Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The history of global warming science: where did the conspiracy start?

New York Times science writer Andy Revkin has been getting a lot of flak for his overly-balanced reporting of the climate crisis. Maybe so, but he's helped put up an awesome interactive graphic on NYTimes.com: a timeline of global warming science since 1820 (click here to go to the interactive version):

One thing that's useful about the graphic is that it helps you visualize just how much climate science falls within the timeframe of the "Climategate" emails, and is therefore even potentially impacted by it.  The answer?  Not much (1996-2009 highlighted by the red box):

And considering that the emails involve just a handful of scientists, that red box should be much shorter, just a horizontal sliver.

So my challenge to those who believe global warming is a hoax, a vast conspiracy "faking millions of points of data, in thousands of scientific papers, in dozens of different scientific fields, and cross-matching them so that they all tell a story that's 180 degrees opposed to reality, AND making sure no one blabs about it": Find where on the timeline the conspiracy began, going through from start to finish.  I've provided a link to an open-access deck on drop.io where you can easily do so - just follow the link and leave a comment.  If I don't get any responses, I'll take the silence as proof that I'm right.

If there's a conspiracy, it has to have started somewhere.  Was Joseph Fourier hatching a secret Marxist conspiracy in 1820 when he first hypothesized the greenhouse effect (when Marx was 2 years old)?  Did the hoax begin in 1859 with John Tyndall, who first discovered that CO2 trapped heat radiation?  Or maybe Svante Arrhenius was the first to realize the potential for riches from climate alarmism, and therefore in 1896 calculated that halving CO2's concentration would lead to global cooling (or perhaps it was his colleague, whose suggestion that burning coal would increase CO2 led Arrhenius to calculate fossil fuels' potential to cause global warming).

Or perhaps the conspiracy began when noted Communist Richard Nixon proposed the creation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1970 to falsify climate data - nine years before the first National Academy of Sciences prediction of 1.5-4.5 degrees C of warming (on second thought, maybe bringing up Nixon isn't helping my case).  

Or maybe the real conspiracy began on Oct. 21, 1983, when in response to two of the earliest scientific studies on global warming's dangers, Ronald Reagan's science advisor coined the use of the word "alarmist" to describe climate science:
Tonight President Reagan's science adviser, George A. Keyworth 3d, sharply criticized the E.P.A. report and praised the National Academy's. He called the environmental agency's report "unwarranted and unnecessarily alarmist."
"There is no evidence to indicate that the gradual rise in carbon dioxide in the air would have environmental effects pronounced enough to require near-term corrective action," Mr. Keyworth said.

Of course, here's what the Academy's report actually said:
William A. Nierenberg, chairman of the academy's carbon dioxide assessment committee, which prepared the report, said in an interview: "We feel we have 20 years to examine options before we have to make drastic plans, In that 20 years we can close critical gaps in our knowledge."

That was 26 years ago.  If you have conspiracy theorists among your friends or families, send this post to them - maybe they can spot the beginning of the greatest hoax of all time. Otherwise, call your Senators and tell them to support climate and clean energy legislation, and to support the President's efforts to get other nations on board at Copenhagen.

The United States does not wait for a permission slip from other countries before doing the right thing.


Pork barrel spending on skeptical climate research?  Earmarks from Alabama 

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1 comment:

  1. If you have conspiracy theorists among your friends or families, send this post to them

    That would never work. Conspiracists don't use logic. Visit the JREF forums on how conspiracists really "think" (especially points 5 and 6). Inconsistency is seen as supporting their world view.