Whatever Happened to Global Warming?
Article audio sponsored by The John Birch Society

Judge: Counselor, do you have anything to say before I pronounce sentence on the accused?

Attorney: Yes, your honor. Might I remind you that the victim my client was accused of murdering showed up earlier and is very much alive, sitting there in the front row?

Judge: Sir, this court does not deal in trivialities.

Attorney: But your honor, I’d respectfully suggest that since there is no victim, there has been no crime and my client is obviously innocent.

Judge: Counselor, you are very close to being in contempt of this court. I am the one who determines guilt or innocence here and your client is going to hang.

Attorney: But judge …

In 1970, I recall New Orleans schoolchildren taking a 185-mile field trip to Jackson, Mississippi, so students might experience something they had never seen before: snow. This year they didn’t have to bother, as Southern Louisiana was blanketed with four inches of the white stuff, the first major snow in 45 years, and only two inches shy of the all-time record of six inches set in 1895. It was also the earliest snow since record keeping began in 1850.

Not to be outdone, Las Vegas checked in with what local meteorologist Jerome Jacquest said was the most snow since 1979. With no snow removal or de-icing equipment, the airport was closed along with most roads. Gambling, however, was not affected.

Snow wasn’t the only problem. Freezing temperatures in Denver set a new low of minus 18, eclipsing a record from 1901. White Sulfur Springs, Montana, reported 29 below, shredding the previous record mark of minus 17, set in 1922. For the week of December 15, 2008 alone, HAM Weather Service reports 1,537 record low temperatures in the United States and 1,110 record snowfalls — not exactly what one would expect while on the way to climate catastrophe owing to global warming.

Weather watchers know this isn’t just an anomaly or freak occurrence. For the past 10 years, the summers have been cooler and the winters more severe. In Little Rock, for example, a chart in the newspaper shows there have been five consecutive months with average temperatures below normal. Since Little Rock is situated near the geographical center of the country, one would suspect that this is not an unusual condition, and indeed, such a suspicion is borne out by satellite measurements that cover the entire globe and are not subject to the "urban heat island" effect that has been shown to add as much as 10°F to recording stations in urban areas as compared to rural counterparts. An NBC crew sent out to show the Northwest Passage was ice free had their icebreaker stranded for three weeks because of thick ice.

With such obvious disputations of "global warming," one might also suspect that the convictions of some honest, objective members of the weather establishment would begin to waver — after seeing the victim alive and sitting in the courtroom.

Tip of the Iceberg

And in fact, it is apparent that more than just a few experts are wavering. When the news was reported of a British court announcing that Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was unfit for school "because it is politically biased and contains scientific inaccuracies and sentimental mush," CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano — who was off-camera preparing to give the weather report — applauded and said, "Finally, finally!" He was particularly incensed that Gore blamed Hurricane Katrina on anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW). During the period of December marked by low temperatures, mentioned above, CNN severe-weather expert Chad Meyer commented during Lou Dobbs Tonight, "You know, to think we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant."

In a July 18, 2008 widely circulated article entitled "No Smoking Hot Spot," Australian Greenhouse Office scientist David Evans came out of the global-warming skeptics’ closet. Although having written the carbon accounting model used to measure Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, Evans was wrestling with a problem: the greenhouse-gas signature is missing. If CO2 is the cause of global warming, then it must be absorbing solar energy and warming the air, which in turn warms the surface. Both alarmists and skeptics agree that all models predict a "hot spot" at 10 kilometers above the tropics. But there is no such hot spot. Quoting Evans:

We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes — weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever. If there is no hot spot, then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature, then I would be an alarmist again.

The Rest of the Iceberg

A U.S. Senate minority report entitled More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims, subtitled Scientists Continue to Debunk "Consensus" in 2008, was released on December 11, 2008. [The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has made available a downloadable PDF of the full report at their website. Click on "White Papers and Reports"; the PDF is listed as "Senate Minority Report 2."] These 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the 52 government-supported scientists who gave us the 2007 Summary for Policy Makers — the abbreviated version of the climate assessment by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — to which the major media looks adoringly for news about global warming. (There were, however, diplomats from 115 countries aiding the IPCC, making sure the warnings produced the greatest gloom and fear.)

The Senate report includes names, biographies, academic institutional affiliations, and quotes from hundreds of international scientists who have publicly dissented against man-made climate fears. Here are a few condensed remarks typical of the group as a whole:

• "I am a skeptic…. Global warming has become a new religion." — Nobel Prize winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

• "Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly…. As a scientist I remain skeptical…. The main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system." — Atmospheric scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been named "among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years."

• Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in … history…. When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." — UN IPCC Japanese scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning Ph.D. environmental physical chemist.

• "The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds…. I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists." — Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia of Punjab University, a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

• "So far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming." — Scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland, author of 200 scientific publications, and former Greenpeace member.

• "Anyone who claims that the debate is over and the conclusions are firm has a fundamentally unscientific approach to one of the most momentous issues of our time." — Solar physicist Dr. Pal Brekke, senior adviser to the Norwegian Space Centre in Oslo. Brekke has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the sun and solar interaction with the Earth.

• "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming." — U.S. Government atmospheric scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

• "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" — Geologist Dr. David Gee, the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130-plus peer-reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

• "The ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society’s activities." — Award-winning NASA astronaut/geologist and moonwalker Jack Schmitt, who flew on the Apollo 17 mission and is formerly of the Norwegian Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey.

International Panel on Climate Change

The IPCC, the entity that has generated the go-to documents that politicians and most media turn to for global-warming proclamations, doesn’t have the credibility of the dissenters. The IPCC was formed in 1988 by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization. It is a single-purpose, single-interest organization. The entire reason for the IPCC’s being is to provide evidence for anthropogenic global warming. Had it not been for the IPCC’s activities, it is unlikely you would have ever heard the terms "global warming" or "climate change."

The IPCC has issued four "assessments" about the likelihood of AGW — in 1991, 1996, 2001, and 2007 — and the likely effects around the world should catastrophic warming occur. These assessments are typically 800 pages or so in length and (except for the last one) without indices, making them virtually worthless for any but the most dedicated reader. But one might not bother reading them anyway, as the importance of the reports is completely eclipsed by the "Summary for Policy Makers" (SPM) — or as some would suggest, Summary by Policy Makers. This document is what is released to the media and, as we shall see, is often quite different from the report itself.

Let us look at how the IPCC "Summary for Policy Makers" handled the assessments written by committees of scientists. The following are statements from the original document of the second IPCC report (1996), which had been approved by the scientific writers’ committees. The first statement says: "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."

That’s pretty clear, so how about this one: "No study to date has positively attributed all or part (of climate change observed to date) to anthropogenic (manmade) causes."

There’s not any waffling there, so let’s look at one more: "Any claims of positive change of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total nature variability of the climate system are reduced."

As Al Gore would say, that is "UN-EE-QUIV-o-cal."

Yet the three statements above were removed by the political influences, and in their place was substituted: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate."

The late Professor Frederick Seitz, the former president of the National Academy of Sciences, in a June 12, 1996 letter to the Wall Street Journal, accused the IPCC of censoring the scientific content of the assessment report to agree with a position favored by bureaucrats, governments, and NGOs. Said Seitz: "I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the re-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report."

The bias of the IPCC was established by the lead editor of the first three IPCC reports, Sir John Houghton, who set the tone for the organization with the statement, "Unless we announce disaster, no one will listen." If you’ve been hired by the United Nations to provide evidence of global warming, you can’t be pussyfooting around with statements that suggest it is not only unproven but well might not be happening at all. One is certainly comforted by such objectivity.

The IPCC and the Temperature Record

There is general agreement that the last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago. With the temperature some 20°F below today’s norms and continuing that way for about 100,000 years, some 400 feet of the oceans’ depth evaporated, fell as snow, was compressed into ice and covered the Northern United States to an estimated depth of one mile. With intermittent backslides and pauses, the Earth has generally been warming since that time. Yet the warming alarmists would have us believe that the warming that we have experienced recently is unprecedented, human-caused, and likely catastrophic. Oh really?

About 7,000 years ago, a warm period known as the Holocene Optimum coincided with the time that agriculture arose worldwide that, in turn, ushered in the Bronze Age. It is a period the IPCC simply ignores, as temperatures then were much warmer than their worst predictions under CO2-generated warming, yet catastrophe did not ensue. Polar bears had been around for the previous 190,000 years and survived the Holocene Optimum quite nicely, thank you very much.

After a few ups and downs, another warm period called the Roman Optimum is considered by historians to be a large factor in the rise of the Roman civilization, as society had the ability to produce more food than required to sustain the farmers, thus allowing others to construct the infrastructure of roads, buildings, and aqueducts upon which the empire was built. The Dark Ages, on the other hand, may not have been dark, but they were cold.

Then warmth came back in the form of what we call the Medieval Warm Period in about 950 A.D., known by historians as the Age of the Cathedrals. The Medieval Warm Period presents problems for alarmists because it can’t be simply ignored. It is easy to prove that it was warmer than today. Not only do temperature proxies such as ice cores show it, but the flourishing Viking civilization on Greenland confirms it. Land that today is frozen solid then supported cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats for the "settlers."

Existence of the Greenland civilization is a source of embarrassment to the global warmers as it leads to a logical inconsistency:

Q. Was Greenland warmer during the period 950 A.D. to 1450 A.D. than it is today?

A. Without question. Crops and pastures were grown where today is permanently frozen ground.

Q. Could this be a localized temperature anomaly?

A. Only if such an anomaly can stay around for approximately 500 years.

Q. Were port cities such as London and Venice flooded by high sea levels during this period of high temperatures — temperatures several degrees higher than today?

A. No. [The Tower of London was built in 1078 A.D. on the north bank of the River Thames, a few feet above the high tide mark. Today it remains a few feet above the high tide mark.]

Q. So why would one expect them to be flooded today if temperatures rose considerably, to the level that would allow agriculture again in Greenland?

A. Duh. Because Al Gore said so?

Sadly for our ancestors, the warm climate didn’t last. Europe experienced a prolonged cold, wet spell, causing crop failures and famine. Always being on the verge of starvation resulted in a general weakness that is thought to have prolonged and exacerbated the "black death," which killed approximately half of Europe’s population. This cool period — from which many climatologists consider the Earth to be still emerging — is known as the Little Ice Age. It too is a difficult period to explain away, as there are records of "frost fairs" on the Thames in London from the early 1600s to 1814, with ice on the order of 11 inches thick supporting tents, wagons, and even a visiting elephant. Since temperatures obviously have been increasing for several hundred years, is it so unusual for them to still be increasing? (Except that they’re not.)

In North America the weather was cold enough for New York harbor to freeze so that one could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island. During the Civil War, army reports indicated that in Little Rock, for several weeks each year, wagon teams could cross the iced-over Arkansas River, something no one alive today has ever seen.

The period between about 1645 and 1715 was particularly cold and coincides with the Maunder Minimum, where only about 50 sunspots appeared, compared to an expectation of from 40,000 to 50,000. (More sunspots mean greater solar activity. See sidebar on page 16.)

Summing up, the Medieval Warm Period was far warmer than the temperatures global-warming alarmists expect us to reach, without any of the catastrophes predicted by alarmists, and the Little Ice Age clearly shows that Earth had a cold spell from which it has been warming for some 200 years, benefiting plant, animal, and human existence on Earth. Enter the "hockey stick."

The Hockey Stick

The term "hockey stick" refers to the shape of a 1998 graph of temperature versus time as displayed by global warmers Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcom Hughes. It performs several amazing functions for the alarmists, namely:

• Eliminates the Medieval Warm Period;

• Eliminates the Little Ice Age; and

• Shows recent temperatures to be rising catastrophically.

It was a blessing for the IPCC and, according to Christopher Monckton — writer and producer of the informative and entertaining video Apocalypse? NO! [Apocalypse? NO! is available from the Science & Public Policy Institute, http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/.] — the hockey stick was used in full color no fewer than six times in the 2001 IPCC assessment report.

Unfortunately for Mann et al., two Canadians were suspicious of their results and finally were able to obtain sufficient information to challenge the methodology that produced the "convenient" graph. Businessman Steven McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick examined the construction and use of the data set of proxies for past climate that Mann had used to estimate the temperature from 1400 to 1980 and found collation errors, unjustified truncation and extrapolation, use of obsolete data, and calculation mistakes.

Global alarmists challenged the challengers, and the matter was taken to the Academy of Sciences and to a panel headed by Edward Wegman of George Mason University, commissioned by the U.S. Congress. Both referees found in favor of McIntyre over Mann. The Wegman panel fully endorsed the findings of McIntyre and McKitrick. "The NAS panel," as Christopher Horner puts it in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming, "specifically repudiated three-fourths of Mann’s record, specifically accused the IPCC of misrepresentation, and specifically accused the Mann team of down-playing historical uncertainties." Nonetheless, the once-proud and respected Nature magazine brazenly opined, "Academy affirms hockey-stick graph."

All of these investigations had been completed and were well known by early summer of 2006. Nonetheless, Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, not released until late November 2006, used the hockey stick as the centerpiece of his argument.

Goodbye Free-market Capitalism

If the IPCC and internationalists everywhere were content to let global warming remain an object of discussion and monitoring, its pronouncements would likely inspire the same type of humor as that elicited by an eccentric old uncle who tells about inventing the light bulb and sailing on the Titanic, but such is not the case. They want (demand) worldwide changes – decreasing levels of CO2 emissions through a worldwide cap-and-trade system for CO2. It is difficult to imagine any policy more destructive to our economy than "cap and trade." Today’s bailouts are horrid and give government an equity stake in businesses — about as socialist as you can get. But "cap and trade" would gut the very system that has made the United States the wealthiest country in the world.

While there are a number of plans under discussion, most have the same basic elements:

• The government, or governments, would issue "carbon certificates" allowing a commercial or industrial user to consume a specified amount of carbon-based fuel. [Programs to extend this to individuals are already well underway in EU countries.] The total amount would be less than the currently used amount, making these instruments instantly valuable. If, for example, a manufacturer desired to expand or continue production (since the number of existing credits would be continually reduced to meet some Kyoto-type protocol), he would be required to purchase them from another manufacturer or on "the open market."

• The "open market" — the reason Ken Lay and Enron were such fans of global-warming alarmism — could be anywhere in the world. A self-coronated potentate from Cowabunga, Africa, might sell the credits he is given by an international body for not destroying a rain forest (formerly known as a jungle) to an American entrepreneur who wanted to open a shoestring repair business. Or an up-and-coming corporate executive might see a huge profit from moving his manufacturing plant to a Third World country (with no carbon certificate requirements), benefiting nicely from sales of the carbon credits obtained by closing his U.S.-based manufacturing plant.

The possibilities for corruption are endless. It would make all U.S. enterprises beggars to controllers of the carbon-credit apparatus. Carbon producers would become de jure criminals, and de facto criminals would become rich and powerful. Competition for the ever-decreasing credits would increase their value and the power the issuers had over our entire energy-dependent economy.

But in Our Arsenal …

Saving the day may be a new organization, the NIPCC — the NON-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change. It has hundreds of scientists with varying backgrounds to show its objectivity. With bulldog Dr. S. Fred Singer at the helm, one should feel confident that the position of skeptics to climatic catastrophe will be well upheld.

Underpinning the global realism rebellion is the Petition Project of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Now with signed petitions from over 31,000 scientists with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but including over 9,000 Ph.D.s, it is a force to be reckoned with now and in the future as the battle lines are drawn between skeptics and alarmists. For more information or to check on qualifications go to www.petitionproject.org.

If you want to hear from the finest minds on the subject of climate change, you should hurry to make reservations for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the Heartland Institute in New York City on March 8-10. For the second year, TNA plans to be there for interviews with national and international speakers. For more information or reservations, contact ncomerford@heartland.org or call 312-377-4000.

Humor: Bane of the Absurd

More and more people worldwide are asking, "Hey, I’m freezing my buns off and the weather is getting cooler every year. But I’m going to have to change my lifestyle and reduce my standard of living because 52 scientist-lackeys say that carbon dioxide is causing global warming? Give me a break." The emperor has no clothes, and it’s up to us to reinforce what is already known. Let us take every opportunity to ask, "Whatever Happened to Global Warming?" and at the same time point out that it’s not a sin against the planet to drive an SUV or burn a peat bog. And — one last fact — in geologic time, our present level of CO2 is relatively low compared to earlier levels that were some 12 times the amount of concern to alarmists. Plants were very happy then, and oceans didn’t boil away. Remember, plants thrive on CO2 — "Trees Love SUVs."

Not So Fun in the Sun

How Solar Activity Affects Temperatures on Earth

If CO2 didn’t cause the warming we experienced through the 1990s, what did cause it? In 1801 astronomer William Herschel, discoverer of the planet Uranus and of infrared radiation, is said to have predicted the price of grain from counting the number of observable sunspots. When the sunspots increased, the weather warmed and the price of grain came down. During periods of low activity, the weather cooled, crops diminished, and the price rose. The relationship between solar activity and temperature has been noted for years, but the increase in solar irradiance can be shown to be too small to account for significant changes in temperature. However, the correlation was far too close to be coincidental and is a far better correlation to Earth’s temperature record than CO2 as a climate forcing agent. It seems we were looking in the wrong direction. In 2004, Nir Shaviv and Jan Vetzer of the Hebrew University showed empirical evidence that "cosmic ray flux" had an impact on climate variability.

Though increases and decreases in solar irradiance wouldn’t directly produce Earth’s measured temperature changes, solar activity appears to have an indirect effect. A supernova sends out swarms of cosmic rays (mostly protons and electrons) that cause small particles in our atmosphere to attract one another, becoming nuclei for cloud formations high in the atmosphere. During periods of high solar activity, solar winds and magnetic fields act to block these cosmic intruders and prevent the formation of clouds. As high clouds reflect sunlight, preventing their formation increases the radiation reaching the surface and increases the global temperature. In other words, high solar activity, evidenced by sunspots, disrupts cloud formation, thus allowing more solar heating of the Earth.

The ’90s were a period of high solar activity, but this has slowed down. In fact, it has virtually stopped. The total solar irradiance, as reported by NASA’s David Hathaway, is at the lowest point on record — although the record is only a few decades long. Furthermore, sunspots migrate across the sun as the sunspot (solar) cycle matures. Usually a new sunspot cycle would have already been active by this time — but it hasn’t started. This is very bad news for the global-warming alarmists, as the data show this is the precursor of a cooling trend. Actually, it is not such good news for skeptics either, as colder weather is much more dangerous and uncomfortable than warmer weather for many reasons. Personally, I’m not a big fan of driving a team of horses across a frozen Arkansas River.