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When it comes to global warming, there is a disturbing trend emerging: "The discussion's over. The Earth's climate is getting warmer, and we must do something about it." This attitude is typified by Tim Barnett, a research marine geophysicist at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, who said in 2005, "New computer models that look at ocean temperatures instead of atmosphere show the clearest signal yet that global warming is underway. The debate over whether or not there is global warming is now over, at least for rational people."
This pompous, overbearing, elitist attitude is appalling and has spread rapidly, particularly among elected officials, who now enjoy lampooning global warming skeptics as the "Flat Earth" crowd. True, for most of the 20th century, global atmospheric temperatures were trending warmer until they peaked in 1998. Trouble is, since then, global temperatures have been trending cooler, as they did in the 1960s and 70s, which prompted some scientists to predict the onset of a New Ice Age (don't these people ever get embarrassed by being wrong?). Yet Mr. Barnett and many others have the chutzpah to declare the debate over and attack the rationality of people who might disagree.
If you Google the words "global warming expert opinions," the very first hit you should get is a Feb 1, 2008 report entitled "Global Warming: Experts Opinions Versus Scientific Forecasts" (www.ncpa.org/pub/st308). This report was written by two experts on the science of forecasting, Dr. Kesten Green from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, a PhD from MIT who is currently a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
Drs. Green and Armstrong take dead aim at one of the seminal documents on which many of the global warming alarmists rely, a 2007 "Fourth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers." The United Nations (uh, oh) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NASDAQ:IPCC) issued this assessment, and it contains a plethora of doomsday scenarios for the year 2100 (!). The assessment advises that, unless global warming trends are not dealt with right now, there will be rising sea levels resulting in flooded coastal areas, severe droughts, severe floods, increasingly violent storms, spread of tropical diseases, and so on. Here are some observations by Green and Armstrong on the IPCC document.
Problems with Computer Models. Climate scientists now use computer models, but there is no evidence that modeling improves the accuracy of predictions. For example, according to the models, the Earth should be warmer than actual measurements show it to be.
Skepticism Among the Scientists. It is not surprising that international surveys of climate scientists from 27 countries in 1996 and 2003 found growing skepticism over the accuracy of climate models. Of more than 1,060 respondents, only 35 percent agreed with the statement, “Climate models can accurately predict future climates,” whereas 47 percent disagreed.
Violations of Forecasting Principles. Forty internationally-known experts on forecasting methods and 123 expert reviewers codified evidence from research on forecasting into 140 principles. The authors of this study used these forecasting principles to audit the IPCC report. They found that:
- Out of the 140 forecasting principles, 127 principles are relevant to the procedures used to arrive at the climate projections in the IPCC report.
- Of these 127, the methods described in the IPCC report violated 60 principles.
- An additional 12 forecasting principles appear to be violated, and there is insufficient information in the report to assess the use of 38.
As a result of these violations of forecasting principles, the forecasts in the IPCC report are invalid. Specifically:
The Data Are Unreliable. Temperature data is highly variable over time and space. Local proxy data of uncertain accuracy (such as ice cores and tree rings) must be used to infer past global temperatures. Even over the period during which thermometer data have been available, readings are not evenly spread across the globe and are often subject to local warming from increasing urbanization. As a consequence, the trend over time can be rising, falling or stable depending on the data sample chosen.
The Forecasting Models Are Unreliable. Complex forecasting methods are only accurate when there is little uncertainty about the data and the situation (in this case: how the climate system works), and causal variables can be forecast accurately. These conditions do not apply to climate forecasting. For example, a simple model that projected the effects of Pacific Ocean currents (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) by extrapolating past data into the future made more accurate three-month forecasts than 11 complex models. Every model performed poorly when forecasting further ahead.
The Forecasters Themselves Are Unreliable. Political considerations influence all stages of the IPCC process. For example, chapter by chapter drafts of the Fourth Assessment Report “Summary for Policymakers” were released months in advance of the full report, and the final version of the report was expressly written to reflect the language negotiated by political appointees to the IPCC. The conclusion of the audit is that there is no scientific forecast supporting the widespread belief in dangerous human-caused “global warming.” In fact, it has yet to be demonstrated that long-term forecasting of climate is possible.
Footnote: Not only did Green and Armstrong dismantle the IPCC report, they also challenged Tim Barnett's use of computer models on ocean temperatures to forecast anything further ahead than a three-month period (see above text highlighted in red).
There are many highly qualified, and skeptical, scientists who are critical of the political climate created by global warming alarmists. Consider Richard Lindzen, a PhD in atmospheric physics from Harvard, a professor of meteorology at MIT, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Lindzen wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal on his concerns (www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220). Two quotes from the article:
"Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves listed as industry stooges, scientific hacks, or worse."
"In 1992, he (Senator Al Gore) ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism.......Mr. Gore, as Vice President, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists, a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate."
Dr. Lindzen wasn't kidding about dissenters being targeted by global warming supporters. Go to www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Global_warming and you will find a convenient list of 54 individuals and 18 organizations identified as global warming skeptics. Click on the individual or organization, and there's plenty of uncomplimentary information, the favorite being the strong implication that many of these people are industry stooges, and perforce, compromised and unreliable.
There's more. An interesting story is just starting to slip into the national media (www.foxnews.com/obamas-science-czar-considered-forced-abortions-sterilization-population-growth/). It appears that John Holdren, President Obama's Chief of the White House Office of Science and Technology, aka The Science Czar, has some 'splainin' to do (Holdren's 50-person staff has two main functions: focus on energy independence and global warming). Holdren co-authored a book published in 1977, "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," which put forth suggestions of "a planetary regime" that would oversee population growth and control of all of the Earth's natural resources. To control population, the authors suggest forced abortions and compulsory sterilization on a global basis, which would be enforced through an armed international police force to which all nations would surrender a part of their sovereignty. That's so far beyond bizarre, it's in the Twilight Zone.
The stated guiding principle behind the book was, "To provide a high quality of life, there must be fewer people." Although for different reasons, Hitler couldn't have said it better. Holdren is currently tap-dancing while searching for palatable answers to the news organizations that are beginning to ask probing questions which the U.S. Senate should have asked in his confirmation hearing (full disclosure: Holdren was confirmed unanimously). Best answer Holdren has come up with so far: the book is over thirty years old, and I don't support the suggestions made. Which begs the question: Then why did he even include them in the first place?
Footnote: in 1986, Holdren predicted that 1 billion people would be killed by the effects of global warming by the year 2020. At his Senate confirmation hearing this past March, he was asked about that prediction by Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. Incredibly, he said it is still possible. He's STILL in the Twilight Zone! Hopefully, our Science Czar is working right now with the IPCC on drawing up contingency plans which use green methods to dispose of 1 billion dead bodies.
It gets better, and here's the real reason why Holdren suggested forced abortion and mandatory sterilization to hold down global population growth. The co-author of Holdren's 1977 book was none other than whacko scientist Paul Ehrlich, who is an entomologist specializing in the study of butterflies, has a PhD in bee research, and wrote a 1968 book entitled "The Population Bomb" (please don't attempt to make a connection between bees, butterflies and global population; you'll get a severe headache). In the book, Ehrlich predicted that "the battle to feed all humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death" due to mass famine. Ehrlich's book was eventually discredited and is so scientifically flawed that it's laughable, but keep in mind that, in 1977, Ehrlich was still being hailed as a science guru, and "The Population Bomb" was a big influence on public policy.
So there you have it. Our nation's Science Czar, who has the President's ear on energy and global warming policy, has already hopped on a totally flawed, and outrageous, pseudo-science bandwagon on global population. Anyone wanna bet he isn't taking us on the same ride on global warming?