality of debate put forth by those who are equally desperate to poke holes in the theory of evolution.

Far from being a 'smoking gun,' what the email theft shows it that science isn't perfect, and it's messy, and people are venal and squabble and don't always agree and sometimes disagree quite vituperatively. Now, I lived with an astrophysicist for a couple years in University, and I could have told you all that. Doesn't change all those exoplanets they've found.

The misunderstanding, and elevation, of backstage intra-scientist arguments is merely the latest volley in quite a successful campaign to muddy the waters about an issue that shouldn't be muddy at all. It's a wonder from a PR standpoint, but it's no more a "game changer" than Orly Taitz's screaming about Obama's Kenyan roots.

Consider the source.

I have a feeling, in fact, that the true weariness out there now is from the majority of us that are just tired of this bullshit. I'm tired of the smugness of the left, the tone deaf utter lack of engagement and denial of human nature, and I'm tired of the constant, screaming, wounded victim-stance of the right, who dress up their greed, daddy issues, and fear of being asked to "grab their ankles" as debate.

Serious people owe it to themselves to read from a variety of sources, and to keep an open mind, and to weigh evidence not due to how much the source agrees with what they usually believe, but how objectively what what's being said jibes with what you've read elsewhere.

And a good start isn't demanding "Bring me the head of David Suzuki" by what you read on Small Dead Animals and the fucking like.

Tomorrow, can we talk about how any criticism of Israel in any way is anti-semitic? I mean, that's a POV with just as much merit...

jimhenshaw said...

I thought you were on vacation!

But to your points...

While the story broke among the True Believers in Sarah Palin and all things Big Oil, Bad Bush and others who wear both belts and suspenders, it appears the "source" (CRU) is collectively and individually admitting that "Yeah, that's the shit we wrote..."

Speaking as somebody who joined Greenpeace near the start and hasn't touched a drop of French wine since those fuckers bombed the "Rainbow Warrior". I gotta say that I think it's too easy to cast this as another example of the out of control Left/Right divide.

Nobody appears to be making this up and even the PJ and SDA editors are reminding people that it's far too easy for somebody to slip an incediary fictional email into what may be just the usual academic pissing contest.

But the Gore clip is just flat out ignorance personified. Nobody photoshopped his head onto Dick Cheney's body and got Glenn Beck to do the voice over.

And maybe you can forgive him a little because he'd just spent several hours on his carbon spewing private jet or he was bleary from staring at one of the twin oversized energy munching LCD screens that sit on his office desk. But really, the man's just talking out of his ass!

And you are absolutely correct about the lack of media coverage of Science (or anything else for that matter that requires some thought or prep time).

But are you also telling me that guys like Dick Cavett and David Frost and Morley Safer just can't be found anymore -- or is it easier for somebody's agenda to succeed if everything is just straight ahead us vs them?

And I think both sides can take equal ownership of that strategy.

Eleven fact checkers at AP on "Going Rogue"? In her wildest dreams she's no more than an Oprah opposite. Is this overkill or does AP not have one or two people who can actually read most of the language anymore?

For the record:

a) Obama was born in Hawaii
b) All the Clintons ever killed was their marriage.
c) I think I was busy during Whitewater. Did they make a movie of that with Jon Voight and banjo music?
d) There were WMDs in Iraq. But the Blackwater guys scarfed them up and planted them in minority neighborhoods until the Day of Reckoning. (And this I know for a fact, Dude!)

Alls I'm saying is this Global Warming thing doesn't really seem to be about Science anymore and I'd like the guy who first made me aware of how important it might be to explain what those files really say.

And BTW, as of tonight, the story is front page in the NY Times and The Guardian and the Boston Globe and others that wouldn't be caught dead taking their cues from Fox.

But until I hear from Dave I'm not changing anymore light bulbs and I'm plugging the beer fridge back in.

Now for God's sake, go for a swim. There will be no palm trees along Front Street for decades to come.

Anonymous said...

OK, here's what I don't get. Even if there are holes in the global warming science, where's the bad in conservation???

If my using public transportation instead of driving my car doesn't "save the polar bears" but instead helps reduce the rates of asthma in the children in my neighborhood, where's the bad?

If my changing out a lightbulb can help reduce my energy bill and prevent acid rain from forming to the east of me, where's the bad?

If my washing my clothes in cold water in laundry detergent without phosphates can help surface water quality, air quality, and my bills, where's the bad?

Why do we have to make this into an all-or-nothing debate? Dude, change the light bulbs anyway -- I like LEDs.

jimhenshaw said...

I couldn't agree more, Anonymous. And feel free to use your real name around here. Nobody bites -- too hard.

Being sensible and doing all we can to improve the environment is one thing. Scaring and lying to people so they won't think twice about carbon taxes, Cap and Trade and other schemes that do little if anything to conserve, clean up or otherwise improve our lives is something else.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants to see what "scientists" can do to one of their brethren in a more non-controversial area, see anything on Tom Dillehay. this will do:

Until recently, the prevailing view was that the first Americans arrived about 11,500 years ago from Siberia, over a land bridge that has disappeared into what is now the Bering Strait. These ancient settlers were called the Clovis people, named after an archaeological find in Clovis, N.M.

But researchers led by University of Kentucky anthropologist Tom Dillehay found human remains and artifacts in Monte Verde, Chile, that have been dated to 12,500 years ago. Although the first discoveries came two decades ago, Dillehay’s scientific critics accepted his findings only last year.

Yeah, that's some settled science, eh?

Scientists are some of the most conservative professionals around, and I mean that in the bad way, as in, stodgy. Hardly the kind of people we should be trusting with the future.

Rusty James said...

Hahahha. Scientists. Is there an 'organization' out there that doesn't reek of shit?

I think humans are an inherently corrupt life form... but coupled with greedy management? A disaster.

Bring on the Aliens already.

Michael F said...

I wonder how many of those emails support the (fairly obvious) premise that the world is warming due to man's impact.

But then again, nobody is looking for those emails, are they?