In the 19th century, fashionable ladies ate small amounts of arsenic to give their cheeks a pinkish tinge. Sometimes they overdosed, however, and the poison killed them.
I think of this whenever I see Al Gore on the TV: blaming hurricanes, tornadoes, and destructive cyclones on carbon dioxide produced by motorcars and other vital human machinery. I don’t necessarily blame him. He’s made a nice living with his climate-shtick. But the queasy feeling I get makes me wonder if I’m getting close to a fatal dose of Gore. If we hear much more from him, I’m afraid it could be curtains – not just for me, but all of us.
Shamelessly using tens of thousands of storm-suffering people as political props, our former next president repeatedly gets in front of TV camera to repeat his stock-in-trade: i.e.,
- Humans are pumping “waaay too much” carbon dioxide into the atmosphere;
- The increased concentration of CO2 is warming the climate;
- A warmer climate causes a warmer ocean;
- Warmer oceans melt the polar ice-caps and produce storms of increasing power;
- New York City will soon be under water (would that really be bad?);
- We’re all going to burn, we’re all going to drown, the polar bears will go extinct;
- Yadda, yadda, yadda…
(Really, if I hear much more of this I’m going to barf.)
The great thing about politicized science (or science-tinted politics) is that you don’t have to mess up a good story with facts. Not all of Mr. Gore’s statements are wrong – earth’s six billion people are certainly emitting some CO2. But most of his tale is either incomplete, questionable or (like the temperature “hockey stick” graph) grossly inaccurate.
Warming or Cooling?
Despite what politicians claim, scientists don’t really know if CO2 is warming or cooling the climate, or changing it at all. The climate cooled during 1940-’80 – an industrial period when automobiles, factories and wars produced a lot of CO2. By the late 1970s, with young fools driving cars on the frozen Potomac River, alarmists were warning that a new “ice age” was imminent. Increasing emissions of CO2 were blamed for the cooling.
Then, in the ‘90s, Al Gore and others flipped the scare to warming. But the “proximate cause” was still CO2. Politicians say “the argument is over,” but in fact there is no scientific “consensus” that the climate is changing; or the cause, if it is changing; or if any change will necessarily be bad for us, if it actually happens. From 1980 to ’98 the earth did warm slightly, but temperatures haven’t really increased since 1998, and may even have cooled.
Al Gore’s claim that the oceans are warming – a once-reliable mantra for climate-alarmists – is also in doubt. 3,000 automated buoys take temperature readings at ocean depths of 6,000 feet, releasing the data to the surface every week. Dr. Josh Willis1 noted that “a very slight cooling” occurred over five years of buoy-observations, 2003-‘08.
But don’t warmer oceans produce more severe storms? Isn’t that science “settled?” This was media-hype, not science. After Hurricane Katrina – which caused much highly publicized damage in 2005 – alarmists started claiming that global warming produces more severe storms, which would become increasingly common. And “hurricane shops” – including the one formerly run by Dr. William Gray, Colorado State University Professor of Atmospheric Science – began to attract major media attention when they announced their “predictions” for upcoming hurricane-seasons.
In the spring of 2006, a crowd of reporters breathlessly received the CSU predictions of 17 named Atlantic storms, including 9 hurricanes, 5 of which would be major. The probability of a major hurricane striking the USA was estimated at 81%. Doom was certain, but you can never trust the weatherman’s predictions. Through a long disappointing summer and fall, reporters waited, with fashionable windbreakers at the ready, while one tropical depression after another fizzled. Of five storms which reached hurricane strength, none hit the USA. Insurance companies used the dire “predictions” to justify radically higher rates, but no one called them on “climate-profiteering.”
Undaunted, the hurricane industry issued new, drastic predictions for 2007: 14 named storms, including 9 hurricanes, 5 of them “major,” with a 64% chance that one would hit our coasts. But 2007 produced only four hurricanes: two of them major, and none striking the USA. Weather guys (and dolls) spent another season desperately hoping for the Big One that never showed up.
For 2008, another very active Atlantic hurricane season was predicted, with above-normal storm activity (15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 majors). But these predictions received nowhere near the media hype of the ‘06 and ‘07 predictions. Reporters had grown wary of weather predictions produced by computer models. Many climate-experts began to question any linkage at all between warming and severe storms. Some denounced the concept as outright fraud.
Dr. William Gray, the highly respected CSU climate scientist, says that recent strong hurricanes are part of a multi-decade trend of alternating busy and slow periods related to ocean circulation patterns. He has gone on record denouncing Al Gore’s theory that humans are warming the planet and “causing” stronger storms. This has not earned him any points with the crowd that makes its living in the climate-scare business.
In an October 2007 address to students and faculty at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Gray said, “We’re brainwashing our children. They’re going to the Gore movie and being fed all this. It’s ridiculous.”
He went on to argue that a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures – related to the salinity of seawater – is responsible for the global warming that has occurred. Dr. Gray said the cycle indicates that a period of global cooling would soon begin and last several years (as has actually happened).
“We’ll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was,” he said. He also cited hurricane statistics from the last 100 years to show that those who believe hurricanes have been growing stronger in recent years are in error.
|Years||Named Storms||Hurricanes||Intense Hurricanes (Category 3, 4, 5)|
“The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures,” Dr. Gray said. In truth, global warming preachers have been much disappointed by the climate since Dr. Gray made his remarks in 2007:
- The winter of 2007-’08 brought heavy snows and severe cold to the northern hemisphere.
- Jerusalem saw snow for the first time in decades.
- China suffered its most brutal winter in a century;
- Snow-cover over China, Mongolia and Siberia was greater than at any time since 1966;
- Cities in Northern New York and Canada had the heaviest snowfalls in their recorded history. (Rumors that some of those towns planned to sue Al Gore for “engaging in activities which caused the cooling” have not been substantiated.)
The Polar Ice.
Polar ice caps have evoked “grave concern” among the alarmist community since the 1990s. Many Americans believe they are melting away. Dramatic images of waves sweeping over Miami and New York City in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth film supposedly illustrate what the melting icecaps will do. Ice was said to be breaking off into the ocean in chunks the size of Connecticut.
For years we’ve seen film-clips of polar bears swimming in the open sea, pathetically trying to find ice floes to rest on. School children can’t sleep because they think heartless industrialists and drivers of SUVs (like the ones they travel to soccer practice in) are melting the ice caps.
Is polar ice melting and breaking off in huge chunks to form icebergs? Yes of course. This happens every spring and summer in places like Alaska. We now see it happening on live TV because of 24/7 news coverage, but it’s not some scary new phenomenon.
In the Antarctic some former ice-shelves have collapsed, but all are small. Most are near the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts well out from Antarctica into the currents and winds of the South Atlantic. The peninsula also lies in a tectonically active region with surface and subsurface active volcanic activity. Experts say the continent of Antarctica has actually cooled since 1979.
In a past issue of his newsletter, The Week That Was, Dr. Fred Singer furnished some information about the Wilkens ice shelf in Antarctica, which had been in the news when it broke off. He attempted to correct the erroneous impression that the entire Antarctic ice sheet is breaking up:
“The full Wilkins 6,000 square mile ice shelf is just 0.39% of the current ice sheet (0.1% of the extent last September). Only a small portion of it between 1/10th-1/20th of Wilkins has separated so far, like an icicle falling off a snow and ice covered house. This winter…ice [coverage] is… running 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year, when it set a new record. The ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979, and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere winter and 6 months ahead of the peak. Wilkins, like all the others that temporarily broke up, will refreeze soon. [It will] likely exceed last year’s record. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is starting to disappear.”
Dealing with Predictions of Doom.
Other material will have to wait for later articles. I’ll conclude this one with a famous warning from Professor Paul Ehrlich2, Al Gore’s hero and mentor. In 1968, Dr. Ehrlich predicted a major USA food shortage. He wrote: “In the 1970s… hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” He believed 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and that by 1999 the U.S. population would be just 22.6 million. Obviously none of his predictions was borne out.
It’s worth recalling how wrong forecasters of doom have been in the past before we swallow a lethal dose of Al Gore’s “arsenic,” or agree to pay trillions for the medicine that Climate Doctor Joe Biden wants to administer. We’re in a period when politicians are seeing dollar-signs in all those scary predictions of climate-doom. But we’ll be OK if we don’t panic. I’ll try to hang on if my readers promise to do the same. Meanwhile, strike a blow for freedom:
- Don’t change over to mercury light bulbs;
- Don’t try to ride a bicycle to work (unless it’s just a few blocks);
- Don’t move into a grass hut with dirt floors;
- Don’t cook over fires fueled by dried buffalo-poop;
- Start electing political leaders who promise to stop wasting money on “climate research.”
We have enough problems to deal with without falling for every new scare-story that comes along. Trust me, there is no way that we can do anything to change the climate. (Besides, there aren’t nearly enough buffalo left to keep the home fires burning.)
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (II Timothy 1:7)
- Dr. Joshua K. Willis is an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
- Dr. Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist, best known for his warnings about the consequences of population growth and limited resources. He authored the controversial book, The Population Bomb, in 1968.