National Post Barbara Kay: How utterly irrational faith-based global-warming theory is


National Post - Thursday May 22nd, 2014

Ignorance around the basic facts is understandable, since virtually all attempts to educate the public on such basic matters are routinely stymied while the “settled science” of man-made global warming is accepted in the mainstream media without demur.

In an April 30 article, “Climate change and health: Extreme heat a ‘silent’ killer,” Globe and Mail reporter Karen McColl cites the claim of an allegedly expert source, Kevin Behan, deputy director of climate-change non-profit Clean Air Partnership (CAP), that maximum temperatures in Toronto can be expected to rise 7 C over the next 30 years. Neither McColl nor, evidently, her editor, responded to this absurd statement with the incredulity it deserved. It passed entirely without comment in her article.

Which isn’t to say it passed without commentary altogether. In the May 2 issue of American Thinker, environmental-issues pundit Sierra Rayne wrote, “To say [the 7 C theory, which translates to a 23 C rise per century] is insanely large would be an understatement.” Rayne points out that a cursory perusal of the Environment Canada Adjusted and Homogenized Canadian Climate Data database would illustrate that the daily summer maximum temperatures in Toronto show no upward trend whatsoever. She further notes that a database for the WMO-certified Pearson Airport site demonstrates there is “absolutely no temporal correlation” for extreme July or August maximum temperatures between 1938 (when the dataset began) and 2012.

Indeed there is nowhere in Canada where extreme heat of the kind CAP projects is a foreseeable threat. A very useful new site created by University of Guelph economics professor Ross McKitrick, yourenvironment.ca, lays out a complete temporal record of officially recorded air and pollution levels everywhere in Canada, all the data collected by provincial environment and natural resource ministries, or by Environment Canada. Over many decades, no matter where in Canada you look, the graph trend remains resolutely horizontal.

Bottom line: Although extreme heat blips may happen in summer, and extreme cold blips may occur in winter, they do not reflect a data-based “trend,” they only reflect the normal fluctuation of weather cycles. But ignorance around these basic facts is understandable, since virtually all attempts to educate the public on such basic matters are routinely stymied while the “settled science” of man-made global warming is accepted in the mainstream media without demur.

The only newsworthy feature of the McColl piece is its demonstration of how utterly irrational and faith-based global-warming theory is, and how collusive its fundamentalist supporters and the media have become in proselytizing that faith. The real challenge isn’t debunking myths. That’s easily done, and is done all the time. Rather, it is finding a way for reason, logic, evidence and actual science to make headway in a culture whose elites are dominated by irrational fear and “climate justice” ideology.

I spoke recently with Christopher Essex, professor of applied mathematics at the University of Western Ontario. Essex is a longtime critic of environmental alarmism. He co-authored  Taken by Storm: The troubled science, policy and politics of global warming [2002] with Ross McKitrick.

The larger problem, according to Essex, is that the struggle to debate politically and economically consequential scientific issues on a level intellectual playing field may not even be possible in a democracy, where the spotlight tends to follow the more charismatic and ideologically attuned shills for a culturally fashionable movement. People are “capable of understanding more than they think they are,” Essex says, but prefer to act like children, handing control over to “experts.”

The “7 C in 30 years” crowd will self-immolate long before the planet does, but that is small comfort to honourable scientists watching the scientific culture in their field erode and crumble, while “para-scientists,” Essex’s term for pseudo-scientists “suck the credibility of [real] science to power a political agenda.”

Ideas, Essex says, conjuring a neat metaphor, should be imagined as herd animals on the savannah. Scientists are the big cats who cull the weak and superannuated for the sake of the herd’s health. Today the big cats have been declawed and immobilized, and the herd is increasingly dysfunctional. Not a pretty picture, but an honest one.