31,000 Scientists Shatter the Myth of a “Scientific Consensus” on Global Warming

31,000 Scientists Shatter the Myth of a “Scientific Consensus” on Global Warming Environmental extremists routinely assert a “scientific consensus” that global warming is occurring, and that human activity somehow causes it. This week, however, over 31,000 scientists spoke up and reduced that myth to a smoldering rubble. The environmentalists’ alleged “scientific consensus” is much like the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, behind which the supposedly infallible wizard dictated to his minions. Beyond that curtain, however, the wizard was nothing more than an ordinary little man perpetrating a fraud upon those who worshipped his doctrine. And once Toto removed that curtain, the fraud was exposed for all to see. Similarly, environmentalists’ mythical “scientific consensus” has served as a shroud behind which they have sought to maintain an air of infallibility. By falsely claiming a closed consensus and excoriating anyone who speaks out against their flawed orthodoxy, environmental extremists seek to prevent any objective, scientific debate that might inhibit their political agenda. That shroud, however, was further torn this week by a 31,000-strong petition organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM). According to the OISM’s board of scientists, “a review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th Century have produced no deleterious effects upon global weather, climate, or temperature.” To the contrary, the OISM notes that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide have actually increased plant growth rates, among other positive effects. On this basis, the OISM concludes that “predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in minor greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are in error and do not conform to current experimental knowledge.” Accordingly, the straightforward petition reads: We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth. The petition itself appears alongside a letter from the late Frederick Seitz, a former President of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Seitz stated that “the United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and technologies that depend upon coal, oil, natural gas and some other organic compounds.” He therefore warned that, “this treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research into data on climate change does not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.” It should be noted that the OISM’s petition effort receives absolutely no funding from the energy industry, or from anyone else with a financial interest in the ongoing climate change debate. Rather, its funding derives entirely from private, non-tax-deductible contributions from individual donors. Global warming alarmists will nevertheless exclaim, like the “wizard” in The Wizard of Oz, “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” Their agenda simply cannot tolerate dissent, contrary evidence, or objective discussion of the matter. Instead, they cling to the claim of a false consensus, and liken any objective disagreement to flat-earth proponents. According to Al Gore, for instance, “there is as strong a consensus on this issue as science has ever had.” Oh? Is it as strong as the supposed consensus when Newsweek announced on November 23, 1992 that “the advent of a new ice age, scientists say, appears to be guaranteed,” and that “the devastation will be astonishing?” Gore’s comment is obviously absurd on its face. A scientific consensus does exist in well-settled scientific subjects, such as the laws of gravity or physics. But this is certainly not the case when it comes to climate change. We can thank the OISM, its leadership and its 31,000 participating scientists for helping shatter the environmentalists’ myth.

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