The climate controversy is one of the world’s most important discussions. At stake are billions of dollars, countless jobs, and — if UN negotiators are right — the fate of the global environment itself.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should therefore help create a political climate that encourages all global warming experts to contribute to the debate. With a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a master’s degree in public administration, Ban lacks the training to properly assess the science. So his only fair course of action is to encourage his science advisors to carefully consider all reputable points of view about the factors driving climate change.
But Ban does the opposite. He takes sides, choosing to only credit scientists who assert that dangerous climate change is being caused by human activity.
During the UN Climate Change Conferences in 2007 (Bali), 2009 (Copenhagen), and 2012 (Qatar), hundreds of climate experts endorsed open letters to Ban explaining where he was going wrong on the science. Among the scientific luminaries signing the letters were Dr. Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists; Freeman J. Dyson of Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton; Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, professor of natural sciences, Warsaw; Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, professor of meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, founding director, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska; William Kininmonth, former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre; Dr. Gösta Walin, professor emeritus in oceanography, Göteborg University, Sweden; and Dr. Habibullo I. Abdussamatov, of the Pulkovo Observatory, Russian Academy of Sciences.
The secretary general did not even acknowledge receipt of the open letters, let alone address any of the scientists’ points. Yet Ban condemns Canada for not doing more on climate change, while neglecting his own failure to deal fairly with this difficult issue.
Signed by 134 experts, the 2012 open letter to the secretary general included the following text:
Current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions…there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years [now over 18 years]. During this period, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations rose by nearly 9%. … Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years.
Whether, when and how atmospheric warming will resume is unknown. The science is unclear. Some scientists point out that near-term natural cooling, linked to variations in solar output, is also a distinct possibility.
There is little evidence that dangerous weather-related events will occur more often in the future. The UN’s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in its Special Report on Extreme Weather (2012) that there is “an absence of an attributable climate change signal” in trends in extreme weather losses to date.
There is no sound reason for the costly, restrictive public policy decisions proposed at the UN climate conference in Qatar. Rigorous analysis of unbiased observational data does not support the projections of future global warming predicted by computer models now proven to exaggerate warming and its effects.
[P]olicy actions by the UN … that aim to reduce CO2 emissions are unlikely to exercise any significant influence on future climate.
The 2009 open letter to Ban, signed by 166 experts, said much the same, explaining:
Climate change science is in a period of “negative discovery” — the more we learn about this exceptionally complex and rapidly evolving field the more we realize how little we know. Truly, the science is NOT settled.
The 2007 open letter to the secretary general, signed by 101 experts, was titled “UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction.” In it the scientists asserted:
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral, and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.
Because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.
Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity’s real and pressing problems.
Having totally ignored these open letters from hundreds of experts, it is clearly the UN secretary general, not the Canadian government, that should be most criticized for dereliction of duty. If Ban’s approach is an indication of where international science-based policymaking is headed, then we’re in big trouble indeed.