Monday, March 05, 2007
Prominent Global Warming Scientist Recants
This is amazing!

A Scientist Willing to Admit His Theory May Not Be Correct!

Claude Allegre, one of France's leading socialists and among her most celebrated scientists, was among the first to sound the alarm about the dangers of global warming.

"By burning fossil fuels, man increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which, for example, has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Dr. Allegre, a renowned geochemist, wrote 20 years ago in Cles pour la geologie.." Fifteen years ago, Dr. Allegre was among the 1500 prominent scientists who signed "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity," a highly publicized letter stressing that global warming's "potential risks are very great" and demanding a new caring ethic that recognizes the globe's fragility in order to stave off "spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic and environmental collapse."

In the 1980s and early 1990s, when concern about global warming was in its infancy, little was known about the mechanics of how it could occur, or the consequences that could befall us. Since then, governments throughout the western world and bodies such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have commissioned billions of dollars worth of research by thousands of scientists. With a wealth of data now in, Dr. Allegre has recanted his views. To his surprise, the many climate models and studies failed dismally in establishing a man-made cause of catastrophic global warming. Meanwhile, increasing evidence indicates that most of the warming comes of natural phenomena. Dr. Allegre now sees global warming as over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank.

His break with what he now sees as environmental cant on climate change came in September, in an article entitled "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" in l'Express, the French weekly. His article cited evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice and that Kilimanjaro's retreating snow caps, among other global-warming concerns, come from natural causes. "The cause of this climate change is unknown," he states matter of factly. There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the "science is settled."

Dr. Allegre's skepticism is noteworthy in several respects. For one, he is an exalted member of France's political establishment, a friend of former Socialist president Lionel Jospin, and, from 1997 to 2000, his minister of education, research and technology, charged with improving the quality of government research through closer co-operation with France's educational institutions. For another, Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution. His break with scientific dogma over global warming came at a
personal cost: Colleagues in both the governmental and environmental spheres were aghast that he could publicly question the science behind climate change.

But Dr. Allegre had allegiances to more than his socialist and environmental colleagues. He is, above all, a scientist of the first order, the architect of isotope geodynamics, which showed that the atmosphere was primarily formed early in the history of the Earth, and the geochemical modeller of the early solar system. Because of his path-breaking cosmochemical research, NASA asked Dr. Allegre to participate in the Apollo lunar program, where he helped determine the age of the Moon. Matching his scientific accomplishments in the cosmos are his accomplishments at home: Dr. Allegre is perhaps best known for his research on the structural and geochemical evolution of the Earth's crust and the creation of its mountains, explaining both the title of his article in l' Express and his revulsion at the nihilistic nature of the climate research debate.

Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers," Dr. Allegre especially despairs at "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, is to see "ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."

The emphasis is mine, and I reprinted the entire thing here so you wouldn't have to click over.

The thing that I found astonishing about this is the purity and the honesty. Here is a guy with an obvious agenda and a track record of being on one side of the debate. Like a real scientist should, he goes forth and tests that theory scientifically. When those results do not match his hypothesis, whaddayaknow? he comes up with a new theory: or in this case, a complete refutation of the original theory. This is what the scientific method is all about. It is what keeps scientists honest and their integrity intact.

Suppose I have a theory that plants would grow better if fed sugar water instead of plain tap water. There is an easy way for me to scientifically test this theory. I can design an experiment, with a control, to see if my theory is correct. However, once the results are in, I must account for them. I must either admit that the theory was wrong, or tweak the theory and the experiment and test it again. This is what scientists do. Real scientists, that is. And anybody who has ever competed in a science fair knows that I speak true.

But today there are too many scientists that are beholden to their theories, like a girl they brought to the dance and they can neither see nor dance with anyone else. A scientist should be free from bias, free from agenda, and seek the truth. If he or she is looking to cash in on some corporate bonus schedule, his or her integrity and the integrity of the results are called in to question. Why? Because any dumbass can cheat or fake results.

I find it incredibly refreshing that this guy has the courage to admit that his theory was wrong. More than that, I am encouraged. Look, I'm not the enemy of conservation. On the contrary, I am a huge proponent of sound stewardship. However, I don't think that man is the cause of global warming, nor am I convinced that such a phenomenon is actually taking place.

Let me clarify. There are indeed years that are warmer than others. There are also years that are cooler than others. In point of fact, it is possible to have both situations in the same year in different locations. You can, for example, have a colder than usual year in Amarillo, TX and a warmer than usual year in Ann Arbor, MI and both results be absolutely true and irrefutable. Does this mean that all the global warming is taking place in Michigan? No. Nor does it mean anything at all.

You have to look at the earth as a giant self-regulating system. The earth (and the solar system for that matter) are billions of years old. Man, and man with fossil fuels, is significantly younger. To suggest that one or ten or twenty or even fifty or one hundred years of warmer or cooler temperatures is meaningful is stupid. Those time durations, while they might seem exceptional to you or I with a lifespan of 90-some odd years, are not particularly meaningful in the history of the earth. Frankly, I'm not even sure they are blips on the screen.

And, while I appreciate people who are conservationally-minded, I don't appreciate those greenhouse doomsdayers who suggest that the polar ice caps are going to melt and we're all going to drown. Frankly, I'd believe in another ice age before I'd believe that. To me, all of this emotional "the sky is falling" stuff is exceptionally problematic and defeats the purpose of real conservation.

If you want to do something for the planet, plant a tree. Don't go jetting off to NYC in your personal jet with nobody but your pug for company in order to go shopping. Carpool if you can. But, don't go to the extreme. You don't help anybody by not turning on the AC or the heat and then dieing of heat or cold. Be realistic. Be pragmatic. Don't buy into the hype.

And especially, don't be a hypocrite. You probably don't need a 7-SUV entourage to accompany you anywhere. And, don't go calling someone a denier just because he has the courage to follow the scientific method responsibly.

h/t: Drudge


posted by Phoenix | 9:08 AM


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