Critique of WSJ's Sixteen Concerned Scientists: No Need to Panic about Global Warming

Today the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece, "Sixteen Concerned Scientists: No Need to Panic about Global Warming."

Who are these "sixteen concerned scientists?"

Only two do academic research on climate.

1. Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris [apparently he believes that asbestos does not cause cancer];

2. J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting [professor of advertising];

3. Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University [a physician who studies heart attacks];

4. Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society [former Exxon researcher]

5. Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences [former president, Exxon research];

6. William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton [specializes in optics]

7. Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K. [apparently he studies semiconductors]

8. William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology [a meterorologist with a master's in administration and a master's in science]

9. Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT [FINALLY this guy actually does academic research on climate];

10. James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University [plastics researcher];

11. Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences [policy wonk];

12. Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne [nothing need be said];

13. Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator [ditto];

14. Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem [the SECOND climate research, says that solar rays are heating up the world];

15. Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service [a rocket scientist];

16. Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva [nuclear physicist; here is what his organization has to say about climate change].

The data is easy enough to find:

As are the opinions of actual climate scientists on the subject:

"Ninety-seven percent of the climate scientists surveyed believe 'global average temperatures have increased' during the past century. Eighty-four percent say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that 'currently available scientific evidence' substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; the rest are unsure."

97%, or even 84%, or 74%, is quite a large margin, as 5% is extremely low. The issue is far more settled than many others. For example, one-third of Americans believe that the Bible is literally the word of God and true in every detail: that Adam and Eve were created out of nothing 6,000 or so years ago; a snake tricked them into eating a magical apple; two of every species of animal on earth lived on a boat as the world was totally flooded; slavemasters have the right to beat their slaves since "the slave is his money"; men can sell their daughters into sexual bondage; children who curse their parents should be executed; Jonah spent a few nights in a whale's stomach; the holy spirit came down from heaven and impregnated Mary; etc., etc. More than three times as many believe Obama is a Muslim; 8 percent of Americans have personally seen a UFO.

As for liberal elites trying to control our lives, in 2006, 59% of Republicans believed in global warming, a number that has somewhat declined thanks to propagandists like these "concerned scientists" and their lapdogs in the media. A large percentage of Republicans must be angst-filled liberal elites trying to control our lives.

A number of countries have already implemented carbon taxes. For example, Norway, which has a 3.4% unemployment rate and a 4.3% poverty rate and Switzerland (3.5% and 6.9%). To assert that a carbon tax harm countries' economies should be backed by some evidence rather than parroting Ayn Randisms.

If consensus means unanimity, there is no consensus about a great deal of things. If consensus means general agreement, then the consensus scientific report is the one put out by the IPCC. The authors of this report argue that, among other effects, climate change will very likely cause:

in Africa: "By 2020, between 75 and 250 million of people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change."

in Asia: "Endemic morbidity and mortality due to diarrhoeal [sic] disease primarily associated with floods and droughts are expected to rise in East, South and South-East Asia due to projected changes in the hydrological cycle."

in Australia: "By 2020, significant loss of biodiversity is projected to occur in some ecologically rich sites, including the
Great Barrier Reef and Queensland Wet Tropics.

- "In southern Europe, climate change is projected to worsen conditions (high temperatures and drought) in a region already vulnerable to climate variability, and to reduce water availability, hydropower potential, summer tourism and, in general, crop productivity."

in Latin America: "Productivity of some important crops is projected to decrease and livestock productivity to decline, with adverse consequences for food security. In temperate zones, soybean yields are projected to increase. Overall, the number of people at risk of hunger is projected to increase."

in North America: "Cities that currently experience heat waves are expected to be further challenged by an increased number, intensity and duration of heat waves during the course of the century, with potential for adverse health impacts."

Any one of these is reason enough for serious action.

If people want to have a discussion of the science, we should. It is comical to cite this group as having some sort of authority on the issue of climate change. If there are alternative explanations, then these people, most of whom are unknown, should do what respected scientists do: publish their work in scientific journals so that the evidence can be fairly evaluated. The Wall Street Journal, The Road to Serfdom and are not scientific journals, nor can the reality of the matter be discovered by doing a Google search for "global warming hoax."

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