Of the hundreds of critics who took the time to voice their views on my recent column "The Fiction Of Climate Science
," a few did real research and discovered that I combined two quotes from separate reports.
I plead guilty. This was an unintentional error.
They accused me of selective opinion making. Yet, these same detractors are likewise guilty. They picked one of my comments while ignoring the other 12 claims. Welcome to the world of editing, guys.
I don't want to appear flip here. My naysayers dug in and uncovered extended comments that I chopped off. And yet, the words they added back don't help their arguments.
One added phrase included "... unanticipated global cooling ..." That wording suggests the scientists being quoted anticipated global warming. Anticipating global warming but not finding it in recent measurements does not sound like unbiased research to me.
Another added comment seems at first more ominous. My original excerpt said "...leading into the next ice age..." The critic made this addition from the report: "...in 20,000 years." That sounds like there is no worry if the next ice age is 200 centuries away. But think deeper. If ice ages have 100,000 year cycles, that means we're 80% away from the last one and 20% towards the next deep freeze.
This still sounds like no big deal, but you've got to assume that ice ages instantly freeze over our globe on a Thursday when our planet was wilting in tropical humidity the previous Wednesday. The evidence of lakes and valleys created by the unbelievably slow movement of glaciers--grinding back and forth, digging valleys and lakes, leaving boulders where they retreated--suggests that these movements are not so instant.
The cooling apparently comes slowly, in fits and starts. I stand by my interpretation.
The 12 points the critics let stand were:
--Random House published a book called the "Weather Conspiracy" with a subtitle of "The coming of the New Ice Age." It is still available, used, on Amazon.com. It lists, unusually, 18 authors, all based in the Washington, D.C., area.
--Newsweek did a cover story at about the same time with a title of "The Coming Ice Age."
--Ditto for The New York Times.
--Galileo was forced to recant his theory of the earth revolving around the sun, by authorities who didn't like any hint of man's insignificance, or be killed.
--I saw a big wall chart showing global cooling over the last 60 million years, at the Smithsonian in 2002. In 2008 it was painted over.
--Al Gore's movie shows his cattle in an opening scene. Cattle fart methane, which absorbs heat at 30x the rate of CO2.
--Gore flew first class in his movie, consuming more jet fuel than those coach supporters.
--Media reports of Gore's mansion consuming great gobs of fuel were not denied by his staff. They later reported he was "carbon neutral" due to trades. Critics of my column lashed out at the fact I didn't understand how you consume so much without causing the supposed problem, but nobody explained "carbon neutral."
--I've personally seen Gore exit a private jet.
--The Christian Science Monitor did, supposedly, support the alarming trend of armadillos leaving Nebraska for the cooler climate of Texas.
--Tree rings, sorry, don't know how to lie. Trees get few subsidies. The earth cools, it heats, it cools, it heats. Maybe. (Some scientists quote ice layer studies that go back 400 million years, without a question about how ice could survive for 400 million years.)
--Wines were big in England. After global cooling, beer and ale emerged. Grapes died in the chill; wheat thrived.
Now, my comment about Leif Ericsson crossing the Atlantic in those shallow-draft boats during a global warming period (and not getting crushed by icebergs) was speculation without a shred of scientific fact. But his relatives, for generations, certainly inhabited Greenland when it was green.
Am I a "Capitalist Pig" who pollutes the environment, as yet another critic suggested?
My parents were both high school teachers. My grandfathers were uneducated Irish Iowa farm workers. I was a chief executive for the last 20 years of my career. My peak annual salary was $120,000 and my lowest, three times, was zero for many months, reduced each time when I felt I underperformed. My compensation was primarily stock, and, it worked sometimes. But the shareholders always made much more. These shareholders always included union pension funds, institutions that sold to fat cats, as well as widows and orphans and folks on the street who relied on their 401(k)s. I do not apologize.
As for my polluting the environment: Match me. My home now has more compact fluorescent bulbs than incandescent. (Yes, they use mercury, just as fluorescents have for decades.) In some places, where we have dimmer switches, we are changing to LED's as they become available. We pulled out all our single-pane windows last year and replaced them with double-paned. Our landscaping has just been ripped out and I've replaced it with drought-tolerant plants. My biggest investment of this year is a solar project. We are putting in a solar water heater. We wanted to do solar electric on our roof, but discovered we'd need to cut down a shade tree to do so, and that didn't quite feel right. We intend to put in instant water heaters as we redo the bathrooms plus another one, higher temperature, for the dishwasher. My car is not a hybrid, but it got 31 miles per gallon on our last trip to San Diego from the Bay Area. We intend to buy a hybrid when the overnight charging option is ready.
This all may or may not make economic sense. I did well enough in business that I can afford to try energy-saving technologies. Americans struggling to meet mortgage payments shouldn't be forced into so-called "green" efforts that cost them and the economy much more than the efforts will likely pay back, while the science remains uncertain.