A colleague recently sent me a newspaper article that listed the “10 most influential people who deny the impact of humans on global warming.” The article came from the British newspaper, The Guardian. As I read through the article it became obvious to me that it was not meant to be a serious, objective news report. It was obvious that the intent was to cast aspersion on those of us in the growing “denier” movement. Truthfully, I recognized only a few names on the list (Sarah Palin was one). Fair enough, the global warming activists have such notables as Al Sharpton and Osama Bin Ladin trumpeting their horn. Anyway, I responded to my colleague with a simple query: “why were there no scientists on the list?” She sarcastically responded: “Which scientists…….the ones that work at NOAA or NASA?” Of course I replied in the affirmative and she seemed incredulous that NASA scientists would be Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) deniers. She thought it was “hard to believe” that such individuals exist. This served to remind me how successful a couple of decades of media brainwashing have been at convincing the public that those of us who are sceptical of AGW claims are part of some kind of lunatic fringe. I remembered the often quoted words of Al Gore who has likened AGW sceptics to “people who still believe that the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona.”
That’s when I had one of those “Eureka” moments. Who is more symbolic of NASA than an Apollo astronaut? Are there any scientist/astronauts? What might be their views concerning AGW? Well, I know of three Apollo astronauts who are scientists–Walter Cunningham was on Apollo 7, Buzz Aldrin was on Apollo 11, and Harrison Schmitt was on Apollo 17. I have met and spoke with two of these individuals in my life (one was actually a neighbour) but I never realized they have publicly gone on record with their own opinions on AGW.
Walter Cunningham says there is a war going on between those who believe human activities are responsible for global warming and those who don’t. “Contrary to the way the debate is often framed by the media, those who believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) do not hold the high ground, scientifically. Their critics do.”
Cunningham continues: “One reason for belief in AGW is the sad state of scientific literacy in the United States today.” A 2006 National Science Foundation survey found 25 percent of Americans did not know the Earth revolves around the sun. Such widespread ignorance leaves our society vulnerable to the emotional appeal of AGW alarmists.”
Among AGW true believers, advocacy has replaced objective evaluation of data, and scientific data–regardless of the authority of its source or importance in the debate– are ignored and suppressed, or the messengers are attacked.
“Global warming is a scientific question,” says Cunningham, “demanding scientific data for understanding, but until very recently it appeared subjective opinion was winning. Thankfully, some scientists have been willing to risk their careers by speaking out against AGW dogma. Disclosures of scientific fraud by the leading advocates of AGW, along with new scientific discoveries and cooling global temperatures, have all helped bring the world back from the brink of adopting some utterly unnecessary and truly harmful legislation.”
Recently, Cunningham wrote: “Advocates of AGW have been working overtime to obfuscate the issue. When the best available temperature data (from satellites) began showing a leveling off and then a slight cooling trend beginning in the late 1990s, the alarmists began dropping “global warming” from their vocabularies in favor of “global climate change.” Who can argue that the climate isn’t changing? It’s always changing! “Sure, climate change is occurring, but humans are not influencing the temperature of our planet to any measurable degree. Any human contribution to global temperature change is lost in the noise of natural terrestrial and cosmic factors.”
He goes on to say that, “most alarmists refuse to accept the current flood of evidence disproving AGW. True believers in global warming are loathe to admit how little control we have over nature. That’s why AGW is frequently referred to as a religion with them. Twenty years ago, the alarmists were talking about the science. Now, without the facts on their side, they are reduced to talking about other justifications, like “consensus science.” Those of us who never bought into AGW talk about empirical data and the science involved. After years of looking, I have not found one piece of empirical evidence that man-made CO2 has a significant impact on global climate.”
If you are a space enthusiast, Walter Cunningham has a nice web site worth visiting: http://www.waltercunningham.com/
Who doesn’t know Buzz Aldrin? I have a funny story concerning this boyhood hero of mine. The story is a little bit off the subject at hand but I am famous for going off on tangents. Many years ago, I and a fellow nerd had heard rumors that the astronauts of the first moon landing sighted UFOs on their mission. The subject of UFOs has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Anyway, my friend said he knew where Buzz lived and suggested we just go over to his house and ask him about the rumors. I was much younger, a lot dumber, and braver back then so I went along with the idea. We walked on up to his front door, rang the bell and waited for what seemed like an inordinate amount of time. Then, quietly, the door opened and standing in the doorway was Aldrin. We told him we wanted to ask him some questions about UFOs and I think his first inclination was to sock us one. “You guys crackpots,” he asked? Well, my sanity has always been suspect but my friend was a brilliant rocket propulsion scientist employed with a local NASA subcontractor (Rocketdyne) and they actually knew a few of the same people. He warmed up to us and said, “Come on in.”
OK, I digress too much.
Aldrin has never been one to publicly take a stand on issues but in a recent interview he let it leak that he is a “denier”. “I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” he said.“If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favor of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today.”
Unlike this microcosm into the thinking of Buzz Aldrin, Harrison Schmitt makes no apologies for his views. He regularly and publicly rails against the hysteria coming from the global warming activists. At a recent International Conference on Climate Change, the moonwalker added his voice to a growing chorus of scientists speaking out against the AGW hypothesis saying, “the science of climate change and its causes is not settled.” In a speech at the conference Schmitt made a point by point rebuttal against all the global warming advocate’s arguments in support of the hypothesis. . He said, “Several indisputable facts appear evident in geological and climate science that make me a true ‘denier ‘of human caused global warming. The conclusion seems inescapable that nature produces the primary influences on climate.”
Citing evidence from the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, Schmitt emphasized that large climate changes are not new and not human induced. In the case of the Little Ice Age he pointed out that the globe has been gradually but steadily warming at a rate of approximately ½ a degree every century since the end of the event in approximately 1650.
Schmitt had pointed criticism of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conclusions and its actions accusing the group of being more of a political entity than a scientific one. A fact which is hard to dispute since politicians write the final conclusions of the IPCC’s reports.
As for the IPCC’s science, the geologist astronaut said, “Carbon dioxide cannot accumulate in the earth’s prevailing atmosphere at levels and rates claimed by the IPCC and its supporters.” He continued his argument saying, “The residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is only five years, 10 at most in some cases – not the 50 to 200 years claimed by the IPCC.”
He further pointed to issues with the IPCC’s climate models which have recently come to light. Dr. Schmitt feels that they are so error prone that they “cannot hope to predict as exceedingly complex thing as the earth’s climate.” Among the issues with the models he pointed to the fact that they are continually modified, very subjective, make assumptions beyond what is scientifically acceptable and cannot accurately predict historical trends. For these efforts he said the IPCC and its supporters, “intentionally mislead.”
Like other scientists that doubt the manmade climate change theory, Schmitt says the sun is the single largest factor and influence on Earth and climate change. He points to the obvious fact that the sun drives changes in weather and longer term climate variations and the globe’s heating and cooling seems to correlate with solar activity.
However, he says that not enough study has been done on the sun as a driver of climate change and that while global warming alarmists acknowledge it, they in turn dismiss it without explanation. Schmitt said, “No definitive evidence therefore exists to support the hypothesis that the industrial revolution has driven carbon dioxide levels up more rapidly than otherwise expected as a response to long term temperature increases. No evidence likewise exists AGAINST the conclusion that variations in solar heating remain the overwhelming dominate driver of climate change and weather.”
His final comments centered on the latest attempt by politicians to curb CO2 emissions. “Acting on consensus and unfounded fear mongering to increase the size, intrusiveness and cost of government constitutes the last thing we should do to deal with climate change. Instead we must insist that our leaders objectively and selfishly consider the facts available – or we should get new leaders.”
The real irony of this essay is that Al Gore has repeatedly attempted to equate AGW deniers with moon landing deniers. How funny is it that the very people who actually walked on the moon think he is full of crap?