Lawrence Solomon, Financial PostPublished: Saturday, June 02, 2007
"Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled."
S o said Al Gore ... in 1992. Amazingly, he made his claims despite much evidence of their falsity. A Gallup poll at the time reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren't sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn't think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.
Today, Al Gore is making the same claims of a scientific consensus, as do the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and hundreds of government agencies and environmental groups around the world. But the claims of a scientific consensus remain unsubstantiated. They have only become louder and more frequent.
The loudest guy in an argument isn't always right, he's just trying to overwhelm reason with volume!
Lawrence Solomon, Financial PostPublished: Friday, June 15, 2007
In the 1970s, leading scientists claimed that the world was threatened by an era of global cooling.
Based on what we've learned this decade, says George Kukla, those scientists - and he was among them -- had it right. The world is about to enter another Ice Age.
Dr. Kukla, in 1972 a member of the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences and a pioneer in the field of astronomical forcing, became a central figure in convincing the United States government to take the dangers of climate change seriously. In January of that year, he and another geologist, Robert Matthews of Brown University, convened what would become a historic conference of top European and American investigators in Providence, R.I. The working conference's theme: "The Present Interglacial: How and When will it End?"
Later that year, Drs. Kukla and Matthews highlighted the dangers of global cooling in Science magazine and, because of the urgency of the matter, in December they also alerted President Richard Nixon in a joint letter. The conference had reached a consensus, their letter stated, that "a global deterioration of climate, by order of magnitude larger than any hitherto experienced by civilized mankind, is a very real possibility and indeed may be due very soon. The cooling has natural cause and falls within the rank of processes which produced the last ice age."
The White House reacted swiftly to the letter, which described "substantially lowered food production" and "extreme weather anomalies," such as killer frosts and floods, as well as a warning that the Soviet Union might already be in the lead in preparing for the climate disturbances to come. By February 1973, the State Department had established a Panel on the Present Interglacial, which advised Drs. Kukla and Matthews that it "was seized of the matter."
Soon, numerous other government agencies were drawn in -- the issue was seen to be of paramount importance -- and by 1974, a federal government report, A United States Climate Program, cited evidence of the gathering storm, including:
"A killing winter freeze, followed by a severe summer heat wave in the United States.
"Drought in the Soviet Union producing a 12% shortfall in their grain production in 1972, forcing the country to purchase grain abroad, which in turn reduced world grain reserves and helped drive up food prices.
"Collapse of the Peruvian anchovy harvest in late 1972 and early 1973, related to fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean currents and atmospheric circulation, impacted world supplies of fertilizer, the soybean market and prices of other protein feed stocks.
"The anomalously low precipitation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest during the winter of 1972-73 depleted water-reservoir storage by an amount equivalent to an amount of water required to generate more than 7% of the electric energy for the region."
By 1975, the first of numerous bills, such as the "National Climate Program Act of 1975," was introduced to establish a co-ordinated national program of climate research, monitoring, prediction and contingency-planning analysis. Much congressional testimony spoke of the inadequacy of climate research and the need for preparedness. Meanwhile, the failure of the Soviet Union's wheat crop (and a subsequent high-profile U.S. wheat deal), the severe winter of 1976-77 and El Nino's influence on climate became dinner-table talk, heightening the government's desire to predict the climate. In September, 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed the National Climate Program Act into law, in aid of predicting future climate and combating global cooling. That act has now been enlisted in the effort to counter global warming.
Ironic, isn't it? The earth cycles warm and hot and so do the propagandists....and the only emissions that are actually dangerous to us are the tons of hot air emitting from the GW propagandists who wish to dampen the world's economy and hinder the development of Third World countries with their chicken little demands.
The mud at the bottom of B.C. fjords reveals that solar output drives climate change - and that we should prepare now for dangerous global cooling
R. TIMOTHY PATTERSON, Financial PostPublished: Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Politicians and environmentalists these days convey the impression that climate-change research is an exceptionally dull field with little left to discover. We are assured by everyone from David Suzuki to Al Gore to Prime Minister Stephen Harper that "the science is settled." At the recent G8 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel even attempted to convince world leaders to play God by restricting carbon-dioxide emissions to a level that would magically limit the rise in world temperatures to 2C.
(See hardcopy for Chart/Graph)
Andrew Barr, National Post
The fact that science is many years away from properly understanding global climate doesn't seem to bother our leaders at all. Inviting testimony only from those who don't question political orthodoxy on the issue, parliamentarians are charging ahead with the impossible and expensive goal of "stopping global climate change." Liberal MP Ralph Goodale's June 11 House of Commons assertion that Parliament should have "a real good discussion about the potential for carbon capture and sequestration in dealing with carbon dioxide, which has tremendous potential for improving the climate, not only here in Canada but around the world," would be humorous were he, and even the current government, not deadly serious about devoting vast resources to this hopeless crusade.
Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.
Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet.
My interest in the current climate-change debate was triggered in 1998, when I was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council strategic project grant to determine if there were regular cycles in West Coast fish productivity. As a result of wide swings in the populations of anchovies, herring and other commercially important West Coast fish stock, fisheries managers were having a very difficult time establishing appropriate fishing quotas. One season there would be abundant stock and broad harvesting would be acceptable; the very next year the fisheries would collapse. No one really knew why or how to predict the future health of this crucially important resource.
Although climate was suspected to play a significant role in marine productivity, only since the beginning of the 20th century have accurate fishing and temperature records been kept in this region of the northeast Pacific. We needed indicators of fish productivity over thousands of years to see whether there were recurring cycles in populations and what phenomena may be driving the changes.
My research team began to collect and analyze core samples from the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords. The regions in which we chose to conduct our research, Effingham Inlet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and in 2001, sounds in the Belize-Seymour Inlet complex on the mainland coast of British Columbia, were perfect for this sort of work. The topography of these fjords is such that they contain deep basins that are subject to little water transfer from the open ocean and so water near the bottom is relatively stagnant and very low in oxygen content. As a consequence, the floors of these basins are mostly lifeless and sediment layers build up year after year, undisturbed over millennia.
Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years' worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.
Using computers to conduct what is referred to as a "time series analysis" on the colouration and thickness of the annual layers, we have discovered repeated cycles in marine productivity in this, a region larger than Europe. Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year "Schwabe" sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing.
In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year "Gleissberg Cycle," the 200-500-year "Suess Cycle" and the 1,100-1,500-year "Bond Cycle." The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun's brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.
Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.
However, there was a problem. Despite this clear and repeated correlation, the measured variations in incoming solar energy were, on their own, not sufficient to cause the climate changes we have observed in our proxies. In addition, even though the sun is brighter now than at any time in the past 8,000 years, the increase in direct solar input is not calculated to be sufficient to cause the past century's modest warming on its own. There had to be an amplifier of some sort for the sun to be a primary driver of climate change.
Indeed, that is precisely what has been discovered. In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it, our star's protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet. When the sun's energy output is greater, not only does the Earth warm slightly due to direct solar heating, but the stronger solar wind generated during these "high sun" periods blocks many of the cosmic rays from entering our atmosphere. Cloud cover decreases and the Earth warms still more.
The opposite occurs when the sun is less bright. More cosmic rays are able to get through to Earth's atmosphere, more clouds form, and the planet cools more than would otherwise be the case due to direct solar effects alone. This is precisely what happened from the middle of the 17th century into the early 18th century, when the solar energy input to our atmosphere, as indicated by the number of sunspots, was at a minimum and the planet was stuck in the Little Ice Age. These new findings suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change. By comparison, CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales.
In some fields the science is indeed "settled." For example, plate tectonics, once highly controversial, is now so well-established that we rarely see papers on the subject at all. But the science of global climate change is still in its infancy, with many thousands of papers published every year. In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.
Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.
Meantime, we need to continue research into this, the most complex field of science ever tackled, and immediately halt wasted expenditures on the King Canute-like task of "stopping climate change."
R. Timothy Patterson is professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University.
A YEC creationist such as myself would say that secular scientists are thrown off when reading ice cores and mud cores by the effects of the Noahic world-wide flood and once they go back past 4,000 years they begin missing the mark. No matter, both YEC and secular scientists can look at the last 4,000 years and see climactic changes driven by the sun, apart from any "carbon footprints" made by man or beast.
This is a hilarious version of the "Emperor's New Clothes" in which every politician is forced to put on his naked warming suit or be accused of being a "denier" and unscientific. I agree with Dennis Miller. Not only is it foolish to spend millions of dollars to avoid "Manhattan going underwater", we could form a commission and spend millions of dollars to try to make the oceans rise and put Manhattan under water and we'd fail miserably.
The planet warms up and then it cools down. There are delicate checks and balances in place concerning sun spots and cloud cover and the salinity of the oceans and the amount of fresh water caught in glaciers and land-locked lakes. If we are in for a warming phase, lets enjoy it, plant more crops, experience milder winters and batten down for a few more hurricanes. Because it will all change and we'll eventually see the Thames frozen over in winter again and snow cover for Thanksgiving and so on.
I'll close with this segment of a discussion on MSNBC last year that sums it up for me nicely:
Scarborough and Stossel Slam Al Gore and Global Warming
ABC’s John Stossel was a guest on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” Wednesday, and it is quite safe to say that he’s not buying into any of the recent alarmism concerning global warming. As a result, he and host Joe Scarborough had a lot of fun at Al Gore’s expense (video link to follow).
Scarborough began: “…for Al Gore and Bill Clinton to say it`s causing flooding and causing hurricanes and it may have caused Hurricane Katrina, that`s just ridiculous, isn`t it. There is no proof of that, is there?”
“No. And the serious scientists scoff at that. The warmer water can encourage hurricanes, but they run in cycles. But the alarmists always want you to think it`s man`s fault so you will turn your life over to them and they can tell you what to do.”
Scarborough responded: “I remember being warned in Florida five years ago about the next cycle, that from 1900 to 1945, we didn`t have a lot of hurricanes. We had a lot of hurricanes and it slowed down for the next 60 years and they said there is a time where the water will heat up again and yet the A.P, other news agencies seem to give Al Gore a free pass.”
Scarborough then hit the nail right on the head:
“A lot of my friends will be angry with me and say Scarborough, you are denying that global warming exists. I am not denying that at all, but why is it that we live in a country where somebody like Al Gore and a political elite in Washington, DC and New York and L.A. can go out and say this is the fact. If we don`t turn things around in 10 years, we are going to boil the icecaps are going to flood, Manhattan is going to be under water and Florida is going to be under water. You cannot find scientists who believe that.”
Stossel accurately and comically responded:
“They are much more skeptical, but the alarmists always get the news. I`ve covered this over the years. Killer bees were going to get us, SARS, anthrax, mad cow disease, saccharin, Nutrasweet, scares one after the other. Cell phones are going to give you brain cancer. Everyone was convinced about that. We just like to be scared. It`s why we go to horror movies and now we believe Al Gore and global warming.”
At the end of the discussion, which eventually included Tyson Slocum of “Public Citizen,” Stossel got the last word:
“Let me just say that this, at bottom is a hatred of capitalism and a hatred of industrial production. Yes, it`s true, we produce more carbon dioxide, but we are also the cleanest country in the world. As we get wealthier, the air gets cleaner and we can afford to do things that maybe some day if the globe is warming we have to make adjustments, it`s our wealth that will allow us to save the world. If we let these socialists control our lives, we will be worse off.”