Based on the conclusions of many scientists and the reasons they offer for those conclusions, there is no basis for assuming the truth of an imminent global climate catastrophe caused by human action.

EPA Fascism versus America: There Is No “Consensus” Among Scientists (4 of 7)

This is the fourth in a seven part series detailing our objections to plans by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to claim unlimited power over the life of every American. Those plans were laid out in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), dated July 11, 2008. The EPA is inviting comments to this advance notice. This article explains the third of our six major objections to the EPA plans. The total of our objections, including our letter, our comments, and a link to the EPA website, may be accessed at: http://www.classicalideals.com/EPA_Ruination.htm

Comment Number Three: There Is No “Consensus” Among Scientists

We oppose these measures on scientific grounds, because the assertions of a man-made global warming crisis are opposed by some of the best scientific minds in the world. There is no “consensus” among scientists that man-made global warming is a crisis requiring government intervention.

The most accomplished, senior, and expert scientists in climatology and related fields have gone on record to state that human action is NOT changing the climate. Many of them have paid a professional price for their candor. Their voices are unacknowledged in the press, and have carried almost no weight in the political deliberations.

Claims by the advocates of man-made global warming that a scientific “consensus” exists are false. These claims reveal the dishonesty of the advocates of man-made global warming and reveal their political motivations. If they refuse to admit that their own colleagues who do not agree with them even exist, why should we accept that they are accurate in their scientific conclusions?

Concern over so-called greenhouse gases began in 1827, when Jean-Baptiste Fourier coined the metaphor “greenhouse effect.”[1] Around 1860 John Tyndall suggested that a cause of the ice ages might be a decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. But chemist and physicist Svante Arrhenius first speculated that atmospheric CO2 might affect surface temperatures.[2]

Arrhenius’ calculated, in 1896, that doubling atmospheric CO2 would increase temperatures 9 to 11°F. But by 1906 he had recalculated, and had written that “a decrease in the concentration of carbonic acid by half or a doubling would be equivalent to changes of temperature of -1.5 C or +1.6 C [-3°F or +3°F] respectively.” Advocates of man-made global warming cite the original figures in support of their political agendas, but they omit Arrhenius’s own corrections.[3] The science behind atmospheric gases and climate was born in controversy and correction.

The number of highly-credentialed scientists critical of the man-made global warming crisis has punctured the myth of a consensus.[4] Consider what these eminent scientists today say about the hypothesis of man-made global warming:

In a minority report issued December 20, 2007, members of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported that “Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called “consensus” on man-made global warming.”[5] Many of these scientists were expert reviewers for the UN IPCC–an Intergovernmental and not an Interscientific panel–which ignored their conclusions when they disagreed with the IPCC’s political mission.

Among the scientists making comments to the Senate committee:

IPCC 2007 expert reviewer Madhav Khandekar, a Canadian PhD meteorologist with over 45 years experience in climatology, meteorology and oceanography. He wrote: “To my dismay, IPCC authors ignored all my comments and suggestions for major changes in the FOD (First Order Draft) and sent me the SOD (Second Order Draft) with essentially the same text as the FOD. None of the authors of the chapter bothered to directly communicate with me (or with other expert reviewers with whom I communicate on a regular basis) on many issues that were raised in my review. This is not an acceptable scientific review process.”

IPCC expert reviewer and geochemist Dr. Tom V. Segalstad, professor and head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo. The theory that CO2 is a cause of global temperature change, he wrote, is “a search for a mythical CO2 sink to explain an immeasurable CO2 lifetime to fit a hypothetical CO2 computer model that purports to show that an impossible amount of fossil fuel burning is heating the atmosphere. It is all a fiction.”

Dr. Vincent Gray of New Zealand, an expert reviewer on drafts of the IPCC reports going back to 1990, and author of The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of “Climate Change.” “The [IPCC] ‘Summary for Policymakers’ might get a few readers, but the main purpose of the report is to provide a spurious scientific backup for the absurd claims of the worldwide environmentalist lobby that it has been established scientifically that increases in carbon dioxide are harmful to the climate. It just does not matter that this ain’t so.”

Lawrence Solomon, a Canadian columnist for the National Post, an environmentalist and opponent of nuclear and other power plants, wanted to know which scientists, if any, disagreed with prevailing views of climate change. He found many among the most respected names in their fields. They include Claude Allegre, a PhD in physics from the University of Paris, former director of the French National Scientific Research Center, the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Paris, and the Paris Institut de Physique du Globe.[6] Allegre wrote for twenty years about the dangers of global warming. But, given the mounting evidence, including growing ice on Antarctica and the natural explanations for Kilimanjaro’s melting ice, he has now changed his position to: “The cause of climate change is unknown.”

One hundred scientists made their objections to the man-made global warming hypothesis known in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, about the UN Climate conference in Bali, December, 2007.[7] Signers include:

  • William J.R. Alexander, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Member, UN Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994-2000
  • Bjarne Andresen, PhD, physicist, Professor, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Geoff L. Austin, PhD, FNZIP, FRSNZ, Professor, Dept. of Physics, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, IPCC expert reviewer, winner of the American Meteorologuical Society’s Meisinger and Charney Awards, and the American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Award.
  • Dan Carruthers, M.Sc., wildlife biology consultant specializing in animal ecology in Arctic and Subarctic regions, Alberta
  • R.M. Carter, PhD, Professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
  • Ian D. Clark, PhD, Professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
  • Richard S. Courtney, PhD, climate and atmospheric science consultant, IPCC expert reviewer, U.K.

Ten years earlier, following the Kyoto Conference in 1997, over 30,000 scientists and professionals in the physical science fields had already signed the Oregon Petition, which states:

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. 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.[8]

Former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the late Frederick Seitz, wrote a letter in support of the petition. Other signatories include Dr. Reid Bryson, PhD, DSc, DEngr, Senior Scientist, Center for Climatic Research; and Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography, and of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, who is known as the “Father of American Climatology.”

Another signer, Dr. Timothy Ball, professor of Climatology and the first Canadian PhD in Climatology, wrote in a Cambridge Conference Network letter:

At no point in the geologic record is there any correlation between CO2 and temperature. The ice core record shows exactly the opposite, temperature changes before CO2. The 20th century record shows no correlation between human produced CO2 and climate. Since 1998 the world has cooled slightly while CO2 levels apparently continue to increase.[9]

Contrary to claims that private money taints the scientific process, it is organizations dependent upon government funding who adopt the man-made global warming position under budgetary pressure.

NASA demonstrates how politics rules science in such an organization. On February 26, 1992, Senator Al Gore chaired a hearing of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, which controls the budgets of NASA and other science agencies, such as the National Science Foundation. “With regard to the study of climate change,” spoke chairman Gore, “I think this is NASA’s number one priority now, or ought to be. And I think it is our nation’s number one scientific priority.”[10] The scale of this political intimidation gives mega-million dollar amplification to the phrase “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

Dr. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, followed Al Gore’s political directive to turn man-made global warming into NASA’s official position. Hansen also made over 1400 press appearances while claiming to have been “censored,” appeared with Al Gore to publicize Gore’s movie, and now offers the legal opinion that energy company executives should be placed on trial for crimes against humanity.

In contrast to Hansen, scientists John Christy and Roy Spencer resigned from NASA after man-made global warming became its official position. As Spencer put it in his 2007 congressional testimony, “Political influences on climate research have long pervaded the whole system. Both government funding managers and scientists realize that science programs, research funding, and careers depend upon global warming remaining a serious threat.”[11]

Spencer reminded the committee that at their last hearing on this subject, Rick Piltz, director of the Climate Science Watch Government Accountability Project, had confirmed his organization’s goal of political advocacy: “Climate Science Watch engages in investigation, communication, and reform advocacy aimed at holding public officials accountable for using climate research with integrity and effectiveness in addressing the challenge of global climate change.” In its director’s own words, this organization evaluates scientific issues in terms of “reform advocacy”–political action–on behalf of climate change.


Cartoon by Cox and Forkum

Even groups not dependent upon government funding who take formal positions on future man-made global warming political action should be questioned: has their leadership acted after open debate by their members, and are members who do not agree allowed to be heard? A demand for consensus is a political, not a scientific, action. Spencer does not agree with NASA’s man-made global warming position, and having resigned, he may now say so.

The list of the scientists who have suffered professionally for their unwillingness to follow the doctrine of man-made global warming hearkens back to the days when Church doctrine was the standard of truth.[12] Richard Lindzen has written that as far back as 1992, Senator Al Gore “ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting climate alarmism.” Since then, scientists “who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks, or worse.”[13]

Among those named by Lindzen are Henk Tennekes, dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning man-made global warming, and Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, for daring to question man-made global warming. Also facing the loss of funds was Danish astrophysicist Dr. Henrik Svensmark, who turned to the Carlsberg Foundation, a private foundation that ignored a senior Danish government scientist’s letter urging them to revoke his funding. Despite attempts to disparage his work, Svensmark won the Knud Hǿjgaard Anniversary Research Prize and the Energy-E2 Research Prize for his work on solar phenomena.[14]

Proponents of man-made global warming, especially political figures, discuss man-made global warming as if it were a fact no longer requiring proof. They reject out of hand evidence to the contrary, and dismiss those who disagree as “flat-earthers,” “heretics” or “deniers.” This makes man-made global warming a dogma. There is no basis for freezing either our understanding or our laws on this dogma.

Perhaps Pål Brekke said it best, “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.”[15]

Based on the conclusions of many scientists and the reasons they offer for those conclusions, there is no basis for assuming the truth of an imminent global climate catastrophe caused by human action.

[1] John Houghton, Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, 2nd edition (Cambridge University Press, 1997), 12.
[2] Svante Arrhenius, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground,” Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science 5, no. 41 (April 1896): 237-276.
[3] For example, Steve Vanderheiden, Atmospheric Justice: A Political Theory of Climate Change (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 3.
[4] Patrick J. Michaels, Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005). Michaels was an expert reviewer for the IPCC.
[5] U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Minority Report, December 20, 2007, also for the Khandekar, Segalstad, and Gray quotations:  http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.SenateReport.
[6] Solomon, Deniers, 9-21 (Wegman) and 200-02 (Allegre).
[7] Don’t Fight, Adapt,” letter from 100 scientists to UN Secretary General, http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=164002. List of signatories,  http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=164004
[8] The Oregon Petition: http://www.petitionproject.org/.
[9] Cambridge Conference-Network, October 1, 2007, http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-homepage.htm.
[10] Patrick C. Michaels and Robert C. Balling, The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming (Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2000), 192.
[11] Spencer, “Statement to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,” 2.
[12]  Solomon, The Deniers, 52-3.
[13] Richard Lindzen, “Climate of Fear,” The Wall Street Journal, Opinion Journal Archives, April 12, 2006, http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220.
[14] Svenmark and Calder, Chilling Stars, 75.
[15] Research Council of Norway, http://www.forskningsradet.no/en/News/ Pal+Brekke+Internationally +renowned+climate+sceptic+and+solar+expert/1203528336519.

 

Dr. John David Lewis is a Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke University and Paul Saunders is a former Senior Semiconductor and Opto-electronics Chemical Process Engineer.

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