Those who embrace the prevailing attitude that the earth is facing catastrophic climate change have been known to say, "You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth," will have to eat their words. They were not true. Such a convention has now been held--and the "phone booth" held more than 500 people.
March 2-4,2009 a sold out conference was held in New York City at the Marriott hotel on Time Square--a location that must have one the biggest carbon footprints in America. The lights of Time Square flashed throughout the day and night. The television lights of ABC's Good Morning America flooded the sidewalk. Cars and cabs blocked the streets. And, the hotel's elevators are so computerized that you do not even have the option of pushing a button or changing your mind as to the floor upon which you wish to embark--they even flash the latest news and weather on a screen to entertain the occupants during the quick trip.
The scientists--a "cadre of critics" as the Washington Post article called us--came from across the globe to attend the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. The team from CARE was able to interact with Ph.Ds and reporters from numerous locales including Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Russia, Romania and Sweden. The President of the Czech Republic, a Ph.D. himself, was present to give the opening keynote on the closing day.
In a private conversation with CARE’s Executive Director, Marita Noon, Timothy Ball, Ph.D., a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, praised the efforts of the conference organizers, The Heartland Institute, as he was beginning to think that maybe he was wrong as he felt so alone in his thinking about Climate Change. He commented that it was affirming to see so many who shared in their political incorrectness.
The various scientists poked fun at one another for their mildly conflicting opinions. In a March 4 article on the conference, The New York Times said, "One challenge they faced was even within their own ranks, the group--among them government and university scientists, antiregulatory campaigners, and congressional staff members--displayed a dizzying range of ideas on what was or was not influencing climate." While they used the varied view points as an opportunity to criticize the conference, Joe Bast, the event organizer, applauded the arguments as encouraging debate--one of the conferences goals.
True, different ideas were present. Through the various tracks of sessions attendees received charts, graphs and calculations; information on the affect the current climate change craze will have on the economy; the impact on mankind and specifically the world's poorer populations. Some worried about weather and whether or not their meteorologist licenses would be pulled if they did not sign the new requirements on the applications stating that they agreed with catastrophic climate change.
Despite the opposing opinions, virtually all in attendance agreed on the central point that the climate does change and has been changing throughout history. It will continue to change and virtually nothing man can do will change that for good--or bad. In short, there is no crisis.
A few spies were present. In one session Marita met Miles, from the National Wildlife Federation. He sat on the front row and pecked into his computer throughout the presentation--it will be interesting to see where his comments pop up. A part of CARE’s team was New Mexico's State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons. He was handed a packet from the Environmental Defense Fund--hoping to sway his position.
In the closing keynote, John Stossel told how he switched sides from the prevailing attitude of crisis to his present viewpoint that it was just the latest in a string of scares. He explained that as he covered scare after scare, he saw that they enriched bureaucrats but did not solve the problem. Having already seen so many phony scares, he said he was open to the possibility that global warming might be one too.
An attendee took to the mike and asked him how many journalists truly believed in the catastrophic claim rather than simply going along with it. John Stossel, responded that he had not way of knowing, but that, for example, Bill Blakemore, ABC News Correspondent, passionately believed in it and that he should have been there. In jest, Stossel called out to the audience, "Bill, are you here?" Much to everyone surprise, Blakemore stood up and waved from the back. After the meeting, Blakemore departed quickly--clear that he was not open to discussion. He did take notes. Time will tell if he absorbed what was said or was merely an acerbic observer.
At the closing luncheon, Marita sat with John Fund of the Wall Street Journal and a Romanian journalist. She asked Andrada Busuioc if this was an issue in Romania. She chuckled slightly and shook her head "no." "We have bigger issues, " she said and proceeded to list the crisis facing Romania such as infrastructure, healthcare, education and corruption. Interestingly, in his closing comments, Stossel mentioned this: "I guess we should be glad that we are all so fat and wealthy that we have time to focus on this." We here in America apparently do not have "bigger issues."
For those of us in attendance, it was a huge success. We were affirmed to find each other.
The New York Times concluded their article by criticizing the quantity of scientists who were there: "The meeting was largely framed around science, but after the luncheon, when an organizer made an announcement asking all of the scientists in the large hall to move to the front for a group picture, 19 men did so. True enough. But what the article doesn't say is what we know to be true, because we were there. The announcement was made almost as an after thought. The luncheon had ended. The crowd was filing out, eager to get to the next session of breakouts. Most of the scientists had already left the room--many of were speaking in the following sessions in rooms on different floors. Yes, the photo opportunity had a poor showing. However, at breakfast on the closing day, the photo was announced when everyone was listening. The scientists gathered again for a group photo. It was quite an impressive collection--proving there is not consensus.
No matter how many times they shout "the debate is over," it is still a lie.
All of the sessions were recorded and are now available for download.
Please click here for complete conference details.
The International Climate Science Coalition offers a portal to many other groups who share this view and is a source to a vast supply of scientific data.
Before you read on, test your knowledge, how much do you know? Take the Climate Change Quiz!
| ||THE ISSUE || |
Some climatologists believe that the earth is warming and that this warming presents a danger to humans and to the planet. Many of these climate experts claim there is evidence that man's activities (specifically the burning of fossil fuels) are the driving force behind the warming trend that they believe is taking place. These same scientists say that it would be prudent for governments to attempt to lessen this warming by reducing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. A minority of climatologists disagree. These scientists point to a lot of inconsistencies in the climate record, insufficient data, and the unreliability of computer modeling, as reasons to be skeptical of the so-called global warming "consensus." Many of these skeptical scientists believe that man's activities are probably contributing to a warming of the planet, but that the level of warming is insignificant and that even a full-scale worldwide effort to curtail the emission of greenhouse gasses would have no measurable impact.
| ||CARE's POSITION || |
It is discouraging to hear notable climatologists speak with certainty on the issue of climate change, asserting that man's activities are warming the planet and that this warming could potentially have catastrophic consequences. Just 30 years ago some of these same scientists were among the experts proclaiming the "consensus" view that the earth was cooling-perhaps dramatically so-and that cataclysm might be approaching.
A review of the pertinent facts below (by no means a complete list) reveals a level of complexity and uncertainty that is truly mind-boggling. CARE's position, therefore, bypasses the debate on if the earth is warming and what/who may be causing it, and instead focuses on the issue of what can be done about it. On this count, the facts are much more clear. Even if all the world's nations spent hundreds of billions of dollars on simply reducing their level of greenhouse emissions (and were successful), the benefit would be in fractions of a degree so small it would be impossible to measure with any certainty.
Spending enormous sums of money on a non-solution to a problem that may not be a problem makes no sense. Placing mandatory caps on industries for greenhouse gas emissions will drive up the cost of living for Americans with no environmental benefit to anyone. However, working to reduce the amount of pollution industrial societies pump into the atmosphere by developing new and better technologies is a priority worthy of substantial investment.
| ||Global Warming Facts || |
- The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2025 the U.S. will burn 39% more oil, 40% more natural gas, 34% more coal
- The EIA estimates the U.S. will consume 50% more electricity in 2025
- There is great disagreement on global warming among climatologists
- Most global warming predictions are based on computer simulations that are largely speculative and rely on a multitude of data assumptions
- Climatologists who are skeptical that man is causing the earth to warm significantly point out:
- Variations in solar activity associated with sun spots play a major role in the earth's climate, perhaps as much as 40%
- Periods of unusually high or low volcanic activity can have a significant impact on the earth's climate variation
- The pattern of observed temperature change is not consistent with model predictions given the ongoing buildup of greenhouse gasses
- Much of the global warming alarms are based on a study done by American geoscientist Michael Mann whose global warming conclusions have been challenged by Canadian mathematician Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick. These two scholars report that Mann's work is riddled with "collation errors, unjustifiable truncations or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculations of principal components, and other quality control defects." To date Mann has not offered a serious rebuttal to the challenge by McIntyre and McKitrick
- Computer models that predict global warming suggest the upper atmosphere should have warmed substantially in recent decades, however data from weather balloons and satellites don't match the projections
- The climate record is only about 50 years old (the blink of an eye in geologic time) and takes into account only a small fraction of the earth's surface
- Temperature readings older than several decades are based upon scientific interpretation of tree rings and coral reefs
- The collapse of the Soviet Union created significant gaps in the climate record in that part of the world and doubts about the accuracy of the records that do exist
- When temperature readings were first initiated in the industrialized world, most climate stations were built outside urban areas. Over decades cities near many of these stations grew around them. Cities are warmer than rural areas because of development (the urban heat island effect). Therefore these stations would logically see an artificial rise in temperature
- Recent data suggest the Antarctic ice cover is not melting, but is actually thickening and temperatures are dropping in most of the continent
- The Earth's climate has always been in a state of change with the planet covered mostly by ice to times of virtually no ice
- 15,000 years ago wooly mammoths ranged across the North American continent, half of which was covered by a mile of ice
- The press has a proclivity to hype problems beyond reality
- Many activist groups, European nations, politicians and others have strong incentives to back emissions caps on American industry
- Climatologists who believe global warming is real and man is the primary cause make the case:
- Greenhouse gasses today are estimated to be higher than they have been in 400,000 to 750,000 years.
- The earth's temperature has increased 1.1 degree since 1850 with half of the increase occurring since the early 1970s
- The concentration of non-water vapor greenhouse gasses (6% of the total) could double in the next 50 to 100 years
- Sea levels have risen 4 to 10 inches in the past 100 years
- The temperature in the top 1,000 feet of ocean has risen approximately 0.11 degree between 1955 and 1996
- The earth's climate could possibly change radically in 10 to 50 years
- James Mahoney, assistant commerce secretary for oceans and atmosphere: "We know that the surface of the Earth is warmer, and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem."
- The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- In June, 2005, Yury Izael, Vice President of the IPCC commented that "There is no proven link between human activity and global warming."
- Uncertainty about the future of climate conditions is greater in the 2001 IPCC report than it was in the 1995 IPCC report.
- "[T]here is little sign of long-term changes in tropical storm intensity and frequency," and "no compelling evidence" that local severe-weather events are on the rise."
- "…no significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected."
- Fully 78% of the warming has been concentrated in the driest air masses, during the winter (69% of the recorded warming) at night, in the northern latitudes
- Some scientists believe a warmer world would be better due to increased crop yields, energy savings and fewer weather-related deaths.
- Yale forestry economist Robert Mendelsohn argues that if the globe is warming, the positive and negative effects would balance out on the whole, but the northern hemisphere would probably benefit
- In the mid-1970s there was a virtual "consensus" among climatologists that the earth was cooling and that it was entering a new ice age.
- All policies aimed a curtailing global warming have a goal of stabilizing greenhouse emissions. Even if such policies were successful (a very big if), we would still pump billions of tons of gasses into the atmosphere each year, which would still double the concentration of greenhouse gasses somewhere around the mid-21st century.
- Kyoto Protocol-type emissions programs would cost America hundreds of billions of dollars and have only a minimal, even undetectable, impact on climate change in the next half century
- Attempting to stabilize global greenhouse emissions has been called "all economic pain and no environmental gain."
| ||Greenhouse Gas Facts || |
- Approximately 94% of the greenhouse gas effect comes from water vapor
- carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up 379 parts per million in the atmosphere, up from about 280 parts per million at the beginning of the industrial revolution
- 95% of carbon dioxide is naturally occurring
- Man's contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since before the industrial revolution is approximately 19 parts per million
| ||THE CONTROVERSY || |
The real controversy concerning global warming is much more economic, geo-political and philosophical than it is practical. European nations would like to see America impose expensive greenhouse emission-cap mandates on its industries because the economic burden would make Europe more competitive. The result would be an increase in European exports and a decrease in European imports. In other words, follow the money. It's worth noting that Europe is far more reliant on nuclear power, which creates no greenhouse gasses. Therefore, Europe stands much to gain economically if America adopts mandatory emission reduction policies.
The philosophical side of the global warming debate is being driven by "environmental" groups. Patrick Moore, the founder of GreenPeace, states that the environmental movement was "[B]asically hijacked by political and social activists." He says these phony environmentalists, "[C]ame in and very cleverly learned how to use green rhetoric or green language to cloak agendas that actually had more to do with anti-corporatism, anti-globilization, anti-business, and very little to do with science or ecology." If the U.S. government imposes costly greenhouse emission standards on its industries, the American economy will suffer. A struggling economy does not expand.
Finally, we should take a look at the motivations of industry, climatologists, and the media.
FIND OUT MORE!
- Clearly, American energy companies and other affected industries do not want greenhouse emission limits imposed on them because these limits will result in a punishing "one-two punch." First, meeting the standards will drive up the cost of doing business and reduce their profits. Second, the higher cost of goods and services will dampen the economy, reducing the purchasing power of the public, which means even more losses.
- By definition, scientific research is focused on problems-perceived or real. Therefore government grants and private funding follow the most pressing issues. If a scientist claims there is no problem, very few people will line up to give him money. Conversely, if he claims there is a potentially catastrophic problem, he receives lots of cash and a certain amount of fame. If enough scientists begin to endorse a particular view, then there is a great disincentive to buck the trend. Who wants to cut off his revenue stream, prestige, and social standing?
- The news media loves a crisis. More than anything else, press attention is driven by high drama. If a given problem is potentially catastrophic, the press gives it even more attention. The spotlight on the problem then becomes self-perpetuating. Media coverage draws activists, politicians, and others looking to place themselves in the limelight for political, economic, or agenda-based gain. Each participant has a motivation to up the ante, making their claim more dramatic than someone else's. Before you know it, a "problem" that once received little attention is now consistently front-page and lead-story news. A recent example is the Y2K "catastrophe." The experts warned of the coming chaos from a technologic meltdown. The world spent $300 billion in a futile attempt to avoid pandemonium. The press feasted on high drama for two years. In the end, nothing happened. The press shrugged and moved on to cover the next crisis.
World Climate Report
Friends of Science
Watts Up With That
Canada Free Press
Use the links below to read additional commentaries related to the above text (published through CARE or companion advocacy organization Energy Makes America Great Inc.).
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