Sunday, February 4, 2007

On Kelly: I Vote For Global Warming

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret who was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan administration. He is presently a columnist at the Post-Gazette, and can be described as a reliably hawkish unilateralist and free-market fundamentalist. As a special feature of the Comet, we will attempt to debunk the dangerous and foolhardy ideas put forth by Pittsburgh's most prominent ultra-conservative.

We have been describing Jack Kelly as a "hawkish unilateralist" in foreign policy, and a "free-market fundamentalist" in economics. It is remarkable how often, in think-tankery, those two unrelated threads coincide. After reading I Vote For Global Warming, we are reminded that those are always joined by a third: the stubborn refusal to believe the increasingly vast majority of climate scientists. Stunning.

It is almost as though these unrelated positions spring from some sort of bedrock principle: that those who possess power ought to be free to satisfy their appetites and pursue their designs, without any heed to the consequences for others, let alone some ephemeral "common good." I suppose one could call this "greed," although thanks to Ayn Rand, it's a decidedly sexy, heroic brand of greed.

Jack Kelly writes of the new climate change report:

And this is based on hypothetical piled upon hypothetical and computer models which cannot duplicate the actual climate of the present or the recent past.

Translation: I don't trust your fancy "science."

No, seriously. Kelly goes on to admit some global warming, but only unrelated to the industry of mankind. He blames natural cycles, notably cosmic rays and sun spots. He then cites a few dissenting scientists: Singer & Avery, Svensmark & Calder, and Abdussamatov.

That last fellow seems to be the new kid on the block. The St. Petersburg space researcher is also cited in a (strikingly similar) column this week in the National Post of Canada. We mention this because the last time Kelly wrote a piece on global warming, it also bore striking similarities to a piece in the National Post of Canada. (h/t TPJs). We wonder about that curious pipeline!

The point is, the arrival of Abdussamatov notwithstanding, you can literally count these guys on one hand. The current score is literally 3,750 against maybe 6; the "new discoveries" by the 6 are in no way unfamiliar to the 3,750. Unfortunately, we all must acknowledge that Copernicus and Einstein were once in the minority. Its very difficult for a lay-person to fisk the arguments of a few media-savvy scientists.

Yet clues as to how to proceed can be found throughout the text of the Singer-Avery book, which Kelly cites. Rather unlike your standard scientific report, the authors constantly pause to insult their opposition: They hate mankind. They hate progress. They get a thrill out of scaring people. It's like academic Turrets Syndrome, and it's revealing of a weakness.

What sounds more likely: a global conspiracy among 4,000 scientists, all in pursuit of the purely psychic reward of spite, and dislike of Wal-Mart?

Or a conspiracy among 5 or 6 scientists, supported by 5 or 6 global energy consortiums, in pursuit of a real and vast monetary reward, for being able to milk their present business-plans just a decade or two longer?

I suppose Jack Kelly could find it suspicious that a taste for economic regulation, a distaste for warfare, and a willingness to heed the scientific super-majority, so often coincide.

In our case, the common thread is a simple concern for our fellow man, a compassion in no way specific to our own culture, but which is often called "Christian." No doubt Ayn Rand would find us quite unappealing.

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