Ivar Giaever/climate

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2008 quote

A quote attributed to Dr. Giaever has been widely circulated in anti-global warming circles:

I am a skeptic ... Global warming has become a new religion ... I am Norwegian, should I really worry about a little bit of warming? I am unfortunately becoming an old man. We have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain 30 years ago and the ozone hole 10 years ago or deforestation but the humanity is still around. The ozone hole width has peaked in 1993 ... Moreover, global warming has become a new religion. We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the number is not important: only whether they are correct is important. We don't really know what the actual effect on the global temperature is. There are better ways to spend the money...

This quote is excerpted from a panel discussion on global warming at the 58th Lindau meeting of Nobel laureates in 2008; a video of Dr. Giaever's comments is here, with some transcription.

This particular excerpt is from a 2008 minority report of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which cites as sources only the following links:

The Canada Free Press's version of the quote:

First of all, I didn't want to be on this panel. Second of all, I am a skeptic. Third of all, if I am Norwegian, should I really worry about a little bit of warming? I am unfortunately becoming an old man. We have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain 30 years ago and the ozone hole 10 years ago or deforestation but the humanity is still around. The ozone hole width has peaked in 1993.

Moreover, global warming has become a new religion. We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the number is not important: only whether they are correct is important. We don’t really know what the actual effect on the global temperature is. There are better ways to spend the money.

Just based on these excerpts, a few counterpoints seem obvious:

  • He didn't want to be on the panel, so presumably he is uninterested in the subject or does not feel qualified to comment on it.
  • The comment about the ozone hole reveals his ignorance. The hole began shrinking only after measures were taken to reduce ozone-depleting substances in the earth's atmosphere, exactly the sort of action being proposed in response to the global warming crisis. The shrinking and disappearance of the ozone hole is a testament to the success of such techniques and evidence in favor of the methodology which recommended them and which recommends similar actions with regard to GW.
  • Although research using only Google can certainly reveal useful information, a quick search done in an afternoon is likely to uncover mainly the most widely-promoted, well-funded point of view in a situation where a manufactroversy has clearly been staged.

See the full comments for further discussion.