Friday, October 23, 2009

Exile for Non-Believers

You may have heard that the federal government is designating more than 200,000 square miles of Alaska and off its coast as a "critical habitat" for polar bears.  This action was taken in partial settlement of a polar bear protection lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by three conservation groups after the designation of the polar bear as threatened.

Government officials said the move would have no significant effect on oil and gas exploration.  The New York Times reports:
Mr. Strickland and other officials said that the bears’ habitat was not being set aside as a refuge and that oil and gas exploration and other activities could continue under the terms of the species act and other laws. He noted that the Shell Oil Company had been given permission this week to drill in the proposed protected area.

“This will not be a significant additional burden on the industry,” Mr. Strickland said.

The new designation requires a government agency or commercial interest to show that any proposed activity, including oil drilling or shipping, would not destroy or adversely affect the bears’ habitat or accelerate the extinction of the species.
No burden there.  Did he actually say that with a straight face?  Perhaps the key phrase is "additional burden." Clearly the State of Alaska doesn't believe it.  Yesterday it filed a supplement to its earlier lawsuit trying to overturn the listing of polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Canada's preeminent polar bear biologist, Dr. Mitchell Taylor, was interviewed by Frontier Centre for Public Policy in January of 2009.  In the interview, Dr. Taylor stated in part,
Polar bears, as a species, do not appear to be threatened or in decline based on the data that I’ve seen at the present time, although some populations do seem to be experiencing deleterious effects from climate change.
When asked if the sea ice decline was a result of human-caused global warming, his response was shocking:
From what I have read, the arctic sea ice declines have been mainly due to natural causes although some authors have ascribed some fraction of it to CO2 without being specific about the mechanism. The arctic warming mechanism identified in the IPCC suite of climate models is atmospheric warming due to increased CO2 levels, not an unusual influx of warm Pacific surface water and unusually strong offshore winds in the eastern Siberia and Alaskan area which is what actually caused what is being called the “Arctic Warming Period”.
The man actually disputed anthropogenic global warming. You can probably imagine what ensued.  An all out assault on his credibility and integrity by environmentalists and the radical left. In "Exile for Non-Believers," Joanne Nova documents in shameful detail, the conspiracy to silence Dr. Taylor.  Here's the introduction:
The price for speaking out against global warming is exile from your peers, even if you are at the top of your field.

What follows is an example of a scientific group that not only stopped a leading researcher from attending a meeting, but then—without discussing the evidence—applauds the IPCC and recommends urgent policies to reduce greenhouse gases. What has science been reduced to if bear biologists feel they can effectively issue ad hoc recommendations on worldwide energy use? How low have standards sunk if informed opinion is censored, while uninformed opinion is elevated to official policy? If a leading researcher can’t speak his mind without punishment by exile, what chance would any up-and-coming researcher have? As Mitchell Taylor points out “It’s a good way to maintain consensus”.

And so it is. But it’s not science.
You can find it in pdf format here.  It's likely the most important thing you will read today.

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