There’s finally no longer any debate about it. Yup, climate really does change, we humans almost certainly have some influence, Planet Earth has indeed experienced a continuing upward temperature trend for some time. And, oh yes, more than 97% of all scientists clearly agree with both of these statements. In fact, every single skeptical scientist that I know does. Besides, all good scientists are supposed to be skeptical people.
And after all, isn’t “climate change” pretty obvious?
For example, while the Earth is warmer than it is at least 90% of the time, this includes our current experience ever since the beginning of a likely 12-15 thousand-year-long interglacial respite, the latest in a sequential pattern of Ice Ages typically lasting about 90,000 years.
As for continued warming, until recently we have been witnessing a pretty constant trend of temperature increases ever since the last “Little Ice Age” (not a true Ice Age) ended in about 1850. And although no one really knows how long global temperatures will remain flat as they have now for well more than a decade, let’s all hope that flat-line or resumed warming lasts a long time before the next really big chill arrives that lots of scientists predicted in the late 1970s.
And although they have never, ever, been measured or documented, who can argue that human activities have absolutely no influence…however teensy-weensy… one way or another…on climate?
Never mind that those flat-line temperatures we have been witnessing over the past 17 years have occurred at a time when atmospheric CO2 concentrations have hit a ballyhooed record level in 1,000 years. In fact even the UN’s IPCC is finally admitting that climate sensitivity to CO2 appears to be far less than their models predicted… while at the same time they are assuring everyone that they are even more certain than ever that we humans are responsible for more than half of all global warming.
But then if we’re being credited for influencing warming, isn’t it only logical and fair to say that we’re influencing periods of cooling too?
Let’s also remember that significant fluctuations are normal. In fact the past century has witnessed two distinct periods of warming and cooling. The first warming period occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn’t change much, they couldn’t have been the cause before 1950. The second, following a slight cool-down, began in 1975 and rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year…although this later warming is reported only by surface thermometers, not satellites, and is legitimately disputed by some. (There’s some background on this in my June 18 column.)
Incidentally, about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred before the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels since that time.
But then again, is that what that “settled science” debate was really about?
Have no doubt that there’s a concocted climate of confusion regarding what many alarmists would like to have you think most scientists agree about.
You have doubtless repeatedly heard a claim that 97% (or sometimes 98%) of all climate scientists believe in global warming. In fact I’ve even witnessed supposedly informed university “experts” drop that dopey ruse on audiences including peers who certainly should know better during lectures and debates. Ever wonder about the source and context of that nonsense?
It originated from an endlessly reported 2009 American Geophysical Union (AGU) survey consisting of an intentionally brief two-question online survey sent to 10,257 earth scientists by two researchers at the University of Illinois.
That anything-but-scientific survey asked two questions. The first: “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?” Few would be expected to dispute this. As previously mentioned, the planet began thawing out of the “Little Ice Age” in the middle 18th century, predating the Industrial Revolution. That was the coldest period since the last real Ice Age ended roughly 10,000 years ago.
The second question asked: “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” So what constitutes “significant”? Does “changing” include both cooling and warming… and for both “better” and “worse”? And which contributions…does this include land use changes, such as agriculture and deforestation? Of the about 3.000 who responded, 82% answered “yes” to the second question, which like the first, most people I know would also have agreed with.
No one has ever been able to even begin to measure human contributions to climate. Don’t ever think about buying a used car from anyone who claims they can.
Then of all of those who responded, only a small subset, just 77 who had been successful in getting more than half of their papers recently accepted by peer-reviewed climate science journals, were considered in their survey statistic. That “97% all scientists” referred to a laughably puny number of 75 of those 77 who answered “yes”.
Since 1998, more than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines, including more than 9,000 with Ph.D.s, have signed a public petition announcing their belief that “…there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Included are atmospheric physicists, botanists, geologists, oceanographers, and meteorologists.
Some chilling realities for alarmists.
When Senator Boxer (D-CA) held a hearing entitled “Climate Change: It’s Happening Now,” a key witness was former alarmist voice at the Weather Channel Dr. Heidi Cullen who claimed that “heavy downpours” have increased by 73% over recent decades due to global warming. Yet U.S. Geological Survey data show no such increase over the past 60 years. Then following deafening cacophony of crickets after Senator Vitter (R-LA) asked the panel of experts, “Can any witnesses say they agree with Obama’s statement that warming has accelerated during the past 10 years?”, Cullen admitted that global warming has slowed, not accelerated.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which the mainstream media depends on for a continuing supply of sufficiently scary and newsworthy stuff, now faces a chilling dilemma. They somehow have to reconcile preordained political conclusions in their 2013 Summary for Policymakers (AR-5) report with some not-quite-so-terrifying facts. They’ve even had to admit to a glaringly disconnect between their climate model projections and observed real-world trends resulting from some combination of (a) internal climate variability (Mother Nature); (b) missing or incorrect solar radiative forcing; and (c) model response error. IPCC also confesses in an obscure footnote that, “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”
But what about all that “Earth at the tipping-point” alarm attributed to a fossil-fueled CO2 menace? Wasn’t climate sensitivity supposed to be one of the most important parameters because it determines how much warming…or cooling… we can expect?
AR-5 even surpasses their former reports in statements ranging from patently dishonest, to artfully misleading. For example, the report states that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”
But as Dr. Don Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University, points out, “There just isn’t any nice way to say this – it’s an outright lie.” He notes that vast published literature shows that recent warming is not only not unusual, but more intense warming has occurred many times in past centuries and millennia. More than 20 such periods during the past five centuries are recorded in the Greenland GISP2 ice core, and temperatures during both the Medieval and Roman Warm periods were higher than the present.
And that melting polar ice that’s going to flood vast coastal areas? AR-5 asserts that: “Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent (high confidence). Actually, the Antarctic ice mass has not been losing mass. The East Antarctic ice sheet which contains about 90% of the Earth’s fresh water is not melting… it is expanding, as is Antarctic shelf ice. Only the West Antarctic Peninsula which contains less than 10% of Antarctic ice has lost mass. The South Pole has shown no warming since records began in 1957.
Although there was no mention of this by IPCC, Antarctic sea ice recently increased by about 1 million square kilometers. The extent of global sea ice has not diminished in recent decades. Arctic sea ice fluctuates normally, and after declining during the 1978-1998 period, it expanded in 2013.
And despite claiming “high confidence,” the statement that Northern Hemisphere snow cover has “continued to decrease in extent,” the IPCC is wrong.. Snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere hasn’t declined since 1967, and five of the six snowiest winters have occurred since 2003. They have also falsely reported that “The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence).” Fluctuating sea level rise over the past several centuries has averaged about 7 inches, and it continues to rise at that rate with no evidence of acceleration.
Then there’s also a terrifying lack of evidence regarding harsh weather conditions. Like, for example, a lack of increase in the strength or frequency of landfall hurricanes in the world’s five main hurricane basins during the past 50-70 years; a lack of increase in the strength or frequency in tropical Atlantic hurricane development during the past 370 years; the longest U.S. period ever recorded without intense Category 3-5 hurricane landfall; and no trend since 1950 evidencing any increased frequency of strong (F3-F-5) U.S. tornadoes.
Of course no discussion of inconvenient climate facts would be complete without some hot air from The Goracle himself. Mr. Gore expressed heated displeasure that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated on an Australian radio broadcast that recent New South Wales wildfires “…are certainly not a function of climate change, they are just a function of life in Australia.” Responding, Gore then told ABC’s Los Angeles affiliate, “It reminds me of politicians here who got a lot of support from tobacco companies and who argued to the public that there was absolutely no connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer.”
But it appears that Gore may be smoking something pretty strong himself. As Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and Copenhagen Business School points out: “Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950, their numbers have decreased globally by 15%”, and that “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.”
So now that we should all be able to agree that natural climate change really happens, can we possibly agree that there’s maybe some hope that public cooling to alarmist manipulation of facts can lead to change in the political climate as well? Perhaps then we can move on to the next debate. Like how we’re going to cover the bill of goods the climate cartel and their minions have sold us to cover added consumer costs and tax subsidies for all that non-fossil energy that was supposed to save us from rising seas and heat stroke?
Originally posted at Forbes.com.