|The Week That Was
April 14, 2001
Don't just revise the Kyoto Protocol, as some critics have suggested. It should be killed and buried - with a stake driven through its heart -- before it creates more mischief.
The Week That Was April 14, 2001 brought to you by SEPP
In the meantime .
A report by the National Research Council says it is "highly uncertain"
that global climate change will bring an increase in malaria or any other
diseases as some researchers have said. "It is not yet possible to
determine whether global warming will actually cause diseases to spread,"
concluded the council researchers in releasing their report, called "Under
the Weather: Climate, Ecosystems, and Infectious Disease." "The
potential exists for scientists one day to be able to predict the impact
of global climate change on disease, but that day is not yet here,"
said Donald Burke, chairman of the council committee that studied the
issue and professor of international health and epidemiology at Johns
Much fuss was made this week about "warming of the deep ocean." The data are probably OK; the interpretation is not. Like the puddle at the North Pole and the snow-job of Kilimanjaro, these observations do NOT support manmade warming. This is not a human influence but simply the delayed effects of prior warming of the surface due to a natural climate fluctuation. Read the summary of a research paper presented by S F Singer at Amer Geophysical Union's Spring Meeting 2000 in Boston:
I suggest therefore that the deep ocean mirrors SST with a delay of ~30 years. I account for this delay in terms of the North Atlantic conveyor by means of order-of-magnitude estimates. The thermohaline circulation (THC) of the North Atlantic conveying heat from the tropics is commonly quoted as about 15x106 m3/s [2,3]. With a depth of 100 m and a width of about 5000 km, the "velocity" is about 3 cm/s. If we take the distance traveled as 2x7500 km, the transport time is of the order of 30 years. Thus the time delay is of the right magnitude.
[It is also possible that we are seeing here South Atlantic Intermediate water flowing north. For example, Parilla et al.  show temperature changes (at 24N between 1957 and 1992) versus longitude and depth. A strong warming trend layer appears abruptly at about 600 m and fades out after about 2000m depth; it is bounded by cooling layers above and below.]
Conclusion: The deep-ocean heating does not precede  but lags the surface warming by a time interval in good accord with the mass transport of the North Atlantic conveyor. The observed ocean warming could therefore be the delayed effect of an earlier surface warming. The most prominent such warming occurred between 1920 and 1940; this might account for the deep-ocean warming between 1957 and 1972. The climate cooled between 1940 and 1975; this might account for the deep-ocean cooling observed between 1972 and 1990.
1. Levitus, S., J.I. Antonov, T.P. Boyer, and C. Stephens "Warming of the World Ocean" Science 287, 2225-2229, 2000
2. Pierrehumbert T. "Climate Change and the Tropical Pacific" Proc. NAS 97, 1355-1358, 2000
3. Wood, R.A., A.B. Ken, J.F.B. Mitchell, and J.M. Gregory "Changing Spatial Structure of the Thermohaline Circulation in Response to Atmospheric CO2 Forcing in a Climate Model" Nature 99, 572, 1999
4. Parilla et al., Nature 369, 5 May 1994. See also World Climate News
(WMO) No. 12, Jan. 1998
Independent-(UK) 06 April 2001
It is a political timebomb left by Bill Clinton for any Republican successor and it is just about to go off. One week ago, President George Bush repudiated the Kyoto agreement, throwing international efforts to slow down global warming into turmoil. Next week a 150-page, lavishly illustrated report entitled Climate Change Impact on the United States, which was commissioned by the Clinton Administration, will be published by Cambridge University Press.
Despite President Bush's repudiation of the treaty that would force industry to reduce the emissions that lead to global warming, the government is committed to distributing the report widely. Copies have already been run off specially for every member of Congress, and of course for the White House. The warnings are there on almost every page. Cities will suffer from water shortages and stifling summers; mountain resorts which rely on skiing will see the snows retreat upwards by as much 1,000ft (300m) from their present base at 3,000ft. Tropical diseases, such as dengue, will spread in southern coastal areas as the sea rises and inundates wetlands to create the ideal breeding ground for the insects that carry it.
The weather, too, will alter: hurricanes will sweep in more often over the Florida coast (which will also see storm surges overwhelm its defences), flash floods, caused by melted glaciers, will become more prevalent and soil in some areas will become drier, putting agriculture under serious strain. There are a few points of hope. In the short term, agriculture and forestry will benefit from increased rain and warmer winters, perhaps making it possible to grow two crops each year, while forests including valuable hardwoods could expand. Warmer winters should mean fewer deaths from cold.
But overall it is not a message that Mr Bush would want to hear. Dr Anthony Janetos, who has spent the past three years co-chairing the group of experts who produced the report, is sure the hard work of the scientists is being largely disregarded. "I'm sure that they [Congress and the White House] haven't read the report," he said. "The problem is that the release of the final documents which became this report happened when the election was in full spring. It didn't climb to the top of the political reading list."
Comment: And a good thing too!
"I have gone around the country over the past three years consulting people and giving presentations on our findings and talking to people," he said. While it is possible that Dr Janetos only meets people who are already persuaded about climate change, rather than the skeptics, the latter seem an increasingly embattled group, even within America. Yesterday, Robert Watson, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the body of about 700 scientists who examine climate change, dismissed any suggestion that there was a significant split among scientists over whether climate change is occurring, and whether humans are causing it. He said: "It's not even 80-20 or 90-10 [in percentage terms]. I personally believe it's something like 98-2 or 99-1.
And here is an additional comment from a SEPP correspondent:
"[IPCC head of the science panel, John] Houghton said that worldwide there were no more than 10 scientists active in the field and well-versed in the arguments who disagreed with the notion of human-induced climate change."
To me, that seems about as silly as you can get (as well as Watson's 99:1 statement).
This is what they offer in lieu of an argument, since their main lines of evidence are so pathetic and threadbare. Note Houghton's qualifier: "active in the field and well-versed in the arguments." Code for: "recognized by the IPCC and committed to our position." This is a specially-selected subset of the world's scientists, and even here they find 10 traitors.
They invoke numbers like 500 or 3,000 scientists involved with the IPCC as if all the contributors and reviewers endorse the entire report and all its conclusions, which they do not. The contributors are selected by the chapter authors, so this is not a random sample to begin with. The contributors only put in a few pages of comments on their area, and the chapter authors aren't obliged to use it. Nor are the contributors asked for their opinion on the report or the Summary for Policymakers. Many of the reviewers are on record in public as opponents of the overall conclusions. If Watson and Houghton want to invoke the long list of scientists involved with these reports in support of the conclusions drafted by the SPM committee, they ought to sponsor a thorough survey of all the scientists using a question like: "Do you agree that global warming of between 1.5 and 5.8 degrees per century is now underway and that it poses a dangerous threat to the global climate?" They have never done so. I doubt they'd have 50% support even among the IPCC crowd to that one.
Regardless of what environment minister Anderson is saying, the PM was
in Calgary last week promising an accelerated development of oil and gas
fields in the Arctic and everywhere else. He called the energy sector
the "bedrock of our country's economy" and promised to do everything
he can to speed its development. Peter Lougheed, the former Alberta premier,
has the PM's ear and is a vocal opponent of Kyoto.
The State of California received a "Chicken Little Award" for "doing nothing for the past decade to provide electrical energy, despite the growth of its population during that period. Their desire to protect the environment has literally left the environment in which people live and work in the dark."
California was among the those receiving the 11th annual "Chicken Little Awards" for organizations, individuals and governments that "have scared the living daylights out of people with bogus claims."
In August 2000, The New York Times announced the North Pole was melting as "part of its endless effort to convince everyone the earth is warming." They had to swiftly retract the story. "Just because reporters and others repeat the global warming hoax, doesn't make it so," said Caruba. "The earth has not warmed in more than a half century."
The Natural Resources Defense Council was recognized for its assertion that "the planet is in danger from carbon dioxide. "This natural and abundant chemical is required for the growth of forests and all the vegetation on earth, including food crops," notes Caruba. "The earth produces CO2 all the time. Everyone on earth exhales CO2. If anything, the earth would benefit from more CO2, not less. People who advocate controlling it are idiots."
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has once again received a Chicken Little Award, this time for proposing a tax on snack food. "Big Brother wants you to eat your veggies," said Caruba. "This group has also warned us against Mexican food, enjoyed by more than a 100 million, and Chinese food, consumed by more than a billion people every day
Lack of food is usually considered a real problem. Britain's Prince Charles received a Chicken Little Award for his public opposition to genetically modified (GM) food. "The Prince and the radical environmental organization, Greenpeace, ignore the need to feed six billion people every day. GM food holds the promise of abundantly feeding everyone, without having to consume more land for farming. Of course, the Prince has been dining royally since the day he was born."
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also earned a Chicken Little Award "for their mindless campaigns against eating meat, wearing furs, and medical research that saves lives. These blockheads deliberately frighten school children with their campaigns and have recommended college students drink beer instead of milk. Indeed, no loathsome, contemptible effort to influence public opinion is beneath them. If their agenda prevailed, every pet owner in America would be forced to give up their dogs, cats, and other animal companions."
"We are drowning in junk science. The good news is that it's wrong. The bad news is these bogus theories and claims are costing Americans more every time they fill up the gas tank, turn on a light, heat their homes, or go to the supermarket."
Founded in 1990, The National Anxiety Center
maintains an Internet site at www.anxietycenter.com. The Center receives
no funding from corporations or other special interest groups. It is headquartered
in Maplewood, NJ. Caruba's weekly cyber-column, "Warning Signs",
posted on the Center's website and others, is read by more than an estimated
one million Internet users.