We should never be more vigilant than at the moment a new dogma is being installed. The claque endorsing what is now dignified as “the mainstream theory” of global warming stretches all the way from radical greens through Al Gore to George W. Bush, who signed on at the end of May. The left has been swept along, entranced by the allure of weather as revolutionary agent, naïvely conceiving of global warming as a crisis that will force radical social changes on capitalism.
Alas for their illusions. Capitalism is ingesting global warming as happily as a python swallowing a piglet. The press, which thrives on fearmongering, promotes the nonexistent threat as vigorously as it did the imminence of Soviet attack during the cold war, in concert with the arms industry. There’s money to be made, and so, as Talleyrand said, “Enrich yourselves!”
The marquee slogan in the new cold war on global warming is that the scientific consensus is virtually unanimous. This is utterly false. The overwhelming majority of climate computer modelers, the beneficiaries of the $2 billion-a-year global warming grant industry, certainly believe in it but not necessarily most real climate scientists–people qualified in atmospheric physics, climatology and meteorology. Geologists are particularly skeptical.
Take Warsaw-based Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, famous for his critiques of ice-core data. He’s devastating on the IPCC rallying cry that CO2 is higher now than it has ever been over the past 650,000 years. In his 1997 paper in the Spring 21st Century Science and Technology, he demolishes this proposition.
Or take Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, of St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory. He says we’re on a warming trend but that humans have little to do with it, the agent being a longtime change in the sun’s heat. He says solar irradiance will fall within the next few years and we may face the beginning of an ice age. The Russian scientific establishment gave him a green light to use the nation’s space station to measure global cooling.
Now read Dr. Jeffrey Glassman, applied physicist and engineer, retired from California’s academic and corporate sectors, who provides an elegant demonstration of how the CO2 solubility pump in the Earth’s oceans controls atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and how the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the consequence of temperature increase, not the cause.
Move to that bane of the fearmongers, Dr. Patrick Michaels, on sabbatical from the University of Virginia, now at the Cato Institute, who has presented in papers and recently his book Meltdown demolitions of almost every claim made by the greenhousers, particularly regarding hurricanes, tornadoes, sea rise, disappearing ice caps, drought and floods. Michaels is often slammed as a hired gun for the fossil fuel industry, but I haven’t seen significant dents made in his scientific critiques.
One of the best essays on greenhouse myth-making from a left perspective comes from Denis Rancourt, an environmental science researcher and professor of physics at the University of Ottawa. I recommend his February 2007 essay “Global Warming: Truth or Dare?” on his website, Activist Teacher, which has also featured fine work by David Noble on the greenhouse lobby.
The Achilles’ heel of the computer models, the cornerstone of CO2 fearmongering, is their failure to deal with water. As vapor, it’s a more important greenhouse gas than CO2 by a factor of twenty, yet models have proven incapable of dealing with it. The global water cycle is complicated, with at least as much unknown as is known. Water starts by evaporating from oceans, rivers, lakes and moist ground, enters the atmosphere as water vapor, condenses into clouds and precipitates as rain or snow. Each step is influenced by temperature and each water form has an enormous impact on global heat processes. Clouds have a huge, inaccurately quantified effect on heat received from the sun. Water on the Earth’s surface has different effects on the retention of the sun’s heat, depending on whether it’s liquid, which is quite absorbent; ice, which is reflective; or snow, which is more reflective than ice. Such factors cause huge swings in the Earth’s heat balance and interact in ways that are beyond the ability of computer climate models to predict.
The first global warming modelers simply threw up their hands at the complexity of the water problem and essentially left out the atmospheric water cycle. Over time a few features of the cycle were patched into the models, all based on unproven guesses at the effect of increased ocean evaporation on clouds, the effect of clouds on reflecting the sun’s energy and the effect of cloud warming on rainfall and snow. All of these equations are hopelessly inadequate to describe the water cycle’s role.
Besides the inability to deal with water, the other huge embarrassment facing the modelers is the well-established fact that temperature changes first and CO2 levels change 600 to 1,000 years later. The computer modelers as usual have an involuted response: They say the temperature increase is initiated by the “relatively weak” effect of increasing heat from the sun, as per Milankovitch. That effect initiates the warming of the oceans, which–just as Dr. Martin Hertzberg says–releases lots of CO2. The CO2 is the real culprit because it amplifies the relatively weak effect of the sun, turning minor warming into a really serious matter.
This is a cleverly concocted gloss which would be a wonderful argument for demonstrating that once warming starts, CO2 will make it worse and worse. Unfortunately for the climate modelers, the history of the Earth tells us that it doesn’t get worse and worse. The cyclical Milankovitch decrease in the sun’s heat starts some thousands of years later. The warming stops, reverses and an ice age ensues. Obviously the excess CO2 must disappear due to some “feedback” that the modelers haven’t thought of yet, i.e., one that keeps the Earth’s climate in rough equilibrium.
If the public swallows this new greenhouse dogma, it won’t just be carbon taxes on an airline ticket. It will be huge new carbon offset charges for the alleged carbon savings of the immensely expensive nuclear plants they’re so eager to build to give a cooler, cleaner world to your grandchildren.