The Heartland Institute is blessed to have many preeminent scholars we call friends — especially in what has been a long fight to counter the “case closed” side of the climate debate. Happily, since at least the ClimateGate scandal, those who wish to apply genuine scientific rigor to question of what’s happening to the planet have been gaining ground.
As Bjorn Lomborg notes in a November 12 piece in The Wall Street Journal, the momentum for re-ordering the world in a decidedly socialist and wealth-confiscating direction by dramatically reducing carbon emissions to “save us” from “environmental catastrophe” seems to have slowed. And while Lomborg’s voice has been valuable for Heartland’s side of this debate — his book, and now movie, “Cool It” has garnered worthy attention — many of us “skeptics” still have bones to pick with the amiable Dane.
The WSJ today published a letter of response by Heartland policy advisors J. Scott Armstrong of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Willie Soon, a physicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and Kesten Green, of the International Graduate School of Business & Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at the University of South Australia.
Though the WSJ put only Armstrong down as author, all three men — who spoke at Heartland’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change in May — signed it upon submission to the paper. It’s worth a read below the fold.
Bjorn Lomborg (“Can Anything Serious Happen in Cancun?“, op-ed, Nov. 12) claims that government spending on global warming policies is wasted, but he assumes that global warming caused by carbon dioxide is a fact. It is not. We base this statement not on the opinions of 31,000 American scientists who signed a public statement rejecting this warming hypothesis (the “Oregon Petition”), but rather because the forecasts of global warming were derived from faulty procedures.
We published a peer-reviewed paper showing that the forecasting procedures used by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change violated 72 of 89 relevant principles (e.g., “provide full disclosure of methods”). The IPCC has been unable to explain why it violated such principles. In response, we developed a model that follows the principles. Because the climate is complex and poorly understood, our model predicts that global average temperatures will not change.
In testing the models on global temperature data since 1850, we found that the long-range (91-to-100-years ahead) forecast errors from the IPCC’s projection were 12 times larger than the errors from our simple model.
Mr. Lomborg concludes there are better ways for governments to spend the funds devoted to global warming. We suggest this money should instead be returned to taxpayers.
J. Scott Armstrong
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania