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James M. Taylor: Event filled with expertise on global warming debate

United States
Omaha World Herald
02/08/2010
James M. Taylor

The writer, of Chicago, is senior scholar of environmental policy at the Heartland Institute.

Charles Riedesel, an assistant professor of computer sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, stepped outside his field of knowledge and unwittingly wrote an extremely amusing (as in ridiculous) attack on climate scientists who believe global warming is not an imminent crisis.

Riedesel’s July 26 Midlands Voices commentary, “Be wary of instant experts in science, global warming,” is a virtual how-to manual on making yourself look like a fool by pretending to be an expert on something in which you are not.

Riedesel begins his essay by demeaning the ability of World-Herald readers to meaningfully discuss global warming: “While I monitor the opinion pages, I generally avoid responding because this venue is not designed for resolving scientific debate.” How superior of him.

Riedesel then attempts to remind us of his own superior credentials to resolve the global warming debate. Riedesel writes that he’s a researcher.

Really? Did he forget to add “in computer science”? How does being a researcher in computer science give Riedesel superior qualifications to discuss global warming? Or does he simply believe that being an assistant professor in anything makes him limitlessly qualified to pontificate about everything?

Regardless, the substance of Riedesel’s attack on scientists who believe global warming is not a crisis is just as amusing.

He attacks a recent World-Herald essay written by Dr. Jack Kasher, professor emeritus of physics (a scientific field that is actually relevant to global warming) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. Kasher attended and reported on scientific presentations at a global warming conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute.

According to Riedesel, “the event was neither scientific nor a conference” and “the Heartland Institute appears to have selectively recruited politicians and promotional speakers but few scientists, invariably from the ranks of the institute’s advocates.”

As organizer of the Heartland Institute’s global warming conferences, I can tell you how they are organized and run. We bring together scientists from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, MIT, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and equally prestigious universities and research facilities in dozens of countries around the world to discuss their latest research, share scientific ideas and resolve or debate the meaning of the latest scientific evidence.

Approximately 80 such experts give presentations at each of our conferences, and there are nearly 1,000 attendees. For each conference, I have to turn away literally dozens of additional university professors who would like to speak but for whom we simply don’t have room on the agenda.

I don’t know what planet Riedesel is from, but on the planet Earth these are considered expert scientists and prestigious conferences.

We do have a few politicians (typically three or four) speak at our conferences, but even these are chosen according to their expertise or high visibility on global warming and related fields. For example, Dr. Harrison Schmitt, who has served as a U.S. senator from New Mexico, is a former university professor with a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard.

Riedesel’s assertion that we “selectively recruited” scientists to mirror our own views is equally ridiculous. We cordially invited literally dozens of scientists who believe global warming is an imminent crisis to speak at our conference. The fact that only two were willing to present their ideas in a public setting where fellow scientists could discuss and critique each other’s assertions speaks volumes as to who does and who doesn’t have sound science on their side.

By the way, the two who did speak have publicly praised the Heartland Institute for the conference’s scientific rigor and spirit of cooperation and cordiality.

When a computer scientist such as Charles Riedesel gratuitously throws mud at climate scientists who disagree with his own global warming beliefs, it indicates that he wants to draw attention away from the underlying science. You can read the science for yourself, in a comprehensive report written by many of the scientists who have spoken at our conferences, at http://www.nipccreport.org.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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