Global Warming: The Bogus Religion of our Age

29 08 2013

By Richard LindzenImage

Originally Published in the Daily Mail March 8th, 2007

Anyone who knows me, realizes that I am not religious. I generally have a  very tolerant view of religion, as long as someone’s religious views do not infringe on my rights, or harm any other human being in any way.  One this line is crossed however, I take a stand.

The following essay outlines what I believe to be the biggest threat to humanity in our time. And it is indeed what I deem as a religion.

GLOBAL WARMING: THE BOGUS RELIGION OF OUR AGE

The world is heading for environmental catastrophe ? or so we are constantly being told by the politicians and self-appointed experts.

They warn us that unless we take drastic action, the earth will soon be devastated by climate change and global warming.

Entire species will be lost, crops will be obliterated, floods and famine will sweep across the planet, and western economies will slide into depression.

Certainly, there have been many sweeping predictions of global ruin, few more emphatic than the report from Sir Nicholas Stern into the economics of climate change, which states with an air of unchallengeable conviction: ‘The scientific evidence is now overwhelming. Climate change presents very serious global risks and it demands an urgent global response.’

His study, commissioned by the Government in July 2005 and published amid much Whitehall hype in October 2006, seemed to carry all the more weight because Stern is one of the most senior civil servants in Britain, the head of the Government’s economic service.

His conclusions appeared to be based on powerful scientific authority, since his team of 20 or so officials had drawn on a wide range of published papers and data.

Tony Blair has described it as the most important document produced during his ten years as Prime Minister, and urged that the Stern blueprint, with its calls for more regulation and taxation, be adopted in full.

‘The disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future, but in our lifetimes,’ said Blair, who went on to claim that the ‘the world faces nothing more serious, more urgent and more demanding of its leadership than climate change.’

All this has helped put the Stern report at the very forefront of the debate. The central theme of it is that there is a near universal consensus of opinion within the scientific community about the dangers of climate change. But this is not true.

There is no such unanimity among scientists.

Throughout the 550 pages of his document, Stern continually strikes a confident note, as if there were no dispute about the issues.

Completely divorced from scientific reality

Yet this self-assured stance is completely divorced from scientific reality. It is an inconvenient truth for Stern and his political allies that there is, in fact, precious little hard evidence to back up his sweeping claims.

In a revealing recent comment, Stern admitted that when he was appointed by the Government, he ‘had an idea what the greenhouse effect was but wasn’t really sure’.

This lack of understanding of science shines through every chapter of his report.

He is guilty of misreading the data, of distorting the evidence to suit his political masters’ dogma, of throwing numbers about with reckless abandon, of promoting alarmism in place of rational discussion, and of reinventing climate history.

There are fundamental misconceptions throughout the document. He seems to think that climate prediction is a mature science stretching back to the early 19th century, hence the confident tone science stretching back to the early century, hence the confident tone of his pronouncements.

But in reality climate prediction is a relatively modern science, which has emerged only in recent decades thanks partly to the emergence of computers.

So there are no easy certainties about the past ? or the future.

Stern states boldly that the scale of global warming has been unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years, but he cannot possibly be sure on this point because data from previous centuries is unreliable.

At most, we have a 50-year span of accurate measurements. The only genuine global records of temperature come from weather balloons, since 1958, and from microwave sounding units, since 1978.

What they indicate is a very gently warming trend, nothing approaching the apocalyptic vision of Sir Nicholas.

Moreover, this minor trend could have easily have been caused by irregularities such as volcanic eruptions or El Nino events (major fluctuations in ocean temperatures in the Pacific which affect climate).

Stern’s report ‘ignores the evidence that does not suit his ideology’

In support of his gloomy thesis, Stern, like all global warming enthusiasts, ignores the evidence that does not suit his ideology. He glosses over the fact that, according to a host of historical accounts, Europe was far warmer in the Middle Ages than it is today, or that the 17th century was much colder, prompting what was known as ‘The Little Ice Age’, when the Thames was often frozen over for months at a time.

Stern also refers to ‘significant melting of and an acceleration of ice floes’ near the coast of Greenland because of global warming.

Yet several reputable scientific studies have shown that the mass of the Greenland ice sheet is actually expanding, while Stern also fails to note that the temperature of Greenland is now lower than it was in 1940 and little changed from the first measurements in the 1780s.

Environmentalists are fond of jerking heartstrings with pictures of polar bears struggling on supposedly melting icebergs, but it is estimated that there are now 22,000 polar bears compared with 5,000 in 1940.

Nor can we be sure that any long-term changes in our climate are due to mankind. There are any number of other possibilities and the programme tonight examines the possibility that the sun’s radiation is primarily responsible for climate change.

Indeed, the climate can fluctuate without any external cause at all ? something again ignored by Stern, who wants only to indulge in the fashionable notion that western capitalism is entirely to blame for every drought and disaster.

Further, Stern takes no account of the capacity of mankind to adapt to, and improve his, environment.

There can be little dispute that, more than a century after the peak of the 19th-century industrial revolution, Britain is a cleaner, healthier, less polluted country than it was in the late Victorian age, when smog, disease and slums were rife.

Genuine science is about gathering evidence and testing the veracity of theories, not cheerleading for a particular ideology.

That is what is so disturbing about the current debate on global warming. Healthy scepticism, which should be at the heart of all scientific inquiry, is treated with contempt.

Far from being the powerful masterpiece that Blair claimed, Stern’s report is manifestly incompetent.

It is another dodgy dossier, where assertions are presented as facts and data is twisted to suit a political purpose.

I agree with the economist critic who noted: ‘If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood, I would give him D for diligence, but more likely I would give him an F for fail.’ We are shifting away from science and into the realm of religious fanaticism, where the followers of the creed, brimming with self-righteous fury, believe that they are in possession of a higher truth.

Like a religion, environmentalism is suffused with hatred for the material world and again, like religion, it requires devotion rather than intellectual rigour from its adherents.

It is intolerant of dissent; those who question the message of doom are regarded as heretics, or ‘climate change deniers’, to use green parlance.

And, just as in many religions, the route to personal salvation lies in the performance of superstitious rituals, such as changing a lightbulb or arranging for a tree to be planted after every plane journey.

What is so tragic is the way that this dubious ideology has achieved such dominance in our public life.

Politicians love the green agenda, of course, because it means more control, more regulation, more taxes, more summits, and more opportunities for displays of self-important zeal.

The tragedy is that the likes of Sir Nicholas Stern are using bogus science to push forward this agenda.

Richrad Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen is known for his work in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides and ozone photochemistry. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and books.  He was a lead author of Chapter 7, ‘Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,’ of the IPCC Third Assessment Report on climate change.  He is a well known skeptic concerning catastrophic global warming (CAGW) and critic of what he states are political pressures on climate scientists to conform to what he has called climate alarmism and rightly so, “Global Warming Religion”.





Southern Alberta/South East BC Flood of 2013

23 06 2013

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Whatever contraptions, potions, technology, or sorcery we employ for the universal good, it seems we are universally fucked when we realize our endeavors  are all for naught and a failed testament to the unwavering  power of Nature.  Bear witness to the catastrophic flooding in Southwestern Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia in June of 2013.

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The areas that were hit the hardest initially never saw it coming so fast, and so furious. Not a single long-time resident of any community affected said that they’ve ever seen anything even remotely similar to this. It truly is catastrophic and unprecedented since we began inhabiting these parts.

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I live in Calgary, a city of over a million that has been severely impacted by this historic disaster.  Approximately 100 thousand people have been evacuated. I have a number of people I care about who are directly impacted. I count my lucky stars that I’m not in their shoes. I’ve lived through the 2005 flood and the 1987 tornado in Edmonton.  Both natural disasters and both incredibly horrifying. I’ve been stranded on a mountain top by wind and hail. I’ve been caught out in severely cold weather and developed hypothermia. I’ve suffered 2nd degree sunburns and associated sun stroke.  I once foolishly crossed a swollen Chehalis River to access fishing riverfront, almost being swept away, only to later discover that a bridge crossing was located one kilometer upstream. I respect Nature in my old age, as wisdom has finally paid a visit.

This flood has been very personal to me, as the majority of communities affected are what I call home. I am deeply moved by the incredible devastation caused by the perfect storm of previously saturated soils, frozen soils at higher elevations, spring run-off, geography, and a stalled low pressure system that dumped up to 200mm of rain across the foothills to the West.

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Once again, I stand in awe of the power of Nature.

Our emergency warning systems, engineered controls such as dams and other water diversions, and para-militarily enforced rules are a trifle compared to Ma Nature’s will. Which has been demonstrated to be both cyclical and chaotically random.  Photographic comparisons of this flood and another that hit town in 1932 are remarkably similar. Image

The City of Medicine Hat is currently preparing for the worst, as the full force of both the Bow River and the Oldman River form into the South Saskatchewan River and chug through Alberta’s “Gas City”.

Highways and roads have been washed out, bridges have been destroyed, homes have been swept away, others have been flooded almost to their roofs, and so far four people have been confirmed dead.

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The devastation is so widespread that damages may be in the billions of dollars.

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But the Stampede will go on. We will clean up and rebuild. What other option is there?

Stay strong people. Together we’ll get through this.





Tornado ’87

1 06 2013

When I was 16, I had an Italian buddy I used to fish with. We haunted a small glacial esker 40 minuets west of Edmonton called Lake  Chickacoo where brook trout were reportedly regularly stocked. Our repeated unsuccessful attempts at catching fish in this lake were exasperated by my claim that as a kid, I came out here and ended up eating a lot of fresh caught bbq’d trout.

This is not that story. Rather, this is a recollection of that day. And a short piece on my surprising compulsion to chase violent thunderstorms.

Back to ’87.

My Buddy Steve and I are heading west on the Yellowhead Highway. I just got off work and was anxious to apply some fishing techniques recently gleaned from a somewhat crusty reliable source.

He had a fishy smell.

As we sped past the old CFRN station, I noticed dark green and pitch black rolling low-level clouds ghosting through the top halves of power poles. The sky was a leaden grey popped up in places with streaks of black. A hazy hue of foreboding lay across the landscape.

Immediately after commenting to my buddy Steve on the bizarre meteorological observations, we were hit hard by a hail storm supreme. As we pulled under the fortunately right – in – front – of – us overpass, we gingerly jockeyed for position with all the the other vehicles with the same self preservation instinct.

A number of folk were out of their cars. looking upward and Eastward. Steve and I were anxious to get fishing.

We were both 16.

That evening was the best evening either of us ever had on that miserable pot hole. Neither of us caught and landed a fish, but brother, did we ever get a lot of takers! Maybe 2 apiece!

Such was the early history of trout fishing in Edmonton’s surrounding area according to me.

When we arrived back in Edmonton, we heard the news. It came as both a shock and later a fascination. Even at 16, I still felt a deep pain in my heart for my fellow community citizens who lost so much. Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt added to the inquiry formation, which then evolved into not only a deep respect and understanding, but an enhanced curiosity into tornado evolution.

Last summer I chased a few storms. Here are some of the photos.ImageImageImage

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Thanks Chris

20 05 2010

Andrew and I decided to bag a peak on Tuesday. Rather, Andrew wanted to bag a peak, and he just ended up convincing me to accompany him.

Our initial objective was Prairie Mountain, however as we neared the parking area, both of us noticed that the winter gate had been opened (they do this every year on May 16th, but each year I seem to forget). We both agreed Nihahi ridge, further to the west was in order, even if the thunderheads were building overhead and all the food we had between us was a tube of Pringles sour cream and onion chips.

We didn’t hit the trail head parking lot  until 2pm or so, and had a lengthy stroll through the Little Elbow campground before reaching the actual trail head. 2/3 of the way in, I spotted a dude with a hundred liter pack and a full beard approaching from the west.

Dumbfounded, as this gentleman had the appearance of someone who has been in the bush a while, I stopped and asked him if he had just forgotten something in the car, and simply neglected hygiene for a week or so (the winter gate some 15km east had JUST beent opened).

Chris then went on to elaborate about getting dropped off at the gate in mid February….how the whole area is vacant of humans until now, how he had been tracking cougars, and had stashes of supplies scattered throughout the wilderness. His pack held 50 lbs of library books that needed to be returned, hence the walk-out.

Since I’ve spent a lot of time back where Chris had been living, I asked a few rudimentary questions that quickly verified him as genuine, as opposed to “Crazy bush-man lunatic with an extremely accessible  axe”.

Andrew and I decided to offer sociables to this mountain-man, and found our trip extended another 40 minutes as we sat at one of the campground’s picnic tables and  had Chris blow our minds.

This guy has gotten to know all the local cats, including conservation officers. He shared stories of both unnecessary harassment and enlightened law enforcement practices.  He had been fairly mobile, moving from one place to the next and experimenting with local cuisine. Apparently, rice and certain insects (roasted) is a fine back-country dish.

As Chris described his travels and disclosed solid information on wild berry crops, I thought about my life – long aspiration to be “Bush Man”. This guy was the literal example of the kind of life I’ve dreamed about. Then I thought of my bed. And I realized that unlike Chris, I have 2 kids that I’m crazy about and no wealthy relatives to fund my chronic unemployment.

Inevitably, we exchanged numbers  and went on our way.

Andrew and I reached the summit ridge of Nihahi amid hurricane force winds, and on our way back down, I sincerely found myself appreciating everything that I have. Which at that point included a half full tube of Pringles.





Road Rage

13 05 2010

I recently gave my 14-year-old son his second driving lesson. It was so uneventful (except for a turn at an intersection that almost ended up in the ditch) that I think I’m soon going to have a chauffeur. What have I done?

The outing recalled our first driving lesson together on those same country roads.

It all started out so innocently. Little drive out to Chestemere, little treat from Tim’s. Maybe, just maybe launch some of the fireworks I just happened to have sitting in my trunk. Kids like fireworks. They like them so much in fact, they are willing to stand on a deserted country road and feed an entire extended family of mosquitoes while dear old dad struggles with a way to make the fireworks stand up straight. Not complaining I might add.

Country roads also happen to be rife with kids as young as ten powering high performance motor vehicles. We all remember the You tube video that got a Quebec dad busted as his 10-year-old son got the family SUV up to 75 KM per hour while said family sat in the backseat swilling maple syrup and listening to Celine Dion completely disregarding Quebec’s seat belt law. Not that they were doing anything wrong…ok, except maybe the Celine Dion.

I learned pretty quick during this little adventure is that my son has no aversion to speed but requires much more training regarding turning at intersections.  I also learned that my daughter will not be riding along on subsequent lessons. Even when Coleman was inching along at a paltry 20km/hr, she had to be restrained from bolting from the vehicle. Those kids are pretty close, but she doesn’t trust him one bit behind the wheel of even a go-cart.

Fortunately, we only had to almost hit the ditch once in order for the lesson to end, much to the relief of our back seat passenger who was seriously close to a total nervous breakdown.

The things we learn as parents.

I fully intend to get Coleman out again on those country roads for another lesson. First I have to call my insurance broker.





New study: “Deadbeat dad’s were unheard of among dinosaurs”

12 02 2010

Calgary, AB –  Top dinosaur researcher, Calgary Zoo Name-Tag Obscured Lady in Khakis Who Conducts Guided Interpretative Tours in Prehistoric Park spoke to an audience of Dino-centric schoolchildren and adults today on the merits of dinosaur parenting skills.

“Dinosaurs actually were very good parents, being very responsible and taking really good care of their babies.”  Dr. Czntolikwcgtipp said to the impressionable crowd who responded with a collective “Awwww”.

The Dinosaur and dino-related specialist then went on to describe how certain dinosaurs “…use their front claws to pull themselves along the ground…” and that certain species “..hunted prey in packs, just like wolves and lions…”.

The audience’s attention however was quickly taken over by the life-size animatronic Allosaurus which suddenly began moving and emitting dino-like sounds.

Yes, this actually happened.

And to be honest, a strangely familiar feeling crept up my spine and set off the BS detector with glaring clarity.

I have no issues whatsoever about suspiciously qualified park interpreters purporting  education to the mostly under 14 crowd at attractions like the zoo. I’ve followed along on several such tours, but the quality of information dissected has always been supported by observation and empirical evidence.

Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes, it has been observed and enough empirical evidence has been documented to support a positive response to this question (hate to be the field biologist whose specialized discipline is large omnivore scatology).

Does a bear use an available Leporidae, like an arctic hare or white tailed jackrabbit to wipe it’s ass? No. No amount of observation on any member of the Ursidae family has  supported the assumption of this said practice. Furthermore, no amount of empirical evidence has been documented to qualify a positive reply.

No matter how many times I heard that joke when I was 10, rabbits and hares around the world can breath a sigh of relief knowing they will not have to worry about cleaning bear shit off their fur.

Herein lies my issue. I have a problem with theories, guesses, assumptions, and beliefs being represented as facts to kids.

Kids are impressionable little sponges that readily soak up information. The weight of what they encounter often is influenced by the representation of “authority”. Parents, teachers, interpreters, television presenters, and the like.

A lot of what kids accept as fact at that early age, however they are influenced, forms the foundation of their beliefs. My sister still laughs about the methodology behind a certain elbow injury I sustained as a child immediately after watching Christopher Reeves as Superman.

My point is, you and I know that anyone can be an “expert”, in just about any discipline. All you need is 14.55 an hour, an official-looking uniform, and a name-tag. Our kids don’t know that, and maybe it is our jobs as parents to point that out.

It may just save some of us the confusion when our kids tell us they are going over to so & so’s house to play “dinosaur”.





Stealth Skiing

28 12 2009

I think I have discovered an exciting new activity – late night x – country skiing. It’s a pretty simple concept. Either get hopelessly lost while exploring a new area or overestimate one’s performance when getting a late start and by default x-country skiing in the dark is an inevitability.

I have a friend however who’s first date with his now long-term relationship girlfriend (not married but almost) was an intentional outing on skinny skis under a moon – lit night. Yes it sounded romantic but it also sounded pathological when I first heard of it.

My ski/scramble buddy Andrew and I found ourselves in the position of a return trip in West Bragg Creek recently after we had a late start. Our entire darkened  return was downhill…adding to the merriment. I bent a pole on a spectacular yard sale. The city of Calgary was a reddish/gold glow to the East, appearing warm and inviting from our heights in the foothills. At the end of the trail, I couldn’t stop smirking. We ran into someone looking for a group of skiers who, apparently, do this all the time and were just heading out. Madness begets even greater madness.

Andrew and I hit up Shaganappi golf course shortly after…and were getting our skis on just as the sun was setting. Enough ambient light illuminated the tracks for us to ski without serious injury.

We almost skied Hawkridge at night, but arrived too late (we searched for it over 90 minutes..Blackberry crash killed my mobile browser and Andrew has a heavy foot) as I had obligations not at all concerned with such foolishness.  We did return however the next morning…and had a wonderful time skiing in -25c temperatures.  As a side note – when we left Calgary, the temp was -18c. Hawkridge is only 5 minutes from Calgary’s deep south-west. Andrew’s truck thermometer AND the ski lodge thermometer registered -25c. We skied for 90 minutes, scraped the ice off our eyeballs, and saw the temperature hadn’t budged.  It warmed up just as we were getting back to town. The average temperature we noted while driving through town was – 18c. The highest temperature we observed was -15c. A ten degree temperature difference from city to just outside of town. Urban Heat Island Effect is not significant say those who also speak of “simple physics” when expounding on AGW theory ?

Anyway, tonight we went back to Shaganappi. We got there around 23:30 and skied till 1:15. This time I brought a headlamp. It was amazing…. a completely surreal experience and I have much more confidence skiing at night now that I can see the trail and any hazards. My pain allowance is now significantly increased.

However since going full-out at 1 AM means my body wont let me sleep immediately after…here I am at my computer. It’s now 4:21.