This column by ACRU General Counsel and Senior Fellow for the Carleson Center for Public Policy (CCPP) Peter Ferrara was published March 7, 2012 on The American Spectator website.
The theory that humans are causing catastrophic global warming by burning fossil fuels and releasing “greenhouse” gases lapsed into self-parody in the past couple of weeks with the scandal of Fakegate. Here is the full context to understand that story, which is valuable because it serves as a further revelation and metaphor for the entire fabrication of global warming.
On an irregular schedule of roughly every 6 years, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produces a voluminous Assessment Report (AR) on the state of so called climate science. The fourth AR was published in 2007, and the fifth is due to be released in four parts over 2013 to 2014.
In 2008, the Chicago based Heartland Institute began organizing international conferences of scientists from across the globe who want to raise and discuss intellectually troubling questions and doubts regarding the theory of ultimately catastrophic man caused global warming. Heartland has sponsored six such conferences by now, attracting more than 3,000 scientists, journalists, and interested citizens from all over the world.
In 2009, Heartland published Climate Change Reconsidered: The Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). That 860-page careful, dispassionate, thoroughly scientific volume, produced in conjunction with the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, presented the full scope of the scientific research and basis for disputing the global warming alarmist views of the UN’s IPCC. Two years later, Heartland published the 418 page Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2011 Interim Report of the NIPCC, which updated the research regarding global warming and “climate change” since the 2009 volume.
Through these publications and international conferences, Heartland has become the international headquarters of the scientific alternative to the UN’s IPCC, now providing full-scale rebuttals to the UN’s own massive reports. Any speaker, any authority, any journalist or bureaucrat asserting the catastrophic danger of supposed man-caused global warming needs to be asked for their response to Climate Change Reconsidered. If they have none, then they are not qualified to address the subject.
The Fakegate Fabrication
Political activist Peter Gleick had successfully engineered a career posing as an objective “climate scientist.” He served as President of the left-wing front Pacific Institute, from which he is now taking a “temporary leave of absence,” and as chairman of the science integrity task force of the American Geophysical Union, from which he has now resigned.
Gleick has publicly confessed that he contacted the Heartland Institute fraudulently pretending to be a member of Heartland’s Board of Directors. Emails released by the Heartland Institute show that he created an email address designed to appear to belong to a board member and used it to convince a staff member to send him confidential board documents. Gleick then forwarded the documents to 15 global warming alarmist advocacy organizations and sympathetic journalists.
The expectation of the plotters of the fraud was apparently that the documents would be as embarrassing and damaging to the global warming skeptics as were the emails revealed in the “Climategate” scandal to the alarmist side. The Climategate revelations showed scientific leaders of the UN’s IPCC and global warming alarmist movement plotting to falsify climate data and exclude those raising doubts about their theories from scientific publications, while coordinating their message with supposedly objective mainstream journalists.
But the stolen Heartland documents only exonerated the skeptics and Heartland. They demonstrate Heartland’s concern to get the truth out on the actual objective science. They reveal negligible funding from oil companies or other self interested commercial enterprises, who actually contribute heavily to global warming alarmists for protection money instead. The documents also show how poorly funded the global warming skeptics at Heartland are, managing on a shoestring to raise a shockingly successful global challenge to the heavily overfunded UN and politicized government science.
As the Wall Street Journal observed on Feb. 21, while Heartland’s budget for the NIPCC this year totals $388,000, that compares to $6.5 million for the UN’s IPCC, and $2.5 billion that Obama’s budget commits for research into “the global changes that have resulted primarily from global over-dependence on fossil fuels.” That demonstrates how an ounce of truth can overcome a tidal wave of falsehood.
Maybe that is why Gleick or one of his coconspirators felt compelled to go farther and compose a fake memo titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy.” Whoever did it revealed an understanding that a document composed on his computer and distributed online would contain markings demonstrating its source and confirming the forgery. That is why the forger printed the document out and scanned it, apparently thinking that would hide its digital trail. But the scanned document itself also contained evidence that allowed it to be traced back to the Pacific Institute’s offices, as explained by Megan McCardle, a senior editor for the Atlantic and herself a global warming alarmist, though not sympathetic to fraud.
Only that forged cover memo, and not any stolen Heartland documents, contains language mirroring Climategate. It discusses fabricated projects that are not activities of Heartland, and a $200,000 Koch Foundation contribution for climate change activities that doesn’t even exist. The Koch Foundation confirms that it gave Heartland only $25,000 in 2011, earmarked for health care policy projects and not climate change, an amount equal to only 0.5% of Heartland’s budget. By contrast, as the Journal also observed, the budget last year for the Natural Resources Defense Council was $95.4 million, and for the World Wildlife Fund $238.5 million.
The bigger problem for Gleick was revealed in the statement of Heartland President Joe Bast on the scandal: “Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.”
Heartland has now hired a legal team to pursue the matter. That includes George B. Nash, a partner in the Chicago office of Drinker Biddle & Reath, and a former prosecutor in the office of the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, where he became chief of the Special Prosecutions Division. It also includes James C. Dunlop, a 15-year veteran of the white-collar crime practice of Jones Day, an international law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers on five continents. Dunlop represents companies, institutions, and individuals in criminal matters worldwide, concentrating on investigations relating to criminal allegations, fraud, and unethical conduct. Analogous but far less blatant conduct involving allegations of phone hacking and email tampering led to a Scotland Yard investigation and closure last year of News of the World, once the largest circulation English newspaper in the world.
The affair has served to reveal the fraudulent character of the global warming movement more generally, as sympathetic global warming activists have continued to rally around Gleick despite his confession and the documented fraud. DeSmogBlog.com continued to repeat fraudulent claims regarding the faked document, and make false claims regarding the leaked actual documents. The New York Times resisted correcting the record regarding the Koch Foundation grant, even after the
Foundation itself documented the errors in its “reporting.”
The True Science of Global Warming
The bottom line on the real science is that the temperature records are not consistent with the theory that human “greenhouse” gas emissions are the primary cause of global warming. Those records do not show temperatures rising in conjunction with such ever rising emissions as the globe increasingly industrializes. Instead, the temperature record shows an up and down pattern that follows the pattern of natural influences on global temperatures, such as cyclical sunspots and solar flares, and cycles of ocean churning from warmer to colder temperatures and back, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). That is the theme of Climate Change Reconsidered, that global temperature patterns are primarily the result of natural causes, rather than human activities such as burning fossil fuels.
Moreover, the incorruptible and objective satellite temperature records show only modest warming starting in the late 1970s, which stopped roughly 10 years ago, with more recent declines. The same is shown by radiosondes on weather balloons, ocean temperature records, and the temperature proxy records found in nature, such as tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, corals, and stalagmites. Those temperature records all diverge significantly from the corruptible and subjectively compiled land based records, the repeated manipulation of which has prompted several prominent climate scientists to call for an investigation. Perhaps Gleick’s skills in falsification can be found more broadly among his colleagues.
The entire argument of the IPCC is based on those land-based temperature records showing warming global temperatures only between 1978 and 2000, following a documented 35 year decline in global temperatures from 1940 to 1975 (a period of continued industrialization and rising emissions from fossil fuel use). That is combined with constructed computer models supposedly forecasting global temperatures. Those models allegedly simulate no warming from 1978 to 2000 without including the supposed warming effect of increasing CO2 from fossil fuel emissions. But they supposedly simulate the land based surface temperature records closely enough when the supposed CO2 warming effect is included.
Those models, of course, are again all manufactured, not real world observations. They are all also based on the circular assumption that the theory of man-caused global warming is true. But as 16 world leading climate scientists recently reported in a letter to the Wall Street Journal:
[A]n important gauge of scientific expertise is the ability to make successful predictions. When predictions fail, we say that the theory is “falsified” and we should look for the reasons for the failure. Shown in the nearby graph is the measured annual temperature of the earth since 1989, just before the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Also shown are the projections [from the models] of the likely increase of temperature, as published in the Summaries of each of the four IPCC reports, the first in the year 1990 and the last in the year 2007.
From the graph it appears that the projections exaggerate, substantially, the response of the earth’s temperature to CO2 which increased by about 11% from 1989 through 2011. Furthermore, when one examines the historical temperature record throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, the data strongly suggest a much lower CO2 effect than almost all models calculate.
Seems like the models have been falsified.
The likely reason for that failure is that while the models recognize that increased CO2 itself will not produce a big, catastrophic increase in global temperatures, the models assume that the very small amount of warming caused by increased CO2 will result in much larger temperature increase caused by positive feedbacks. The real, emerging science, as the Heartland publications indicate, is that the feedbacks are more likely to be offset by negative feedbacks, resulting in a much smaller net temperature change. Scientists have pointed out that much higher CO2 concentrations deep in the earth’s history, as shown by proxy records, did not result in catastrophic temperature increases, a very powerful rebuttal to the idea today’s relatively low CO2 levels could trigger catastrophic global warming.
The results of the latest, most advanced data collection also suggest that CO2 is not responsible for the modest global warming of the late 20th century. The UN models agree with established science that if human greenhouse gas emissions were causing global warming, there should be a hot spot of higher temperatures in the troposphere above the tropics, where collected concentrations would have the greatest effect, and the warming would show up first. This is known in the literature on climate science as “the fingerprint” for man caused global warming. But data from global weather satellites and more comprehensive weather balloons show no hotspot, and no fingerprint, which means no serious global warming due to human greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, satellites also have been measuring the energy entering the earth’s atmosphere from the sun, and the energy escaping back out to space. If the theory of man caused global warming is correct, then the energy escaping back out should be less than the energy entering, as the greenhouse gases capture some of the energy in the atmosphere. But the satellite data show negligible difference.
The real cutting edge in climate science was publicly exposed recently by one of the long time leaders of the German environmental movement, Fritz Vahrenholt, in his new book, The Cold Sun. The book expresses the growing concern among more careful real climate scientists, rather than political scientists, that trends in solar activity portend a return to the cold, limited agricultural output, and widespread disease of the Little Ice Age, or even a more full blown, overdue by historical standards, real ice age. The consolation is that those threatening developments are still centuries away. In an interview with Spiegel magazine, titled “I Feel Duped on Climate Change,” Vahrenholt tells readers that the UN’s forecasts on the severity of climate change are exaggerated and supported by weak science. The American version would be Al Gore producing a movie with the title, “The Most Inconvenient Truth: I Was Wrong.”
When I advanced similar arguments recently in a Forbes.com article, it earned a response from Jonathon Lynn, the very head of communications of the UN’s IPCC itself, which was a continued exercise in fakery. He claimed that 8 investigations into the Climategate emails vindicated the scientists involved. But those investigations were conducted under what might be called the “friends and family plan.” They were all conducted by pro-warming political bodies that did not include any of the skeptical scientists who understand the implications of the emails for scientific inquiry. They concluded that no laws were broken only because the statute of limitations had run out. Moreover, the emails speak for themselves, and the investigations did not involve my conclusions above that they show the “global warming alarmist movement plotting to falsify climate data and exclude those raising doubts about their theories from scientific publications, while coordinating their message with supposedly objective mainstream journalists.”
Lynn also asserted that “there was nothing in the emails to challenge the scientific findings that global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity.” But Climate Change Reconsidered, which Lynn failed to address, provides altogether more than 1,000 pages reporting precisely the science challenging that potentially catastrophic or even threatening global warming is happening and that it is induced b
y human activities.
Lynn contended as well that a survey by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found that 97-98% of those actively publishing agreed that man caused global warming is happening, and “every single national academy of sciences that has commented… also espouses this conclusion.” But these are all political bodies with politicized leadership reporting political not scientific statements. Moreover, the survey Lynn cites asked only if the climate is warming and if there is any significant human impact, which is not in dispute (though outdated based on the latest data). The dispute is over how much of the past warming is natural or man made, does it matter, and what should be done about it, but the survey did not address those real issues.
The root of the global warming confusion is that the UN is not a disinterested party that can be trusted to compile and interpret the climate science on which the world’s policymakers can rely. The UN sees the theory of man caused catastrophic global warming as a tremendous opportunity for gaining the regulatory and taxation powers of a world government. It is at least as self-interested on the subject as oil and gas companies. It has used its role as grand overseer of climate science to advance its own agenda. The result has been a great disservice to the scientific community and to policymakers. It fueled a global panic and mass delusion that has cost hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars, and is likely to cost trillions more before it finally runs its course.
That is why the U.S. should withdraw all funding and participation in the UN’s IPCC, and establish its own panel of scientists representing the full spectrum of views to study whether there is any real potential threat from man-caused global warming. A good independent chairman of that panel would be Richard Lindzen, the retiring Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT.
Romney’s Developing Sellout on Global Warming
But those conservatives and Tea Party patriots overlooking Romney’s Romneycare apostasy to still vote for him in the primaries are setting themselves up to be gravely disappointed again on this issue. As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney appointed to state office Obama science czar John Holdren, a wacky far out leftist, and Obama EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy, who is writing and implementing all of the Obama restrictions on power plants.
Among the advisors to the Romney campaign on these issues today is James Connaughton, formerly head of the Bush White House Council of Environmental Quality, and a long time ardent supporter of cap and trade. Another is Jeff Holmstead, Bush EPA Air Chief who promoted global warming hysteria, and an interstate clean air rule providing the precedent for Obama’s job and economy destroying Cross State Air Pollution Rule. Still another is Edward Krenick, another former Bush EPA supporter of cap and trade. No wonder highly active global warming skeptic James Taylor says that Romney’s people on global warming are as bad as Obama’s people.
Moreover, while Gingrich was the lead witness testifying against cap and trade in Congress, Romney has little to say on the issue, and no history of fighting against it. A central theme of the Gingrich campaign recently has been to emphasize the enormous store of American energy, especially fossil fuel oil and gas, that must be fully tapped without reservation, providing the foundation for another historic economic boom, which Gingrich projects would slash the price of gasoline below $2.50 a gallon. Romney responds by saying this theme is just pandering to gas price hysteria.
In addition, while Gingrich calls for replacing the Environmental Protection Agency entirely with a new Environmental Solutions Agency, with a pro-growth mandate of working with business to protect the environment while maximizing jobs and economic growth, Romney opposes abolishing or structurally changing the EPA.
The only hope for reviving cap and trade is for a newly elected Republican President to propose it, undercutting Congressional Republican opposition to it. Conservatives will rue allowing Romney a pass to the nomination if he turns out to be that guy.