May 2008 (vol. 24, #4)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 2007 Physicians for Civil Defense


Nobel Laureate Stephen Schneider proudly showed a packed auditorium at the University of Arizona a photograph of himself with Al Gore in Stockholm. Dozens of academic departments contributed to sponsor Schneider's March 2008 lecture, entitled “Is the Science Settled Enough for Policy?”

A cartoon with Santa on an ice floe, reindeer in the water, caption “the jury's still out on climate change” is Schneider's legal metaphor. In criminal cases, he said, guilt must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” before depriving someone of basic human rights: liberty, property, even life. Better to let 10 guilty go free rather than convict an innocent man. “What's the probability of a reasonable doubt?” asks Schneider. “Somewhere between 90% and 99.9%,” according to a lawyer's “subjective reading of his own profession,” Schneider concludes.

“We said global warming is unequivocal,” Nobel Laureate Jonathan Overpeck, an author of the Summary for Policymakers of the 2007 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told Columbia alumni on Apr 25. “In other words, in our science-speak, we know to a high degree of certainty, 95% confidence, that global warming is occurring.”

His apparently subjective reading: “We believe with 90% confidence that humans are causing global warming.”

The IPCC summary, agreed upon “word by word” by 30 scientists and many policymakers from more than 100 nations, is that the human contribution to various trends is “likely” or “more than likely.” That may be why Schneider proposes the civil “preponderance of evidence” standard in global warming.

Reaching the Verdict

In a jury trial, the number required to hang a jury is–one.

How many dissenting scientists are required to prevent the “science” from being turned into coercive life, liberty, and property-destroying “policy”? For this is a capital case.

Al Gore only admits to the existence of “a few” remaining “skeptics.” His office did not respond to a request from WorldNetDaily to comment on the news that the number of American scientists signing the Oregon Petition has now exceeded 31,000 (see

The more than 9,000 Ph.D. signatories is 15 times greater than the number of scientists seriously involved in the IPCC report (who, by the way, did not approve the final version or summary). Those 9,000 are “entitled to their opinion,” stated White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “That's all I'm going to say” (WorldNetDaily 5/20/08).

When asked about the Petition, Overpeck said he'd been asked to sign it, but dismissed it as “bull.” He thought the number of climate scientists signing it would be “very, very low.” Asking a non-climate scientist his opinion is like asking Overpeck to do surgery based on his Advanced Placement biology class. So much for Schneider's calls for “multidis-ciplinary, interdisciplinary” efforts in the field. Overpeck's lack of a degree in a biological science does not, however, prevent him from opining on what he reads about “our ecosystems and species and biodiversity”–or feeling “really scared” about whether Mother Nature can “deal with” climate change.

Petition signers include 3,697 with degrees in atmospheric, earth, or environmental science; 903 in computer science or mathematics; 5,691 in physics or aerospace; 4,796 in chemistry; 2,924 in biochemistry, biology, or agriculture; 3,069 in medicine; and 9,992 in general engineering or science.

The qualifications of the best-known Kyoto advocates– such as Al Gore, Robert Kennedy Jr., Katie Couric, Leonardi DiCaprio, and Prince Charles–are more like those of persons commonly empaneled to serve on juries. Many are compiled at Search on “dropout.”

Rules of Evidence

Arthur Robinson notes that science shouldn't be done by poll. “The numbers shouldn't matter” (Financial Post 5/17/08).

It only takes one experiment, after all, to destroy a theory.

No more. Not in “systems science,” states Schneider. We need to escape from the “ghost of Karl Popper” and stop worshipping the “false god of falsification.” If data contradict a model, that does not mean the model should be discarded.

“It takes a long time for a community to analyze data and make sure it was collected right, analyzed right.... So what we do in systems science is look for a preponderance of evidence. And it's a community judgment made over time...and any individual study that comes along neither proves nor disproves it.... That's why we have IPCCs.”

In particular, one cold winter, or even one cold decade, cannot discredit the IPCC model. That would merely be “weather,” emphasize Schneider and Overpeck.

The Petition Project refers to large numbers of trained scientists looking at data. In the New Science, neither the number of dissidents nor the strength of the evidence matters.

The very awarding of the Nobel Prize to 4,000 people, as Schneider observes, “says that the culture of community is what really matters.” Science by the Chosen.

It's All About “Preponderance”

The culprit for interfering in otherwise benign natural processes is humanity. Schneider showed three “hockey sticks” (“no this is not temperature”): CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, all from the Industrial Revolution. “We did it, no doubt, you can tell that from isotopic composition and other things.”

It's not just the numbers of human beings plaguing the Planet, Overpeck points out: it's that “many of these people are starting to move on up...and live like us.”

We cannot “hold the sustainability of the climate ...hostage,” Schneider stated–apparently to human hopes, aspirations, health, lives, or basic rights.

No sacrifice would be too great to ward off the Apocalypse, so no proof may actually be needed before we act. “It's the preponderance,” Schneider said, quoting James Carville. The preponderance of political power. Just assume a “culture of community,” efficient and equitable world central planning, unprecedented technologic advance. And the unsettling of science, substituting “preponderance” for proof.


How Tobacco Differs from CO2

The Tobacco Institute, said Stephen Schneider, “used the standard strategy of the false god of falsification” for 30 years. The “deniers” created doubt, preventing the implementation of anti-smoking public policy–although they didn't keep my grandfather, a baker, from knowing that cigarettes were “cancer sticks.” Anyone who ever got or administered any funds traceable to tobacco is now irretrievably demonized–except for Al Gore, who used to grow it, or the myriad of tax-exempts or government agencies funded by tobacco taxes or the tobacco settlement. The tobacco case is a “very depressingly legitimate analogy,” Schneider states. It's also a superb precedent for litigation to enrich lawyers and level American industries, if courts accept CO2 as a “pollutant.”

Tobacco is an identifiable product that is deliberately cultivated and sold for a profit. CO2 is the unavoidable natural byproduct of the metabolism of living things, all combustion of carbon-containing fuels, and many other natural processes such as outgassing from the oceans, volcanic eruptions, and decaying organic matter (which contributes up to 28% of the world's current emissions). Regulating tobacco affects only the liberty and property rights of smokers and those who serve them. Regulating CO2 infringes on the rights of all.



Schneider asks: “How much is a culture worth relative to a shipping industry?” (the Inuit culture, not ours). “Or an ecosystem?” (The polar bear's ecosystem is “functionally extinct,” Schneider stated, while conceding that the bear itself is somehow doing just fine.) “Those are not monetizable cost-benefit analysis friendly.” The community needs to figure out the “distribution of impactees,” but he thinks we could end up with an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450 ppm rather than 950 by sacrificing a “tithe” (10%) of our economic growth. He estimates that a carbon tax of $400/ton would be needed to achieve a 350 ppm level: CO2 as a function of taxes.

Click on the appropriate name for transcripts of Tucson talks by Schneider and Overpeck.


UK Voters Reject Carbon Taxes

The Labour Party got its biggest hammering in 40 years as British voters revolted against carbon taxes. London threw out Mayor Ken Livingstone and elected climate realist Boris Johnson. Labour had “savaged the poor, battered Brits with tax after tax,...” mostly justified by reducing the carbon footprint (Investor's Business Daily 5/2/08). A government dossier warns that Labour's green taxes will cost every British family more than £3,000–not including grid upgrades to cope with new energy sources demanded by the EU (Daily Express 5/4/08).



Without rapid and sustained growth over the coming decades, the world will contain 4 billion people living in abject poverty by 2050, according to a report by the World Bank and the British government. Poor countries need to emulate those 13 that have expanded at rates of 7% per year for 25 years. “The Growth Report kills off once and for all the misguided notion that you can lift people from poverty in the absence of growth,” stated Prof. Mike Spence (Guardian 5/22/08). More rapid growth is essential to meet UN poverty-reduction goals.

CO2 Measurements, and Temperature

Schneider speaks as though CO2 levels are tightly correlated with temperature, and that any level above the presumably optimum pre-industrial level comes from human use of hydrocarbon fuels. Chemist Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D., takes a careful look at both assertions (J Sci Exploration 2007;21:723-749).

Kauffman finds a poor correlation between CO2 and temperature, and asks: “How could the surface temperature have risen more than the atmospheric temperature, if the latter is hypothesized to have warmed the former?”

Reviewing ice core data on CO2, Kauffman concludes that they are “flawed by selection, contamination and diffusion, as well as some suspicious presentations; thus, they are not useful.” He describes the various analytical techniques used to determine atmospheric concentrations since 1812 (also see CDP November 2007). In 1947-1949, 350 determinations near Point Barrow, Alaska, had a mean level of 420 ppm. His Fig. 10, a graph of chemically measured Northern Hemisphere levels, shows a range between about 290 and 450 ppm. From 1945-1965, world hydrocarbon use doubled, while CO2 levels dropped from 415 to 325 ppm, “so some other major source of CO2 had to exist.” In fact, “more than one estimate indicates that the anthropogenic contribution to the present CO2 level is 4%, or 15 ppm.” As to the CO2 “hockey stick,” Kauffman concludes that it is just as unlikely as the now-discredited hockey stick of temperature v. time.


UN-stimulating the Economy

With the so-called economic stimulus package, politicians “are prescribing aspirin to counteract the poisons they routinely inject into our economy, while they prepare even bigger doses of arsenic,” writes Roy Innis of CORE.

“Oil, gas, coal and other resources on America's citizen-owned public lands could meet U.S. energy needs for centuries,” he writes. But “the ‘energy' legislation President Bush just signed doesn't foster the production of a single drop of oil.... No wonder OPEC ministers rejected his plea to increase oil production.” Meanwhile, “Energy Killers,” purportedly to protect 22,000 polar bears, want to put courts and bureaucrats in charge of anything that generates greenhouse gases. Prices would soar; jobs would disappear.

The floor for EPA permitting rules is 250 tons of a Clean Air Act pollutant per year. If CO2 is a pollutant, a mid-sized office building that uses hydrocarbon fuel for heating falls under its jurisdiction, as do almost all factories, farms, restaurants, schools, and hospitals (Wall St J 3/14/08).

Innis notes that affordable, reliable energy translates constitutionally protected rights into actual rights. Restricting energy use and supplies rolls back civil rights gains.


Fact-Based Lectures

The 14th-most discussed Australian News and Politics item of all time, and the highest ranked fact-based lecture ever, is geologist Bob Carter's presentation to the Australian Environment Foundation. Go to and search on “Bob Carter climate change.”

A brilliant, riveting lecture by Viscount Monckton at the Cambridge Union, Apocalypse? No!, is available on DVD. See Complimentary copies will be distributed at the DDP meeting this July.