Chapter 2 Global
“We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the
future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.”
— Abraham Lincoln
It seems that global warming suddenly appeared on the scene,
rapidly spread by media warnings of impending peril. What is Global
Warming? Where did it come from and how long have we known about it?
This chapter examines where the idea of global warming came from,
particularly global warming tied to human generated CO2
The History of Global Warming
Discovery of the greenhouse effect, the ability of
certain gases to trap heat,
is attributed to Joseph Fourier,†
in 1829. Sixty-five years later, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius
became the first investigator to report on the effects of
heat-absorbing gases in the atmosphere. According to NASA, Arrhenius
was “the first person to investigate the effect that doubling
atmospheric carbon dioxide would have on global climate.”20
Arrhenius had not started out in the fields of
climatology and geophysics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for
Chemistry for his work on the electrolytic theory of dissociation. As
a hobby, Arrhenius began studying the increased emission of
atmospheric carbon by humans and its effects. In a paper presented in
1895, he stated that “the slight percentage of carbonic acid in
the atmosphere may, by the advances of industry, be changed to a
noticeable degree in the course of a few centuries.”21
10: Svante August Arrhenius (1859-1927).
Joseph Fourier (1768-1830), famous French mathematician
Arrhenius suggested that this increase could be beneficial, making
Earth's climate “more equable,” while stimulating plant
growth and food production. Most scientists thought the idea that
humans could actually affect average global temperatures far-fetched.
In 1938, G. S. Callendar, a British amateur meteorologist, made a
bold claim that may sound familiar. He argued that man was
responsible for heating up the planet with CO2 emissions.
Despite the previous work of Arrhenius, it still wasn’t a
common notion at the time. He published an article in the Quarterly
Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society on the subject
stating, “In the following paper I hope to show that such
influence is not only possible, but is actually occurring at the
present time.” He went on the lecture circuit describing
carbon-dioxide-induced global warming, similar to Al Gore's present
The 1940s saw significant developments in infrared spectroscopy,
particularly for measuring long-wave IR radiation. It was empirically
demonstrated that increasing the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide
resulted in greater absorption of infrared radiation. Also, it was
discovered that water vapor, ozone and carbon dioxide absorbed
radiation at different wavelengths. This allowed scientists to
measure the increase in atmospheric CO2 by studying
In 1956, Gilbert Plass, a Canadian physicist working in the United
States, concluded that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere
would capture infrared radiation that is otherwise lost to space.22,23
He further concluded that human activities were raising the average
global temperature. Plass also pioneered the use of electronic
computers in climate studies, a foreshadowing of modern climate
science's dependency on computer models.
The American government first became involved in 1965, when Roger
Revelle, a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee
Panel on Environmental Pollution, helped publish the first high-level
government document to mention global warming.24 The report identified many of the environmental troubles the nation
faced, including the potential for global warming by carbon dioxide.
Revelle would continue to popularize the notion of human-caused
global warming, publishing a widely-read article in Scientific
American in 1982. The article linked the rise in global sea level
and the “relative role played by the melting of glaciers and
ice sheets versus the thermal expansion of the warming surface
Revelle, an oceanographer by training, convinced himself that he
was the “grandfather”
of global warming theory, conveniently ignoring the work of
Arrhenius, Chandler, and Plass. On his death in 1982, his
hometown paper, the San Diego County edition of the Los
began its front page coverage as follows: “Roger
Revelle, the internationally renowned oceanographer who warned of
global warming 30 years before greenhouse effect became a household
term, died Monday of complications related to a heart attack.”
Even if his role in discovering global warming wasn't as central as
he and the press thought, Revelle did play a major part in
popularizing the subject.
Increased political awareness of global warming issues led to the
establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
in 1988. The IPCC was established by two UN organizations, the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United
Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP), to evaluate the risk of climate change brought on by humans.
The IPCC was the first international effort of this
scale to address environmental issues and has become the primary
source of global warming information quoted by government officials
and the media.
The remaining portion of this chapter will examine the case for
human-caused global warming as advanced by the IPCC. We will show how
a scientific observation by one man evolved into a political
controversy, involving thousands of scientists, politicians and
bureaucrats. First, we will examine changes in Earth's temperature
over the past century or so.
There is little doubt that, over the
past 100 years or so, Earth's climate has been warming. There may
still be a few scientists out there who would disagree, but the fact
that the planet is warming comes as close to universal acceptance
as anything in science. But, as
we shall see, consensus is not a valid scientific argument.
Despite claims of consensus, opinions vary widely when the rate of
warming and its causes are discussed.
changing global temperature shown in Illustration 11
reveals a warming trend of around 1.8°F
per century. What is also apparent is the fact that the
temperature didn't rise in a smooth, straight line. There were a
number of ups and downs, particularly when traced from year to year.
The five year mean temperature provides a smoother curve, but even it
has had a bumpy rise. While Earth's climate is constantly changing,
the change is anything but constant.
After a slight dip at the beginning of
the last century, temperatures rose for 30 years, until around the
start of World War II. Then the temperature sank for four decades,
resuming an upward trend only after the mid-1970s. Because of this
capricious temperature fluctuation, the time frame used to calculate
the temperature trend is tremendously important.
11 Change in global mean temperature since 1880. Source NASA.
When measured from 1975 to the 2005, a
temperature rise of 0.8°C is
observed in 30 years, a rate of +2.7°C
per century. But, if the past 20 years were measured in 1964, a 20
year decrease of 0.4°C would
be recorded, a cooling trend of -1.3°C
per century. The temperature difference between 1900 and 2000 shows a
rise for that century of 0.4°C,
significantly lower than the accepted 1°C
per century. Clearly, how the measuring points are chosen can distort
the perceived temperature trend greatly.
Judging a trend on yearly fluctuations
is also an unsound practice. There was a 0.2°C
drop from 1998 to 1999, in the midst of a 30 year warming period,
while from 1956 to 1957 there was a 0.2°C rise during a 30 year
period of temperature decline. Claiming that a year is the “hottest
year in a decade” is totally meaningless in terms of the
overall trend, and claiming that it is proof of global warming is an
The truth is that Earth's climate is
always changing. It varies from year to year, from decade to decade,
and from century to century. What is seldom mentioned in the global
warming debate is that there are also longer trends, spanning
thousands and even millions of years. The forces affecting Earth's
climate are colossal, long-acting, and only poorly understood by
should we judge climate change? Assuming that the previous century's
trend will continue for the next 100 years is naive, but probably a
good place to start. If you extend the warming trend of the past
century out into the future, a linear prediction, Earth's
climate should grow warmer by another 1.8°F
by the year 2100, but there is no guarantee this will happen. This
continued, modest increase falls below the lowest increase predicted
by the IPCC, which uses much more complicated means of estimating
future temperature change.
The IPCC Reports
Since its creation, the IPCC has issued four major, and numerous special,
reports on the threat of human-caused global warming. Each
installment has reported more dreadful consequences with greater
certainty than the last. The
latest report, the fourth in the series, states that the world's
scientists are “90% sure” that humans are to blame for
the unprecedented rise in Earth's temperature.26
Time-line for IPCC reports.
assessment report (FAR)
assessment report (SAR)
assessment report (TAR)
assessment report (AR4)
assessment report (AR5)
The previous report, the Third Assessment Report (TAR),
had been released in 2001. Its findings were dire enough. In the
words of Dr. R. K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC at the High Level Segment, in an
address given at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and 1st Conference of
the Parties serving as Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol,
in Montreal, Canada, 7 December 2005:
Earth’s climate system has demonstrably changed on both global
and regional scales since the pre-industrial era, and there is new
and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last
50 years is attributable to human activities...
using the SRES†
emissions scenarios based on a range of climate models point to an
increase in globally averaged surface temperature of 1.4 to 5.8°C
over the period 1990 to 2100. This is about two to ten times larger
than the central value of observed warming over the 20th century, and
the projected rate of warming is very likely to be without precedent
during at least the last 10,000 years, based on paleo-climate data.”27
† The IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios.
So, here is a prediction of unprecedented climate change over
the next century, a change not seen in
“at least the last 10,000 years.” Temperatures
could rise by as much as 2.5°F to 10°F (1.4°C to 5.8°C)
around the world. This change could be bad for the climate, living
things, and human civilization.
the TAR isn't all doom and gloom. It mentions several courses of action that
could reduce the level of threat. There is also some carefully worded
bureaucratic bet-hedging about the effect of these “change
mitigation efforts” on the ultimate outcome. What the report
says is, if we cut down on CO2
emissions, the temperature won't go up as much. So, the sooner we
stop the emissions the better.
Dr. Pachauri noted the AR4
would contain additional and new information to update the older
report. He said, “It will address some specific cross-cutting
themes, which cover, in addition to other issues, scientific and
technical aspects of Article 2 of the Convention.”
2 February 2007
– Late last night, Working Group I of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adopted the Summary for Policymakers
of the first volume of “Climate Change 2007”, also known
as the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).
Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis”, assesses the current
scientific knowledge of the natural and human drivers of climate
change, observed changes in climate, the ability of science to
attribute changes to different causes, and projections for future
report was produced by some 600 authors from 40 countries. Over 620
expert reviewers and a large number of government reviewers also
participated. Representatives from 113 governments reviewed and
revised the Summary line-by-line during the course of this week
before adopting it and accepting the underlying report.
Summary can be downloaded in English from www.ipcc.ch
A webcast of the final press conference has also been posted. The
Summary will be available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and
Spanish at a later date.
The Fourth Assessment Report
The accompanying text box contains the press release from the IPCC
announcing the release of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).
The AR4 consists of four distinct sections: The
Physical Science Basis; Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability;
Mitigation of Climate Change and The Synthesis Report (SYR). Each of
the first three sections has its own set of experts, called a Working
Group. The three Working Group report sections were released by early
The most concise statement of the IPCC's findings is found in the Summary
for Policy Makers (SPM). Unfortunately, the language found in all the
IPCC reports is anything but clear and understandable. A strange brew
of scientific jargon and bureaucratic doublespeak, the SPM is
intended for use by non-scientists and is the most accessible of the
What does the IPCC say about Earth's temperature? It's going up, of
course; that conclusion was not really in doubt. What is questionable
are the IPCC's presentation of historic data, methodology and
estimated severity of temperature increase.
Illustration 12, taken directly from the IPCC report, contains two graphs.
The upper graph shows average temperatures for the past 140 years. The lower
graph extends the temperature readings to cover the past 1000 years.
The reason for splitting the data up this way is that only
temperatures for the past 140 years are based on direct measurements
(e.g. thermometer readings). All the older temperatures shown are inferred
from other measurements, called proxies.
An interesting feature of the lower graph in Illustration 12
is the dramatic upswing, shown at the far right of the graph.
This graph is known as the “hockey stick,”
because of its shape. The long, almost straight portion is the shaft
and the up-swing at the end is the blade. For reasons we will discuss
later, this graph has become infamous among those who question the
IPCC's methods and conclusions.
The sharp up-tick right around the year 2000 is not part of the heavily
drawn line that meanders across the rest of the graph. This is
because the heavy line represents a moving average, a way to
mathematically smooth out choppy data like Earth's yearly
temperature. There are not enough data points in the steepest portion
of the graph to smooth out the peaks.
The lack of smoothing helps make the final up-tick all the more
12 Temperature change for the past 140 and 1,000 years.|
Fourth Assessment Report.
Note the wide, dark gray swath that encloses the temperature curve up
until 1900. This band represents the uncertainty in the proxy
temperatures used to create the graph. This means that even though
the averaged temperature curve is shown consistently below the
straight line, representing the average temperature for 1960-1990,
some proxy data indicated that the temperatures were above that line. The
IPCC takes uncertainty very seriously—to
the point where they have published a number of guidelines on exactly
what the terms used in their reports
These include: Uncertainties
in Guidance Papers on the Cross Cutting Issues of the Third
of the IPCC,28
published in 2000;
IPCC Workshop on Describing Scientific Uncertainties in Climate Change to
Support Analysis of Risk and of Options: Workshop report,29
published in 2003; and
IPCC Uncertainty Guidance Note,30
published in 2005.
In the introductory letter to the guidance note, use
of the terms “confidence” and “likelihood” as
alternative ways of expressing uncertainty are given “particular
Table 2: Quantitatively calibrated levels of confidence
Degree of confidence in being correct
Very High confidence
At least 9 out of 10 chance of being correct
About 8 out of 10 chance
About 5 out of 10 chance
About 2 out of 10 chance
Very low confidence
Less than 1 out of 10 chance
Multiple scales are provided to allow IPCC authors to
confidently identify their level of uncertainty. Table 2
defines the meanings of phrases used when expressing levels of
confidence, while Table 3
defines phrases used when talking about likelihood. It is not
uncommon for scientists to use statistics and probabilities
when they are unsure of their conclusions. This might seem confusing, but
at least it is well defined confusion.
Table 3: IPCC Likelihood Scale.
Degree of confidence in being correct
>99% probability of occurrence
About as likely as not
33% to 66% probability
Illustration 13: Likelihood of Climate Effects.
When the terms “high confidence” or “about as likely as
not” appear in an IPCC report they have specific meanings.
“High confidence” means that there is an eight in ten, or
80%, chance of being correct. “About as likely as not”
means there is between a one in three and two in three (33%-66%)
chance of being correct. All the conclusions presented in the IPCC
reports, especially those in the Summary for Policymakers, must be
viewed through this haze of statistical uncertainty. As Mark Twain
said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and
An example of how these definitions are used to interpret figures and
statements in the IPCC reports is shown in Illustration 13.
Warmer days and nights are rated a 99% sure bet. More warm spells and
heavy rain come in at 90% while drought, more hurricanes, and rising
sea levels are a two in three chance at 66%.
But even these tentative predictions are conditional, based on the total
amount of actual temperature rise. According to the IPCC, “The
categories defined in this table should be considered as having
'fuzzy' boundaries.”32 Fuzzy indeed. With
these definitions in mind, we will examine the effects of global
warming as predicted by the IPCC's latest report.
Predicted Effects of Global Warming
Working Group II (WGII) is
responsible for accessing the impact of global warming. Their section
of the AR4 document contains “current
scientific understanding of impacts of climate change on natural, managed
and human systems, the capacity of these systems to adapt and their
This report claims that global warming will cause significant change
in many physical and biological systems. As an example of the actual
text in the report, we quote from the summary report.
regard to changes in snow, ice and frozen ground (including
permafrost), there is high confidence that natural systems are
affected. Examples are:
and increased numbers of glacial lakes [1.3]†;
ground instability in permafrost regions, and rock avalanches in
mountain regions [1.3];
in some Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems, including those in sea-ice
biomes, and also predators high in the food chain [1.3, 4.4, 15.4].
on growing evidence, there is high confidence that the following
effects on hydrological systems are occurring:
run-off and earlier spring peak discharge in many glacier- and
snow-fed rivers [1.3];
of lakes and rivers in many regions, with effects on thermal
structure and water quality [1.3]...
is very high confidence, based on more evidence from a wider range of
species, that recent warming is strongly affecting terrestrial
biological systems, including such changes as:
timing of spring events, such as leaf-unfolding, bird migration and
and upward shifts in ranges in plant and animal species [1.3, 8.2,
To save space, here is a summary of the other major outcomes and predictions
from subsequent sections:
Sources to statements in the report text are given in
square brackets. For example, [3.3] refers to Chapter 3, Section 3.
could be more fish farther north, more algae growing in lakes, and
fish runs will start earlier in the year.
will come earlier. Warmer higher latitudes will mean animals and
plants will be found in places that were previously too cold for
might be affected, also, there might be more forest
fires and pests. People may experience a worse hay fever
hot summer weather might be dangerous to some. Also, snow
sports and winter hunting might be diminished.
days and nights are rated a 99% certainty.
warm spells and heavy rain are rated 90%.
more frequent and severe hurricanes, and rising sea levels receive
report also cautions that warming might cause floods from
glacier melt-water. Some places will experience drier
conditions, which could affect agriculture. Water released from
melting glaciers could make sea-levels higher and flood
low-lying areas. It is noted, however, that these effects have not
“become established trends.”
The report goes on to break
out various effects for different categories based on a
sliding scale according to the amount of temperature increase. The
table from the original report is reproduced in Illustration 14. A
close inspection reveals a mixed bag of results.
Take food production, for instance; some areas are hurt because of
drought while others may see increased productivity. As discussed in
later chapters, moderate global warming may actually benefit some
areas due to greater rain-fall and higher agricultural production.
14: Figure SPM-1 from the AR4 WGII Summary.
The impact on wildlife is also mixed. Some
species will have expanded ranges while others may go extinct. Coral
seems to have a particularly bleak future. If the deep ocean currents
that transport heat around the globe weaken, the effects are
unpredictable. These currents are called the meridional overturning
circulation (MOC), also referred to as the thermohaline circulation
or the “great ocean conveyor belt.”
The Causes of Global Warming
What are the causes of the rise in temperature? There are a number of
possible causes or contributing factors listed in AR4.
Climate scientists refer to the causes as forcing factors or
The forcings identified by the IPCC's fourth report are shown in Illustration 15.
Notice that the factors are shown in order of
their “level of scientific understanding,” from left to
right. By level of understanding the IPCC means how confident they
feel that their conclusions are correct. If we apply the confidence
level definitions from Table 2, the true meaning of this illustration
becomes clear. The only forcing factor given a high level of
confidence is the leftmost column in the greenhouse gases section.
IPCC scientists claim to be 80% confident that they understand the
effects of the gases listed in this column, the major one being CO2.
The other two columns in this section are devoted to ozone, O3.
15 Causes of climate change according to the IPCC. Source IPCC.
Ozone gets two columns because it can either cause warming if it
appears in the troposphere (the lower atmosphere), but can cause
cooling if it is present in the stratosphere (part of the upper
atmosphere). Either way, the confidence in understanding is rated
medium, only five in ten. It's a coin toss that the IPCC scientist's
knowledge is correct.
The remaining nine forcing factors are rated low or very low.
Understanding of eight of the twelve categories shown are rated as
having less than a one in ten chance of being correctly interpreted.
So, using the IPCC's own figures and confidence scale, they really
only have high confidence in their understanding of less than 10% of
the causes of global warming. They admit to not understanding 75% of
the causes they list.
Interestingly, the cooling effects shown almost
cancel out the warming effects if you add them all up. Notice how the
possible cooling effect of aerosols alone could cancel most of the
greenhouse gas effect. The bars for the poorly understood factors are
drawn as simple lines, not broad distinctive bars. This purposefully
obscures their possible impact. Since all of the cooling effects are
given low levels of certainty, they have been mostly ignored.
This lack of understanding of the fundamental factors of climate
change explains why the case for global warming presented to the
public always focuses on greenhouse warming. To further simplify the
presentation, carbon dioxide, the largest part of the greenhouse gas
column, becomes the cause. And because humans emit large
amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere the case is
complete—our planet is threatened by human-caused global warming.
Global Climate Models and CO2
A 1.8°F temperature rise is lower than future temperature forecast
by the IPCC. The IPCC has predicted a range of future temperature
increase of 2.0°-11.5°F.34
Rather than simply estimating future temperature increase from the
past trend, the IPCC relies on global
climate models (GCM).†
These models are complex computer programs that have been under
development for several decades. Using these models, climate
scientists try to simulate the effects of various environmental
factors on global climate. Of the many predictions made by these
models, the result that gets the most attention is, of course,
The complexity of modeling global climate is addressed in best seller,
“The Skeptical Environmentalist,” by author Bjørn Lomborg.
“Essentially, answering the question about temperature increase from
means predicting the global temperature over the coming centuries—no
mean feat, given that Earth's climate is an incredibly complex
system. It is basically controlled by the Earth's exchange of energy
with the sun and outer space. The calculations comprise five
important basic elements: the atmosphere, the oceans, the land
surface, the ice sheets and the Earth's biosphere.”35
Earth's climate is amazingly complex, modelers try to find a minimum
of input parameters to simplify their programs. Fewer inputs make the
programs easier to write and debug. Simpler models also take less
computer time to run. A successful model accurately captures the
effects of all the important inputs to a system and ignores the
|†||Also called global circulation models, because a major component of these models is atmospheric and oceanic circulation. We will use the more inclusive term.||
For a model to be considered accurate it must undergo a process called
validation. Validation compares a model's results with real
world measurements from the past, a process called backcasting.
During validation, scientists set the values of the input variables
to a known state. The model is adjusted (called tweaking or tuning)
until the outputs of the model match the known answers for the
But, as modelers will tell you, a model can always be adjusted to give the
right output values for a single set of test conditions.36
Passing validation, or even making one successful prediction, is no
guarantee that the model is correct, or that it will provide accurate
future predictions. As modeling experts have stated, “in
complex natural systems, successful prediction of one event doesn't
mean that it will work the next time the model is applied.”
Knowing they are on shaky scientific ground, the IPCC doesn't rely on a
single model. Their figures are the results of hundreds of different
based on different assumptions. Perhaps this is done with the hope
that hundreds of unsupportable answers will, by sheer luck, stumble
upon a correct one. Even that doesn't really matter. The IPCC reports
are written by hundreds of authors, modified by hundreds of
reviewers, and then submitted to a committee of political
representatives for a final edit. The numbers in the IPCC
reports are those that are politically acceptable. Politics have
created consensus science.
Climate modelers have been tweaking their programs for decades, trying to get
their models to produce valid answers. As stated, models of Earth's
climate are extremely complex. The more complex the system being
modeled, the more complex the model, and the longer it takes to get
good results. Accordingly, many modeling teams have simplified
their models by choosing a dominant input—carbon dioxide.
Because computer models are at the heart of the IPCC's climate
predictions, and because the GCMs are being driven primarily by
levels, we must examine why this should be so. The subjects of CO2
induced greenhouse warming and computer climate models will be
covered in detail in later chapters.
A Summary of the Problem
In total, the consequences of global
warming are rather moderate, at least at the lower end of the
temperature increase scale. The IPCC data does not support the
strident warnings of impending disaster portrayed in some media
stories. Increase in storm activity, famine, drought and epidemics
are mentioned but not given prominence. The more extreme effects are
only likely to happen if Earth's temperature rises by more than a few
degrees over the next century.
As stated earlier, science
is not based on political consensus. It is based on real data and
provable facts. Unfortunately, the truth about global warming has
been obscured by a number of exaggerated, dumbed down,
sensationalized claims made mostly by non-scientists for reasons that
have nothing to do with the scientific search for knowledge.
Here are the facts that are not in dispute:
Since around 1850,
Earth has been experiencing a general warming trend with
temperatures rising about 1.8°F
Human beings are
adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year
by burning fossil fuels that have remained buried in the Earth for
hundreds of millions of years.
Carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere has a warming effect on the planet as a whole.
Those are the facts, everything else is speculation. All
the projected apocalyptic disasters are based on rising temperatures,
with the worst damage requiring the most drastic temperature
elevation. In turn, the temperature predictions are based, not on
empirical evidence, but on CO2
driven computer climate model programs.
As we will see, these computer programs are incomplete, error
prone stand ins for real experimental science. This fact is
well known by the IPCC and the scientists working on the climate
modeling programs. Unfortunately, the inaccuracy of climate models is
seldom discussed in the media.
An exception is this statement in New Scientist:
“Most modellers accept
that despite constant improvements over more than half a century,
there are problems. They acknowledge, for instance, that one of the
largest uncertainties in their models is how clouds will respond to
climate change. Their predictions, which they prefer to call
scenarios, usually come with generous error bars.”38
All a model can do is project
our present, limited understanding of Earth's climate into the
future. There is no way for climate scientists to test
their theories about global warming directly. The only way to do that
would be to have a second Earth to run experiments on. Perhaps in the
distant future mankind will become so powerful that we can use
planets as playthings, but for now, this is only fantasy. Scientists
are left having to wait for the passage of time to prove them right
or wrong. The best that can be done is to make rational projections
based on how Earth's climate has acted in the past.
Filling the gap between what science can and cannot prove is
global warming hysteria, manufactured by a scientifically illiterate
press urged on by a cadre of special interest groups. Every cause
that can possibly establish a link to global warming has done so
because that ensures they will get media attention. If you are
anti-industrialist, anti-globalist, anti-American, or even
vegetarian, the smart move is to jump on the global warming
bandwagon. Politicians and celebrities, instinctive seekers of
publicity, are totally captivated.
How do the people who work on these IPCC reports see their task?
In the words of Chairman R. K. Pachauri, “we
are privileged to perform by bringing together the world’s best
experts and scientists on an ongoing basis to serve you and to serve
the interests of the human race and all life on this planet.”39
A noble sentiment, but high-minded ideals are meaningless if the
results of your work are distorted, or used improperly.
The Working Group III (WGIII) report on “mitigation”
states that “with current climate change mitigation policies
and related sustainable development practices, global GHG†
emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades.”40
In Chapter 17, we will discuss suggestions in the WGIII report that addresses
lowering Earth's temperature. One important point to know is
that greenhouse gas levels will not stabilize for 100-150 years. This
IPCC conclusion is the result of running 177 simulation scenarios.
The most aggressive scenarios are based on negative emissions
of greenhouse gases, achieved using technologies that don't currently
The only way to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions
right now is to ban the automobile and severely curtail industrial
activity worldwide. As hard as this would be on people in developed
countries, it would be devastating for underdeveloped nations.
Other “cures” proposed by NGOs and special interest
groups, such as respecting indigenous peoples, reducing third-world
infant mortality, and empowerment of women, while they may be good
and noble ideas, have nothing to do with Earth's climate warming.
In the following chapters we
will contrast the case made by the IPCC with other theories and
opinions expressed by scientists. Despite claims of consensus, many
scientists do not agree with the IPCC reports. We
will examine Earth's past to see if the current “crisis”
is, in fact, unprecedented. We will also determine how much
credibility we should give the prophets of doom.
An examination of climate changes in the past, cooling periods as well
as warming periods, might tell us something about the forces
controlling Earth's temperature. If the current warming trend proves
to have historical precedents, particularly during times when Man
wasn't adding sizable amounts of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere,
then we may gain some insight into the major causes of climate change
In the next chapter we will examine climate changes in the recent past.
We will look back over history, both recorded and from before humans
learned to write. Back to a time when the glacial ice sheets
retreated northwards, ushering in the relatively warm period we are
in today. To understand our present climate we must understand the
ice age we live in.
The Resilient Earth: Science, Global Warming, and the Future of Humanity
Copyright © 2008, Doug L. Hoffman & Allen Simmons, all rights reserved.