Tide turning on global warming debate - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Tide turning on global warming debate

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Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 4:50 pm | Updated: 1:30 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Tom Patterson: More than 700 scientists now discredit the 2007 U.N. report on climate change, which is still used to justify policies at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Global warming alarmists have claimed for some time that the debate about global climate change is over. Only extremist "deniers" doubt man-made changes in the atmosphere were warming the globe to a catastrophic degree, and only a comprehensive, costly downgrading of our lifestyle can possibly save us.

They may soon be right that the debate is over. It's just not turning out like they expected. It's not only that no net warming has occurred for several years. Around the world, peer-reviewed research is utilizing new data to debunk the Al Gore-inspired dogma concerning "polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans" and other matters, reports Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal.

More than 700 scientists now discredit the 2007 U.N. report on climate change, which is still used to justify policies at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Many scientists formerly on the global warming bandwagon are changing their minds based on the new data. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, for example, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who co-authored the U.N. report, echoes many of his colleagues today in calling man-made warming "the worst scientific scandal in history."

For the Obama EPA, the response to legitimate doubt is to stifle dissent. A 30-year EPA official was threatened with termination and forbidden access to the media after his report challenged the orthodoxy on warming theories. Dr. Fred Singer and 35 colleagues of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change recently issued "Climate Change Reconsidered." This 880-page meticulously researched report demonstrated that recent warming is well within bounds of normal climate variation, that the effect of warming is mostly positive and that carbon dioxide levels are not primary drivers of climate change. The report was mocked and then ignored by the EPA.

Many meteorologists and climate scientists have been harassed and denied funding for failing to toe the line. Joanne Simpson, the world's first female doctorate in meteorology, recently expressed relief that with her retirement she would finally be free to speak her mind on climate issues.

Let's connect some dots here. The environmental left desperately longs for a global warming problem because they like all of the government-mandated solutions. The science doesn't matter. In 1990, then-Sen. Tim Wirth of Colorado urged his colleagues to "ride this (warming) issue," assuring them that "even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing." Recently, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman exulted that "if climate change is a hoax," it would still be great, because building "this new green industry would make us more respected, more entrepreneurial, more competitive, more healthy as a country."

Oh really? A Heritage Foundation study found that the cap-and-trade bill that recently passed the House, the centerpiece of Obama's climate policy, will reduce our gross domestic product a total of $9.6 trillion by 2035. More than 1 million jobs will be destroyed, electricity rates will jump 90 percent and the average family's utility costs will increase $1,500 annually.

By 2050, the bill calls for emission reductions of 80 percent, the per-capita level in 1875 back when wood was fuel. The result of this enormous sacrifice? A temperature reduction of less than one-tenth of one degree Fahrenheit. No wonder European Union countries are already turning away from a similar system, and New Zealand closed down its cap-and-trade scheme weeks after it began.

Still, as the evidence mounts that we're on the wrong track, the Obama EPA cranks up the decibels and demands action now. Why don't these professed adherents of the scientific method perceive any need for caution with so much at stake, in the face of mounting evidence?

Maybe they are still sincerely clinging to their old belief system. But the hysterical calls to forego debate, to actively suppress dissent and proceed to drastic action immediately suggest an alternative motivation. They seem to sense the tide is turning. Rational analysis is becoming more prevalent, so the opportunity will soon be gone to bull-rush the rest of us into energy policies based on manufactured panic.

Debates come and go. The struggle to preserve our freedoms will never end.

East Valley resident Tom Patterson is a retired emergency room physician and former state senator. you can e-mail him at pattersontomc@cox.net.

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