One day back in February on a ski-lift, I commented to the others that 2008 would be the year when the “Anthropic Global Warming” (AGW) bubble would burst. My prediction seems to be coming true.
Owing to bad economic conditions, most of the countries in Europe are fleeing from the commitments they once made to the “Kyoto treaty” to reduce emissions of CO2. Scientists all over the world are speaking up against the notion of a “consensus”, the presumption that “everybody agrees” that global warming is caused by mankind (the AGW hypothesis). Nobody has any confidence any more in long-range computer calculations that are unable to predict the past, let alone the future. And most of all, people are beginning to remember that CO2 is plant food.
This all comes at the time when the incoming administration of Obama seems about to impose draconian and expensive regulations (on CO2 emissions) upon American industry and utilities.
The article about NASA’s embarrassing correction of faulty data, is typical of what is going on in the world. Five years ago, a blunder like this would have been swept under the rug by the mentality that “it’s so important that we raise awareness of people that we should overlook little things like numerical facts.” But now when it happens, it gets publicized.
The whole “sure thing” AGW tapestry began to unravel about 5 years ago when a widely-publicized historical temperature graph known as the “hockey stick” was completely discredited based on statistical analysis. That began a slow trickle of scientists saying “Oh yeah and another thing”. Gradually the number of scientists willing to speak out (against the presumption that mankind causes global warming) has increased, and by now you can read of controversy every day.
Probably what will happen in the USA will mirror the European response. Dire predictions about climate will have to wait “just a little bit” while economic recession is cured, but “we’ll get to it right away just as soon as we can.” With the passage of a few more years of unexciting world temperature data, while CO2 from India and China continues to climb, perhaps the whole AGW issue will finally be discarded.
Dr Thomas Sheahen is an MIT trained Physicist and writer of the popular newspaper column “Ask the Everyday Scientist.”