Here's another heavyweight climatologist weighing in against the Gore hysterics. He has some very interesting things to say about supposedly objective scientific authority. A few excerpts:
Hans von Storch is one of Germany's leading researchers on climate change. DER SPIEGEL spoke with him about why fears of global warming are exaggerated and and the doom-mongering tendencies of German scientists. .... SPIEGEL: Some climate protection groups and politicians are calling on Germans to spend their summer vacations in their own country in the future.
Storch: That's just another one of those typically German attempts to save the world with symbolic acts. It makes us feel like better people and morally superior to everyone else.
SPIEGEL: But many believe that the end of the world is upon us. Is the climate debate gradually becoming too hysterical?
Storch: Indeed. The fear of climatic catastrophes is an ancient one and not unlike our fear of strangers. In the past, people believed that the climate almost always changes for the worse, and only rarely for the better -- God's punishment for sinful behavior. And nowadays it's those hedonistic wastrels who pollute the air so that they can look at some pretty fish in the South Seas. It would be better if we only ever rode bikes. Oh, there's always someone wagging a finger in disapproval.
Storch: Detailed forecasts are not possible, because we don't know how emissions will in fact develop. We climate researchers can only offer possible scenarios. In other words, things could end up being completely different. But there are undoubtedly parts of the world that will benefit on balance from climate change. Those areas tend to be in the north, where it has been cold and uncomfortable in the past. But it's considered practically heretical to even raise such issues.....
SPIEGEL: And what about the monster storms that will supposedly be rushing in our direction in a greenhouse climate?
Storch: A false alarm, so far, even though it's become warmer by almost one degree since the beginning of industrialization. According to the computer models, we do expect high winds in northern Germany to increase by one percent per decade. But this is such a weak phenomenon that we won't even notice it at first.
SPIEGEL: And the thousands of heat-related deaths the Kiel Institute for World Economics predicted in a recent study? Storch: Such claims are completely idiotic and dubious.
SPIEGEL: Aren't climate researchers helping fuel a state of panic with their generally bleak warnings?
Storch: Unfortunately many scientists see themselves too much as priests whose job it is to preach moralistic sermons to people. This is another legacy of the 1968 generation, which I happen to belong to myself. In fact, it would be better if we just presented the facts and scenarios dispassionately -- and then society can decide for itself what it wants to do to influence climate change.
Read the whole thing here.
This is what happens when you mix science and politics -- you corrupt both. As I have said many times, scientific authority is not objective and, while it should be heeded, it's recommendations should be balanced against other concerns, political, economic, even moral.