Spinning Global Warming
by Amy Ridenour
The Peter Principle
appears to have caught up with John Podesta, former Clinton chief-of-staff
and frequent talking head on Crossfire, CNN's recently-cancelled
tribute to the arrogant and inane.
Devised by the clever
Canadian management guru Laurence J. Peter, the Peter Principle
says that over time people tend to rise to their level of incompetence.
Thus it is with
Podesta, a skillful player in the Clinton White House and an
accomplished debater who more than held his own in television
dust-ups with the likes of Tucker Carlson.
But Podesta as the
head of a scientifically-serious think-tank boggles the mind.
The Center for American Progress, is hardly a think-tank in the
scientific meaning of the term. Founded in 2003, it doesn't conduct
serious, peer-reviewed studies or issue scholarly tracts like
the neighboring Brookings Institution or the Pacific Research
Institute in San Francisco.
It chiefly is an
incubator of political mischief and reportedly is funded by millions
from financier George Soros and others who seek to turn the Democratic
Party into a permanent handmaiden of the Far Left.
So it was somewhat
surprising when The Center for American Progress showed up in
news headlines as one of three "think-tanks" issuing
a report claiming that global warming will soon plunge the world
into climate change disaster.
the Climate Challenge," the report grabbed headlines across
the globe. In large part that was because influential wire services
like Reuters and the Associated Press, through either ignorance
or intentional bias, portrayed Podesta's group, along with the
Australia Institute and Britain's Institute for Public Policy
Research, as an objective, non-ideological think-tank rather
than a left-wing spin factory.
Millions of readers,
however, were led to believe the report represented serious scientific
In fact, the groups'
International Climate Change Task Force was chaired by two politicians,
Tony Blair's environmental adviser Stephen Byers and U.S. Senator
Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and met only a few times.
The report itself
was a cherry-picked compilation of seemingly every doomsday scenario
advanced by global warming alarmists over the past decade.
Further, it completely
ignored skepticism of the global warming theory by some 17,000
American scientists who have urged our government to reject economically-devastating
restrictions on energy consumption.
One thing is certain:
Journalism schools and news organizations have been derelict
in not providing better scientific training for reporters covering
complex issues that demand critical thinking. Forced to choose
between the genuine and the sham, reporters can become victims
of carefully orchestrated blitzkriegs by special interest groups.
such as the Pew Center for Climate Change have spent hundreds
of millions over the past decade pushing the idea that global
warming is a dire threat to Mother Earth.
Americans are the
constant target of warnings that climate change is about to wipe
out polar bears, penguins, coastal plains, Pacific islands, Midwestern
farmlands and Alpine glaciers - thanks, supposedly, to human
actions that put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
But climate is far
more complicated than this simple theory suggests.
Our Earth underwent
warming from 800 to 1200 and cooling from 1400 to about 1850.
Yet, greenhouse gas concentrations were relatively constant from
1000 to 1750.
Cycles of warming
and cooling exist independent of greenhouse gas fluctuations.
Since 1850, the
Earth has undergone periods of both warming and cooling, despite
In fact, the Earth
warmed between 1910 and 1940, but cooled between 1940 and 1975
- the warming period occurring before 82 percent of the 20th
century's increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide even took place.
How is this possible?
Look to the sun. Natural changes in solar radiation levels are
one key source of variation in the Earth's temperature. But other
factors, including ocean currents and cloud cover, also play
We modern humans
like to think we understand our natural world, but the the Earth's
climate is far too complicated to allow even our most advanced
computers to predict its future behavior.
Modern science is
unable predict future climate. And a handful of political groups
can't do it, either.
- not reality - often seems to be everything in the global warming
John Podesta may
lack the academic credentials and silver-haired gravitas to be
the head of a truly revered scientific think-tank, but he remains
one of the capital's slickest spinmeisters.
# # #
Amy Ridenour is president of The National Center for Public Policy
Research. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.