global warming scam in Britain
January 09, 2004
The British government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, has said that global warming is a more serious threat to the world than terrorism. His remarks are utter balderdash from start to finish and illustrate the truly lamentable decline of science into ideological propaganda.
Sir David says the Bush administration should not dismiss global warming because: 1) the ten hottest years on record started in 1991 2) sea levels are rising 3) ice caps are melting and 4) the 'causal link' between man-made emissions and global warming is well established.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. There is no such evidence. The whole thing is a global scam. There is no firm evidence that warming is happening; even if it is, it is most likely to have natural, not man-made causes; carbon dioxide, supposedly the culprit, makes up such a tiny fraction of the atmosphere that even if it were to quadruple, the effect on climate would be negligible; and just about every one of the eco-doomster stories that curdle our blood every five minutes is either speculative, ahistorical or scientifically illiterate.
To take a few examples from Sir David's litany.
1) Sea levels are
rising. As this article explains,
this claim is not the result of observable data. Like so much of the global
warming industry, it is the result of frail computer modelling
using dodgy or incomplete data. It is therefore not an observed value, but a
wholly artificial model construct. Furthermore, the data fed into the computer
is drawn from the atypical
2) Ice caps are melting. Some are, some aren't. Some are breaking up, as is normal. But some are actually expanding, as in the Antarctic where the ice sheet is growing, as this article points out. The bit of the Antarctic that is breaking up, the Larsen ice-shelf, which has been causing foaming hysteria among eco-doomsters, won't increase sea levels because it has already displaced its own weight in the sea.
3) The hottest years on record started in 1991. Which records? The European climate in the Middle Ages was two degrees hotter than it is now. They grew vines in Northumberland, for heaven's sake. Then there was the Little Ice Age, which lasted until about 1880. So the 0.6% warming since then is part of a pretty normal pattern, and nothing for any normal person to get excited about.
4) The causal link is well established. Totally false. It is simply loudly asserted. Virtually all the scare stuff comes from computer modelling, which is simply inadequate to factor in all the -- literally-- millions of variables that make up climate change. If you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out.
That's why this week's earlier eco-scare story, that more than a million species will become extinct as a result of global warming over the next 50 years, is risible. All that means is that someone has put into the computer the global warming scenario, and the computer has calculated what would happen on the basis of that premise. But -duh! -the premise is totally unproven. The real scientific evidence is that -- we just don't know; and the theories so far, linking man, carbon dioxide and climate warming. are specious. There's some seriously bad science going on in the environmentalist camp.
'Last week the National Academy of Sciences released a report on climate change, prepared in response to a request from the White House, that was depicted in the press as an implicit endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol. CNN's Michelle Mitchell was typical of the coverage when she declared that the report represented "a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room."
'As one of 11 scientists who prepared the report, I can state that this is simply untrue. For starters, the NAS never asks that all participants agree to all elements of a report, but rather that the report represent the span of views. This the full report did, making clear that there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them.
'As usual, far too much public attention was paid to the hastily prepared summary rather than to the body of the report. The summary began with a zinger--that greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise, etc., before following with the necessary qualifications. For example, the full text noted that 20 years was too short a period for estimating long-term trends, but the summary forgot to mention this.
'Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled. We are quite confident (1) that global mean temperature is about 0.5 degrees Celsius higher than it was a century ago; (2) that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen over the past two centuries; and (3) that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the earth (one of many, the most important being water vapor and clouds).
'But--and I cannot stress this enough--we are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future. That is to say, contrary to media impressions, agreement with the three basic statements tells us almost nothing relevant to policy discussions.
'One reason for this uncertainty is that, as the report states, the climate is always changing; change is the norm. Two centuries ago, much of the Northern Hemisphere was emerging from a little ice age. A millennium ago, during the Middle Ages, the same region was in a warm period. Thirty years ago, we were concerned with global cooling.
'Distinguishing the small recent changes in global mean temperature from the natural variability, which is unknown, is not a trivial task. All attempts so far make the assumption that existing computer climate models simulate natural variability, but I doubt that anyone really believes this assumption.
'We simply do not know what relation, if any, exists between global climate changes and water vapor, clouds, storms, hurricanes, and other factors, including regional climate changes, which are generally much larger than global changes and not correlated with them. Nor do we know how to predict changes in greenhouse gases. This is because we cannot forecast economic and technological change over the next century, and also because there are many man-made substances whose properties and levels are not well known, but which could be comparable in importance to carbon dioxide.
'What we do is know that a doubling of carbon dioxide by itself would produce only a modest temperature increase of one degree Celsius. Larger projected increases depend on "amplification" of the carbon dioxide by more important, but poorly modeled, greenhouse gases, clouds and water vapor.
'The press has
frequently tied the existence of climate change to a need for
'The panel was
finally asked to evaluate the work of the United Nations' Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, focusing on the Summary for Policymakers, the only
part ever read or quoted. The Summary for Policymakers, which is seen as
endorsing Kyoto, is commonly presented as the consensus of thousands of the
world's foremost climate scientists. Within the confines of professional courtesy,
the NAS panel essentially concluded that the IPCC's
Summary for Policymakers does not provide suitable guidance for the
'The full IPCC report
is an admirable description of research activities in climate science, but it
is not specifically directed at policy. The Summary for Policymakers is, but it
is also a very different document. It represents a consensus of government
representatives (many of whom are also their nations'
'Science, in the
public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon
political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens. This is what has been
done with both the reports of the IPCC and the NAS. It is a reprehensible
practice that corrodes our ability to make rational decisions. A fairer view of
the science will show that there is still a vast amount of uncertainty--far
more than advocates of
As Professor Philip Stott wrote in the Wall Street Journal on April 2 2001:
'"Global warming" was invented in 1988, when it replaced two earlier myths of an imminent plunge into another Ice Age and the threat of a nuclear winter. The new myth was seen to encapsulate a whole range of other myths and attitudes that had developed in the 1960s and 1970s, including "limits to growth," sustainability, neo-Malthusian fears of a population time bomb, pollution, anticorporate anti-Americanism, and an Al Gore-like analysis of human greed disturbing the ecological harmony and balance of the earth.
'The left, by
contrast, was obsessed with population growth, industrialization, the car,
development and globalization. Today, the narrative of global warming has
evolved into an emblematic issue for authoritarian greens, who employ a form of
language that has been characterized by the physicist P.H. Borcherds
as "the hysterical subjunctive." And it is this grammatical
imperative that is now dominating the European media when they complain about
Mr. Bush, the
by Melanie Phillips at