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International Climate Change Conference 2009

by Pearl Hahn

During the Heartland Institute’s recent International Climate Change Conference in New York City (co-sponsored by GRIH), Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus declared that the true plans and ambitions of climate change alarmists are “to stop economic development, and return mankind centuries back.”

I was lucky enough to hear him first-hand in support of a growing movement demanding common sense instead of knee-jerk, harmful, government regulations as an approach to the climate issue. In his speech, President Klaus hit upon a crucial point previously made in GRIH’s first climate change brief —that alarmists are still “not able to explain why the global temperature increased from 1918 to 1940, decreased from 1940 to 1976, increased from 1976 to 1998, and decreased from 1998 to the present, irrespective of the fact that the people have been adding increasing amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.”

Another keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shed some light on the truth behind funding for climate change research. While climate change skeptics are often accused of being bankrolled by oil companies, alarmists wield considerable political and financial power, because “the alarming spin leads politicians to increase funding.”

In between panel discussions spanning topics such as paleoclimatology and climate change impact, I caught up with two experts who agreed to sit down for exclusive interviews with Grassroot TV. Climate Change Policy Analyst Todd Wynn, with the Cascade Policy Institute, spoke about recent developments in Oregon such as a cap and trade program, a carbon tax, and energy rationing. In the new video he discussed the costs of such regulations and the uncertainty of climate models, which are widely used to develop emission mitigation policies.

Next, I sat down with Stanley Goldenberg, a meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Hurricane Research Division. Mr. Goldenberg’s job entails a wide range of duties from flying into hurricanes to collect data to exchanging information with scientists around the world. In the part one of the video he discusses censorship of the climate change debate in the media and fear among scientists of losing funding and credibility if their research counters manmade global warming claims. When asked about the popular belief that global warming drives greater hurricane activity, Goldenberg asserted unequivocally, “First of all, people need to understand there’s not a single scientist that I know of at the National Hurricane Center, the Hurricane Research Division, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center that really believes that there’s a link between global warming and hurricane activity.” He notes that in perpetuating this notion, Al Gore fails to acknowledge that factors affecting hurricane activity involve more than just ocean temperatures, and that in certain cases, a rise in temperature causes reduced hurricane activity.

The conference was a wonderful opportunity for all involved to learn from the world’s leading experts who question whether climate change is truly a “crisis”. Armed with this information, the Grassroot Institute hopes to reach a broader audience and enrich the climate change debate.