Private industry and governments around the world have spent trillions of dollars in the name of saving our planet from man-made global warming. Academic institutions, think tanks and schools have altered their curricula and agenda to accommodate what was seen as the global warming "consensus." Mounting evidence suggests that claims of man-made global warming might turn out to be the greatest hoax in mankind's history. Immune and hostile to the evidence, President Barack Obama's administration and most of the U.S. Congress sides with climate czar Carol Browner, who says, "I'm sticking with the 2,500 scientists. These people have been studying this issue for a very long time and agree this problem is real."
The scientists whom Browner references are associated with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Let's look some of what they told us. The 2007 IPCC report, which won them a Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high" as a result of man-made global warming. Recently, IPCC was forced to retract its glacier disappearance claim, which was made on the basis of a nonscientific magazine article. When critics initially questioned the prediction, Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC's chairman, dismissed them as "voodoo scientists."
The IPCC also had to retract its claim that up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests were at risk from global warming and would likely be replaced by "tropical savannas" if temperatures continued to rise. The IPCC claim was based on a paper co-authored by the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, two environmental activist groups.
England's now-disgraced University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit has been a leader in climate research data. Its data have been used for years to bolster IPCC efforts to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Climatologists, including CRU's disgraced former director, professor Phil Jones, have been accused of manipulating data and criminally withholding scientific information to prevent its disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Jones, considered to be the high priest of the man-made global warming movement, has been in the spotlight since he was forced to step down as CRU's director after the leaking of e-mails that skeptics claim show scientists were manipulating data. In a recent interview with the BBC, he admitted that he did not believe that "the debate on climate change is over" and that he didn't "believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this."
Long denied by the warmers, Jones admitted that the Medieval Warm Period (A.D. 800 to 1300) might well have been as warm as the Current Warm Period (1975-present), or warmer, and that if it was, "then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented." That suggests global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon. In any case, Jones said that for the past 15 years, there has been no "statistically significant" global warming.
During the BBC interview, Jones dodged several questions: Why he had asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report and ask others to do likewise; whether some of his handling of data had crossed the line of acceptable scientific practice; and what about his letter saying that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in tree-ring temperature data?
Given all the false claims and evidence pointing to scientific fraud, I don't think it wise to continue spending billions of dollars and enacting economically crippling regulations in the name of fighting global warming. At the minimum, we should stop the Environmental Protection Agency from going on with its plans to regulate carbon emissions. Companies should resign from the United States Climate Action Partnership, a lobbying group of businesses and radical environmentalists. Dr. Tom Borelli, who is director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, says that BP, Caterpillar, Conoco Phillips, Marsh Inc. and Xerox have the common sense to do so already.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.