Climategate 2010: The Inconvenient Facts About Global Warming
In a morning science session, for example, Craig Idso, Ph.D., presented preliminary results from his upcoming massive meta-analysis of the scientific literature on ocean acidification — the largest such analysis ever, using results from 568 research studies. “Those who continue to portray CO2-induced ocean acidification as megadisaster-in-the-making are not grounded in the real world data,” he said — but only after presenting the data proving it. And in contrast to the Climategate events outlined in Sunday night’s keynote address by Stephen McIntyre, Idso is publishing all the data online.
The economics of AGW policies are becoming an increasingly important issue as draconian cap-and-trade bills make their way through Congress, and presenters offered sobering facts about emission trading schemes. Dr. David Tuerck of the Beacon Hill Institute gave his chilling estimate of the price tag of “ruinously costly,” unnecessary environmental initiatives such as Waxman-Markey ($3.42 trillion) and the Western Climate Initiative ($6-18 billion per year). On that same panel, Spanish economics professor Dr. Gabriel Calzada addressed the claims that green policies create large numbers of jobs. In Spain, he observed, “green jobs are created by green rain” — huge taxpayer subsidies: 570,000 euros per green job created. As a result of the tax-subsidized increase in the use of renewables, in 1998-2009 the price of electricity in Spain rose by 77 percent, he observed. Fellow panelist Dr. Carlo Stagnaro, an environmental engineer from Italy, noted that for every green job, 6.9 jobs could be created in the industrial sector for the same investment.
Tuerck bluntly suggested a rational approach to energy efficiency would start by eliminating all subsidies for energy production, across the board. He argued that such an approach could be a populist-style measure on which both free-market advocates and green groups can agree.
The luncheon keynote speech by atmospheric scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT explained how climate models draw disturbingly high estimates of future global temperature increases as a result of higher atmospheric CO2: they introduce arbitrary fudge factors (which they call "strong positive feedbacks") that jack up the estimates far beyond the scientifically observed fact that a doubling of CO2 would cause only a 1 degree C temp increase. Overall, the warming observed over the past century is quite trivial, and natural variability explains it fully, he said; no additional, non-natural (human) forcing need be sought in order to understand the data. In fact, real-world observations show the feedback effect as negative. Hence the only way to raise alarm over global mean temperature is to claim future results will be much more extreme than what we've observed in the past. That is exactly what AGW alarmists do, Lindzen observed.
More facts: In a standing-room-only afternoon session, Joseph D’Aleo outlined discrepancies in temperature data from various official sources, documenting the frequent "adjustment" of raw temperature by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which always happens to decrease past temps and increase recent ones. That’s what created the infamous "hockey stick" temperature graph which turned a small observed temperature increase into an alarming hypothesized one. "Manmade warming is real, but it's made by men in East Anglia and at NOAA," D’Aleo tartly observed.
Fellow panelist Dr. Fred Singer, the distinguished environmental sciences scholar and coauthor of "Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change," likewise presented "many reasons to doubt" the surface temperature data showing an unusual increase in global temperatures in the 1980s and ’90s. "My view of the post-1997 warming is that it may be phony," he said.
While allowing much room for disagreement on the details, the attendees at ICCC4 seemed to agree on one thing: policies with such enormous consequences should be based on the facts, however inconvenient they might turn out to be.
S. T. Karnick is director of research for The Heartland Institute (www.heartland.org) and editor of The American Culture (http://culture.stkarnick.com).
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