Probably not the "hottest year"
By Dennis T. Avery
James Hansen of NASA, an ardent believer in man-made warming, announced recently that "The 12-month running mean global temperature in the Goddard Space Institute analysis has reached a new record in 2010 . . . NASA, June 3, 2010. The main factor is our estimated temperature change for the Arctic region." The GISS figures show that recent temperatures in the Arctic have been up to four degrees C warmer than the long-term mean.
Should we be alarmed? Probably not very.
My esteemed colleague Art Horn, at the Energy Tribune blog, has blown the whistle on Hansen and GISS. He points out that GISS has no thermometers in the Arctic! It has hardly thermometers that are even near the Arctic Circle. GISS estimates its arctic temperatures from land-based thermometers that supposedly each represent the temperatures over 1200 square kilometers. That's a pretty heroic assumption.
Meanwhile, the Danish Meteorological Institute is publishing sea-surface temperatures from the Arctic showing a cooling trend in the Arctic oceans during melt season since about 1993. Clearly, we have no accurate measure of the real temperatures and trends in the Arctic at this moment. Probably that's not very important. The Russians say that the Arctic has its own 70-year climate cycle. The files of the New York Times, in fact, are filled with stories from the 1920s and 1930s, clearly showing that the Arctic was as warm then as now.
But this is the moment when proposed energy taxes would start to scuttle 85 percent of the energy which powers the modern world and its lifestyles. Global climate alarmists, Hansen among them, are playing a desperate and short-sighted game of "pass the energy taxes."
President Obama says energy taxes are a high priority—perhaps high enough to ramp up his "health care reform" strategy. In a lame-duck Congressional session, after the November elections, Congress persons who had already lost their seats, would vote to saddle America with energy taxes that would triple our electric bills and, according to a Harvard study, drive gas prices to $7 per gallon.
The energy taxes are intended to make fossil fuels expensive! The idea is to deliberately drive fossil fuel prices high enough to force us to stop using them. Then we're supposed to depend on costly and erratic solar and wind power. (Biomass can never produce much energy: biofuel crops would take too much land, and we can't make ethanol out of cellulose sources.)
The man-made global warming believers have invested 20 years in their campaign to convince us of CO2-driven climate calamity. To their chagrin, the earth's temperatures started to trend downward in 2007.
They're panicked about losing the whole ball game. They feel they must get an energy tax on the books before the earth has a chance to resume the recent-and-predicted cooling trend. They imagine that if the law gets on the books, a restart of the cooling wouldn't push the next Congress to repeal the energy tax!
They might even be right, though it seems a stretch given the American people's already-massive Obama-debt and the demonstrated history that tax cuts grow the economy and tax increases strangle it.
It's a desperate time, not for the earth, but for the global warming campaigners.
Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org