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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 16, 2007 / 28 Nissan 5767

Doubting doomsday

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Why So Gloomy?" asks the headline over Richard Lindzen's guest commentary about global warming in the April 16 issue of Newsweek. The cover of the magazine features a dire warning — "Save the Planet — Or Else" — but Lindzen, a world-class climate scientist who holds an endowed chair in meteoroly at MIT, doesn't buy it.


Yes, he writes, the planet has warmed a bit, and human-generated greenhouse gases may be partly responsible, but that is hardly cause for panic. Alarmism over global warming may be in vogue, but climate change is normal — "the earth is always warming or cooling by as much as a few tenths of a degree a year." The current fearmongering, says Lindzen, "rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman's forecast for next week."


Though you'd never know it from Al Gore's movie or the latest National Resources Defense Council press release, most long-range global-warming forecasts rely on computer models that Lindzen describes as "inherently untrustworthy." There is still much about climate dynamics that science cannot explain. One puzzle, for example, is why temperatures climbed for two decades before 1940, yet dropped during the decades of the postwar boom, when carbon-dioxide emissions were so much greater.


But to global-warming True Believers, Lindzen's essay is just one heresy after another. It suggests that "a warmer climate could prove to be more beneficial than the one we have now." That extreme weather events might actually be *less* likely in a warming world. That sea levels have been rising gradually for centuries. That higher levels of CO2 could be a boon to agriculture. And that a warmer planet is preferable to a colder one. ("Exposure to cold," he writes, "is generally found to be both more dangerous and less comfortable.")


Lindzen is not the only climate expert to express skepticism about global-warming doomsaying — not by a long shot. But so pervasive has the alarmist narrative become that anyone who dissents from it can expect to be smeared as a shill for polluters or compared to a Holocaust denier. So perhaps Newsweek was just trying to do Lindzen a favor when it ran this credit line following his piece: "Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has always been funded exclusively by the US government. He receives no funding from any energy companies."


The implication is about as subtle as a two-by-four. Apparently Lindzen's scientific and professional credentials aren't sufficient to lend authority to his views; readers must be explicitly reassured that "energy companies" haven't paid him off.


Well, if that's what it takes to keep climate-change commentary on the up-and-up, fine. But if scientists who take a non-hysterical approach to global warming are going to be scrutinized for ulterior motives, shouldn't we be just as suspicious about the alarmists? There is no shortage of incentives and inducements, after all, for those who paint global warming as a deadly and growing peril.


To begin with, staggering sums of money are channeled to researchers who emphasize the human role in global warming. The greater the sense of anthropogenic crisis, the greater the flow of research grants to address it. And it isn't only government that ladles out the dollars. Last year, Virgin Atlantic Airways founder Richard Branson pledged $3 billion to fight global warming; more recently he offered another $25 million for the first person who devises a way to annually remove a billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. In 2002, ExxonMobil announced a $100 million grant to establish a Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University for research into "the potential long-term risk of climate change." Last week, yet another pot of cash was established to deal with global warming. Are experts who raise alarms about global warming being unduly influenced by such funding?


What about the lucrative and prestigious prizes global-warming alarmists have received? NASA's James Hansen, a prominent global-warming Cassandra, won a $250,000 Heinz Award in 2001. Last month he was a co-winner of the Dan David Prize and its $1 million purse. Other awards and other purses have frequently gone to other prophets of doom. And the potential rewards don't stop there. For those who toe the politically correct line on global warming, there have been big book contracts, hefty speaking fees, worshipful magazine profiles, softball TV interviews — even an Academy award. Should that automatically call their objectivity or sincerity into question?


Our global-warming debate is contentious enough as it is. The last thing we need is to be disparaging the integrity of every scientist who takes a strong stand one way or the other. Tempting though it may be to think otherwise, not all true believers are scoundrels — and not every heretic is a shill.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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