Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Thoughts on Global Warming (continually updated)

With all the ruckus over global warming (or, as some now call it, "climate change") and what we should do about it, some question whether global warming is really happening the way some (like Al Gore) say it is, whether global warming is human-induced (and to what extent), and whether or not the proposals of some (like Kyoto Protocol) are worth the trade-off.

Since Al Gore's movie has come out, quite a few scientists have broken their silence. Some outright deny global warming (at least the way presented by Gore and his ilk), some deny the extent of the human contribution, and some point out the inconsistencies, exaggerations, and even erroneous information put forth by those using what is termed "alarmist" methods. Contrary to Al Gore's claim that global warming is settled science, here are the links to articles and other sources that question some aspect of the contemporary global warming discussion.

The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicince Global Warming Petition contains over 17, 000 verified signatures of basic and applied American scientists who support the following stance:
We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

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.
The Canadian organization Friends of Science has published what they regard as "Myths and Facts" about Global Warming.

UPDATES:

"Global Warming and James Hansen’s Hacks" (16 Aug 2007) by Michael Fumento:

If you follow the global warming debate, you “know” that nine of the ten warmest years recorded in the U.S. lower 48 since 1880 have occurred since 1995, with the very hottest being 1998.

But whaddya know! Those figures are wrong. Data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) now show the hottest year since 1880 was 1934. Nineteen-ninety-eight dropped to second, while the third hottest year was way back in 1921. Indeed, four of the 10 hottest years were in the 1930s, while only three were in the past decade.

Oops! NASA messed up just a bit: "Red faces at NASA over climate-change blunder" (14 Aug 2007). Apparently, 1998 was not the hottest year. 1934 was. Oops! You can read more about it here: "Blogger proves Nasa wrong on climate change" (16 Aug 2007). It gets worse:

They [NASA] also accept that five of the ten warmest US years on record occurred before 1939, and that only one was in the 21st Century.

[...]

"Four of the top 10 are now from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939, while only 3 of the top 10 are from the last 10 years (1998, 2006, 1999)," he wrote.

"Several years (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004) fell well down the leaderboard, behind even 1900."

In "The Politics of Global Warming" (August 2007), Thomas Sieger Derr explains how politics and ideology have stifled open and honest discussion of climate change. He references many facts, much evidence, and quite a few scientists--all of which points to reasonable and somewhat strong weight behind those who dissent from the conventional "wisdom" that global warming is happening and humans are the main culprits.

Ouch. "Gore and a High School Challenge?" Wherein you will find links to Ponder the Maunder and Facts and Fictions of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth."

Here is another article explaining what is wrong with Al Gore's so-called "science" and "reasoned" approach to matters: "Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny" (30 June 2007).

In his new book, The Assault on Reason, Al Gore pleads, "We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth." Gore repeatedly asks that science and reason displace cynical political posturing as the central focus of public discourse.

If Gore really means what he writes, he has an opportunity to make a difference by leading by example on the issue of global warming.

[...]

Many of the assertions Gore makes in his movie, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' have been refuted by science, both before and after he made them. Gore can show sincerity in his plea for scientific honesty by publicly acknowledging where science has rebutted his claims.

For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate reported, "Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame."

Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests' humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the
strong equatorial sunshine."

Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.

And on and on. Read the whole thing.

The Geological Survey of Sweden finds that the increase of hurricanes is not due to global warming (7 June 2007):

Hurricanes in the Atlantic are increasing because of natural weather patterns rather than global warming, a study has concluded.

Growing numbers of hurricanes battering the United States and the Caribbean have made their presence felt in the past decade and are forecast to worsen. Global warming has been cited as a possible cause but researchers looking at sediment and coral deposits have now identified natural variations in their frequency.

In "Why So Gloomy?" (16 April 2007; only in the international edition of Newsweek and not the US edition; hmmm?) MIT scientist Richard S. Lindzen raises some important questions and makes some critical points about why things are not as the global warming alarmists would have us think:

Moreover, actions taken thus far to reduce emissions have already had negative consequences without improving our ability to adapt to climate change. An emphasis on ethanol, for instance, has led to angry protests against corn-price increases in Mexico, and forest clearing and habitat destruction in Southeast Asia. Carbon caps are likely to lead to increased prices, as well as corruption associated with permit trading. (Enron was a leading lobbyist for Kyoto because it had hoped to capitalize on emissions trading.) The alleged solutions have more potential for catastrophe than the putative problem. The conclusion of the late climate scientist Roger Revelle—Al Gore's supposed mentor—is worth pondering: the evidence for global warming thus far doesn't warrant any action unless it is justifiable on grounds that have nothing to do with climate.

Economist Walter Williams's article "Global Warming Heresy" is another item which covers news not known to many Americans. Williams discusses a recent documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle," which, in his words, "devastates most of the claims made by the environmentalist movement." For some reason, just as the Lindzen article above, this documentary did not get much play or publicity in the United States. Hmmm?

"From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype" by William J. Broad highlights scientists on both sides, some of whom are not that supportive of Gore's methods:

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

and

“Hardly a week goes by,” Dr. Peiser said, “without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,” including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.

Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.

“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,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”

In "Allegre's second thoughts," Lawrence Solomon begins by pointing out that:

Claude Allegre, one of France's leading socialists and among her most celebrated scientists, was among the first to sound the alarm about the dangers of global warming.

After noting his global warming credentials, Solomon continues by explaining how:

Dr. Allegre now sees global warming as over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank.

I suggest you read the whole thing. What is noteworthy beyond the scientific aspect is the political: Allegre is a socialist and no friend of the political right, where most of the skepticism of the global warming argument comes from. He has risked a lot in speaking publicly about this.

In "Al Gore Is a Greenhouse Gasbag" (Feb 2007) by John Marchese, Penn professor of earth and environmental science Bob Giegengack takes issue with some key elements of Al Gore's presentation of global warming. In response to Gore's use of, what Marchese calls, "dramatic footage of a collapsing polar ice shelf, Giegengack said:

That’s irresponsible. What he’s doing is no less than the scare tactics used by people like Karl Rove.

Below are some excerpts of articles/essays on the matter (continually updated).

But first, scientists respond to aspects of Al Gore's film:

"I can assure Mr. Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas. In fact, if Gore consults the data, he will see it shows sea level falling in some parts of the Pacific." -- Dr. Chris de Freitas, climate scientist, associate professor, University of Auckland, N.Z.
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"We find no alarming sea level rise going on, in the Maldives, Tovalu, Venice, the Persian Gulf and even satellite altimetry, if applied properly." -- Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, emeritus professor of paleogeophysics and geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden.
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"Gore is completely wrong here -- malaria has been documented at an altitude of 2,500 metres -- Nairobi and Harare are at altitudes of about 1,500 metres. The new altitudes of malaria are lower than those recorded 100 years ago. None of the "30 so-called new diseases" Gore references are attributable to global warming, none." -- Dr. Paul Reiter, professor, Institut Pasteur, unit of insects and infectious diseases, Paris, comments on Gore's belief that Nairobi and Harare were founded just above the mosquito line to avoid malaria and how the mosquitoes are now moving to higher altitudes.
- - -
"Our information is that seven of 13 populations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (more than half the world's estimated total) are either stable or increasing..... Of the three that appear to be declining, only one has been shown to be affected by climate change. No one can say with certainty that climate change has not affected these other populations, but it is also true that we have no information to suggest that it has." -- Dr. Mitchell Taylor, manager, wildlife research section, Department of Environment, Igloolik, Nunavut.
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"Mr. Gore suggests that the Greenland melt area increased considerably between 1992 and 2005. But 1992 was exceptionally cold in Greenland and the melt area of ice sheet was exceptionally low due to the cooling caused by volcanic dust emitted from Mt. Pinatubo. If, instead of 1992, Gore had chosen for comparison the year 1991, one in which the melt area was 1% higher than in
2005, he would have to conclude that the ice sheet melt area is shrinking and that perhaps a new Ice Age is just around the corner." -- Dr. Petr Chylek, adjunct professor, Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax.
- - -
"The oceans are now heading into one of their periodic phases of cooling.... Modest changes in temperature are not about to wipe them [coral] out. Neither will increased carbon dioxide, which is a fundamental chemical building block that allows coral reefs to exist at all." -- Dr. Gary D. Sharp, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, Calif.
- - -
"Both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are thickening. The temperature at the South Pole has declined by more than one degree C since 1950. And the area of sea ice around the continent has increased over the last 20 years." -- Dr. R.M. Carter, professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.
- - -
"From data published by the Canadian Ice Service, there has been no precipitous drop-off in the amount or thickness of the ice cap since 1970 when reliable overall coverage became available for the Canadian Arctic." -- Dr./Cdr. M.R. Morgan, FRMS, formerly advisor to the World Meteorological Organization/climatology research scientist at University of Exeter, U.K.
- - -
"The MPB (mountain pine beetle) is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand." -- Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, Surrey, B.C., comments on Gore's belief that the mountain pine beetle is an "invasive exotic species" that has become a plague due to fewer days of frost.

"Fire, or ice?" by William Rusher (20 July 2006)

The New York Times's headline read, "America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise." Well, what's so new about that? The Times has been having an historic fit about global warming for years, hasn't it?

Yes, but that particular headline ran in the good gray Times on March 27, 1933 -- 73 years ago. What's more, the Times changed its mind dramatically on the subject 42 years later, in 1975, when it startled its readers on May 21 with "Scientists Ponder Why World's Climate is Changing; A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable."

"A convenient lie" by John Stossel (5 July 2006)

When he was in college, atmospheric-science professor John Christy was told, "it was a certainty that by the year 2000, the world would be starving and out of energy."

That prediction has gone the way of so many others. But environmentalists continue to warn us that we face environmental disaster if we don't accept the economic disaster called the Kyoto treaty. Lawyers from the Natural Resources Defense Council (another environmental group with more lawyers than scientists) explain: "Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas." And Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," depicts a future in which cities are submerged by rising sea levels.

Wow.

But many scientists laugh at the panic.

Christy says, "Doomsday prophecies grabbed headlines but have proven to be completely false. Similar pronouncements today about catastrophes due to human-induced climate change sound all too familiar."

"Don't Believe the Hype: Al Gore is wrong. There's no 'consensus' on global warming." (2 July 2006) By Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT
According to Al Gore's new film "An Inconvenient Truth," we're in for "a planetary emergency": melting ice sheets, huge increases in sea levels, more and stronger hurricanes, and invasions of tropical disease, among other cataclysms--unless we change the way we live now.

Bill Clinton has become the latest evangelist for Mr. Gore's gospel, proclaiming that current weather events show that he and Mr. Gore were right about global warming, and we are all suffering the consequences of President Bush's obtuseness on the matter. And why not? Mr. Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over."
[....]
To believe it [Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template--namely, shrill alarmism] requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.

They are less so otherwise. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why.

The other elements of the global-warming scare scenario are predicated on similar oversights. Malaria, claimed as a byproduct of warming, was once common in Michigan and Siberia and remains common in Siberia--mosquitoes don't require tropical warmth. Hurricanes, too, vary on multidecadal time scales; sea-surface temperature is likely to be an important factor. This temperature, itself, varies on multidecadal time scales. However, questions concerning the origin of the relevant sea-surface temperatures and the nature of trends in hurricane intensity are being hotly argued within the profession.

Even among those arguing, there is general agreement that we can't attribute any particular hurricane to global warming. To be sure, there is one exception, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who argues that it must be global warming because he can't think of anything else. While arguments like these, based on lassitude, are becoming rather common in climate assessments, such claims, given the primitive state of weather and climate science, are hardly compelling.

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. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended--at least not in terms of the actual science.

A clearer claim as to what debate has ended is provided by the environmental journalist Gregg Easterbrook. He concludes that the scientific community now agrees that significant warming is occurring, and that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system. This is still a most peculiar claim. At some level, it has never been widely contested. Most of the climate community has agreed since 1988 that global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, having risen significantly from about 1919 to 1940, decreased between 1940 and the early '70s, increased again until the '90s, and remaining essentially flat since 1998.

There is also little disagreement that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen from about 280 parts per million by volume in the 19th century to about 387 ppmv today. Finally, there has been no question whatever that carbon dioxide is an infrared absorber (i.e., a greenhouse gas--albeit a minor one), and its increase should theoretically contribute to warming. Indeed, if all else were kept equal, the increase in carbon dioxide should have led to somewhat more warming than has been observed, assuming that the small observed increase was in fact due to increasing carbon dioxide rather than a natural fluctuation in the climate system. Although no cause for alarm rests on this issue, there has been an intense effort to claim that the theoretically expected contribution from additional carbon dioxide has actually been detected.

Given that we do not understand the natural internal variability of climate change, this task is currently impossible. Nevertheless there has been a persistent effort to suggest otherwise, and with surprising impact. Thus, although the conflicted state of the affair was accurately presented in the 1996 text of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the infamous "summary for policy makers" reported ambiguously that "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." This sufficed as the smoking gun for Kyoto.

The next IPCC report again described the problems surrounding what has become known as the attribution issue: that is, to explain what mechanisms are responsible for observed changes in climate. Some deployed the lassitude argument--e.g., we can't think of an alternative--to support human attribution. But the "summary for policy makers" claimed in a manner largely unrelated to the actual text of the report that "In the light of new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

In a similar vein, the National Academy of Sciences issued a brief (15-page) report responding to questions from the White House. It again enumerated the difficulties with attribution, but again the report was preceded by a front end that ambiguously claimed that "The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability." This was sufficient for CNN's Michelle Mitchell to presciently declare that the report represented a "unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse and is due to man. There is no wiggle room." Well, no.

More recently, a study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words "global climate change" produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.

Even more recently, the Climate Change Science Program, the Bush administration's coordinating agency for global-warming research, declared it had found "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system." This, for Mr. Easterbrook, meant: "Case closed." What exactly was this evidence? The models imply that greenhouse warming should impact atmospheric temperatures more than surface temperatures, and yet satellite data showed no warming in the atmosphere since 1979. The report showed that selective corrections to the atmospheric data could lead to some warming, thus reducing the conflict between observations and models descriptions of what greenhouse warming should look like. That, to me, means the case is still very much open.

So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.

First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists--especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.


Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce--if we're lucky.
In "Gorey Truths" (22 June 2006), Iain Murray gives "25 inconvenient truths for Al Gore." A very good read. Even if one sides with Gore, shouldn't there be discussion about it, with a consideration of all the evidence?

A collection of links to articles on global warming (continually updated), some of which are on
"Global Warming Fever" by Debra J. Saunders (13 June 2006)

There is a conceit among the American left that the American right cleaves to bad science out of deference to religion, while the left is all-science, all-the-time. Former Veep Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," however, shows how unscientific -- and downright faith-based -- the left has become.

"The God Are Laughing" by Tom Harris (7 June 2006)
Albert Einstein once said, "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

While the gods must consider An Inconvenient Truth the ultimate comedy, real climate scientists are crying over Al Gore's new film. This is not just because the ex-vice-president commits numerous basic science mistakes. They are also concerned that many in the media and public will fail to realize that this film amounts to little more than science fiction.

Gore's credibility is damaged early in the film when he tells the audience that, by simply looking at Antarctic ice cores with the naked eye, one can see when the American Clean Air Act was passed. Dr. Ian Clark, professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa (U of O) responds, "This is pure fantasy unless the reporter is able to detect parts per billion changes to chemicals in ice." Air over the United States doesn't even circulate to the Antarctic before mixing with most of the northern, then the southern, hemisphere air, and this process takes decades. Clark explains that even far more significant events, such as the settling of dust arising from the scouring of continental shelves at the end of ice ages, are undetectable in ice cores by an untrained eye.
[...]
Scientists who actually work in these fields flatly contradict Gore. Take his allegations that extreme weather (EW) events will increase in frequency and severity as the world warms and that this is already happening. Former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg Dr. Tim Ball notes, "The theories that Gore supports indicate the greatest warming will be in polar regions. Therefore, the temperature contrast with warmer regions -- the driver of extreme weather -- will lessen and, with it, storm potential will lessen."

This is exactly what former Environment Canada research scientist and EW specialist Dr. Madhav Khandekar found. His studies show there has been no increase in EW events in Canada in the past 25 years. Furthermore, he sees no indication that such events will increase over the next 25 years. "In fact, some EW events such as winter blizzards have definitely declined," Khandekar says. "Prairie droughts have been occurring for hundreds of years. The 13th and 16th century saw some of the severest and longest droughts ever on Canadian/American prairies." Like many other researchers, Khandekar is convinced that EW is not increasing globally, either.
"Seeing red over 'green scare'" by Jonah Goldberg (21 April 2006)

Meet Al Gore, scaremonger. In 2004, Gore denounced President Bush for "playing on our fears." Today, he is at the forefront of a "green scare" about global warming intended to terrify Americans into submitting to his environmental policies.
[...]
Now, it's true that Earth has gotten warmer - one degree since the 19th century - and it will probably get warmer still. And it's probably true that human activity plays a significant part in all that. But it's also true that we don't have a clear picture of what's happening now, never mind what will happen. Just ask the 60 climatologists from around the world who wrote Canada's prime minister that "observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future." But that's all beside the point to Gore & Co., who say the time for debate is over. And if you disagree, get ready for the witch-hunt. Major news media have gone after scientists who argue there's still time to study global warming rather than plunge into some half-baked environmental jihad that could waste possibly trillions of dollars.

As Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, recently lamented in the Wall Street Journal: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis."
[...]
But Gore & Co. aren't troubled by such details because the smears are all for a good cause. That's why Gore saw nothing wrong in bullying dissident climate change scientists when he was a senator or waging a mean-spirited campaign to discredit the work of his old mentor, Harvard oceanographer Roger Revelle, because Revelle thought alarmism was unwarranted.

Hence the irony of the title "An Inconvenient Truth." It is the green scare that has no patience for inconvenient truths. For example, Gore blames the disappearing snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro on global warming, but a study in Nature magazine identified the clear-cutting of surrounding moisture-rich forests as the culprit. In the famously fact-checked New Yorker, editor David Remnick pens a love letter to Gore in which he laments that Earth will "likely be an uninhabitable planet" if we don't heed Gore's jeremiads. Oh ... come ... on!

This is just a small taste of the millenarian battiness running through the green scare. Sure, a one- or two-degree-per-century rise in average global temperatures may have unpleasant consequences - with some pleasant ones as well - but in what study did the New Yorker's fact-checkers verify that Earth will become uninhabitable? Moreover, the greens' proposed solutions to global warming are even more otherworldly. Reducing global carbon dioxide emissions to 60 percent of 1990 levels before 2050, while China, India and (hopefully) Africa modernize, is inconceivable, ill-conceived and also immoral because it would consign generations to poverty.

"Climate of Fear" (12 April 2006) by Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT
There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?

The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science--whether for AIDS, or space, or climate--where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
Dear Prime Minister:

As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans. This would be entirely consistent with your recent commitment to conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol. Although many of us made the same suggestion to then-prime ministers Martin and Chretien, neither responded, and, to date, no formal, independent climate-science review has been conducted in Canada. Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science.
Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada's climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.
[...]
We believe the Canadian public and government decision-makers need and deserve to hear the whole story concerning this very complex issue. It was only 30 years ago that many of today's global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe. But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas.
We hope that you will examine our proposal carefully and we stand willing and able to furnish you with more information on this crucially important topic.
"Combating 'warming' is still up for debate" by George Will (2 April 2006)
So, "the debate is over.'' Time magazine says so. Last week's cover story exhorted readers to "Be Worried. Be Very Worried,'' and ABC News concurred in several stories. So did Montana's governor, speaking on ABC. And there was polling about global warming, gathered by Time and ABC in collaboration.

Eighty-five percent of Americans say warming is probably happening and 62 percent say it threatens them personally. The National Academy of Sciences says the rise in the earth's surface temperature has been about one degree Fahrenheit in the last century. Did 85 percent of Americans notice? Of course not. They got their anxiety from journalism calculated to produce it. Never mind that one degree might be the margin of error when measuring the planet's temperature. To take a person's temperature, you put a thermometer in an orifice, or under an arm. Taking the temperature of our churning planet, with its tectonic plates sliding around over a molten core, involves limited precision.

Why have Americans been dilatory about becoming as worried -- as very worried -- as Time and ABC think proper? An article on ABC's Web site wonders ominously, "Was Confusion Over Global Warming a Con Job?'' It suggests there has been a misinformation campaign implying that scientists might not be unanimous, a campaign by -- how did you guess? -- big oil. And the coal industry. But speaking of coal ...

Recently, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer flew with ABC's George Stephanopoulos over Glacier National Park's receding glaciers. But Schweitzer offered hope: Everyone, buy Montana coal. New technologies can, he said, burn it while removing carbon causes of global warming.

Stephanopoulos noted that such technologies are at least four years away and "all the scientists'' say something must be done "right now.'' Schweitzer, quickly recovering from hopefulness and returning to the "be worried, be very worried'' message, said "it's even more critical than that'' because China and India are going to "put more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with conventional coal-fired generators than all of the rest of the planet has during the last 150 years.''

That is one reason why the Clinton administration never submitted the Kyoto accord on global warming for Senate ratification. In 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 that the accord would disproportionately burden America while being too permissive toward major polluters that are America's trade competitors.

While worrying about Montana's receding glaciers, Schweitzer, who is 50, should also worry about the fact that when he was 20 he was told to be worried, very worried, about global cooling:

Science magazine (Dec. 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.''

Science Digest (February 1973) reported that "the world's climatologists are agreed'' that we must "prepare for the next ice age.''

The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster than Even Experts Expect,'' Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance,'' "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter'' and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.''

Newsweek agreed ("The Cooling World,'' April 28, 1975) that meteorologists "are almost unanimous'' that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that The New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age.''

The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable'' now that it is "well established'' that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950.'
'


In fact, the earth is always experiencing either warming or cooling. But suppose the scientists and their journalistic conduits, who today say they were so spectacularly wrong so recently, are now correct. Suppose the earth is warming and suppose the warming is caused by human activity. Are we sure there will be proportionate benefits from whatever climate change can be purchased at the cost of slowing economic growth and spending trillions? Are we sure the consequences of climate change -- remember, a thick sheet of ice once covered the Middle West -- must be bad?

Or has the science-journalism complex decided that debate about these questions, too, is "over''?

About the mystery that vexes ABC -- Why have Americans been slow to get in lock step concerning global warming? -- perhaps the "problem'' is not big oil or big coal, both of which have discovered there is big money to be made from tax breaks and other subsidies justified in the name of combating carbon. Perhaps the problem is big crusading journalism.
"Green hotheads exploit hurricane tragedy" by Michael Fumento (8 Sept 2005)

“The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name was global warming.” So wrote environmental activist Ross Gelbspan in a Boston Globe op-ed that one commentator aptly described as “almost giddy.” The green group Friends of the Earth linked Katrina to global warming, as did Germany’s Green Party Environment Minister.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. blamed Katrina on Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour for “derailing the Kyoto Protocol [on global warming] and kiboshing President Bush’s iron-clad promise to regulate carbon dioxide.”

Time for an ice-water bath, hotheads. If you’d bothered to consult the scientists (remember them?) you’d find they’ve extensively studied the issue and found no evidence that global warming – assuming it’s actually occurring – is causing either an increase in frequency or intensity of hurricanes.

Thus the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which believes global warming is both real and man-made, stated in its last assessment (2001) that “Changes in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency are dominated by [variations within and between decades], with no significant trends over the twentieth century evident.”

So, too, states the Tropical Meteorological Project at Colorado State University. In a paper issued AFTER Katrina hit it noted hurricane activity since 1995 has “been similar” to that “of the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s when many more major hurricanes struck the U.S. East Coast and Florida.” These are the people, chiefly professor of atmospheric science William Gray, who issue the annual hurricane forecasts each May.

In fact, according to the National Hurricane Center, the peak for major hurricanes (levels 3, 4, and 5) came between 1930 and 1950.

In the wake of Katrina, Gray explained to the New York Times that what might appear to be a recent onslaught “is very much natural.” Until recently we were lucky, said Gray. Then, “The luck just ran out.”

Roger Pielke Jr., director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, agrees. In a forthcoming paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society he analyzes the damage caused by hurricanes that have hit the U.S. since 1900. Taking into account tremendous population growth along coastlines he finds no trend of increasing damage from hurricanes.

"I don't think you could find any hurricane scientist that would be willing to make the statement that the hurricanes of last year or Katrina are caused by global warming," he told Denver’s Rocky Mountain News.

As you might guess neither Gelbspan nor RFK Jr. are scientists; they’re professional scaremongers. Having authored two books on the forthcoming catastrophe of global warming, Gelbspan’s fortunes are as tied to this issue as GM’s are to vehicles.

Almost unnoticed, the theology of global warming has in recent weeks suffered a number of setbacks. In referring to the theology of global warming, one is not focusing on evidence of the earth's warming in recent decades, particularly in the Arctic, but rather on the widespread insistence that such warming is primarily a consequence of man's activities--and that if only we collectively had the will, we could alter our behavior and stop the warming of the planet.

It was Michael Crichton who pointed out in his Commonwealth Club lecture some years ago that environmentalism had become the religion of Western elites. Indeed it has. Most notably, the burning of fossil fuels (a concomitant of economic growth and rising living standards) is the secular counterpart of man's Original Sin. If only we would repent and sin no more, mankind's actions could end the threat of further global warming. By implication, the cost, which is never fully examined, is bearable. So far the evidence is not convincing. It is notable that 13 of the 15 older members of the European Union have failed to achieve their quotas under the Kyoto accord--despite the relatively slow growth of the European economies.
[...]
Also, on the eve of the summit [an EU event at Gleneagles], the Royal Society issued a press release, supposedly on behalf of the national academies of science (these eve-of-the-summit announcements are not entirely coincidental). It was headlined "Clear science demands prompt action on climate change" and included this statement: "The current U.S. policy on climate change is misguided. The Bush Administration has consistently refused to accept the advice of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences."

A sharp riposte from the president of the National Academy of Sciences followed. Space does not permit full discussion of the rebuke. A few key phrases, however, are revealing: "Your statement is quite misleading. . . . By appending your own phrase, 'by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases' to an actual quote from our report, you have considerably changed our report's meaning and intent. . . . As you must appreciate, having your own misinterpretation of U.S. Academy work widely quoted in our press has caused considerable confusion both at my academy and in our government."
[...]
Much has been made of the assertion, repeated regularly in the media, that "the science is settled," based upon a supposed "scientific consensus." Yet, some years ago in the "Oregon Petition" between 17,000 and 18,000 signatories, almost all scientists, made manifest that the science was not settled, declaring:

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.
Several additional observations are in order. First, the "consensus" is ostensibly based upon the several assessment reports of the IPCC. One must bear in mind that the summary reports are political documents put together by government policy makers, who, to put it mildly, treat rather cavalierly the expressed uncertainties and caveats in the underlying scientific reports. Moreover, the IPCC was created to support a specific political goal. It is directed to support the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. In turn, the convention calls for an effective international response to deal with "the common concern of all mankind"--in short, to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. Statements by the leaders of the IPCC have been uninhibitedly political.

Second, science is not a matter of consensus, as the histories of Galileo, Copernicus, Pasteur, Einstein and others will attest. Science depends not on speculation but on conclusions verified through experiment. Verification is more than computer simulations--whose conclusions mirror the assumptions built in the model. Irrespective of the repeated assertions regarding a "scientific consensus," there is neither a consensus nor is consensus science.
"Global Lying" by Thomas Sowell (6 June 2002)

The campaign to stampede the federal government into drastic action to counter "global warming" has never let honesty cramp its style. The most recent ploy has been the release of a study from the Environmental Protection Agency which concluded that human actions were responsible for rising temperatures and that government restrictions on those actions were necessary to prevent various disastrous scenarios from unfolding.

The problem is that all this hysteria was based on a computer model which had been shown to be incompatible with factual data. Patrick Michaels, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, had already exposed the inability of that computer model to account for existing temperature changes before its release to the public was allowed to suggest that it was able to predict future temperature changes.

"Facts are 'out'" by Thomas Sowell (11 August 2000)

THE MODERN AGE has been called "the age of reason," as distinguished from past ages of faith. However, ideological faith has now begun displacing both reason and facts.

For example, hysteria about "global warming" continues unabated, despite satellite data which show the Earth to be a fraction of a degree cooler today than in 1979. These data come from the satellites of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Those who prefer to believe in global warming also prefer to use data from different sources, including readings taken in or near cities that are generating their own heat. But that is very different from NASA satellite readings of the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere, which is not warming. Those who are truly determined to promote the idea of global warming resort to computer models, which of course can produce virtually any outcome, depending on what assumptions are fed into the computer.

Misinterpretations of facts are just one problem. More brazenly, many denounce the very collection or publication of facts that go against their ideological faith.

Testimony of Prof. S. Fred Singer, a Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and the founder and president of The Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) as well as the first Director of the U. S. Weather Satellite Service, before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (18 July 2000):

We hold a skeptical view on the climate science that forms the basis of the National Assessment because we see no evidence to back its findings; climate model exercises are NOT evidence. Vice President Al Gore keeps referring to scientific skeptics as a "tiny minority outside the ainstream."
This position is hard to maintain when more than 17,000 scientists have signed the Oregon Petition against the Kyoto Protocol because they see "no compelling evidence that humans are causing discernible climate change."

[...]

1. There is no Appreciable Climate Warming
Contrary to the conventional wisdom and the predictions of computer models, the Earth's climate has not warmed appreciably in the past two decades, and probably not since about 1940. The evidence is overwhelming:

a) Satellite data show no appreciable warming of the global atmosphere since 1979. In fact, if one ignores the unusual El Nino year of 1998, one sees a cooling trend.

b) Radiosonde data from balloons released regularly around the world confirm the satellite data in every respect. This fact has been confirmed in a recent report of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences [1]. [See footnotes/figures at bottom of page linked to here.]

c) The well-controlled and reliable thermometer record of surface temperatures for the continental United States shows no appreciable warming since about 1940. [See figure] The same is true for Western Europe. These results are in sharp contrast to the GLOBAL instrumental surface record, which shows substantial warming, mainly in NW Siberia and subpolar Alaska and Canada.

d) But tree-ring records for Siberia and Alaska and published ice-core records that I have examined show NO warming since 1940. In fact, many show a cooling trend.

Conclusion: The post-1980 global warming trend from surface thermometers is not credible. The absence of such warming would do away with the widely touted "hockey stick" graph (with its "unusual" temperature rise in the past 100 years) [see figure]; it was shown here on May 17 as purported proof that the 20th century is the warmest in 1000 years.

2. Regional Changes in Temperature, Precipitation, and Soil Moisture?
The absence of a current global warming trend should serve to discredit any predictions from current climate models, including the extreme warming from the two models (Canadian and British) selected for the NACC.

Furthermore, the two NACC models give conflicting predictions, most often for precipitation and soil moisture [2,3]. For example, the Dakotas lose 85% of their current average rainfall by 2100 in one model, while the other shows a 75% gain. Half of the 18 regions studied show such opposite results; several others show huge differences. [see graph]

The soil moisture predictions also differ. The Canadian model shows a drier Eastern US in summer, the UK Hadley model a wetter one.

Conclusion: We must conclude that regional forecasts from climate models are beyond the state of the art and are even less reliable than those for the global average. Since the NACC scenarios are based on such forecasts, the NACC projections are not credible.

3. Sea Level Rise: Controlled by Nature not Humans

The most widely feared and also most misunderstood consequence of a hypothetical greenhouse warming is an accelerated rise in sea levels. But several facts contradict this conventional view:

a) Global average sea level has risen about 400 feet (120 meters) in the past 15,000 years, as a result of the end of the Ice Age. The initial rapid rise of about 200 cm (80 inches) per century gradually changed to a slower rise of 15­20 cm (6-8 in)/cy about 7500 years ago, once the large ice masses covering North America and North Europe had melted away. But the slow melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet continued and will continue, barring another ice age, until it has melted away in about 6000 years.

b) This means that the world is stuck with a sea level rise of about 18 cm (7 in)/cy, just what was observed during the past century. And there is nothing we can do about it, any more than we can stop the ocean tides.

c) Careful analysis shows that the warming of the early 1900s actually slowed this ongoing SL rise [4], likely because of increased ice accumulation in the Antarctic.

The bottom line: Currently available scientific evidence does not support any of the results of the NACC, which should therefore be viewed merely as a "what if" exercise, similar to the one conducted by the Office of Technology Assessment in 1993 [5]. Such exercises deserve only a modest amount of effort and money; one should not shortchange the serious research required for atmospheric and ocean observations, and for developing better climate models.

The NACC should definitely NOT be used to justify irrational and unscientific energy and environmental policies, including the economically damaging Kyoto Protocol. These policy recommendations are especially appropriate during the coming presidential campaigns and debates.

3 comments:

MartyThompson said...

Hey William! I hope you are well.
You may want to add to this list the Skeptical Environmentalist as a book to check out. By Lomborg. He is a former Greenpeace advocate that started looking at the science.

Just as a sidebar - is not sad that those that support human induced global warming theory state there is a "consensus" among scientists on this issue. Last time I checked science is not determined by consensus (that is only a political phenomenon). The law of gravity is not determined because a majority of scientists believe it but because it is...

Let me know if you get to Houston!

W. said...

From Sen. Inhofe's Environment & Public Works Press Blog: "Newsweek's Climate Editorial Screed Violates Basic Standards of Journalism" (August 5, 2007)

Newsweek Magazine’s cover story of August 13, 2007 entitled, “The Truth About Denial” contains very little that could actually be considered balanced, objective or fair by journalistic standards. (LINK)

The one-sided editorial, masquerading as a “news article,” was written by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein and Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips and purports to examine the “well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change.”

The only problem is -- Newsweek knew better. Reporter Eve Conant, who interviewed Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, was given all the latest data proving conclusively that it is the proponents of man-made global warming fears that enjoy a monumental funding advantage over the skeptics. (A whopping $50 BILLION to a paltry $19 MILLION and some change for skeptics – Yes, that is BILLION to MILLION - see below )

This week’s “news article” in Newsweek follows the Magazine’s October 23, 2006 article which admitted the error of their ways in the 1970’s when they predicted dire global cooling. (See: Senator Inhofe Credited For Prompting Newsweek Admission of Error on 70's Predictions of Coming Ice Age – LINK )

Use of Word ‘Denier’

First, let’s take a look at Newsweek’s use of the word “denier” when describing a scientist who views with skepticism the unproven computer models predicting future climate doom. The use of this terminology has drawn the ire of Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. “The phrase ‘climate change denier’ is meant to be evocative of the phrase ‘holocaust denier,’” Pielke, Jr. wrote on October 9, 2006 (LINK)

“Let's be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system,” Pielke, Jr. explained.

Newsweek Fails Basic Arithmetic

Newsweek reporter Eve Conant was given the documentation showing that proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION and some change by comparison.

Paleoclimate scientist Bob Carter, who has testified before the Senate EPW committee, explains how much money has been spent researching and promoting climate fears.

“In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one.” (LINK )

[Note: The U.S. alone has spent $30 billion on federal programs directly or indirectly related to global warming in just the last six years, according to one estimate. (LINK) ($5.79 billion in 2006 alone) Adding to this total is funding from the UN, foundations, universities, foreign governments, etc.]

For a breakdown of how much money flows to promoters of climate fear, see a Janaury 17, 2007 EPW blog post: (LINK)

"The [climate] alarmists also enjoy a huge financial advantage over the skeptics with numerous foundations funding climate research, University research money and the United Nations endless promotion of the cause. Just how much money do the climate alarmists have at their disposal? There was a $3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air’s Richard Branson alone. The well-heeled environmental lobbying groups have massive operating budgets compared to groups that express global warming skepticism. The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year. Compare that to the often media derided Competitive Enterprise Institute’s small $3.6 million annual budget. In addition, if a climate skeptic receives any money from industry, the media immediately labels them and attempts to discredit their work. The same media completely ignore the money flow from the environmental lobby to climate alarmists like James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. (ie. Hansen received $250,000 from the Heinz Foundation and Oppenheimer is a paid partisan of Environmental Defense Fund) The alarmists have all of these advantages, yet they still feel the need to resort to desperation tactics to silence the skeptics. (LINK) Could it be that the alarmists realize that the American public is increasingly rejecting their proposition that the family SUV is destroying the earth and rejecting their shrill calls for 'action' to combat their computer model predictions of a 'climate emergency?'" (See EPW Blog for full article – LINK )

As Senator Inhofe further explained in a September 25, 2006 Senate floor speech: “The fact remains that political campaign funding by environmental groups to promote climate and environmental alarmism dwarfs spending by the fossil fuel industry by a three-to-one ratio. Environmental special interests, through their 527s, spent over $19 million compared to the $7 million that Oil and Gas spent through PACs in the 2004 election cycle.” (LINK)

Senator Inhofe further explained: "I am reminded of a question the media often asks me about how much I have received in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. My unapologetic answer is ‘Not Enough,’ -- especially when you consider the millions partisan environmental groups pour into political campaigns." (LINK)

Now contrast all of the above with how much money the “well funded” skeptics allegedly receive.


The Paltry Funding of Skeptics (by comparision)

The most repeated accusation is that organizations skeptical of man-made climate fears have received $19 Million from an oil corporation over the past two decades. This was the subject of a letter by two U.S. Senators in 2006 (See Senators letter of October 30, 2006 noting the $19 Million from Exxon-Mobil to groups skeptical of man-made global warming – LINK )

To put this $19 Million over two decades into perspective, consider:

One 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant of $20 million to study how “farm odors” contribute to global warming exceeded all of the money that skeptics reportedly received from an oil giant in the past two decades. To repeat: One USDA grant to study the role of “farm odors” in global warming exceeded ALL the money skeptics have been accused of receiving from an oil giant over the past two decades. (Excerpt from article: “The United States Department of Agriculture has released reports stating that when you smell cow manure, you're also smelling greenhouse gas emissions.” (LINK or LINK )

As erroneous and embarrassingly one-sided as Newsweek’s article is, the magazine sunk deeper into journalistic irrelevance when it noted that skeptical Climatologist Patrick Michaels had reportedly received industry funding without revealing to readers the full funding picture. The magazine article mentions NASA’s James Hansen as some sort of example of a scientist untainted by funding issues. But what Newsweek was derelict in reporting is that Hansen had received a $250,000 award from the Heinz Foundation run by Senator John Kerry’s wife Teresa in 2001 and then subsequently endorsed Kerry for President in 2004. (LINK )

Science Vindicating Skeptics

Finally, Newsweek’s editorial rant attempts to make it appear as though the science is getting stronger in somehow proving mankind is driving a climate catastrophe. There are, however, major problems with that assertion.

Scientists are speaking up around the globe to denounce Gore, the UN and the media driven “consensus” on global warming. Just recently, an EPW report detailed a sampling of scientists who were once believers in man-made global warming and who now are skeptical. [See May 15, 2007 report: Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics: Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research – LINK ]

Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian government, detailed how he left the global warming funding "gravy train" and became a skeptic. “By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming," Evans explained. "But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed,” Evans wrote. “The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role,” he added. (LINK)

In addition, just last week, three new scientific studies further strengthened the skeptics’ views on climate change. (LINK) Further, a recent analysis of peer-reviewed literature thoroughly debunks any fears of Greenland melting and a frightening sea level rise. [See July 30, 2007 - Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt - LINK ]

Newsweek: A Media Dinosaur

The question remains: Is Newsweek even a news outlet worth taking the time to respond to in posts like this? Does Newsweek, a quirky alternative news outlet, even have an impact on public policy anymore?

Journalism students across the world can read this week’s cover story to learn how reporting should not be done. Hopefully, that will be Newsweek’s legacy -- serving as a shining example of the failure of modern journalism to adhere to balance, objectivity and fairness. Anyone who fails to see this inconvenient truth is truly (to borrow Newsweek's vernacular) a “denier.”

Background of recent climate science developments:

Even the alarmist UN has cut sea level rise estimates dramatically since 2001 and has reduced man’s estimated impact on the climate by 25%. Meanwhile a separate 2006 UN report found that cow emissions are more damaging to the planet than all of the CO2 emissions from cars and trucks. (LINK)

The New York Times is now debunking aspects of climate alarmism. An April 23, 2006 article in the New York Times by Andrew Revkin stated: “few scientists agree with the idea that the recent spate of potent hurricanes, European heat waves, African drought and other weather extremes are, in essence, our fault (a result of manmade emissions.) There is more than enough natural variability in nature to mask a direct connection, [scientists] say.”

The New York Times is essentially conceding that no recent weather events are outside of natural climate variability. So all the climate doomsayers have to back up their claims of climate fears are unproven computer models of the future. Of course, you can’t prove a prediction of the climate in 2100 wrong today. It’s simply not possible.

Climate Computer Models Not So Reliable

Recently, a top UN scientist publicly conceded that climate computer model predictions are not so reliable after all. Dr. Jim Renwick, a lead author of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, admitted to the New Zealand Herald in June 2007, “Half of the variability in the climate system is not predictable, so we don't expect to do terrifically well." (LINK)

A leading scientific skeptic of global warming fears, Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, former CEO of the Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute, took the critique of climate models that predict future doom a step further. Tennekes wrote on February 28, 2007, "I am of the opinion that most scientists engaged in the design, development, and tuning of climate models are in fact software engineers. They are unlicensed, hence unqualified to sell their products to society." (LINK)

Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack of the University of Pennsylvania noted “for most of Earth’s history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler,” Giegengack said according to a February 2007 article in Philadelphia Magazine. (LINK) The article continued, “[Giegengack] says carbon dioxide doesn’t control global temperature, and certainly not in a direct linear way.”

Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball explained that one of the reasons climate models fail is because they overestimate the warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. Ball described how CO2 stabilizes in the atmosphere and its warming impact diminishes. “Even if CO2 concentration doubles or triples, the effect on temperature would be minimal. The relationship between temperature and CO2 is like painting a window black to block sunlight. The first coat blocks most of the light. Second and third coats reduce very little more. Current CO2 levels are like the first coat of black paint,” Ball explained in a June 6, 2007 article in Canada Free Press. (LINK)

New data is revealing what may perhaps be the ultimate inconvenient truth for climate doomsayers:

Global warming stopped in 1998.

Dr. Nigel Calder, co-author with physicist Henrik Svensmark of the 2007 book “The Chilling Stars: A New Theory on Climate Change,” explained in July 2007: (LINK)

“In reality, global temperatures have stopped rising. Data for both the surface and the lower air show no warming since 1999. That makes no sense by the hypothesis of global warming driven mainly by CO2, because the amount of CO2 in the air has gone on increasing. But the fact that the Sun is beginning to neglect its climatic duty – of battling away the cosmic rays that come from ‘the chilling stars’ – fits beautifully with this apparent end of global warming.”

Perhaps the conversion of many former scientists from believers in man-made global warming to skeptics (LINK) and the new peer-reviewed research is why so many proponents of a climatic doom have resorted to threats and intimidation in attempting to silence skeptics. (See: EPA to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic - LINK )

# # #

EPW Inhofe Press Blog Note: A blockbuster U.S. Senate report is set to be released in the Fall 2007 that will feature hundreds of scientists (many current and former UN scientists) who have spoken out recently against Gore, the UN, and the media driven climate “consensus.” Please keep checking this blog for updates.

Related Links:

Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt

EPA to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic

Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics

Senator Inhofe declares climate momentum shifting away from Gore (The Politico op ed)

Scientific Smackdown: Skeptics Voted The Clear Winners Against Global Warming Believers in Heated NYC Debate

Global Warming on Mars & Cosmic Ray Research Are Shattering Media Driven "Consensus’

Global Warming: The Momentum has Shifted to Climate Skeptics

Prominent French Scientist Reverses Belief in Global Warming - Now a Skeptic

Top Israeli Astrophysicist Recants His Belief in Manmade Global Warming - Now Says Sun Biggest Factor in Warming

Warming On Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Neptune's Moon & Earth Linked to Increased Solar Activity, Scientists Say

Panel of Broadcast Meteorologists Reject Man-Made Global Warming Fears- Claim 95% of Weathermen Skeptical

MIT Climate Scientist Calls Fears of Global Warming 'Silly' - Equates Concerns to ‘Little Kids’ Attempting to "Scare Each Other"

Weather Channel TV Host Goes 'Political'- Stars in Global Warming Film Accusing U.S. Government of ‘Criminal Neglect’

Weather Channel Climate Expert Calls for Decertifying Global Warming Skeptics

ABC-TV Meteorologist: I Don't Know A Single Weatherman Who Believes 'Man-Made Global Warming Hype'

The Weather Channel Climate Expert Refuses to Retract Call for Decertification for Global Warming Skeptics

Senator Inhofe Announces Public Release Of "Skeptic’s Guide To Debunking Global Warming"

Mike said...

These arguments are much more persuasive if the data are considered objectively rather than primarily citing a relatively small group of experts who have changed their minds or been vocal advocates against human induced global warming. The new IPCC report is fairly concrete about the human influence on global climate change (2008).

Certainly artificial correlations can be drawn about causation, such as a decrease in the percentage of pirates/per capita correlating with a global temperature increase; however, real events are occurring and the most plausible scenarios include increases in greenhouse gas concentrations including, but not limited to, those released by human activities. The question is really: given the probability that x causes y (in this case, greenhouse gases causing global temperature increases) and the associated costs of y -- e.g. decreasing global arable land and thus causing broad ranged famine, what is the appropriate energy (financial or physical) to enact a change in x. If the initial probability is low that x causes y, and the cost to change x is high, then action is not warranted, e.g. global warming is caused by aliens aiming lasers at the Earth to cook the inhabitants -- probability LOW, cost to change: enact a multi-quadrillion dollar space program and direct all resources to identifying and deflecting those lasers, action is not warranted. However, there is a non-zero probability that human activity is causing global warming. The skeptics claim that the probability is small (except if they are complete idiots, or omnipotent, in which case they would claim that it is zero) whereas the proponents claim that the probability is very high (except if they are compete idiots,or omnipotent, in which case they would claim that it is 100). Since both sides are assumed to be roughly equally intelligent and as thoughtful as the other, as a population, and the consensus is with the proponents rather than with the opponents of human induced global warming, the scientific community has decided that the non-zero probability that we are causing climate change warrants action. It may be true that human activity is not causative in this case, in which case any energy used to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is wasted energy; however, the opposite case is also a possibility where climate change is human induced and lack of energy expended leads directly to tragic consequences. Based on scientific consensus (despite the minority views presented above) action is warranted to minimize the potential human contribution to global climate change.

As a side note: the potential costs are around U.S. $45 trillion to return CO2 ppm to pre-1990's levels by 2050. International policy makers are moving towards this type of massive expenditure, and despite many people's misgivings about government spending, this financial impulse does not come without careful inspection of the extant data by both proponents and opponents of the expenditures.
Mike (a friend of James T's)