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L. Neil Smith's
Number 517, May 3, 2009

"What a maroon...."

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This One's for Holly
by L. Neil Smith

Special* to The Libertarian Enterprise

Recently, a reader of mine named Holly wrote:

"Can I ask how you made the judgment on which scientists to believe? I am interested in climate science and just started reading RealClimate, thanks in part to your post. To be honest, I respect your literary work and was surprised to hear you, as a science fiction author, naysay what I thought was serious and substantial scientific study. So I'd like to know whether you have favorite information resources to recommend. Thanks!"

Hello, Holly—

My initial doubts about manmade global warming weren't scientific, but ... I guess you might say social. I am a novelist, and—when I'm not conversant on a particular subject—I'm inclined to depend on my judgement of the character of the actors involved. To some, I know, that may seem like a terrible confession, but others who write for a living will understand. The real question, after all, is "Am I being conned?"

That's a social question, not a scientific one.

So,lacking other data, I looked at the character of those pushing the idea of Global Warming. They included leftist politicos I knew to be opportunistic liars in other contexts—particularly gun ownership—along with movie stars and other brain-dead celebrities that flock to any cause that attacks private industrial capitalism and individual liberty. Some may criticize me for ad hominem thinking, but when you don't have reliable scientific information (which I didn't back then), what else can you rely on but your understanding of the personalities involved?

There was also my experience with previous predictions of disaster (some which I listed in the blog entry "The Badguys" that we're discussing ), and of conspiracy theories that seemed to me to have a similar structure. The whole "Paul is dead" thing comes to mind. I know a lot about this because I spent a lot of time in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy "movement".

At least two shooters, maybe more, Kevin Costner to the contrary, notwithstanding.

I suppose my perception of precisely who stood to benefit from the spreading fear about Global Warming comes into it. Anyone who hates technology, of course, or the present economic system. Also, hordes who will get rich from all of the asinine proposals to reduce Global Warming—anyone who makes solar panels or water heating systems or nasty little cars that go short distances very slowly, carrying almost nothing.

Most persuasive, I suppose, was an anthropological understanding I have (that being my principle field of interest and study in college) of what constitutes a religion. The planet gets transmogrified into a goddess in the minds of the faithful, and all of the entities upon it, the birds and bees and flowers and trees (to quote an old song)—all of the entities, that is, except humans—become sacred objects. Exhaling carbon dioxide becomes Original Sin. Better that a thousand human babies should die than one single snail darter or a furbish lousewort.

In fact, what the Earth needs, they often say, is a good plague.

This religious interpretation helped explain the fact that Global Warming skeptics were increasingly being persecuted. They couldn't be refuted, so university professors were being denied tenure or actually having it taken away. Government employees concerned with the weather were being reprimanded or threatened with firing. The new media were full of that kind of thing. (If academia—or science itself—ever recover from this debacle, it will be thanks to people who had retired or were just about to and didn't have anything to lose by telling the truth.)

Of course the "mainstream" media somehow failed to report lunacy like this. And when hundreds of scientists who had literally signed on with the Global Warming hoax managed to learn more, had second or third thoughts, and withdrew their sanction, that didn't get reported, either, except by those on the net like Matt Drudge who care about the truth.

I guess the final social fact that made me suspicious was the way people—especially legislators—were being pushed, rushed along, encouraged only to believe and act, not to think, "Because it's too late for that, and even if it weren't, we can't risk not doing something."

There were, by now, lots of physical data to support skepticism. It turns out, for example, that some of the first readings that seemed to indicate increasing world temperatures came from a weather bouy in the Pacific Ocean that was defective and had to be repaired or replaced. My suggestion was that they preserve it as a monument to Al Gore.

Similarly, official weather stations—those little white-painted structures with the louvred box on top—were increasingly being photographed where they had been placed near heat sources like factory smokestacks, the backs of restaurants, and industrial heat exchangers.

I thought for a while that the whole house of cards was going to collapse when it was realized that most of the temperature readings used to support the fraud were taken in "municipal heat islands", tiny pinpricks on the map where human activity had indeed managed to raise temperatures, usually by pouring concrete and asphalt over everything that didn't move fast enough to avoid it. My hometown, for example, is at least ten degrees warmer in the summer now than I remember as a boy.

Then came the ice core evidence showing that a relationship did, indeed, exist between changes in the mixture of atmospheric gases and global heat fluctuations, but exactly in reverse of what was expected: there was an average 800-year lag between a rise in temperatures and increases—which followed the increasing temperatures—in carbon dioxide.

I wouldn't want to leave out the thorough discreditation of the fraudulent "hockey stick" model, a dramatic graphic presentation by academic warmistas which, largely by means of ignoring the established climate history of the past thousand years—including the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age, both of which are exceptionally well-documented by the actual people living in those times—produced the desired results on paper, but bore no resemblance whatever to reality.

Sort of like Keynesian economics.

I just heard about a nuclear submarine in the Arctic in the 1950s that had no trouble poking its nose through the ice at the North Pole, something, I gathered from the conversation, that can't be done easily today. For all of you Obama and McCain voters out there, this means the ice is thicker than it was half a century ago, not thinner as is claimed.

Most interestingly—remember seeing those spectacular photos from the Dustbowl era in which whole towns are about to be swallowed by a wall of airborne dust?—according to weather service records, the hottest 20th century decade was not the 1990s, as constantly advertised, but the 1930s, with the highest temperatures recorded in 1935.

The 2008-2009 winter handed one public humiliation after another to Algore and his warming wonks, as their lectures, meetings, and rallys had to be postponed or cancelled due to record cold and heavy snowfalls. It was their attribution of these lower temperatures to Global Warming that confirmed my suspicion we are dealing with a new religion.

The final nail in the coffin of manmade Global Warming was the "inconvenient truth" that Mars and Jupiter are also warming up. I knew for damn sure that my Durango wasn't responsible for that, nor were anybody's cows. The sun was in a relatively sunspot-free period and was shining a little more brightly on the many rocks whirling around it.

Sometime shortly after that, the warmoids felt a need to change the name of the supposed phenomenon from "Global Warming" to "Climate Change', the same way they'd stopped calling themselves "liberals" and begun calling themselves "progressives". In both cases, with one lie after another, one outrageous assault on life, liberty, property, and reason after another, they'd dirtied their original brand name, left it reeking on some fencepost somewhere, and found themselves a new one.

Many unanswered questions still remain, among other things, about the benefits of rising temperatures. In many ways, the Earth would be a far better place to live if it averaged five or ten degrees warmer. The fact that there has been no great land rush among the warming faithful to Alaska or Greenland sort of gives the whole game away, I think.

And now, despite careful selection (and misrepresentation) of movies of icebergs "calving" in the Arctic and Antarctic, and phony shots of polar bears swimming vainly in search of ice, it turns out, according to a very recent satellite survey by the British government (which stands to gain absolutely nothing by telling the truth) that the icecaps either end of the world don't seem to be shrinking, after all.

I am not a footnote kind of a guy—think of me as a 21st century replacement for a newspaper columnist. But every factual thing I've said here can be confirmed in a few minutes perusing the Internet. Ironically, the one genuine world-ending catastrophe we face as a species—being struck by a wandering asteroid—the warmers ignore, because it doesn't serve their economic and political interests, even though there's a great deal that could be done, right now, to prevent it.

But that's a subject for another time—and for my novel, CERES.

* This article originally appeared on my blog, L. Neil Smith at Random. CERES is being serialized at [this URL]


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