Monday, December 14, 2009

What should the temperature be?

by Representative John Linder (R-GA)

For the last several years, when people have instructed me that human activity was causing a dangerous increase in global temperatures, my response has been, "Then tell me, what should the temperature be?" Should it be the temperatures that the planet experienced 1,000 years ago during which Greenland was settled as a farming community and during which wine grapes were grown in Scotland? Should it be the temperatures of 300 years ago when the Little Ice Age ended the inhabitation of Greenland and the Thames iced over? Should it be the temperatures of 829 A.D. when the Nile River froze? No response!

We are told, based on computer models, that human beings burning fossil fuels, and exhaling, are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and that this, in turn, is trapping heat and is responsible for the modest temperature increase between 1976 and 1998. The conclusion is that we must alter our entire lifestyles to avoid a planetary catastrophe.

For computer models to be accurate, inputs must include all of the factors that can impact climate. Knowing this, as well as believing it is likely that the majority of factors that do impact climate are yet unknown, how can we trust the models?

To begin with, CO2 is not driving temperature, as is being claimed for today's warmth. We know from cores taken from the Vostok glacier in Antarctica that while CO2 and temperatures do increase and decrease in consonance; the temperature changes precede the CO2 changes by about 1,000 years.

We currently have about 388 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere by volume. That is at the lower end of the historical comfort scale. The most fertile time that our planet has ever seen was during the Cambrian Period about 542 million years ago. In a very short period of time all of multicellular life that has ever existed was deposited in the fossil evidence. That occurred because the planet was warm. The CO2 level in the atmosphere was 20 times higher than it is today. The entire planet was green with growth and oxygen levels were unusually high.

Likewise, during the period of dinosaur dominance, CO2 levels were 5 times higher than today, enabling the planet to grow enough greenery to keep them alive.

Even today, the most diverse part of our planet in both plant and animal life is around the Equator -- the warmest area of the globe.

We are told that the calving of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula is proof that the world's largest ice pack, which comprises about 90% of the globe's ice, is melting. The Antarctic Peninsula constitutes 2% of the continent. The other 98% of the continent has been growing by about 27 gigatons of ice per year. This comes not from computer models, but from 30 years of satellite measurements. Those same empirical observations show that the sea ice surrounding Antarctica is at a record high extent.

What's more, every computer model shows that greenhouse warming is associated with a "hot spot" located about 4 to 6 miles above the Equator. We have been measuring that spot for 50 years with instruments. It doesn't exist. Thus, whatever warming we see is unlikely to be due to the greenhouse effect as the models explain it.

We are told that the melting of Arctic ice is endangering the future of polar bears. There were 5,000 polar bears 50 years ago. There are 25,000 today. This does not seem like extinction to me. Additionally, Captain Roald Amundsen of Norway explored that entire region in 1905 -- sailing through the North-West Passage -- in a sailboat! Today, there is usually ice blocking his route.

In his movie An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore says that sea levels will rise by 20 feet in the next century, putting much of the world's oceanfront land and islands at risk. Real science tells us that the last glaciation ended about 11,000 years ago. Oceans have risen since then by about 4 feet per century. In the 20th century, sea levels rose by about 8 inches. Indeed, Dr. Nils-Axel Moerner from the University of Stockholm, who has written 520 peer reviewed articles on sea levels and is considered a world authority, recently declared that sea levels have been unchanged for the last 3 years.

Years ago Dr. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT, theorized that higher temperatures over the equator caused the cirrus clouds to disappear and heat was vented up over the atmosphere. That theory is now proven to be a fact and has been quantified by NASA. It begins when the surface temperature of the ocean exceeds 28 degrees centigrade. This fact is not considered on the computer models.

This is what this whole discussion comes down to. In science only two conditions obtain. One is theory and the other is fact. The entire notion of human caused global warming is a theory based on computer models. None of it has been proven through rigorous empirical observation to be a fact.

On December 7, 2009, President Obama will send a delegation to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the U.N. Climate Conference. So what exactly is the goal of this conference? A few months ago Al Gore explained the ultimate goal: Global Governance. If the climate alarmists get their way, the U.S. economy would be subject to the whims of a U.N.-led climate government, unaccountable to American taxpayers, but most certainly using American taxpayer funds to operate. Since so many countries are happy to blame the U.S. for the vast majority of what they amusingly claim is a catastrophic slide into global devastation, I am sure that a new U.N. Climate Government will be all too eager to call on the American taxpayer to foot the bill. In fact, the 200-page draft document says just that. We will be billed by an un-elected bureaucracy for our "climate debt." And we will yield our sovereignty to international law.

I noted earlier that this has been a discussion. Unfortunately, it has not been a debate. The alarmists refuse to debate. They say that the science is settled. Nonsense! There is no such thing as settled scientific theory. Only settled scientists. If Al Gore believes his science is settled, he should agree to debate and prove the skeptics wrong. Yet he has been running from debate for years.

To those who ask who would be hurt if we were wrong about CO2 and reduced the amount in the atmosphere, I say only the 1.6 billion most vulnerable people in the world. They are desperate for more CO2 so they can grow a plant to eat. Their lives are brutal and short. They desperately need what we have enjoyed over the last 100 years.

Over the last 2 million years this planet has experienced about 20 glaciations. They last about 100,000 years interrupted by warming periods of about 10,000 years. It has been about 11,000 years since the last glaciation ended. During the last century we saw one of the longest periods of high solar activity since the last glaciation. Temperatures rose. We have seen less sun activity in the last 11 years than we have seen for a very long time. The temperature has also been steady or declining for 11 years. (By the way, not one of the computer models, which so confidently predict what will happen in 100 years, predicted that cooling.) Let us pray that this is not signaling the next glaciation; one that actually kills people.

There is no need for any climate treaty at Copenhagen. It is time to disband the U.N.'s self-serving and serially dishonest climate panel. Officially-sponsored environmental extremism is a danger to our national security.

Representative John Linder (R-GA) sits on the House Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over the Waxman-Markey bill, jurisdiction over the Boxer-Kerry bill should it pass in the Senate, and authority over all carbon taxes generally.

Comment: Climate change is undeniable. Climate has never been constant. I do not know if global warming is occurring and if it is, I do not know if it is man-made. What I do know is that I no longer trust the "science" of global warming. Given the revelations of the Climategate deception, the view of the sceptics need to be considered and the theory of global warming needs to be subjected to a rigorous scientific reevaluation. Inconvenient facts that do not support a theory should not be ignored.

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