I arrived in New York this morning for the first ever international meeting of ‘global warming skeptics’.
It’s actually called ‘The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change’ but many of the speakers and delegates are well known AGW skeptics and they have never gathered before in one place and time. At least certainly not the 500 or so said to be here today. [And of course none of them are skeptical of climate change – but rather the extent to which carbon dioxide drives warming.]
Perhaps appropriately for a first meeting of AGW skeptics it has been a chilly day. It has been probably close to zero outside with a blustery wind.
Indeed when I ventured out onto Broadway for brunch this morning in a warm coat I thought my ears were going to freeze off. Then I found a shop full of hats and bought something lined with fake fur – and I was slightly warmer.
Jennifer in her new hat, Manhattan, March 2, 2008
After a long nap – I hadn’t really slept for 36 hours having missed my connecting flight from Sydney to New York in San Francisco – I registered for the conference at 5pm.
The conference is at the New York Marriott Marquis right on Broadway. I am also staying at the hotel and I think you can get everything here except a pot of tea.
Anyway, it was good to see some Australians here including my colleague Alan Moran, Bob Carter and his wife Ann, Viv Forbes, Ian McClintock, Tom Quirk – and that was just who I met this evening.
I was asked to mind a table for the Australians for dinner at the request of Viv Forbes, anyway, next thing a couple of Italians asked if they could join me and I thought what the heck, then three New Zealanders turned up and sat down, and Viv returned to find his dinner table full of ‘others’ and me – but I think he had a good night anyway.
My colleague Alan Moran (the good looking one) with a fellow from Sweden and another from Holland at the conference reception. Manhattan, March 2, 2008.
The conference dinner was opened by Joseph Bast, President of The Heartland Institute. He began by saying that Jim Martin, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, recently told the Denver Post, “You could have a convention of scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth” and went on to say that we finally hope this conference will put this misinformation to rest for good. He mentioned some of the 101 speakers from around the world joining the 400 or so delegates including skeptics from Russian, France, Canada and Australia.
Mr Bast also mentioned that Al Gore had been invited to the conference and to speak and that The Heartland Institute was prepared to pay his US$200,000 speaking fee – but he declined the invitation.
There were few formalities, no head table or pledges of allegiances. We were asked to respect diversity of opinion and the freedom to disagree.
The first speaker was a comedian Tim Slagle who was absolutely hilarious. He began by complaining that he had looked many of the delegates up at Sourcewatch before coming and was disappointed to find he was the only one not getting a million dollars from an oil company. [It was a joke, which the dinner crowd enjoyed, and by-the-way The Heartland Institute organised the conference without any money from oil or gas companies]. Most of Slagle’s jokes were so politically incorrect I shall not repeat them here and he included a plea for the legalization of cannabis and a comment that “global warming would be a God sent for Canadian citrus growers”.
The keynote speaker was Dr Patrick Michaels. He gave a really interesting address focusing on whether global temperature is still on a warming trend and what is happening at the Arctic and Antarctica concluding that the temperature trend is still one of increase – when ENSO, volcanoes, solar variability and carbon dioxide are taken into account – but that the warming is not much of a global threat. [The presentation also included a couple of good Al Gore impersonations.]
Much of the discussion that followed the key note address was around the subject of warming trends right back to the so-called Medieval Warm period and Ross McKitrick was invited to the stage to comment on the extent to which there is now a consensus regarding the last 1,000 or so years of the temperature record. For those who have read ‘Taken by Storm’ you may not be surprised to know that his answered was long and interesting.
The view from my room. Even at midday Broadway was lite up.
From today’s New York Times:
Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: March 2, 2008
“The Heartland Institute, a public policy research group in Chicago opposed to regulatory approaches to environmental problems, is holding a conference in Times Square on Monday and Tuesday aimed at exploring questions about the cause and dangers of climate change.
“The event will convene an array of scientists, economists, statisticians and libertarian commentators holding a dizzying range of views on the changing climate — from those who see a human influence but think it is not dangerous, to others who say global warming is a hoax, the sun’s fault or beneficial. Many attendees say it is the dawn of a new paradigm. But many climate scientists and environmental campaigners say it is the skeptics’ last stand.
Read more in the New York Times here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/science/02cold.html?_r=2&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin
But of course don’t believe everything you read.