The Court and its Jester

 

The motley bunch of the 'Climate Science Coalition'

 

After last month's letter to the editor in the Coromandel Chronicle by Ken Ring, you would have expected a few more lines from me on the topic of Climate Change, so here it goes….

 

Perhaps a preamble on the scientific method: Science advances, because unlike religion, it works from the assumption that the quest for truth is not ending with a dogma. New and better research will replace the old. The world of science is constantly reassessing its theories. And a healthy and honest debate is at the centre of all scientific advances. That is the 'theory' at least. Sadly, the reality is often different. Money talks and money gets what it pays for. So enter the ugly side of science, where facts are distorted, quoted out of context or even fabricated. Enter the age of 'Machiavellian Science', where powerful interests use scientific lingo mixed with half truth or outright lies, to seed distrust in science and its predictions into the public mind. And the place where Machiavellian politics and pseudo science is thriving best is the money driven world of special interests around the US capital.

 

So I went and had a closer look at who the people are that stand behind this self declared Climate Science Coalition 'consensus' group. What I found came rather unexpected and simply floored me and I would like to share it with you:

 

Take a look for example at the Bio of Dr. Fred Singer, who is placed as the group's most prominent point of 'scientific' reference against climate change. When doing a 'Google' search on him it turned out that Dr. Singers was a well paid lobbyist for the Tobacco industry writing junk science articles in order to undermine research in the health effects of smoking. The website www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=S._Fred_Singer has this to say:

"In 1994 Singer was Chief Reviewer of the report Science, economics, and environmental policy: a critical examination published by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI). This was all part of an attack on EPA regulation on environmental tobacco smoke funded by the Tobacco Institute.

At that time, Mr. Singer was a Senior Fellow with AdTI. "The report's principal reviewer, Dr Fred Singer, was involved with the International Center for a Scientific Ecology, a group that was considered important in Philip Morris' plans to create a group in Europe similar to The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). He was also on a tobacco industry list of people who could write op-ed pieces on "junk science," defending the industry's views. "

 

And further we find on him on the net:

ExxonMobil has become a major funder of the most visible "greenhouse skeptics", most of whom who have traditionally been funded by the coal industry -- including S. Fred Singer, Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling and Sherwood Idso. According to 1998, ExxonMobil documents, the company directly funds:  S. Fred Singer's institute, The Science and Environmental Policy Project as well as another foundation that promotes Singer's activities.

In its own documents, ExxonMobil is quite clear about why it funds the tiny handful of dissenting "greenhouse skeptics": "ExxonMobil provides support to selected organizations that assess public policy alternatives on issues with direct bearing on the company's business operations and interests."

And I also found:

"…Fred Singer is executive director of the think tank, the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). This project was originally set up in 1990 with the help of the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy (funded by the Rev Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church) which provided it with free office space…"

ExxonMobil is the world's third largest corporation with annual profits of about $17 billion. The company is using some of those profits to confuse the public discussion of global climate change. ExxonMobil is sabotaging the work of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries by funding the most visible "greenhouse sceptics" -- one of whom, S. Fred Singer, publicly denied receiving oil industry money as recently as February, 2001.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church is funding many right wing political organisations world wide to further his agenda towards a 'brave new world' and to undermine the public trust in science.

And then lets look at the credentials of Steve Milloy, the publisher of the website 'junkscience.com' which is the 'Climate Science Coalitions' second point of reference on their website. On Steve Milloy one can find:

Steven J. Milloy is a columnist for Fox News and a paid advocate for Phillip Morris, ExxonMobil and other corporations.
Prior to launching the JunkScience.com, Milloy worked for Jim Tozzi's Multinational Business Services, the Philip Morris tobacco company's primary lobbyist in Washington with respect to the issue of second-hand cigarette smoke. He subsequently went to work for The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), a Philip Morris front group created by the PR firm of APCO Worldwide.
He is also head of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund he runs with tobacco executive Tom Borelli, who happens to be listed as the secretary of the Advancement of Sound Science Center, an organisation Milloy operates from his home in Potomac, Maryland .
Milloy has received thousands of dollars in payments from the Phillip Morris company since the early nineties, and NGOs controlled by Milloy have received large payments from ExxonMobil.

A spokesperson for Fox News stated, "Fox News was unaware of Milloy's connection with Philip Morris. Any affiliation he had should have been disclosed.

While I had my premonitions that the so called 'Climate Science Coalition' was a mouthpiece for the interests of industry, I must say that I was unprepared for what I could dig up on this within an hour on the Internet. It seems that these 'hired guns' of the shady world of lobbyists are the very same who have happily lend their hands to the Tobacco industry in the past in their quest to misinform the public on the facts of smoking and tobacco related illness.

Then add the 'Court's Jester' Ken Ring, self appointed weatherman and 'long range' weather forecaster. For a few bucks he will predict if it will rain or shine on 'any day' in the future based on his calculations of the moon phases…. give or take a day or so as he says. However he possesses no academic credentials and his general knowledge in science, certainly when it comes to the atmosphere and climate science, seems frustratingly absent.

He recently claimed, among other ludicrous things, that there should be no CO2 in the atmosphere as it would certainly all sink to the bottom like a stone in a pond, as the CO2 molecule is heavier than its cousins Oxygen or Nitrogen in the air.

Ken Ring:"CO2 is also nearly twice as heavy as air(molecular weight 44, that of air 29)so it cannot rise anywhere beyond haze level of a couple of hundred feet."

Fact: The force of gravity is too feeble to sort the various gases in the atmosphere (N2, O2, CO2, O3...) against each other by molecular weight. The molecules are being constantly mixed by turbulence and their Brownian motion due to their own kinetic energy, resulting in a perfectly mixed atmosphere up to a height of about 100 km - also referred to as the 'Homosphere' because it is well mixed. Incidentally a lot of the measurements of the gas composition in the atmosphere are made in locations of especially clean air on top of mountains (Mauna Kea in Hawaii) or on board of aircraft or research balloons.

He also claims that you can not raise the ocean levels by atmospheric warming.

Ken Ring:"The seas cannot rise by impact from a warmer atmosphere above them. Hold a blowtorch over a pan of water and see if it warms up."

Fact: water is most dense at 4 degrees Celsius. Warm it and it will expand as any plumber will attest to. In fact, if one would warm the entire world's oceans by one degree centigrade, the ocean levels would rise by half a meter world wide. The ocean currents constantly carry warm water from the tropics to the cooler latitudes, and ocean temperatures have risen with the global warming trend and especially in the tropics, have also contributed to a rapid destruction of our temperature sensitive corall reefs.

The further claims that the ozon layer is not involved in protecting us from harmful solar UV radiation:

Ken Ring:"Ozone comprises three thousandths of one percent of the atmosphere. That acts as a radiation shield? How silly. The idea simply insults our intelligence...."

Fact: the Ozon in the atmosphre is responsible for shielding us from UV radiation. It dose not take much of a concentration of Ozone to result in a strong absoption of radiation on its way through the atmosphere. Destroy the ozon layer and the resulting damage on the Earth ecosphere would be catastrophic. The science around Ozone and Ozone depletion through gases like CFC's is well documented: http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/infodata/faq_cat-2.html

Thankfully many others have taken a lot of time to debunk Ken Rings confabulations. On the website of the Auckland Astronomy Society is a three part review about him, written by Bill Keir:

www.astronomy.org.nz/aas/Journal/Oct2004/PseudoWeather.asp

For another excellent analysis, exposing Ken Rings work as a fraudulent scam look at:

homepages.ihug.co.nz/~nogods/ring.html

With this I will rest my case about the Climate Change Coalition.

 

The honest and open debate about Global Warming among qualified scientists will surely continue. So much is at stake if we get it wrong. The upcoming release of former US vice president Al Gore's documentary on the issue will be much awaited.

 

Thomas Everth




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