When I consider scientific method and seeking the truth through the use of scientific method, I am always confronted with the contrast of scientific method and the process with which so many academics and scientists assert that our global civilization is on the verge of it's self-destruction because of man-made global warming. While I fully know that mankind is fully capable of taking his local environment and making it unlivable by his irresponsible actions, there are many elements about man-made global warming that I question.
Under a scientific method analysis, we would define a problem - in this case, several. One, are global temperatures rising at a consistent trend as to cause a direct threat to the existence of life on Earth. Two, are these temperature increasing at an unprecedented level and not part of a climatic cycle? Three, Who or what is directly responsible for the temperature increases - actions of man, nature, solar conditions, or a combination of all of these? Fourth, based on the answers to the first three broad questions, what is the conclusion that can be deduced? Finally, from this conclusion, what solutions are available / possible?
Yet, when I look at how the scientific, academic, and political communities have acted regarding global warming, I see some disturbing trends. I see an assumption being made and stated as fact that temperatures are rising at an unprecedented pace. I see another assumption being made and stated as fact that these increases pose an immediate, clear, and present danger to mankind. I see yet another assumption being made and stated as fact that these increases are the direct action of man's actions and not of nature's or being part of a solar cycle. Finally, I see, ad nauseum, the solution to the 'threat' being that the wealthiest nations must spend billions or trillions of their wealth towards not only reducing their environmental footprint - but effectively redistribute this wealth to less wealthy nations so they can also afford (?) to lessen their environmental footprint. After all, as we are told by these scientists, academics, and politicians, like Al Gore, the solution just requires lots and lots of money. And that is the real item we are talking about.
Among the first questions that I asked myself on this subject, was that if I accept the majority of the assumptions presented as actual 'fact' - the temps are increasing, it's unique, it's a major threat demanding immediate action, and it's caused by man - why do only some nations have to bear the brunt of the cost of remediation? Not only some nations, but also for the most part, the biggest share of the financial burden is also being borne by those nations which have already taken the largest strides to minimize the negative effects on the environment of their footprints?
I look at something like the Kyoto Protocol (which the US Senate, in an 'advisory vote' to President Clinton in the 1990's, voted 95-0 saying they would not ratify the treaty), and see the US and Western Europe being asked to fund the remediation efforts - while countries that have dismal records towards environmental concerns and practices like Russia, China, India, Brazil, and others have very little responsibility or accountability. These industrialized nations have no Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act, no real Environmental Protection Agency, and demonstrate by their actions little concern for the impact of their policies and actions on their local environment, let alone the global environment.
Why does this solution have to be broken down in this manner?
Then we have the financial aspects of Global Warming - be it the wealth redistribution from one nation to another to the individualized approaches to use Global Warming to generate personal wealth. Like former Vice President Al Gore making millions not only speaking and advocating about Global Warming, but creating companies to sell 'carbon credits' to 'offset' one's 'contribution' towards 'man-caused' global warming.
Quick tangent - The anti-religious left often points towards the past corruption of the Catholic Church as an example to support their bias / dislike for organized religion. In particular, the tradition of church officials 'selling' placement into heaven based on the 'donations' that they received from congregants. How is that different from me buying 'carbon credits' to absolve me of flying in a private jet from LA to Cannes?
In a moment of serendipity, as I worked on the outline for this topic, Powerline had a post about the corruption of science with a perfect example of my contention around global warming having nothing to do with real science, but instead around both money and a political ideology. From Powerline:
It recently came out that James Hansen, one of the two or three most prominent global warming alarmists on whose work the IPCC reports rest, “forgot” to report $1.6 million in outside income, as required by his government contracts. Is that significant? Well, yes: A handful of scientists, including Hansen, have gotten wealthy on climate alarmism. They have an enormous financial interest in the faux science they have done so much to perpetrate. It is more likely that the Pope would renounce Christianity than that Hansen, Michael Mann, etc., would change their minds about global warming, regardless of the evidence.Scientists, working for the government, or in academia, are making millions by their advocacy towards a position that they in effect created. Then they are 'asked' to prove the validity of their, not hypothesis, not assumption, but conclusion. Man-caused Global Warming has to exist, has to be an immediate threat, and has to have substantial funds allocated towards it's resolution - if they are to make their 'cut' of those funds. They have no incentive to disprove their own gravy train. Of course, they also don't have to disprove anything if their assumptions are indeed fact and conclusively (via scientific method) proven.
The gentlemen at Powerline use the term in the above quote, 'faux science' without reckless abandon. This is because, if you look back at the core questions / assumptions that we need to address in a proper application of the scientific method, we don't have the data or results to conclusively support the hypothesis that man-caused global warming is based on.
Two years ago, the academic and scientific community were rocked by the release of materials and emails involving some of the major advocates of man-caused global warming and the institutions that they were affiliated with. Ranging from Penn State University to East Anglia University to NASA to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these items reflected that not only was source data massaged, but the models developed were skewed to support the pre-ordained conclusion that man caused global warming and wealth redistribution was needed to 'reverse' global warming. This was Climategate 1.0.
Not only was the scientific method abused to change the truth from what it really was - we were being told by this closed community which was personally benefiting from the new 'truth' that the new 'truth' was the real truth. This was done with the same fervor as a religious zealot would either attempt to convert someone or to beat down and eliminate any aspect of 'heresy' - the promotion of contrary 'truth' which threatened this privileged class.
Quickly, these groups and individuals assembled to 'self-police' themselves. After 'serious' academic review, we were told that we should ignore the materials in their own words which demonstrate their violations of the scientific method and accept their word now as to what 'truth' is.
Flags raise with most people when the counter argument to a disclosure like this to be in essence, what are you going to believe? Me (an 'expert') or your own lying eyes?
Because of this intellectual bankruptcy, most people decided to start believing their own eyes - and the materials that were leaked. Since then, the advocates for the religion of global warming, have had a harder time gaining converts, support, and funding. People are now asking questions and not taking someone with an obvious conflict of interest's word for the 'truth'.
Today, we received a new wealth of materials from the inner sanctum of these high priests of global warming. Climategate 2.0.
The size of this collection of materials means that it will take time to review them. As noted by a number of bloggers with experience in Climategate 1.0, the 'early returns suggest that these materials may be dynamite'.
These emails are real and are exposing more of the scientific shenanigans being done by these 'trusted' experts to massage the core data to support the preordained conclusion - that man is the primary / sole cause of global warming and that it reflects an immediate threat to mankind. For example the comment referenced at Watts Up With That which has Northern Hemisphere temperature data 'reconstructed' when the original data didn't support the desired conclusion.
The materials also document the efforts by those within this community to hide, obfuscate, and avoid the exposure of their unethical actions. They show that when there is actual opposition to their 'conclusions' or 'methods' - when someone decides to investigate, proof, recreate, challenge, or critique - their response is to attack that person or entity to combat and stamp out heresy and heretics.
This is not to say that the climate scientists are wrong in their assumption that man is the primary or sole cause for rising global temperatures. However, data exists which show that temperatures are not rising at the pace that is being claimed, that temperature increases are not unprecedented - that pre-Industrial ages had temperatures not only slightly higher, but considerably higher than present, that solar cycles will have an influence on Earth's climate, that the Earth (Mother Nature) is far more resilient and able to adapt / heal than some may believe, and that there are natural effects which can be contributing to climate change.
We don't know enough - clearly not enough conclusively - to make the statements of 'fact' that are made on behalf of global warming or to demand immediate solutions and the expenditure of billions / trillions. What is needed is an honest and ethical application of scientific method to determine the truth - combined with reasonable, measured, equitable, and common sense steps to protect our environment.
These releases of information show the academic / intellectual bankruptcy and the unethical actions of those who are advocating a particular position. From this, we have to question the validity of their position and their political / economical biases. Our responsibility is to properly apply critical thinking and scientific method to determine the real truth.