Don 't Be Spooked Mr. Sulzberger

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Date: Tue Oct 31 2000 - 14:05:30 PPET

Next batch of fuel for the fire...
 Don't Be Spooked Mr. Sulzberger

 Memo To: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., NYT Publisher
 From: Jude Wanniski
 Re: Scary editorial on Global Warming

 I bet when you got up Saturday morning and read the lead
 editorial in your newspaper, Arthur, you got the willies, and it
 wasn't even Halloween. "A Sharper Warning on Warming"
 showed up just in time to give a boost to Vice President Gore's
 decision to scare little children about getting fried by greenhouse
 gases long before Medicare runs out of money. Here is the lead
 paragraph, in case you forgot:

The international panel of climate scientists considered the
most authoritative voice on global warming has now
concluded that mankind's contribution to the problem is
greater than originally believed. In addition, the panel warns
that warming over the next 100 years could increase more
than originally estimated. Its worse case scenario calls for
a truly unnerving rise of 11 degrees Fahrenheit over 1999
temperature levels.

 Don't be scared. It is all a bunch of baloney, cooked up
 specifically to help Gore. I'm informed the draft summary, which
 the Times reported Friday, was whipped together by a small group
 of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who got
 together at the headquarters of Environmental Defense Fund in
 your town, NYC. They could have waited a few weeks, but Gore
 needed it now. If you read the NYPost two weeks ago, Dick
 Morris wrote a column about how the only way Gore could win on
 November 7 was to scare people about global warming. Gore
 loves to do that anyway, so he could use the Morris column to
 overrule his campaign team, which does not see this hoax as a
 winning issue. (When Gore mentioned it in his acceptance speech,
 we could hear the sound of one hand clapping.)

 Hoax is not too strong a term, Arthur. Once the greenies
 succeeded in getting the Democratic establishment to buy into it,
 your newspaper had no choice but to go along with it. I've been
 trying to get your editors for years to make a serious effort to
 consultphysicists on this issue, as opposed to "climate scientists."
 Do you realize how much money is poured down the drain on this
 nonsense, how many little children contribute their nickels and
 dimes to keep the earth safe from -- boogie, boogie -- CARBON
 DIOXIDE!! You may recall that it was James Hansen, director of
 NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who got Gore all
 excited about global warming with a study he did about 20 years
 ago. It was Hansen who figured that too much carbon dioxide
 would cloak Mother Earth with a shield that would trap the heat,
 like a greenhouse, and temperatures would rise inexorably until we
 were all fried -- or drowned when the icecaps melted.

 You may have missed it, because the Times buried the story deep
 inside, but Hansen, an honest man, finally threw in the towel when
 the predictions he made based on his computer model just did not
 come to pass. Carbon dioxide isn't so bad after all, Arthur, so you
 don't have to hold your breath. Now if the Times had put the story
 on Page One, the Vice President might have seen it and
 announced that, based on this new information, he would change
 his mind. Or not. Maybe, like the UN's "climate scientists," he
 has too much invested in the hoax and has to see it through to the
 end. When the IPCC "draft" was leaked last week to your
 reporter, Andrew V. Revkin, we learned from the headline: "A
 Shift in Stance in Global Warming Theory; Scientists Now
 Acknowledge Role of Humans in Climate Change." Nowhere in
 the story is Dr. Hansen mentioned, but Revkin did call Richard
 Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT,
 who had been debunking the Hansen hoax all these years. Alas,
 Mr. Revkin quoted Dr. Lindzen as one of the scientists
 "acknowledging" mankind's cooking of the climate: "There has to
 be a human component to the change that's underway," he said.

 Well, now, I've never met or spoken with Lindzen, but I could not
 believe what I was seeing in that quote. It had to be taken out of
 context in order to justify the headline, which is all Al Gore needs
 to proceed. So I contacted Dr. Lindzen, who already was pretty
 upset, saying he had complained to Revkin, who apologized, he
 said, saying what he had written had been edited. Now I don't
 know what happened, Arthur, and I'm NOT saying your editors
 are part of a giant left-wing conspiracy. Forget that part and read
 what Lindzen actually believes, as he wrote in an e-mail to me:

It was definitely quoted out of context, and Revkin claims
that his article was altered from what he had written. For
starters, I have always said that there had to be a human
component to climate change. I have also said that that is a
trivial statement since the important question is whether the
influence is practically significant or not... The models, in
effect, argue that the earth is very poorly designed. Our
work suggests that the models are missing a very strong
negative feedback which would more than cancel the
models' positive feedbacks -- even if they were correct,
which they almost certainly are not. Our paper will appear
in the February issue of the Bulletin of the American
Meteorological Society.

 Now what Lindzen is saying is that while yes, carbon dioxide
 could be a greenhouse gas if it did build up the way Gore thinks it
 does, it doesn't (as Hansen found). This is because the "climate
 scientists" who build these computer models "are missing a very
 strong negative feedback." Maybe Lindzen will leak Revkin the
 secret negative feedback, if asked, but the physicists I have been
 talking to about this for the last 20 years have made the argument
 that if there were not an offsetting negative feedback, we would
 have fried millions of years ago. In other words, if there is an
 extra carbon dioxide molecule that floats into the atmosphere,
 more than Mother Earth is comfortable with, there is a process by
 which she breaks up the molecule. Dr. Gordon Prather, a nuclear
 physicist I know who writes for WorldNetDaily, tells me there is a
 parallel in nuclear fission which helps us understand negative
 feedback. He reminds me that before the Manhattan Project
 detonated the first atomic bomb in Nevada in 1945, there were
 scientists who argued against the project because they said the
 chain reaction would not stop, it would continue until the whole
 earth blew up. Prather says those in charge understood that the
 chain reaction would reach a point where the explosion would
 "quench" itself, which is what actually happens. The "climate
 scientists" lauded by your editors and Mr. Gore do not see that
 whatever teeny bit of carbon dioxide mankind produces relative to
 natural carbon dioxide is "quenched" by Mother Nature.

 Because so much of what Gore wants to do involves limiting the
 use of hydrocarbons, let me add my own little unscientific
 illustration: If we took all the petroleum consumed in the last
 century and a half and put it into a dry Lake Tahoe, it would only
 fill one-fifth of the space. My guess is that you have in your office
 a globe. Go to it and see if you can find Lake Tahoe on the globe.
 You will not. This should remind you how tiny mankind is
 compared to the planet, except when you sit at the top of the
 Times and imagine how big you are. Then please read through
 these two columns Gordon Prather wrote last summer.

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