March 27, 2008
San Diego, California
A MOCK GLOBAL WARMING DEBATE
By Lois Joy
It appears that the global warming train has left the station during the years that we have been immersed in our mission of sailing around the world, and I’m not sure that I am on it. Perhaps it is a good thing that I have not been overly exposed to all the media hype of the past two years, because this gives me an opportunity to look it objectively.
Three things caused me to get a “bee in my bonnet” about what we are being told about manmade global warming:
1. Questions about what signs of “global warming” I had seen during our latest voyage. (See my story Coral Mining in the Maldives that partially answers that question.)
2. TV specials about the Carteret Islands are sinking and how populations unfortunate to be living on low-lying atolls are becoming the first “global warming refugees.” See my response to that in The Enlightened Environmentalist.
3. Hearing on the news that in October 2007 the High Court in London had
identified nine “errors” in Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth. The judge had stated that, if the UK Government had not agreed to send to every secondary school in England a corrected guidance note making clear the mainstream scientific position on these nine “errors,” he would have made a finding that the Government’s distribution of the film to all English secondary schools had been an unlawful contravention of an Act of Parliament prohibiting the political indoctrination of children.
“Wow!” I thought. “Those plucky English are at it again. Good on them. They were not just going to lie down and have this book taught as ‘science’ in their school system!” Later during my research, I came across the website of the SPPI (Science and Public Policy Institute) and found an article listing the 35 Inconvenient Truths in Al Gore’s book and movie, by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, who had been a public policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher. The SPPI website, along with many others, and numerous books and DVDs which I religiously ordered and devoured, (see References and Reading List at the end) formed a basis for the mock debate that follows.
I am still investigating and welcome your comments in the BLOG. I realize that all of this, although it appears extensive, is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast subject of climate change. I have much more to learn. But one thing I have found: there is definitely not a “consensus” on this subject, so let the debates continue!
(Note: I am using the Alarmist and Skeptic as “voices” to consolidate and present the views of each side that I have studied.)
Understanding terms and questions regarding global warming
ALARMIST: Are you actually a global warming denier? Get with it! (laughs)
SKEPTIC: What do you think I am denying?
ALARMIST: Well, you don’t believe in climate change.
SKEPTIC: Yes, I do. Climate change has occurred throughout the earth’s history and is still occurring.
ALARMIST: Do you believe the earth is warming?
SKEPTIC: Yes, scientific data in many fields show that the earth is clearly in a warming trend.
ALARMIST: So do you believe in anthropologic global warming?
SKEPTIC: Mankind has an often had a detrimental effect on the environment. I believe that we should stewards and custodians of our planet, and that we should strive to conserve energy and reduce pollution. But I believe that the evidence is not conclusive on whether mankind is causing the current warming trend.
ALARMIST: How can you say that? We need to DO SOMETHING before it is too late. The earth is in a CRISIS. Carbon dioxide emissions have reached a TIPPING POINT. We need to SAVE THE PLANET!
SKEPTIC: So then you believe in catastrophic global warming?
Exaggerations vs. Good Science
SKEPTIC: I fail to understand why you Alarmists feel that you have to exaggerate to make a point. There are so many exaggerations in your statements.
ALARMIST: But isn’t all of this attention to our environment a good thing? If it serves the purpose…
SKEPTIC: It confuses people when we should be helping people to understand what they can do personally to help the environment. It sows the seeds of distrust.
ALARMIST: But it propels people to action.
SKEPTIC: Using exaggerations and fear tactics might propel them to undertake the wrong action. You are saying that the end justifies the means. You are giving school children nightmares when there is no basis for making such Armageddon-like statements.
The famous hockey stick graph
ALARMIST: You have to admit, the 20th century rise in temperature is extraordinary, the steepest rise of the last 1000 years. I recall that famous hockey stick graph.
SKEPTIC: Yes of course. The one by Michael Mann.
ALARMIST: Obviously, there were no thermometers back in the year 1000, so proxies are needed to get some idea of past warmth. His findings and computer projections were the centerpiece of the UN study.
SKEPTIC: That was said back in 2001. No one would say that now. Mann’s work has come under attack from several laboratories around the world. And even non-scientists claimed that the MWP (medieval warming period) was left out. Two Canadian investigators, McKitrick and McIntyre, re-did the study using Mann’s data and methods, and found dozens of errors, including two data series with exactly the same data for a number of years. Not surprisingly, when they corrected all the errors, they came up with sharply differing results.
“It turns out that Mann and his associates used a non-standard formula to analyze his data, and this particular formula will turn anything into a hockey stick---including trendless data generated by computer.” (from a speech given by climate change skeptic Michael Crichton)
The U.S. Congress asked a team of statisticians to investigate the matter. They found out that indeed the graph was the result of poor statistical procedures.
Allowing for a decade from the end of the graph until the present, one might add about 0.14 ° C, which would make the present about 0.2 ° C below that of the medieval warm period. Although the hockey stick graph figured prominently in previous U.N. IPCC reports, generating a global warming frenzy, the 2007 IPCC Report makes no mention of it.
ALARMIST: But Mann claimed that the medieval warm period was a local phenomenon—so what if the Vikings did settle Greenland during that time and that Greenland was actually green?
SKEPTIC: The scientists have looked beyond the graphs to raw data. They found a 1000-year-old foxtail pine above the present tree line in Sequoia National Park and a 5000- year-old spruce in the Canadian Arctic. Data from around the world attest to the MWP: Peruvian pollen, sailor’s reports from Argentina, stalagmites from South Africa. And here’s what I mean about exaggeration vs. good science: Gore sneered at the idea of a MWP, and continued using the discredited hockey stick graph. Strangely, by the time The Inconvenient Truth was produced, the facts were already well known.
ALARMIST: Low lying coral atolls are already being inundated because of anthropogenic global warming, leading to the evacuation of several island populations to New Zealand.
SKEPTIC: Atolls are not being inundated, except where dynamiting of reefs, over-extraction of fresh water, coral mining and sand mining by local populations has caused damage. The Tuvalu Islanders are taking advantage of the global warming exaggerations to sue the United Nations into relocating their populations, a good (and smart) deal for them.
In the Maldives, a detailed study shows that that sea levels are unchanged compared to 1250 years ago, and although they have been higher during much of the intervening period, they have seldom been lower.
ALARMIST: There could be 150 million environmental refugees by the year 2050, due to the effects of coastal flooding, shoreline erosion, and agricultural disruption due to global warming.
SKEPTIC: Even using the IPCC maximum projected rise of just 30 cm (1 foot) by 2050 would not cause significant coastal flooding or shoreline erosion. There are several coastlines (the east coast of England, for example, where the land is sinking due to the consequences of post-ice-age isostatic recovery, or where (as in Bangladesh) tectonic subduction is causing the land to sink.
Sea Levels Rising
ALARMIST: Gore’s book and movie says that a sea level rise of up to 6 m (20 ft) will
be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland.
SKEPTIC: Though Gore does not say that the sea-level rise will occur in the near future, a judge of the High Court in London in the U.K. lawsuit found that, in the context, it was clear that this is what Gore had meant, since he showed expensive graphical representations of the effect of his imagined 6 m (20 ft) sea-level rise on existing populations, and he quantified the numbers who would be displaced by the sea-level rise.
But even the IPCC can be called the skeptic on this one. The IPCC says sea-level increases up to 7 m (23 ft) above today’s levels have happened naturally in the past climate, and would only be likely to happen again after several millennia. In the next 100 years, according to calculations based on figures in the IPCC’s 2007 report, these two ice sheets between them will add a little over 6 cm (2.5 inches) to sea level, not 6 m (this figure of 6 cm is 15% of the IPCC’s total central estimate of a 43 cm or 1 ft 5 in sea-level rise over the next century). Therefore, Gore has exaggerated the official sea-level estimate by approaching 10,000 per cent.
Now the IPCC, faced with a stream of peer-reviewed articles stating that sea-level rise is not a threat, has reduced this upper estimate from 3 ft in 2001 to less than 2 ft (i.e. half the mean centennial sea-level rise that has occurred since the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago) in 2007. Finally, the IPCC’s 2007 report estimates that the likelihood that humankind is having any influence on sea level at all is little better than 50:50.
Ocean Conveyor Shutting Down
ALARMIST: Gore says “global warming” may shut down the thermohaline circulation in the oceans, which he calls the “ocean conveyor,” plunging Europe into an ice age. He adds that “multiple scientists” have claimed that we cannot exclude the possibility of the disruption or shutdown of the Conveyor.
SKEPTIC: Disruption, perhaps: shutdown, no. It is now near-universally accepted that the thermohaline circulation cannot be and will not be shut down by “global warming,” and many are urging that the film should be corrected to reflect the “consensus.”
Coral Reefs Bleaching
ALARMIST: Global warming is causing the bleaching of coral reefs worldwide. The IPCC and other scientific bodies have long identified increases in ocean temperatures with the bleaching of coral reefs.
SKEPTIC: So they have. But meteorologists say the bleaching in 1998 occurred as a result not of “global warming” but of a rare, though not unique, severe El Nino Southern Oscillation. Two similarly severe El Niño’s over the past 250 years also caused extensive bleaching.
Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves Breaking Up and Larsen B Ice Shelf Broken
ALARMIST: Gore says half a dozen ice shelves each “larger than Rhode Island” have broken up and vanished from the Antarctic Peninsula recently, implicitly because of “global warming.” He focuses on the Larsen B ice shelf, saying that it completely disappeared in 35 days.
SKEPTIC: Gore does not explain that the ice shelves have melted before, as studies of seabed sediments have shown. The Antarctic Peninsula accounts for about 2% of the continent, in most of which the ice is growing thicker. All the recently-melted shelves, added together, amount to an area less than one-fifty-fifth the size of Texas. There has been extensive ice-shelf break-up throughout the past 10,000 years, and the maximum ice-shelf extent may have been in the Little Ice Age in the late 15th century.
West Antarctic Ice Sheet Unstable
ALARMIST: Gore says disturbing changes have been measured under the West Antarctic ice sheet, implicitly because of “global warming.”
SKEPTIC: Most of the recession in this ice sheet over the past 10,000 years has occurred in the absence of any sea-level or temperature forcing. In most of Antarctica, the ice is in fact growing thicker. Mean Antarctic temperature has actually fallen throughout the past half-century. In some Antarctic glens, environmental damage has been caused by temperature decreases of up to 2 degrees Celsius. Antarctic sea ice spread to a 30-year record extent in late 2007.
Mosquitoes Climbing to Higher Altitudes
ALARMIST: Gore says that, because of “global warming,” mosquitoes are climbing to higher altitudes. Nairobi was supposedly founded 1000 m above sea level so as to be above the mosquito line.
SKEPTIC: Who can forget that animation of those ambitious little mosquitoes climbing higher and higher up the mountain? In the period before anthropogenic warming could have had any significant effect, there were ten malaria outbreaks in Nairobi, one of which reached as far up as Eldoret, almost 3000 m above sea level. It is a fact that Malaria is not a tropical disease. Mosquitoes do not need tropical temperatures: they need no more than 15 degrees Celsius to breed. The largest malaria outbreak of modern times was in Siberia in the 1920s and 1930s, when 13 million were infected, 600,000 died and 30,000 died as far north as Archangelsk, on the Arctic Circle. There is no reason to suppose that malaria will spread even if the climate continues to become warmer. There have been malaria outbreaks in the United States in the past. And there are plenty of mosquitoes in the northern states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Alaska.
Tropical Disease Spreading through Global Warming
ALARMIST: Gore says that, as well as malaria, global warming is spreading dengue fever, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, arena virus, avian flu, Ebola virus, E. Coli 0157:H7, Hanta virus, legionella, leptospirosis, multi-drug-resistant TB, Nipah virus, SARS and Vibrio Cholera 0139. Gore says that West Nile virus spread throughout the US in just two years, implicitly because of “global warming.”
SKEPTIC: Only the first four diseases are insect-borne, but none is tropical. Of the other diseases named by Gore either in his film or in the accompanying book, not one is sensitive to increasing temperature. They are spread not by warmer weather but by rats, chickens, primates, pigs, poor hygiene, ill-maintained air conditioning, or cold weather. The climate in the US ranges from some of the world’s hottest deserts to some of its iciest tundra. West Nile virus flourishes in any climate. Warming of the climate, however caused, does not affect its incidence or prevalence.
Polar Bears are Dying
ALARMIST: Gore says a scientific study shows that polar bears are being killed swimming long distances to find ice that has melted away because of “global warming.” I’ve read and seen other such stories recently. National Geographic recently released a children’s’ movie, Arctic Tale, to that effect.
SKEPTIC: It’s an ideal, heart-wrenching story. It’s also big money. But the actual study, by Monnett & Gleason (2005), mentioned just four dead bears. They had died in an exceptional storm, with high winds and waves in the Beaufort Sea. The amount of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea has grown over the past 30 years. A report for the World Wide Fund for Nature shows that polar bears, which are warm-blooded, have grown in numbers where temperature has increased, and have become fewer where temperature has fallen. Polar bears evolved from brown bears 200,000 years ago, and survived the last interglacial period, when global temperature was 5 degrees Celsius warmer than the present and there was probably no Arctic ice-cap at all. The real threat to polar bears is not “global warming” but hunting. In 1940, there were just 5,000 polar bears worldwide. Now that hunting is controlled, there are 25,000.
Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, explains that more polar bears can be saved through targeted direct interventions rather than initiatives under the Kyoto Protocol. Largely accepting the IPCC scenarios and costing, the Professor claims that Kyoto would save one polar bear a year. Outlawing the hunting of polar bears could save up to 500 polar bears a year.
Sea ice measurements, which are done by satellite, go back only 29 years. But we know through history that the ice has changed before. The North-West Passage, a good proxy for Arctic sea-ice extent, was open to shipping back in 1945. Amundsen passed through in a sailing vessel in 1903.
Only 100 ppmv of CO2 Melts Mile-Thick Ice
ALARMIST: Gore implies that the difference of just 100 parts per million by volume in CO2 concentration between an interglacial temperature maximum and an ice-age temperature minimum causes “the difference between a nice day and having a mile of ice above your head.”
SKEPTIC: This overstates the mainstream “consensus” estimate of the effect of CO2 on temperature at least tenfold. Temperature changes by up to 12 degrees C between glacial minima and interglacial maxima, but CO2 concentration changes by no more than 100 ppmv. Gore is accordingly implying that 100 ppmv can cause a temperature increase of up to 12 degrees C. However, the consensus as expressed by the IPCC is that 100 ppmv of increased CO2 concentration, from 180 to 280 ppmv, would increase radiant energy flux in the atmosphere by 2.33 watts per square meter, or less than 1.2 degrees Celsius including the effect of temperature feedbacks.
CO2 is Driving Temperature (this is a big one and it is very important to continue this debate)
ALARMIST: In each of the last four interglacial warm periods it was changes in carbon dioxide concentration that caused changes in temperature.
SKEPTIC: It was the other way around. Changes in temperature preceded changes in CO2 concentration by between 800 and 2800 years, as scientific papers including the paper on which Gore’s film had relied had made clear.
ALARMIST: Well, you can see from the graph that greenhouse gas levels and temperature changes in the ice signals have a complicated relationship but they do fit.
SKEPTIC: Other than a paper by James Hansen, whom Gore trusts, scientific literature says that the relationship was in fact the other way about, with a carbon dioxide feedback contributing only a comparatively insignificant further increase to temperature after the temperature change had itself initiated a change in carbon dioxide concentration. The significance of this error was explained during the London court proceedings, and was accepted by the judge.
Carbon dioxide is “pollution.”
ALARMIST: Carbon dioxide can be called a “global warming pollution.”
SKEPTIC: Uninformed media are picking this up. Don’t always think of carbon dioxide in negative terms. It is food for plants and trees. Tests have shown that even at concentrations 30 times those of the present day even the most delicate plants flourish. Well-managed forests, such as those of the United States, are growing at record rates because the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is feeding the trees. Carbon dioxide, in geological timescale, is at a very low concentration at present. Half a billion years ago it was at 7000 parts per million by volume, about 18 times today’s concentration.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro are Melting
ALARMIST: “Global warming” has been melting the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
SKEPTIC: The melting of the Furtwangler Glacier at the summit of the mountain began 125 years ago. More of the glacier had melted before Hemingway wrote The Snows of Kilimanjaro in 1936 than afterward. Temperature at the summit never rises above freezing and is at an average of –7 Celsius. The cause of the melting is long-term climate shifts exacerbated by imprudent regional deforestation, and has nothing to do with “global warming.”
ALARMIST: “Every tropical glacier for which we have documented evidence shows that glaciers are retreating.”
SKEPTIC: A recent survey of the glaciers in the tropical Andes shows that they were largely ice-free in the past 10,000 years, except on the very highest peaks. The mere fact of warming or melting tells us nothing of the cause.
ALARMIST: “Global warming exacerbates the stresses that ecosystems (and humans) are already experiencing.”
SKEPTIC: Since the temperature at the summit of Kilimanjaro remains below freezing and has not risen in 30 years, “global warming” is not “exacerbating the stresses” at the summit of Kilimanjaro.
ALARMIST: 40% of the world’s population obtain their water supply from Himalayan glacial melt waters that are failing because of “global warming.”
SKEPTIC: The water comes almost entirely from snow-melt, not from ice-melt. Over the past 40 years there has been no decline in the amount of snow-melt in Eurasia.
ALARMIST: The Peruvian glacier is less extensive now than it was in the 1940s.
SKEPTIC: Except for the very highest peaks, the normal state of the Peruvian cordilleras has been ice-free throughout most of the past 10,000 years.
ALARMIST: “The ice has a story to tell, and it is worldwide.” The Al Gore movie shows several before-and-after pictures of glaciers disappearing.
SKEPTIC: The glacial melt began in the 1820s, long before humankind could have had any effect, and has continued at a uniform rate since, showing no acceleration since humankind began increasing the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. Total ice volumes in three of the last four Ice Ages were lower than they are today, and “global warming” had nothing to do with that. See graph below.
Glacier Shortening, 180-year trend. Courtesy Public Policy Institute
ALARMIST: The spectacular footage of a glacier apparently calving off enormous slabs of ice into the sea – footage that is often shown on television—shows “global warming.”
SKEPTIC: Actually, the glacier in question is one that is known to be advancing – and to be doing so more rapidly and more often than previously. It is in southern Argentina, where its snout crosses – and eventually dams, Lake Argentino. Water builds up behind the ice dam and eventually bursts it, causing the spectacular collapse of ice into the lake that is so misleadingly used as the iconic image of the effect of “global warming” on glaciers. The breaking of the ice dam used to occur every eight years or so; now, however, it occurs every five years, not because of “global warming” because of the regional cooling of the southern Atlantic.
Lake Chad in Africa is Drying Up
ALARMIST: “Global warming” dried up Lake Chad in Africa.
SKEPTIC: Over-extraction of water and changing agricultural patterns dried the lake most recently. But it was also dry in 8500BC, 5500BC, 1000BC and 100BC.
ALARMIST: “There are multiple stresses upon Lake Chad.”
SKEPTIC: Yes there are, but the scientific consensus is that at present those “stresses” do not include “global warming.”
Sahara Desert is also Drying.
ALARMIST: Terrible tragedies are occurring in the southern Sahara because of drought caused by “global warming.”
SKEPTIC: In 2007 there were record rains across the whole of the southern Sahara. In the past 25 years the Sahara has shrunk by some 300,000 square kilometers because of additional rainfall. Some scientists think “global warming” may actually mitigate pre-existing droughts because there will be more water vapor in the atmosphere. Before 1200 AD there were frequent, prolonged and severe droughts in the Great Plains. Since 1200 AD, there has been more rainfall. Likewise, the U.S. has had more rainfall since the 1950s than it had in the earlier part of the 20th Century, when the great droughts which were then common were described by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath. South African rainfall was also more stable in the second half of the 20th Century, when human effect on climate is said to have become significant, than in the first half.
Hurricane Caterina in the South Atlantic was Manmade
ALARMIST: “The science textbooks had to be rewritten in 2004. They used to say, ‘It is impossible to have a hurricane in the South Atlantic.’ But that year, for the first time ever, a hurricane hit Brazil.”
SKEPTIC: Meteorologists say that in 2004, Brazil’s summer sea surface temperatures were cooler than normal, not warmer. But air temperatures were the coldest in 25 years. The air was so much colder than the water that it caused a heat flux from the water to the air similar to that which fuels hurricanes in warm seas.
Typhoons are setting new records and hurricanes are getting stronger.
ALARMIST: 2004 set a new record for the number of typhoons striking Japan.
SKEPTIC: Some meteorologists say that the trend in the number of typhoons, and of tropical cyclones, has fallen throughout the past 50 years. They say trend in rainfall from cyclones has also fallen, and there has been no trend in monsoon rainfall.
ALARMIST: Gore and others say scientists have been giving warnings that hurricanes will get stronger because of “global warming.”
SKEPTIC: Over the past 60 years there has been no change in the strength of hurricanes, even though hydrocarbon use went up six-fold in the same period. Research by Dr. Kerry Emanuel, cited by alarmists, has been discredited by more recent findings that wind-shear effects tend to nullify the amplification of hurricane strength which he had suggested, and, of course, by the observed failure of hurricanes to gain strength during the past 60 years of “global warming.”
ALARMIST: Hurricane Katrina, that devastated New Orleans in 2005, was caused by “global warming,” and proof that hurricanes are getting stronger.
SKEPTIC: The administration of New Orleans failed to heed 30 years of warnings by the Corps of Engineers that the levees – dams that kept New Orleans dry – could not stand a direct hit by a hurricane. Katrina was only Category 3 when it struck the levees. They failed, as the engineers predicted they would. There were a lot of mistakes made, before and after the hurricane struck, but it was not in any way related to global warming.
ALARMIST: But they are increasing in terms of numbers.
SKEPTIC: I will quote NOAA on this one. “Many individual studies of various regions show that extra-tropical cyclone activity seems to have generally increased over the last half of the 20th century in the northern hemisphere, but decreased in the southern hemisphere. Furthermore, hurricane activity in the Atlantic has shown an increase in number since 1970 with a peak in 2005. It is not clear whether these trends are multi-decadal fluctuations or part of a longer-term trend.” So right now, it appears, one can argue this question either way, depending on how one defines the type of storms one is counting.
Severe tornadoes are more frequent.
ALARMIST: 2004 set an all-time record for tornadoes in the US.
SKEPTIC: More tornadoes are being reported because detection systems are better than they were. But the number of severe tornadoes has actually been falling for more than 50 years.
Losses to insurance companies are increasing due to global warming.
ALARMIST: Insurance losses arising from large storms and extreme weather events due to global warming are increasing.
SKEPTIC: Insured losses, as a percentage of the population of coastal areas in the path of hurricanes, were lower even in 2005 than they had been in 1925 (adjusted). In 2006, a very quiet hurricane season, Lloyds of London posted their biggest-ever profit: £3.6 billion. But people choose to live along rivers and coasts in increasing numbers and in more expensive homes. So it stands to reason that there will be increases in the number of claims.
Melting ice allows the sun to heat the Arctic Ocean.
ALARMIST: “An Inconvenient Truth” shows a diagram of how ice-melt allows the Sun to heat the Arctic Ocean. The Sun’s rays are shown heating it directly.
SKEPTIC: This diagram, unfortunately, has been repeated in many “science” sections of magazines and newspapers. Many physicists and climatologists warn us of this error.
The ocean emits radiant energy at the moment of absorption, and would freeze if there were no atmosphere. It is the atmosphere, not the Sun that warms the ocean. Also, Gore’s diagram confuses the tropopause with the ionosphere, and he makes a number of other errors indicating that he does not understand the elementary physics of radiative transfer.
Arctic Warming the Fastest
ALARMIST: The Arctic has been warming faster than the rest of the planet.
SKEPTIC: While it is in general true that during periods of warming (whether natural or anthropogenic) the Arctic will warm faster than other regions, Gore does not mention that the Arctic has been cooling over the past 60 years, and is now one degree Celsius cooler than it was in the 1940s. There was a record amount of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in 2001. Several vessels were icebound in the Arctic in the spring of 2007, but few newspapers reported this. The newspapers reported that the North-West Passage was free of ice in 2007, and said that this was for the first time since records began. But the records, taken by satellites, had only begun 29 years previously. The North-West Passage had also been open for shipping in 1945, and, in 1903, the great Norwegian explorer Amundsen had passed through it in a sailing ship.
The Thames Barrier in the U.K. is closing more frequently.
ALARMIST: In his movie, Gore says that rising sea levels are compelling the operators of the Thames Barrier to close it more frequently than when it was first built.
SKEPTIC: The barrier is indeed closed more frequently than when it was built, but the reason has nothing to do with “global warming” or rising sea levels. The reason is a change of policy by which the barrier is closed during exceptionally low tides, so as to retain water in the tidal Thames rather than keeping it out. Yet even the present leader of the official Opposition in the UK Parliament recently used a major speech as the opportunity to mention today’s more frequent closing of the Thames Barrier as though it were a matter of grave concern.
Greenland and Global Warming
ALARMIST: “Global warming” is making the Greenland ice sheet unstable.
SKEPTIC: Greenland ice grows 2 inches a year. The Greenland ice sheet survived each of the previous three interglacial periods, each of which was 5 degrees Celsius warmer than the present. It survived atmospheric CO2 concentrations of up to 1000 ppmv (compared with today’s 400 ppmv). It last melted 850,000 years ago, when humankind did not exist and could not have caused the melting. There is a close correlation between variations in solar activity and temperature anomalies in Greenland, but there is no correlation between variations in CO2 concentration and temperature changes in Greenland. The IPCC (2001) says that to melt even half the Greenland ice sheet would require temperature to rise by 5.5 degrees C and remain that high for several thousand years.
Increasing temperatures are bad for the people on the planet.
ALARMIST: “A couple of years ago in Europe they had that heat wave that killed 35,000.”
SKEPTIC: Though some scientists agree with Gore, the scientific consensus is that extreme warm anomalies more unusual than the 2003 heat wave occur regularly; extreme cold anomalies also occur regularly; El Niño and volcanism appear to be of much greater importance than any general warming trend; and there is little evidence that regional heat or cold waves are significantly increasing or decreasing with time. In general, warm is better than cold, which is why the largest number of life-forms are in the tropics and the least number are at the poles. A cold snap in the winter following the European heat wave that year killed 20,000 in the UK alone.
Though the IPCC says 150,000 people a year are being killed worldwide by “global warming,” it reaches this figure only by deliberately excluding the number of people who are not being killed because there is less cold weather. In the U.S. alone, it has been estimated that 174,000 fewer people are being killed each year because there are fewer episodes of extreme cold.
As aptly stated by Michael Crichton, “Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we're asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?” As you make up your own mind on man-made global warming, I urge you to think for yourself. And don’t replace your own “carbon footprint” by making donations to websites or companies that you don’t know. I urge you to follow the money (see BLOG on this subject).
COMMENTS ARE WELCOME
I leave you with this final image, most certainly a visual proof of man-made global warming.
VIEWING, READING AND INTERNET SURFING LIST
An Inconvenient Truth. Documentary by Al Gore.
BLAME AMERICA FIRST VIEW:
Global Warming: the Signs and the Science PBS documentary
The Great Global Warming Swindle, documentary by Martin Durkin (contains additional material from leading climate scientists) ****my favorite so far.
Global Warming? Global Governance? Michael S. Coffman, PhD
JUST THE FACTS:
A Global Warning? History Channel. Nov. 2007 Supposedly no grandstanding, no histrionics, no tear-jerking moments. I haven’t seen this one yet.
Planet in Peril. CNN 2 CD Series
A Primer on C02 and Climate **** Howard C. Hayden (only 66 pages, you can get up to speed in an evening)
Unstoppable Global Warming S Fred Singer and Dennis Avery
Cool It Bjorn Lomborg
Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming Patrick J. Michaels
The Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomberg
The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change, Henrik Svensmark & Nigel Calder
Climate Confusion How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science…Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor. Roy W. Spencer
Surfing the Web on Global Warming:
Man vs. Nature: Challenging Conventional Views About Global Warming
20/20 John Stossel, Oct. 19, 2007
Popular Technology.Net Global Warming Blogs and Videos
KUSI Weather Open Letter to Environmentalists, John Coleman
ICECAP What’s New and Cool. The Oceans have stopped warming.
The Case for Skepticism on Global Warming. Michael Crichton. Speech given to National Press Club Washington D.C. (with slides).
Website of Steve McIntyre, the first to debunk the “hockey stick” graph
Global Warming, A Chilling Perspective. About the ice ages.
Daily Tech Blog: Science Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory “Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus… In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.”
An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged
The Marshall Institute: Climate Questions & Answers section
SPPI Polar bears of western Hudson Bay and climate change, Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Betting on the Climate. Forecasters challenge Al Gore to a bet.
J. Scott Armstrong and Kesten C. Green, “Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists versus Scientific Forecasts,” Energy & Environment (forthcoming):
Denialism Blog: Vikings disprove Global Warming
Climate Change 2007 IPCC 4th Assessment Report
New York Times--Science