Obama, Copenhagen, and the Global Warming Skeptics





Mr. Moss is a professor of history at Eastern Michigan University. For a list of his recent books and online publications, click here.

Next week President Obama will appear at an international climate summit in Copenhagen. A few weeks ago, he pledged his administration would work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. In June a House of Representatives’ bill had already approved these targets, but the full Senate still needs to address the issue.

In November 2008, while still president-elect, Obama had sent a message to a bipartisan group of U.S. governors meeting in California. In it he said:

Few challenges facing America--and the world--are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.

Many Americans, however, don’t agree with President Obama that “the science is beyond dispute.” Not good enough for them are numerous reports since 1995 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), relying on more than 2,000 scientists worldwide, which cite increasing evidence of human-caused global warming. Not good enough is a May 2009 statement by the Academies of Science of the USA, other G-8 countries, and the five leading emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa). It cited the IPCC’s 2007 declaration that “large reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases, principally CO2 [carbon dioxide], are needed soon to slow the increase of atmospheric concentrations, and avoid reaching unacceptable levels” and that “the need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable.”  Skeptics continue to insist, however, that scientists are “split” on the question.

And indeed there are some scientists who are skeptics. A mid-2009 Pew Research Center poll stated that only 84 percent of U.S. scientists said that “the earth is getting warmer because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels”--only 49 percent of the public agreed. But it is not science that seems mainly to motivate most skeptics. It is ideology or political inclination, chiefly of the right-wing variety. To better understand this motivation a brief look backwards is necessary.

Denying what most leading scientists think is nothing new in U.S. history. It was dramatically illustrated already in the famous Scopes “monkey trial” of 1925.  In it a Tennessee biology teacher was found guilty of teaching evolution rather than the biblical account of creation. Almost a century later, many Americans continued to think contrary to what most scientists maintained regarding evolution. According to the 2009 Pew poll mentioned above, while 87 percent of U. S. scientists maintain “that humans and other living things have evolved over time and that evolution is the result of natural processes such as natural selection,” only “32 percent of the U. S. public accepts this as true.”

In the 1990s a U.S. “cultural war” raged. On one side were conservatives who usually believed that their church and/or scripture guided them in determining truth and God’s will. Opposing them were those whom the book Culture Wars (1991) called progressives. They relied more on reason, their inner selves, and contemporary conditions in deciding right from wrong. But these progressives included not only atheists and agnostics, but also some religious believers of various faiths.

U. S. conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, in his book See, I Told You So (1993), attempted to link such progressives with communist, un-American thinking. He accused them of “waging cultural warfare--a tactic . . . which remains the last great hope for chronic America-bashers” who desired to capture the leading cultural institutions and subvert belief in God and “divinely inspired moral absolutes.”

Many human-caused global warming deniers follow in this conservative cultural-war tradition. Limbaugh himself stated in his 1993 book that “despite the hysterics of a few pseudo-scientists, there is no reason to believe in global warming.” In an August 15, 2005 broadcast he declared that global warming was "one of the biggest hoaxes being perpetrated on the people of the world" and that "environmentalists still cannot prove that this [global warming] is man-made."

Another conservative who used similar language was Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. In July 2003 he declared on the Senate floor that global warming alarmism was the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."  In September 2009, he announced that he would attend the Copenhagen conference to “ lead a truth squad.”

Still another conservative skeptic is national syndicated columnist George Will, who in February 2009 noted that a Pew poll indicated that the American people ranked climate change last out of twenty issues the government should prioritize. His explanation was that “real calamities [like the major economic recession then occurring] take our minds off hypothetical ones.” In a more recent column (November 8, 2009), he noted that “although the political and media drumbeat of alarm is incessant, a Pew poll shows that only 57 percent of Americans think there is solid evidence of global warming, down 20 points in three years.” In general, Will regards most environmentalists with suspicion, as we see from an even more recent column entitled “Awash in Fossil Fuels”--“today, there is a name for the political doctrine that rejoices in scarcity of everything except government. The name is environmentalism.”

Thanks in part to the influence of such conservative thinking, as well as that of lobbyists like those from ExxonMobil, global warming skepticism is much higher in the United States than in most other leading economic nations. Numerous Pew and Harris polls conducted from 2006 to 2009 make this clear. As with belief in evolution, so too with global warming, people’s religious beliefs also influence attitudes. Extensive polling by the World Values Surveys, conducted periodically since 1981, clearly demonstrates that citizens in the USA were more likely than those in most European countries and Japan to have traditionally religious values rather than secular-rationalistic ones. U.S. polling also demonstrates that evangelical Christians are much more likely to be global warming skeptics than are religiously unaffiliated people, with other Christians being somewhere in between. Such skepticism is also more common among those with less formal education and far more common among Republicans than Democrats.

Thus, it is clear that far more than science and reason are influencing the climate-change debate.  But the issue is fundamentally a scientific one, so we should approach it in the most scientific and rational way possible. Is it not more rational to heed the advice of the Academies of Science rather than a distinct minority of scientists, talk-show hosts, or global-warming denial web sites?

In making rational decisions it can be helpful to examine the past thinking of noble and wise people. One whose voice we might listen to is the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1975, Russian physicist and human-rights advocate Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989), whom President Reagan once honored by naming a day after him. Sakharov defined a scientific approach as “a method based on deep analysis of facts, theories, and views, presupposing unprejudiced, unfearing open discussion and conclusions.” Here are a few other quotes from him:

Carbon dioxide from the burning of coal is altering the heat-reflecting qualities of the atmosphere. Sooner or later, this will reach a dangerous level. But we do not know when. (1968)

I am now inclined to regard the many-faceted ecological threat to our environment as our most serious long-term problem. (1988)

Another individual concerned with environmental threats was the German-born economist E. F. Schumacher (1911-1977), who left Nazi Germany to settle in England. Already in the mid- 1950s, according to his daughter’s biography, he was speaking of the accelerating “exhaustion of non-renewable resources” (like the fossil fuels that George Will now assures us we are “awash in”) and insisting that “a civilization built on renewable resources . . .  is . . . superior to one built on non-renewable resources, such as oil, coal, metal, etc.” Later in such books as Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (1973), he spelled out his self-sustaining, pro-environmental economic approach. He realized that the main cause of earth’s rapidly increasing environmental damage was industrial society’s obsession with economic growth and the constant production of more and more goods regardless of other consequences. He wrote favorably of a “Buddhist-economics” approach that would reflect the belief that “the essence of civilization [lies] not in a multiplication of wants, but in the purification of human character.” He was also a pioneer in having solar panels placed on the roof of his house. Although he eventually converted to Catholicism and came to believe that for life we require more than just reason and science, he insisted that “faith is not in conflict with reason, nor is it a substitute for reason” (A Guide for the Perplexed,1977). After his death, Schumacher Societies were established in Britain, the USA, and a few other countries, and today global warming is one of their chief concerns.

Like Schumacher, many people of various religions have concluded that “faith is not in conflict with reason, nor is it a substitute for reason.” Such individuals have attempted to be open to the demands of reason and science and have recognized the strong likelihood of human-caused global warming. So too have some conservatives like New York Times columnist David Brooks and some Republican politicians like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 2007 Al Gore and the IPCC received the Noble Peace Prize for their efforts in dealing with climate control. That same year Gore’s book The Assault on Reason was published. It offered some good advice for his fellow citizens: “Americans in both parties should insist on the reestablishment of respect for the rule of reason. The climate crisis, in particular, should cause us to reject and transcend ideologically based distortions of the best available scientific evidence.”


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Arnold Shcherban - 2/2/2010

If a theory supported by the great majority of scientific community based on scientific models and experimental data (and they all are based on models and experimental data) should not be acknowledged as the truth, as we currently know it, just because some real or pseudo scientists disagree with it, then there would be no place and justification for ANY scientific theory (and never have been), including those that all modern technology that you and me use every day is based on.
Albert Einstein (I doubt you can suggest bigger name among anti-warming
scientists) himself (along with some other outstanding physicists which are still looking for the ways to overthrow the quantum mechanical indeterminism) was extremely doubtful about the quantum mechanical theory and actually never hasn't accepted it as the theory behind micro-world phenomena, but the latter theory is still considered and proved (in practical applications)
to be the best theory we have so far, many decades after the first objections to that theory were pronounced.
Thus, the doubts and even internal contradictions that exist about and within every wide-scale theory do not
allow any specialist to view the conclusions of such theory as unreliable, unless the latter ones directly contradict massive experimental data. There are no contradictions of similar kind found
to the theory on question here, and therefore (the data collected on the ground so far have overwhelmingly support the theory), it has to be admitted as the best theory we have now.
If, however, the scientists that
oppose the climate change theory find
sufficient evidence to the contrary, don't you worry "spiritual" folks, the FACTS and empirical evidence are the divine motives behind the conclusions of the majority of scientists (not economics, politics and/or ideology, which drive the "opinions" of the majority of so-called "lay" folks) and therefore the scientific community will acknowledge those potential findings and will try to work out new theory more reliably simulating the natural
phenomena in question.
The same can be said (perhaps, I'm repeating myself here) about many other scientific theories and paradigms which are somehow not questioned by the majority of American lay people (and notice, just in this country out of all civilized ones those folks constitute a majority)... Why? The explanation is quite simple: follow the money.
The fabulous profits of big US corporations related to energy sector and millions of folks/businesses affiliated with them one way or another are perceived to be threatened. Plus, in this country most folks perceive scientific ideas and theories only as good, as they can be utilized for immediate benefits (not mentioning already that many of those folks believe in ghosts and ... should I continue?) and the climate warming theory is most uncomfortable in this sense, since
it demands huge investments, instead of benefits.
Thus, ladies and gents, you and other scientists and lay folks are free to have your opinions and doubts about the existing climate change theory, the same way the majority of the folks like you in this country don't believe in the theory of evolution, despite overwhelming scientific evidence in its favor collected through many decades and its true acceptance among the absolute majority of the world's civilized community, but you have no moral or intellectual right (while claiming to be objective and educated person) OPPOSE its conclusions in the sphere of economic and social decisions.


Arnold Shcherban - 1/31/2010

Mr. Friedman,

If a theory supported by the great majority of scientific community based on scientific models and experimental data (and they all are based on models and experimental data) should not be acknowledged as the truth, as we currently know it, just because some real or pseudo scientists disagree with it, then there would be no place and justification for ANY scientific theory (and never have been), including those that all modern technology that you and me use every day is based on.
Albert Einstein (I doubt you can suggest bigger name among anti-warming
scientists) himself (along with some other outstanding physicists which are still looking for the ways to overthrow the quantum mechanical indeterminism) was extremely doubtful about the quantum mechanical theory and actually never hasn't accepted it as the theory behind micro-world phenomena, but the latter theory is still considered and proved (in practical applications)
to be the best theory we have so far, many decades after the first objections to that theory were pronounced.
Thus, the doubts and even internal contradictions that exist about and within every wide-scale theory do not
allow any specialist to view the conclusions of such theory as unreliable, unless the latter ones directly contradict massive experimental data. There are no contradictions of similar kind found
to the theory on question here, and therefore (the data collected on the ground so far have overwhelmingly support the theory), it has to be admitted as the best theory we have now.
If, however, the scientists that
oppose the climate change theory find
sufficient evidence to the contrary, don't you worry "spiritual" folks, the FACTS and empirical evidence are the divine motives behind the conclusions of the majority of scientists (not economics, politics and/or ideology, which drive the "opinions" of the majority of so-called "lay" folks) and therefore the scientific community will acknowledge those potential findings and will try to work out new theory more reliably simulating the natural
phenomena in question.
The same can be said (perhaps, I'm repeating myself here) about many other scientific theories and paradigms which are somehow not questioned by the majority of American lay people (and notice, just in this country out of all civilized ones those folks constitute a majority)... Why? The explanation is quite simple: follow the money.
The fabulous profits of big US corporations related to energy sector and millions of folks/businesses affiliated with them one way or another are perceived to be threatened. Plus, in this country most folks perceive scientific ideas and theories only as good, as they can be utilized for immediate benefits (not mentioning already that many of those folks believe in ghosts and ... should I continue?) and the climate warming theory is most uncomfortable in this sense, since
it demands huge investments, instead of benefits.
Thus, Mr. Friedman, you and other scientists and lay folks are free to have your opinions and doubts about the existing climate change theory, the same way the majority of the folks like you in this country don't believe in the theory of evolution, despite overwhelming evidence in its favor and its true acceptance among the absolute majority of the world's civilized community, but you have no moral and intellectual right (while remaining objective and educated) OPPOSE its conclusions in the sphere of economic and social decisions.


Randll Reese Besch - 1/1/2010

Yes they are "knuckle draggers" and religious & capitalist hysterics in that they are using the same techniques for sowing doubt as have been done with the attack on the established science of evolution. Do you disagree sir? Many of the same culprits have their hand prints all over it too.

They have their well established and long standing control over us from the oil, natural gas and coal industries so they have theirs and they don't give a damn about anything else. Do you disagree? Do you think they are right and Dr. Moss is wrong? Where was he wrong in this article?

Yes, we do see a Doomsday coming and it isn't pretty and it doesn't have to be. [Not just us but as high as 60% of all life too won't make it if the worse case of 11-17 degrees C is reached by 2100 if we do nothing. Then we are Venus.] But to do that we must change what we do and how we live. Darwin understood that the one characteristic that is most important to survival isn't aggression or strength or even intelligence it is flexibility. That includes behavior. We have acted as if all of what we do to the earth does nothing to change it. How wrong we have been. It is time to change before our mindless machinations change the climate to a point to where living will be more of a chore and billions won't make it anyway. Do you want that? No but then you are blind to this what is going on. "Hysteria" you call it. One can soberly recount the stages to death without becoming distraught.

The "global cooling fear" is as bilious as your bogus attacks on Moss. And just as fictional. Sure some few publications mentioned it but in the larger context of warming. Such myths have been debunked time and again but those like yourself educated at the Fox News (or their analogs) give you the crooked skinny on it and keep it going. (Just like the Creationists do--when you find a good hook you never let it go.) Have you perused realclimate.com? It could illuminate you on a few of your false ideas you are harboring.

Too bad the Copenhagen summit was a bust. We really need to work together and to keep the capitalist parasites and the gov't parasites from rendering it meaningless. Otherwise what we will have to do to protect ourselves will really cost trillions and that will be to change nothing but our living arrangements. I wouldn't recommend living near any shoreline.

Considering that the pronouncement you make so approvingly that "AGW" will soon fall apart also echos those concerning evolution which is treated as a hoax and too & "will soon fall." Are you comfortable with that?

This isn't a game, a media show or "fad" it is a reality and if we are going to make it we need to start acting like this is serious and more important that geo-political dominance of the world.


Randll Reese Besch - 1/1/2010

Mr. Kovechev,

What I see is someone fearful of change, change that is so huge that it can't be real. Blinded by the belief, yes belief that it not only isn't happening it can never happen. That is what I see. You are more reasonable and articulate in your writing but then so is George Will and he was wrong to. Erroneously wrong. It is in front of you but you do not see.

I see the foes of this idea being quite soft on what they support. Either it isn't happening or, like with evolution, it isn't happening the way the bulk of the scientists are saying. Yes we puny humans and yet we are reckless enough to have rendered our vast oceans to be near grave yards after all these years of taking and not giving back. Yes we weak humans did it in just over 150 years.

I see hysteria but it is from those who say they are "skeptics" and are hell bent on painting their "enemies" in that light. Rather like how Atheists and Evolutionists are treated as "true believers" and "secular religionists" and such are all too parallel. And all too real.

Yes the earth over all is actually warming. The torrid belt is expanding by miles every year now. That isn't cooling now is it? The amount of CO2 in the air much of it hadn't been in the atmosphere for 300 million years.

But our atmosphere is dynamic and not all of it is equal in its affects as there are energy transfers to different mediums as we have now. But it means the weather locally is changing and desertification is growing even as there is more flooding too in some places. Milder winters in some places and harsh ones in others depending on the melting of ice in the Arctic for example.

It is irresponsible to ignore the evidence that could cook our goose literally. The numbers are even worse than the timid climatologists are saying. Sure there has been climate alterations in the past but we haven't been there to catalyze them. If it hadn't been for the removal of most of the CFC's from our atmosphere it would be much worse now. Did you know that? Do you care? Is it relevant? Yes it is.

I don't want to make anyone rich we have had that transference of wealth already to those corporations for 30 years did that bother you? It did me and aided us in our problem. If we don't it will bake us. Once the feed back loops are working it won't be good for us.

What happened locally to various civilizations are on record. What is happening now is caused by us and will doom most of us. Yes doom, just as doomed as the dodo and the Mayan. We can change our ways and still live well but it means a redistribution of wealth as the old carbon based tech is finally dispensed with and new technologies take over as they must. But we need to universally do things in a different way and still maintain our technology. We can use less energy and still get the job done.

The way I see it the best we can do is to mitigate the effects but we must go the way of Denmark to do so. Now is better than later and to wait for that mythical "certainty" won't do us a service if that whistle and light is a train and we are on the track and it is 6 seconds away from our position. One can do it without hysteria. Cool but swift and sure will win it for us. Though right now billions won't be so lucky---the poor will pay for the sins of the rich.


susan hoyt - 12/29/2009

this is a test.


Robert Lee Gaston - 12/15/2009

Once again, the comments make more sense than the article. Well done N.Friedman.


Lawrence Brooks Hughes - 12/10/2009

Senator Inhofe turned to Barbara Boxer last week in a televised committee hearing, and told her with a big smile and undeniable charm, "We won and you lost, Madam Chairman. Get a life!"


Peter Kovachev - 12/9/2009

Mr Besch,

If you want to see "corporate," as well as governmental and institutional propagandists at their best and most aggressive, take a closer look at the multi-million dollar, super-sized eco footprint Copenhagen carnival. There are thousands of organanizations, institutes, individuals, governments and financial interests who have a large stake in the unquestioned acceptance of the AGW hypothesis. By your "rule," this should disqualify it. But let's get serious; evidence of vested interest does not in and of itself disqualify claims on either side...only scientific evidence can.

The Piltdown Man analogy and desperate attempts to link all AGW skepticism to Creationism you availed yourself of here are irrelevant and cheap straw-man fallacies devised by others and do not deserve serious consideration in the debate. The Piltdown man case represented one fraudulent datum point and a glaring anomaly. Its proponent was unable to suppress data by other paleoanthropologists and did not have the help of powerful organizations and commercial interests to do so. Creationism, or at least the kind that ignores multi-sourced evidence of geological ages and observable mutations of specie, is inherently un-scientific, and in fact, its methods are eerily similar to those of the global warming proponents. Holocaust denial ignores countless factual and demonstrable historical sources and is politically motivated; climate data, on the other had is recent, and as East Anglia U has shown, may have been selectively assembled and clearly was interpreted with a heavy dose of bias and questionable modelling. Neither of these comparisons remotely resemble the challenges, questions and genuine inquiries by genuine AGW skeptics, most of whom ...admittedly not all... are reputable mainstream scientists themselves.

Being a smart guy yourself, haven't you noticed that those who go on most about being scientific, are actually treating AGW as a received religion with all the messianic trappings, fear-mongering, persecution of dissent and salvific promises...if only we accept their leadership and control, and fork out trillions for our "children's future"? Should this not raise worries?

Perhaps you missed out on the importance of those "few" fudged numbers. The East Anglia U was/is the hub where all the data for the AGW hypothesis was collected, interpreted and assembled to be submitted to the IPCC for its assessment reports. The IPCC, a UN body, in turn churns out policies and agendas which affect all nations. So, it's these assessment reports, based on what appears to be false data and hence false conclusions, which are being trumpeted by the UN and vested financial interests, with millions in promotional money, that are the basis of ALL AGW belief out there.

So, the question you can ask yourself is whether you are intellectually and emotionally prepared to approach the AGW hypothesis in a standard scientific mode, as opposed to a religious one. This would mean suspending the emotional components and accepting the premise that all scientific claims, especially ones on which we will base our future, need to be examined rigorously and systematically in an open forum. Are you in principle prepared to accept that all questions and dissenting interpretations should be treated as part of normal and necessary scientific inquiry? This would also mean that qualified skeptics and dissenters, and it turns out there are thousands of them, need to be treated with a modicum of respect, instead of being defamed with unfounded ad hominem attacks, prevented from seeing key primary data, secretly blocked from peer-reviewed journals, accused of nefarious intentions, and compared to Holocaust deniers and Creationists. Do you think this is too much to ask?

Another thing to bear in mind is that climate scince is in its infancy and that the only thing that makes it a science is not the results or the end product, but the assumed integrity of the process, or the methodology. Scientists often make incorrect conclusions, but if these conclusions were arrived at through honest means, they remain scientists; dishonest means involving fraudulent evidence and inappropriatre processes simply turn them into ideological charlattans. And because of the infancy of climate sciences and the significant claims that have been made, the burden of proof, as is the norm with all scientific claims, is on the warmists. They have to prove that 1) the earth is actually warming; 2) that IF there is in fact a warming, it is not part of a normal historical pattern, or is not caused by natural events; 3)that CO2 is the cause, rather than result of a possible warming; 4) that the assumed warming is in fact detrimental, as opposed to beneficial; and that 4)human-produced CO2 plays a significant role in any assumed warming, rather than being a natural product of such. You perhaps now see, I trust, what a hurdle the AGW hypothesis faces and why it is irresponsible to jump the gun, to create a medieval hysteria and insist that entire national economies and industries must be controlled, with trillions to be taxed and transfered RIGHT NOW before the sky falls.


Randll Reese Besch - 12/9/2009

This couldn't have come at a more pivotal time---if the Copenhagan conference fails then we will all fail. Why is it that some of the climate changes are happening faster than the worse predictive models? Fudging a few numbers by one segement of scientists does not invalidate everyone else anymore than "Piltdown Man" did for evolution. It was found out and displayed. We need a clean slate on this and to see it clearly without corporate i.e. CONG keeping their strangle hold on our societies.

Observation tells us much is going on from the sea level is rising at 3.4 mm per year to the increasing loss of sea ice, and even more dangerous the land ice. Climate alterations from early springs to rain falls in new places and not in others--see Australia becoming a desert populated by feral rabbits as the needed rain on goes 200 miles offshore. Animal migrations changing and other problems that will have a huge impact on all of us. Though the rich will survive while the poor will pay for their many excesses with their very lives.

Since 1998 we have been in a hot phase setting a new norm before it cooled within that frame but still hotter than outside of it. We should not ruin our chances of stopping this based upon a few people who gave into their weaknesses. Not when the data is still coming in from all over by many good scientists working hard and doing their job.



"According to the 2009 Pew poll mentioned above, while 87 percent of U. S. scientists maintain “that humans and other living things have evolved over time and that evolution is the result of natural processes such as natural selection,” only “32 percent of the U. S. public accepts this as true.”

Just remember it is only 13% of that 32% that accept evolution as a scientist does and not as God created.


Peter Kovachev - 12/8/2009

Professor Moss,


It would seem you are no more of a climate scientist than I am, thus your efforts to lecture us on science are hardly of value. To begin with, your straw man arguments, stern appeals to authority --including Al Gore of all people -- and other glaring fallacies, bring you closer to medieval theological polemics than what you imagine science to be. About the only useful service you provide here is to entertain us with a sort of a Reader's Digest summary of where AGW(anthropogenic global warming) "science" stands today.


Your "subtle" attempt to treat the skeptics as knuckle-dragging, religious zealots of low education is insulting, especially to knuckle-dragging, political zealots of spotty education such as myself. But the way you seem to be apologizing to the rest of the world on behalf of the US is reminiscent of someone big ...I just can't remeber who. As a Canadian, I have often joked about Americans and their quaint accents and old fashioned views, but I've always admired their courage, sense of justice and an uncanny ability to smell the BS before anyone else. And by the looks of things, most Americans are looking for their shovel. Remember this in the months to come when you wish you had never penned and published this essay. It won't be as famous as Al's howler will be, the one about rejecting and transcending "ideologically based distortions of the best available scientific evidence," but it will provide a few chuckles here and there.


Your insinuations that skeptics are fueled by oil money are rather cheap, given just how much so many of the mega-big corporations, including BP, Gazprom and at least a dozen large financial houses have invested in the AGW hypothesis. Let's not forget the ever-power-hungry UN, with its solid majority of corrupt dictatorships or our own governments for that matter.


What about the frenzied push in Copenhagen to sign away trillions of buckaroos in deals of covenantal proportions? Or the EU president's bombastic announcement of the Copenhagen junket being the first step in “global governance”? Are you not, as a historian, even a little bit concerned over what to a layman like me seems a clear case of a collective Napoleonic complex blowig into a bigger version of a South Sea Bubble?


As a supposedly rational man with respect for the scientific method, would you not consider that with trillions at stake and major political proposalsin the works, a fairly clear body of evidence pointing to bad science (if not outright fraud) by key AGW proponents should at least give us a pause for investigations and considerations?


Are you, as a scientific historian, ok with the reality that the greenhouse gas boogie monster is being pumped up with raving threats and slick propaganda, and all that is missing are flags, inspiring music and endearing children? O, wait, ah thinks they got those already.


As a historian you should also have noticed long ago the glaring banality of this AGW craze. Surely you know that this is not the first "scientific consensus" we in the peanut gallery have been presented with? To wit, in recent times there was the pre-WW II eugenics mania, then the Population Bomb and the never-to-be-mentioned Global Cooling fear-mongering of the early 70s.


Without even understanding the supposed science behind climatology, as a historian again, you could still have been troubled by the implications of the fraudulent "hockey stick" shtik, which so clumsily flattened the well-known medieval warming period, along with all its multi-source data and work of thousands of reputable historians and scientists.


Most of all, in spite of the ineffective pretending by mainstream media that the proverbial elephant has not actually crashed through the ceiling you, as one of our future Philosopher Kings, may have notied that the AGW silliness is rapidly falling apart in the arena of scientific inquiry. That the famed computer modeling is proving to be smoke-and-mirrors augury based on sloppy data (now conveniently “lost”!), faulty programming and bogus number crunching. And the "peer review" shenanigans of the recently well-funded climate scientists of the now-famous East Anglia U would have made even Lysenko proud. You have, surely, heard of Trofim Lysenko and his even more efficient peer review "strategy"?


In any case, it’s unfortunate that before this orchestrated AGW delusion inevitably implodes, we will probably continue paying hard-earned money to charlatans and opportunists, and worse, will for some time suffer hysterical propaganda, macabre doomsday phantasmagoria, weird media blackouts, and snooty admonitions from the likes of you.


N. Friedman - 12/7/2009

Profess Moss,

I am not a scientist. On scientific matters, I am a lay person.

I do not question that most scientists believe that "the earth is getting warmer because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels." I also have no basis to question their views. On the other hand, I have no basis to question the views of the minority of scientists, of which some are real luminaries not on the payroll of polluters, who question that theory, to one extent or the other. Do you?

If not, then why write with such hubris about those who do not accept the majority theory? To me, one can say that there are certainly good reasons for the lay person to worry about global warming. I know I certainly do. At the same time, one can only say that view tentatively because, as you even admit, there are real scientists who disagree. And, unless you are a scientist, you are merely repeating other people's opinions.

With the recent email scandal in mind, one can say fairly clearly that some scientists have confused their roles as scientist with the role of theologian. And, that makes me - and I would think any rational person - very skeptical of people who assert that they represent the consensus rather than, as real scientists would say, they have evidence showing this or that or that they have conducted an experiment which suggests this or that. But, as any good scientist would say, conclusions can only be stated tentatively because, at best, they are only as good as the last experiment.

Lawyers speak about the consensus. Scientists should never do so. And, historians have no basis to adopt either approach, unless the historian is really a guru pretending to be an historian.

So, count me as one who worries about the environment and is willing to listen to proposed legislation to address the issue. But, do not speak as a preacher because we cannot do so and be good lay persons.

One last point. The science of predicting future weather - and this is probably a good analogy, at least in part, for how global warming is predicted - is an evolving one. It has evolved, at least in part, from examining correct but also incorrect forecasts. Such results in improved models. In the case of global warming, the models could not have evolved as well as those for the weather forecast tomorrow, much less next week or the weeks and months thereafter - which, after a week or so, are all notoriously inaccurate. That explains the wide variety in global warming forecasts and such variation is not likely to improve anytime soon. So, that is enough reason not to consider global warming science as infallible. Rather, there is room to be concerned but that is different from acting as if this is something all figured out, which it certainly is not.


Bryan Mullinax - 12/7/2009

Looking at all the aristocrats from the EU and the United nations, arrayed alongside the kleptocrats and NGO's attempting to shake down the United States for "climate debt" its astonishing to think that anybody actually believes that the global warming conference is about science.

This is the ecoNazis wet dream. A change to accomplish all their objectives. They can destroy the western economies (hands up anybody who thinks you can power today's America on sunshine and breezes). They can immediately put a stop to the United States as a world power by shackling it to the slavery of a global power that can override any action. And finally, they can fill the Swiss bank accounts of every third-world dictator with lots of dollars.

A few bucks might end up keeping the existing third world in its dependence and poverty, but most of it will go to people like Robert Mugabe and Bashar Assad. And they will offer tip money to the bunch that has decided that flying to United Nations conferences to denounce their own society and way of life is a worthwhile vocation.

Just don't pretend its about science. The rigged "facts", the "hidden declines", the spittle-flecked denunciation of climate "deniers" and the proved conspiracy to block any information which doesn't conform to the global warming (er, climate change) religion is the same thing we saw from the Soviet Union and the Nazis and all the other utopians.