What if the alarmists are wrong?

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington

I have taken some time off in order to finish the book on rowing and, truthfully, to marshall my inner resources in response to the various ad-hominem attacks directed my way after I published this. Allow me to say here that I had exchanged several e-mails with Arianna Huffington prior to her publishing my piece on The Huffington Post. Every single one of my e-mails identified me as a climate change sceptic and a liberal Democrat who was trying to get the word out that it is not just conservatives who reject the manmade global warming alarmists’ dogma.

By disavowing that she knew what was in the piece, as she has, Arianna is asking people to believe that in a time of economic disaster a junior editor risked his or her employment in order to publish a piece sure to incense the boss. Meanwhile, no such junior editor ever contacted me. There was an e-mail from Arianna telling me she was having her staff “coordinate” (again, in response to a very clear e-mail from me identifying the piece as anti-Gore, and anti-global-warming alarmism), then a junior staffer asked me for my bio and a photograph. That was it. I will let those who have eyes to see judge this situation on its merits.

In the meantime, the University of Washington has produced a paper co-authored by Michael Mann suggesting that, contrary to all temperature-station data, Antarctica has actually been warming for the past 50 years. What Mann and his co-authors have done is to use computer models to generate a warming trend where the data itself showed the opposite trend. I will post about this at length in the next week, but this truly is one of the most damning examples of “science” gone berserk. The fact that Al Gore is about to testify in front of Congress that Antarctica is warming, just as predicted, despite the gradual increase in sea ice since satellite measurements have been taken, despite the lack of any increase in temperatures measured on the ground, including and especially at the South Pole station itself, is quite sad.

First of all, the worrisome “increase” the computer modelers have “posited” (there are no measurements showing continent-wide warming) is a matter of moving upward at a pace of .4 degree Celsius per century. Someone might want to point out to Mr. Gore that this red-flag warning, in which average annual temperature “increases” from -50 degrees Celsius to -49.5 degrees Celsius, would not lead most sane people to conclude that any ice is going to melt on the Antarctic mainland anytime soon. Again, the maximum sea ice extent ever measured for Antarctica was in 2007!

Now, in terms of the facts in my piece, which were rejected as “unscientific” by the various posters at the Huffington Post site, once it was seen how much criticism the AGW movement can produce in a short period of time, not one poster dealt with the work of Henrik Svensmark, rejected the sudden cooling since the switchover of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to its cool phase, discussed the deep solar minimum in which we currently find ourselves (and the known climatological consequences of same), addressed the historic maximum of Antarctic sea ice in 2007, or dealt with any of the other fact-based research contained in my piece. On some level, I do regret not linking to more graphs and peer-reviewed papers. On another, I do not regret it at all. I am trying to write within the Editorial page columnists’ tradition, in which it is assumed that the author has performed extensive research and puts same into the context of his or her own lights, such as they are. Such writing is done for a mass audience. The overwhelming number of editorial opinion pieces published on global warming have, similarly, not gotten bogged down in overly scientific discourse or data spread sheets. There is something to be said for being readable, after all.

I have to wrap this up, but before I do, let me quickly touch on the title of this entry.

What if those of us who look to the solar minimum we’re in and the serious risks of cooling are correct? What if growing seasons are going to shorten in the next three decades? What if crops are going to fail to an extent not seen in the last 100 years in the temperate latitudes? What if while preparing for the perils of a Hot Summer without end, we are failing to prepare for the realities of Brutal Winter, such as those of the early 19th century and earlier? Will those of us who were saying that these possibilities should be considered immoral, the way our detractors claim? Is it wrong to point out that significant atmospheric and oceanic cooling has always presented more challenges to humanity than warming?

What if it’s going to get cold? (There are many legitimate scientific reasons to believe that is.)

About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
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11 Responses to What if the alarmists are wrong?

  1. Barbara McMahon says:

    Please know that fellow AGW skeptics appreciate and applaud your courage and bravery in venturing into territory hostile to facts and informed debate on this important issue.
    If it is any consolation, Gore’s Washington DC appearance may be canceled due to the Gore Effect (an anticipated snow/ice storm).

  2. Heading Out says:

    There are a number of different theories as to what is going on with the world temperature in different places, and sometimes one can only check existing fact against theory and draw ones own conclusions.

    If one looks at the temperature record for the Argentine Orcadas base, for example, one finds that the temperature has been steadily rising at the same rate for the last 100 years. If one goes over to New Zealand one will find that the Franz Josef glacier has been retreating since at least 1860. This suggests that the Southern Hemisphere is also rebounding from the Little Ice Age. Using only the data from the past fifty years does not tell the real story.

  3. Cal Smith says:

    I was very surprised that your article was accepted at the H Post. The reaction to it was what I expected. I am observing that most people who defend the AGW position with such ferocity are really not well read on the subject. The science has become so politicized that rational civil discourse is harder and harder to come by. I applaud your efforts to stem the tide.

  4. Heading Out says:

    Yes, I should also have mentioned how pleased, yet totally surprised I was to see the article in the H Post. As for the reaction, you know what they say “If you can’t attack the science, attack the messenger.”

    Thanks again for taking this on.

  5. Harold Ambler says:

    I want to thank all who have commented above and sent supportive e-mails over the last several weeks. It is all very much appreciated.

    The solar minimum continues; the Science magazine article depicting Antarctic warming has been largely debunked, already; the second La Nina in two years is in the Pacific equatorial waters; much of Europe has had its coldest winter in over a decade; and yet the powers-that-be scream, ever more loudly, that time is running out, global warming is about to reach a terrifying tipping point.

    Or not…

  6. BethB says:

    Mr. Ambler, THANK YOU for your brilliant article on Huffington Post and for being honest and rational even though it’s not the popular stance to take. I saw your interview on Fox and let me say in response to your wife’s warning that “people will hate us”, perhaps that’s so, but some people LOVE YOU for speaking the truth — count me among them! Not only are Al Gore’s “facts” not factual, but the whole manmade climate change bandwagon is hurting people. Mr. Obama is about to impose “cap and trade” policies (if he gets his way) and he most certainly will owe ALL Americans an apology should he follow through when they see their electric bills go through the ceiling. That leaves senior citizens on fixed incomes and the poorest of the poor in the dark and out in the cold, literally. The whole climate change argument hits those living in poverty the hardest. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to take a look at http://www.wegetit.org. It’s a website directed at Christians concerned about the environment and poverty, but even if you’re not of the Christian faith, they include some excellent videos from climatologists and other scientists who are in line with what your well-written article points out — including recently a NASA scientist who changed his mind on climate change because the science wasn’t adding up. Thank you again for a very excellent article.

  7. Dalcio Dacol says:

    Dear Mr. Ambler,

    Thanks for writing such a clear-headed post to HP. The knee-jerk reactions were to be expected. I am writing to tell you that I am also a liberal who became an AGW skeptic after informing myself about the science involved. Although not a a necessity it also happens that I do have the scientific training that enables me to reach my own conclusions about the quality of the scientific arguments presented in those discussions [PhD, Physics, UC Berkeley, 1980]. As an entry to the literature on the topic I recommend Svensmark and Calder’s book “The Chilling Stars” and the book “The Deniers” by Lawrence Salomon.


    • Harold Ambler says:

      I want to thank all of the recent commenters for their thoughtful remarks. I can second Dalcio Dacol’s book recommendations, having read both myself.

      Nir Shaviv, whose work bolsters Svensmark’s strongly, was at the climate realists’ conference just ended in New York City. His recent paper about using the ocean as a calorimeter will prove, in my humble opinion, to be very significant in this debate.

  8. Carlos Ortega says:

    Mr Ambler

    It really makes me hopeful that at least one liberal minded person has decided to really do the research and realize that AGW is BS.

    I thank you for your effort to try to teach others about this Unsettled science. Unfortunately, while you spew facts and science, most AGW believers will spew hate, and emotions, via ad hominem attacks.

    I find it remarkable that you have concluded that wind and solar are much too inefficient for us to power our country. Chris Horner ( National Review -Online (Planet Gore Blog)) has written extensively about this, and the tie in between AGW, green movement and energy is amazing (concerning in reality).

    I see you link to Watts and McIntyre. These two sites are the best scientific assessment of the science behind AGW (and they have caught Jim Hansen cooked Data several times).
    Keep up the fight

  9. Carlos Ortega says:

    Upon reading my previous post I wish to clarify that I agree with the notion that wind and solar will not reliably power this country. Unless we ramp up Nukes, Gas and oil, we WILL see $4 gallon gas soon enough. Thanks again.

  10. Wayne Anderson says:

    Finally, Solar Cycle 24 has gotten some of its due. It is probably the most important single event in our lifetimes, and yet it is discounted because of its counter AGW implications. Great Job! True science does cross all party lines.

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