Manmade Global Warming: A Dangerous Urban Legend?

December 22nd, 2008 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

With the new Obama Administration just around the corner, the U.S. is headed for what I consider to be a ‘train wreck’ on the issue of public policy related to global warming. Through an extensive advertising campaign we are being led to believe that ‘green energy’ is the answer to global warming…as well as to our economic woes.

The EPA is on the verge of regulating most sources of carbon dioxide emission in this country, and the Democrat-controlled Congress will probably be pushing for carbon cap-and-trade or carbon tax legislation in 2009. The European Union’s utter failure to control CO2 emissions with cap-and-trade over the last few years is now well known to everyone — except those who depend upon the U.S. mainstream media to keep them informed.

Barack Obama claims that the country that put a man on the Moon can certainly find ways to produce clean energy. The trouble is that overcoming the force of gravity by using energy stored in rockets is trivial compared to finding new sources of energy that we want to be economically competitive with the alternatives, and free of risk to boot.

Only a fool believes we can punish the use of energy, and make the economy grow as a result. T. Boone Pickens makes it sound like an old Oil Man can be turned green, but note his public advertising campaign for wind energy is to get government subsidies (i.e., more of your tax dollars) to make his huge investment in a west Texas wind farm economically viable.

And what will happen to natural gas prices, which are already high, if the country heeds his advice and starts running cars on natural gas? Demand will explode…as will prices. Vladimir Putin would love this, though, since his Gazprom now has a greater monopoly on the world’s natural gas supply than OPEC has on petroleum.

Yet, if NASA’s James Hansen is correct that the climate system is very ‘sensitive’, then no cost is too much to avert a climate catastrophe. But the available evidence is that the climate system is INsensitive, and now there is increasing evidence that global warming could be mostly the result of a natural cycle in global cloud cover associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who the world now relies upon for the ‘official’ position on climate change science, has essentially ignored the possibility that natural modes of internal climate variability — like the PDO — could cause climate change. All it takes is a small, naturally-induced change in cloudiness and, voila, you have global warming or global cooling. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars to build and launch new Earth-monitoring satellites which are giving us a wealth of new data on natural climate variability to interpret, yet I know of no research that has ever been funded to look for natural explanations for global warming.

Those few dozen bureaucrats and politically-savvy scientists in charge of the IPCC process now exert considerable influence over what kinds of climate research is funded by congress. The government funding and peer review process has been corrupted by a few outspoken scientists, bureaucrats, and politicians who now have a vested interest in the theory of ‘manmade global warming’.

In my view, this constitutes gross negligence and misuse of science to advance the political objectives of the IPCC leadership and the United Nations. That political agenda has been embraced by too many U.S. politicians who wrap themselves in the cloak of ‘scientific consensus’ which has been asserted by the IPCC leadership — without any vote from the hundreds of scientists being represented.

Because of the extreme economic cost of proposed policy changes (carbon cap and trade, carbon taxes, etc.) to the economy, and especially to the poor, it is imperative that such policies be based upon good science — not propaganda. The scientific basis for the belief that mankind is now the dominant control on climate needs to be revisited. Al Gore and Barack Obama have said that there is no longer any scientific debate over the cause of climate change. I say that it is time for the debate to finally begin.

Comments are closed.