In this issue:
1. Scientists respond to Gore’s warnings of climate catastrophe
2. Past predictions of “Global Weather Catastrophe” made by the environmental movement
3. What happened to the Environmental Movements “Population Bomb” crisis of the 1970’s?
1. SCIENTISTS RESPOND TO GORE’S WARNINGS OF CLIMATE CATASTROPHE
It is important to remember that the “Global Warming” crisis is not the first time the environmental movement has predicted world-wide catastrophe. The following quote sums up the tactics of the environmental movement:– “To capture the public imagination we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
Climate scientist, global warming activist and former global cooling prophet Stephen Schneider (“Our fragile Earth,” Discover, October 1987, page 47) –
Al Gore has made “doomsday” statements similar to those made during the “Global Cooling” and “Population Bomb” scares promoted by the environmental movement in the 1970’s – such as we only have 10 years to act before it will be too late.
The following article examines the validity of the claims made by Al Gore in his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Scientists respond to Gore’s warnings of climate catastrophe
“The Inconvenient Truth” is indeed inconvenient to alarmists
By Tom Harris
Monday, June 12, 2006
“Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the truth as they see it,” Al Gore sensibly asserts in his film “An Inconvenient Truth”, showing at Cumberland 4 Cinemas in Toronto since Jun 2. With that outlook in mind, what do world climate experts actually think about the science of his movie?
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.”
But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of “climate change skeptics” who disagree with the “vast majority of scientists” Gore cites?
No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. “Climate experts” is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore’s “majority of scientists” think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.
Even among that fraction, many focus their studies on the impacts of climate change; biologists, for example, who study everything from insects to polar bears to poison ivy. “While many are highly skilled researchers, they generally do not have special knowledge about the causes of global climate change,” explains former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball. “They usually can tell us only about the effects of changes in the local environment where they conduct their studies.”
This is highly valuable knowledge, but doesn’t make them climate change cause experts, only climate impact experts.
So we have a smaller fraction.
But it becomes smaller still. Among experts who actually examine the causes of change on a global scale, many concentrate their research on designing and enhancing computer models of hypothetical futures. “These models have been consistently wrong in all their scenarios,” asserts Ball. “Since modelers concede computer outputs are not “predictions” but are in fact merely scenarios, they are negligent in letting policy-makers and the public think they are actually making forecasts.”
We should listen most to scientists who use real data to try to understand what nature is actually telling us about the causes and extent of global climate change. In this relatively small community, there is no consensus, despite what Gore and others would suggest.
Here is a small sample of the side of the debate we almost never hear:
Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, “There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.” Patterson asked the committee, “On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s modest warming?”
Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and “hundreds of other studies” reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth’s temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.
Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, takes apart Gore’s dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea. “The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier,” says Winterhalter. “In Antarctica the temperature is low enough to prohibit melting of the ice front, so if the ice is grounded, it has to break off in beautiful ice cascades. If the water is deep enough icebergs will form.”
Dr. Wibj–rn KarlÈn, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden, admits, “Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems.”
But KarlÈn clarifies that the ‘mass balance’ of Antarctica is positive – more snow is accumulating than melting off. As a result, Ball explains, there is an increase in the ‘calving’ of icebergs as the ice dome of Antarctica is growing and flowing to the oceans. When Greenland and Antarctica are assessed together, “their mass balance is considered to possibly increase the sea level by 0.03 mm/year – not much of an effect,” KarlÈn concludes.
The Antarctica has survived warm and cold events over millions of years. A meltdown is simply not a realistic scenario in the foreseeable future.
Gore tells us in the film, “Starting in 1970, there was a precipitous drop-off in the amount and extent and thickness of the Arctic ice cap.” This is misleading, according to Ball: “The survey that Gore cites was a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September, using a wholly different technology.”
KarlÈn explains that a paper published in 2003 by University of Alaska professor Igor Polyakov shows that, the region of the Arctic where rising temperature is supposedly endangering polar bears showed fluctuations since 1940 but no overall temperature rise. “For several published records it is a decrease for the last 50 years,” says KarlÈn
Dr. Dick Morgan, former advisor to the World Meteorological Organization and climatology researcher at University of Exeter, U.K. gives the details, “There has been some decrease in ice thickness in the Canadian Arctic over the past 30 years but no melt down. The Canadian Ice Service records show that from 1971-1981 there was average, to above average, ice thickness. From 1981-1982 there was a sharp decrease of 15% but there was a quick recovery to average, to slightly above average, values from 1983-1995. A sharp drop of 30% occurred again 1996-1998 and since then there has been a steady increase to reach near normal conditions since 2001.”
Concerning Gore’s beliefs about worldwide warming, Morgan points out that, in addition to the cooling in the NW Atlantic, massive areas of cooling are found in the North and South Pacific Ocean; the whole of the Amazon Valley; the north coast of South America and the Caribbean; the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Red Sea; New Zealand and even the Ganges Valley in India. Morgan explains, “Had the IPCC used the standard parameter for climate change (the 30 year average) and used an equal area projection, instead of the Mercator (which doubled the area of warming in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Ocean) warming and cooling would have been almost in balance.”
Gore’s point that 200 cities and towns in the American West set all time high temperature records is also misleading according to Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. “It is not unusual for some locations, out of the thousands of cities and towns in the U.S., to set all-time records,” he says. “The actual data shows that overall, recent temperatures in the U.S. were not unusual.”
Carter does not pull his punches about Gore’s activism, “The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.”
In April sixty of the world’s leading experts in the field asked Prime Minister Harper to order a thorough public review of the science of climate change, something that has never happened in Canada. Considering what’s at stake – either the end of civilization, if you believe Gore, or a waste of billions of dollars, if you believe his opponents – it seems like a reasonable request.
Tom Harris is mechanical engineer and Ottawa Director of High Park Group, a public affairs and public policy company. He can be reached at email@example.com
2. PAST PREDICTIONS OF “GLOBAL WEATHER CATASTROPHE” MADE BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT
Data proves the earth did cool overall between 1940 and 1970 during the reconstruction and expansion of economic development after World War II. This cooling is now thought to be related to a decrease in sunspot activity similar, though not as severe, as what occurred during the “mini-ice age” between 1250 A.D. to the late 1700’s, which was compounded by an increase in volcanic activity.
The statements that our weather is warmer than it’s been in the last 200 years are true when you consider the fact that we came out of the “Little Ice Age” in the late 1700’s – but this current warming of 1 degree is tame when compared to the higher temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period, from approximately 750 A.D. to 1250 A.D., when temperatures rose an average of 4 to 5 degrees. This medieval warming period was a boon to the cultures of Europe expanding agriculture, including allowing grapes to be grown in Britain and allowing the Vikings to colonize Greenland.
Scientific reports and historical records indicate that sunspot activity reached a maximum during the warmest temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period and that the coldest temperatures of the “Little Ice Age occurred during the Maunder Sunspot Minimum, the period from 1645-1715 AD in which minimal sunspot activity was observed. For some reason some scientists and the environmental movement have decided to discount the current increase in sunspot activity as a cause of our current warming trend.
The “Mini-Ice Age” was devastating to the populations of Europe causing famine and increasing the devastation of the Bubonic Plague as humans were weakened by the malnutrition caused by crop failures (and both rats and humans sought shelter from the cold). This Little Ice Age also forced the Vikings to abandon their settlements in Greenland that they establish during the warming period that preceded the Little Ice Age.
The historical records prove that we enter Ice Ages roughly every 10,000 years and our last “major” Ice-Age occurred over 10,000 years ago. As history has shown over the last 1,000 years, it is not warming periods that have been devastating to humans, but ice ages such as the Little Ice Age between 1250 and the late 1700’s proved.
Keep in mind the following past statements of the environmental movement during their current campaign against “Global Warming:”– The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and exploding population.—Reid Bryson, “Global Ecology; Readings towards a rational strategy for Man”, (1971) – – This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century—Peter Gwynne, Newsweek 1976 – – There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every
nation on earth. The drop in food production could begin quite soon… The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.—Newsweek, April 28, (1975) – – This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.—Lowell Ponte “The Cooling”, 1976 – – If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000…This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.—Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling, Earth Day (1970) – – In “The Cooling World,” April 28, 1975 issue of Newsweek proclaimed that scientists are “almost unanimous” in their concern that an “ominous” cooling trend “will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century” and the world might be heading into another “little ice age.” –
3. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENTS “POPULATION BOMB” CRISIS OF THE 1970’S?
What happened to those catastrophic predictions of population growth made in the 1970’s by the environmental movement?– The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer—Paul Ehrlich “The Population Bomb” (1968) – – I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000—Paul Ehrlich in (1969) – – In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.—Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970) – – Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity . . . in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion—Paul Ehrlich in (1976) –
Although the past alarmist predictions of the environmental movement of a “Population Bomb” proved false, like their predictions on “Global Cooling,” will we face a “Population Bomb” in the future?
The U.N. and independent projections of population growth indicate a stabilization of the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) that will result in the world’s population stabilizing and eventually declining by the end of this century. Only the United States is an exception, which was discussed in the book “Fewer – How the new Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future” by Ben Wattenberg, where this information on population tends was quoted from.
“Depopulation is already proceeding in many of the modern developed nations. Europe is now losing about 700,000 people each year, a figure that will grow to about 3 million a year, or more, by mid-century. Russia alone is losing close to a million people each year (it is believed that abortions outnumber births in Russia). Within the next few years Japan will begin losing population. The steep trend toward fewer children per women in modern nations has been near universal. The TFR is not keeping pace with what is needed to maintain current population. The TRF necessary to maintain existing population is 2.10 children per couple. In Europe the TFR is 1.38.”
But what’s going on is not restricted to the well-to-do modern nations. The poorer, Less Developed Countries (LDCs), still have higher birth and fertility rates than rich countries. But the rate in the LDCs are typically falling at a more rapid rate than ever experienced in the rich countries. As recently as 1970 the typical woman in an LDC nation bore 6.0 children per woman. Today, in the midst of a fertility free-fall, the rate is 2.8 or 2.7 children per woman and rapidly continuing downward. Such patterns have been observed in India, Indonesia, Brazil, Egypt, Iran and, critically, Mexico, only to begin a long list. This is not idle speculation. These are not simple straight-line projections taken from U.N.”
In 2005 it was announced that Mexico’s TFR in 2004 had fallen to 2.16, just .06 above maintaining a stable population. In the 70’s the TFR was 6.0.
The falling TFR is already putting pressure on the viability of European social programs due to the fact that there are not enough children being born to support those receiving benefits. In 2004 the Netherlands (a socialist country) the largest protest ever in that country (200,000) was held to protest the raising of the minimum retirement age and cut back in cost of living raises.
“The head of the VVD liberal party, second strongest in the coalition, criticized the unions who organized this protest, accusing them of sticking their heads in the sand when faced with the problems.
Reforms to welfare support and health coverage, as well as a freeze on civil service salaries and the minimum wage, have sparked a wave of discontent across the Netherlands.
The Dutch institute for budget information (NIBUD) has estimated that all residents will suffer an erosion in purchasing power next year, with those in ill health especially affected.”
Germany, France and Britain are also attempting to reform their social welfare programs due to costs spirally out of control and the effect these outlays are having on their economic competitiveness.
The United States TRF has not yet reached a crisis state and this may be one of the reasons President Bush and others support increased immigration.