This column by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara was published September 22, 2013 on Forbes.com.
Who will decide American public policy on the issue of potentially catastrophic man caused global warming? The answer is you and me, through the democratic process that governs our country.
So spare me the comments saying Shut Up, you are not a scientist and your commentary here is not peer reviewed scientific literature, so you have no business even talking about it. That is an anti-democratic, brown shirt tactic meant to foreclose public discussion and debate, which has been the dominant strategy of those trying to force their unwelcome ideological agenda on the rest of us through this issue. What does that alone tell you about who is right about the actual science?
But citizens participating in the democratic process do have a responsibility to become informed about the scientific debate over global warming. And that is my function here in focusing on the publication this week of Climate Change Reconsidered II, authored by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), and published by the Heartland Institute. The NIPCC
“is an international panel of scientists and scholars who came together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change. NIPCC has no formal attachment to or sponsorship from any government or governmental agency. It is wholly independent of political pressures or influences and therefore is not predisposed to produce politically motivated conclusions or policy recommendations. NIPCC seeks to objectively analyze and interpret data and facts without conforming to any specific agenda. This organizational structure and purpose stand in contrast to those of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is government-sponsored, politically motivated, and predisposed to believing that climate change is a problem in need of a U.N. solution.”
I can attest to you that the team of 50 scientists producing the 1,200 pages of calm, reasoned, dispassionate science in the report did achieve their goal of objectively analyzing and interpreting data and facts without conforming to any specific agenda. They carefully demonstrate the inconvenient facts about the world’s climate discussed below, and when you have that any politicization would just detract from the presentation, as Al Gore shows in his global warming political harangues.
The report is “comprehensive, objective, and faithful to the scientific method.” Moreover, it is “double peer reviewed,” in that it discusses thousands of peer reviewed articles published in scientific journals, and is itself peer reviewed. That is in sharp contrast to President Obama’s own EPA, which issued its “endangerment finding” legally authorizing regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, without submitting the finding to its own peer review board established by federal law precisely for that purpose. What were they so afraid of if 97% of scientists supposedly agree with them? That violation of federal law has now been challenged in court, and is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. But this would not be the first time that the Administration of this lawless President has openly flouted the law.
Check out Climate Change Reconsidered II for yourself. It is the top, No. 1, presentation of the other side to the Democrat Party’s controlled media on the issue. If you want to see what that is, this is your one stop source. If you personally want to believe that using the traditional, carbon based energy sources that have fueled the Industrial Revolution and modern prosperity will destroy the planet, and that we can fuel the modern economy with windmills and dancing on sunbeams at minimal net cost, then it is your personal right to pursue your alternative reality fully ignorant of your errors.
The authors of the report do not deny that there is some effect of warming the planet from mankind’s emissions of CO2, primarily from use of traditional carbon fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. The argument is over how big of an effect that is, how that compares to natural causes of climate change, and whether the human caused effect threatens a catastrophe, or even severe distress, to human civilization and the environment. The conclusion of the report is that the U.N.’s IPCC has exaggerated the amount of global warming likely to occur due to mankind’s emissions of CO2, and the warming that human civilization will cause as a result “is likely to be modest and cause no net harm to the global environment or to human well-being.” The primary, dominant cause of global climate change is natural causes, not human effects, the report concludes. “The hypothesis of human-caused global warming comes up short not merely of ‘full scientific certainty’ but of reasonable certainty or even plausibility,” the report states.
The fundamentals of the argument is that CO2 is not some toxic industrial gas, but a natural, trace gas constituting just 0.038% of the atmosphere. For readers disadvantaged by excessive exposure to the party propaganda organ called the New York Times, that is less than 4/100ths of one percent. The report states, “At the current level of 400 parts per million, we still live in a CO2-starved world. Atmospheric levels (of CO2) 15 times greater existed during the pre-Cambrian period (about 550 million years ago) without known adverse effects,” such as catastrophic global warming.
Moreover, CO2 is actually essential to all life on the planet. Plants need CO2 to grow and conduct photosynthesis, which is the natural process that creates food for animals and fish at the bottom of the food chain. The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere that has occurred due to human emissions has actually increased agricultural growth and output as a result, causing actually an increased greening of the planet. So has any warming caused by such human emissions, as minor warming increases agricultural growth. The report states, “CO2 is a vital nutrient used by plants in photosynthesis. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere ‘greens’ the planet and helps feed the growing human population.”
In addition, the temperature impact of increased concentrations of CO2 declines logarithmically. Or as the report says, “Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)…exerts a diminishing warming effect as its concentration increases.” That means there is a natural limit to how much increased CO2 can effectively warm the planet, as the effect of more and more CO2 ultimately becomes negligible as CO2 concentration grows. Maybe that is why even with many times more CO2 in the atmosphere in the deep past, there was no catastrophic global warming.
What has been devastating to the theory of catastrophic, man caused, global warming is that there has been no significant increase in global temperatures for 16 years, even a slight cooling in more recent years. Yet, during that time mankind’s emissions of CO2 that were supposed to be causing global warming continued to explode, with one third of all CO2 added to the atmosphere since the industrial revolution occurring during this period. The Economist magazine shocked the global warming establishment with an article in March that began with this lede:
“Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, ‘the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a dec
ade. . . .'”
The facts recounted above are not in actual dispute, even though several commenters relying on too much party controlled media were shocked to hear last April that anyone could think that global warming stopped 16 years ago. But these facts already demonstrate that the theory of catastrophic, anthropogenic, global warming is dubious at best.
Climate Change Reconsidered II explains the argument of the UN’s IPCC that the world is still threatened with global warming catastrophe, which will be repeated in the next IPCC report in a few weeks. What is shocking to see is how meager the argument is for the great, global warming bogeyman. You are welcome to check out the UN report to see for yourself.
The supposedly scientific foundation for the IPCC argument is based on the temperature projections of 73 global climate models developed by various scientists favored by the IPCC. These climate models are not science. They are literally speculative stories about the climate, especially since exactly zero of the models have been validated by past temperature experience. The scientific method involves testing a falsifiable hypothesis with experiments and evidence. Speculative model projections do not involve any such falsifiable hypothesis, and are not an exercise of the scientific method.
Even the modelers themselves recognize and admit that their models are not even designed to produce predictions of future temperatures, but just “what if” projections of the results of unproven assumptions, to provide some indications, not scientific proof, of possible future scenarios. The Climate Change Reconsidered report states, “The science literature is replete with admissions by leading climate modelers that forcings and feedback are not sufficiently well understood, that data are insufficient or too unreliable, and that computer power is insufficient to resolve important climate processes.”
Moreover, none of the models take into account the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean temperature cycles resulting from the churning of colder water from the deep to the surface, where it is warmed by the sun, which have been shown to affect global temperatures. None of the models take into account as well solar activity cycles such as variations in solar magnetic fields or in the flux of cosmic rays, which are also known to significantly affect climate, and have produced major climate changes of the past, such as the Little Ice Age, particularly pronounced from roughly 1650 AD to 1850 AD, the Medieval Warm period from about 950 AD to 1250 AD, during which global temperatures were higher than today, and the early 20th century Warming Period from 1910 to 1940 AD.
These are the reasons why the projections of all of these models have now diverged so strongly from the actual temperatures experienced over the past 15 years, and further back for most all, even back to the 1980s, as shown in the nearby graph. The actual atmospheric temperatures as recorded by U.S. weather satellites and weather balloons are shown by the two lines at the bottom of the graph, connecting the squares or the circles. The average of the temperature models is the solid line going through the spaghetti of lines representing the projections of each of the models, well above the real world temperatures, with the divergence growing and growing. The source of that graph is Dr. Roy Spencer, award winning NASA scientist monitoring the global atmospheric temperatures as measured by U.S. satellites, and a contributor to Climate Change Reconsidered, as produced for testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee of the United States Senate. Spencer, R.W. 2013. Statement to the Environment and Public Works Committee, 19 July 2013, Washington, DC. This sharp divergence of the projections of the IPCC models has been another devastating development for the theory of catastrophic, man caused, global warming.
Besides the models, the UN’s IPCC tries to argue that circumstantial evidence is consistent with its theory of catastrophic, man caused global warming if it were true. This again is not the scientific method. As Karl Popper explained, “observations in science are useful to falsify hypotheses, and cannot [rigorously] prove” any hypothesis is correct. In other words, the true scientific method involves a null hypothesis which is the logical opposite of the hypothesis being explored, and is assumed correct until the evidence proves it false. That is because experimental or physical evidence can only rigorously prove something false, not prove it true.
But as Climate Change Reconsidered explains, “the IPCC assumes its implicit hypothesis [catastrophic, man-caused global warming is real] is correct and that its only duty is to collect evidence and make plausible arguments in the hypothesis’s favor.” This is political science, not actual science.
Climate Change Reconsidered shows that it is the evidence that the IPCC tries to marshall in favor of its catastrophic, man caused, global warming hypothesis that is false, falsifying the hypothesis. The Climate Change report states, “Global sea ice cover remains similar in area to that at the start of satellite observations in 1979, with ice shrinkage in the Arctic Ocean since then being offset by growth around Antartica.” In other words, polar ice is not melting or disappearing globally. The report adds, “The data on global glacial history and ice mass balance do not support the claims made by the IPCC that CO2 emissions are causing most glaciers today to retreat and melt.”
The report also states, “Sea level rise is not accelerating. The global average sea level continues to increase at its long term rate of 1-2 millimeters per year….Unusual sea-level rise is therefore not drowning Pacific coral islands, nor are the islands being abandoned by ‘climate refugees.'” In other words, yeah, the sea level has been rising. Exactly the same as it has been for thousands of years, since the end of the last actual Ice Age. It has nothing to do with my SUV.
Moreover, the pattern of global temperature change has not followed rising atmospheric CO2 since the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It follows instead the up and down patterns of ocean churning temperature cycles and of solar activity, such as sun spots that were so influential in causing the Little Ice Age that ended roughly a couple of hundred years ago. That is one reason why Climate Change Reconsidered concludes that natural causes, not human factors like CO2 emissions, have predominated in causing climate change.
Indeed, the Climate Change Reconsidered report states, “The recently quiet Sun and extrapolation of solar cycle patterns into the future suggest a planetary cooling may occur over the next few decades.” That follows my own reporting in recent columns in this space of the potential rise of a long term temperature decline based on these solar trends, which is the first reporting on such developments anywhere near the establishment press in increasingly repressed America. Much of our national press these days behaves voluntarily in regard to the Obama Administration the way that the old Soviet press used to do under compulsion in regard to the old communist dictatorships in the now dissolved old Soviet Union.
One small town California columnist published a criticism of one of my previous columns on this subject in this space using a chart fed to him by a local environmental propagandist. The hapless local dutifully published the chart fed to him showing a line supposedly representing global temperatures in the 20th century with a sharp upward slope. The line was drawn through the real temperature history of cyclical ups and downs representing the actual cyclical natural causes of global temperature changes. But the overconfident local columnist, gleefully repeating that the graph proved man caused ultimately catas
trophic global warming was real, also failed to notice that the scale on his graph was in tenths of a degree. He should go back to his source and ask for a graph of 19th century global temperature increases on the same scale, which would show a far sharper upward slope. Were CO2 emissions higher in the 19th century than in the 20th? Or maybe the dominant factor was the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century, a natural not human cause.
Enough has been discussed already to logically and indeed scientifically disprove, or falsify, the invasive theory of catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming. But Climate Change Reconsidered provides another 1200 pages of logical and scientific argument, backed up by thousands of peer reviewed citations that could not all be discussed here. If your head hurts at this point because of overexposure to the New York Times and the resulting disconnection or alienation from reality, Climate Change Reconsidered is the cure for what ails you.