Monday, May 21, 2007

The BIG Lie: The Hype About Global Warming

In the media, disaster is news, and its absence is not. This principle has been exploited so skillfully by ecological scare-mongers that it is now regarded as politically incorrect, even unscientific, to denounce global warming hysteria as unproven speculation. Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen.

What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate.

So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on? The Washington Post interviewed a 9-year-old who said the Earth is "just starting to fade away." In 20 years there will be "no oxygen" he said, and he'll be dead. The Post went on to say that "for many children and young adults, global warming is…defining their generation." How sad.

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.

MYTH: The Earth is warming!

TRUTH: The Earth is warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the global average surface temperature increased about 0.6 degrees Celsius over the 20th century.

MYTH: The Earth is warming because of us!

TRUTH: Maybe. The frantic media suggest it's all about us. But the IPCC only said it is likely that we have increased the warming. Our climate has always undergone changes. Greenland was named Greenland because its coasts used to be very green. It's presumptuous to think humans' impact matters so much in comparison to the frightening geologic history of the earth. And who is to say that last year's temperature is the perfect optimum? Warmer may be better! More people die in cold waves than heat waves.
MYTH: There will be storms, flooded coasts and huge disruptions in climate!

TRUTH: There are always storms and floods. Will there be much bigger disruptions in climate? Probably not.

Dr. John Christy, professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville said: "I remember as a college student at the first Earth Day being told it was a certainty that by the year 2000, the world would be starving and out of energy. Such doomsday prophecies grabbed headlines, but have proven to be completely false." "Similar pronouncements today about catastrophes due to human-induced climate change," he continued, "sound all too familiar and all too exaggerated to me as someone who actually produces and analyzes climate information."

The media, of course, like the exaggerated claims. Most are based on computer models that purport to predict future climates. But computer models are lousy at predicting climate because water vapor and cloud effects cause changes that computers fail to predict. In the mid-1970s, computer models told us we should prepare for global cooling. Scientists tell reporters that computer models should "be viewed with great skepticism." Well, why aren't they?

The fundamentalist doom mongers also ignore scientists who say the effects of global warming may be benign. Harvard astrophysicist Sallie Baliunas said added CO2 in the atmosphere may actually benefit the world because more CO2 helps plants grow. Warmer winters would give farmers a longer harvest season, and might end the droughts in the Sahara Desert.

Why don't we hear about this part of the global warming argument? "It's the money!" said Dr. Baliunas. "Twenty-five billion dollars in government funding has been spent since 1990 to research global warming. If scientists and researchers were coming out releasing reports that global warming has little to do with man, and most to do with just how the planet works, there wouldn't be as much money to study it."

MYTH: Receding glaciers and the calving of ice shelves are proof of global warming.

TRUTH: Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years. Recent glacier melting is a consequence of coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating. It’s normal. Besides, glacier's health is dependent as much on precipitation as on temperature.

MYTH: The earth’s poles are warming; polar ice caps are breaking up and melting and the sea level rising.

TRUTH: The earth is variable. The western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer, due to unrelated cyclic events in the Pacific Ocean, but the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder. The small Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica is getting warmer, while the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling. Ice thicknesses are increasing both on Greenland and in Antarctica.

Sea level monitoring in the Pacific (Tuvalu) and Indian Oceans (Maldives) has shown no sign of any sea level rise.

MYTH: Signing the Kyoto Treaty would stop the warming.

TRUTH: Hardly. In 1997, the United Nations met in Kyoto, Japan, and asked the developed nations of the world to cut CO2 emission to below 1990 levels. The fuss over Kyoto is absurd. Even if Kyoto would have an impact, do you think all the signers are going to honor what they signed? China is predicted to out-emit us in five to 10 years. India will soon follow. What incentive do they have to stop burning fossil fuels? Eighty percent of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels. Kyoto would decimate just about every Third World country's economy, and deliver a catastrophic blow to our own.

The fundamentalist greens imply if we just conserved energy, and switched from fossil fuels to wind and solar power (they rarely mention nuclear power -- the most practical alternative), we would live in a nonglobal-warming fairyland of happiness. But their proposals are hopelessly impractical. Building solar panels burns energy, as does trucking them and installing them. Not to mention taking them down again to repair them.

To think that solar energy could stop the predicted temperature increase is nonsensical. EPCOT, a theme park with a solar energy ride, consumes about 395,000 kilowatt-hours per day. The Department of Energy says you'd need around a thousand acres of solar panels to generate that much electricity. EPCOT itself only sits on 300 acres, so you'd have to triple the size of the park just to operate it. (Windmills are no panacea either. They are giant bird-killing Cuisinarts, and we'd have to build lots of them to produce significant energy.)

Fully 85% of Americans believe global warming is happening now, according to a recent Time/ABC/Stanford poll. We know we're in the midst of some serious climate change, and don't need pictures of polar bears stuck on fragmenting ice caps to drive the point home. The problem for the business world is that all of the incremental solutions we keep hearing about - use less electricity, drive a hybrid, buy recycled and organic products - don't exactly set entrepreneurs' imaginations on fire. Sure, such efforts cut energy usage bit by bit, but global warming presents opportunities beyond dutiful belt-tightening.

Undiluted hype about global warming and climate disasters is polluting the journals and airwaves; multimillion-dollar propaganda campaigns are underway by environmental activists, generously financed by compliant foundations and by government grants. The White House is putting pressure on civic and religious groups, and even on corporations, to join the apocalyptic chorus.

Will scientific facts turn off the hype? Don't bet on it. Not until the public becomes fully aware of the tremendous costs imposed by the policies now being developed to meet a non-existing problem. In light of these facts, if the continual resurrection of the issue of global warming in the media is not a consummate example of the Big Lie, I'd be hard pressed to find a better one.