Heartland Conference Provides Window on Climate Debate

This time last year, a meeting in New York sponsored by the Heartland Institute provided a nice preview of the arguments climate change skeptics would be highlighting in the coming year, and of the star scientists they would rely on to put the strongest face on their arguments. This yearâ''s meeting, which opened last night in NYC, does the sameâ''and the upshot is a little startling. Last year I came away with the distinct impression that climate skepticism still had a lot of life in it. This year the impression, to judge from todayâ''s report by Andrew Revkin in The New York Times, is the opposite.

A notable development in the last year, Revkin notes, was the decision by ExxonMobil to stop funding climate skepticism, including the Heartland Institute and its conferences. But the shift in mood doesnâ''t stop there. The most noted and active of the climate skepticsâ''S. Fred Singer, Richard S. Lindzen, Russell Seitz, and John H. Christyâ''all are warning their fellow skeptics not to carry their arguments too far. Singer, for example, is reminding them that carbon dioxide is indeed indisputably a greenhouse gas, and that humans certainly are partly responsible for measured increased in CO2 in the atmosphere. Lindzen, probably the best qualitfied atmospheric scientist among the skeptics, warned them against trying to attribute recent temperature changes exclusively to solar cycles.

With skeptics like this, climate change skeptics might ask, who needs alarmists?

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