It's Time for Some Due Diligence on Global Warming Claims
There is widespread belief that the recent warming is due mainly to global warming gases produced by mankind -- i.e., the anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I have been searching for years for good science to support this theory. I can't find any. In fact, most of the scientific work that has passed independent, objective review contradicts this theory. What I have found falls into 3 main categories:
- Good, but inconclusive work - Objective analyses that presents interesting and possibly useful findings, but acknowledge that there is a high degree of uncertainty in the input data and assumptions. These analyses normally end with the conclusion that more work is needed to resolve the uncertainty.
I challenge those who disagree with my assessment to identify any good work that presents a compelling case supporting AGW acceleration. I am looking for examples from the first category -- i.e., good work -- that actually contradicts the "inconvenient facts" listed below. By "good" work I mean analyses that use validated models and reasonable assumptions that have a sound basis. I ask anyone who has seen work that meets these criteria to share it with readers.
This is plea for sanity. We cannot afford to waste more resources on a hypothetical problem when they are so desperately needed to address real, overwhelming problems such as the global financial crisis, energy supply problems, health care, hunger, etc.
The following section summarizes some of the main "inconvenient facts" that are being ignored or suppressed by those inciting carbon hysteria. This list of fact is followed by an expanded explanation of why this movement is a serious threat, my thoughts on why this is happening, and some recommendations on what you should do about it.
Some "Inconvenient Facts"
Carbon hysteria proponents keep claiming "the science is settled and the debate is over." This is the centerpiece of an aggressive campaign to crush discussion and intimidate those who challenge their claims. These proponents need to take this approach because their case is so weak. A few of the major inconvenient facts that they are trying to suppress are:
-The last warming wave ended over 10 years ago in 1998. Temperatures have been lower than the 1998 peak ever since and the trend has been downward in the last several years. The claim that global warming is accelerating is a blatant lie. Even some of the prominent AGW advocates have publicly admitted that we have entered a cooling period that probably will continue for another 10 to 20 years (this is based on the well established sunspot cycle and correlations between sunspots and climate changes).
-The claim that the consensus of scientists agrees with AGW theory has become one of the "big lies" of our time. A few examples of the multitude of scientists who disagree are:
- Over 31,000 American scientist who signed the Petition Project (you must have a degree in hard sciences or engineering with relevant experience to be eligible to sign the petition)
-ALL of the apocalyptic forecasts are based solely on projections from computer models that have been proven wrong, that is assuming the authors ever attempted to validate them (i.e., plug in historical data and confirm model projections match actual climate trends). It is impossible to accurately predict future climate given the current state of climate knowledge and limitations of available computers and climate models. In addition, many of the key input assumptions in these analyses do not have valid justification and hence are questionable at best. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.
- The 4th technical report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified 12 phenomena that affect global temperatures and rated our understanding of 8 of these as "very poor." How can the governing panel (all political appointees) claim they are over 90% certain that AGW is a major threat when they admit that two-thirds of the analyses inputs are very questionable?
-Global warming is not a crisis. In fact, some warming is desirable given the outlook for energy and food supplies.
- Warming impact studies generally ignore benefits such as expansion of agricultural land and reduced need for heating fuels. In addition, they typically use unrealistic escalation and discount rates to downplay the real costs of the measures that are proposed.
I suspect most readers have not heard many of these facts. That is because the media are ignoring them and hysteria proponents generally refuse to debate them. The refusal to debate is understandable given that the hysteria proponents have lost every time they go against someone who understands the real science. All the proponents need to do to win a debate and quiet the skeptics is present convincing scientific support for their case. However, the proponents can't present any convincing science because they don't have any. Hence, their normal responses to the skeptic's challenges are personal attacks/mocking, the "consensus of scientists" lie, and attempts to kill funding for the skeptic's work. By using these tactics AGW hysteria supporters in effect are admitting they can't defend their claims.
Why is the Carbon-Control Movement a Problem?
Many people I know admit that they don't believe AGW claims, but they support the movement because they think it will help increase energy efficiency. Increasing energy efficiency is essential for our future well being. However, trying to achieve this worthy goal through the back door of carbon caps/taxes is dangerous. Major problems with this approach include:
- Carbon capture and sequestration and carbon caps/taxes/trading are the dominant focus of this movement. These efforts are a total waste of resources that actually will make our energy supply problems even worse. Improving energy efficiency is a secondary issue in the proposals and debates.
I think there are two main drivers behind this movement. The first originates from the widespread recognition that we do face many serious environmental problems (e.g., hazardous pollutants in water and air; rainforest destruction, ocean overfishing; aquifer depletion, desertification, etc.). Many people feel guilty over contributing to these problems and want to do something to help the environment. This desire has made them receptive to the claims of carbon hysteria proponents. The zealots have done a good job of convincing these people that AGW is a crisis and that we can "solve" it.
The dominant drivers, however, are money and power. Staggering sums of money are involved and much of it will be collected and distributed based on subjective decisions and political negotiations. The leaders of the carbon-control movement are working hard to get as big a piece of the pie as they can. Obvious vested interests include:
- Academia - funding for the research they need to publish papers ("publish or perish")
The worst offender, however, is the mainstream media. A few members of this group are trying to convey the above information, but most are ignoring one of the biggest scandals/frauds of the last several decades. In fact in many cases, they are actively suppressing scientific work and opinions that contradict the hysteria. I am totally baffled as to why this industry has abandoned its standards of objectivity and sense of obligation to find the truth. I don't believe the conspiracy theories so the only explanation I can come up with is misguided environmental passion. Intimidation by zealots with scientific credentials is a contributing factor, but it in no way excuses the media's behavior on this issue.
The frenzy of activity surrounding the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Bill is a perfect example of why this movement is so strong. Lobbying on how to allocate or sell CO2 allowances is intense - one source estimated that there are over 4 lobbyists per legislator working on this issue. At one time the draft had 85% being given to utilities and other generators for free.
What Can We Do?
My first recommendation is to check out the serious science to convince yourself that global warming due to CO2 generated by mankind is a non-problem. I have plenty of backup to substantiate all of the above statements plus a lot of additional information I could share. However, I don't want anyone to simply take my word for it. You need to see for yourself how thoroughly the facts contradict the claims. Some good starting points for the search are listed at the end of this article.
Once you are convinced, start challenging the claims being made by carbon hysteria promoters. Call them when they repeat one of the big lies like "no serious disagreement." Demand that they disclose the work on which their claims are based and make it available for independent review. There are two simple points to check: have the models the analysts used been validated and do they have a good basis for their assumptions. If the analysts cannot provide convincing answers to these two questions, their results are no better than pure speculation.
Another important task is working to defeat any carbon legislation and any international treaties to replace the Kyoto agreements. Kyoto was a farce -- most signatories never came close to meeting their commitments. However, it did provide political cover for sustaining the hysteria and the justification governments needed to waste more resources on this issue. We don't need another treaty like Kyoto that will be ignored by all the signatories except when it comes to spending money.
Remember, the only losers in this game are consumers and taxpayers. Every dollar that goes to the above groups comes out of our pockets. Don't get suckered into this scam. If you have been supporting it, open your eyes and join the rapidly growing ranks of scientists and other who recognize the absurdity of the carbon hysteria that has overcome so many.
Update on Energy - a Real and Important Threat
In 2005 and 2006 I prepared assessments of the energy outlook which were published here in Energy Pulse (and still are online). The trends I discussed are playing out pretty much as presented with one exception - natural gas supply in the US. The rapid growth of gas from shale in the last few years actually led to an increase in production in 2008. However, production is expected to decline this year due to the sharp drop in drilling. Gas from shale provides a temporary reprieve from the steady decline in gas supply, but it is too soon to tell how long the upward blip in the curve will last.
The other significant update is that the crude oil production plateau that seemed to be forming in early 2005 definitely has been confirmed. The huge increase in drilling over the last several years was unable to expand production. The combination of the sharp drop in drilling since prices collapsed last year, increasing depletion rates, and shortages of capital to fund exploration makes it highly unlikely that global oil production ever will exceed the plateau levels of the last few years. The start of the unavoidable long-term production decline may in fact arrive sooner than anticipated thanks to the reduction in exploration.
Our entire transportation system (except for electrified trains) is totally dependent on oil and our economy is totally dependent on transportation. None of the alternative transportation fuels (natural gas, biofuels, electricity) could have a significant effect for several years due to infrastructure constraints and the time required to build fleets. Oil truly will be the lifeblood of our society for years to come. The impacts of shortages and the resulting price spikes can be devastating if we are not prepared for them.
Across the globe there is close correlation between oil use and economic activity. Oil supply constraints will affect all economies, but they are being ignored in the debates over how to resurrect our economy. If global oil production is flat or declining, the only way any country can expand its economy is to divert oil away from other consumers. Given our current financial situation, why would anyone think the US will be able to win the bidding wars that are sure to come?
A few other important points to keep in mind when considering this situation are:
- Oil prices will spike to as soon as we start to see real economic recovery. Gasoline at $4/gal will seem like a bargain within a few years.
-The claim that we will never run out is correct, but irrelevant. Production will continue indefinitely, but the problem is that we will not be able to produce oil fast enough to sustain the global economy, much less enable it to grow. Once the production decline starts, problems will multiply quickly.
-There is nothing in the development pipeline that could lead to a replacement for anything close to our current consumption of oil. Don't delude yourself into thinking that something is coming.
Oil shortages and high prices are an imminent huge threat that will force a total restructuring of our economy and lifestyle. Unlike global warming, this is a real, staggering problem that should have you very worried.
The opinions presented here are the views of the author and do not reflect the viewpoints or positions of any of his clients or employers.
Sources for Further Information
NIPCC report: Climate Change Reconsidered - www.nipccreport.org/
The Petition Project - www.petitionproject.org/
Comments by over 700 leading scientists challenging carbon hysteria: Senate Environmental & Public Works Minority Blog, - (http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=2674e64f-802a-23ad-490b-bd9faf4dcdb7/
Science and Environmental Policy Project - www.sepp.org
Global Warming Facts - www.globalwarmingheartland.org/
List of peer-reviewed articles skeptical of man-caused global warming - http://petesplace-peter.blogspot.com/2008/04/peer-reviewed-articles-skeptical-of-man.html
The Carbon- Sense Coalition - http://www.carbon-sense.com/
The Anti "Man-Made" Global Warming Resource, Stop the Hysteria - http://z4.invisionfree.com/Popular_Technology/index.php?showtopic=2050