Peter Bonk: Standing Room Only at the First Evening of the 4th ICCC

The room is packed. Heartland Institute officials tell me the room can only hold 800 people, and all the seats are filled. Attendance had to be closed down prior to the start of the conference.
A small group of protesters, students from a suburban high school, were holding a long banner in front of the Marriott where the conference is being held. The students are polite and readily agree when I ask to take their picture. The sidewalk is full of youthful idealism. I don’t recall seeing any protesters back in March 2009 in NYC.
Keynote speakers at the Sunday night dinner were former Senator and Astronaut Harrison Schmitt (Ph.D, Geology) and Stephen McIntyre, former mining executive from Canada with training in statistics. It was McIntyre who, with fellow Canadian Ross McKitrick, challenged the validity of the famous (or infamous) “Hockey Stick” graph of Professor Michael Mann. The “Climategate” e-mails revealed in November 2009 speak of “tricks” and “hiding the decline” in reference to the now controversial graph of temperatures and CO2 over time. The folks from have placed 2 foot hockey sticks in the conference goodie bags with the following inscription: “Mann Made Global Warming: Why we should be more worried about the intellectual climate”.
Schmitt talks about the Constitutional powers and climate legislation, a rather strange topic, but it does indicate where he sees legitimate government involvement vs. where overstepping of originally granted powers in Articles I and II may be occurring. McIntyre’s talk is “Climategate: A Battlefield Perspective”.
The real interest and heat is in the Q & A that follows, which takes a turn unimaginable 14 months ago in NYC. Climategate and the Tea Party (many later express sympathy and involvement with Tea Party groups from SC to TX to NM) have emboldened folks, and questions of fraud and criminal charges are raised again and again. McIntyre is reserved but unmoved, citing the need for the scientific community to police its own. Schmitt takes a more aggressive tack, and while not calling Mann’s work fraudulent says some have “An agenda different from science”.
There is a clear sense of accelerated momentum on the questioning of anthropogenic global warming since the 2nd ICCC in March 2009.
Peter Bonk resides in Westerly. A chemist by training and profession, he, along with millions of us, scientists and laymen, has been attempting to discern whether the core science supports the policy positions, enacted and proposed, that have evolved out of the debate on anthropogenic global warming.

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