Global warming hype heats up
By Henry Lamb
Get ready for another barrage of global warming hype. The U.N. will be meeting again in Bonn, Germany in June to prepare for the final push to impose the Kyoto Protocol at a meeting scheduled for November at the Hague.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will present its "Third Assessment Report" which is expected to supply all the fuel necessary to fire up the world to implement the Protocol which will require a 30 per cent reduction of fossil fuel energy use in the United States, and will effectively give the U.N. authority to regulate energy use in 34 developed countries.
A summary of the IPCC's Second Assessment Report, issued in 1996, said that the scientific evidence "suggests" a discernable influence of human activity on climate change. The summary of the Third Assessment Report is expected to remove the word "suggests" and say outright that there is a discernable human influence on global climate.
Two very important points: (1) none of the Assessment Reports, which are prepared by scientists, has ever produced evidence of human influence on global climate. These statements appear only in the report summaries which are prepared by policy makers. (2) Nowhere do the reports or the summaries suggest the extent or the consequences of the alleged "human influence."
Propaganda mills produce the speculation about the extent and consequences of human-induced global warming. Wild tales about the polar caps melting, seas rising, hurricanes intensifying, biodiversity diminishing - are all speculative scenarios developed by those whose income is produced by the global warming industry. A major part of the global warming industry is funding for NGOs (non-government organizations) to "elevate awareness." This is a politically correct description of propaganda. Millions of dollars are awarded every year to organizations such as the Climate Action Network to churn out propaganda by the car-load.
The White House, and the U.N. are quick to say that "the science is settled." The truth is that the scientific community cannot agree on whether the global temperature is warming or cooling in the last half of the 20th century. Surface stations say it is rising while the satellites say it is cooling. The scientific community cannot agree on whether rising levels of atmospheric carbon will be detrimental or beneficial to the earth, or whether the level of atmospheric carbon makes any difference at all to global climate.
Both the global mean temperature and the level of atmospheric carbon have been much higher, and much lower at various times in history than at the present time. Past fluctuations of temperature and concentrations of atmospheric carbon occurred without the possibility of human influence. Why, then, is human activity, specifically, the use of fossil fuels, the object of such a draconian policy as the Kyoto Protocol?
One thing that the scientific community seems to be in general agreement about is that the Kyoto Protocol, if fully implemented, will not make an appreciable difference in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The reduction of carbon emissions in the 34 developed countries will be more than offset by increases in the emissions from the 150 developing nations that are not affected by the Protocol. Why bother?
The entire exercise has less to do with protecting the environment or reducing global warming than it has to do with redistributing wealth.
If developed nations are regulated by the U.N., while developing nations are not, then industry has a powerful incentive to move from developed countries to countries such as China, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, where there are no restrictions on energy use.
Nevertheless, the global warming industry is gearing up for the final push toward full implementation of the Protocol by 2002. When the protocol was adopted in 1997, it was hopelessly incomplete. For example, it did not address how the Protocol was to be enforced; it did not even discuss penalties for non-compliance. It provided no guidelines for uniform measurement of progress toward compliance. In other words, it was a document that set targets, without any details for implementation. Since 1997, the Parties to the treaty have been negotiating these questions and are supposed to have them all agreed by the November meeting at the Hague.
Legitimate questions raised by legitimate scientists are ignored by the policy-making global warming industry. Al Gore claims that only a "handful" of "contrarian" scientists disagree with the "broad consensus" that has been reached by the scientific community. The opposite is true. Only a small handful of scientists believe that catastrophic warming will occur as the result of human use of fossil fuel, and they have yet to produce scientific evidence to support this belief.
The global-warming propaganda mills claim that 2000 scientists whose work is cited in the IPCC report represents the "consensus" expressed in the policy-makers' seven-page summary of the IPCC report. Many of those same scientists disagree sharply with the summary, and have signed public declarations of disagreement - which are equally ignored by the likes of Al Gore and the global warming industry's propaganda mills.
Fourteen of the world's leading climate scientists assembled in Washington over the Memorial Day weekend to evaluate the latest draft of the Third Assessment Report. Their conclusion: there is less agreement now among climate scientists than there was when the Second Assessment Report was issued in 1996. Recent studies have produced new questions that need to be answered before public policy is imposed by international treaty. More than 19 000 scientists are on record expressing the view that there is not sufficient evidence of human influence on global climate to justify any corrective public policy. The global warming industry is trying to fix an alleged problem that the scientific community has not yet been able to define, despite more than $15 billion spent in the last decade trying to find evidence to support the claim.
A great solution to the global warming problem was proposed by Ross McKitrick, an economist from the University of Guelph in Canada. He suggests that a $1 billion trust fund be established immediately. No one is predicting any damage from global warming for at least 50 years.
By that time, the trust fund will have grown to about$870 billion, according to his calculations, which should be sufficient to pay any claims by anyone who can prove damage caused by global warming. His proposal was quickly rejected by the global warming industry, because it would be too difficult to prove damage. If the alleged catastrophic global warming is not expected to produce "provable" damage, how catastrophic can it be? After all, a thousand years ago, the global mean temperature was substantially higher than some of the projections for the year 2100. Science calls this period the "Medieval Climate Optimum."
The global warming industry, fueled primarily by tax dollars, has set its sights on getting the Kyoto Protocol implemented by 2002. Neither facts, reason, common sense, nor the Pope, will alter their course or deter their determination. If the world is to be spared the needless oppression of yet another effort to redistribute the world's wealth, it will have to come from American voters who have had enough of the extremist policies that gobble dollars and produces only a thirst for more. If the voters decide to retain the current administration, then the Kyoto Protocol will succeed. If the voters decide to clean house, next November, then the Hague meeting will be a waste of time and still more of our tax dollars.
Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.
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