Thoughts on Global Warming, Global Cooling and Climate Change

Earth Day was this past Tuesday, and it had me thinking about the global warming issue.

I was in high school (sometime in the mid 1980’s) when I first learned of global warming, and I remember discussing it in college. One friend was an environmental science major, and she was convinced that the data demonstrated that the earth was warming. I didn’t dispute the objective facts of the matter, rather I’d argue whether or not man was responsible for global warming, or if it was even a bad thing that the earth was heating up.

Well, it’s 30 years later and humans haven’t gone extinct, and the earth is thriving. We’ve gained a wealth of information since then, and while the message has changed, the political spin is the same. You know the saying: the more things change, the more things stay the same. It’s politics mixed with science, and that’s a toxic mixture.

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(Photo Credit: Federico Stevanin)

Back in 1970 we were promised an ice age, but when that alarmism didn’t work they resorted to “global warming”, and when that failed to scare enough people they changed the language again to “climate change.” Hmmm, well of course the climate changes! That’s to be expected, and we shouldn’t be alarmed by that. The term “climate change” is so elastic that it could mean anything, which renders it meaningless, except for its adherents.

I’ve always been bothered by the doomsday predictions and shouts that the sky is falling. Unfortunately the fear-mongering is as strong as ever, in spite of the evidence to the contrary. Politicians have double-downed their efforts to reduce our “carbon footprint” and control the weather- as if it were possible.

Skeptics, like myself, have called global warming a hoax and fraud, and there’s plenty of evidence to support such strong claims. Computer models, for example, have failed; they can’t predict the past or future, so it’s not shocking when the weather forecast is wrong. Climatologist Roy Spencer has said, “Temperatures have not risen nearly as much as almost all of the climate models predicted.” He went on to say that “Their predictions have largely failed, four times in a row… what that means is that it’s time for them to re-evaluate.” Chip Knappenberger of Cato agrees, and he wrote an article explaining how computer models are quickly obsolete and lack credibility and any predictive ability.

Richard Lindzen of Harvard and MIT is a pioneer of climate science, and he’s been harsh on global warming activists, accusing them of alarmism, fudging the data, guessing, and compromising. He says that global warming is “nothing to be alarmed about.”

I’ve always maintained that the earth is robust, resilient, self-regulating, and is more than capable of sustaining a staggering human population. God designed the earth to be mankind’s home, and he created it to withstand the pressures we’d place upon it. He commanded man to be “fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground (Genesis 1:28).” Mankind is not an intruder, as many extreme environmentalists maintain; the earth was designed for us by God, and we need to be good stewards of the planet he’s entrusted to us.

Global warming alarmists, however, typically reject Biblical evidence, even though the Bible has a proven track record. With a human population of more than 7 billion people, mankind is fulfilling his God-given mandate, and the earth is more than able to sustain every one of us, and then some.

This issue has been highly politicized from the beginning. What we do know is that humans are pumping large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning oil, gas and coal, and some scientists believe that man is responsible for the rising temperatures resulting from using these natural resources. In addition they believe the earth is fragile, sensitive and incapable of sustaining such human activity, and that world governments must legislate policies reducing the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. But there are many problems with such thinking.

To begin with, the earth’s climate is extremely complex, to say the least. But more importantly, carbon dioxide is not a poison or a pollutant; it’s quite necessary for plants and all kinds of vegetation. In fact the more carbon dioxide available, the quicker plants grow, so it can be argued that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are beneficial to humans, animals, and vegetation. Humans are even considered “carbon based” life forms.

We’ve learned that aerosols and water vapor may provide a cooling effect. We know that ocean temperature cycles and sun spot activity have tremendous effects on global temperature. And according to NASA’s Langley Research Center, greenhouse gases block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays. Carbon dioxide and nitric oxide are natural thermostats according to James Russell of Hampton University. Volcanic activity is another factor that affects weather patterns.

Any increase in global temperature has been negligible, increasing about a tenth of a degree since 1800, according to Lindzen. He says it has increased “a very small amount,” and that the alarmists overestimate the earth’s sensitivity.

Even the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ) has admitted that there hasn’t been any measurable increase in storm intensity as expected, despite record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. But that hasn’t stopped alarmist headlines, such as National Geographic.com’s, “New Climate Change Report Warns of Dire Consequences.”

Politics, money and power are a large part of the scandal: academic research needs government funding to survive, and politicians control the purse strings. Scientists need to produce the right results, otherwise funding stops. Fear is a strong motivational force that encourages scientists and the public to conform. Big corporations have benefited from this political agenda, such as Solyndra (now bankrupt) and their “green” technology; some corporations simply use the hysteria to their advantage, marketing their product to those who believe in “going green” with the promise to “save the planet.”

Alarmists control the language by referring to “consensus”, suggesting that all scientists believe in man-made global warming and that immediate action must be taken to prevent the impending disaster. Former Vice President Al Gore even claimed that “the debate in the scientific community is over.” However, there is no consensus on global warming… and even if there were, science isn’t about consensus. Such thinking is simply their way of stifling debate, imposing unnecessary policies, and increasing their power and wealth. Aside from Lindzen, other prominent skeptics are Judith Curry (School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech), Roy Spencer (University of Alabama), William Happer (professor of physics at Princeton), John Christy (NASA), and physicist Freeman Dyson. In fact over 31,000 scientists have rejected the assertion that human activity is mainly responsible for global warming by signing the Global Warming Petition Project. Science is never settled. The physics of science don’t change, but the conclusions and interpretations do.

Judith Curry has pointed out that global temperature has been flat for over 15 years, and that the earth has actually been cooling since 2002. Anastasios Tsonis of the University of Wisconsin agrees, saying, “We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped.”

Instead of buying into the global warming hysteria, what we need is a solid economy, jobs, free market competition, sensible regulation, and low-cost, reliable energy. The global warming hysteria is simply counterproductive to our country’s needs.

Here are some statistics demonstrating the failed global warming predictions: the arctic sea ice was up 60% in 2013; in 2007 they predicted more intense hurricanes, however 2013 was one of the quietest hurricane seasons recorded. Al Gore predicted that the “entire North Polar ice cap will be gone in five years.” Not only did that prediction fail, but the Arctic grew 29% between 2012 and 2013, resulting in nearly a million more square miles of ice. It must have been embarrassing for the scientists traveling to the South Pole earlier this year to study the shrinking ice caps; they ended up getting stuck on ice thicker than any time on record, and were rescued after several failed attempts by three icebreakers.

Leaked emails from Britain’s Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia demonstrated that global warming data was tampered with and suppressed. Only those results supporting global warming were reported. Scientists used tricks to “hide the decline” in temperature. Climatologist Kevin Trenbert at the US Centre for Atmospheric Research said, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t.” Another message explained how the government was demanding evidence for climate change to help them tell a convincing story without looking foolish. A study by PLoS One has shown that scientists manipulate data at a high rate and are guilty of other questionable practices. Judith Curry reported how one of her colleagues was encouraged by other scientists not to publish studies that would “only provide fodder to skeptics.”

Despite all the failed predictions, the IPCC has reported that scientists are 95% certain that humans are the dominant cause of global warming since the 1950s. It’s interesting to note, however, that Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, testified before a senate committee that, “There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.” He ended up leaving Greenpeace because it was more interested in politics than the environment, and he admitted that the alarmists use faulty computer models and scare tactics to advance their agenda. Even if the earth was warming, he says, it wouldn’t be that harmful for humans, which he describes as a “subtropical species.”

I agree there would be plenty of benefits. To begin with, humans would have to adapt and be resourceful. People could farm in the arctic regions, and we’d have longer growing seasons. There would be fewer deaths resulting from exposure to the cold, we’d need less energy to heat during winter months, and there would be fewer accidents related to ice and snow, saving us costly repairs and injuries. As an added bonus, animals and vegetation would move into those new habitats.

It’s also important to note the hypocrisy of many of the leaders of this movement, such as Al Gore, who has one of the largest carbon footprints of anyone. He flies from place to place on private jets, consumes enormous amounts of energy, but yet he stands to increase his wealth if he succeeds in forcing America and other countries to comply with his demands for carbon credits. It’s ironic that he sold his struggling cable channel to Al-Jazeera, a news network funded by the Emir of Qatar, for $100 million. Qatar has funded known terrorist groups, rejects human rights, is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, and is the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Lastly, global warming and environmentalism has become a religion for many people- a kind of eco-theology. It’s believed by blind faith, regardless of all the evidence to the contrary. The earth is worshiped as Mother Nature, animals are revered as pristine, trees are to be protected, and man is the devil. There are too many people on the planet, and they’re destroying it! Therefore it’s necessary to force this religion upon everyone for their own good. Driving SUVs, burning coal, traveling in airplanes and using energy are sins that must be stopped. Al Gore has set himself up as prophet, missionary and savior, and his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is shown in schools to evangelize students and share his message. Believers sing songs of worship on Earth Day to demonstrate their adoration. These people want us to abstain from the behaviors they find offensive, and they expect us to pay indulgences for our transgressions in the form of carbon offsets; in return they will pardon us. Gore has prophesied fire and brimstone unless we change our ways. There will be floods of Biblical proportion unless we bow down to the idol of global warming. Some of the believers have resorted to terrorist activities in order to wound or kill infidels, spiking trees and blowing up car dealerships and crop dusters.

I’d argue that the Bible gives us the best prophecies and has been proven accurate. The Bible tells us how the world will end: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” 2 Peter 3:10.

I’m thankful that we don’t have to live in fear of doomsday predictions by global warming alarmists, and I hope we can successfully resist their efforts.

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8 thoughts on “Thoughts on Global Warming, Global Cooling and Climate Change

  1. Just because a model fails or a prediction isn’t realized doesn’t mean that there was fraud or hoax involved. It simply means that there either wasn’t enough data available at the time to reach the correct conclusion or that there was an error somewhere in the interpretation. I would say that just because global warming models failed does not automatically means there was something fraudulent going on.

    “the arctic sea ice was up 60% in 2013.” I see stuff like this all the time, but it’s a meaningless figure. What is that 60% being compared to? Is it up 60% from it’s highest point? The lowest point? The previous year? The previous decade? Saying “up 60% in 2013” doesn’t speak to any trends–it’s merely one point of data.

    It does sound that you do have one thing in common with climate change advocates and environmentalist: that we should all be good stewards of the earth.

    “Driving SUVs, burning coal, traveling in airplanes and using energy are sins that must be stopped.” Well, I think one could argue that if there was a safer way or a way with less environmental impact to derive the same benefits as something that’s more harmful or destructive, wouldn’t we, as stewards of the planet, be obligated to choose the less harmful option? Regardless of whether or not any of the “sins” you mentioned in this piece actually do affect the climate, what they DO affect is the environment. Perhaps coal won’t cause the planet to get hotter or colder, but it most definitely does affect things like air quality and the water table. Fine, maybe the CO2 emitted by burning gasoline doesn’t make the weather hotter or colder, but oil spills and rig explosions are most definitely a real thing with a real impact on the environment. One of my favorite memes with regard to this is a field of solar panels with a caption that says, “You know what they call a solar energy spill? A NICE DAY!”

    It seems like the danger with the position that climate change denialists (for want of a better term, sorry) is that they’re lumping the climate and the environment as one in the same thing when in fact they’re different parts of the same system. So it’s inaccurate to assume that since something doesn’t change the climate that it has no impact upon the environment.

  2. Ryan, I really don’t think Jon was insinuating that the failed predictions had anything to do with hoax, but that it is proof that the science is definitely NOT settled. As a former research specialist in a federally funded lab, I can confirm that certain results are desired by study coordinators and investigators to aid in acquiring more grants. I’ve seen corners cut and a lack of “blinding” which creates a undeniable bias in reporting results. These people are paid A LOT of money…

    • “Skeptics, like myself, have called global warming a hoax and fraud”

      That seems like a little more than an insinuation. I think you could make the argument that the science isn’t settled by talking about the science. You don’t even need to mention the words “fraud” or “hoax” to discuss the validity of data. That’s not to say that hoax and fraud aren’t possible. It’s just not the first thing I would probably jump to because it’s a rather serious claim. But I’d also argue that it would seem each side of the argument has a financial stake in the discussion. Do not the same biases and constraints exist for researchers who are hired by private companies that might be motivated more by economics and less by the pursuit of knowledge?

      I think that it’s within the spirit of science to have a healthy debate about the validity of the evidence regarding any claim, but I prefer to see the argument stick to the data.

      • You’re right Ryan. It wasn’t simply the failures of the model that led me to conclude that there’s fraud or a hoax. It’s really all the available information combined. It’s leaked emails indicating fudged data, hypocrisy, money, politics, alarmism, etc.

        In an attempt to be brief I included a link to Knappenberger, who exposed some of the inherent fraud associated with the IPCC’s reports. He refers to its current form as a “major fiasco.” The IPCC process is too “slow and arduous,” and can’t keep up with the perameters. The report is due, so they can’t make the changes needed. The IPCC seems to realize that there’s something “systematically” wrong with their models, but won’t admit it in the literature, and that’s reason for us to lose confidence. Knappenberger states that the IPCC climate sensitivity model isn’t justifiable. The IPCC could start all over again, release the current AR5 report and admit that the impacts are likely overestimated by about 50%, or they could do nothing. He criticizes the IPCC for its assessment being scientifically outdated before its release, and for being inefficient and overly expensive for the purpose of justifying public policy.

        In a separate article Knappenberger and other critics state that the computer models are known to be obsolete, incomplete and founded on bad assumptions. Those in control are aware of this and are suppressing or ignoring the evidence. Even though the IPCC was aware of the obstacles, they cut off any new literature at their July 2012 deadline, dooming the report from the beginning. Thus Knappenberger calls the IPCC an impotent body. He also published a paper to help ensure better computer models, but the IPCC rejected his work due to bias. Based on all this I can’t help but conclude that there’s fraud.

        The arctic sea ice being up 60% is merely a refutation of the predictions. Gore predicted in 2007 that “the entire North Polar ice cap will be gone in five years.” No matter how one spins the data, the alarmist predictions were wrong.

        Yeah, we should be good stewards of the earth, so I guess there’s some common ground 😉

        “if there was a safer way or a way with less environmental impact to derive the same benefits as something that’s more harmful or destructive, wouldn’t we, as stewards of the planet, be obligated to choose the less harmful option?”

        This is a loaded question that hinges on several assumptions, including “if”. Can we really conclude that one way is safer or has less of an environmental impact? Can this be quantified? And who gets to decide what’s more harmful or destructive? If CO2 is good for plants, wouldn’t it be more harmful to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and wouldn’t it be beneficial to drive bigger SUVs in order to help plants grow? Wouldn’t hybrids begin to starve plants and vegetation? I say this tongue-in-cheek, but only to make the point that I don’t trust these people to make such decisions for the rest of us. Let’s allow the free market system and people’s personal decisions determine what they drive and what kind of energy they want to use. If anyone is genuinely being harmed by the pollution, then bring them to court and make a case against them and demand justice. I don’t like oil spills any more than the next person, but I don’t think such spills are a reason to abandon the use of oil.

        I like the term “skeptic” better than “denialist”. Neither I, nor anyone I know denies that climate changes. Yes, I do tend to lump climate and the environment, but I think that’s only because they’re inherently linked, even though they are different parts of the same system. If there’s a justifiable reason to separate them, then we do so. Where did I assume that something that doesn’t change the climate has no impact upon the environment? I haven’t made that assumption that I’m aware of. I simply believe that the impact is open to debate.

      • I think you’d be hard pressed to convince a rational person that an oil spill isn’t harmful. I use this as an example because your refutation rests upon again separating climate from environment. My argument goes beyond CO2 emissions, since that isn’t the only activity of man that can affect the environment.

        Yes, there are costs associated with every technology, but I don’t see why those costs can’t be quantified. I understand the “who gets to quantify them?” line of thinking, but just deferring the act by posing the question isn’t productive. It’s real technology that operates under physical laws in a physical system; obviously there is going to be an objective impact.

        And that’s not to say that even clean, green, or renewable technologies and energy don’t have any negative impact on the environment. The question is do they have less of an impact than the current technologies and systems?

        I brought up the meme about the “solar energy spill” half in jest, but half to make a point as well. What’s the worst that can happen with a coal plant? We pollute the air and water, maybe a plant explodes or a mine collapses. What’s the worst that can happen with nuclear power? Well, Chernobyl, fukashima, and three mile island are pretty solid evidence. Not to mention all the radioactive waste that sits around for thousands of years. What’s the worst that could happen with solar power? The panels melt? There’s nothing combustible to explode, no mine to cave in. Sure, the plastics and chemical involved could be harmful to the environment, but the current technologies we have now use the same plastics and chemicals, if not harder chemicals. So what’s worse: chemicals, air pollution, water pollution, and explosions, or just water pollution?

        Again, I think skepticism is healthy. You know me to be a skeptical person by nature. The danger that comes with any skepticism, however, is the maintenance of the status quo. If skepticism stifles innovation or progress, is it really a good thing?

      • I’m not trying to convince anyone that oil spills aren’t harmful. I just don’t believe that oil spills aren’t a reason to abandon the use of oil. Nonetheless, I don’t think they’re nearly as harmful as they’re made out to be, and that’s because oil is a natural resource. The earth and the oceans are able to dissolve the oil naturally, and in some ways it’s more harmful to clean the spills with some of the unnatural methods being used.

        I think we both agree that there are many activities of man that affect the environment. In fact every activity of man will affect the environment to some degree or another. But at what point does that activity become irresponsible or harmful? And to what degree? Even erecting a tent for shelter could kill something that’s living, but even if we squash a bug or worm, that’s actually beneficial to the environment because another organism will be able to use the bug or worm for food, and helps break it down for nutrients in the soil.

        If technology and costs can be quantified, then let’s consider cars: can you provide an exhaustive analysis between a modern car, a hybrid, a completely battery powered car, a solar panel car, or a car using some other kind of energy? I’d love to know if someone has honestly considered all the pros and cons associated with them. I think that would be nearly impossible simply because one’s biases would prevent them from considering everything.

        Next, determining who gets to decide what policies get implemented to change our lives is an extremely important question. I don’t want people making policies that have a nefarious agenda, or people who really don’t care about all Americans as a whole. I think that’s at the root of many of our problems. People in power tend to be corrupt, and the people who are supposed to benefit don’t. Everyone ends up getting harmed, except those in power and those who stand to gain wealth as a result. That’s what’s unproductive. If it’s impossible to elect those who are sincere, honest and competent, then we’re wasting time, money and resources.

        The question asking if clean, green or renewable technologies have less of an impact on the environment than current technologies isn’t the only question that must be asked. We also need to know the cost. If one technology has “less” of an impact on the environment, it may not be feasible due to costs. That technology wouldn’t be able to sustain itself unless propped up by tax payer money, and that’s harmful to the economy and all Americans. The people need to be able to decide what’s in their best interest, rather than the government forcing policies on the people that end up doing more harm than good only because they try to convince us they care for the environment and that they have our best interest in mind.

        You do make some good points, but I think there’s more to consider. Nuclear energy vs. solar energy. Sounds simple, but cost matters. If you believe solar panels are more cost effective and efficient, then make your case before consumers and let them decide.

      • I like that we seem to have found common ground on this issue, so I won’t press any further. I think this dialogue has been most productive. Obviously there’s a long way to go on this subject. My final thought on this matter is how we define cost. Are we talking purely economic cost? How do you assign a dollar value to the environment? I don’t have the answe to those questions, nor do I expect anyone else to have any. I’m just trying to reinforce the point that it’s a tricky situation because what people value varies so much. Some people would gladly pay over market price for something if it meant keeping the environment safer or more pristine. Some people only view something worthwhile if it saves money. I doubt very much that any of those values will change. If one values money over trees or clean water then all of my arguments are going to fall flat. Similarly, if one values nature more than money the opposite argument isn’t going to be persuasive. Hopefully there’s a happy medium somewhere to be found.

    • Thanks Dan, that’s a pretty good summary. I did use the word “hoax” purposely to spark debate, but it’s much more than just the failed predictions that seem to justify the use of the word. If the global warming alarmists simply admitted that the science wasn’t settled, I think the entire field of climate science would greatly benefit. Our knowledge would be far more advanced than what it is now and we wouldn’t need to take such drastic actions with public policy. I think science has been stalled as a result of their tactics. And the fact that the alarmists don’t want such a discussion to take place within the scientific community speaks volumes of their intentions. I get the impression that they simply want to impose their sanctions on the world without any dissent.

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