The New York Times feverishly reported on August 10 that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is about to issue another scary climate report. Dismissing the recent 17 years or so of flat global temperatures, the IPCC will assert that: “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
The draft report also says, “There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level, and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century.” And whereas the IPCC’s previous report modestly claimed a 90 percent chance that human activities were the cause, they’re now ratcheting up their confidence level to 95 percent.
Obviously then, they must have some very strong evidence to back this amplified bluster. Right? Well, then again, maybe not so much after all.
What Evidence Exists of Unnatural Recent Global Warming?
Cyclical, abrupt, and dramatic global and regional temperature fluctuations have occurred over millions of years. Many natural factors are known to contribute to these changes, although even the most sophisticated climate models and theories they are based on cannot predict the timing, scale (either up or down), or future impacts — much less the marginal contributions of various human influences.
While global warming has been trumpeted as an epic climate change crisis with human-produced CO2, a trace atmospheric “greenhouse gas” branded as a primary culprit and endangering “pollutant,” remember that throughout earlier periods of Earth’s history CO2 levels have been between 4 and 18 times higher than now, with temperature changes preceding, not following atmospheric CO2 changes.
Has there been “recent” warming? Yes, the global climate has definitely warmed since the Little Ice Age (about 1400-1700 AD), and it will likely continue to warm for another 200-300 years, in fits and starts, towards a maximum temperature roughly matching that of the Medieval Warm Period. That time followed a colder period before the founding of Rome between about 750 BC to 200 BC. By 150 BC the climate had warmed enough for the first grapes and olives to be cultivated in northern Italy. As recently as 1,000 years ago, Icelandic Vikings were raising cattle, sheep and goats in grasslands on Greenland’s southwestern coast.
Then, around 1200, temperatures began to drop, and Norse settlements were abandoned by about 1350. Atlantic pack ice began to grow around 1250, and shortened growing seasons and unreliable weather patterns, including torrential rains in Northern Europe, led to the “Great Famine” of 1315-1317.
Temperatures dropped dramatically again in the middle of the 16th century, and although there were notable year year-to-year fluctuations, the coldest regime since the last Ice Age (that so-called “Little Ice Age”) dominated the next150 years or more. Food shortages killed millions in Europe between 1690 and 1700, followed by more famines in 1725 and 1816. The end of this time witnessed brutal winter temperatures suffered by Washington’s troops at Valley Forge in 1777 and Napoleon’s bitterly cold retreat from Russia in 1812.
Although temperatures have been generally mild over the past 500 years, we should remember that significant fluctuations are normal. The past century alone witnessed two distinct periods of warming. The first occurred between 1900 and 1945, and the second, following a slight cool-down began quite abruptly in 1975. That second period rose at very modest rate, if at all, until 1998, and then stopped and began falling again after reaching a high of 1.16ºF above the average global mean temperature. There hasn’t been any warming for at least a decade and a half, and possibly, considerably longer.
It’s also worth remembering that about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred prior to the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels. Also consider that, even today, about 97 percent of all current atmospheric CO2 derives from natural sources.
What Evidence Exists of Human CO2 Influences on Climate?
All IPCC climate models incorporate theory which predicts that “anthropogenic” (human-caused) global warming will be evident in an “amplification” of a surface warming trend that is revealed as an atmospheric “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere. Instead, both satellite data and independent balloon data show a near-zero trend from 1979 to 1997, followed by a well-known 1998 temperature “spike” which is universally attributed to a Super-El- Niño. This absence of an observed hot spot suggests that the land-surface temperature warming trend (1979-1997) is greatly overestimated, and should be close to zero in the Tropics.
So where does the evidence needed to support the IPCC’s 95 percent certainty claim come from? The true answer is that there simply isn’t any. None at all. There never was…only totally unproven theoretical climate models.
For a bit of political science history on this matter, it’s important to remember that such IPCC statements typically follow a series of drafts that are edited to become increasingly media-worthy. For example, the original text of an April 2000 Third Assessment Report (TAR) draft stated: “There has been a discernible human influence on global climate.” That was followed by an October version that concluded: “It is likely that increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases have contributed significantly to observed warming over the past 50 years.” Then in the final official summary, the language was toughened up even more: “Most of the observed warming over the past 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”
When the UN Environment Programme’s spokesman, Tim Higham, was asked by New Scientist about the scientific background for this change, his answer was honest: “There was no new science, but the scientists wanted to present a clear and strong message to policymakers.”
Sometimes IPCC report statements directly contradict conclusions published by the same authors during the same time period. Regarding any “discernible human influence on global climate,” a 1996 IPCC report summary written by B.D. Santer, T.M.L Wigley, T.P. Barnett, and E. Anyamba states: “…there is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcings by greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols…from geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change…These results point towards human influence on climate.”
However, another 1996 publication, “The Holocene,” by T.P. Barnett, B.D. Santer, P.D. Jones, R.S. Bradley and K.R. Briffa, says: “Estimates of…natural variability are critical to the problem of detecting an anthropogenic [human] signal…We have estimated the spectrum…from paleo-temperature proxies and compared it with…general [climate] circulation models…none of the three estimates of the natural variability spectrum agree with each other…Until…resolved, it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.”
Although IPCC is broadly represented to the public as the top authority on climate matters, the organization doesn’t actually carry out any original climate research at all. Instead, it simply issues assessments based upon supposedly independent surveys of published research. However, some of the most influential conclusions summarized in its reports have neither been based upon truly independent research, nor properly vetted through accepted peer- review processes.
The IPCC asserted in its 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would likely melt by 2035 due to global warming, prompting great alarm across southern and eastern Asia, where glaciers feed major rivers. As it turned out, that prediction was traced to a speculative magazine article authored by an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, which had absolutely no supporting science behind it. Hasnain worked for a research company headed by the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri. IPCC’s report author, Marari Lai, later admitted to London’s Daily Mail, “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take action.”
While it should be recognized that most of the many scientific reviewers are indeed dedicated and competent people who take their work very seriously, few of them have much if any influence over final conclusions that the public hears about. Instead, the huge compilations they prepare go through international bureaucratic reviews, where political appointees dissect them, line by line, to glean the best stuff that typically supports what IPCC wanted to say in the first place. These cherry-picked items are then assembled, condensed and highlighted in the Summaries for Policymakers which are calibrated to get prime-time and front page attention.
IPCC’s 1996 report used selective data, a doctored graph, and featured changes in text that were made after the reviewing scientists approved it and before it was printed. The many irregularities provoked Dr. Frederick Seitz, a world-famous physicist and former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, and Rockefeller University, to write ( in August 1996) in the Wall Street Journal: “I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer review process than events that led to this IPCC report.”
Several tens of thousands of scientists have lodged formal protests regarding unscientific IPCC practices. Some critics include former supporters. One of them is Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, a socialist founder of Germany’s environmental movement, who headed the renewable energy division of the country’s second largest utility company. His recent coauthored book titled, The Cold Sun: Why the Climate Disaster Won’t Happen, charges the IPCC with gross incompetence and dishonesty, most particularly regarding fear-mongering exaggeration of known climate influence of human CO2 emissions.
As IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer admitted in November 2010, “…one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…”
What Evidence Exists of a Climate Problem At All?
Speaking at his State of the Union address, President Obama said: “We must do more to combat climate change…It’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense.”
But there’s a big disconnect from facts here. In reality, there has been no increase in the strength or frequency of landfall hurricanes in the world’s five main hurricane basins during the past 50-70 years; there has been no increase in the strength or frequency in tropical Atlantic hurricane development during the past 370 years; the U.S. is currently enjoying the longest period ever recorded without intense Category 3-5 hurricane landfall; there has been no trend since 1950 evidencing any increased frequency of strong (F3-F-5) U.S. tornadoes; there has been no increase in U.S. flood magnitudes over the past 85 years; and long-term sea level rise is not accelerating.
So let’s maybe take a look at the importance of that “alarming” 400 parts-per-million atmospheric CO2 concentration we keep hearing about. As Steven Goddard summarized some results in an August 10 article he posted on Real Science, we are currently witnessing:
* Coldest summer on record at the North Pole
* Highest August Arctic ice extent since 2006
* Record high August Antarctic ice extent
* No major hurricane strikes for eight years
* Slowest tornado season on record
* No global warming for 17 years
* Second slowest fire season on record
* Four of the five snowiest northern hemisphere winters have occurred since 2000
Regarding those pending IPCC predictions that sea levels will accelerate, don’t plan to sell your beach front property any time soon, at least not for that reason. William Happer, a Princeton physics professor who has researched ocean physics for the U.S. Air Force, notes that, “The sea level has been rising since 1800, at the end of the Little Ice Age.” Isn’t that to be expected? In fact even the IPCC admitted in its most recent report that “no long-term acceleration of sea level has been identified using 20th-century data alone.”
Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, the former chair of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden, has been studying sea level and its effects on coastal areas for more than 35 years. He observes that “…sea level was indeed rising from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year.”
Morner is very critical of the IPCC and its headline-grabbing doomsday predictions. He scorns the IPCC’s claim to “know” the facts about sea level rise, noting that real scientists “are searching for the answer” by continuing to collect data “because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don’t find it!”
What Evidence Exists that Continued U.S. Funding for IPCC Propaganda Is Sane?
Following President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double down on his frenetic “Green” war to prevent climate change, U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has introduced legislation to discontinue any more taxpayer green from being used to advance the UN’s economy-ravaging agendas. The proposed bill would prohibit future U.S. funding for the alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and also for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a scam devoted to redistributing American wealth in penance for our unfair capitalist free market prosperity.
Congressman Luetkemeyer strongly objects to the UNFCC’s use of IPCC’s suggestions and faulty data to implement a job-killing agenda here in America. He argues: “The American people should not have to foot the bill for an international organization that is fraught with waste, engaged in dubious science, and is promoting an agenda that will destroy jobs and drive up the cost of energy in the United States. Unfortunately, the President appears to be ready to fund these groups, revive harmful policies like cap and trade, and further empower out of control federal regulators at a time when we should be doing everything possible to cut wasteful spending, reduce regulatory red tape, and promote economic growth.”
Under the Obama Administration, UNFCC and IPCC together have received a total average of $10.25 million annually, which will be upped to $13 million under a FY 13 budget request. The George W. Bush administration previously provided about $5.7 million each year. While those amounts may seem like a pittance in the realm of government spending largesse, it’s important to realize that the true costs of that folly amount to countless billions in disastrous policy and regulatory impacts. And that, dear readers, is exactly the UN’s intent.
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) Advisor Larry Bell heads the graduate program in space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded and directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He is also the author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax.”