Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Global Warming Skeptics
My father used to say, “If you want to know who someone really is, just take a look at who they hang out with”. I have found this to be a very sage observation.
So, I took a quick, pragmatic look at the person often cited as a global warming skeptic, Dr. Sallie Baliunas. I find Dr. Baliunas is associated with, among others, the George C. Marshall Institute, itself associated with support of the Strategic Defense Initiative, American Petroleum Institute, etc., etc.
And, the George C. Marshall Institute receives funding from Earhart Foundation (White Star Oil Company money), Sarah Scaife Foundation (controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife) and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. (helps fund PNAC- Project for a New American Century). It is easy to look these up to determine the reasons they support skepticism of Global Warming. All are associated with industry (largely energy) and Neo-Conservative viewpoints.
Concerning Dr. Baliunas’ own position, this from Wikepedia:
“In 2003, Baliunas and (Willie) Soon published a paper which reviewed a number of previous scientific papers and came to the conclusion that the climate hasn't changed in the last 2000 years. However, 13 of the authors of the papers Baliunas and Soon cited refuted her interpretation of their work, and several editors of "Climate Research", the journal which published the paper, resigned in protest at a flawed peer review process which allowed the publication. Correctly analysed, the paper by Baliunas and Soon shows that their observations in respect of MWP and LIA could be explained by the random variation of the individual proxies and that their observations in respect of global warming are in favour of the global warming. This is in contradiction to their conclusions. (Emphasis mine).
Baliunas' extra-academic positions at several think tanks funded by energy industry organizations such as the American Petroleum Institute are often cited by her opponents as a source of bias on her part. Baliunas is a member of at least nine organizations which receive financial support from the petroleum industry.”
What quickly becomes apparent the moment you begin any research on “Global Warming Skeptics” is almost universally they are associated in some way or supported by industry groups - particularly the energy sector - which are in turn closely associated with and supported by Neo-Conservatives.
Another characteristic is their apparently overwhelming compulsion to hide themselves behind misleading names. A good example is a web site called “globalwarming.org” (now apparently defunct) - which is actually owned by a group called “National Consumer Coalition” (operated by “Consumer Alert”), itself sailing under totally false colors and supported by industry groups.
The entire membership of National Consumer Coalition itself is comprised of industry supported groups with misleading names, and in fact almost all appear to be energetically propagandizing the public using ‘Freedom’ as a sweetener. This also seems to characterize our current Alaskan and national administrations, not incidentally also * ‘Neo-Conservative’.
* (I’ve always considered myself ‘conservative’ but since the current definition has moved so far from my concept I can now be defined as ‘progressive’!)
Such obfuscation and deceit clearly impugns the integrity of the groups as do all the misleading, deceptive names. A favorite tactic seems to be to throw sand in the eyes of those who question and to use any method to discredit opponents. Once you begin to turn over the rocks to look beneath, the ugly truth begins to ooze out and clarify. A thinking, rational person has no choice but to question motive.
While I take nothing from Dr. Baliunas’ obviously good credentials, please pardon me when I question the assertion that Dr. Baliunas has no bias. And, while I do concede the jury may still be out (but only just barely), the hugely overwhelming evidence (and over 90% of scientific opinion) does support the global warming conclusions. In fact, Exxon Corporation itself has recently, grudgingly acknowledged that Global Warming is a fact.
I keep coming back to the point that to fail to act to modify or prevent a calamity would be like foolishly failing to apply the brakes of a vehicle suspected of traveling too fast.