About twenty years ago, Fred Smith , generalissimo of the Competitive Enterprise institute summoned me from Harvard to his Washington office and offered me the world : "How would you like to be the next Carl Sagan?"
No , thanks, I replied-- one was too many.
"Do you believe in global warming ?" Fred continued.
Of course , said I. Having spent several years getting up to speed on the fundamentals of the physics on which the climate modeling racket depends, how could I possibly deny that carbon dioxide bracket creep was raising radiant heat retention by the earth's atmosphere?
That was pretty much the end of the interview .
The Sagan to whom Smith referred had championed a bad climate model, styled "nuclear winter." which the late Cornell astronomer and media maven aspired to use as a policy lever to save the world , incidentally collecting the Nobel Peace Prize in the process.
It didn't happen , in part because science worked , and the original model's many shortcomings failed to survive the extended rigors of peer review , and critiques in science journals like Nature. But CEI is not exactly famed for its science library- or top heavy with staff scientists publishing up a storm. What evidently impressed Smith was my ventilation of 'nuclear winter's egregious political intent in Foreign Affairs and The Wall Street Journal. Disappointed by my unwillingness to get with the program of saying global warming wasn't so, CEI instead signed on Ron Bailey , who duly satisfied Smith by producing such books as "Global Warming and other Eco-Myths."
Ron moved on to become Reason magazine's science correspondent , persevering in his staunch resistance to the notion that global warming existed well into the 21st century. But unlike most of his cohort, he continued to read the science literature and eventually changed his mind-- in public, globally . On the BBC in fact - and he invites us to listen to his change of view.
Though Ron has very successfully reinvented himself as a first-rate writer on biotechnology , back in chilly Canada , Ottawa journalist David Warren drones on under the rubric " Sensationalism in the Service of Scientism " : "The more I think about "global warming", in light of the most recent United Nations report, the more confident I become in averring that it is a fraud, a political stunt, a criminal imposture, that every intelligent journalist should be helping to expose. "
Now former next President
Al Gore is running for the Nobel Peace prize. He makes much of having scored a gentleman's C in a Harvard gut course in ecology ,but his peculiar scientific hyperbole more reflects his taking homiletics in divinity school. Gore at least has tutors force feeding him freshman texts in atmospheric science. Not Warren. His climate views reflect a charmingly candid CV that notes he has a tenth grade education and scored "37 out of 100 " in a ninth grade math exam. Still, it says he's a great fan of Aristotle , so should he get around to reading the master's 'Meteorology' , he may yet see the error of his ways and apply himself to more recent scientific developments,like caloric and phlogiston.