This column by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara was published November 12, 2013 on Forbes.com.
The second shoe is preparing to drop to shatter the world view of so-called Progressives. Coming, global revelations will demonstrate the fraud behind the theory of man-caused, catastrophic, global warming, just like the real world has shattered the falsehoods behind Obamacare.
That is because the underlying reason for both frauds was the same: to expand government power. Enablers went along with the fraud in both cases for the same underlying reason – political correctness. In both cases, going along with the cause for the assumed public good without raising questions was considered the politically correct thing to do for all “good” people. Soon the enablers in both cases will have to pay the price for participating in and perpetuating the fraud.
This past weekend, Peggy Noonan summarized the Obamacare fraud in the Wall Street Journal, writing:
They said if you liked your insurance you could keep your insurance–but that’s not true. It was never true! They said if you liked your doctor you could keep your doctor–but that’s not true. It was never true! They said they would cover everyone who needed it, and instead people who had coverage are losing it–millions of them! They said they would make insurance less expensive–but it’s more expensive! Premium shock, deductible shock. They said don’t worry, your health information will be secure, but instead the whole setup looks like a hacker’s holiday. Bad guys are apparently already going for your private information.
That could have been drawn precisely from my commentary in this space last week.
The fact that Obamacare was always about power and not people is perfectly illustrated by the case of California resident Edie Littlefield Sundby. Since her gall bladder cancer was discovered 7 years ago, her private insurance company, United Healthcare, has spent $1.2 million to save her life. Edie explains that the insurance company, “has never once questioned any treatment or procedure recommended by my medical team. The company pays a fair price to the doctors and hospitals, on time, and is responsive to the emergency treatment requirements of late-stage cancer. Its caring people in the claims office have been readily available to talk to me and my providers.”
But Obamacare is driving United Health Care out of business altogether in California. So Edie is one of millions who have recently received an insurance cancellation letter, effective December 31. Just go to the Covered California Obamacare Exchange, which is working just as intended Obama has said, and get your Obamacare, “progressive” Obama apologists say. But there is no insurance on the highly touted Covered California Obamacare Exchange that includes coverage for the team of doctors that have kept her alive for a period with just a 2% probability, who range from her hometown of San Diego, to Stanford University in northern California, to Houston. Even though United Healthcare did, for an affordable price, before Obamacare.
But the response from the Obama White House has not been “progressive” concern for Edie. Instead, White House operatives have disparaged her. Now that the federal government has raised spending, taxes, and regulatory burdens by trillions to take over health care, the “progressives” are not worried about Edie.
Similarly, the theory of man-caused, catastrophic, global warming is embraced not because of any “science,” (that sham is for the “useful idiots,”), but because it is a justification for a government takeover of the energy industry, with massive increases in regulation, taxes and government spending. The United Nations loves it because it inspires fantasies of the UN growing up to be a world government, with real government powers of global taxation, spending and regulation, all “to save the planet.” Scientists who go along with the cause are rewarded not only with praise for their worthy social conscience, but also with altogether billions in hard, cold cash (government and environmental grants), for their cooperation in helping to play the “useful idiots.” Moreover, many academic scientists are “progressives” themselves, and so favor sharp increases in government spending, taxes and regulation, because they are certain they know how to run your life better than you do.
That is what the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is all about. On September 27, the IPCC issued the final version of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) for its fifth comprehensive Assessment Report (AR-5) since 1992 on the supposed science of anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming. But the IPCC has intellectual competition now. A peer group of independent, private sector scientists has organized the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). Earlier in September, the NIPCC issued its own comprehensive, voluminous report on the science of climate change, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, published by the Heartland Institute.
If you are a true believer in anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming, you don’t know what you are talking about unless you also have at least looked through the hundreds of pages of calm, dispassionate science in Climate Change Reconsidered II, which also reviews the peer-reviewed literature on climate change. Go ahead, I dare you. What are you afraid of?
Now 4 lead contributing authors of Climate Change Reconsidered II, Drs. Craig Idso, Robert Carter, S. Fred Singer, and Willie Soon, have issued a Scientific Critique of IPCC’s 2013 “Summary for Policymakers.” They find that “the new SPM reveals the IPCC has retreated from at least 11 alarmist claims promulgated in its previous reports or by scientists prominently associated with the IPCC. The SPM also contains at least 13 misleading or untrue statements, and 11 further statements that are phrased in such a way that they mislead readers or misrepresent important aspects of the science.”
For example, the authors report, “The IPCC concedes for the first time that a 15 year long period of no significant warming occurred since 1998 despite a 7% rise in carbon dioxide (CO2).” The authors explain, “The statement represents a significant revision in the IPCC thinking, because their concern about dangerous warming rests upon the assumption that temperature increases will proceed in parallel fashion with CO2 increases.” Climate Change Reconsidered II documents that the same official temperature records used by the IPCC going back over 100 years, and proxy temperature records going back deep into the geologic time scale, show that temperatures have not changed in parallel with CO2 levels.
Central to the IPCC’s argument for anthropogenic, catastrophic global warming is its dozens of global climate models and their projections of growing global temperatures over time. But the SPM now concedes that these models have failed to project the now admitted lack of warming over the last 15 years. The draft of the SPM circulated in June stated quite accurately that the “Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10 to 15 years.” The final draft released in September covers the same by saying, “There are…differences between simulated and observed trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years (e.g., 1998 to 2012).”
Nevertheless, despite this failure of the underlying climate models, the SPM states, “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.” The prior Assessment Report issued in 2007 had said that this human con
tribution to global warming was only “very likely.” So as the IPCC climate models admittedly diverge from reality, the IPCC conclusion is that the human contribution to global warming (which it admits has not been happening for quite a while now) is only all the more likely.
Indeed, the models have not been validated by past recorded temperatures, and, therefore, cannot be a sound basis for costly regulation to counter global warming, as President Obama’s EPA is now pursuing. As the NIPCC’s recent report states, “We conclude the current generation of global climate models are unable to make accurate projections of climate even 10 years ahead, let alone the 100 year period that has been adopted by policy planners. The output of such models should therefore not be used to guide public policy formulation until they have been validated and shown to have predictive value.”
The SPM also concedes that the Antarctic ice cap “increased…(by) 1.2%-1.8% per decade between 1979 and 2012.” So even the UN’s IPCC now concedes that the South Pole’s ice cap has been increasing all along, rather than melting. The increase in Antarctic sea ice now totals about 1 million square kilometers. In fact, the extent of Antarctic sea ice is now the greatest ever measured.
Arctic sea ice has historically fluctuated in regular cycles. While it did decline during the 1978 to 1998 period, that decline has now reversed, falsifying alarmist predictions that the North Pole would be free of ice by 2013. Globally, some glaciers have been melting and receding. Others have been growing and expanding. Overall, the total extent of global sea ice has not been declining at any enhanced rate since the end of the Little Ice Age around 150 years ago.
But the SPM misleads as to concerns over rising sea levels, stating, “It is very likely that there is a substantial anthropogenic contribution to the global mean sea level rise since the 1970s.” No, actually, it is not likely at all. The NIPCC authors state, “sea level rise has been occurring since long before the human era, and at rates higher than those observed in human history.” Indeed, during that human era, “sea level rise over the past several centuries has averaged about 7 inches, and continues to rise at that rate with no evidence of acceleration,” as Larry Bell reported for Forbes on October 15.
The SPM also misleads when it states, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented.” The NIPCC authors explain, “Though the IPCC’s favored temperature record (HadCRUT) depicts a rise of 0.4 deg. C since 1950, other temperature records show little or no warming at all in the second half of the twentieth century.” These include the US GISS land surface record, sea surface temperature records, including Hadley NMAT, atmosphere temperature records, such as Hadley radiosonde and satellite MSU, and land surface temperature proxies.
The NIPCC authors conclude in response to the SPM:
It is likely that the HadCRUT temperature record underestimates the impact of urban heat islands [in falsely exaggerating] surface temperature records….[Moreover,] the post-1950 warming shown by the Hadley record is of about the same magnitude and rate as the known natural warming between 1910 and 1940, and is therefore not unprecedented.
Bell added in his October 15 commentary, “In reality, the earth has been warming ever since it began thawing out from the Little Ice Age around 1850, and temperatures are still cooler than those that have prevailed about 90% of the time over the past 10,000 years.”
Among Climate Change Reconsidered II’s conclusions:
Neither the rate nor the magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979-2000) lay outside natural variability, nor was it in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climate history. Furthermore, solar forcings of temperature change are likely more important than is currently recognized, and evidence is lacking that a 2 degree C increase in temperature (of whatever cause) would be globally harmful.
Indeed, the only demonstrated impact of increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 so far have been positive for human life, if not all life on the planet. In particular, that includes increased agricultural output, valued at $3.2 trillion over the period 1961 to 2011, and probable slight resulting increases in global temperatures.
Richard Lindzen is Professor of Atmospheric Sciences emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There is no climate scientist in the world with a better professional pedigree than Lindzen. It was his apparent understanding of the quality of the climate science peddled by the IPCC and its cohorts that led him to write his recent article, “Science in the Public Square: Global Climate Alarmism and Historical Precedents.”
Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly. It also has been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions. How can one escape from the Iron Triangle (ambiguous statements from scientists translated into alarmism by advocates and the media, with politicians responding by feeding the scientists taxpayer money) when it produces flawed science that is enormously influential and is forcing catastrophic public policy.
There are past examples. In the U.S. in the early 20th century, the eugenics movement had coopted the science of human genetics and was driving a political agenda. The movement achieved the Immigration Restriction Act of 1923, as well as forced sterilization laws in several states. The movement became discredited by Nazi atrocities, but the American consequences survived well into the 1960s.
In the Soviet Union, Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898-1976) promoted the Lamarckian view of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. It fit with Stalin’s megalomaniacal insistence on the ability of society to remold nature….However, opposition within the Soviet Union remained strong, despite ruthless attempts to suppress dissenters….
Global warming differs from the previous two affairs. Global warming has become a religion. A surprisingly large number of people seem to have concluded that all that gives meaning to their lives is the belief that they are saving the planet by paying attention to their carbon footprint. There may be a growing realization that this may not add that much meaning to one’s life, but outside the pages of the Wall Street Journal, this has not been widely promulgated, and people with no other source of meaning will defend their religion with jihadist zeal.
In contrast to Lysenkoism, Global Warming has a global constituency, and has successfully coopted almost all of institutional science. However, the cracks in the scientific claims for catastrophic warming are, I think, becoming much harder for the supporters to defend.
Lindzen concludes that the previous examples of the eugenics movement and Lysenkoism lasted 20 to 30 years, which is about equal to the run of the global warming movement since its American rollout in 1988. He suggests that the global warming movement may be just about spent as well.
Coming revelations concerning the scientific fraud behind global warming will confirm Lindzen’s estimation. The first of these relate to the growing, ultimately yawning disparity between the temperature projections of the IPCC’s 73 global climate models, and the observed temperatures in the real world, over the past 30 years, as shown in the graph below. The actual atmospheric temperatures as recorded by U.S. weather satellites and w
eather 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 divergence is already approaching a full degree Celsius, which already demonstrates that the models are more fairy tale than science. But in the coming years that divergence will only grow and grow, ultimately not only discrediting but falsifying the theory of anthropogenic, catastrophic global warming.
The second relates to the growing specter of global cooling. Lawrence Solomon reports in the Financial Post in an article published on October 31, “Global Cooling Consensus”:
‘Real Risk of a Maunder Minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ announced the BBC this week, in reporting startling findings by Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University. ‘Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years [raising the risk of a new Little Ice Age]…, explained Paul Hudson, the BBC’s climate correspondent. If Earth is spared a new Little Ice Age, a severe cooling as ‘occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and cold summers is, according to him, ‘more likely than not to happen.
During the Little Ice Age, the Sun became eerily quiet, as measured by a near disappearance of the sunspots typically present. Solar scientists around the world today see similar conditions, giving impetus to the widespread view that cold times lie ahead. ‘When we have had periods where the Sun has been quieter than usual we tend to get these much harsher winters’ echoed climatologist Dennis Wheeler from Sunderland University, in a Daily Express article entitled ‘Now get ready for an ‘Ice Age’ as experts warn of Siberian winter ahead.’
Solomon cites further authorities, continuing:
In a paper published this month by the American Meteorological Society, the authors demolish the claims by IPCC scientists that the Sun could not be responsible for major shifts in climate. In a post on her website this month, Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, all but mocked the IPCC assertions that solar variations don’t matter. Among the many studies and authorities she cited: the National Research Council’s recent report, ‘The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,’ and NASA, former home of global warming guru James Hansen.
Solomon reported that in a January press release, “To bolster the argument that solar activity could explain the Little Ice Age as well as lesser changes, NASA listed some dozen authorities, including Dan Lubin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, whose research on other sun-like stars in the Milky Way suggest that ‘the Sun’s influence could be overpowering.'”
Solomon further reports, “In the last two years, the scientific community’s openness to examining the role of the Sun in climate change – as opposed to the role of man – has exploded.” That includes “scientists at the Russian Academy of Science’s Pulkovo Observatory, whose predictions in the last decade that global cooling would start in this decade are looking especially prescient.” It also includes George Kukla of Columbia University, who explained in 2007, “None of us expected uninterrupted continuation of the [cooling] trend [of the 1960s and 1970s]. Solomon concludes, “Global warming always precedes an ice age, Kukla explained. The warming we saw in the 1980s and 1990s, in other words, was expected all along, much as the calm before the storm.”
In other words, global warming is starting to sound a lot like Obama promising that under Obamacare if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance, or if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, or that Obamacare would cause the cost of health insurance to go down, or provide for universal coverage.
The bottom line is that America dodged a bullet in the 2000 Florida recount. Because in an October 29 Wall Street Journal commentary, Al Gore sounds like he has gone mad with his grand delusions as personal global savior. Gore tries to warn investors about a coming subprime carbon asset bubble, where fossil fuel investments will be dangerously overpriced, because most investors are overlooking the risk of global warming to investments in fossil fuel assets. He cites a “Carbon Budget” calculated by the “International Energy Agency,” which supposedly means that “at least two-thirds of fossil fuel reserves will not be monetized…, creating ‘stranded carbon assets.” He warns investors to look out for “sociopolitical pressures (e.g., fossil-fuel divestment campaigns, environmental advocacy, grass roots protests and changing public opinion) [which] could create an environment in which carbon-intensive businesses could lose their ‘license to operate,’ thereby stranding assets.”
All of which spells opportunity to me. By all means, investors, look out for those fossil fuel divestment campaigns and grass roots protests, which would signal that fossil fuel investments had become artificially undervalued. In other words, take such developments as buy signals. And if any of you want to divest yourselves of the social burden of fossil fuel investments, just send title to those investments to me, care of Forbes magazine.