01 Oct 1998 Buenos Aires Conference On Global Warming: Much Ado About Nothing, by John Carlisle
This November, the Clinton Administration will attend a conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, it will offer recommendations on measures the United States and more than 100 nations can adopt to cut man-made greenhouse gases, which, the Administration alleges, are causing a precipitous increase in global temperatures. However, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that the threat of global warming which sparked the event does not exist, thus negating the need for costly emissions-reducing steps, and for the conference itself.
Ever since 1988, when NASA scientist James Hansen told a U.S. Senate hearing that recent high temperatures were the result of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions heating up the atmosphere, it has been mantra among some scientists, the environmental movement and now the Clinton Administration that global warming is an unassailable fact. To question otherwise, one risked being labeled a fringe scientist or some sort of anti-earth extremist.
Now, it is the Clinton Administration – especially Vice President Al Gore – and allied scientists who are having to explain why their predictions for climatic change, uttered with such certainty only a short time ago, aren’t occurring.
Every major climatic index cited by global warming theory proponents as evidence that global warming is underway – hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, arctic warming and rising sea levels – have either failed to occur or have been proven to be the result of natural forces.
Predictions of Rapid Temperature Increases Revised Downward
Even the bureaucrats who permanently staff the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body that has been the principal advocate of the global warming theory, have been forced to admit that its temperature predictions have been wrong. In fact, it has been forced to revise its projections repeatedly. In 1990, the IPCC predicted that global temperatures would rise 6· F by 2100. Then, in 1992, realizing that the temperature wasn’t increasing anywhere near that rate, the IPCC developed with a new climate model that predicted a temperature increase of 5· F by 2100. Just three years later, in 1995, the IPCC again adjusted its warming projection downward, forecasting that temperatures would rise less than 2· F, a noticeable increase but hardly a cause for concern.1 Natural temperature increases of 3 to 4· F have occurred in the past, such as in the 11th century A.D. and around 5000 B.C. These have generally benefited humanity by prolonging growing seasons and promoting more mild weather.
Yet, the Clinton Administration would have the U.S. Senate ratify the Kyoto Protocol mandating major reductions in CO2 emissions and wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy to avoid such a temperature rise. Administration officials have completely ignored the fact that the IPCC estimates keep getting revised downward and that the projected increases, if they did actually occur, are not a cause for concern.
Global warming proponents are seemingly oblivious to the fact that global fluctuations in temperature, characterized by centuries of significant warming and cooling trends, are normal. They have seized upon natural, benign temperature changes and misrepresented them as something man-made and catastrophic. In particular, global warming proponents have cited a 1.5· F temperature increase since 1850 as evidence for human-induced global warming. What they fail to point out is that this warming period followed a 400-year period of unusually cold weather known as the Little Ice Age. Likewise, the Little Ice Age followed the especially warm Medieval Warm Period between 900 and 1100 when the temperature was significantly higher than today’s climate – a period characterized by bountiful harvests in Europe and economic prosperity. 2
Another problem with claiming that the 1.5· F temperature increase is the product of man’s CO2 emissions is that the temperature rise did not correspond with rises in CO2 emissions. Most of the warming, 1 of the 1.5· F, occurred between 1850 and 1940. However, CO2 emissions from human activities during that period were inconsequential. Significantly, the rate of the temperature increase slowed after World War II, climbing just .5· F, at the very time CO2 emissions from human activity were greatly accelerating. If the global warming theory is correct, these increased emissions should have caused the warming to accelerate, not to slow. Further, given the fact that man-made CO2 emissions only account for 3.5 percent of all CO2, it is unlikely that man-made emissions could have as significant impact on the climate as global warming proponents originally predicted.
Accurate Satellite Data Under Assault For Disproving Global Warming
What is especially telling, though, is that the temperature is now no longer rising. NASA satellites indicate that the earth’s temperature has cooled slightly since 1979. Confronted with this embarrassing problem, the Clinton Administration and global warming proponents have spent considerable time trying to debunk the data obtained by satellites – by far the most reliable measures of temperatures – rather than rethinking their assumptions about global climate change.
NASA launched the Tiros satellites into orbit in 1978 to provide a better method for measuring the earth’s temperature. These satellites each take some 40,000 readings every day, providing continuous monitoring of the planet’s temperature. They are vastly superior to surface-based measurements. Surface thermometers do not, for example, cover the oceans, which represent nearly 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Surface thermometers also cover the land surface of the planet unevenly. Most thermometers are located in the Northern Hemisphere within wealthier industrial nations while relatively few are located in the Southern Hemisphere and in poorer nations. Furthermore, surface-based thermometers are prone to a variety of distortions that cause false temperature readings, readings that are usually warmer than is actually the case. 3
That is why it is significant that these highly accurate satellites have showed a slight cooling trend since 1979. According to the global warming doomsayers, this should not be happening. The latest global warming computer models predicted that the temperature should have increased .6· F since 1979.
The Clinton-Gore Administration and environmental activists have been confounded and embarrassed by the satellite data. However, in a perfect illustration of how politics triumphs over science in the global warming debate, they have devoted their energies to finding ways to discredit this data. Said one leader of a major environmental organization, “We have got to do something about the satellite.”4 It speaks volumes about the scientific integrity of global warming proponents that they would prefer to rely on the faulty temperature readings of surface-based thermometers rather than on satellite data. Although the surface thermometers only show a warming of about half of what should be happening under the global warming climate models, activists prefer this modest validation of their theories to satellite readings that totally invalidate their theory.
The biggest salvo in the war on the satellites occurred in August 1998 when physicists Frank Wentz and Matthias Schabel published an article in the science journal Nature claiming that the satellite temperature readings are flawed. Wentz and Schabel argued that, as the satellites lose altitude while orbiting the earth, this causes them to “see” a smaller area of the earth’s surface, which in turn causes the satellites to record a slight but false cooling. The authors calculated that adjusting for this orbital decay would show a warming of .1· F since 1979. Originally, the satellites were showing a cooling of .07· F. Vice President Gore was reported to be nearly ecstatic when informed that the satellite nuisance had been seemingly dispensed with.5
However, the Vice President got his hopes up for nothing. John Christy and Roy Spencer, the scientists who developed the satellite monitoring method, reviewed Wentz and Schabel’s study. They agreed that the data should be adjusted for orbital decay. However, after incorporating orbital decay into their data analysis, Spencer and Christy concluded that Wentz and Schabel were wrong. While Wentz and Schabel adjusted their data to take into account “false cooling” due to declining satellite altitudes, they failed to adjust their data for “false warming.” Instead of a warming of .1· F, Spencer and Christy still record a cooling of .02· F since 1979. 6 Of course, these are relatively miniscule temperature variations. The bottom line is that the latest attempt to debunk the satellite data failed.
In criticizing the satellite data collection method, global warming proponents also fail to address the fact that the satellite data is independently corroborated by weather balloons which are launched twice a day at points all around the globe. The findings of the weather balloons match almost perfectly with the satellite findings.
Global Warming Proponents Rely Upon Flawed Surface-Temperature Readings
As noted earlier, the surface temperature readings global warming theory advocates rely on do not provide temperature data for the oceans (or nearly 70 percent of the earth’s surface) and tend to be located predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere while underrepresenting the Southern Hemisphere. Furthermore, the majority of land-based readings are recorded in towns and cities that yield artificially high temperatures. This phenomena is known as the Urban Heat Island Effect and it is one of the major sources of error that have led some scientists to falsely conclude that rapid global warming is occurring.
One of the key causes of the Urban Heat Island Effect is that urban areas contain concrete, roads, buildings and airports that heat to high temperatures in the daytime. This results in higher daytime and nighttime temperatures compared to temperatures in nearby rural areas, which do not similarly accumulate heat. Exacerbating the distortion is that many temperature readings are recorded at airports, which are significant heat islands in themselves. The combination of huge asphalt runways and the operation of jet engines generate considerable heat, leading to abnormally high readings.
A second key cause is that as the number of buildings and trees grow around urban-based temperature gauges, heat pockets develop, trapping additional heat in and around these gauges. For every one percent of the sky that is blocked, the temperature immediately around the gauge will rise by about .4· F. One of the reasons that many surface temperature sites show a gradual warming trend is that the temperature increases as the urban area grows and air traffic increases. 7 It is understandable, then, how a temperature site in a given city can show significant warming over a period of two or three decades.
But surface temperature readings from rural areas can also be subject to distortions. A prime example of this is the case of the Low Head Lighthouse located on the northern coast of Australia’s Tasmania island. For many decades, Low Head has been used as a temperature-recording site. At the beginning of the decade, Low Head took on a greater significance as a surface site that allegedly confirmed global warming. Since 1963, Low Head has recorded a major temperature increase of nearly 2· F. Global warming proponents have seized on this “warming” as proof of global warming.
What has been a bit of a mystery about Low Head’s warming reading, however, is that two other temperature measurement sites on Tasmania have not recorded similar warming. The recording site at Launceston Airport, 35 miles inland from Low Head, and the Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on Tasmania’s south coast did not show any warming. Until 1963, Low Head’s temperatures paralleled the two other sites. Inexplicably after 1963, Low Head’s temperature started rising while the Launceston and Maatsuyker sites continued to show no increases whatsoever. Upon investigation, the reason for the discrepancy was discovered. Site photographs of Low Head showed that several decades ago there were low-lying bushes only a few feet from the thermometer. These bushes were well below the level of the thermometer itself, leaving it fully exposed, as it should be to the cool prevailing northwest wind. But over the past several decades, the bushes have grown and are now blocking the temperature gauges from the prevailing winds. As a result, the site has become a sun trap, causing the gauge to record rapidly rising daytime temperatures. 8
Global warming proponents nevertheless enthusiastically cited the Low Head readings as validation for their theory. In 1991, scientist Ed Cook published an article called “Climatic Change in Tasmania Inferred from a 1,089-year Tree-Ring Chronology of Huon Pine” in the journal Science in which he proudly announced that the Low Head readings confirmed evidence of global warming. Compounding the error, in 1993 the Australian National Climate Center confirmed that Low Head Lighthouse was made an official “Climate Reference” station. Such a designation means that Low Head’s readings would be considered the official readings for much of Tasmania and the neighboring sea, thereby slanting the official temperature for the Australian continent and even the Southern Hemisphere as a whole.
Ironically, Low Head was also designated one of Australia’s 49 rural stations to validate the warming results showing up in the urban areas. If a scientist looking for evidence of global warming wanted a rural temperature site allegedly free of the notorious Urban Heat Island Effect, the handy but deeply flawed Low Head Lighthouse perfectly fit the criteria.
No Evidence of Arctic Warming
Another key indication of global warming that hasn’t panned out is alleged arctic warming. The arctic regions are especially sensitive to any global warming, and should be the first areas of the planet to have significant temperature increases. While climate models often vary in their predictions, the models used by global warming theory advocates have universally predicted warming in the polar regions. According to these models, the polar regions should have warmed by 2 to 5· F since 1940. However, in another blow to the global warming theory, the arctic regions have not warmed as predicted, but have cooled. Between 1955 and 1990, when the arctic should have warmed by 3· F according to the climate models, the arctic actually cooled by 1· F. 9
Global warming proponents have resorted to desperate arguments to explain why global warming is still occurring even though the evidence for arctic warming isn’t to be found. Turning the arctic warming scenario completely on its head, NASA scientist Drew Shindell recently argued that arctic cooling was actually the result of global warming. He claimed that warmer temperatures had caused the jet stream to become faster and stronger, causing the warm air that typically flows from the tropics northward to the arctic to be blocked. Other scientists view this argument with considerable skepticism. Jerry Mahlman, director of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, for example, called Shindell’s conclusions “extraordinarily tricky and difficult.” Mahlman noted that the atmospheric warming and the associated heat-transport effects that NASA assumed in its study are not universally accepted, saying, “We honestly don’t know what Mother Nature has to say.” 10
Glaciers Don’t Validate Global Warming
Melting glaciers is another phenomena often cited by global warming theory proponents as evidence for their theory. Always on the lookout for anything that can be linked to warming, Vice President Gore trekked to Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park, Montana in September of 1997 to show the world the latest victim of human-induced climate change. Standing in front of the glacier, Gore solemnly informed a bevy of reporters that the glacier is melting as a result of global warming. Many of the journalists dutifully reported the Vice President’s words without bothering to consider that there might be another reason why the glacier was melting. For one thing, the Vice President’s press event was held during summer. All glaciers in mid-latitude regions melt in the late summer and stop melting in winter when the temperature usually stays below freezing. 11 It’s as simple as that.
The Grinnell Glacier has been gradually receding for 150 years. That means that the glacier was retreating for 100 years before man-made CO2 emissions were significant.
Whether the Grinnell Glacier is retreating or advancing also tells us little about the state of glaciers worldwide. If the surface of the planet is indeed warming, then glaciers all over the world should be retreating. They are not. Some glaciers are receding while others are advancing, making glaciers a poor barometer of purported global warming. The World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich, Switzerland noted that, between 1926 and 1960, 70 percent of 625 glaciers in the United States, Soviet Union, Iceland, Switzerland, Austria and Italy were retreating. After 1980, though, 55 percent of those same glaciers were advancing. 12
No Link Between Rise in Sea Level and Global Warming
The threat of rising sea levels, one of the more ominous symptoms of global warming cited by global warming theory advocates, is also dissipating. Sea levels would rise, these advocates argue, because rising temperatures would melt glaciers and polar ice caps, increasing the volume of water in the world’s oceans. Coastal communities would be inundated; island nations would be submerged and billions of dollars in damage would be inflicted on the global economy.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initially predicted that escalating CO2 levels would cause sea levels to rise by as much as 7 to 10 feet by 2100, a truly frightening image for anyone who lives on a coast. But just as global warming theory proponents have been forced to downgrade their predictions of global temperature increases, they have been forced to revise their estimates of sea level rises. In 1990, the original EPA estimate of a 7 to 10 foot increase was reduced by 75 percent to an increase of 20 to 30 inches. By 1996, the United Nations science advisory panel again reduced the projected sea level rise to only 15 to 22 inches. 13 As with temperature increases, the prospect of the oceans engulfing humanity in a “Waterworld”-like oblivion is rapidly evaporating.
Most importantly, though, is that there is simply no evidence that sea levels have changed due to purported global warming. Dr. Fred Singer of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, one of the nation’s leading atmospheric scientists, notes that the best estimates show that sea levels have been rising at a rate of about 7 inches per century. Singer argues that this increase probably has little to do with the climate as the sea level has been increasing at its current rate for a period of several centuries during which the climate fluctuated significantly between warm and cool periods. Climate specialists believe that the steady rise in sea level is related to tectonic changes in the shape of the ocean basin, a phenomena human beings have no control over.14
Ironically, however, Singer concludes that even if global warming is occurring, it could actually do just the opposite of what global warming theory proponents claim. Warmer temperatures would melt glaciers and cause an expansion in the ocean. But warmer temperatures would also be accompanied by an increased rate of evaporation. This would lead to more rainfall and, in the polar regions, more snowfall, which would have the effect of thickening the ice caps while lowering sea levels.
The Sky Is Not Falling
Critics of scientists who advocate human-induced global warming frequently complain that global warming advocates are “Chicken Littles” who always complain that the sky is falling. As it turns out, that accusation is literally true in some cases because some global warming advocates really do believe the sky is falling.
In September 1998, British scientists announced that the outer layer of the earth’s atmosphere is shrinking and that man-made global warming may be to blame. Martin Jarvis, an atmospheric research physicist in Cambridge, England observed that the earth’s outer atmosphere, known as the thermosphere, had shrunk by about five miles in the last four decades. While this shrinkage was very modest and did not pose a threat to human beings, Jarvis claimed that it could still be an ominous harbinger for the future because, under global warming climate models, the lower atmosphere warms while the upper atmosphere cools and thereby contracts.
The problem with this potentially disturbing picture is that the claim cannot be substantiated. To begin with, the thermosphere is notoriously volatile and is affected by forces scientists have yet to fully understand. The key point to bear in mind is that the thermosphere’s size is not static but is constantly fluctuating due to extreme oscillations in temperature and other complex phenomena. By day, for instance, the thermosphere, which extends to about 300 miles into space, heats up to as much as 800· F, causing it to expand by several miles while nighttime cooling causes it to contract. Further complicating the picture is that the amount of expansion and contraction is not constant but is significantly affected by seasonal cycles, long-term changes in the earth’s magnetism and variations in solar intensity. Indeed, many scientists who disagree with the global warming theory, such as Dr. Fred Singer, believe the sun plays a key role in causing fluctuations in the thermosphere. Even Cambridge’s Jarvis conceded that long-term changes in the sun’s intensity could alternatively explain the thermosphere’s contraction.15 Whatever the explanation, the sky is not falling.
Lack of Scientific Consensus
With so much evidence stacked against global warming, one wonders how so many could have concluded that there is a scientific consensus that there is such a phenomenon. The answer, quite simply, is that there is no scientific consensus. There never has been one.
Since the start of the global warming controversy a decade ago, there have always been claims that a majority of scientists were in agreement about the existence of human-induced global warming. However, it wasn’t until recently that these claims received a presidential seal of approval. At a July 1997 White House conference on global warming, for example, President Bill Clinton announced that, “The overwhelming balance of evidence and scientific opinion is that it is no longer a theory but now a fact that global warming is real.” To back up his dramatic statement, the President claimed the 2,500 scientists had endorsed the 1995 IPCC report, which, he argued, had concluded that human-induced, anthropogenic global warming is underway. 16 Since then, the Administration has been relentlessly offering these scientists as evidence of a consensus. Anyone, whether a politician or a climate scientist, who dissented was portrayed as part of an inconsequential minority representing a fringe viewpoint that had no credibility.
As with so many other aspects of the global warming debate, however, the rhetoric doesn’t square with reality. First of all, 2,500 scientists did not endorse the IPCC report. What occurred is that 2,100 scientists, government officials and various public policy experts who contributed at one time or another to the preparation of the final report were improperly cited as representing a “scientific consensus.” The fact is that the non-scientists actually represented the large majority of the contributors. These non-scientists are members of the government delegations that represent virtually all of the world’s nations, from Albania to Zimbabwe, on the IPCC.17 IPCC delegates are generally social scientists, policy analysts, economists, public relations specialists and various government functionaries, individuals who cannot remotely be considered climate change experts. Furthermore, of those contributors who are scientists, most do not have backgrounds in atmospheric physics or other fields related to climate science. While a number of these scientists could be considered conversant in forestry, fisheries or agriculture, they lack the expertise to speak credibly on the complexities of global warming. A review of the IPCC report indicates that only about 100 climate scientists participated over the years in the preparation of the IPCC report. 18 Indeed, many of the 100 climate scientists involved in the IPCC process are known skeptics of the global warming theory, such as Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
The Clinton Administration’s claim that there is a scientific consensus about a global warming threat is also belied by several polls that have been conducted since the release of the IPCC report in 1996. The Science and Environmental Policy Project conducted a survey of American climate scientists, which included some of the 100 climate scientists who allegedly endorsed the IPCC report. The survey found that about half did not support the report’s conclusion that global warming was a fact and posed a threat to the environment. Surveys of other scientists, climate and non-climate, who participated in developing the report have shown similar levels of disagreement about the report’s assertions. 19
So why do so many people believe that IPCC scientists are in agreement on global warming? Because the 1995 IPCC report was altered after the IPCC endorsed it. In November 1995, an IPCC scientific panel met in Madrid where they reviewed and accepted a version of the report entitled “The Science of Climate Change.” While this scientific panel included few climatologists, the scientists at the Madrid conference – mainly biologists, physicists, geographers and oceanographers – did faithfully represent the skepticism regarding global warming voiced by the climatologists and other scientists who had assisted in developing the report. The report was subsequently approved in December in Rome by the full IPCC.
This version of the report, which was supposed to be the final version, contained numerous statements questioning the legitimacy of the global warming theory. Members of the scientific panel as well as the full IPCC had every reason to believe that “The Science of Climate Change” would be the final version of the 1995 report. IPCC rules explicitly prohibit any further changes in such reports after approval by the scientific panel and the full IPCC.
But changes were made anyway. When it was released in May 1996, key sections of the IPCC report had been deleted. More than 15 sections of Chapter 8 of the report, the chapter that laid out the evidence for and against human influence on the climate, had been removed. The culprits were IPCC officials who were determined to make the report support the conclusion that man-made influences were contributing to global warming. 20
Frederick Seitz, President Emeritus of Rockefeller University and former president of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.” 21 Had the unauthorized edits not been made, there is no way that President Clinton or anyone else could have asserted that the report represented a scientific consensus on global warming.
The following are just some of the passages that were in the original report but deleted in the final version:
* “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.”
* “No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes.”
* “Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced.”
Other surveys of scientists have revealed widespread skepticism of man-made warming. A survey of 400 German, American and Canadian climate researchers conducted by the Meteorologisches Institut der Universitat Hamburg and the GKSS Forschungszentrum found that 67 percent either disagreed or were uncertain about the proposition that global warming will occur so quickly that lack of preparation could prove disastrous. In 1996, nearly 100 climate scientists signed the Leipzig Declaration in which they expressed their doubts about the validity of global warming forecasts. A 1997 survey by American Viewpoint found that state climatologists believe that global warming is largely a natural phenomenon by a margin of 44 to 17 percent. 22 In May 1998, more than 17,000 scientists – including 2,388 specialists in the field of climate change – signed a petition to Congress questioning the theory of human-induced climate change.
So much for the scientific consensus.
Global Warming Scientists Leave Trail of Backpedaling and Contradictions
Not even the leading scientists pushing the global warming theory have been able to stand behind their original pronouncements – although they are not disavowing the theory. Jim Hansen, the NASA scientist who inaugurated the global warming scare with his dramatic 1988 Senate testimony that significant global warming was already underway, predicted back then that by now the temperature should have increased by about .8· F. However, even surface records (which are prone to such distortions as the Urban Heat Island Effect) indicate that the temperature has risen by only .2· F. 23 Satellite data for the same period show a modest cooling.
In the late 1980s, Hansen also asserted that there would be an increase in the frequency of drought in the 1990s, and that the “man on the street” would eventually notice the changing climate. This popular recognition, Hansen believed, would be the catalyst for sweeping laws to curb harmful human emissions. But these climate predictions haven’t panned out. By 1997, even Hansen had to back off that prediction, stating that maybe the “man on the street” would not notice climate change after all. Finally, in the spring of 1998, Hansen published an article candidly admitting that warming had been only half of what he predicted based on his original global warming models. In explaining why his predictions failed, Hansen stated that the amount of CO2 did not increase as much as he thought it would and that nature was absorbing more CO2 than he calculated.24
Dr. Stephen Schneider is another climate scientist who has played a pivotal role in shaping the global warming debate. An articulate and charismatic speaker, Schneider doesn’t mince words in warning the public about the dire threat posed by global warming. In 1990, for example, Schneider stated on a British TV show that “the rate of change is so fast that I don’t hesitate to call it potentially catastrophic for ecosystems.” Schneider has warned that the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, currently accumulating at about .4 percent per year, will have severe consequences for the globe’s climate. A 100 percent increase in CO2, he has claimed, would be enough to raise the temperature by as much as 7· F. 25
What is odd about Schneider’s strident advocacy of global warming is that he was an equally strident advocate of global cooling 20 years ago. In 1971, Schneider warned the world that a new ice age was imminent, a position he maintained throughout the decade. Always looking to blame human activity, Schneider claimed that the discharge of aerosols into the atmosphere exacerbated global cooling. Interestingly, Schneider asserted that, because CO2 emissions could theoretically warm the atmosphere while aerosols cool it, there was no way that CO2 could stimulate any meaningful warming. Schneider claimed that an 800 percent increase in CO2 would be necessary to raise global temperature by about 4· F. The upshot of his argument was that an ice age was coming and no amount of CO2 would stop it. Aerosol discharges, however, would accelerate cooling, justifying Schneider’s call for major limitations on their use. Given the fact that CO2 has increased by about 25 percent since the Industrial Revolution, Schneider clearly believed that CO2 did not pose a threat of dangerous warming in the near future. 26
By the 1980s, when the surface-record seemed to indicate that the temperature was increasing, Schneider found a new crusade in global warming. In 1989, Schneider kindly provided an insight into what motivated him to take up this new crusade, telling Discover magazine: “To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.” 27
The latest retreat of the global warming doomsayers occurred at a June 1998 hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee chaired by Rep. James Talent (R-MO). At that hearing, Bob Watson, head of the IPCC, was presented with the fact that the surface temperature had only warmed .2· F since 1988, when Hansen’s global warming model predicted an increase of .8· F. Watson admitted that Hansen’s model and other global warming models that were used to justify Kyoto were “wrong.” However, he insisted that newer models, namely the model produced by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, were accurate. However, when it was pointed out that this model predicted that the current average temperature in the Midwest in July should be 52· F higher than it actually was, Watson had no response to this dramatic discrepancy. 28
Human-induced global warming is a myth. Not one of the key barometers of warming that theory proponents put forth as evidence has been proven true. The temperature has not rapidly increased as claimed by global warming proponents, but has either decreased or remained unchanged. Since predicting a temperature rise of 6· F over the next century, the UN’s IPCC has repeatedly downgraded its projected temperature increases to as little as 1· F while satellite data show a cooling of .02· F since 1979. Likewise, the arctic isn’t warming as all the global warming climate models predicted, but is instead cooling. The claim that the world’s glaciers are melting has also been proven to be untrue, as many glaciers are expanding and others receding due to other natural causes. Dire predictions that warming would cause a precipitous rise in the ocean by as much as 7 to 10 feet have also been proven incorrect, forcing scientists to downgrade their predictions of sea level rising just 15 inches. Evidence offered by leading scientists indicate that the modest sea level increase is more like 7 inches per century and demonstrates that the increase is due to non-climatic forces that Man has no power to influence.
Clearly, the preponderance of evidence keeps building against the global warming theory, making the upcoming conference in Buenos Aires quite unnecessary. This conference was meant to follow up on the 1997 Kyoto Conference where the United States and numerous other nations agreed to make major reductions in their CO2 emissions to counter unnatural warming. The Clinton Administration hopes to use Buenos Aires as a forum to continue that momentum in an attempt to resuscitate the Kyoto treaty in an unreceptive Congress. But one has to ask: If the predictions offered by global warming proponents have been proved so consistently wrong, why should we start believing them now? The answer is that we shouldn’t.
John K. Carlisle is the director of The National Center for Public Policy Research’s Environmental Policy Task Force.
1 “The Global Warming ‘Crisis,'” George C. Marshall Institute, Washington, D.C., 1998
2 Dr. Hugh Ellsaesser, “What You Never Hear About Greenhouse Warming,” November 7, 1997
3 John L Daly, “What’s Wrong With The Surface Record?” Monograph, January 14, 1998
4 Patrick Michaels, “Satellite Targeted in the Hot Zone,” The Washington Times, March 26, 1998
5 Roy Spencer, “When Science Meets Politics,” The Washington Times, September 3, 1998
7 John L. Daly, “What’s Wrong With The Surface Record?” Monograph, January 14, 1998
8 John L. Daly, “Hot Air At Low Head,” Monograph, 1996
9 Douglas V. Hoyt, “Greenhouse Warming Scorecard,” Monograph, 1997
10 Curt Suplee, “Gas Buildup Could Lead To Arctic ‘Ozone Hole,'” Washington Post, April 9, 1998
11 Patrick Michaels, “False Alarms In The Greenhouse,” The Washington Times, July 20, 1998
12 Douglas V. Hoyt, “Greenhouse Warming Scorecard,” Monograph, 1997
13 Dr. Fred Singer, “The Sky Isn’t Falling, And The Ocean Isn’t Rising,” Wall Street Journal, July 25, 1997
15 Joby Warrick, “Scientists in Britain Say Sky May Be Shrinking,” Washington Post, September 17, 1998
16 Dr. Fred Singer, “A Treaty Built On Hot Air, Not Scientific Consensus,”Wall Street Journal, July 25, 1997
20 Dr. Fred Singer, “Dirty Climate,” National Review, November 25, 1996
21 Frederick Seitz, “A Major Deception On Global Warming,” Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1996
22 “Talking Points On The Economy: #38,” National Center For Public Policy Research, Washington, DC, February 8, 1998
23 Patrick Michaels, “Inhaling A Decade Of Hot Air Vapors,” The Washington Times, June 28, 1998
24 “NASA Scientist: Greening Biosphere Stunts Warming,” World Climate Report, 1998
25 John L. Daly, “Stephen Schneider: Greenhouse Superstar,” Monograph, 1996
28 “Global Warming Moderates Nail Extremists 8 Ways,” World Climate Report, New Hope Environmental Services, Ivy, Virginia, August 12, 1998