Friday, December 04, 2009

A decade of global warming propaganda

I have studied the global warming crowd for almost fifteen years. More than ten years ago I wrote a cover story for BrainstormNW Magazine that went through my own journey of discovery about the global warming issue, during which I realized that it was nothing more than a large scale scam.

I went back and read the article the other day, and I was struck by how little has changed in the debate over the decade. They are still making the same arguments, and still have the same gaping holes in their theory, that they did ten years ago.

It is satisfying to see the basic integrity of the global warming crowd finally destroyed with the CRU e-mail scandal. It is long, long overdue.

I've pasted the complete article below. It is long, but I don't have another site to put it on and link it to.


Global Warming: The Trojan Horse of environmental scares

By Rob Kremer
April, 1998

I’m just a citizen like anybody else. I have no particular expertise in the field of science, no knowledge of the sub-science of climatology. I have always been as concerned about the environment as the next guy; I recycle.

In the early part of this decade I started hearing about the Greenhouse Effect. It brought back faint memories for me; I remember learning about it in grade school: diagrams of the sunlight penetrating the atmosphere, a large arrow bouncing off the earth, back up to the atmosphere, then back down again to the surface of the earth . Trapping heat.

So when the greenhouse effect came back onto my radar screen in the early 1990’s, I had some visceral understanding. Sure. I knew about this. It was hardly a shock. We had been pumping fossil fuel exhaust into the air for 200 years. Finally the science of measuring gasses in the atmosphere caught up with the reality of what we had been doing to it since the industrial revolution. It was intuitively obvious. Our neglect finally came home to roost.

I remember the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Or, at least, I remember the reports. All the nations got together to talk about what they were going to do about this global problem. Everyone was there, and it mostly pointed at us: The United States. We consume most of the world’s fossil fuels. We’ve added more greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere than anyone, and put all the other nations at risk. Every nation signed an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions; at least, every nation but the U.S.

Taking steps to limit our emissions seemed pretty responsible. I’m an economist by training, and I recognize an externality when I see one. A cost of production borne by people not involved in the transaction. Here we had an externality on a global scale. Not just a company polluting a river, forcing the cost of making their widgets onto those unfortunate souls downstream, but a global community unable to stop the unbridled consumption of fossil fuels by an economy showing little restraint, almost obscene in its affluence, little concerned about the effects of its bingeing.

So the issue of global warming appealed to my then-limited awareness and understanding of environmental issues, and it also assuaged a certain cultural guilt I carry around, a feeling that the U.S. is too affluent, too prosperous for its own good, and in some sense our good fortune has been gained at the expense of the rest of the world.

And so as information about the global warming issue started to penetrate the background noise of popular culture, I started to pay some attention. I asked a few questions:

Was the globe actually warming up? Is the human population causing it? Is the U.S. to blame? Can we stop it?


I’m an inquisitive sort. I started to look into the various claims so I could talk with some degree of knowledge about the issue. I didn’t want to rely exclusively upon the inherently superficial information given by popular media. To be honest, I get a bit nervous when some of the more extreme groups insist upon draconian changes in our lifestyle to solve one or another crisis. I remember the "global cooling" crisis of the 1970’s, and the "population explosion" predictions of mass starvation by Paul Erlich. I remember the alar scare, "acid rain", and the billions we spent removing asbestos. All based far more on politics than science. Was global warming another of these?

As H.L. Mencken once said: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed - and hence clamorous to be led to safety - by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Was global warming just another hobgoblin?

I had no particular standing or background in scientific matters, and so I approached the subject with some degree of trepidation, expecting to be confronted with an avalanche of highly technical data pertaining to subjects about which I know nothing. But, I went ahead and started reading.
I found that the data is not all that hard to evaluate. It’s not that complicated. It wasn’t really hard to understand the claims being made and the veracity of the data and analyses behind them.

What I Found

The point of departure for the global warming issue is an empirical fact upon which all parties in the debate agree: the presence of CO2 in the upper atmosphere has increased by about 25% over the last 250 years.

Also of relative non-controversy is the empirical data that show the globe has warmed about one degree Fahrenheit over the last 100 years. The data are thought to be biased a bit upward, and adjustments have lowered the estimates somewhat.

So far so good. We have an increase in atmospheric CO2 and a measurable (albeit slight) warming over the last century. Are they related?

Climatologists try to answer this question with their Global Climate Models (GCM’s) which attempt to model the earth’s weather and thereby be able to isolate the effects of changes in one variable. If they had a robust and accurate model of the climate, we could easily evaluate the effect of an increase in atmospheric CO2.

Many models have been developed and refined over the last 15 years. The earlier versions spit out a result that said if atmospheric CO2 continues to increase, by the year 2100 the earth will heat up by 8 degrees Celsius.

This caused a lot of alarm, though when the models were refined and improved they lowered the estimates of warming caused by increases in CO2. The current state of the models predict about 1 ½ - 4 degrees celsius warming by the year 2100.

So the models predict that the relationship between atmospheric CO2 and average global temperature is causal. Increases in CO2 cause the temperature of the globe to increase. If we want to stop the warming trend, stop the increase in CO2. It’s simple. But is it correct?

Testing the Hypothesis

The Global Climate Models give us a good hypothesis: increases in CO2 cause increases in temperature. Have they tested this hypothesis?

Yes, they have. In a number of ways. For the last twenty years, scientists have collected temperature data from satellites and weather balloons. Their data agree totally. The result: over the last 20 years, the globe has suffered a very slight cooling.

Also, from the 100 year temperature record it is revealed that almost all of the 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature occurred in the first 50 years of the century, while by far the most man-caused CO2 emissions took place in the last half of the century. This tends to refute the global warming hypothesis.

Wait a minute! Here I was trying to inform myself about this impending global catastrophe, and my earliest efforts revealed compelling evidence that the global warming hypothesis had been scientifically tested and found wanting.

Was I missing something? These data are readily available. It doesn’t take a scientist to understand them. So why was global warming still an issue? Did there exist data I had not yet found? Why did I keep hearing about an international consensus among scientists, some of them Nobel Prize winners?

I dug a little further, and started to pay more attention to what the commonly quoted "experts" were saying. I started to smell a rat.

Just what are greenhouse gasses, anyway? A greenhouse gas is a gas whose thermal properties are such that it retains heat when sunlight shines upon it. There are several such gasses found in our atmosphere, but by far, the most common of these is water vapor, good old H2O. In fact, the amount of H2O in our atmosphere dwarfs all the other greenhouse gasses. Of all the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, around 95% is H2O, and only 2% is CO2.

Of course no one claims that mankind is causing an increase in H2O in the atmosphere; most of it comes from evaporation of the oceans. But if CO2 accounts for only 2% of greenhouse gasses, why are we worried about marginal increases?

Further, of the CO2 in the atmosphere, human activity accounts for only a small percentage. Most CO2 enters the atmosphere from natural processes. Man causes only about 5%, from activities such as fossil fuel burning and breathing.

Wait another minute! CO2 accounts for only 2% of all greenhouse gasses, and of that, only 5% is caused by human activity. This means that our fossil fuel consumption and all the other activities that the global warming crowd is trying to limit causes a grand total of 1/10th of 1% of greenhouse gasses.

Climate History

Is it true that the earth is warmer now then it has ever been before? Not hardly. Scientists know a lot about the historical climate record from analyzing fossils and deep ice layers. They know the earth’s climate is cyclical, going from ice-age to warming to ice age.

The earth’s temperature now, far from being abnormally high, is below the global average of the last 3,000 years. In fact, during the past 3,000 years, there have been five extended periods when the Earth was distinctly warmer than today.

But how about the CO2 level? Is our current level dangerously high, as some insist, or is that cyclical as well?

No, there have been many periods in the earth’s history during which atmospheric CO2 was far higher than today’s levels. "Carbon dioxide concentrations may have been up to sixteen times higher about 60 million years ago." writes Thomas Gale Moore, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Then why should we be concerned about the current level? If we know that the globe was both warmer and had higher CO2 levels before mankind was around, why would we assume the current level of CO2 has anything to do with human activity?

The Kyoto Treaty

And what about this treaty that was agreed to last December in Kyoto? The big issue there was not whether the data indicated global warming was a reality, or whether human activity was causing it. That these were true was assumed.

The data don’t matter" says Chris Folland of the UK Meteorological Office, at a meeting in North Carolina. "We’re not basing our recommendations [for immediate reductions in CO2 emissions] upon the data. We’re basing them upon the climate models."

There you have it. The data don't matter!

In Kyoto, since they blindly accepted the global warming dogma, the main issue was whether every country would be bound by the proposed CO2 emission reductions, or if they would let the "developing countries" off the hook. Last year the Senate sent a strong message to the Clinton administration in a 95-0 vote on a resolution that said they would not ratify any treaty that bound the US to CO2 emission limits unless all the countries were bound to the same reductions.

Nevertheless, Al Gore, in a well publicized cameo appearance in Kyoto, authorized the US negotiators to agree to a treaty that failed to meet this standard. The U.S. agreed in Kyoto to reduce CO2 emissions to 7% percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12, but countries like China, Korea, Brazil, and Indonesia had no such mandate.

The likely instrument to achieve the reduction would be a carbon tax imposed upon all forms of fossil fuel consumption. This would be hugely expensive. A recent DRI/McGraw Hill study estimated that the government would have to increase gas taxes by more than 60 cents a gallon and double the price of heating oil just to hold carbon emissions at 1990 levels. They project that over the next 14 years more than 500,000 Americans annually would lose their jobs if proposed climate change commitments were implemented. A 1990 study by the Congressional Budget Office concluded such a limit would "risk several years of economic stagnation and high unemployment."

Why would we do this? Decreasing CO2 emissions as called for in the treaty would have the effect of reducing global greenhouse gasses by less than 1/100th of 1%. Even if we completely stopped all fossil fuel consumption (park your cars, everyone) the resulting decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere would not even be detectable with our current instrumentation.

Official Deceit

So what science is behind the Kyoto Treaty?

The recommendations are based upon reports issued by the IPCC, (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the United Nations science advisory group that arranged the Kyoto "Earth Summit" last December and its predecessor in 1992 in Rio.

The IPCC issued reports In 1990, and then again in 1996 outlining the current state of the global climate models and discussing evidence supporting them. The reports were written by a handful of government scientists, and they are advised by a large number of other scientists who contribute to and review various parts of the report.

The contributors are not necessarily involved in climate research, nor do most agree on the conclusions of the report. They send back their comments, which the IPCC often ignores entirely. Indeed, many of these scientists are outspoken critics of the conclusions made by IPCC. But the IPCC claims nevertheless that their report reflects a consensus.

After getting the input from the reviewers and finalizing the 1996 report, the IPCC wrote the "Policymaker’s Summary", which it released along with the full report. They knew that few in the press would wade through the 2000 page report if the Summary was on the top.

The Summary drastically overstated the case made in the report for the global warming hypothesis. It said "the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate."

This statement infuriated many scientists on the review panel. Very little in the report itself supported even such a cautious statement.

Worse, after finalizing the report the IPCC went back and altered the language in a key chapter (8) that deals with the empirical support for the global warming hypothesis. Now, usually report summaries reflect the conclusions of the report. But in this case, they appeared to change the contents of the report so that it would agree with the summary. Here are two statements they deleted:

"None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to . . . increases in greenhouse gases."

And

"No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes."

So we have the curious phenomenon of a supposedly scientific body, whose reports form the basis of dramatic and far reaching social and economic policies that are enforced by an international treaty, intentionally doctoring their own report so that it coincides with the conclusions they wished the data showed. All the while claiming the report reflects consensus.

The Manufactured Consensus

What about this consensus? I kept hearing that the scientists all agreed, global warming was real, and that human activity was the cause. But the evidence I had found either refuted or failed to support the global warming hypothesis.

I’m not a scientist, certainly not a climatologist, so how could I presume to make a judgement about the global warming hypothesis better than the consensus among scientists who make it their life study? How did this consensus come about? Did the climate scientists really agree? I dug a bit deeper still.

The consensus usually referred to is the agreement among the scientists who were involved with IPCC Reports. Involvement implies consensus, they say.

Not so, says Dr. Fred Singer:

"The [Policymaker’s]Summary is a political document put together by a handful of scientists who inevitably reflect the official positions of their governments. The claim that these [contributing] scientists are all in agreement is sheer nonsense. ..when they do speak out, when their opinions have been recorded, they express grave doubt about the main conclusion of the IPCC."

Singer, by the way, is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia, and runs the Science and Environmental Policy Project which he started after a long and award winning career in climate-related fields. His bonafides as a climate scientist are beyond dispute.
And he is not alone in dissent. Fifty-five of the world's most respected atmospheric scientists, in a "statement of principle" issued before the Rio UN Conference on global warming in 1992, said: "there is no consensus about the cause of the slight warming observed during the past century", and that "we are disturbed that activists, anxious to stop energy and economic growth, are pushing ahead with drastic policies without taking notice of recent changes in the underlying science".

Global warming advocates, however, have gone to great lengths to create the illusion of a consensus. The Union of Concerned Scientists circulated a petition in 1989 urging recognition of global warming as a great danger to mankind. It was eventually signed by about 700 scientists, many of them from the National Academy of Sciences, and some of them Nobel Laureates Only about 5 of the signees, however, had anything to do with climatology.

It’s pretty odd for scientists to take public stands upon issues not in their area of expertise. "Biologists and physicians are rarely asked to endorse some theory in high energy physics", writes Richard Lindzen in Regulation Magazine.

Also, the American Economic Association circulated a petition to its members that stated "preventative steps are justified" to deal with global climate change. Eventually 2,300 of the 20,000 members signed it. The organization didn’t mention what standing they had to make such a claim, nor how they would react if the National Academy of Sciences recommended policy changes justified by, say, "supply-side economics".

"Science doesn't operate by vote" says Dr. Singer. "Even if there were a consensus, if the consensus contradicts the facts, it's wrong."

In any case, if a consensus does exist, that consensus is that the global warming hypothesis is wrong:

Almost every state employs a state climatologist; they were recently surveyed, and 65% of them believed that human activity is not causing global warming.

  • A group of nearly 100 climate scientists signed the "Leipzig Declaration" in 1995 which objected to the conclusions drawn in the IPCC Policymakers Summary.

  • Dr. Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project surveyed the scientists involved with the 1996 IPCC Report and found that about half did not support the conclusion in the Policymakers' Summary.

  • Nearly 17,000 scientists, more than 2000 of them directly involved in climate-related fields, have signed a strongly worded petition objecting to the Kyoto Treaty. The Petition reads:
    "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other green house gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the earth".

Yet President Clinton claimed in his last state of the union address that "the vast majority of scientists have concluded unequivocally that if we don't reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, at some point in the next century we'll disrupt our climate and put our children and grandchildren at risk.."

And Vice President Al Gore writes in his book Earth In The Balance that "There really is no argument about these basic mechanisms. The argument – to the extent there is one anymore among reputable scientists – is instead… by those who are trying to justify a decision to do nothing."

These statements are factual misrepresentations. Lies.

Why do they insist that there is a consensus? Says Dr. Singer: "Since the theory has not been validated and cannot be validated, those who have a political agenda are trying to get around the scientific facts by claiming a consensus which in fact doesn't exist."

So it’s politics, not science, that drives the global warming agenda. The politics of radical environmentalism.

Trojan Horse

What do these people and groups have to gain? The global warming movement is the Trojan Horse of environmental scares. There’s something inside for everybody, and plenty of elbow room. The issue provides cover for a whole range of special interests, so a lot of groups use it to their advantage. Victory is too close to let little things like science and consensus get it in the way.

But first they must convince us to accept a regime of worldwide energy rationing, administered by the UN through a tax on CO2. Which is exactly what the Kyoto treaty proposes to put in place: a climate protocol controlling the use of energy.

The Kyoto treaty forwards an incredible number of prior agendas, which explains why so many groups are willing to ignore the science to see it ratified.

The undeveloped world sees the Kyoto treaty as almost too good to be true: by taxing energy consumption in the developed countries, productive capacity will shift to countries not bound by the treaty. Thus, the treaty enforces a transfer of wealth on a global scale, of unprecedented proportions.

The treaty is a politician’s dream: a tax so pervasive and far reaching that it can’t be evaded and will provide untold revenues for years to come.

Bureaucrats, both government and U.N. get what they crave: power. The power to decide who gets energy and how much. Better still: there’s no accountability. Unelected, not constrained by issues of sovereignty, they will be the globe's arbiters of productive capacity and living standards.

Environmental groups of all stripes and issues, from saving the rainforest, the salmon, the air, the water, the spotted owl, and the whales, see the treaty can advance their cause.

The most radical of these is the "Global Sustainability" crowd, of which Al Gore is the high priest. These people believe that the fragile earth cannot withstand the pace of human and economic development brought on by our "dysfunctional society", and so it must be slowed, to a "sustainable" level. And who decides what that level is? Why the ruling elite, of course. Preferably headed by Al Gore, President of the United States. (However Bill Clinton, Secretary General of the U.N., will still be his boss.)

Our Vice President believes that every one of our cultural institutions, from schools and churches to industry and commerce, should make eliminating man’s effect on the earth its single overriding goal. This means, he says "embarking on an all-out effort to use every policy and program, every law and institution, every treaty and alliance, every tactic and strategy, every plan and course of action to preserve and nurture our ecological system."

And if you don’t agree, or if you object to the abridged freedoms this would entail, there will be "terrible moral consequences". In the ultimate non-sequitir he compares the western ethic of production and consumption (that is, capitalism) to the totalitarian Nazi Germany war machine.

Whew! I thought we had a pretty simple question, here. Is human activity causing the globe to warm or is it not? It seemed to me that the data clearly failed to make a case for taking any action on the global warming hypothesis. But that makes me, according to Al Gore, immoral.

Al Gore sees the United States -- a country that freed an entire people to think and act without shackles, a country that by unleashing the power and creativity of the human mind’s productive capacity attained a level of prosperity that is without precedent in human history -- as the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany.

And then he negotiates and has the President sign a treaty that if enacted will do more to limit freedom than any single act in our nation’s history, because he claims, contrary to the science, it is necessary to "save the earth".

Brings to mind H.L. Mencken again, which pretty much explains the entire global warming issue: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."


Sidebars


They Said It - A few very special quotes revealing the true motive of global warming acolytes:


  • "We reject the idea of private property." -Peter Berle, Former President of the National Audubon Society

  • "It's easier to get funding if you can show some evidence for impending climate disasters. In the late 1970's it was the coming ice age. Who knows what it will be ten years from now. Sure, science benefits from scary scenarios." -Dr Roy Spencer, NASA, 1990 TV Interview

  • "We may get to the point where the ONLY WAY of saving the world will be for the industrial civilization to collapse". -Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the Rio Summit in 1992

  • "A global climate treaty must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the greenhouse effect." - Richard Benedict, State Department. employee working on assignment from the Conservation Foundation.

  • "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing - in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." - Undersecretary of Global Affairs Timothy Wirth (and former Senator from Colorado)

  • "The trouble with this idea is that planting trees [to consume CO2] will not lead to the societal changes we want to achieve." - Unidentified Kyoto delegate, Dec. 5, 1997

  • "The answer to global warming is in the abolition of private property and production for human need. A socialist world would place an enormous priority on alternative energy sources. This is what ecologically-minded socialists have been exploring for quite some time now." - Louis Proyect, Columbia University, Former head of Tecnica, an organization that sent technical aid to the Sandinistas in the 1980’s. Nov. 27, 1997

  • "We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. " -Stephen Schneider, an environmental activist, in Discover , Oct. '89

  • "What should be done ? The ideal approach would be scrap the whole fossil fuel economy, lock, stock, and parking garage." - Joseph Petulla, emeritus professor of Environmental Management, University of San Francisco (San Francisco Examiner, October 27 1997)

  • "... the deliberate quest of poverty . . . reduced resource consumption . . .and set levels of mortality control." - Maurice Strong, on what is required to achieve global sustainability

Doomsayers Vs Doomslayers


The doomsayers are the most vocal environmental advocates, both governmental and independent. The popular media loves to quote their cataclysmic predictions, even when they prove entirely wrong.

For example, Paul Erlich warned 20 years ago of the impending doom from the globe’s population explosion and the coming scarcity of natural resources that would cause mass starvation. None of it came true. Quite the contrary, natural resources are more abundant now than ever, and the world produces more food per capita than ever before. Yet the media still quotes dire predictions from Erlich, with total credulity of his credentials as a prognosticator.

Another example is Stephen Schneider, a former Stanford scientist. In the 1970’s, Schneidier wrote a book and went on tour warning about the coming ice age. Now, Schneider leads the charge against global warming, and his predictions are still widely quoted.

The following are a few Doomsayer predictions about the dire effects of global warming, alongside the more clearheaded and science-based views of the climatologists, who are rarely quoted in the popular media.

DOOMSAYERS:

Global Warming will cause the polar ice caps to melt, causing sea levels to rise up to 8 feet, drowning entire coastal cities.

DOOMSLAYERS:

If the globe warms, the atmosphere will hold more moisture, causing more precipitation. Because much of that precipitation will fall on the frozen poles, sea levels will fall slightly

DOOMSAYERS:

Global warming will cause a greater frequency of severe weather, more hurricanes and tornadoes.

DOOMSLAYERS:

Warmer temperatures are related to less extreme weather patterns, not more.

DOOMSAYERS:

Global Warming will bring widespread drought in now productive farmland areas.

DOOMSLAYERS:

Higher CO2 levels and warmer average temperatures would be a boon to wildlife and plant life. Forests would thrive, and the globe could sustain much more life than it can now.

DOOMSAYERS:

Epidemics will overrun the earth, and pest-borne diseases such as malaria spin out of control.
Epidemics like malaria are common only in impoverished areas.

DOOMSLAYERS:

The best way to control disease is to raise the standard of living in poor countries.

DOOMSAYERS:

The only way to save the planet is to decrease production and consumption, especially of fossil fuels. Only by tempering mankind’s urge to use nature for its own purposes can we ensure the environment will be sustained in a livable condition.

DOOMSLAYERS:

Environmental preservation is a "luxury good". Poor countries, especially in socialist or communist regimes that allow little private property, have horrid environmental conditions. Only wealthier countries have the available resources to direct to minimizing human impact on the environment. The best way to ensure a clean environment, far from curbing the natural human desire to improve living standards by creating wealth, is to encourage it.

3 comments:

Me said...

Excellent work for a layperson.

And to demonstrate your savvy and aquired expertise see how well this fits.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/04/a-devastating-response-to-theres-nothing-to-see-here-move-along/

It's a very well written piece by a climatologist responding to the current farce pitched by warmers that climategate is nothing to see.

Both yours and this current climatologist's peice should be delivered to every editorial board still dwelling in their delusion about AGW.

Joan from Chicago said...

Impressive indeed. Ten years ago you called BS on the climate scientists and Al Gore.

And you laid it out in a very systematic, convincing way. Ten years ago!

I am truly impressed.

Brian Campbell-sunspots said...

Climate change is mostly cyclical and the result of solar activity including sunspots. The Industrial Age did bring about a very little bit of warming. The problem is you don't ruin the world's economy, destroy jobs and destort the truth without much more factual information. Factual not fabricated.