Vaclav Klaus: Thank Heavens For Bob Carter

  • Date: 23/10/10

The Australian professor deserves thanks and praise for repudiating the heretic-hunting climate orthodoxy

Let me declare from the outset that I consider global warming dogma (and its widespread acceptance) to be one of the most costly and undemocratic mistakes in generations, and try, therefore, to contribute to its demolition.

As someone who spent most of his life under a repressive and highly inefficient regime, I can hopefully afford to say that the previous most costly and undemocratic ‘experiment’ was Communism. That too started quite innocently, and its supporters — probably — also believed that they fought for a noble cause. When I listen to the views and arguments of the global warming alarmists, and there are many of them in Australia (I guess your country scores very highly on the worldwide ‘warmists per capita’ scale), they sound very similar to the arguments of the former politicians, journalists and public intellectuals in Communist Czechoslovakia.

Of course, the polemic about global warming has a very respectable scientific dimension. But in its substance and consequences, the debate is not part of the scientific discourse about factors influencing swings in global temperature. It is part of the public policy debate about man and society, about our political, economic and social systems, about our freedom or its possible loss. This difference should be made explicit.

In his book Climate: The Counter Consensus, Bob Carter, the well-known Australian paleoclimatologist and professor at the James Cook University, clarifies this point when he says: ‘The global warming issue long ago ceased being a scientific problem.’ It is evident that science plays no part in the current public policy debate, neither in Kyoto, nor in Copenhagen, nor at the United Nations General Assembly or the EU summits. There is just the pretence of science and the wishful thinking that there exists an undeniable scientific consensus.

Recent developments — the Royal Society’s highly sceptical report and the resignation of a prominent climate scientist from the American Physical Society (the top body of US physicists) — further demonstrate there is no such consensus, if ‘scientific consensus’ has any meaning at all. We are maybe closer to Bob Carter’s ‘counter consensus’. There are respectable, if highly controversial, scientific hypotheses on this topic. As I have already said, there are many global warming alarmists in Australia (and your former prime minister is one of them), but there are also many serious scientists who do not live in ivory towers and are ready to speak up. I have to mention especially Professor Ian Plimer and his book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming — the Missing Science (for which it was my pleasure to write a cover note). The names Archibald, Kininmonth, Evans and Sternhell also come to mind. But above all others stands Bob Carter.

I like Carter’s emphasis on the crucial difference between global warming (which is part of normal scientific discourse) and ‘dangerous anthropogenic global warming’ (which is ideological propaganda). He is also right when talking about the difficulty in defining who is and who is not a climatologist, and turning our attention to the fact that there is no ‘climate science’, because ‘scientists who study climate change come from a wide range of disciplines’. His decision to group them into three main categories — meteorologists, geologists and the computer modelling group — is also revealing. Importantly, he notes that the group with the fewest warmists is the geological scientists, because they are able to compare ‘modern climate change with climate history’, which is something the meteorologists and the computer modelling experts — quite intentionally — do not do.

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