Waxman-Markey and Obama's Copenhagen initiative would address global warming through costly carbon dioxide emissions reductions

Where Did the Warming Go?

By —— Bio and Archives--December 3, 2009

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It’s the science scandal of the year. A thousand emails and 2,000 other documents were swiped from the server of Britain’s Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University and posted on the Web. Many were truly embarrassing to the writers, while others have been quoted out of context and falsely used as “proof” global warming is “a hoax.”


But in one email a top “warmist” researcher does admit it’s a ‘travesty’ that “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment.” (Emphasis added.) Further, “any consideration of geoengineering [is] quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!”

“Geoengineering”—as in the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill that passed the House and that the conservative Heritage Foundation estimates will lop $9.4 trillion off the economy? Geoengineering such as that to which President Obama hopes to commit us to at next week’s U.N. Climate Change Conference. Yes, that kind of “geoengineering.”

And as it happens, the writer of that October 2009 email—Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of the warmist bible, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—report told Congress two years ago evidence for manmade warming is “unequivocal.” He claimed “the planet is running a ‘fever’ and the prognosis is that it is apt to get much worse.”

But Trenberth’s “lack of warming at the moment” has been going on at least a decade. “There has been no [surface-measured] warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995,” observes MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen. “According to satellite data, global warming stopped about 10 years ago and there’s no way to know whether it’s happening now,” says former NASA Senior Scientist for Climate Studies Roy Spencer.

Don’t tell that to Al Gore. “Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb,” he warned a few years back. In a typically understated claim he warned “we have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.” He forgot the frogs, the locusts, and the boils, but point made.

And yet during the past decade we’ve belched so-called “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere at ever greater rates, from 6510 million metric tons in 1996 to 8230 in 2006—a 26 percent increase. Atmospheric concentrations have also reached the highest levels ever observed.

Still, no increase in warming. In fact, according to a study in Nature magazine last year, Trenberth’s “moment” may last another decade and we might even see some cooling.

Now add in tremendous historical fluctuations such as “the Little Ice Age” (about 1250—1850) and the “Medieval Warming Period” (about 800—1250) that let slip the Vikings of war, when fossil fuel usage was virtually nil. Suddenly the simple equation of more greenhouse gases = more warming doesn’t seem so simple.

“In the IPCC view, climate change is mostly under the control of humans,” says Spencer. “I believe [temperature trends] are essentially natural. Trenberth saying we don’t understand why there hasn’t been warming lately indeed shows mankind’s role has been overstated.”

Spencer is no hermit in this belief. Recently a major study in the American Geophysical Union’s official publication, the Journal of Geophysical Research, supported earlier research in concluding that least 80 percent and perhaps far more of the observed warming over the past half century is natural. Factors well beyond our control, such as cloud cover, Spencer says, matter far more than we do.

None of which means mankind plays no role in climate. “We know there is a greenhouse effect and adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere like carbon dioxide should cause more warming,” Spencer adds. “We just don’t have a clue how much.” But, he adds, “two or three times an extremely small number is still an extremely small number.”

Bottom line: While Waxman-Markey and Obama’s Copenhagen initiative would address global warming through costly carbon dioxide emissions reductions, we get no return on such an investment. Waxman-Markey would have so little effect on global climate that it’s nothing more than a down payment as even the most zealous global warming crusaders concede.

Just maybe, before we take out that mortgage with our struggling economy as collateral, we ought to see how the science develops. For those who say we can’t afford to wait, the answer is we can’t afford not to.

Michael Fumento is director of the nonprofit Independent Journalism Institute, where he specializes in science and health issues. He may be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Michael Fumento -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Michael Fumento is a journalist, author, and attorney who specializes in health and science. He can be reached at Fumento[at]gmail.com.

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