Global Warming: Fact, Fiction and Political Endgame
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This comprehensive summary of global climate change issues and trends is updated regularly with new information. If you have suggestions for additions to or clarifications of this essay, send a message to GlobalClimate[at]PatriotPost.US)
Global Alarmist Albert Gore – Consummate Hypocrite
“Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” –Alexander Hamilton
Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Albert Arnold Gore, was the toast of Hollywood at the self-congratulatory soiree known as the 2007 Academy Awards.
Gore, whose failure to carry his “home” state of Tennessee cost him the 2000 presidential election, has recast himself as the populist potentate of eco-theology and the titular head of the green movement's developmentally arrested legions – the gullible warming Gorons – who adhere to every word of Gore's bible, Earth in the Balance.
Being the darling of Leftcoast glitterati, predictably, Gore received two Oscars for his junk-science production called “An Inconvenient Truth,” a pseudo-documentary follow-up from the eco-disaster fiction, “The Day After Tomorrow.” Gore's “Truth,” however, is about 10 percent substance and 90 percent fragrance.
“The Academy Awards have gone green,” said Gore, after collecting his Oscars – maybe a thin coat of green over a thick base of red when it comes to this “useful idiot”.
Ever the consummate hypocrite, Gore claimed that he and wife, Tipper, “live a carbon-neutral lifestyle.”
Well, perhaps if you don't count all the fuel burned by his private jet travels and limo deliveries. One of Gore's exclusive mansions, according to a recent utility report, uses 20 times the electrical energy consumed by the average household, but who is counting.
(Sidebar: At least Gore's son, Albert III, is true to his word. When he was stopped by police (his third high-speed, drug toting arrest) just before the elder Gore's Live Earth concerts began, he may have been traveling 100mph but he was doing it in his fuel-efficient Toyota Prius hybrid. Unfortunately, Al III was fueled up on marijuana, and had in his possession various prescription drugs – Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, Adderall and Soma – all without prescriptions. Fruit does not fall far from the tree.)
The awards for Gore's climate diatribe coincided, not coincidentally, with the much-ballyhooed release of a media summary of a report on global warming by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which stated, “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” (That's “very likely”.)
These two events are a launch pad for the coming cavalcade of dire ecological predictions by Gore and his ilk. Their goal will be to saturate the all-too-sympathetic media outlets with apocalyptic hysterics about a man-made global disaster.
All of Gore's “Live Earth” road-show talking points played up an alarming assertion: “Never before has all of civilization been threatened. We have everything we need to save it, with the possible exception of political will. But political will is a renewable resource.”
If all goes according to plan, we'll likely see another Gore presidential run.
To be sure, there is “no controlling legal authority” for this, the biggest political and economic power grab in history. The Left's desire to hamstring the U.S. economy and force worldwide Kyoto Treaty compliance will, according to one United Nations estimate, cost the world economy $553 trillion this century.
Al Gore may be a comical dupe when it comes to climatology (in college, he collected a C+ and a D in his two natural-sciences courses), but the global-warming debate and the consequences of that debate are serious. To participate meaningfully, one must distinguish between fact and fiction – in addition to understanding the underlying political agendas.
In the inimitable words of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” To that end, Al Gore's “facts” are deserving of rigorous scrutiny.
Separating Fact from Fiction
First, let's be clear that the current debate about “global warming” is important, but is not synonymous with the debate about the environmental consequences of the “greenhouse effect”. The latter issue concerns the consequential relationship between man-made CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperatures.
For the record, most reputable scientists agree that we are in a period of gradual global warming (about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the last century), and that the greenhouse effect prevents our climate from becoming a deep freeze. Most also agree that the level of CO2, including manmade CO2, in the atmosphere has increased in the last century, and that global warming is due, in some part, to the greenhouse effect.
However, there is no scientifically established correlation between global-warming trends and acceleration of the greenhouse effect due to human production of CO2 – only broad speculation.
Although Gore and his media shills insist that the primary cause of global warming is the burning of hydrocarbons here in the United States, that government regulation of man-made CO2 will curb this global warming, that our failure to limit CO2 output will have dire consequences, and that the costs of enacting these limitations far outweigh the potential consequences, there is no evidence supporting any of these assertions.
CO2 – The Global Carbon Cycle
Carbon dioxide is a chemical compound with one carbon and two oxygen atoms. It is a major component of the carbon cycle – the exchange of carbon between the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. CO2 is one of the greenhouse gases associated with the “greenhouse effect.” The Earth absorbs about 70 percent of the Sun's radiant energy and reflects 30 percent. As greenhouse gasses increase, less of the radiant energy is reflected, with a corresponding increase in global temperatures.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide comes from many natural sources including volcanic outgassing, reactions between the atmosphere and oceans, the combustion of organic matter, and the respiration processes of living aerobic organisms including microorganisms. Man-made sources of carbon dioxide derive primarily from the burning of fossil fuels.
All greenhouse gases comprise only three percent of the Earth's atmosphere by volume. Of that three percent, water vapor is estimated to cause up to 70 percent of the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide up to 20 percent, and methane, nitrous oxide and ozone cause the balance, but these causal estimates are very difficult to accurately document.
All plants depend on CO2, consume it from the atmosphere and convert it to oxygen during photosynthesis, then respirate it back into the atmosphere. Thus the invention of so-called “Carbon Credits” which can be sold by green-space developers and farmers as offsets to CO2 producing industries.
In 2007, the Earth's atmospheric CO2 concentration was estimated to be 0.038 percent by volume (383 ppmv – 100ppmv higher than a century ago). It is estimated that anthropogenic (manmade) CO2 accounts for less than 2.8 percent (.001 percent by volume) of atmospheric CO2, though given the difficulty in assessing the amount of CO2 produced and consumed naturally in the carbon cycle, the percentage identified as manmade CO2 is only an estimate and may be a much smaller percentage.
Fact is, it is impossible to say with any degree of accuracy how much CO2 is produced or consumed in the natural carbon cycle and any estimate of the manmade percentage is highly questionable. Thus, asserting that a (Kyoto Treaty mandated) 5 percent reduction in the 2.8 percent (estimate) of manmade CO2 in the 3 percent of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere will have any measurable effect on global climate, is dubious at best.
Case in point: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has maintained the world's longest continuous worldwide record of atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels – those cited by global-warming alarmists. In 2002 and 2003, NOAA recorded increases in atmospheric CO2 of 2.43 and 2.30 ppm respectively – a 55 percent increase over the annual average increase of 1.5 ppm for previous years. In 2004, however, this increase fell back to 1.5 ppm per year.
So, should one conclude that in 03 and 04, human production of CO2 increased 50 percent? Could there be greater forces in the carbon cycle involved? We would suggest the latter.
Notably, according to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. CO2 emissions dropped 1.3 percent in 2006 while the U.S. economy grew 3.3 percent. This is the first drop in U.S. emissions in a period of economic growth since 1990.
Gore's “Scientific Consensus”
Albert Gore claims, “I've been trying to deliver this message for 30 years. The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger. Unless we act boldly, our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes. Of course, there will always be questions around the edges of the science…”
Yeah, fringe inquiries like “Is the Earth really the center of the universe?” and “Is the Earth really flat?”
Despite Gore's claims, there is a growing body of peer-reviewed studies challenging conventional global warming assumptions.
A 2007 analysis of peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published studies contesting one or more of Gore's apocalyptic prognosis. In fact, more than 300 of those scientists reported evidence that normal 1,500-year climate cycles since the last Ice Age have produced more than a dozen global warming trends similar to the current trend, and that current warming trends are strongly linked to variances in the Sun's irradiance. These variances occur because the Earth's orbit around the Sun varies from a round to elliptical shape cyclically.
Dennis Avery, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, concludes, “This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850.”
Benjamin Peiser, who runs the Cambridge-Conference Network, an Internet newsletter on climate change, notes, “Hardly a week goes by without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory.”
While more skeptics are going on record, the media has ignored dissenting views, with some notable exceptions like the UK's public broadcasting Channel 4 network, which produced a remarkable documentary titled “The Great Global Warming Swindle.”
The producers of The Great Global Warming Swindle have made many science documentaries before, and note that what they found most shocking when researching and making this documentary, was the weakness of the case for man-made global warming, and the quantity and quality of the evidence contradicting it.
Of course, it has not been broadcast by any of the U.S. networks.
The documentary features distinguished scientists from MIT and other major universities around the world. Notably, some of the scientists interviewed are among those whose names were included in the UN's much-touted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but whose contrarian views were not published.
Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist notes, “When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works.”
In fact, there remains substantial doubt that the production of CO2 by human enterprise has any real impact on global temperature, and if it does, that such impact is, necessarily, negative. Human activity may contribute a maximum estimate of three percent of CO2 to the natural carbon cycle (the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere of the Earth), but there is broad dispute about the total production of CO2 from natural sources, which is to say the human contribution may be a much smaller percentage. Atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from about 315 parts per million five decades ago, to about 380 ppm today, which is to say, there are major factors influencing the amount of CO2 levels in the atmosphere besides our burning of hydrocarbons.
Case in point: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has maintained the world's longest continuous worldwide record of atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels – those cited by global-warming alarmists. In 2002 and 2003, NOAA recorded increases in atmospheric CO2 of 2.43 and 2.30 ppm respectively – a 55 percent increase over the annual average of 1.5 ppm for previous years. In 2004, however, this increase fell back to 1.5 ppm per year.
Did human industrial output somehow increase 55 percent during those two years, and then decline by that amount in 2004? Of course not. For the record, NOAA concluded that the fluctuation was caused by the natural processes that contribute and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Al Gore would be hard-pressed to explain NOAA's findings within the context of his apocalyptic thesis, and he would be hard-pressed to convince any serious scientists that his Orwellian solutions could correct such fluctuations. This is because his thesis is based largely on convenient half-truths.
For instance, Gore insists that the increased incidence of hurricanes, tornadoes, drought and other weather phenomena is the direct result of global warming.
Renowned meteorologist Dr. William Gray takes exception: “The degree to which you believe global warming is causing major hurricanes,” he says, “is inversely proportional to your knowledge about these storms.”
In a recent issue of Discover Magazine, Gray, described by Discover's editors as one of “the world's most famous hurricane experts,” wrote, “This human-induced global-warming thing … is grossly exaggerated. … I'm not disputing there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and '40s, and then there was global cooling in the middle '40s to the early '70s. Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical … about this global-warming thing. But no one asks us.”
Gore preaches about the two percent of Antarctica that is warming without noting that temperature readings over the rest of Antarctica indicate the continent has cooled over the previous 35 years, or that the UN's climate panel estimates net snow mass increases in Antarctica this century. Gore notes the increasing temperatures and shrinking ice caps in the Northern Hemisphere but does not note the decreasing temperatures and increased sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere.
Richard S. Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, characterized Gore's assertions as “shrill alarmism.” Lindzen writes, “A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the Earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.”
Perhaps worse still is Gore's intellectual cowardice. During his visit to Europe in January, Gore agreed to an interview with Denmark's largest national newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Then, when he learned that Bjorn Lomborg, one of the world's leading critics of eco-theological dogma, was also going to be interviewed, Gore abruptly canceled.
Lomborg, a statistician, has delved deep into the data to expose the environmental movement's selective and oft-misleading use of evidence. His book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was hailed by Washington Post Book World as “a magnificent achievement” and “the most significant work on the environment since the appearance of its polar opposite, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, in 1962.”
Dr. Lomborg writes, “Climate change is a real and serious problem,” but adds, “The cacophony of screaming, does not help.”
Perhaps a thoughtful debate is what scares Al Gore most of all.
Regarding “Inconvenient Truth,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, said, in a speech to hundreds of scientists at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America “There are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”
Environmental scientist Fred Singer, adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis and professor emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, writes, “It is sheer fantasy to suggest that a huge number of scientists with expertise in global climate change endorse an alarming interpretation of the recent climate data. The Earth continually warms and cools. The cycle is undeniable, ancient, often abrupt and global. It is also unstoppable. Isotopes in the ice and sediment cores, ancient tree rings and stalagmites tell us it is linked to small changes in the irradiance of the Sun.”
Singer adds, “Any warming from the growth of greenhouse gases is likely to be minor, difficult to detect above the natural fluctuations of the climate, and therefore inconsequential.”
Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist, laments, “Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet, nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”
Indeed, from A.D. 900 to 1300, the Earth's temperatures were substantially warmer than today. When the Vikings settled in Greenland, it was mostly green, not covered with ice as it is today.
Regarding the current warming trend, Reid Bryson, founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, sternly notes, “Of course it's going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we're coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we're putting more carbon dioxide into the air.”
Scientists from related fields are also checking in.
Paul Reiter, director of the infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, says Gore assertion that global warming is a factor in the spread of disease, is nonsense. “For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims. We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”
As for Gore's alarmist agenda, Robert Giegengack, chairman of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Earth and Environmental Science, does not consider global warming to be among the top 10 environmental problems. “In terms of [global warming's] capacity to cause the human species harm, I don't think it makes it into the top 10” says Giegengack. “Gore's claims that temperature increases solely because more CO2 in the atmosphere traps the Sun's heat. That's just wrong. It's a natural interplay. As temperature rises, CO2 rises, and vice versa. It's hard for us to say CO2 drives temperature. It's easier to say temperature drives CO2.”
Former Harvard physicist Lubos Motl say's that Gore's tactics are tantamount to “playing the children's game to scare each other.”
Dr. Roy Spencer, former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, has some additional “Questions for Al Gore” based on what he calls “Gore's Inconvenient Truth.” We are still awaiting Gore's reply…
The computer models cited by Gore and company are outcome-based, depending on how a programmer varies some of the five million input parameters or the multitude of negative and positive feedbacks in the program.
Scott Armstrong is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and one of the world's foremost experts on long-range forecasting. He is author of “Long-Range Forecasting,” the most frequently cited book on forecasting methodology.
Armstrong and Kesten Green of Australia's Monash University examined the IPCC's report, and, at the 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting, they concluded, “Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.”
Armstrong bet Gore $10,000 that he could provide a better climate forecast than that of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which Gore cites regularly. “The methodology was so poor that I thought a bet based on complete ignorance of the climate could do better,” said Armstrong. “We call it 'the naive model'.”
Gore's office replied, “Please understand that Mr. Gore is not taking on any new projects at this time.”
Correcting the Record
Most of the evidence concerning U.S. temperature trends is collected by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, which gathers information from about 1,200 weather-observation stations across the nation. These stations are small wooden sheds with thermometers, which are read at intervals, mostly by volunteers. Many are located in sprawling urban and industrial centers, known as “heat islands,” and are subject to higher readings than stations in rural areas where temperatures are subject mostly to “land use effects.”
Most of the recent global-warming alarmists use 1998 as the benchmark for the hottest year on record, but it turns out that their reporting is flawed, the result of a math blunder.
In fact, 1934 was the hottest year on record, and four of the ten hottest years in the U.S. were recorded in the 1930s. The second hottest year on record was 1998, but the third hottest was 1921, not 2006. Notably, six of the ten hottest years occurred prior to 90 percent of the economic growth associated with increased greenhouse gas emissions.
H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, reports, “Much of the current global-warming fear has been driven by [NASA scientist James] Hansen's pronouncements, and he routinely claims to have been censored by the Bush administration for his views on warming. Now that NASA, without fanfare, has cleaned up his mess, Hansen has been silent – I guess we can chalk this up to self-censorship.”
Influences on Global Climate
Beyond the natural carbon cycle and greenhouse warming, there are some other serious causal explanations for global warming.
Among the leading suspects are, of all things, the Sun and its fellow stars. A venerable scientific journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society, published recent research done at the Danish National Space Center indicating that the impact of cosmic rays on the climate could be much greater than scientists estimated. The researchers put forth evidence that cosmic rays have a lot to do with cloud formation in the atmosphere, which in turn has a lot to do with shielding us from the Sun's warmth. Combining this discovery with evidence that our local star is experiencing historically high levels of solar activity, the researchers suggest that our Sun is batting away cosmic rays from elsewhere in the galaxy and thus reducing our planet's cloud cover. Imagine that: The Sun is affecting our planet's temperature.
Nigel Calder provides another angle on this thesis: “After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the Sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the Sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago. Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis.”
Research concerning cosmic radiation as a factor in global warming builds on earlier comprehensive research done a decade ago by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's Arthur Robinson, whose research soundly refutes Gore's thesis that global warming is human-induced, noting the relationship between the solar magnetic cycle and global temperatures over the last 250 years.
In 1997, Dr. Frederick Seitz past president of the National Academy of Sciences, invited colleagues to sign a petition based on Robinson's work, which received more than 20,000 signers, most of whom hold advanced degrees in relevant fields of study. That petition stated, in part: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
Some other global-warming factors being given serious scientific consideration include changing ocean currents and jet-stream patterns, fluctuations in the Earth's mantle affecting ocean temperatures, and the fact that warming temperatures may cause increased CO2 – not the other way around. Of course, the primary long-cycle variance in the Earth's temperature is the direct result of its orbit around the Sun, with varies from a round to elliptical shape. When the Earth is in the elliptical orbit, meaning further away from the Sun for much of the year, Ice Ages occur.
In the winter of 2007, NASA satellites indicated that water temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska were dropping, suggesting that cooling Pacific waters may be a precursor to the reversal of a 30-year warming trend. The cooling resulted in the coldest season of Arctic air the lower 48 have seen in more than three decades.
Australian scientists have discovered a giant underwater current that is one of the last missing links of a system that connects the world's oceans and helps govern global climate. New research shows that a current sweeping past Australia's southern island of Tasmania toward the South Atlantic is a previously undetected part of the world climate system's engine room.
This, of course, raises an all-important question: How can the climate debate be “settled” if we still don't know what we don't know?
The Warming Solar System
As it turns out, there are some other planets in our solar system which are experiencing global warming – and these planets don't have SUVs.
Mars is getting hotter. NASA scientist Lori Fenton reports that the Red Planet has warmed by around one-half degree Celsius in the last three decades, which likely contributes to the retreat of Mars's southern polar ice cap.
According to Habibullo Abdussamatov, director of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, “The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars. Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance.”
On Neptune, MIT researchers say that planet's largest moon, Triton, has heated up significantly since 1989, when the Voyager space probe sent back readings from the planet. Astronomer James Elliot and colleagues from MIT, Lowell Observatory and Williams College report, “At least since 1989, Triton has been undergoing a period of global warming. Percentage-wise, it's a very large increase.”
Imke de Pater and Philip Marcus of the University of California, Berkeley, report that Jupiter is growing a new red spot. “The storm is growing in altitude,” de Pater says, which indicates a temperature increase in that region. The researchers think that, near term, the temperature on Jupiter may increase six degrees Celsius in large areas.
University of Hawaii astronomer David Tholen and his colleagues report that even though Pluto was closer to the Sun in 1989, they are not surprised by a warming that began this year. “It takes time for materials to warm up and cool off, which is why the hottest part of the day on Earth is usually around 2 or 3 p.m. rather than local noon,” Tholen said. “This warming trend on Pluto could easily last for another 13 years.” They predict Pluto's temperature will rise two degrees Celsius before its next cooling trend.
Media Climate Prognosticators
Environmental scientist Fred Singer, adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis and professor emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, writes, “Mainstream journalists have long since committed themselves to the environmental cause. It appeals to their sense of superiority, and it gives them an unending source of scary news for front pages and TV sound bites.”
Typical of such arrogance was an August 07 cover from the weekly tabloid Newsweek a stupefyingly nescient cover story featuring a spectacular photo of the Sun, with the large caption “Global Warming Is A Hoax.*” And what of that asterisk? In small print, the cover smugly notes, “Or so claim well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change.”
The Patriot Post is certainly not a “well-funded naysayer” who rejects evidence of climate change – nor are the growing ranks of other organizations that refuse to comport with Albert Gore's eco-theological orthodoxy. Fact is most of the dissenters would agree that the climate is changing – and has been from the beginning of time.
The real “hoax” is the false dichotomy created with Newsweek's cover and others like it. The division is not over “climate change” but why the climate is changing. The lie being perpetuated by the Leftmedia and Al Gore's cadre of bed-wetting pantywaists is the assumption that climate change, and the greenhouse effect, are one and the same.
Notably, the first entry on Newsweek's “Global Warming Timeline,” which accompanies the cover story, is dated 1896, when a Swedish chemist speculated that carbon-dioxide emissions might be related to climate change. The next entry is not until 1979, when a National Academy of Sciences report warns of global warming. The gap between these entries is notable because, for most of the interim period, scientists were issuing apocalyptic predictions of global cooling and the coming Ice Age, as in the 28 April 1975 article in Newsweek titled “The Cooling World.”
Then along came the great Pacific climate shift (1976-77) and that was the end of “global cooling.”
Of Newsweek's condescension, Robert Samuelson notes, “As we debate it, journalists should resist the temptation to portray global warming as a morality tale – as Newsweek did – in which anyone who questions its gravity or proposed solutions may be ridiculed as a fool, a crank or an industry stooge. Dissent is, or should be, the lifeblood of a free society.”
Of course, concerns about global warming did not begin in 1979.
On 23 June 1890, The New York Times noted climate change: “The older inhabitants tell us that winters are not cold now as they were when they were young. We have all observed a marked diminution of the average cold, even in the last decade.”
A 02 November 1922 edition of The Washington Post heralds this headline: “Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt.” The article notes “great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of Earth and stones, and at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared.”
9 August 1923 Chicago Tribune notes the contrary: “Scientists say Arctic ice will wipe out Canada. Large parts of Europe and Asia will be wiped out, and Switzerland will become entirely obliterated.”
But the 27 March 1933 edition of The New York Times claims, “America is in the longest warm spell since 1860.”
Time magazine for 2 January 1939 reports, “Those who claim that winters were harder when they were boys and girls were quite right.”
The Climate Inquisitors
If you are a scientist, politician or journalist, and refuse to comport with Albert Gore's eco-theological orthodoxy, you'd best put on some body armor.
Speaking to Al Gore's minions during “Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis,” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., said of political leaders who suggest global warming is not predominantly manmade, “This is treason, and we need to start treating them as traitors.” Junior added, “Get rid of all those rotten politicians we have in Washington, D.C.” We presume his bloated uncle is excluded?
The Oregon State University's George Taylor is that state's official climatologist, but Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants to strip Taylor of that title because his skepticism about CO2 as a primary factor in global warming contradicts Oregon's goals to reduce CO2.
Elsewhere, the Weather Channel's Dr. Heidi Cullen is demanding decertification of weather reporters who dare question global-warming orthodoxy.
Academicians who express their skepticism about global-warming causes are at high risk of losing research grants. Conversely, those who advocate for CO2 causation are in line for some big-money handouts. Thus, when academicians say “green,” they aren't necessarily referring to the environment.
“Journalist” David Roberts is setting his sights on the “denial industry,” proclaiming, “When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war-crimes trials for these bastards [read: "skeptics”] – some sort of climate Nuremberg.“
Nonetheless, some of the most ardent global alarmists are starting to change their tune. In 2005, Chris Mooney wrote "The Republican War on Science,” a thorough indictment of the GOP's attempt to discredit scientific work on climate change. When he started research for his latest book, “Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming,” he assumed it would be more of the same. Then, after meeting with leading climatologists, he concluded, “There's a wide range of respectable positions here. In the end, I had to write a completely different book.”
The Political Endgame
“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” –James Madison
Red socialism has now replaced the Green variety.
The Left's primary objective is to establish a Global Warming constituency.
Sen. John Kerry, whose carbon footprint dwarfs that of Albert Gore, published his paper waste, “This Moment on Earth: Today's New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future.” Kerry says, “As a society, we are sliding dangerously backwards in almost every sector of environmental concern. Even caring about the environment has been marginalized in recent years by a calculated assault from special interests. Teresa and I are writing this book because we share a sense of urgency about the need to reinvigorate grassroots action, which takes these concerns into the ballot box. This book shows what a lot of individuals are doing in common sense, practical and yet visionary ways, in the hope that their example can once again galvanize Americans into action.”
“Reinvigorate grassroots action?” “Take these concerns to the ballot box?” “Galvanize Americans into action?” That's all code for rallying a special interest constituency.
Gore remarked, “John Kerry and Teresa Heinz have written a book [with] the clear hope that if we can embrace their resourcefulness, determination and essential patriotism, we will prevail.”
Ah, yes, embrace Kerry's patriotism.
Of course the Left's climate agenda dovetails with Green targets – limiting oil and coal exploration, and because the world meat industry produces 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions in the form of bovine methane, PETA will be happy to curtail meat production. Planned Parenthood's population control agenda will certainly be assisted by the Kyoto Protocols as millions starve to death around the world.
Don't forget the tax-and-spenders: The four largest tax increases in the last four decades are the Revenue Expenditures Control Act, 1968, ($35 billion); the crude oil windfall profit tax, ($23 billion); the Budget Act of 1990, ($29 billion); and then Bill Clinton's first-term tax increase of $32.3 billion. Kyoto would create a $300 billion tax windfall for Demos.
Of the global governance agenda, Frenchy Jacques Chirac says that “Kyoto represents the first component of an authentic global governance.”
Of the global economic agenda, Margot Wahlstrom, minister of environment for the European Union, proclaims, “Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big business worldwide.”
Clearly, some U.S. politicians understand the implications of Gore's folly. Don't expect that to stop Democrats from milking every last drop of political capital from this debate. Talk of carbon credits and other nonsense is really all about campaign coffers – holding out the threat of regulation as a means of financing campaigns and perpetuating office tenures.
University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke fantasizes about a Gore victory in '08 based on swing states with lower-than-average CO2 output: “[I]n 2004 the per-state carbon-dioxide emissions in states that voted for George Bush were about twice as large on a per-capita basis than those in states that voted for John Kerry. If climate change is a major issue in 2008 then there is a decided advantage in [important swing] states to the Democrats. Colorado and Nevada are below the national average for carbon-dioxide emissions, and Ohio and Iowa stand to benefit immensely from an ethanol bidding war.”
However, Gore's political and economic agenda runs deeper than environmental concerns. In his recent book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, Christopher Horner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, aptly describes Gore and his ilk as “green on the outside, red to the core,” noting that they are motivated by an anti-capitalist agenda.
The Kyoto Protocol
During the second term of the Clinton/Gore administration, the U.S. faced international pressure to become a signatory to the Kyoto Treaty. The Senate, however, passed a resolution rejecting approval of that treaty in an eye-popping show of bipartisanship. The vote was 95-0, and 56 of those senators are still in Congress.
That 1997 Byrd-Hagel Senate resolution objected to the lack of any “specific scheduled commitments” in regard to the CO2 output of 129 “developing” countries, most notably, China and India, the second and fourth most powerful economies in the world.
China, home to 1.3 billion people, will have the largest economy on Earth in little more than a decade. Currently, the country accounts for 33 percent of the world's steel production and 50 percent of all concrete. China burns 2,500 tons of coal and 210,000 gallons of crude oil per minute. Every ten days, China fires up a new coal generator, and plans for 2,200 additional plants by 2030. China consumed in excess of 2.7 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2006 – almost twice the consumption rate of 2002. At current growth rates of consumption, China alone will devour all the Earth's resources in three decades and generate a whole lot of CO2 in the process.
Yet European industrial nations and developing nations on other continents would like to see the U.S. economy restrained by the Kyoto Treaty.
Regarding economic consequences, according to astronomer Ian Wilson's recent peer-reviewed study, “Heat Capacity, Time Constant, and Sensitivity of Earth's Climate System” (authored by Brookhaven National lab scientist Stephen Schwartz), concludes “that the global economy will spend trillions of dollars trying to avoid a warming of (about) 1.0 K by 2100 A.D. Previously, I have indicated that the widely accepted values for temperature increase associated with a double of CO2 were far too high, i.e. 2-4.5 Kelvin [and] are more likely to be in the range 1.1 +/- 0.5 K increase.”
Regarding the prevailing winds of contemporary science, my colleague Thomas Sowell reminds us, “Back in the 1970s, the hysteria was about global cooling and the prospect of a new Ice Age.” I published a collection of those dire predictions in an essay entitled, “The Day After Tomorrow.”
Al Gore's current hysterics should be received with much more skepticism than the last round of climate soothsayers. His efforts to politicize meteorological science (what little we actually understand about our climate), is ludicrous. A lethal dose of his eco-elixir is precisely the wrong prescription, as it is full of the Left's archetypal defeatist, retreatist statism but void of regard for real-world economic consequences.
Gore and his ilk only provide a narrow global climate snapshot. For example, the western Arctic may be warmer, likely because of cyclical changes in the Pacific Ocean. But the Eastern Arctic is getting significantly colder. Perhaps the tiny Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica is warmer, but the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling. The ice sheets over both on Greenland and in Antarctica are getting thicker.
Gore's flawed analysis notwithstanding, however, sea level has risen, by best estimates, between four and eight inches in the last 150 years. But annual rate of rise has remained relatively stable since the “big thaw” ended some 6,000 years ago. However, if current temperature trends continue, an increased rate of rise could pose significant challenges to nations around the world as millions of people now live only a few feet higher than current tides.
Increasing global temperatures will also have other consequences – some positive, some negative.
Although Gore, et al., would insist otherwise, we mere mortals are no match for the age-old forces that heat and cool our planet. Yet, in the face of enormous odds, we Americans have a history of perseverance and success. We can improvise, adapt and overcome – just as we have for hundreds of years in response to catastrophe. Unbridled innovation and ingenuity have served us well throughout our history, and these tools will take us, and the rest of the world, far into the future – unless shackled by a subterfuge like the Kyoto Protocol.
Professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Law, notes, “Too often environmental-policy discussions assume that the only way to advance environmental values is to create a government program or adopt new regulations. The potential for private initiative to conserve environmental treasures is overlooked. Yet where private action is viable, it is often superior to government efforts.”
Left unabated, private initiatives, free enterprise and technology are far better suited to overcome environmental issues than bureaucrats.
“Global warming has become a big-ticket item in the eyes of its supporters. At stake are research funds, jobs and the ability to control lives all over the globe.” –Walter E. Williams
“As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism…. The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment…. The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature” – Czech President Vaclav Klaus
“A couple of days before the Oscars, the Reverend Al Gore gave a sell-out performance at the University of Toronto. 'From my perspective, it is a form of religion,' said Bruce Crofts of the East Toronto Climate Action Group, who compared the former vice president to Jesus Christ, both men being (as the Globe And Mail put it) 'great leaders who stepped forward when called upon by circumstance.' Unlike Christ, the Eco-Messiah cannot yet walk on water, but then, neither can the polar bears. However, only Al can survey the melting ice caps and turn water into whine.” –Mark Steyn
“Hollywood stars demand the Bush Administration agree to the Kyoto standards (which even the experts say won't do any good) and then take off in their two-block-long limousines enroute to the general aviation terminal of LAX where they hop onto their private jet to fly, avoiding the teeming masses in the regular terminals, to the 175 foot yacht on which they are going to spend the weekend burning about a gallon of fuel per foot while tossing cigarette butts into the water every 15 minutes.” –Rich Galen
“As a journalist who has written on this subject since the late 1980s, read the scientific literature, and interviewed climatologists from Schneider to Singer, I am struck by how uncertain – how politicized – the science is. The only consistency in the science, in fact, has been the 'contrarian opinion' which asserts simply: 'We don't know'.” –Henry Payne
“The truth is, read any legitimate scientific study on climate – including the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – that suggests human influence is the dominant cause for global warming, and you will discover dozens of qualifiers like 'could,' 'possibly,' 'potentially,' and 'may.' For all the certainty and consensus that global warming fear-mongers assert, those sound a lot like weasel words. –Paul Chesser
"The world meat industry produces 18 percent of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions, more than transportation produces. A gallon of Ben & Jerry's ice cream requires electricity guzzling refrigeration, and four gallons of milk produced by cows that simultaneously produce eight gallons of manure and flatulence with eight gallons of methane. The cows do this while consuming lots of grain and hay, which are cultivated by using tractor fuel, chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and transported by fuel-consuming trains and trucks.” –George Will
“While the public has been led to believe that 'all' the leading scientists buy the global warming hysteria and the political agenda that goes with it, in fact the official reports from the United Nations or the National Academy of Sciences are written by bureaucrats – and then garnished with the names of leading scientists who were 'consulted,' but whose contrary conclusions have been ignored. … Global warming 'deniers' are likened to Holocaust deniers. The difference is that we have the hardest and most painful evidence that there was a Holocaust. But, for the global warming scenario that is causing such hysteria, we have only a movie made by a politician and mathematical models whose results change drastically when you change a few of the arbitrarily selected variables. No one denies that temperatures are about a degree warmer than they were a century ago. What [skeptical] climate scientists…deny is that you can mindlessly extrapolate that [the change is man made]. 'Global warming' is just the latest in a long line of hysterical crusades to which we seem to be increasingly susceptible.” –Thomas Sowell
“Hoax is defined as, 'The art of deception.' The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people is that manmade gases are causing climate change.” –Senator James Inhofe
“A careful study of the substantial corpus of peer-reviewed science reveals that Mr. Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, is a foofaraw of pseudo-science, exaggerations, and errors, now being peddled to innocent schoolchildren worldwide.” Lord Monckton (Viscount Monckton of Brenchley) a policy adviser to former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who has challenged Gore to an open scientific debate on climate change.
“'If you want to save the planet, I want you to start jumping up and down. Come on, m—–f—–s!' Madonna railed from the stage at London's Live Earth concert Saturday. 'If you want to save the planet, let me see you jump!' You just can't beat that. What else could capture the canned juvenilia of a 48-year-old centimillionaire – who owns nine homes and has a 'carbon footprint' nearly 100 times larger than the norm – hectoring a bunch of well-off aging hipsters to show their Earth-love by jumping up and down like children?” –Jonah Goldberg
“There are at least two characteristics all fundamentalists share. One is the exclusion and sometimes suppression of any and all information that challenges or contradicts the belief one wishes to impose on all. The other is the use of the state in pursuit of their objectives… One can get a sense of who is telling the truth about global warming by the company the concept keeps. Most of the disciples of global warming are liberal Democrats who never have enough of our money and believe there are never enough regulations concerning the way we lead our lives. That ought to be enough to give everyone pause, along with emerging evidence that the global warming jihadists may be more full of hot air than the climate they claim is about to burn us up.” –Cal Thomas
Short List of Recommended Resources
Senator James Inhofe's Website provides a “Skeptic's Guide To Debunking Global Warming” in PDF format, and other resources regarding climate and the environment.
Also read Sen. Inhofe's floor speech on Global warming
“The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism)” –Christopher Horner
“The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World” –Bjorn Lomborg
“Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming” –Patrick J. Michaels
“Meltdown” –Patrick J. Michaels
“Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years” –Dennis T. Avery, S. Fred Singer
“Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate: How Truth Became Controversial” –Mihkel M. Mathiesen
“The Chilling Stars: The New Theory of Climate Change” –Henrik Svensmark
Journal of Geophysical Research Vol.109 109, D14108, doi:10.1029/2003JD004414, 2005 - an assessment of three alternatives to linear trends for characterizing global atmospheric temperature changes
“Tropospheric temperature change since 1979 from tropical radiosonde and satellite measurements” – John R. Chirsty, William B.Norris, Roy W. Spencer, Justin J. Hnilo Journal of Geophysical Research, VOL. 112, D06102
“What do we really know about the Sun-climate connection” by E. Friis-Christensen and H. Svensmark, Adv. Space Res. Vol. 20, No4/5, pp. 913-921, 1997.
“Celestial Climate Driver: A Perspective from Four Billion Years of the Carbon Cycle” by Jan Veizer, Geoscience Canada, Volume 32, Vol. 1, pp. 13, March 2005
“Variable Solar Irradiance as a Plausible Agent for Multidecadal Variations in the Arctic-wide Surface Air Temperature Record of the Past 130 Years” by Willie W.-H. Soon. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L16712, doi:10.1029/2005GL023429, 2005
“Scientists Predict Solar Downturn, Global Cooling” New Scientist magazine, 16 Sep 2006
“Variations in Radiocarbon Concerntration and Sunspot Activity” Journal of Geophysical Research 66 (1962): 273-76
“Geophysical, Archaeological, and Historical Evidence Support a Solar-Output Model for Climate Change” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97 (2000): 12433-438
“Solar Forcing of Regional Climate Change during the Maunder Minimum” Science 294 (2001): 2149-152
“Low Cloud Properties Influenced by Cosmic Rays” Physical Review Letters 85 (2000): 5004-7
“Solar Blow to Low Cloud Could be Warming Planet” Nature 6 December 2000
“Fewer Clouds Indicate Climate Change” 1 February 2002, www.scienceagogo.com
“Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth's Climate” Danish Meteorological Institute, Physical Review Letters 81 (1998): 5027-30
“The Effects of Change in Solar Ultra-Violet Emission on Climate” Paper presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, Philadelphia, February 1998_Drew Shindell at al., “Solar Cycle Variability, Ozone, and Climate,” Science 284 (9 April 1999): 305-8
“Celestial Driver of Phanerozoic Climate?” Geological Society of America 13 (2003): 4-10