by Jay Lehr
Lawrence Solomon, a longtime environmental activist, began wondering a few years ago how it could be that some scientists were questioning the apparently solid consensus that humans are causing a global warming crisis. He began seeking them out, and interviewing them on the topic...
Before long, Solomon came to realize a substantial number of the world's leading scientists are making a very strong case that humans are not causing any sort of global warming crisis.
In 2006 he began publishing his interviews with these leading scientists in Canada's National Post newspaper. In his outstanding new book, The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud (Richard Vigilante Books, 2008, 240 pages), Solomon presents the best of these interviews, while sharing additional insights for which his newspaper columns did not have room. Solomon's book breaks new ground in the global warming discussion, presenting the most important scientific evidence in the words of the scientists themselves.
The Deniers is not just a series of interviews and vignettes, however. Solomon carefully divides the information gleaned from his prestigious dissenters into chapters asking the very questions most of us have on our minds, and he allows the scientists' own words to answer the questions collectively.
All of the "dissenters" profiled in the book are recognized leaders in their fields, with many even active in the official body that oversees most of the world's climate change research, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Thus the book provides absorbing insight into both the scientific issues and the ferocious political and media battles being waged about global warming.
Solomon shows how noble scientists have suffered for their integrity and how attack dogs have mounted an all-out campaign against these scientists, portraying them as hacks bought by profit-mad oil companies or as non-credentialed cranks and lunatics.
Elite Scientific Resumes
The book offers well-written brief biographies of each of their illustrious careers. Here is a sample of the dozens of scientists the author interviewed, with a very condensed indication of who they are and what they believe:
Claude Allegre, Ph.D.
A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Science, Allegre was among the first scientists to sound the alarm on potential dangers from global warming. His view now: "The cause of this climate change is unknown."
Richard Lindzen, Ph.D.
A professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Lindzen says global warming alarmists "are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right."
Habibullo Abdussamatov, Ph.D.
Head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science's Pulkova Observatory and head of the International Space Station's Astrometria Project, Abdussamatov reports, "the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from misinterpretation of cause and effect relations."
Richard Toi, Ph.D.
Principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit and adjunct professor at the Carnegie Mellon University Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Toi calls the IPCC reports "preposterous ... alarmist and incompetent."
Sami Solanki, Ph.D.
Director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, Solanki argues changes in the sun's state, not human activity, may be the principal cause of global warming. Says Solanki, "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."
Freeman Dyson, Ph.D.
A professor at Princeton University and one of the most eminent physicists in the world, Dyson reports the models used to justify global warming are "full of fudge factors" and "do not begin to describe the real world."
Eigil Friis-Christensen, Ph.D.
Director of the Danish National Space Center and vice president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, Friis-Christensen argues changes in the sun's behavior could very well account for most of the warming during the past century.
Necessary Second Opinion
Global warming has become a critical question for citizens who must decide whether the cures being bandied about are not in fact worse than the disease.
In matters of health, most intelligent citizens seek a second opinion before undergoing a serious medical procedure, but in the case of global warming, a second opinion is exactly what global warming activists do not want you to seek, for fear it will reduce the effectiveness of their fear-mongering. Therefore, we are treated to a continuous drumbeat of the words, "the science is settled."
All the scientists Solomon interviews in his book are prominent in climate science and are not just nitpicking over the interpretation of some small piece of data. Throughout the book Solomon artistically includes boxes of highlighted quotes from his subjects, taken from their own publications. Here is one from Lindzen:
"How can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes? The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism.
"Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policymakers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes."
Worthless Computer Models
In his interview, Dyson points out from long experience that models packed with numerous "fudge factors" are worthless.
As a mathematician and physicist, Dyson is known for the unification of three versions of quantum electrodynamics, as well as for contributions to space flight and the development of a safe nuclear reactor used today by hospitals and universities around the world. But today he is known more widely as a scientific heretic for disagreeing with claims of a central human role in global warming.
In his 2005 winter commencement address at the University of Michigan, Dyson said the mathematical computer models on which the alarmist claims are based "do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry, and the biology of fields, farms, and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in."
Solar Influence Ignored
In Solomon's interview with Friis-Christensen, the scientist states he was originally optimistic about the work IPCC would do in studying the sun's influence on climate change. To his surprise, however, IPCC refused to consider the sun's effect on the Earth's climate as a topic worthy of investigation. IPCC conceived its task only as investigating potential human causes of climate change.
That is a huge omission, Abdussamatov points out. He notes there has been global warming on other planets and moons in the solar system, and this demonstrates other forces may be at work regarding the Earth's moderate recent warming. "Mars has global warming, but without a greenhouse and without the participation of Martians," he observes.
Abdussamatov, at the pinnacle of Russia's scientific establishment, is one of the world's most eminent critics of the notion carbon dioxide is driving global warming. He argues these "parallel global-warmings observed simultaneously on Mars and on Earth--can only be a straight line consequence of the effect of the one same factor: a long-time change in solar irradiance."
Cooling Coming Soon
Abdussamatov believes the recent global warming will be short-lived and that we are actually on the brink of a global cooling, and likely a severe one. He argues Earth has hit its temperature ceiling, demonstrated by cooling currently occurring in the upper layers of the world's oceans.
In addition, Abddussamatov notes, solar irradiance has begun to fall, likely ushering in a protracted cooling period beginning in 2012-2015.
The lowest depth of the solar irradiance reaching Earth will occur around 2041 (plus or minus 11 years), Abdussamatov estimates, and will inevitably lead to a deep freeze around 2055-60. The freeze will last into the twenty-second century before temperatures rise again. For now, he says, "we continue to bask in the remains of heat that the planet accumulated over the twentieth century."
This is an excellent book. It is written for non-scientists, and I guarantee you will understand every word. It will inspire you as you witness the courage of the deniers to take a stand and endure the wrath of global warming activists for having the audacity to report sound science.
Dr. Jay Lehr is science director of The Heartland Institute and editor of several leading scientific reference books, including McGraw-Hill's Handbook on Environmental Science, Health and Technology.