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Peter Foster: Weaver's web

Posted by Oped 2873 days ago National Post| peter foster weavers web All
http://network.nationalpost.com — Is it unreasonable to suggest his charge of theft against the fossil fuel industry is totally without merit?

By Peter Foster


T


 he spinning from the climate industry in the wake of Climategate has been as fascinating as the incriminating emails themselves.One
demand being peddled by the powers-that-warm in Copenhagen and
elsewhere is that we should all concentrate not on the damning emails,
but on who was responsible for their “theft,” which had to be carried
out for money, which in turn obviously came from the fossil fuel
industry.These guilty-until-proven-innocent villains have also
been fingered by Canada’s warmist spinner-in-chief, Dr. Andrew Weaver.
Dr. Weaver, who is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and
Analysis at the University of Victoria, claims that his office has been
broken into twice, that colleagues have suffered hack attacks, and that
mysterious men masquerading as technicians have attempted to penetrate
the university’s data defences.There have been no
arrests, and there are no suspects, but Dr. Weaver has no problem
pointing to the shadowy culprits — the fossil fuel industry — thus
joining his colleagues in the left coast Suzuki-PR-industrial complex.Is
this what the scientific method looks like? Is Dr. Weaver’s hypothesis
about fossil-fuel interests “falsifiable?” If Dr. Weaver has any
evidence, he should produce it. Indeed, the University of Victoria
should immediately launch an inquiry into these very serious
allegations. Who knows what they might find? Was Dr. Weaver’s office
the only office broken into? If other offices in non-climate
departments of the university also had computers stolen, might this
suggest that the thefts were not related to climate change? Is it
unreasonable to suggest that Dr. Weaver’s charge against the fossil
fuel industry is totally without merit?Dr. Weaver has also been
in the forefront of the warmist counterattack. On Monday, he
co-authored a piece with Thomas Homer-Dixon in The Globe and Mail
from which references to Climategate were conspicuously absent. The two
academics boldly knocked down erroneous “skeptical” arguments without
identifying who actually holds them. Strangely, apart from avoiding the
“C” word, and appearing not to understand what solar climate theory
actually involves, they also ignored the main point of scientific
skepticism, which is that a link between human activity and a
significant impact on the global climate has not been established.
Meanwhile they make some distinctly dodgy arguments of their own.They
assert that the claim that warming has stopped is based on nefariously
taking 1998 as a starting point. “The El Nino [ocean oscillation] event
of 1998 was the strongest in a century,” they write, “so it’s not
surprising that the planet’s surface temperature was sharply higher
than it was in the years immediately before or after. To choose this
year as the starting point for a trend line is misleading at best and
dishonest at worst.”Call the campus police! But hang on, who
first cherry-picked 1998 as a significant year? Climate alarmists such
as Dr. Weaver! Indeed, in a piece in the Financial Post in
September 1999, in which he sought to refute an article by skeptic Fred
Singer, Dr. Weaver cited Climategate emailer Michael Mann’s
now-debunked hockey stick: “In the 1,000-year record,” wrote Dr.
Weaver, “1998 represented the warmest year, the 1990s the warmest
decade and the 20th century the warmest century.”Far from
citing El Nino as a factor in 1998, he quoted a study by
paleoclimatologist Jonathan Overpeck that “failed to identify any
natural mechanism for the unprecedented warming that led to 1998 being
the warmest year in at least the past 1,200.”Mr. Overpeck, for
the record, had noted in 1998 that “It’s a good bet that the warming
like we’re seeing now is going to continue for decades.” When it turned
out to be a bad bet, at least for this decade, 1998 became a nuisance.
However, Dr. Weaver tells us that “global temperatures are now about to
resume their upward trend.”But apart from his implicit request
to “trust me,” doesn’t saying that they will “resume their upward
trend” admit that they’ve been flat?(Intriguingly, Dr. Overpeck
also appears in the Climatic Research Unit emails giving some much more
accurate advice to his colleagues: “Please write all emails as though
they will be made public.”)Getting back to 1999, Dr. Weaver
went on to write: “I don’t understand Dr. Singer’s suspicion of
government-funded scientists … Conspiracies require a motive, and I
can’t fathom what advantage would accrue from a government plot of
climate change misinformation.”Anybody who can’t fathom how
scientists might be corrupted by government money, or why politicians
and bureaucrats might embrace a theory that promises huge new powers,
betrays an otherworldly innocence that should never be let outside the
ivory tower. (See Bret Stephens’ commentary elsewhere on this page)
.Yet Dr. Weaver’s naïeveté about the political class appears to be
matched by a corresponding cynical demonization of corporations. “I
fear corporate lobbying has already created an era of misinformation,”
he wrote in 1999, “and am extremely concerned about the
disproportionate coverage the mainstream media gives to what is, in
reality, negligible scientific controversy.”We now know how Dr.
Weaver’s colleagues manipulated the peer review process to make sure
that controversy was as “negligible” as possible.On Monday, Dr.
Weaver and Mr. Homer-Dixon suggested that climate policy follows from
climate science. This would not be true even if the science were well
understood. But then Dr. Weaver has also written that he believes that
climate change “presents a wonderful opportunity” for Canada to become
“the world’s leading nation in the business of climate.” Which suggests
that his knowledge of economics and economic history ranks with his
grasp of human motivation.In the light of all this, the
conclusion of Monday’s piece ranks as chutzpah indeed: “The difference
between science and ideology is that science tries to explain all known
observations, whereas ideology selects only those observations that
support a preconceived notion.”Say, like 1998 being all about
man-made climate change then, but, 10 years later, when the models are
all falling apart, not so much?
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