Mischief with factoids

cartoonFacts are facts, as any reputable scientist would tell you, and if someone tries to change them, like changing a pair of soiled pants, they risk embarrassing exposure. The global warming hysteria is premised on “facts” showing the earth is warming, but these “facts” have been repeatedly exposed as “factoids,” the playful invented word of novelist Norman Mailer, to describe something that is presented as fact, sounds like it could be a fact, but is actually not a fact. Surely imposing global restrictions on human activity, which would deny prosperity to the poorest among us, must be premised on something better than factoids.

Climate alarmists insist that weather stations worldwide indicate the planet is warming. Like a fire bell in the night, they cry in ever shriller tones that Earth is doomed, by man burning coal, oil and natural gas, which release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that trap the sun’s heat. Only the brave dare question the scam, because the science is settled. Facts are facts.

But factoids are not facts. Climate “scientists” have adjusted the facts to account for the effects of “urban heat islands” when readings that don’t match those of nearby weather stations. Such explanations for the cooked data might make sense, but the new figures reverse the original temperature trends. Paul Homewood, a skeptical researcher, found that in Paraguay, temperature readings for the 20th century at all nine weather stations supervised by NASA had been “adjusted” to transform a cooling trend into a warming trend. His analysis of readings in the Arctic found that rapid warming between 1920 and 1950 — before human activity could have increased the production of greenhouse gases — were adjusted downward so that the 1980s and ‘90s temperatures would stand out as warmer.

Several instances of questionable temperature adjustments don’t necessarily prove deceit, but skeptics (climate change alarmists borrow Holocaust language to call these skeptics “climate change deniers”) rightly ask whether similar altered readings around the world are a deceptive numbers game. Even if such adjustments can be plausibly explained, they nevertheless raise the reasonable suspicion that facts have been molded into factoids. If the butcher must not “adjust” the scale with his thumb when figuring the price of salami, neither is it acceptable for climate scientists to adjust the facts to fit the global warming theory that could upend the global economy.

Christiana Figueres, the chief of climate-change research at the United Nations, boasted at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last month that “this is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

This fits neatly into the scheme to replace free enterprise and the market economy with redistribution of wealth, and that requires replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy. This is the goal of holy-grail environmentalism: a global pact limiting the production of greenhouse gas, and an international Green Climate Fund that collects billions from developed nations and doles it out to feed bureaucracies in poorer countries to pay for “green” energy.

Socialism is often wrapped in the best of intentions, but when good intentions are not enough the good intentions give way to artful deceit. That’s the strategy for manipulating temperature data to frighten the world into accepting a new economic development model. Congress should exercise its oversight role with an investigation of NASA’s “temperature reading practices” to make sure they’re dealing in facts, not factoids.

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