Friday, October 24, 2008

Global Warming, Global Myth, Part 2

The global warming advocates make all sorts of false claims about dire consequences of global warming. They claim it will result in the spread of malaria, food shortages, more human deaths, more violent weather, and a loss of biological diversity through the extinction of species. All untrue. The largest number of species — the greatest biological diversity — is in the tropics. As you move away from the equator, you find fewer and fewer species, until you reach the earth’s poles, where there is zero diversity because nothing can live there.

Agricultural productivity is also reduced by cold climate, not a warmer one. That’s why Siberia and Alaska are not noted for agricultural abundance. A warmer climate would mean longer growing seasons and would make agriculture possible in areas where it isn’t today. And there are at least 300 studies showing plants and forests grow faster and more luxuriantly under conditions of increased carbon dioxide.

Our bodies require heat. We are warm-blooded and have no fur. We wear clothes, build homes, and heat them with fires, all as protection against the cold. Far more people move to Florida, California or Arizona because of warm climate than move to Alaska, North Dakota, or Montana. Canada is the world’s second largest country, lots of space for people to live, but 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of its southern border. Worldwide, far more people die every year from cold than from heat. So why should global warming be bad for us?

Global warming will not result in the spread of malaria. Paul Reiter, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, is one of the world's foremost experts on insect borne diseases. He says, “The global warming alarm is dressed up as science, but it is not science. It is propaganda. I was horrified to read the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] 2nd and 3rd Assessment Reports because there was so much misinformation.” For example, the IPCC states “mosquito species that transmit malaria do not usually survive where the mean winter temperature drops below 16–18 degrees C.” This is “clearly untrue,” says Reiter. “In fact, mosquitoes are extremely abundant in the Arctic. The most devastating epidemic of malaria was in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. There were something like 13 million cases a year and something like 600,000 deaths, a tremendous catastrophe that reached up to the Arctic Circle. Arkhangel [a city 300 miles further north than Helsinki, Finland] had 30,000 cases and about 10,000 deaths. So it’s not a tropical disease. Yet these people in the global warming fraternity invent the idea that malaria will move northward.”

New York City and Boston had long histories of malaria. In 1933, when President Roosevelt authorized the Tennessee Valley Authority, a third of the population in the area had malaria. Malaria was not eliminated in the U.S. until 1951. It was done through the use of DDT — which the environmentalists prevailed upon the United States to ban, resulting in 40–50 million unnecessary deaths from malaria since 1972.

The environmentalists have also invented the idea that the polar bear is threatened by global warming. Today there are 22–25 thousand polar bears, compared to 8–10 thousand 40 years ago and only 5 thousand in 1940, before the big rise in carbon dioxide. Eleven of the 13 polar bear groups in Canada today are stable or increasing. The two that are decreasing are in an area where the climate has gotten colder! Furthermore, the polar bears survived many periods of much warmer temperatures, some lasting thousands of years. They survived the Medieval Warm Period a thousand years ago, when the Vikings settled both Iceland and Greenland. Greenland actually was green then and could support agriculture; but when the cold returned a few centuries later, the people there all starved to death. Today Greenland is covered by a sheet of ice. Six thousand years ago the earth’s climate was much warmer than now, and the polar bears survived. Ten thousand years ago the earth’s climate was a whopping six degrees C.(11 degrees F) warmer than now, and the bears survived. Polar bears have been a distinct species for 125 thousand years (they descended from grizzly bears) and they’ve survived far warmer climates than anything they face today or in the foreseeable future. A Canadian polar bear expert, Mitch Taylor, says, “They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected.”

The argument that a warmer climate will bring more violent weather can only be made by people who have no knowledge of climate history or simply dismiss it because it contradicts their propaganda. And they rely on the public — and the media — being uninformed enough and gullible enough to believe them. There is abundant historical evidence that the earth had far more violent weather in times of colder climate, such as the Little Ice Age, than in warmer times. It is well known, too, that what determines violent weather is the temperature differential between the equator and the poles. All the computer models predict the greatest warming from the greenhouse effect will be at the poles, which will reduce that differential and violent weather.

There are four sources of global temperature measurements: NASA, The UK Meteorological Office’s Hadley Center for Climate Studies, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and RSS (Remote Sensing Systems). NASA is out of step with the other three. The others show global temperatures declining since 1998 while NASA shows them increasing at a record pace. How can that be? Statistician Steve McIntyre tracks climate data closely at Recently he ran an article titled “NASA is Rewriting History, Time and Time Again.” It explains that NASA has “adjusted” recent temperatures upward and older temperatures downward, which creates the appearance of warming. The man behind these changes is James Hansen, the scientist who started the whole global warming hysteria by testifying before a Senate committee in June 1988 that he was 99% sure greenhouse warming was already under way. The same media which scarcely a decade earlier were touting a coming ice age now seized upon Hansen’s unsupported testimony and began touting global warming. Hansen has been trying ever since to come up with evidence to support his claims, now even tampering with the actual temperature record. Steven Goddard asks, “How could it be determined that so many thermometers were wrong by an average of 0.5 degrees in one particular year several decades ago, and an accurate retrofit be made? Why is the adjustment 0.5 degrees one year, and 0.1 degrees the next?” Statistically, the odds are 50/50 of an error being either up or down. But Hansen adds an upward correction to the average of thousands of temperature measurements annually across the globe in more than 55 years out of 70. That's like flipping a coin 70 times and having it turn up heads 55 times. The odds of that happening are about one in a million.

Nor is that the only example of phony manipulation of data for the good of the cause. The centerpiece of the IPCC Third Assessment Report was the “hockey stick” graph by Michael Mann, et al. It showed a thousand years of “reconstructed” global temperatures as a long horizontal trend looking like the long handle of a hockey stick — with a sharp rise since 1900 looking like the blade of the hockey stick, due to global warming. This work has now been thoroughly discredited. It was the product of multiple inaccuracies from errors, omissions, obsolete data, and manipulations in “reconstructing” data, all of which was then processed through an invalid statistical procedure. That procedure was found to produce a “hockey stick” even from random inputs, and Mann himself later admitted it would find a “hockey stick” where there wasn't one. The National Academy of Sciences found a “validation skill not significantly different from zero.” The issue was presented to the National Academy of Sciences by the Wegman Panel, consisting of three independent statisticians chaired by an eminent statistics professor, Edward Wegman, who also testified about it at a congressional investigation. After explaining the incorrect mathematics in Mann’s procedure, Wegman stated: “I am baffled by the [Mann] claim that incorrect mathematics doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway[!]” Ideology trumps mathematics! (Incidentally, this graph is still being used on TV programs on global warming. I was on one such program less than a year ago that displayed this graph four or five times in an hour and allowed Mann plenty of airtime to tout it, and the program provided no rebuttal. And I have been told by students and parents that the “hockey stick” graph is still being used in schools.)

To be continued.

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