Thursday, September 13, 2007
By Steven Milloy
Japanese office workers are being forced to sweat in the name of global warming. But before Americans consume too much "Green" Kool-Aid and suffer a similar fate, they may want to consider this week’s global warming developments.
The Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story (Sep. 11) that Japanese offices are keeping summertime office temperatures at a "steamy 82 degrees Fahrenheit" to help Japan use less energy and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.
Offices are now so uncomfortable that the traditional suit-and-tie dress code has been abandoned even though "82 degrees can only be comfortable if you’re thin, naked and stay still," according to a Japanese physiology professor.
There is growing pressure not to complain about sweltering office environments as the proud but dutiful Japanese public is being conditioned to perceive air conditioning as "shameful," according to the report.
Who should be sweating instead, however, are the climate alarmists, as the purported scientific basis of their campaign continues to melt from underneath them. A new study published in the journal Nature (Sep. 13) crafted to support the notion that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide drive increases in global temperature actually, if read carefully, casts further doubt on that idea.
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The story begins in 2000 when the University of Ottawa’s Jan Veizer and others published a study in Nature reporting that their reconstruction (via fossil shells) of tropical sea surface temperatures for that last 550 million years only made sense if carbon dioxide were not the principle driver of climate variability on a geological timescale.
Veizer, along with Nir Shaviv of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, followed up the 2000 paper with a July 2003 study in GSA Today (a journal published by the Geological Society of America). That report said at least 66 percent and perhaps as much as 75 percent of the variance in the Earth’s temperature over the past 500 million years may be due to cosmic ray flux.
Obviously, none of this was good for ever-fragile climate hysteria and the alarmists struck back with the new Nature study, which, surprisingly, includes Veizer as a co-author.
The new study that uses a different method to reconstruct sea surface temperatures from fossil shells claims to report results that "are consistent with the proposal that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations drive or amplify increased global temperatures."
So has Veizer participated in the debunking of his own work as the new study seems to imply? Hardly.
First, Veizer reluctantly told me the "text" of the Nature study, that is, the above-quoted conclusion, represented a "compromise" between the study’s disagreeing authors where Veizer’s side apparently did all the compromising for reasons that had little to do with the science.
While Veizer didn’t want to elaborate on the politics of the Nature study, he told me "not to take the tone of the paper as the definitive last word."
Veizer went on to say that the new Nature study has not refuted his original study. The new study, in fact, appears to have confirmed the original study with respect to its most important point that the historical sea surface temperature data indicate atmospheric carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature.
Even if the new study proves to be valid, Veizer says, at most it reduces the statistical variation in sea surface temperature estimated by the original study. This correction, however, has little bearing on the nature of the carbon dioxide-temperature relationship.
Veizer says the basic pattern of reconstructed sea surface temperatures in both his original study and the new study remain inconsistent with notion that atmospheric carbon dioxide drives global temperatures.
If it turns out that the new study reconstructs historical sea surface temperatures more accurately than his original study, Veizer added, it would only represent an increase in the impact of cosmic rays on the climate that was reported in the 2003 GSA Today paper.
There’s another point worth spotlighting in all this. It seems that the politics of global warming including the multibillion-dollar-funding of global warming research resulted in the publication in a prestigious science journal of a "compromise" conclusion that is not supported by the study’s own data.
"Science should never be adjusted to fit policy," was the reprimand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received from its own Science Advisory Board in 1992. But that’s exactly what seems to be happening to climate science. It’s a situation reminiscent of George Orwell’s "1984," in which Ministry of Truth worker Winston Smith wonders if the State could get away with declaring that "two and two made five."
Who’s wondering now? A recent series of reports from the Science and Public Policy Institute spotlights problems with the
peer review process of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and efforts to create the illusion of scientific consensus on global warming.
Perhaps Japanese workers don’t mind sweating and stinking their way through the workday because of politicized science, but it remains to be seen whether American workers will be willing to suffer the same discomfort and degradation for the same bogus reasons.
Steven Milloy publishesJunkScience.comandDemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
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