Monday, June 4, 2007

Collection of Kooks

True believers of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) would have you believe that there exists an absolute concensus on the science behind "climate change", as they have recently taken to labeling it. Those that call such claims into question are labeled Deniers, evoking association with Holocaust Deniers.

Anyone that disagrees is considered either ignorant, an enemy of science, or in the pocket of "Big Oil". Lawrence Solomon questioned those assumptions and has done yeoman's work over the last six months in a series entitled "The Deniers".

More than six months ago, I began writing this series, The Deniers. When I began, I accepted the prevailing view that scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change threatens the planet. I doubted only claims that the dissenters were either kooks on the margins of science or sell-outs in the pockets of the oil companies.

My series set out to profile the dissenters -- those who deny that the science is settled on climate change -- and to have their views heard. To demonstrate that dissent is credible, I chose high-ranking scientists at the world's premier scientific establishments. I considered stopping after writing six profiles, thinking I had made my point, but continued the series due to feedback from readers. I next planned to stop writing after 10 profiles, then 12, but the feedback increased. Now, after profiling more than 20 deniers, I do not know when I will stop -- the list of distinguished scientists who question the IPCC grows daily, as does the number of emails I receive, many from scientists who express gratitude for my series.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists -- the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects -- and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position.

His list of profiles is long and distinguished. They include, but are not limited to:

Edward Wegman
Edward Wegman received his Ph.D. degree in mathematical statistics from the University of Iowa. In 1978, he went to the Office of Naval Research, where he headed the Mathematical Sciences Division with responsibility Navy-wide for basic research programs. He coined the phrase computational statistics, and developed a high-profile research area around this concept, which focused on techniques and methodologies that could not be achieved without the capabilities of modern computing resources and led to a revolution in contemporary statistical graphics. Dr. Wegman was the original program director of the basic research program in Ultra High Speed Computing at the Strategic Defense Initiative's Innovative Science and Technology Office. He has served as editor or associate editor of numerous prestigious journals and has published more than 160 papers and eight books.

Richard Tol
Richard Tol received his PhD in Economics from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He is Michael Otto Professor of Sustainability and Global Change at Hamburg University, director of the Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Science, principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a board member of the Centre for Marine and Climate Research, the International Max Planck Research Schools of Earth Systems Modelling and Maritime Affairs, and the European Forum on Integrated Environmental Assessment. He is an editor of Energy Economics, an associate editor of Environmental and Resource Economics, and a member of the editorial board of Environmental Science and Policy and Integrated Assessment.

Christopher Landsea
Christopher Landsea received his doctoral degree in atmospheric science from Colorado State University. A research meteorologist at the Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he was chair of the American Meteorological Society's committee on tropical meteorology and tropical cyclones and a recipient of the American Meteorological Society's Banner I. Miller Award for the "best contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting." He is a frequent contributor to leading journals, including Science, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, and Nature.

Duncan Wingham
Duncan Wingham was educated at Leeds and Bath Universities where he gained a B.Sc. and PhD. in Physics. He was appointed to a chair in the Department of Space and Climate Physics in 1996, and to head of the Department of Earth Sciences in October, 2005. Prof. Wingham is a member of the National Environmental Research Council's Science and Technology Board and Earth Observation Experts Group. He is a director of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling and principal scientist of the European Space Agency CryoSat Satellite Mission, the first ESA Earth Sciences satellite selected through open, scientific competition.

Richard Lindzen
Richard Lindzen received his PhD in applied mathematics in 1964 from Harvard University. A professor of meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. He is also a consultant to the Global Modeling and Simulation Group at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Prof. Lindzen is a recipient of the AMS's Meisinger, and Charney Awards, and AGU's Macelwane Medal. He is author or coauthor of over 200 scholarly papers and books.

Henrik Svensmark
Henrik Svensmark is director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute (DSRI). Previously, Dr. Svensmark was head of the sunclimate group at DSRI. He has held post doctoral positions in physics at University California Berkeley, Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics, and the Niels Bohr Institute. In 1997, Dr Svensmark received the Knud Hojgaard Anniversary Research Prize and in 2001 the Energy-E2 Research Prize.

Habibullo Abdussamatov
Habibullo Abdussamatov, born in Samarkand in Uzbekistan in 1940, graduated from Samarkand University in 1962 as a physicist and a mathematician. He earned his doctorate at Pulkovo Observatory and the University of Leningrad.He is the head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academies of Sciences' Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station's Astrometry project, a long-term joint scientific research project of the Russian and Ukranian space agencies.

Eigil Friis-Christensen
Eigil Friis-Christensen is director of the Danish National Space Centre and a member of the space research advisory committee of the Swedish National Space Board, where he serves on the panel on space weather. He is also a member of a NASA working group and a member of the Earth-science advisory committee of the European Space Agency. The author or co-author of some 100 peer-reviewed articles, he has been chair of the scientific advisory group of the Institute of Space Physics. He holds a Magisterkonferens (PhD equivalent) in geophysics from the University of Copenhagen.

Zbigniew Jaworowski
Zbigniew Jaworowski is chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw, where he has held various posts since 1973. He was a principal investigator of three research projects of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and of four research projects of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The author of four books and 300 scientific papers, he has held posts with the Centre d'Etude Nucleaires near Paris; the Biophysical Group of the Institute of Physics, University of Oslo; the Norwegian Polar Research Institute and the National Institute for Polar Research in Tokyo.

Antonino Zichichi
Antonino Zichichi, Professor Emeritus of Advanced Physics at the University of Bologna, has published over 800 scientific papers and 10 books, some of which have opened new avenues in subnuclear physics. He has received numerous awards and honorary degrees from academic institutions around the world, and is the subject of seven books published by others about his accomplishments. He founded and directs the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, an organization dedicated to voluntary scientific service, the elimination of secret laboratories, and scientific freedom.

Regardless of whether or not you believe in the validity of the AGW theory, you should take the time to read every one of the articles in the "Deniers" series. There is serious dissent available on the matter and it isn't just from a bunch of quacks and kooks as the AGW proponents would have you believe, but from some of the most preeminent researchers in the field.

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