Remember the hilarious strip in Mad Magazine: “spy vs. spy vs. spy,” wherein the third spy, a woman, always wins. This column will resemble that three-way circus, which Sergio Leone wittily dramatized as “The Good the Bad and the Ugly,” starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach.
The trinity here is the believer, the agnostic and the skeptic in the theology of global warming and climate change.
As I anticipated, an answer from a climate change believer to my two columns on climate change (“A crisis of credibility: Climate change nothing but a lie”, Times, Oct 25; and “Climate alarmism fosters energy poverty” Times, Oct. 28) has finally materialized. And it has come circuitously in the form of a column by Mr. Ken Fuller in the Daily Tribune. He calls his column “An outsider’s view”, which means I presume that he is an expatriate working or residing in the Philippines.
I should also mention that the Times in an editorial some weeks back professed belief in climate change, following another issuance from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) that reiterated its belief in the reality of climate change.
This column is a reply to these ripostes.
Reply of a warming devotee
Mr. Fuller describes me as a global-warming denier; I prefer to be debated with as a global warming skeptic.
Mr. Fuller’s riposte consists of (1) begging the question by saying that “there is a consensus of international scientists that there is man-made global warming.”
(2) Trying to discredit the scientists and writers for not being climatologists but scientists in other fields, as though anyone who is not a climatologist is not entitled to an opinion on the issue; and
(3) Impugning scientists and writers who dispute the reality of global warming as being funded by oil industry interests, while glossing over the huge lobby money for climate-change.
Is Fuller accusing me of the same? I reply that no group has ever propounded to me the idea of writing on climate change. This is an interest formed wholly by my work as a journalist and advocate of sound public policy. More important, I call attention to the following holes in his column:
1. He does not rebut the statement I quoted from London’s Daily Express that there has been no global warming for the past 18 years. All he offers is a phantom consensus.
2. If he is such a believer in global warming, why did his church change names to “climate change.”
Testament of an agnostic
In reply to Fuller’s column and the Times editorial, I call attention to an article published in the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 19, 2014, which seems to me unassailable.
The article is entitled “Climate science is not settled” by Dr. Steven Koonin (http://online.wsj.com/articles/climate-science-is-not-settled-141114356)
Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University.
Dr. Koonin contends that there is no certainty in climate science today.
The other points of his article are:
1. Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole.
2. We often hear it claimed that there is a “scientific consensus” about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn’t a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences.
3. There are marked differences in the details and projections of the computer models such as:
• Although the Earth’s average surface temperature rose sharply by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit during the last quarter of the 20th century, it has increased much more slowly for the past 16 years.
• The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high.
• The models predict that the lower atmosphere in the tropics will absorb much of the heat of the warming atmosphere. But that “hot spot” has not been confidently observed.
• Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century.
The skeptic’s view: No to carbon chastity
Now, we turn to the last leg in our trinity, the skeptic’s view, which I share.
I am deeply skeptical of the ideology of climate change and the grand claims of global warming. Nothing I have read has persuaded me that there is global warming, or that my country the Philippines must contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Foreign environmentalists have no business imposing on us or twisting our arms to convert to the church of global warming.
We need all the energy we can get from crude oil and coal in order to grow our economy.
I totally agree with another warming skeptic, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who says that environmentalism has proclaimed the ultimate commandment – carbon chastity.
He says public policy should focus on what is doable, rather than the economically ruinous and socially destructive.
The most obvious answer, he says, is a major move to nuclear power, which is to the atmosphere the cleanest of the clean. But then the church of the environment also preaches a strict nuclear taboo.
I believe we should spend money on disaster preparedness, but we should not waste time and resources on climate change and attending global conferences that go nowhere.
In this sphere, it’s all right to be a non-believer. You won’t go to hell. You might even help to make our country a better place.