10 Mar 2008, 9:53am
Holocene Climates
by admin

Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate

Singer, S. Fred, ed., Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate: Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute, 2008.

Full text [here] (4,343 KB)

Selected excerpts:

In his speech at the United Nations’ climate conference on September 24, 2007, Dr. Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, said it would most help the debate on climate change if the current monopoly and one-sidedness of the scientific debate over climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were eliminated. He reiterated his proposal that the UN organize a parallel panel and publish two competing reports.

The present report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) does exactly that. It is an independent examination of the evidence available in the published, peer-reviewed literature – examined without bias and selectivity. It includes many research papers ignored by the IPCC, plus additional scientific results that became available after the IPCC deadline of May 2006. …

The NIPCC project was conceived and directed by Dr. S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. He should be credited with assembling a superb group of scientists who helped put this volume together.

Singer is one of the most distinguished scientists in the U.S. In the 1960s, he established and served as the first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, now part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and earned a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for his technical leadership. In the 1980s, Singer served for five years as vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Oceans and Atmosphere (NACOA)…

Our concern about the environment, going back some 40 years, has taught us important lessons. It is one thing to impose drastic measures and harsh economic penalties when an environmental problem is clear-cut and severe. It is foolish to do so when the problem is largely hypothetical and not substantiated by observations. As NIPCC shows by offering an independent, non-governmental ‘second opinion’ on the ‘global warming’ issue, we do not currently have any convincing evidence or observations of significant climate change from other than natural causes. …

Global warming hype has led to demands for unrealistic efficiency standards for cars, the construction of uneconomic wind and solar energy stations, the establishment of large production facilities for uneconomic biofuels such as ethanol from corn, requirements that electric companies purchase expensive power from so-called ‘renewable’energy sources, and plans to sequester, at considerable expense, carbon dioxide emitted from power plants. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with initiatives to increase energy efficiency or diversify energy sources, they cannot be justified as a realistic means to control climate.

In addition, policies have been developed that try to hide the huge cost of greenhouse gas controls, such as cap and trade, a Clean Development Mechanism, carbon offsets, and similar scams that enrich a few at the expense of the rest of us. Seeing science clearly misused to shape public policies that have the potential to inflict severe economic harm, particularly on low-income groups, we choose to speak up for science at a time when too few people outside the scientific community know what is happening, and too few scientists who know the truth have the will or the platforms to speak out against the IPCC.

NIPCC is what its name suggests: an international panel of nongovernment scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change. Because we are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, we are able to look at evidence the IPCC ignores. Because we do not work for any governments, we are not biased toward the assumption that greater government activity is necessary. …

We regret that many advocates in the debate have chosen to give up debating the science and now focus almost exclusively on questioning the motives of ‘skeptics,’ name-calling, and ad hominem attacks. We view this as a sign of desperation on their part, and a sign that the debate has shifted toward climate realism. We hope the present study will help bring reason and balance back into the debate over climate change, and by doing so perhaps save the peoples of the world from the burden of paying for wasteful, unnecessary energy and environmental policies. We stand ready to defend the analysis and conclusion in the study that follows, and to give further advice to policymakers who are openminded on this most important topic. …

The present report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) focuses on two major issues – the very weak evidence that the causes of the current warming are anthropogenic (Section 2) and the far more robust evidence that the causes of the current warming are natural (Section 3) — and then addresses a series of less crucial topics:

* Computer models are unreliable guides to future climate conditions (Section 4);

* Sea-level rise is not significantly affected by rise in GH gases (Section 5);

* The data on ocean heat content have been misused to suggest anthropogenic warming. The role of GH gases in the reported rise in ocean temperature is largely unknown (Section 6);

* Understanding of the atmospheric carbon dioxide budget is incomplete (Section 7);

* Higher concentrations of GH gases are more likely to be beneficial to plant and animal life and to human health than lower concentrations (Section 8); and

* Conclusion: Our imperfect understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change means the science is far from settled. This, in turn, means proposed efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing GH gas emissions are premature and misguided. Any attempt to influence global temperatures by reducing such emissions would be both futile and expensive (Section 9). …

This report shows conclusively that the humangreenhouse gas contribution to current warming isinsignificant. Our argument is based on the well established
and generally agreed-to ‘fingerprint’ method. Using data published by the IPCC and further elaborated in the U.S.-sponsored CCSP report, we have shown that observed temperature trend patterns disagree sharply with those calculated from greenhouse models.

It is significant that the IPCC has never made such a comparison, or it would have discovered the same result – namely that the current warming is primarily of natural origin rather than anthropogenic. Instead, the IPCC relied for its conclusion (on AGW) on circumstantial ‘evidence’ that does not hold up under scrutiny. We show that the twentieth century is in no way unusual and that warming periods of greater magnitude have occurred in the historic past — without any catastrophic consequences. We also discuss the many shortcomings of climate models in trying to simulate what is happening in the real atmosphere.

If the human contribution to global warming due to increased levels of greenhouse gases is insignificant, why do greenhouse gas models calculate large temperature increases, i.e., show high values of ‘climate sensitivity’? The most likely explanation is that models ignore the negative feedbacks that occur in the real atmosphere. New observations reported from satellites suggest it is the distribution of water vapor that could produce such strong negative feedbacks.

If current warming is not due to increasing greenhouse gases, what are the natural causes that might be responsible for both warming and cooling episodes – as so amply demonstrated in the historic, pre-industrial climate record? Empirical evidence suggests very strongly that the main cause of warming and cooling on a decadal scale derives from solar activity via its modulation of cosmic rays that in turn affect atmospheric cloudiness. According to published research, cosmic-ray variations are also responsible for major climate changes observed in the paleo-record going back 500 million years.

The third question concerns the effects of modest warming. A major scare associated with a putative future warming is a rapid rise in sea level, but even the IPCC has been scaling its estimates. We show here that there will be little if any acceleration, and therefore no additional increase in the rate of ongoing sea-level rise. This holds true even if there is a decades-long warming, whether natural or manmade.

Other effects of a putative increase in temperature and carbon dioxide are likely to be benign, promoting not only the growth of crops and forests but also benefitting human health. Ocean acidification is not judged to be a problem, as indicated by available data. After all, CO2 levels have been up to 20 times the present value during the Phanerozoic Period, the past 500 million years. During this time Earth’s climate has been remarkably stable, with no ‘run-away’ greenhouse effects — indicating strong negative feedbacks.

If, for whatever reason, a modest warming were to occur –- even one that matches temperatures seen during the Medieval Warm Period of around 1100 AD or the much larger ones recorded during the Holocene Climate Optimum of some 6,000 years ago –- the impact would not be damaging but would probably be, on the whole, beneficial. [Table 1]

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