More than six hundred scientists, economists, legislators, and journalists from around the world met in New York on March 8-10 for the second International Conference on Climate Change. Presentation after presentation documented the pseudoscience and dictatorial intentions behind the climate alarmism of the UN, EU, and Obama administration.
Rent Seekers at Davos
Conference keynote speaker Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic and the European Union, described environmentalism as a new collectivist religion that doesn't want to change the climate but rather us. He lamented that the debate between climate warming alarmists and critics such as himself hadn't advanced since he keynoted the first Climate Change Conference a year ago. He described his futile attempt to bring sense to a closed session of the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland attended by world business and political leaders. "No one shared my views," President Klaus said. Instead, all were focused on preparing for the December 2009 Copenhagen meeting to supersede the Kyoto agreements. The climate 'experts' in attendance -- such as Tony Blair and Kofi Annan -- all took human-caused global warming for granted and potentially catastrophic. The debate at Davos was whether Europe and the world should submit to an 80% emissions cut, a 20% cut, or something in between.
President Klaus said he chided Davos attendees for talking up radical proposals when they hadn't even been able to fulfill their modest Kyoto commitments. But trying to reason with the Davos people was like trying to reason with Communist officials before 1989 -- they just regarded you as hopelessly ignorant or naive. Klaus described the business attendees at the Davos meeting as "rent seekers," interested only in profits from government and "not at all interested in markets or freedom." The political situation, he said, is that of a highly organized rent-seeking group rolling over an opposition of isolated unorganized individuals.
The executive summary put out by the UN's Intergovernmenetal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is all politics and environmental activism, President Klaus said, "not science." The environmental activists are "traditional Malthusians." They appear technologically naive, indeed magic-dominated, in loving technologies that don't exist. But it's likely they just don't want to reveal their true plans -- to turn the clock back many centuries, by shutting down existing technologies in the name of non-existing future ones. When, in previous history, Klaus asked, has a civilization abandoned existing technologies before the successors have been developed?
In contrast to his chilly reception at Davos, President Klaus was given a standing ovation by the scientists and policy analysts in New York.
Negative Feedbacks Dominate
A second keynote speaker at the Climate Conference -- Richard Lindzen, the Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- detailed the corrupting influence of politics and foundation and government funding on science. His own and others' research indicates that the outgoing radiation from earth to outer space is much higher than the global-warming models predict. The alarmist models require an assumption of positive feedback whereas recent satellite data has revealed that planetary heat flows are negative-feedback dominated.
The UN models, Professor Lindzen jested, are "examples of unintelligent design." Global warming effects are miniscule if seen on a graph mapped against the huge variability of daily and seasonal weather. Climate warming alarmists have forgotten the null hypothesis -- which assumes that there is no need to bring in exogenous forcing mechanisms (such as anthropomorphic CO2) to explain observed climate behavior. The ocean's turbulent movements can suffice to explain most climate variability. Dreaming up specific causes for this or that climate blip isn't necessary; we don't, after all, need specific causes for each whorl and eddy in a bubbling brook.
The apparent endorsement of climate warming alarmism by scientific organizations, Lindzen noted, doesn't imply that the organizations' members have ratified these views. Rather, the endorsements are merely the policy preferences of partisans who've gotten themselves elected or appointed to the organizations' boards' -- without consulting the membership. The members who are being abused in this fashion should resign as a group, with a public explanation as to why they are resigning. This would be a much more effective form of protest than petitioning.
CO2 a Minor Climate Player
Tom Segalstad, Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology at the University of Oslo, pointed out in his presentation that the actually measured CO2 in the atmosphere is a fraction of what is predicted by IPCC models. Atmospheric CO2 -- the bogeyman for the alarmists' catastrophic warming scenarios -- is just one-fiftieth of the CO2 in the oceans, and of that fractional amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, only 4% of it is anthropogenic (human caused).
Far from being persistent, the lifetime of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is on the order of five to six years rather than the 50 to 200 years claimed by the IPCC scenarists. The ocean, with its dissolved calcium, can easily absorb all CO2 emitted. The ocean is a superb CO2 sink -- contrary to the IPCC models, which simplistically assume that the ocean is made of distilled water.
19th and 20th Century Warming Natural, Not Anthropogenic
Syun Akasofu, Professor of Physics and Director Eeritus of the International Arctic Research Center and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks), showed in his data-rich presentation that 20th century global warming, far from being non-linearly increasing and anthropogenic, is with far greater likelihood a straight-line natural recovery from the Little Ice Age of the 17th through early 19th century. That linear warming trend -- 0.5 degrees Celsius per century -- began much earlier than any measurable increase in man-made CO2 and has been proceeding steadily since at the same rate. The IPCC simply ignored the historical data.
Missing CO2 Hotspot Falsifies IPCC Theory
David Evans, Ph.D., who from 1999 to 2005 built models for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Australian Department of Climate Change) and who wrote the carbon accounting model that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, ridiculed climate alarmists' attempt to create popular acquiescence to their plans via symbols, such as the photos of the receding snows of Kilimanjaro, rather than facing up to the testimony of real scientific evidence in the form of atmospheric temperature signatures. These decisively falsify the anthropogenic-CO2 hypothesis of the IPCC's models, which predict a hotspot at the top of the troposphere above the equator. The hotspot's absence, contrary to the models' prediction, is documented by 1979-1999 radiosonde temperature data. The IPCC's recourse has been to attack the data. Any unbiased scientist would conclude instead that something else besides CO2 must have caused the perceived 20th century warming.
Diminishing Influence of CO2
Fred Goldberg, Associate Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, ridiculed the effort to attribute warming to CO2. The greenhouse (warming) effect of CO2 is just 1%, while that of water vapor 95%. Large increases in CO2 produce only minor increases in temperature forcing, because of diminishing returns. The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that CO2 affects is largely saturated already, so that each subsequent increment of CO2 has less and less effect. Furthermore, CO2 doesn't last that long in the atmosphere. Twenty-eight percent of all atmosphereic CO2 is absorbed by biomass and the oceans each year. Manmade CO2 isn't necessarily correlated with either overall CO2 or temperature. During the Depression, human CO2 emissions decreased but natural CO2 in the atmosphere increased, along with temperature. If one is hunting for correlations between sea surface temperature and something else, sunspot numbers are a better choice.
Peer Review Fraud
A number of scientists discussed the blatant political bias at leading "peer reviewed" publications such as Nature and Science. Examples were cited of scientific papers that were rejected within one to three hours of submission. Clearly no deliberative review ever took place, the papers being rejected for being out of step with the reigning IPCC orthodoxy.
Warming Planet the Best Scenario
Indur Goklany, Assistant Director, Programs and Science and Technology Policy, U.S. Department of the Interior, based his study of likely health effects from different temperature futures conservatively on data from the World Health Organization, IPCC, and other UN bodies. His conclusion from this data: human well-being would be highest in the warmest temperature scenario, the one with the most atmospheric CO2. Mortality-wise, the predicted climate change would have minimal impact and under a CO2-rich warming scenario, less land would be needed under cultivation because of superior agricultural productivity.
Energy Rationing Will Be Genocidal
On the second day of the Climate Conference, the lunchtime plenary session was addressed by former U.S. senator, NASA astronaut, and last human to set foot on the moon Harrison Schmidt, along with chemist Arthur Robinson, co-founder with Linus Pauling of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine and now with the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Dr. Robinson excoriated the efforts of environmentalists to bury the nuclear industry in favor of speculative alternatives. "Free men produce more than they consume." Right now, "We're standing on the backs of free men that produced these things before us." Dr. Robinson cited the Palo Verde nuclear reactor site in Arizona. It's the largest nuclear power generation plant in the United States. It was supposed to consist of ten reactors, but only three were allowed to be completed. Those three reactors produce the electricity of ten Hoover dams. Palo Verde is producing electricity at one-tenth to one-fifteenth of what Californians are now paying. The United States would now be exporting energy if its nuclear and hydrocarbon capabilities hadn't been legislatively sabotaged.
Who's the Real Criminal Against Humanity?
Once the environmentalists and climate alarmists are able to ration our energy -- their present aim -- our freedom will be gone, Robinson said. They are preparing technological genocide. Their first run at this was the DDT ban, which resulted in tens of millions of children dying of preventable malaria. If the environmentalists are able to ration energy and shut down the existing best sources, hundreds of millions of people will die in the developing sector. Al Gore protege James Hansen wants to try "global warming deniers" -- the people at this conference -- of crimes against humanity. He should look instead in the mirror.
Senator Schmidt pointed out that by cancelling the Nevada waste storage facility the Obama administration has deliberately killed nuclear power plants being built in the U.S. Asked about the relation between energy restriction and population control, Senator Schmidt replied that the only moral way to reduce developing sector population pressures is by increasing the standard of living, just as was done in the advanced sector.
California Congressman Tom McClintock documented the environmentalists' destruction of his home state's economy. So many Californians are fleeing his state -- once the breadbasket and center of technology innovation for all of North America -- that U-Haul rental rates are six to seven times higher for people driving out of the state than inbound. California's wine industry is under attack because fermentation produces -- the horror of it! -- CO2. Cement is energy intensive, so California environmentalists are using that to stymie further construction there. But the environmentalists can't even bring coherence to their destructive laws. Californians are encouraged to grow redwoods to soak up CO2 from the air but are also being taken to court if their redwoods cast shadows on a neighbor's solar panels.
The Climate Conference, which otherwise eschewed name-calling, concluded with a hilarious talk by Lord Christopher Monckton, chief policy advisor to the U.K.'s Science and Public Policy Institute and former policy advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Lord Monckton described the environmentalists as "bed wetters" and "greens too yellow to admit they're red." He said the only danger of rising sea levels came from the bedwetters.
Videos of all conference presentations, lecture notes, and slides are being incrementally posted on the web site of the conference's main sponsor, The Heartland Institute, and may be viewed here.