Hidden Agendas- Part 2
by Candace Oathout
We know, based on observed data that many of the claims regarding Global Warming are overstated, sometimes radically overstated. We know that many in the Global Warming debate have chosen to deliberately overstate their version of the science in order to send a moral message about mankind’s destructiveness. There was indeed an ethical dilemma here, as Schneider pointed out when other scientists criticized his approaches to the public. It was not easy “to find the balance between being effective and being honest,” It is hard to accept the truthfulness of scientists who have said that they have chosen to overstate the rate of potential warming and the consequences of it in order to foment exactly the kind of fear that we see Al Gore spreading.
I have wondered for quite a while now how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came into being and how it became the arbitrator of all things climate related. Stephen Schneider has continued to be a climate alarmist whether it be global cooling or warming. He is now considered a key IPCC author. James Hansen who was working at the NASA Institute in New York City in the early 1980’s has also chosen to take his opinions regarding climate change to the public, often even before giving the scientific community time to react or respond to his claims. In 1981 he sent a copy of a report that he had submitted to the journal Science to the New York Times before it was reviewed and published with the result that the greenhouse gas effect made the front page of a major US newspaper for the first time. Mr. Hansen continued to be very outspoken on the subject of Global Warming. He and his group staunchly proclaimed that they could, “confidently state that major greenhouse climate changes are a certainty”. A number of respected scientists publicly objected to Mr. Hansen’s tactics saying that he had gone far beyond what the data indicated in his claims. They also objected to his insistence on going to the general public who had little understanding of the complexities of climate. Unfortunately, the weather in the 1980’s seemed to support Mr. Hansen’s claims. The summer of 1988 raised concerns about Global Warming with widespread drought in the American Midwest, the so-called super hurricane Gilbert and record low water levels in the Mississippi River. However, journalists of the time writing about these weather events were confusing weather and climate, a situation that continues today. News reports often failed to explain that scientists never claimed that a given spell of weather was an infallible reflection of global warming. Schneider, who also testified in Congressional hearings and was often quoted, suggested that “the association of local extreme heat and drought with global warming took on a growing credibility simply from its repeated assertion.” He worried that the media exaggerations would bring the public to dismiss climate science as unreliable when the next cold, wet season arrived. But Schneider, Hansen, and their fellows could only be pleased that the issue had at last gotten into the spotlight. “I’ve never seen an environmental issue mature so quickly,” an environmental advocate remarked, “shifting from science to the policy realm almost overnight.”
According to a paper published in 1997 by Wendy Franz, then an academic at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, the first World Climate Conference was organized by the World Meteorological Organisation in 1979 to bring national representatives together to attempt to understand climate change and prepare for it. Unfortunately, this and following similar conferences became opportunities for climate scientists to discuss all their personal theories without regard for the policies of the countries they worked for.
The Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG) was set up in 1986. The AGGG’s model was to rely on a few private foundations, and its connections with outspoken environmentalists, raised suspicions that the group’s recommendations were partisan. An even more fundamental drawback was the group’s structure, in the traditional model of a tight, elite committee. It was, however, instrumental in coordinating the “World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security,” nicknamed the Toronto Conference in 1988. Toronto was a meeting by invitation of scientist experts — not official government representatives, The Toronto Conference’s report concluded that the changes in the atmosphere due to human pollution “represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.” Meanwhile, the media increasingly hinted that any catastrophe in the news, from droughts to floods to polluted seas, might be due to human interference with climate. What had begun as a research puzzle had become a serious international public concern and a diplomatic issue.