Monday, October 18, 2010

Man-made global warming debate heats up

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, and proof that data relating to man-made global warming and climate change is skewed or just plain inaccurate, some scientists and many environmentalists still support its existence. While that may seem ridiculous on its face, supporters are unflagging in their push to protect the planet at all costs. When will the general public realize the anti-energy argument no longer holds water?

By: Tom Harris

“We are very energized and enthusiastic about millions of people coming together and making this the biggest day of climate action ever,” said a young German activist wearing a “” t-shirt at Berlin’s 10/10/10 demonstrations on Sunday. Campaigners around her, and indeed “people at 7,347 events in 188 countries”, according to organizers, danced, sang, planted trees, and picked up garbage as part of the massive worldwide 10/10/10 “Global Work Party”.

What’s that all about? And, what is so special about 350?

350.0rg founder Bill McKibben explained, “It’s the boundary condition for a habitable planet. We’re already past it. We’re at 390 parts per million [of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere]. That’s why the arctic is melting. That’s why Australia is burning up… … if we put very much more carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll pass the kind of tipping points … that mean we’ll never be able to get back there even if we stopped driving every car and powering every factory. … We’re fighting to keep real collapse at bay ....”

McKibben asserts that only misguided “climate change deniers” disagree with the urgent need to reduce humanity’s CO2 emissions to avoid climate catastrophe.

But he is completely wrong.

First, no rational scientist denies that climate changes. As Professor Tim Patterson of the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada testified before the House of Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in 2005, “Based on the paleoclimatic data I and others have collected, it's obvious that climate is, and always has been, variable. In fact, the only constant about climate is change; it changes continually.”

Scientists such as Patterson would obviously deny that they deny climate change – they are denial deniers.

If anyone could rationally be labeled climate change deniers, it is those who hold the absurd view that our climate was tranquil until we started to emit significant amounts of CO2.

The ‘denier’ label is simply an attempt to equate those of us who question political correctness on climate change to Holocaust deniers. It is trying to discredit a message by discrediting the messenger, a logical fallacy referred to as ad hominem – “against the man”. It’s also irrational to put the questioning of forecasts of future events on a par with denying what has already happened.

Climate activists claim that there is a consensus among experts that humanity’s CO2 emissions are causing a climate crisis. In reality, there has never been a reputable worldwide poll of the thousands of experts who study the causes of climate change. Assertions that the multitude of scientists who worked on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports agree that our CO2 emissions are taking us to a planetary crisis are completely unfounded. Climate data analyst John McLean of Melbourne, Australia has repeatedly demonstrated that only a few dozen scientist participants in the IPCC process even commented on the issue.

Most climate statements by national science academies are quite meaningless, as well. They are simply proclamations from academy executives or select panels, not their scientist members, since no national science body that has spoken in support of schemes to “stop climate change” have demonstrated that a majority of their members agree with the academy statements.

We cannot forecast climate decades from now any better than we can predict the weather two weeks ahead. The system is simply too complex and our understanding of the science too primitive. Dr. Chris Essex, Professor of Applied Mathematics at The University of Western Ontario explains, “Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.” Not only are today’s computerized climate models (the primary basis of the alarm) not known to properly represent the climate system, they cannot be programmed to do so since we do not know the underlying science well enough to know what to program the computers to compute.

Many scientists who work with the IPCC know this. They even stated in their Third Assessment Report (Section, page 774): "In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."

International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) Chief Science Advisor Dr. Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia writes in his new book Climate: The Counter Consensus, “science provides no unambiguous evidence that dangerous global warming or even measurable human-caused global warming is occurring … despite the expenditure since 1990 of many tens of billions of dollars searching for it.”

It is no secret that many experts in the field agree with Essex, Carter and Patterson. ICSC’s recently launched Climate Scientists’ Register has already attracted the endorsement of 139 leading climate experts from 21 countries. The Register states, “We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming."

Sadly for the environmental movement, which has committed vast resources to this activism, 10/10/10, and similar campaigns are dangerously off track. When the public finally come to realize how they have been so seriously misled on what has become a central theme of modern environmentalism, efforts to address real environment problems may very well be set back decades.

In the meantime, billions of dollars are wasted and thousands of jobs threatened, all for an unproven hypothesis that never made any sense in the first place.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC - He teaches a second year climate course in the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

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