In a Wall Street Journal opinion article published on August 6, 2012, Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, issued an appeal calling for a new climate-change consensus among climate alarmists (those who believe society’s burning of fossil fuels is causing modern-day global warming and who are alarmed at its potential climatic consequences) and climate skeptics (those who consider that mankind’s contribution to present and future climate, if any, will be mostly benign).
To jump start this proposed alliance, Krupp asks that both sides of the debate agree to two “basic truths” so that a “bipartisan, multi-stakeholder plan of action” can be implemented “to safeguard the natural systems on which our economic future depends.”
The first of these so-called truths is that “dramatic alterations to the climate are here and likely to get worse – with profound resultant damage to the economy – unless sustained action is taken.” His choice of sources to support this claim, however, is pitiful. He cites a non-peer-reviewed, editorialized story from the Economist that blames CO2-induced global warming for melting the Arctic, and a yet-to-be published scientific study that claims “climate change is ‘almost entirely’ due to greenhouse-gas pollution.” Then, after philosophizing a bit as to why skeptics think the way they do on this issue, he proceeds with an appeal to authority, citing statements from two Republican Governors who think the climate is indeed changing due to rising greenhouse gases, along with the results of a political poll on global warming beliefs, which suggests that a majority of the respondents feel it is human-caused. Yet, if there is any human enterprise that should be free of appeal to authority, it is science, where observation and impartial analysis are supposed to reign supreme.
In considering Mr. Krupp’s first “truth” — that dramatic alterations to the climate are here to stay and will be amplified in the future — it is clear that he could benefit from an old-fashioned review of the pertinent scientific literature, and not just the science that has been selectively edited by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the voluminous science that has appeared in a vast array of peer-reviewed publications that runs counter to the assertions presented in his first “truth” (see, for example, the thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles that are referenced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change at www.nipccreport.org).