I argued with Alex Cockburn against the position he presented here 
re: Global Warming. One of Alex's legitimate (in my view) concerns 
was how the issue of Global climate change would be used -- to 
greatly expand the national "security" and surveillance apparatus. 
Add to that the regular prevarications of industry-bought researchers 
whose agendas tainted the issue. So Cockburn's correct political 
understanding doubled-back on the premises he scrutinized and colored 
his view. But let's let the sorely missed Alex Cockburn, who died in 
2012, speak in his own voice.


  - Mitchel
Anthropogenic Global Warming is a Farce

Cockburn - December 24, 2009

The global warming jamboree in Copenhagen was surely the most 
outlandish foray into intellectual fantasizing since the 
fourth-century Christian bishops assembled in 325 AD for the Council 
of Nicaea to debate whether God the Father was supreme or had to 
share equal status in the pecking order of eternity with his Son and 
the Holy Ghost.

Shortly before the Copenhagen summit, the proponents of anthropogenic 
global warming (AGW) were embarrassed by a whistleblower who put on 
the Web more than a thousand e-mails either sent from or received at 
the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, headed by Dr. 
Phil Jones. The CRU was founded in 1971 with funding from sources 
including Shell and British Petroleum. It became one of the 
climate-modeling grant mills supplying tainted data from which the 
U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concocted 
its reports.

Deceitful manipulation of data, concealment or straightforward 
destruction of inconvenient evidence, vindictive conspiracies to 
silence critics, are par for the course in all scientific debate. But 
in displaying all these characteristics, the CRU e-mails graphically 
undermine the claim of the Warmers that they command the moral as 
well as scientific high ground. It has been a standard ploy of the 
Warmers to revile the skeptics as whores of the energy industry, 
swaddled in munificent grants and with large personal stakes in 
discrediting AGW. Actually, the precise opposite is true. Billions in 
funding and research grants sluice into the big climate-modeling 
enterprises and a vast archipelago of research departments and 
"institutes of climate change" across academia. It's where the money 
is. Skepticism, particularly for a young climatologist or atmospheric 
physicist, can be a career breaker.

Many of the landmines in the CRU e-mails tend to buttress 
longstanding charges by skeptics (yours truly included) that 
statistical chicanery by professor Michael Mann and others occluded 
the highly inconvenient Medieval Warm Period, running from 800 to 
1300 AD, with temperatures in excess of the highest we saw in the 
20th century, a historical fact that makes nonsense of the thesis 
that global warming could be attributed to the auto-industrial 
civilization of the 20th century. Here's Keith Briffa, of the CRU, 
letting his hair down in an e-mail Sept. 22, 1999: "I know there is 
pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards 'apparent 
unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data' 
but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. ... I believe 
that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago."

Now, in the fall of 1999, the IPCC was squaring up to its 
all-important "Summary for Policymakers" - essentially a press 
release, one that eventually featured the notorious graph flatlining 
into nonexistence the Medieval Warm Period and displaying a 
terrifying, supposedly unprecedented surge in 20th-century temperatures.

Briffa's reconstruction of temperature changes, one showing a mid- to 
late-20th-century decline, was regarded by Mann, in a Sept. 22, 1999, 
e-mail to the CRU, as a "problem and a potential 
distraction/detraction." So Mann, a lead author on this chapter of 
the IPCC report, simply deleted the embarrassing post-1960 portion of 
Briffa's reconstruction. The CRU's Jones happily applauded Mann's 
deceptions in an e-mail in which he crowed over "Mike's Nature trick."

Other landmines include e-mails from Kevin Trenberth, the head of the 
Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric 
Research in Boulder, Colo. On Oct. 14, he wrote to the CRU's Tom 
Wigley: "How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are 
no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are 
changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing 
the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is 
happening in the climate system makes any consideration of 
geo-engineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it 
is successful or not! It is a travesty!"

Only a few weeks before Copenhagen, here is a scientist in the inner 
AGW circle disclosing that "we are no where close to knowing" how the 
supposedly proven AGW warming model might actually work, and that 
therefore geoengineering - such as carbon mitigation - is "hopeless."

This admission edges close to acknowledgment of a huge core problem: 
that "greenhouse" theory violates the second law of thermodynamics, 
which says that a cooler body cannot warm a hotter body without 
compensation. Greenhouse gases in the cold upper atmosphere cannot 
possibly transfer heat to the warmer earth, and in fact radiate their 
absorbed heat into outer space. (Readers interested in the science 
can read Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner's "Falsification of 
the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics," 
updated in January 2009.)

Recent data from many monitors including the CRU, available on, show that the average temperature of the atmosphere 
and the oceans near the surface of the earth has decreased 
significantly across the past eight years or so. CO2 is a benign gas 
essential to life, occurring in past eras at five times present 
levels. Changes in atmospheric CO2 do not correlate with human 
emissions of CO2, the latter being entirely trivial in the global balance.

The battles in Nicaea in 325 were faith based, with no relation to 
science or reason. So were the premises of the Copenhagen summit, 
that the planet faces catastrophic warming caused by manmade CO2 
buildup, and that human intervention - geoengineering - could avert 
the coming disaster. Properly speaking, it's a farce. In terms of 
distraction from cleaning up the pollutants that are actually killing 
people, it's a terrible tragedy.