The Great Global Warming Hoax
The writing of this article was hampered by the fact that "global warming" remains, and is likely to remain, a "breaking" story. The sixth "Conference of the Parties" held since the 1992 Rio Summit was just ended in The Hague, Holland and failed to reach an agreement on the precise method of implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocols on "global warming" abatement. Predictably, thousands of greenshirts were again out in the streets, with some Canadians even burning their passports in disgust at what they perceived to be their country's failure to address this alleged ecological danger. Since then, and with considerable prodding from outgoing US President Bill Clinton, there have been desperate impromptu meetings held in Ottawa and in Norway to salvage the deal. Thus, while it is hard to write a conclusive piece on this political battle, it is a most opportune time to reflect on some key aspects of its history and its underlying scientific controversy.
The factual basis for the "global warming" hypothesis can be summed up as follows. There is scientific consensus that certain types of gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and, more importantly, water vapor, do trap heat energy reflecting off the surface of the earth and that this process warms the surface of the earth. There is also scientific consensus that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing over the last few centuries and, moreover, that this CO2 increase is at least partially attributable to the burning of fossil fuels associated with the Industrial Revolution. There is also consensus that Earth's temperature has risen slightly over the last century. These facts form the basis of the international environmental elite's proposition that humanity's burning of fossil fuels will cause catastrophic temperature increases in the near future.
The problems with the human-induced-catastrophic-climate-change hypothesis are many, but the most salient are as follows. Earth's temperature is not static but rather has varied radically over the millennia, with many previous eras being much warmer than present. At others times, the temperature dropped so low that vast areas of Eurasia and North America were covered by kilometre-thick sheets of ice. No one can suggest human activity has anything to do with these changes. The generally accepted temperature records for the last 3,000 years reveal the present global temperature to be cooler than average for this period. Although fluctuations are the norm, Earth has been warming since the end of the last ice age (approximately 10,000 years ago). One of the main exceptions to this warming trend was the "little ice age" (approximately 1300 to 1800 AD) wherein temperatures dipped considerably. As there has been a slow and steady warming trend since this time, it is impossible to determine how much, if any, appreciable warming can be attributed to fossil fuel burning because the current warming trend began prior to any possible influence from the Industrial Revolution.
On the other hand, there is a clear and direct relationship between periodic increases in sunspot activity on the sun and increases in the sun's temperature. And there is a direct relationship between increases in the sun's heat output and the temperature here on Earth. (Politely put, this direct relationship between increases in the sun's heat and increases in the Earth's temperature is at least a pre-Copernican revelation.) Human activity has nothing to do with this relationship. Closely connected to this is the fact that because much of Earth's CO2 resides in the oceans, an increase in the sun's temperature causes a release of CO2 from the oceans into the atmosphere (the Coca Cola fizz effect). Hence, many scientists argue that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are a consequence of "global warming" rather than a cause.
A few points need also be made about the increase in global average temperature (0.5 C) observed over the last century or so. One would think, following conventional "global warming" propaganda, the more CO2 humans pump into the atmosphere, the greater the temperature increase. However, the actual thermometer readings incontrovertibly show most of the recent temperature increase to have occurred between the years 1890 and 1940 (a period of relatively lower CO2 emissions). This was followed by a slight cooling of temperatures from 1940 to 1975, a period which, relative to the preceding 50 years, had much more industrial activity. This completely undermines the conventional "global warming" hypothesis, as the temperature change is clearly disconnected in time from increases in the level of CO2 concentration. (Furthermore, since 1975 the temperature record itself is quite "up in the air", with the "global warmers" relying on data from selective samplings of dubious ground-based readings showing a slight increase in temperature while the critics rely on more comprehensive satellite and balloon temperature measurements indicating no warming at all.)
There are many other flaws in the human-caused-catastrophic-global-warming hypothesis (including numerous examples of highly selective use of data by the "global warming" boosters) but none so damaging as the presumption that the CO2 increases and the temperature increases (whether connected or not) are necessarily a harmful phenomenon. For one thing, atmospheric CO2 levels have varied radically over Earth's history, with estimates of CO2 counts in the distant past being as much as 25 times higher than present levels. What is completely established science is that high levels of CO2 facilitate increased plant growth and, hence, increased animal life as well. CO2 is plant food. CO2 emissions are "fertilizer in the air". In fact, some believe that this accelerated plant growth will ultimately suck up any surplus CO2 from the atmosphere, thus neutralizing any conceivable adverse climatic effects of human-caused CO2 emissions. Moreover, warmer temperatures also facilitate plant growth. All along the great belt of land stretching across the middle of the Eurasian and North American continents, where most of the planet's agricultural activity takes place, the great nemesis has always been Jack Frost. And as the planet warms, the frost-free period widens and harvests increase. This too, is a good thing, not a bad thing.
The speculative hypothesis of human-induced "global warming" has been kicking around the scientific community since the 19th century and was given serious attention by leading American climatologists in the 1940s and 1950s. (They concluded there was no cause for alarm.) There was a trickling of "global warming" scare stories in the mass media and pop-scientific literature in the early 1970s, but these had to compete with the work of other professional scaremongers who were at that time engineering a global cooling propaganda campaign.
Apocalyptic "global warming" propaganda was given major amplification first in the mid-1980s by the Thatcher regime in the UK, with eco-supremo Sir Christopher Tickell as the principal mastermind. This propaganda was connected with the British government's struggle against its own nationalized and militantly unionized coal industry. "Global warming", then and now, is principally a slandering of the utility of coal and, to a lesser extent, of petroleum. At the time, the Thatcherites favoured nuclear-generated electricity even though it was four times as expensive as coal-generated electricity. They have since switched preferences to natural gas.
Earliest references to the modern "global warming" campaign per se date to a small conference held in Austria in 1984. Here the phenomenon was clearly a speculative hypothesis based on a simple computer model. "Global warming" was debuted, along with several other apocalyptic scare scenarios, in the notorious 1987 Smithsonian Conference on Media and the Environment. This conference marked the beginning of a renewed cultural offensive on the part of the international environmental elite. "Global warming" (along with ozone holes and species extinction, et cetera) was selected to be one of the main causes célèbres. To enormous applause, it was announced to the assembled media elite that the "environment" would not be treated as a regular journalistic topic by the mass media but rather would be an object for outright advocacy.
Two important institutional marriages occurred around this time, both generating offspring central to the "global warming" crusade. In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), both large UN organizations based in Geneva, announced the creation of a joint venture named the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Less than two years later, the UK Meteorological Office (a division of the British government's Secretary of State for Defence) and the UK Environment Ministry announced the formation of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. The Hadley Centre currently employs over 100 scientists plus support staff. These two highly political organizations (Hadley and the IPCC) are responsible for much of the "research" and propaganda used in the modern "global warming" campaign. Certain self-interested US federal agencies, such as NASA, were very quick to jump on the bandwagon.
The IPCC was established to "assess human induced climate change." Its first assessment came out in August 1990 and was loudly endorsed by the Iron Lady before the ink was dry. The IPCC's Scientific Assessment Working Group drew from meetings and writings of selected climatologists to produce both a 360-page IPCC Report and a 20-page Policymakers Summary. As has been thoroughly chronicled elsewhere, the Summary, written for political leaders, does not jibe with the larger Report. The Policymakers Summary puts forward the familiar doomsday scenario of dramatic temperature increases causing weather changes of biblical proportions, while the Report openly questions the likelihood of the same. Participants to the IPCC process who did not share the doomsday orientation were written off as "a minority" who "could not be accommodated." Neither document was properly peer reviewed. Going into the drafting process in June 1989, IPCC Chairman Professor Bert Bolin stated the purpose of the IPCC was to create a document that would serve as an urgent call for action to the world community to safeguard the future of the planet; and, by hook or by crook, he got what he wanted.
There is significant overlap between the researchers of the IPCC Scientific Assessment Working Group and the Hadley Centre. One in particular is Margaret Thatcher appointee Sir John Houghton. As chief executive officer of the UK Meteorological Office from 1983 to 1991, he was commanding officer of the Hadley Centre during its crucial formative years. In 1988 he was also appointed chairman (later co-chairman) of the above-referred-to IPCC Scientific Assessment Working Group, a position he still holds. Sir John was also chair, from 1991 to 1998, of the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and he is currently a member of the Government Panel on Sustainable Development. In his spare time, Sir John chairs the John Ray Institute - an eco-Christian think-tank he formed with help from Sir Ghillean Prance, Sir Timothy Hoare, and Lady Catherwood in order "to promote responsible environmental stewardship in accordance with Christian principles." Sir John is the author of many books, including Global Warming - The Complete Briefing and The Search for God - Can Science Help? (the latter being written from "a clear Christian conviction").
After two years of lobbying and agonizing over various drafts, the emergent "global warming" lobby managed to get the recommendations of the IPCC 1990 Policymakers Summary to form the basis of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UNFCCC was signed by 150 world leaders, notably George Bush and Margaret Thatcher, at the Rio Summit in 1992. The UNFCCC requested each signatory nation to reduce its "greenhouse gas" emissions to 1990 levels by 2000, but it was non-binding. This clearly was not enough.
The IPCC compiled a further document in 1995 and, after much wrangling, published it in 1996. During the preparation of Climate Change 1995, the US State Department weighed into the fray with a letter dated November 15, 1995 pressuring the IPCC to make changes to the document's important eighth chapter so as to make the text of the report conform to the recommendations of the pro-"global-warming" Summary. This arbitrary rewriting of the document, over the objections of the scientists who participated in the original writing, was called "the most disturbing corruption of the peer review process I have ever witnessed" by Dr. Frederick Seitz, the former head of the US National Academy of Sciences. The modified 1995 document formed the "scientific basis" of the Kyoto Protocols. By this time, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with a nod to her European "allies", was publicly making it clear that "global warming" was to become a key component of future US foreign policy.
On September 15, 1997, three months prior to the Kyoto conference, President Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore, and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt met with 14 leading enviro groups to strategize on climate change. Al Gore was point man for the US at the Kyoto conference and burned up the phone lines with numerous calls back to the White House during the negotiations. The conference itself (December 1-10, 1997) was the usual eco-jamboree with NGO representatives outnumbering government reps by over two to one. The usual antics were displayed: the prayer vigils requesting forgiveness for destroying creation, the dinosaur statues, street theatre with gas masks, et cetera. With a considerable push from Al Gore, the Kyoto Treaty called for a reduction of "greenhouse gas" emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. The principal burden for change was to fall on the North American economy with the caveat that emissions reductions could be purchased from lesser-developed countries.
Resistance within the international scientific community to the junk science propaganda of "global warming" has been quick and conclusive. Starting in 1991, shortly after the release of the IPCC's Policymakers Summary, a group called the Science and Environment Policy Project sent out a questionnaire to 100 US participants to the IPCC process and to 26 other leading climatologists asking them to affirm or deny the following proposition:
"It is not possible to attribute all, or even a large part, of the observed global warming to the enhanced greenhouse effect."
A surprising 90% of the respondents agreed. These were the same experts the IPCC was allegedly relying on! (Also in 1991, Greenpeace International contacted 400 leading climatologists to bolster its case for action against "global warming" but canned the project when they could only get 15 scientists to agree with the human-caused-catastrophe theory.)
In November 1995 the International Symposium on the Greenhouse Controversy was held in Leipzig, Germany to discuss alternative views on climate change. From this the "Leipzig Declaration" was issued, and support was solicited from the international scientific community. The Declaration stated:
".we consider the scientific basis of the 1992 Global Climate Treaty to be flawed and its goal to be unrealistic. The policies to implement the Treaty are, as of now, based solely on unproven scientific theories, imperfect computer models - and the unsupported assumptions that catastrophic global warming follows from an increase in greenhouse gases. We do not agree."
More than 1,500 scientists from around the world, including many leading meteorologists and climatologists, signed on to this declaration.
A year or so later, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine issued a petition for the American scientific community, stating:
"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, catastrophic heating of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide produces many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."
This petition was signed by over 19,200 people of whom 17,100 were scientists in that they held at least a B.Sc. in the physical sciences. It was signed by 2,660 persons holding degrees in physics, climatology, or meteorology, et cetera, and by 5,017 persons with degrees in chemistry, biology, or biochemistry, et cetera. Most signers had Ph.D.s.
The Oregon petition and its organizer Professor Robertson were the target
of considerable lies and dirty tricks. Persons unknown began signing fictitious
names to the petition, such as Dr. Roger Rabbit, et cetera. Then the Associated
Press ran news stories attacking the credibility of the entire project
for including such names. The list was purged of these few names (with
the exception of "Perry Mason" who, it turns out, was not the TV lawyer
but a chemist living in Lubbock, Texas) and at last check 95% of all signers
had been independently verified. Robertson himself now receives piles
of junk mail every day addressed to him as head of a fictitious "Oregon
Petroleum Institute", implying he is on the payroll of the energy industry,
which he is not. (This stunt truly shows the limited social consciousness
of the eco direct activists, as many leading firms in the oil and gas
industry such as Shell, British Petroleum, and Enron are major supporters
of the "global warming" scare. Anyone doubting this would be well advised
to read the membership list and mission statement of the Pew family organized
Business Environment Leadership Council.)
The thousands of scientists who have risked their careers by standing up to this perversion of science and signing these petitions have been virtually censored by the mass media. A review of about three dozen Globe & Mail "global warming" articles from January to July 2000 reveals not a single reference to any of the above opposition. Most of these stories simply rush to the most inflammatory of doomsday scenarios, usually tying "global warming" into other hot button eco-issues like salmon stocks or indigenous culture without acknowledging any controversy within the scientific community.
"The Northwest Passage Thawed" (Alanna Mitchell, GM Feb. 11/00) comments:
"The grand mystery of what exactly is melting the ice is still being debated, and scientists knowing that time is against them are scrambling to predict what will happen. But so far the prime candidate - some say the only known candidate - is human caused warming of the planet."
This passage stands out as one of the very rare references to the existence of scientific debate about the "global warming" hoax, yet even here the bias is glaring.
A better indication of the Globe's orientation can be found in "A Clear and Present Danger" (Ralph Torrie, GM May 19/00) which states:
"Fossil fuel consumption is causing global warming as surely as smoking causes cancer, and our understanding of the mechanism and consequences has reached the point where it is irresponsible to argue that we need more research before acting."
A survey of scores of CBC news pieces on the topic reveals a great many implying the existence of a scientific consensus on the human-caused-catastrophic-global-warming theory and a solitary article suggesting the sun, of all things, might have something to do with rising temperatures. The National Post, with the exception of the article "Mother Earth Day" (Richard Courtney, April 22/00), has marched in lockstep with the rest of the "corporate media" who collectively have placed a major "global warming" doom story in front of the Canadian public on at least a weekly basis for over a year.
The "Mother Earth Day" article is interesting not just because it connects Thatcher to "global warming" propaganda but also because it exposes the degree to which bad science is driving out good science in British universities and elsewhere. We will quote its author at length:
"Most scientists' work depends on funds fully or partly provided
by governments. Also, all scientists compete to obtain their share of
this limited resource. Available research funds were shrinking and global
warming had become the 'scientific' issue of most interest to governments.
Hence, any case for funding support tended to include references to global
warming whenever possible. Much science in many fields may be conducted
under the guise of a relationship to global warming. Activities that have
obtained funds by this method include biology, meteorology, computer science,
physics, chemistry, climatology, oceanography, civil engineering, process
engineering, forestry, astronomy and several other disciplines. Now, funds
for this work are provided to most UK universities and several commercial
research establishments. Much peer pressure deters scientists from damaging
potential sources of research funds. There is special pressure - loss
of future career - to avoid being the first to proclaim the truth of global
warming and thus damage the research funding of colleagues. But failure
to proclaim the scientific truth does not mean many scientists believe
in global warming."
This is perhaps the most insidious aspect of the "global warming" crusade. Now North American state agencies like the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian National Climate Change Secretariat have joined the Europeans in using lavish amounts of public money to recruit a legion of compliant scientists. An example of this is the recent decision of NASA and the European Commission to jointly hire 330 scientists to investigate possible connections between "global warming" and the other big eco-bogeyman in the sky, ozone depletion.
When a journalist implies there is anything approaching scientific consensus on the "global warming" issue, he or she is obviously lying. When a trained, professional scientist claims with any degree of certainty that human activity is causing catastrophic climate change, they are obviously lying. It is undeniable that there is controversy on this issue. It is just as undeniable that a statement about what the global mean temperature will be over 100 years from now, let alone what the regional weather ramifications of that temperature will be, is merely a seat of the pants guess regardless of how much computer fondling accompanies it.
What would motivate a person to lie? Well, for starters, journalists and academics are, like the rest of us in the working class, mere prostitutes and, as such, a great many will passively bend their minds to the ruling ideas of the day. But what motivates the ruling class to perpetrate this fraud? Here four separate factors of modern political reality need be explored.
Firstly, there is inter-imperialist rivalry between the European Union and the NAFTA states. Along with much eco-propaganda, "global warming" is by and large an EU creation. Key European states such as the UK and Germany had already undertaken post-1990 industrial transitions to natural gas from coal and as such were basically in compliance with the Kyoto Protocols before they were signed. France's reliance on nuclear power gave it an exemption as well. Hence, the enforcement of the Kyoto emissions reductions can be viewed as a way to kneecap the North American economy, Europe's principal competitor, with little or no inconvenience to the dominant members of the EU.
Secondly, because the Kyoto Protocols have provisions allowing wealthier countries to at least partially escape compliance through purchasing emissions reductions from other countries, it opens the possibility of imperialist states buying the de-industrialization of poorer countries. Hence, to some degree the US, Canada, and Japan could carry on business as usual and merely buy up and shut down heavy industry in Africa and South America. This prevention of an emancipating industrial surge in the "Third World" has been a known imperialist political objective for over a century. Also along these lines, the international treaty will, like all such treaties, further the process of the formation of international governance mechanisms through which the imperialist states can dominate the rest of the world.
Thirdly, as was alluded to earlier, certain industries, such as nuclear energy and natural gas, stand to benefit from the proposed transformation at the expense of the coal industry. Hence, the owners of these industries, plus the developers of the ridiculous low-efficiency energy systems such as wind and solar power, are participating vigorously in the "global warming" crusade.
And finally, keep in mind "global warming" is not the first or only eco-scare.
Over the last 40 years, overpopulation, energy crises, global cooling,
ozone holes, desertification, deforestation, pesticide degradation, topsoil
depletion, and other topics have each had their turn as scare of the day.
The perpetrators of the doomsday hoaxes remain the same international
environmental elite. The underlying fear within this small group of plutocrats
is that unrestrained industrial growth will lead to a fundamental challenge
to the prevailing property system. As surely as jacking up interest rates
will slow economic development, so will high energy prices put a break
on industrial progress. The "global warming" scam is yet another effort
of the most powerful and parasitic sectors of the ruling elite to hobble
the forces of production with a view to the long-term preservation of
an antiquated property system. Fighting for the truth about "global warming"
is fighting for the overthrow of these liars and the property regime
upon which their power is based.
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