July 16, 2009
What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.
Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.
I would like to begin this entry by thanking Eberhard Rhein for his response to my letter to the editor of EurActiv.com titled “The EU institutions’ hypocritical fight against climate change” since initiating a public debate on the issue of the Community institution’s policies on climate change mitigation and their personal contribution to these policies was exactly what my letter aimed at.
However, Rhein has fundamentally misunderstood the theses in my letter which inevitably led him to the wrong conclusion that the main points of my letter were:
– Man made climate change does not take place, but the EU institutions have made it their mantra.
– The EU institutions waste energy and therefore behave hypocritically.
– The EU institutions do not employ people who do not share their vision of climate change.
This entry serves to correct author’s wrong conclusions and the related argumentation. To avoid any misunderstanding on the part of a reader who has not read the criticized by Rhein letter, I would like to once again note that I am neither a climatologist nor a meteorologist. Therefore, I form my opinion by reading what prominent climatologists, astronomers, paleontologists, etc. (the people that actually do climate-related scientific research) write on the subject of climate change. To that point my considerable training in and experience of scientific research help me sort out what I call real science from pseudo-science, i.e. “science-like”, “wanna be science”.
I. Man made climate change does not take place, but the EU institutions have made it their mantra
As far as E. Rhein’s first conclusion and corresponding argumentation are concerned, I would like to note that in my letter I do not at all question the existence of climate change as such. On the contrary, I explicitly acknowledge the existence of the natural phenomenon – see my reply at the interview for a position with the Commission of the European Communities (hereinafter the European Commission, EC). Therefore, I assume that there is no disagreement between Rhein and me on this thesis.
However, at this point it is very important to emphasize the relativity of the trend of observed climate change which is entirely dependent on the baseline, the reference point against which we assess this change. If we select the 19th century (the end of the so-called Little Ice Age when the Thames is documented to have frozen over) as the baseline, then the trend will be upwards. However, if we set the reference point some 1000 to 800 years before the present (during the period referred to as the Medieval Warm Period when Vikings are said to have colonized and grown crops in Greenland and Newfoundland), the trend will be downward (Singer and Avery 2005, Carter 2007, Jaworowski 2007; see also Singer and Avery 2007, Singer and Idso 2009).
To pre-empt the highly probable argument that the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period were regional phenomena (as often speculated, for example by Mann – the author of the invalidated “hockey stick” graph which served as the icon of man-made global warming, see Appell 2005) I would like to point out that although “not a synchronous phenomenon in all regions of the globe” (Goose et al. 2008, p. 169), there is sufficient evidence that the phenomenon did occur around the globe (details in Goose et al. 2008, Verschuren and Charman 2008, Singer and Idso 2009).
The interested reader is advised to consult the comprehensive reviews by Singer and Avery (2005), Carter (2007), Carter and colleagues (2007), Jaworowski (2007), Carter (2008) and the books by Leroux (2005), Svensmark and Calder (2008) and Singer and Idso (2009) on the nature of climate change. Nova (2009) has published a handbook intended to introduce beginners to the polemics on climate change.
Back to Rein’s response, in my letter I do question the EC’s policies on combating climate change which are best described as putting all eggs in the same basket. Despite the numerous theories on the nature of climate change, the EC focuses only on the theory of man-made global warming and channels all efforts (which, not to forget, equal taxpayer’s money, for details see figures 1 and 2 and the explanation thereto in Apostolov 2009) in that direction only. However, looking at the scientific literature, I see no reasonable explanation why this particular probability is preferred to all other, the most wide-spread of which are:
1) the observed warming trend in climate change is likely to continue in the next century or centuries as a consequence of an entirely natural phenomenon as recognized by a significant part of the scientific community – for example, more than 100 scientists of various backgrounds signed an open letter to the UN Secretary-General in 2007 (National Post 2007), in which they wrote:
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages.
… it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions.
… despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998.
… significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.
…it is irrational to apply the “precautionary principle” because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.
2) the observed warming trend in climate change is only a short-term phenomenon which will be followed by a long-term cold period as described by Bryden and colleagues (2005) and in Laverty (2003) (see also Singer and Idso 2009).
4) some researchers argue that environmental pollution could actually reduce the speed of global warming (Schiermeier 2009).
All these recent theories demonstrate beyond any doubt that there is no “overwhelming consensus among the international scientific community on the manmade nature of the phenomenon” as speculated by Rhein (2009).
Further to that, as mentioned in the letter in question, in early 2009 there were more than 700 internationally renowned scientists who disagree with the IPCC’s claim of “man-made global warming”, amongst these even lead authors and contributors to the IPCC’s reports (see the respective references in the letter).
Moreover, there is no room for “overwhelming consensus” or “scientific consensus” in real science. Debate is the “normal state” of science – as we all know truth is born of argument. If that were not the case, we would still be living on a disc resting on five elephants and healing flu with funny dances and bad singing. Even Mann, whose “hockey stick” has been disproved by following research, was not discouraged by the polemic and said in an interview “If we allowed that sort of thing to stop us from progressing in science, that would be a very frightening world” (Appell 2005). On the subject of pseudo-science promoted by the consensus advocates I highly recommend Crichton’s article “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous”.
Last but not least, a 2007 report published by Fenton and colleagues presented the results of a study revealing global warming on Mars – where no man has even step a foot, not to speak of releasing CO2. I would like to know how that piece of evidence that global warming is driven by natural forces fits in the argument of proponents of man-made global warming.
While I generally agree with Rhein’s statement on development of climate science, I would like to point out that the development of climate-related research seems to have done a huge leap in the last 5 years in a direction opposing the one supported by him (see above).
In view of the scientific uncertainty of the drive of climate change and its future trend (warming on cooling), in my letter I do not claim that one of the two theories mentioned there is correct or final. I just point out that currently even scientists are not sure of the nature of climate change and which way it will go in the next 20 years and argue that “a real precautionary approach would employ both probabilities and a well-thought, comprehensive climate change mitigation strategy should equally consider the two alternative scenarios”.
In the light of the above for me it is unclear why the EC continues to spend money on measures of, to use the scientific language, questionable effectiveness. And that was the first message of my letter that Rhein has misunderstood.
II. The EU institutions waste energy and therefore behave hypocritically
This is the author’s second misunderstanding. Nowhere in my letter I claim that the Community institutions are hypocritical simply because they use or waste energy.
I call the European Commission and the European Parliament hypocritical because while on the one hand these institutions develop and adopt policies and measures aiming to cut CO2 emissions (including from transport – see European Commission’s CO2 and cars and climate change and aviation web sites) as means of fighting global warming and call for strengthening of the existing ones (EurActiv 2009), on the other hand they release significant quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere by unnecessary travelling, which in the case of the European Parliament is reported to be about 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year (Eco-Logica Ltd. 2007). And because contrary not only to the will of more than one third of the representatives elected by the European taxpayers to the European Parliament (Alvaro et al 2008) but even to the direct will of the people who are their sovereign (Oneseat.eu web site), these institutions have done nothing to discontinue their environment deteriorating practices.
And this has nothing to do with the Community’s performance in terms of energy efficiency compared to other industrialized countries.
III. The EU institutions do not employ people who do not share their vision of climate change
In his response Rhein writes “it is absurd to assume that EU institutions ask potential job or research applicants for their views on climate change”.
With all due respect I must point out that I did not assume anything but described a real-life situation: that was the question I was asked at the interview, word by word: “Do you believe in climate change?” (emphasis added).
The described biased and hypocritical approach of the European Commission to the subject of global warming, the cited question and Gräs’ blog entry (2009) make me really wonder what kind of people are getting their salaries from my taxes and how wisely and efficiently they spend my tax money.
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