May 3, 2009

To Tell The Truth Part 2

"If an honest man is wrong, after demonstrating that he is wrong, he either stops being wrong or he stops being honest."
- Anon

In my original post I primarily focused on older emeritus skeptic/realist scientist and their reasons and motivations for speaking out against the global warming mantra. The reason this captivated me was the idea that men of stature would openly oppose the orthodoxy of their science seemed inconsistent with human nature.

Consider this as well, does it take any courage to go with the flow? Not at all, it is the easiest thing in the world to just go along. The real courage is when you oppose the consensus. In the case of scientist in today's environment which has been corroded by the Al Gores and James Hansen's of the political and scientific community openly supported by a media without objectivity and often lacking scruples, the scientist who opposes the orthodoxy is subject to open hostility and disdain both professionally and publicly. Who needs this going into retirement.

Unless you believe that all of the skeptics are immoral and influenced by the payoffs from fossil fuel corporations, it just does not make sense. It has been my observation that the young are far more susceptible to the influence of money and peer pressure than the older and more established in society. As to their being somehow unaware or uninformed about developments in the climate field I observed:

Let me point to a simple fact that is often overlooked when this discussion of the Emeritus of some skeptic scientist is ridiculed and used as a straw man to discredit their voices. The hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming has been at the forefront of climate and related sciences for over 20 years now. These so called old men who are now reaching retirement or even have been retired for a few years now, have generally maintained their positions within their institutions and are fully aware of ongoing research, But more important, for the past ten, fifteen, twenty years they were not retired in Florida enjoying the sun, they were actually the lead scientist in the prime of their careers investigating and researching these theories.

But what really grabbed at me was the idea that such men and women would somehow be uncaring about their children's and grand children's futures, if there were any doubt in their minds as to the threat of global warming. As a father and grandfather I could not see so many men of science reaching the ends of their careers in a field they obviously were devoted to, deceitfully opposing a theory that could, if true, destroy the Earth for future generations.

After all one of the alarmist arguments for action is the precautionary principle, even if their projections are not as bad as they predict, it is better to be safe than sorry. Are skeptics any less concerned for the Earth or future generations?
The truth I suspect, with some evidence, is that most of the scientist who became skeptical of the global warming theory did not start out skeptical or at least not to the point of open opposition to the theory. I suspect that their skepticism was born out of actual research and a greater understanding of the science itself.

In my original post on the subject I quoted one of the most prominent realist scientist who alluded to this. Roy Spencer wrote:

"I remember the old days at NASA, when even John Theon was singing the same tune as most people at NASA were. Manmade global warming was a potentially serious threat, and NASA wanted Congress to fund new satellites to study the problem. It was a team effort to get that accomplished."

I believe that most scientist originally took the theory of global warming as a potentially serious threat, even those who are now skeptics.

How often have you heard of a scientist who was once skeptical of global warming suddenly being won over by the science ? I have never heard of any and I try to stay informed on the subject.

The opposite is common though, such as Dr. Rosa Compagnucci a professor in the Department of Atmosphere Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, a specialist on the "El Niño" phenomenon. She was a member and author of the IPCC Working Group II on Latin America. She left the IPCC fold due to her concerns about the ignoring of potential global cooling.

Here though is the story of a true believer who virtually overnight became an outspoken critic and skeptic of global warming.

In the summer of 2003 Europe was hit by a tremendous heat wave. Of course this was jumped on by the alarmist to prove global warming if not directly at least as a sign of what we had to look forward to. One of the more outspoken proponents along these lines was a well known and respected Hungarian scientist Miklos Zagoni.

Lake Blaton, Europe's largest lake and a Hungarian national treasure was shrinking and Dr. Zagoni had no doubts as to why it was happening

"Balaton's stability over the years shows the stability of climate change, but the last four years shows a big turn," he said. "This is the fourth year Balaton has had more evaporation than precipitation -- a typical case of climate change.

"Statistically, this is a very significant trend change, and I believe it's a direct cause of global warming."

Zagoni sees no short-term solution.

"Society as a whole has to stop the process of climate change. This may result in an economic versus ecological battle, but we have to change the way we live.

"Maybe this summer, with all the (heat wave-related) deaths in France and fires in Portugal, will prove a turning point and finally push politicians' minds in the right direction."

Besides being a Science Historian Dr. Miklos Zagoni, is a Physicist at Eötvös Loránd University. As late as 2007 he was a regular speaker and attendee at environmental conferences both privately and government sponsored including being an expert reviewer for this past IPCC report. He was also well known as one of Hungary's and Europes most outspoken proponents of the theory of man made global warming. Here is an example of his beliefs which he was often asked to give on matters having to do with global warming. In an interview about what Hungary would be like in 2025 : SW Hungary is experiencing "more than" a Mediterranean climate, according to climate expert Miklos Zagoni. "Life will be near impossible in the central part of the country while most of North Hungary will be threatened by major floods (along the Bodrog, Hernad and Zadyva rivers) and inland waters," ... "In the last 50 years Hungary has lost as much as 15% of its general annual precipitation. The summers have become extremely hotter and drier." He explained that when there is rain or snow then this descends in larger quantities at an alarming rate. "That's why Hungary is suffering droughts and floods during the year. Each region in Hungary is burdened by climatic disorders in one way or another..... "Many vintners had to stop producing grapes in the region,... "In NW Hungary the forests of Sopron are struggling to cope with the dry and hot weather.

By any standard Dr. Zagoni was a not only an outspoken proponent of man made global warming, he was and is a committed environmentalist.

Then a fellow Hungarian, a fellow physicist who had worked for NASA for many years resigned in protest.

Ferenc Miskolczi, an atmospheric physicist at NASA's Langley Research Center with three decades of experience, had found that researchers have been repeating a mistake when calculating the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on temperatures. We're not scientists, but it looks to us like Miskolczi found that the Earth does a good job of adapting and self-regulating.

As has been noted elsewhere, Miskolczi's theory could explain why the warming that models have been predicting for decades has never materialized.

NASA's response to the new results? It refused to publish them, reports Miskolczi quit, citing in his resignation letter a clash between his "idea of the freedom of science" and NASA's "practice of handling new climate change related scientific results."

Dr. Zagoni came to understand Miskolczi's theory and saw to his mind that it was correct, it totally changed his outlook and belief about man made global warming. Or as he put it “I fell in love.” The theory made so much sense to him that for the past two years he has been tirelessly traveling the world explaining it to anyone who will listen. Slowly but surely people are.

Recently Miklos Zagoni was asked if he was a skeptic, he replied:

“I am not sceptic at all”, he said, “I am positively convinced that the anthropogenic global warming theory is wrong. New developments in the physics of greenhouse effect and radiative transfer show that the accepted theory leads to largely exaggerated global warming projections”.

That is not only a courageous man that is a scientist.

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