Inventing an Apocalypse

Dec. 01, 2005 By Kevin McFarlane
                            GLOBAL WARMING:
 
 
                        Scientific Notes No. 11
 
              ISSN  0267-7067          ISBN  1 85637 260 X
 
         An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
       25 Chapter Chambers, Esterbrooke Street, London SW1P 4NN.
 
            (c) 1994: Libertarian Alliance; Kevin McFarlane.
 
 Having previously worked as an engineer in the offshore oil industry,
 Kevin McFarlane is currently a Product Specialist for a scientific
 software company.
 
 The views expressed in this publication are those of its author, and
 not necessarily those of the Libertarian Alliance, its Committee,
 Advisory Council or subscribers.
 
 LA Director: Chris R. Tame
 Editorial Director: Brian Micklethwait
 
                     FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY
 
 **********************************************************************
 
 Apocalyptic visions, such as those conjured up by environmentalism,
 have been made throughout Man's history and invariably turn out to be
 false. They attract widespread interest principally for the reason
 that bad news is more newsworthy than good news. Thus the prediction
 of catastrophes due to global warming, even on very inconclusive
 evidence, is likely to be treated with considerably more importance
 than the prediction that things might not be so bad after all. By
 contrast, the non-doomsday scenario demands far more evidence in order
 to satisfy its critics.
 
 Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, in a major scientific inquiry into
 global warming, [1] has presented such evidence. This essay
 encapsulates and elaborates his findings.
 
 GLOBAL WARMING: PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
 
 Prior to a detailed scrutiny of the facts and theories regarding global 
 warming there are a few questions that one would expect should occur 
 to those who automatically assume the worst:
 
 (1) If global warming *is* taking place why is it assumed that it can
 only have bad consequences?
 
 (2) Would not *some* parts of the world benefit from higher
 temperatures?
 
 (3) Alternatively, if, on balance, global warming would be harmful why
 is it assumed that Man would be unable to adjust to changing
 conditions quickly enough? Changes, if there are any, are taking place
 slowly so why is it assumed that Man would be unable to cope? As
 George Reisman writes:
 
     "Large numbers of people have been enlisted in the campaign
     against energy out of fear that the average mean temperature of
     the world may rise a few degrees in the next century, mainly as a
     result of the burning of fossil fuels. If this were really to be
     so, the only appropriate response would be to be sure that more
     and better air conditioners were available ... It would not be to
     seek to throttle and destroy industrial civilization. [2]
 
 In regard to global warming, about the only fact that is universally
 agreed upon is that there has been an increase in "Greenhouse Gases",
 particularly CO2, in the atmosphere, due to the burning of fossil
 fuels. But, contrary to popular misconceptions, there is no consensus
 on what the consequences of this will be. Before discussing those
 consequences a number of further facts can be cited.
 
 (1) All the greenhouse gases are produced in nature, as well as by
 humans. To give one example, termites are responsible, annually, for
 10 times the current world production of CO2 from burning fossil
 fuels. [3]
 
 (2) CO2 concentrations have varied widely in the geological past,
 obviously, therefore, from before Man had any significant impact, or
 even existed.
 
 (3) The oceans act as a "sink" for CO2 and hold 60 times more of it
 than does the atmosphere.
 
 What will be the consequences of the increase in greenhouse gases?
 
 GLOBAL WARMING: THE POPULAR VISION
 
 In his extensive study of the Greenhouse Effect, [4] all the technical
 information used by Patrick Michaels is either provided in the
 refereed scientific literature, is based on that literature, or has
 been presented at scientific meetings for which presentations were
 prescreened by a program committee.
 
 At the beginning of his study Michaels describes what he calls the
 "Popular Vision" regarding global warming. He starts with a quote from
 NASA scientist, James E Hansen, on June 23 1988, to the effect that
 global warming is sufficiently large that we can ascribe a high degree
 of confidence to the greenhouse effect. Michaels then adds that many
 environmentalists, but few climatologists, agree with that view. He
 describes the following as the "Popular Vision":
 
     "a rapid planetary warming [due to the greenhouse effect] of
     approximately 4 degrees centigrade with a major sea level rise (up
     to 25 feet ...) caused mainly by the melting of ... land ice,
     especially in Greenland and Antarctica. Also ... withering corn as
     daytime temperatures regularly exceed 38 degrees centigrade in ...
     [America's] heartland and ... massive deforestation and
     desertification. All of those changes will take place while
     population increases rapidly, so war over the earth's rapidly
     depleting resources seems to be highly probable." [5]
 
 According to a CNN poll 70% of the US public (at the time of
 publication) subscribes to this view. Michaels, however, paints the
 following picture as the one which seems to emerge on the basis of the
 evidence:
 
     "We are creating a world in which the winters warm and the summers
     do not, a world in which the nights warm and the days do not. We
     are creating a world in which the growing season lengthens and the
     great ice fields of Greenland and Antarctica change little (they
     may even be enlarging). The CO2 we are emitting to the atmosphere
     has an additional effect: when plants are supplied adequate
     nutrients, they grow better." [6]
 
 One of the reasons why the Popular Vision has become popular is that
 it is possible to cite a number of misleading truisms. For example,
 Michaels cites [former] Senator Al Gore as stating: "there is no
 longer any significant disagreement in the scientific community that
 the greenhouse effect is real". Such a statement is intended to imply
 that *all scientists* agree that temperatures are rising disastrously
 as a result. But there is no such consensus regarding temperatures
 rising disastrously. In fact, they are *not* rising disastrously. The
 real picture is somewhat more complex.
 
 The 1990 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
 (IPCC) states that "The greenhouse effect is real and greenhouse gases
 `already' [why is this word necessary?] keep the earth warmer than it
 would otherwise be." [7] The reason for the query is that there is a
 natural greenhouse effect that keeps the earth at "normal"
 temperatures, i.e., warm enough for life. So to say that it "already"
 keeps the temperature warmer than otherwise suggests that things might
 actually be better without it.
 
 ABOUT GREENHOUSE GASES
 
 Greenhouse gases warm the lowest layers of the atmosphere by
 redirecting to the earth the sun's radiation which would normally
 escape to space. The most common of these gases is water vapour and
 its concentration changes very little. But the concentration of CO2,
 as noted above, has varied widely throughout its history. For most of
 the past billion years, and during the past 100 million years (during
 which most of our food and fibre crops evolved), CO2 concentration has
 been higher than it is today. The atmosphere is currently impoverished
 in CO2 and geological evidence reveals that temperatures dropped
 *before* CO2 declined and not after.
 
 There are many other greenhouse gases besides CO2 and water vapour,
 and their temperature-enhancing effects, other things being equal, do
 not add up in a linear fashion. As concentrations increase, eventually
 the temperature does not change.
 
 The effects of all the greenhouse gases can be combined to give an
 equivalent CO2 concentration called the "effective" CO2 concentration.
 This concentration is currently 60% greater than it was before the
 start of industrialisation. (Increased CO2 concentration by itself is
 about half this figure.)
 
 TEMPERATURE RECORDS: A PREVIEW
 
 In analysing the major global temperature records that have been
 produced Michaels begins by examining that due to Hansen. This forms
 NASA's global temperature record between 1880 and 1988 and was
 presented to the US Senate and House of Representatives. Hansen
 claimed an observed warming over the last century of 0.6 to 0.7
 degrees centigrade which was 30% greater than that in objective trend
 analyses of other temperature records. It was then revealed that
 Hansen had been sloppy in his presentation.
 
 He had simply subtracted the average of the first 10 years of the
 record from the average of the last 10 years, ignoring the intervening
 80 years. It is those intervening years which are especially
 interesting as shall be seen shortly. (The correct statistical
 procedure to apply to data of this sort, which displays random
 fluctuations, is to compute a trend line through *all* the data.)
 
 Another instance of misleading presentation by Hansen is in the actual
 temperature record itself. The temperature curve appears to rise
 dramatically at the end (i.e., in 1988). But this was because the
 temperatures had been averaged over the first 5 months of the year
 *only*, whereas all the other temperatures were annual averages.
 Variances in monthly temperatures are greater than variances in
 *annual* temperatures, so to plot a 5-month average temperature on the
 same graph as annual average temperatures is highly misleading. The
 5-month result was noted on the record but its significance was not
 explained.
 
 How many Congressmen or news reporters are conversant with the science
 of statistics? When all the 1988 data finally came in the adjusted
 graph did not look very different from the temperatures in the rest of
 the warm 1980s. But the problem was that the damage had already been
 done.
 
 PROBLEMS WITH THE TEMPERATURE RECORDS
 
 The major problem with the temperature records is that the readings
 are almost always land-based, yet 70% of the earth's surface is ocean.
 Land is more sensitive to temperature effects than water. Michaels
 describes several ways in which the temperatures can be artificially
 biased upwards but the most important is the so-called "urban" effect.
 Temperature readings from towns and cities are generally warmer than
 those from rural areas because buildings and pavements retain more
 heat and prevent normal ventilation.
 
 The implications of such biassing can be profound, especially in
 regard to the longest-standing temperature records. This is because
 most originated at 19th-century points of commerce, which means they
 were near sources of water-power, that is, rivers. Those sites, at
 which cold air converges at night, then show artificial warming years
 later as the cities grow up around the temperature stations. Thus,
 they are initially shielded from a true climatic warming, and then
 they exaggerate one that may not have occurred.
 
 Tom Karl, of the US Department of Commerce, has developed the most
 reliable temperature record, though (in 1990) only applicable to the
 US, by carefully noting movements of temperature stations and
 population changes.
 
     "[Karl] found that statistically significant artificial warming
     begins to appear in towns with populations as small as 2500. After
     sifting through the 16,000 official temperature stations that are
     in the US Department of Commerce's national network Karl retained
     fewer than 500 in what he calls the Historical Climate Network
     (HCN) how pervasive the urban effect can be in biasing our
     temperature records." [8]
 
 The HCN record produces a warming trend of 0.3 to 0.35 degrees
 centigrade in the past 100 years. Jones and Wigley, of the University
 of East Anglia, produced a record showing a warming trend of 0.45
 degrees for the same period (note: this was a comparison for the US
 only, not the world). The Hansen record fared worse, although it
 became apparent that he had shipped the wrong data to Karl for
 comparison.
 
 In addition, the HCN record shows *no warming whatsoever* for the past
 60 years. Yet two thirds of the post-industrial greenhouse- enhancing
 gas emissions date from about 45 years ago. So all of the warming
 shown in the HCN occurs well before this time. The implications of
 this will be made more explicit in the next section. Comparisons of
 the three records were published in the March 1989 "Bulletin of the
 American Meteorological Society", yet no newspaper reports appeared.
 
 THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE TEMPERATURE RECORD
 
 The most detailed simulations of climate are known as General
 Circulation Models (GCMs). Such models attempt to calculate how the
 climate should change if the greenhouse effect were to be enhanced.
 For the Southern Hemisphere such models take into account the
 following facts.
 
 (1) Water requires much more energy to raise its temperature a given
 amount than does land.
 
 (2) The snow and ice fields of the Antarctic reflect more than
 three-quarters of incoming solar radiation, whereas the earth as a
 whole absorbs three-quarters of it.
 
 (3) The Southern Hemisphere is mostly water. Therefore, warming due to
 greenhouse-enhancement should be less in the Southern Hemisphere than
 in the Northern Hemisphere.
 
 Jones and Wigley's temperature record for the Southern Hemisphere
 shows a 0.6 degree centigrade warming since 1900 but just over half of
 it occurs prior to 1950, the point at which the major greenhouse
 enhancement took place. From the beginning of the Industrial
 Revolution up until 1950 one third of the enhancement took place and
 at a *far* lower rate than has occurred since 1950. Therefore, if the
 warming of the first half of the 20th century is attributable to the
 greenhouse, today's temperatures should be much *warmer* than the
 temperature records actually show.
 
 Another important fact is that the Jones and Wigley temperature record
 for the Southern Hemisphere does not include any Antarctic data. In
 1989 John Sansom published that history but only as far back as 1957.
 [9] It shows no net warming for the Antarctic land mass since that
 time. When that data is combined with the Jones and Wigley record, and
 averaged out, it produces a quarter of a degree of warming since 1950.
 
 There are further problems with the Jones and Wigley (and Hansen)
 temperature records. The most accurate measures of global temperatures
 are those due to satellites. They measure the temperature of the lower
 atmosphere to an accuracy of plus or minus 0.01 degrees centigrade.
 Their measurements are based on the vibrations of oxygen molecules
 which vary with temperature. Also satellite coverage is universal, but
 the ground-based temperature network is mainly confined to land areas,
 which cover only 30% of the earth's surface.
 
 Jones and Wigley's record did try to take sea temperatures into
 account but in a manner which erroneously biassed those temperatures
 upward. One instance of such bias was the arbitrary adjustment upward
 of sea surface temperatures to agree with nearby land temperatures.
 The major problem with the satellite record is that it only starts
 from 1979. Nevertheless in that period, in which both the Jones and
 Wigley, and Hansen, records show a pronounced warming trend compared
 with the immediately preceding decade, the satellite record shows
 *no warming trend whatsoever*.
 
 There is a statistical method, called "explained variance", which
 measures the degree of correspondence between two sets of data. For
 example, an explained variance of 100 per cent means perfect
 correspondence whereas an explained variance of 0 per cent means zero
 correspondence. A figure below 50 percent implies poor correspondence.
 Taking the satellite record as a standard, Tom Karl's HCN (for the US
 only) produces an explained variance of 86 per cent. Both the Jones
 and Wigley and Hansen *global* records give explained variances less
 than 50 percent. Despite this the IPCC Policymakers Summary states:
 
     "Confidence in the observed warming of surface temperatures has
     been increased by their similarity to recent satellite
     measurements The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
     (NOAA) constructed a temperature record for the Southern
     Hemisphere, for the period 1950-1990."
 
 According to Michaels this record is not as good as Karl's US HCN.
 Nevertheless, like the satellite record, it shows no warming for the
 period after 1979, though it does show warming for 1950-1979.
 
 THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE TEMPERATURE RECORD
 
 According to the GCMs the Northern Hemisphere, which contains most of
 the world's land, should have warmed more than the Southern
 Hemisphere. The Jones and Wigley record shows that it did not.
 
     " ... in the standard statistical sense ... there is no net
     warming in the past 50 years ... the most prominent feature of the
     past century is a rapid warm-up [of 0.5 degrees centigrade] that
     took place between 1915 and 1930. Because that increase occurred
     so early, it could hardly have had anything to do with the
     enhanced greenhouse."
 
 Thus the *natural* variability ... must be on the order of at least
 0.4 degrees centigrade, which suggests that the greenhouse signal will
 be very difficult to find in our temperature record. [11] Finally,
 once again, the satellite records since 1979 show no warming and the
 very warm years of the 1980s, which appear on the land-based records,
 do not show up at all.
 
 So we are left with the peculiarity that the Northern Hemisphere,
 which contains most of the earth's land and which therefore should
 warm up first and fastest, shows virtually no warming in the past 50
 years; while the Southern Hemisphere, which should warm up least and
 slowest, gives a more "greenhouse-like" signal.
 
 SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES
 
 Regional climates are often controlled by the temperatures of the
 oceans. Yet in the US alone the number of land-based stations exceeds
 the number of Oceanic stations by at least 3,000 to 1.
 
 Nevertheless there have been some carefully constructed sea surface
 temperatures (SSTs). These records correspond well with the land-based
 records, with respect to the timing of warming and cooling periods,
 though the absolute temperature variations are about half those of the
 land-based records. But the SSTs do not show the high 1980s
 temperatures for the Northern Hemisphere that show up on the land
 records. Also, both the land-based records and the SSTs show a
 *decline* in temperature for the Northern Hemisphere from the 1940s to
 the 1970s. The major fact that needs to be explained is why the
 Southern Hemisphere has behaved in a more greenhouse-like fashion than
 the Northern Hemisphere.
 
 ATTEMPTED EXPLANATIONS
 
 One reaction to the poor correspondence of the GCMs with the observed
 data, and to the lack of warming, is to hypothesise a "natural" random
 cooling that just happens to cancel out the greenhouse warming. The
 problem with this explanation is:
 
     "No causation is implied or suggested, and the argument resorts to
     the complete unknown (a random perturbation) in an attempt to
     explain what is known (a lack of warming)." [12]
 
 One GCM, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) model, ran a
 100-year simulation in the late 1980s, without any greenhouse
 enhancement, or any change in overall driving variables such as solar
 intensity or planetary reflectivity. The idea was to see what
 variation in temperature would be possible due to natural random
 fluctuations. The answer came out as 0.4 degrees centigrade, which is
 of the right order of magnitude to cancel the greenhouse effect. But
 how good is the GISS model?
 
     "the current [1992] error in its estimation of Southern Hemisphere
     temperatures poleward of 70 degrees is approximately 12 degrees
     centigrade [!], and the sea surface temperatures are artificially
     set *to ensure a match of sea surface temperatures to their
     [known] climatological averages.* Thus the temperature of 70 per
     cent of the earth is fed in as the "right" answer, and errors in
     excess of 10 degrees centigrade are still generated over the
     remaining 30 percent." [13]
 
 Another response to the observed lack of warming is that "the data
 don't matter". Those very words were spoken by Chris Folland of the
 United Kingdom Meteorological Office at a meeting of climatologists in
 Asheville, North Carolina, on August 13, 1991. Shortly after that
 Folland added:
 
     "Besides, we're not basing our recommendations [for immediate
     reductions in CO2 emissions] upon the data; we're basing them upon
     the climate models." [14]
 
 Folland claimed that the GISS model showed that a random cooling was
 sufficient to cancel out the greenhouse warming. But Michaels argues
 that even if we assume that the GISS model is reliable (which, as we
 have seen, it isn't):
 
     "the chance that a random ghost in the climate machine is
     suppressing the warming of the Northern Hemisphere is only 1 in
     10. This is then cited as the basis for what will be the greatest
     experiment in central energy planning in history." [15]
 
 GCM MODELS
 
 The mid-1980s GCMs predict an average 4 degree centigrade rise in
 global temperature for a doubling of CO2 There are many faults with
 those models, including the following:
 
     "[The GCMs] included oceans that did not mix vertically or
     interact properly with the atmosphere, unrealistic cloud
     definitions had no 24-hour day and night cycle; in those GCMs, it
     is always a sunny day) ... [They] also suffered from stepwise
     (instantaneous) doubling of CO2, rather than the low-order
     exponential increase that occurs in the real world." [16]
 
 Michaels adds that:
 
     "People who find fault with those GCMs are often accused of
     setting up "straw men", because the models' limitations are so
     well known within the scientific community. But the objections are
     hardly "straw", because the models form the basis, and an
     ostensibly scientific rationale, for the greatest experiment in
     the central planning of energy in human history - a few trillion
     dollars of expenditure, extracted mainly from a nation that
     routinely runs a $250 billion annual deficit."
 
 The projections of newer, more realistic, GCMs are changing and many
 are cooling. Warming is delayed when the oceans and the atmosphere
 interact. Nevertheless even the coolest models overpredict the actual
 rise in temperature that has occurred since the major enhancement of
 greenhouse gases (i.e., since 1950).
 
 In the newer models, less warming is calculated when either the oceans
 or the clouds are simulated more realistically. Therefore, improved
 models that incorporated both clouds and oceans would produce even
 less net warming.
 
 Stephen Schneider, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research
 (NCAR) which is responsible for one of these models, claimed, before
 the new results were published, that the models (i.e., the older ones)
 do pretty well at simulating the climate (when they don't). But after
 the new, cooler United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO) model came
 out Schneider claimed "It is going to be another decade or two before
 we have answers that are credible". So, apparently, the warmer models
 do pretty well while the cooler ones do not provide answers that are
 credible.17 If it is going to be another decade or two before we have
 answers that are credible for what are more realistic GCMs, how is it
 that *less* realistic GCMs are somehow credible *today*?
 
 Another problem with GCMs is to do, not with the scientific
 simulations, but with how they are presented.
 
     "In almost every publication of GCM results in the refereed
     scientific literature and in UN and congressional reports [that
     Michaels has seen] ... projected warming has been dramatically
     distorted by the use of map projections that assume that the area
     in each band of latitude is equal."
 
 The distortion arises because, for example, the newer, more realistic,
 GCM models typically predict the largest temperature rises to be in
 polar regions. But areas of the earth which are closer to the poles,
 and therefore occupy a smaller proportion of the earth's surface,
 appear to occupy a larger proportion when projected onto a plane. The
 newer NCAR and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) models
 show areas of the earth with temperature rises greater than 4 degrees
 centigrade, to cover more than 20% of the earth's surface when
 projected onto a plane. But, in reality, the predicted percentages are
 less than 5% for the former model and about 2% for the latter. In
 summary:
 
     "While the climate models are probably still too warm in general,
     almost all of the warming in the newer ones is confined to
     high-latitude winter. Because the sun is either at, or beneath the
     horizon, almost all of the warming of more than 4 degrees
     centigrade is projected for evening or night.
 
     Thus, even though the models do not include the anthropogenerated
     particulates [dust and finely divided aerosols], they show that
     almost all of the strong warming of the next century will be in
     the winter, at night, or in the highest latitudes (or some
     combination of those three). Adding the particulate effect is
     likely to push warming further in those directions." [18]
 
 WHY NO NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WARMING?
 
 The most plausible explanation for the lack of Northern Hemisphere
 warming is that there has been increasing cloudiness. Increasing
 cloudiness would decrease the amount of evaporation from land surfaces
 that would otherwise occur with rising temperatures.
 
 Over the world's agricultural regions, evaporation is primarily
 restricted to daytime, when the sun beats down. At night, the
 opposite, condensation, dominates. If cloudiness increases, then
 daytime evaporation drops even if rainfall goes up. Clouds tend to
 reduce the night-time cooling rate, so an increase in cloudiness would
 lengthen the growing season.
 
 Do the GCMs take into account day and night cyclic climate variations?
 
     "most of the 1980s [GCM] models did not have explicit 24-hour day
     and night (evaporation and condensation) cycles. Hansen's GISS
     model was an exception, but to date it has misestimated the ratio
     of night-to-day warming by 9 to 1 in the Northern Hemisphere. As a
     result, the models cannot successfully calculate the implications
     of an increase in cloudiness. [19]
 
 Increasing cloudiness has the following sort of effect on temperature:
 
     "the earth reflects a bit more than one-quarter of the incoming
     solar radiation and clouds are one of the prime reflectors ... [A]
     mere 2 percent change in global reflectivity [depending on
     assumptions] would create enough cooling to totally offset the
     warming associated with an effective doubling of CO2. [That]
     amounts [depending on assumptions] to roughly a four percent
     increase in average global cloudiness. [20]
 
 As it happens, cloudiness records, due to Australian climatologist Ann
 Henderson-Sellers, and dated back to 1900, are available for the US
 and Canada. Records, due to Steven Warren et al., are also available
 for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres for the past 50 years. [21]
 All the records show clearly discernible increases in cloudiness over
 their respective time periods. The Southern Hemisphere cloud increase
 since 1950 appears to be about half that of the Northern Hemisphere,
 though the data for the former is more sparse.
 
 The Northern Hemisphere record has been divided into various cloud
 types, latitude bands and seasons.
 
     "What appears remarkable are the large increases [in cloudiness]
     observed in the industrial latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere,
     along with the tendency for large increases to be in the low-level
     stratocumulus. Not only is that cloud type very effective at
     cooling, it is the type that might be enhanced by industrial
     activity." [22]
 
 The Henderson-Sellers records for the US and Canada were actually
 included as a supporting contribution to the IPCC report. But no
 mention of the implications of her data was made in the Policymakers
 Summary.
 
 Increasing cloudiness may be caused by both the greenhouse effect
 itself and by the family of anthropogenerated particulates. The latter
 are mainly caused by the combustion of coal and petroleum. Dust from
 agricultural activity may also be a source.
 
 Increasing cloudiness should have the following day-and-night and
 seasonal effects (among others).
 
 (1) The warming (night-time) effect from clouds should be pronounced
 on (long) winter nights.
 
 (2) The cooling (daytime) effect from clouds should be pronounced on
 (long) summer days.
 
 (3) The warming (night-time) effect from clouds should be attenuated
 on (short) summer nights.
 
 (4) The cooling (daytime) effect from clouds should be attenuated on
 (short) winter days.
 
 Tom Karl's HCN (for the US) appears to be the most reliable of the
 land-based temperature records when compared to satellite measurements
 (from 1979). Karl et al. subsequently extended the HCN to include the
 USSR and China. In aggregate the three records cover 42% of the land
 mass of the Northern Hemisphere. It turns out that each of the four
 points above, concerning the distribution of warming, is confirmed by
 the HCNs, and, on an annual basis, the observed ratio of night-to-day
 warming is greater than 10 to 1. How do the GCMs fare?
 
     "in the few attempts that have been made to use GCMs to explicitly
     examine the day-night breakdown in more temperate latitudes ...
     there is only a slight tendency for a bit more night warming.
 
     Thus ... the difference between night and day appears to be off by
     an order of magnitude (10 to 1) in those models. That would not be
     so bad if the models were intended only for academic consumption,
     but they are the basis for policy recommendations of the United
     Nations. That use can be defended only if "the data don't
     matter." [23]
 
 Michaels summarises the broad consequences of the greenhouse effect as
 follows:
 
     "The greenhouse effect is real, but ... seems to be muted in the
     Northern Hemisphere by industrial particulates and is perhaps
     transformed into a benign or beneficial alteration of the
     atmosphere by the same industrial activity that enhanced it in the
     first place. In the Southern Hemisphere, even with the absence of
     those industrial compounds, warming appears to take place much
     more at night than during the day, perhaps as a result of an
     increase in high cirrus clouds that are a product of the
     greenhouse enhancement itself." [24]
 
 THE APOCALYPSE MACHINE
 
 Michaels presents the following very perceptive points as forming 
 the essentials of the "apocalypse machine".
 
 (1) Define the Problem as Apocalyptic.
 
 (2) Present the Apocalyptic Vision as a Mainstream View: Dissenters
 are Crackpots.
 
 (3) Play up the Lurid Prognostications and Imagery of Doom Because
 Apocalypse Sells Newspapers and Television Time.
 
 (4) Build Massive Financial Support.
 
 (5) Use That Lobbying Support to Pass Economically Profound
 Legislation Before the Necessary Science Has Been Completed.
 
 (6) Invent a New One.
 
 Stephen Schneider can be considered a representative spokesman for the
 Apocalyptic Vision:
 
     "On the one hand, we are ethically bound to the scientific method,
     in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
     nothing but ... which means that we must include all the doubts,
     caveats, ifs, and buts.
 
     "On the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings
     as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better
     place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce
     the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we
     have to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's
     imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media
     coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified,
     dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we
     might have. This "double ethical bind" that we frequently find
     ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to
     decide what the right balance is between *being effective and
     being honest* [emphasis added]. I hope that means being both. [25]
 
 If we think about it, it is hardly surprising that our simulations of
 the global climate have been so unsatisfactory. After all, we have
 difficulty predicting the weather accurately for more than a few days
 in advance. As George Reisman remarks, there is a strange
 contradiction in the environmentalists' approach:
 
     "The environmental movement maintains that science and technology
     cannot be relied upon to build a safe atomic power plant, to
     produce a pesticide that is safe, or even to bake a loaf of bread
     that is safe, if that loaf of bread contains chemical
     preservatives. When it comes to global warming, however, it turns
     out that there is one area in which the environmental movement
     displays the most breathtaking confidence in the reliability of
     science and technology, an area in which, until recently, no one -
     even the staunchest supporters of science and technology - had
     ever thought to assert very much confidence at all. The one thing,
     the environmental movement holds, that science and technology can
     do so well that we are entitled to have unlimited confidence in
     them, is *forecast the weather!* - for the next one hundred
     years." [26]
 
 
 NOTES
 
 1.  Patrick J. Michaels, "Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of
     Global Warming", The Cato Institute, Washington, 1992.
 
 2.  George Reisman, "The Toxicity of Environmentalism", The Jefferson
     School of Philosophy, Economics and Psychology, Laguna Hills,
     California, 1990, p. 15.
 
 3.  Dixy Lee Ray with Lou Guzzo, "Trashing the Planet", Regenery
     Gateway, Washington, 1990, p. 33.
 
 4.  Patrick J. Michaels, "Sound and Fury", op. cit.
 
 5.  Ibid. p. 6.
 
 6.  Ibid. p. 7.
 
 7.  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 1990:
     "Policymakers Summary of the Scientific Assessment of Climate
     Change", World Meteorological Organization, United Nations
     Environment Programme, Section I.A.
 
 8.  Patrick J. Michaels, "Sound and Fury", op. cit., p. 45.
 
 9.  John Sansom, Antarctic Surface Temperature Time Series, "Journal
     of Climate", 2, 1164-72, 1989.
 
 10. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 1990, op. cit.,
     Policymakers Summary. Section X.B.
 
 11. Patrick J. Michaels, "Sound and Fury", op. cit., p. 55.
 
 12. Ibid. p. 81.
 
 13. Ibid. p. 82.
 
 14. Ibid. pp. 82-83, as related by Michaels.
 
 15. Ibid. p. 84.
 
 16. Ibid. p. 169.
 
 17. Ibid. p. 175, as related by Michaels.
 
 18. Ibid. p. 179.
 
 19. Ibid. p. 94.
 
 20. Ibid. p. 95.
 
 21. Ibid. pp. 98-99. The records are reproduced by Michaels.
 
 22. Ibid. p. 97.
 
 23. Ibid. p. 118.
 
 24. Ibid. p. 129.
 
 25. Stephen Schneider, National Center For Atmospheric Research, in
     "Discover Magazine", October 1989.
 
 26. George Reisman, "The Toxicity of Environmentalism", op. cit., p.16.
 
 

 Return to 
Enviro Lies Page.

 Return to 
Off-Road.com Main Page.


Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!