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John McCain's 'Global Warming' Hearings Blasted by Climatologist
By Marc Morano Senior Staff Writer
November 19, 2004

Washington ( - Recent U.S. Senate hearings into alleged global warming, chaired by Arizona Republican John McCain, were among the "most biased" that a noted climatologist has ever seen - "much less balanced than anything I saw in the Clinton administration," he said.  

Patrick J. Michaels is the author of a new book "Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media." He is an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia who believes that claims of human-caused "global warming" are scientifically unfounded.  

Michaels spoke with Thursday following a panel discussion sponsored by the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., where Michaels also serves as a senior fellow in environmental studies.  

"John McCain, a Republican, has probably held the most biased hearing of all," Michaels said. McCain is a big proponent of limiting greenhouse gas emissions, which he believes are causing "global warming." The Arizona senator also "is trying to define himself as an environmental Republican, which he is going to use to differentiate himself from his rivals for the (presidential) nomination in 2008," according to Michaels.  

Earlier this week, McCain, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said the Bush administration's views about human-caused climate change were "terribly disappointing."  

McCain also held a Senate hearing on Tuesday to enlist testimony on the recently released report from an international commission called the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), which warned about rising temperatures in the North Pole.  

Citing a visit he had to the Arctic with several U.S. senators last summer, McCain made it clear that he believed human-caused "global warming" was a certainty.  

"It was remarkable going up on a small ship next to this glacier and seeing where it had been just 10 short years ago and how quickly it's receded," McCain told the New York Times on Monday.  

McCain also warned about what he saw as the rapid pace of Arctic warming, evidenced by the arrival of wildlife that had never previously been seen in the region. "The Inuit language for 10,000 years never had a word for robin and now there are robins all over their villages," he told the Times.  

Michaels refuted McCain's assertions about the North Pole, noting that the Arctic has actually been warmer in the past than it is now.  

"It was warmer 4 to 7,000 years ago [in the Arctic.] Every climatologist knows that. I saw no mention of that in the Arctic report that was paraded in front of McCain," Michaels said. He added that the past warming of the Arctic couldn't possibly be blamed on greenhouse gas emissions since it occurred long before the industrial era.  

'Temperature has always changed'  

Other participants in Thursday's panel discussion also disputed McCain's statements. Harvard Astrophysicist Sallie Baliunas agreed that using the polar ice caps to promote "global warming" did not make sense.  

"Antarctica has been cooling for the last 50 years. Most of the Arctic has not warmed over long time scales," Baliunas told Baliunas also serves as the enviro-science editor for Tech Central Station.  

"Temperatures [have] always changed in the past and [they] always will. It can either go up or it goes down. We don't have enough understanding of natural variability and we don't see enormous amounts of temperature change to be alarmed about," Baliunas explained.  

She also blasted the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to limit greenhouse gases which the U.S. does not support. "The Kyoto (Protocol) does not work, no matter what you think of it because Kyoto won't do anything meaningful."  

McCain's claims about a robin population explosion in the Arctic were refuted as well.  

Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), said "Even if it's true that robins are making their first appearance in Arctic areas, what it means it that the robin's habitat is expanding."  

"I always thought environmentalists liked birds. To me this is good news," Lewis added.  

'Playing the media'  

Michaels lamented that the media are allowing certain government-funded scientists to manipulate science for funding advantages. "Scientists are playing the media because they know the media will publish a story that the world is about to end," he said.  

"What has happened to the editing process? What has happened to fact checking," he wondered.  

Baliunas noted that the media like to imply that the overwhelming majority of scientists believe in dire "global warming" scenarios. In fact, she said, "The scientific literature is full of skepticism. The only problem is -- one doesn't get the call from the newspapers and those [skeptical] quotes don't get included."  

Lewis of the CEI added, "The embrace of government and government funding corrupts whatever it touches and that is certainly the case of the scientific process."