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It blows my mind that roughly half the people who write letters to the editor in the local newspaper continue to scoff at global warming as being something Al Gore dreamed up.   On March 17, 2007, I read the following editorial.  I'll let you read the editorial and then read the following articles and make up your own mind.  Obviously this subject stirs up a lot of emotion.  We seem bent on destroying the goose that laid the golden egg in our quest to avoid any small sacrifice on our part that could avoid such a disaster.

Global warming swindle

By Thomas Sowell


The British Broadcasting Corporation has produced a devastating documentary titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle." It has apparently not been broadcast by any of the networks in the United States. But, fortunately, it is available on the Internet.

Distinguished scientists specializing in climate and climate-related fields talk in plain English and present readily understood graphs showing what a crock the current global warming hysteria is.

These include scientists from MIT and top-tier universities in a number of countries. Some of these are scientists whose names were paraded on some of the global warming publications that are being promoted in the media — but who state plainly that they neither wrote those publications nor approved them.

One scientist threatened to sue unless his name was removed.

While the public has been led to believe that "all" the leading scientists buy the global warming hysteria and the political agenda that goes with it, in fact the official reports from the United Nations or the National Academy of Sciences are written by bureaucrats — and then garnished with the names of leading scientists who were "consulted," but whose contrary conclusions have been ignored.

There is no question that the globe is warming but it has warmed and cooled before, and is not as warm today as it was some centuries ago, before there were any automobiles and before there was as much burning of fossil fuels as today.

None of the dire things predicted today happened then.

The BBC documentary goes into some of the many factors that have caused the earth to warm and cool for centuries, including changes in activities on the sun, 93 million miles away and wholly beyond the jurisdiction of the Kyoto treaty.

According to these climate scientists, human activities have very little effect on the climate, compared to many other factors, from volcanoes to clouds.

These climate scientists likewise debunk the mathematical models that have been used to hype global warming hysteria, even though hard evidence stretching back over centuries contradicts these models.

What is even scarier than seeing how easily the public, the media, and the politicians have been manipulated and stampeded, is discovering how much effort has been put into silencing scientists who dare to say that the emperor has no clothes.

Academics who jump on the global warming bandwagon are far more likely to get big research grants than those who express doubts — and research is the lifeblood of an academic career at leading universities.

Environmental movements around the world are committed to global warming hysteria and nowhere more so than on college and university campuses, where they can harass those who say otherwise. One of the scientists interviewed on the BBC documentary reported getting death threats.

In politics, even conservative Republicans seem to have taken the view that, if you can't lick 'em, join 'em. So have big corporations, which have joined the stampede.

This only enables the green crusaders to declare at every opportunity that "everybody" believes the global warming scenario, except for a scattered few "deniers" who are likened to Holocaust deniers.

The difference is that we have the hardest and most painful evidence that there was a Holocaust. But, for the global warming scenario that is causing such hysteria, we have only a movie made by a politician and mathematical models whose results change drastically when you change a few of the arbitrarily selected variables.

No one denies that temperatures are about a degree warmer than they were a century ago.

What the climate scientists in the BBC documentary deny is that you can mindlessly extrapolate that, or that we are headed for a climate catastrophe if we don't take drastic steps that could cause an economic catastrophe.

"Global warming" is just the latest in a long line of hysterical crusades to which we seem to be increasingly susceptible.

The following article was published February 2, 2007.

PARIS, Feb. 2 — In a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate change scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human activity is the main driver, "very likely" causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

They said the world is already committed to centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas, resulting from the buildup of gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. But the warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action, the panel of scientists said in a report released here today.

The report summarized the fourth assessment since 1990 by the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, sizing up the causes and consequences of climate change. But it is the first in which the group asserts with near certainty — more than 90 percent confidence — that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities have been the main causes of warming since 1950.

In its last report, in 2001, the panel, consisting of hundreds of scientists and reviewers, put the confidence level at between 66 and 90 percent. Both reports are online at http://www.ipcc.ch.

If carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reach twice their pre-industrial levels, the report said, the global climate will probably warm by 3.5 to 8 degrees. But there would be more than a 1-in-10 chance of much greater warming, a situation many earth scientists say poses an unacceptable risk.

Many energy and environment experts see such a doubling as a foregone conclusion sometime after midcentury unless there is a prompt and sustained shift away from the 20th-century pattern of unfettered burning of coal and oil, the main sources of carbon dioxide, and an aggressive quest for expanded and improved nonpolluting energy options.

Even an increased level of warming that falls in the middle of the group’s range of projections would likely cause significant stress to ecosystems and alter longstanding climate patterns that shape water supplies and agricultural production, according to many climate experts and biologists.

While the new report projected a modest rise in seas by 2100 — between 7 and 23 inches — it also concluded that seas would continue to rise, and crowded coasts retreat, for at least 1,000 years to come. By comparison, seas rose about 6 to 9 inches in the 20th century.

John P. Holdren, an energy and climate expert at Harvard University, said that the “report powerfully underscores the need for a massive effort to slow the pace of global climatic disruption before intolerable consequences become inevitable.” [Read a report by Mr. Holdren. (PDF format)]

“Since 2001 there has been a torrent of new scientific evidence on the magnitude, human origins and growing impacts of the climatic changes that are underway,” said Mr. Holdren, who is the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “In overwhelming proportions, this evidence has been in the direction of showing faster change, more danger and greater confidence about the dominant role of fossil fuel burning and tropical deforestation in causing the changes that are being observed.”

The conclusions came after a three-year review of hundreds of studies of clues illuminating past climate shifts, observations of retreating ice, warming and rising seas, and other shifts around the planet, and a greatly expanded suite of supercomputer simulations used to test how earth will respond to a building blanket of gases that hold heat in the atmosphere.

The section released today was a 20-page summary for policymakers, which was approved early this morning by teams of officials from more than 100 countries after three days and nights of wrangling over wording with the lead authors, all of whom are scientists.

It described far-flung ramifications for both humans and nature.

“It is very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent,” said the summary.

Generally, the scientists said, more precipitation will fall at higher latitudes, which are likely also to see lengthened growing seasons, while semi-arid, subtropical regions already chronically beset by drought could see a further 20-percent drop in rainfall under the midrange scenario for increases in the greenhouse gases.

The summary added a new chemical consequence of the buildup of carbon dioxide to the list of mainly climatic and biological impacts foreseen in its previous reports: a drop in the pH of seawater as oceans absorb billions of tons of carbon dioxide, which forms carbonic acid when partly dissolved. Marine biologists have said that could imperil some kinds of corals and plankton.

A vast improvement in the science of climatology — including “larges amounts of new and more comprehensive data” — has allowed the group to become far more confident and specific in its predictions, compared with its previous assessment in 2001, the authors said.

The report essentially caps a half-century-long effort to discern whether humans, through the buildup of carbon dioxide and other gases released mainly by burning fuels and forests, could influence the earth’s climate system in potentially momentous ways.

The group operates under the aegis of the United Nations and was chartered in 1988 — a year of record heat, burning forests, and the first big headlines about global warming — to provide regular reviews of climate science to governments to inform policy choices.

Government officials are involved in shaping the summary of each report, but the scientist-authors, who are unpaid, have the final say over the thousands of pages in four underlying technical reports that will be completed and published later this year.

Big questions remain about the speed and extent of some impending changes, both because of uncertainty about future population and pollution trends and the complex interrelationships of the greenhouse emissions, clouds, dusty kinds of pollution, the oceans and earth’s veneer of life, which both emits and soaks up carbon dioxide and other such gases.

But a broad array of scientists, including authors of the report and independent experts, said the latest analysis was the most sobering view yet of a century of transition — after thousands of years of relatively stable climate conditions — to a new norm of continual change.

Should greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at even a moderate pace, average temperatures by the end of the century could match those last seen 125,000 years ago, in the previous warm spell between ice ages, the report said.

At that time, the panel said, sea levels were 12 to 20 feet higher than they are now. Muych of that extra water is now trapped in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, which are eroding in some places.

The panel said there was no solid scientific understanding of how rapidly the vast stores of ice in polar regions will melt, so their estimates on new sea levels were based mainly on how much the warmed oceans will expand, and not on contributions from the melting of ice now on land.

Other scientists have recently reported evidence that the glaciers and ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic could flow seaward far more quickly than estimated in the past, and they have proposed that the risks to coastal areas could be much more imminent. But the I.P.C.C. is proscribed by its charter from entering into speculation, and so could not include such possible instabilities in its assessment.

Michel Jarraud, the secretary general of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, said the lack of clarity should offer no one comfort. “The speed with which melting ice sheets are raising sea levels is uncertain, but the report makes clear that sea levels will rise inexorably over the coming centuries,” he said. “It is a question of when and how much, and not if,” he said, adding: “While the conclusions are disturbing, decision makers are now armed with the latest facts and will be better able to respond to these realities.”

Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, which oversees the I.P.C.C. along with the meteorological group, said society now had plenty of information on which to act.

“The implications of global warming over the coming decades for our industrial economy, water supplies, agriculture, biological diversity and even geopolitics are massive,” he said. “This new report should spur policymakers to get off the fence and put strong and effective policies in place to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.”

The warming and other climate shifts will be highly variable around the world, with the Arctic particularly seeing much higher temperatures, said Susan Solomon, the co-leader of the team writing the summary and the section of the I.P.C.C. report on basic science. She is an atmospheric scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The kinds of vulnerabilities are very much dependent on where you are, Dr. Solomon said in a telephone interview. “If you’re living in parts of tropics and they’re getting drier and you’re a farmer there are some very acute issues associated with even small changes in rainfall — changes we’re already seeing are significant,” she said. “If you are an Inuit and you’re seeing your sea ice retreating already that’s affecting your lifestyle and culture.”

The 20-page summary is a sketch of the findings that are most germane to the public and world leaders.

The full I.P.C.C. report, thousands of pages of technical background, will be released in four sections through the year — the first on basic science, then sections on impacts and options for limiting emissions and limiting inevitable harms, and finally a synthesis of all of the findings near year’s end.

In a news conference in Paris, Dr. Solomon declined to provide her own views on how society should respond to the momentous changes projected in the study.

“I honestly believe that it would be a much better service for me to keep my personal opinions separate than what I can actually offer the world as a scientist,” she said. “My stepson, who is 29, has an utterly different view of risks than I do. People are going to have to make their own judgments.”

Some authors of the report said that no one could honestly point to any remaining uncertainties as justification for further delay.

“Policy makers paid us to do good science, and now we have high very scientific confidence in this work — this is real, this is real, this is real,” said Richard B. Alley, one of the lead authors and a professor at Penn State University. “So now act, the ball’s back in your court.

By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL and ANDREW C. REVKIN Published: February 2, 2007”

At a glance: IPCC climate change report

Posted Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:31pm AEDT

The IPCC report says global warming could lead to some abrupt or irreversible impacts (File photo).

The IPCC report says global warming could lead to some abrupt or irreversible impacts (File photo). (Reuters: NASA)

Following are findings of the fourth report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was issued in Valencia, Spain, on Saturday.

Observed changes

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level."

Causes of change

"Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in ... greenhouse gas concentrations" from human activities.

Global total annual greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have risen by 70 per cent since 1970. Concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, far exceed the natural range over the last 650,000 years.

Projected climate changes

Temperatures are likely to rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees Celsius and sea levels by between 18 centimetres and 59 centimetres this century.

Africa, the Arctic, small islands and Asian mega-deltas are likely to be especially affected by climate change. Sea level rise "would continue for centuries" because of the momentum of warming even if greenhouse gas levels are stabilised.

"Warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible". About 20-30 per cent of species will be at increasing risk of extinction if future temperature rises exceed 1.5 to 2.5 Celsius.

Five reasons for concern

Risks to unique and threatened systems, such as polar or high mountain ecosystems, coral reefs and small islands.

Risks of extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts and heatwaves.

Distribution of impacts - the poor and the elderly are likely to be hit hardest, and countries near the equator, mostly the poor in Africa and Asia, generally face greater risks such as of desertification or floods.

Overall impacts - there is evidence since 2001 that any benefits of warming would be at lower temperatures than previously forecast and that damages from larger temperature rises would be bigger.

Risks of "large-scale singularities", such as rising sea levels over centuries; contributions to sea level rise from Antarctica and Greenland could be larger than projected by ice sheet models.

Solutions/costs

Governments have a wide range of tools - higher taxes on emissions, regulations, tradeable permits and research. An effective carbon price could help cuts.

Emissions of greenhouse gases would have to peak by 2015 to limit global temperature rises to 2.0 to 2.4 Celsius over pre-industrial times, the strictest goal assessed. The costs of fighting warming will range from less than 0.12 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) per year for the most stringent scenarios until 2030 to less than 0.06 per cent for a less tough goal. In the most costly case, that means a loss of GDP by 2030 of less than 3 per cent.

-Reuters