Sen. Inhofe Delivers Major Speech on the Science of Climate Change ìCatastrophic global warming alarmism not based on objective scienceî Part 2

Sen. Inhofe Delivers Major Speech on the Science of Climate Change
Page 2

Previous page of this document

I would refer my colleagues to a May 29 story by Jeff Nesmith of Cox News Service, which was marred by errors and an alarmist bias. Rather than focusing on the scientific merits of the study, Nesmith reported that petroleum companies were behind it, thereby corrupting its conclusions.

Nesmith writes that the "research was underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute, the trade association of the world's largest oil companies." This is simply false. API funded less than 10 percent of the research. Had Nesmith read the Harvard-Smithsonian press release announcing the study, he would have learned that most of the funding came from federal grants through NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Even so, what if API funded the whole study? If that automatically means, as it apparently does to Nesmith, that the science lacks credibility, then at least he could offer some proof to those who think differently-that is, no matter who funds such studies, their merits hinge on the quality of the science. Nesmith instead offers no proof and dismisses the science.

Moreover, is he suggesting that Harvard and the Smithsonian can be unduly influenced by oil companies, or by any organization for that matter?

Nesmith also attacks Dr. Sallie Baliunas and Dr. Willie Soon, two of the report's authors, because of their ties to the George C. Marshall Institute. Nesmith noted that institute gets some of its funding from Exxon Mobil. Again, for Nesmith, this is proof positive that the Marshall Institute is inherently suspect, though he offers no evidence to support that case.

In another stunning sentence, Nesmith writes, "most climate scientists think the rise [of global temperatures] results from the atmospheric buildup of heat-trapping 'greenhouse gases,' especially released by the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum." Most climate scientists? I think that based on the extensive record of climate skeptics I've outlined today, that statement is outlandish.

The Ice Ages

Before I move on, I would like to add another point about climate history. For the last several minutes I have been talking about natural climate variability over the past 1,000 years. But we can go back even further in history to see dramatic changes in climate that had nothing to do with SUVs or power plants.

During the last few hundred thousand years, the earth has seen multiple and repeated periods of glaciation. Each of these "Ice Ages" has ended because of dramatic increases in global temperatures, which had nothing to do with fossil fuel emissions.

Indeed the last major glacial retreat, marking the end of the Wurm Glaciation, was only 12,000 years ago. At its end, the temperature was 14 degrees Celsius lower than today and climbed rapidly to present day temperatures-and did so in as little as 50 years in some regions. Thus began our current "Holocene Age" of warm climates and glacial retreat.

These cycles of warming and cooling have been so frequent and are often so much more dramatic than the tiny fractional degree changes measured over the last century that one has to wonder if the alarmists are simply ignorant of geological and meteorological history or simply ignore it to advance an agenda.

The Real Story Behind Kyoto

As I have pointed out, the science underlying the Kyoto Procotol has been thoroughly discredited. Yet for some reason the drive to implement Kyoto continues apace, both here in the United States and, most fervently, in Europe. What is going on here?

The Europeans continue to insist that the U.S. should honor its international responsibilities and ratify Kyoto. In June of 2001, Germany released a statement declaring that the world needs Kyoto because its greenhouse gas reduction targets "are indispensable."

Similarly, Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson in June 2001 said flatly, and without explanation, that "Kyoto is necessary." The question I have is: indispensable and necessary for what?

Certainly not for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as Europe has proven. According to news reports earlier this year, the EU has failed to meet its Kyoto targets. And as we know, according to the best scientific evidence, Kyoto will do nothing to reduce global temperatures.

As it turns out, Kyoto's objective has nothing to do with saving the globe. In fact it is purely political. A case in point: French President Jacques Chirac said during a speech at The Hague in November of 2000 that Kyoto represents "the first component of an authentic global governance." So, I wonder: are the French going to be dictating U.S. policy?

Margot Wallstrom, the EU's Environment Commissioner, takes a slightly different view, but one that's instructive about the real motives of Kyoto proponents. She asserted that Kyoto is about "the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide."

To me, Chirac's and Wallstrom's comments mean two things: 1) Kyoto represents an attempt by certain elements within the international community to restrain U.S. interests; and 2) Kyoto is an economic weapon designed to undermine the global competitiveness and economic superiority of the United States.

The Next Steps

I am mystified that some in this body, and in the media, blithely assert that the science of global warming is settled-that is, fossil fuel emissions are the principal, driving cause of global warming.

In a recent letter to me concerning the next EPA administrator, two senators wrote that "the pressing problem of global warming" is now an "established scientific fact," and demanded that the new administrator commit to addressing it.

With all due respect, this statement is baseless, for several reasons. As I outlined in detail above, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of those who don't see global warming posing grave harm to the planet and who don't think human beings have significant influence on the climate system.

This leads to another question: why would this body subject the United States to Kyoto-like measures that have no environmental benefits and cause serious harm to the economy? There are several pieces of legislation, including several that have been referred to my committee, that effectively implement Kyoto. From a cursory read of Senate politics, it is my understanding that some of these bills enjoy more than a modicum of support.

I urge my colleagues to reject them, and follow the science to the facts. Reject approaches designed not to solve an environmental problem, but to satisfy the ever-growing demand of environmental groups for money and power and other extremists who simply don't like capitalism, free-markets, and freedom.

Climate alarmists see an opportunity here to tax the American people. Consider a July 11 op-ed by J.W. Anderson in the Washington Post. In it, Anderson, a former editorial writer for the Post, and now a journalist in residence with Resources for the Future, concedes that climate science still confronts uncertainties. But his solution is a fuel tax to prepare for a potentially catastrophic future. Based on the case I've outlined today, such a course of action fits a particular ideological agenda, yet is entirely unwarranted.

It is my fervent hope that Congress will reject prophets of doom who peddle propaganda masquerading as science in the name of saving the planet from catastrophic disaster. I urge my colleagues to put stock in scientists who rely on the best, most objective scientific data and reject fear as a motivating basis for making public policy decisions.

Let me be very clear: alarmists are attempting to enact an agenda of energy suppression that is inconsistent with American values of freedom, prosperity, and environmental progress.

Over the past 2 hours, I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation's top climate scientists.

What have those scientists concluded? The Kyoto Protocol has no environmental benefits; natural variability, not fossil fuel emissions, is the overwhelming factor influencing climate change; satellite data, confirmed by NOAA balloon measurements, confirms that no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century; and climate models predicting dramatic temperature increases over the next 100 years are flawed and highly imperfect.

Climate Experts

I want to recount who these scientists are:

· Dr. S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Virginia, who served as the first Director of the US Weather Satellite Service (which is now in the Department of Commerce) and more recently as a member and vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere (NACOA)

· Dr. Tom Wigley, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who found that if the Kyoto Protocol were fully implemented by all signatories, it would reduce temperatures by a mere 0.07 degrees Celsius by 2050, and 0.13 degrees Celsius by 2100. What does this mean? Such an amount is so small that ground-based thermometers cannot reliably measure it.

· Dr. Richard Lindzen, an MIT scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has specialized in climate issues for over 30 years.

· Jerry Mahlman, Director of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, who points out that when regional climate models, of the kind relied upon by the IPCC, attempt to incorporate such factors as population growth "the details of future climate recede toward unintelligibility."

· Gerald North of Texas A&M University in College Station, agrees that the IPCC's predictions are baseless, in part because climate models are highly imperfect instruments. As he said after the IPCC report came out: "It's extremely hard to tell whether the models have improved" since the last IPCC report. "The uncertainties are large."

· Peter Stone, an MIT climate modeler, said in reference to the IPCC, "The major [climate prediction] uncertainties have not been reduced at all."

· Dr. David Wojick, an expert in climate science, who recently wrote in an article in Canada's National Post, "The computer models cannot...decide among the variable drivers, like solar versus lunar change, or chaos versus ocean circulation versus greenhouse gas increases. Unless and until they can explain these things, the models cannot be taken seriously as a basis for public policy."

· Climate modelers from four separate climate modeling centers who wrote in the October 2000 edition of Nature that, "Forecasts of climate change are inevitably uncertain." They go on to explain that, "A basic problem with all such predictions to date has been the difficulty of providing any systematic estimate of uncertainty," a problem that stems from the fact that "these [climate] models do not necessarily span the full range of known climate system behavior."

· NASA scientists Roy Spencer and John Christy whose satellite data, validated independently by measurements from NOAA balloon radiosonde instruments, show that the atmosphere has not warmed as alarmists theorize.

· Dr. Thomas R. Karl, senior scientist at the National Climate Data Center, who corrected the U.S. surface temperatures for the urban heat-island effect and found that there has been a downward temperature trend since 1940. This suggests a strong warming bias in the surface-based temperature record.

· Scientists from the Scripps Institution for Oceanography who concluded that the temperature rise comes first, followed by a carbon dioxide boost 400 to 1,000 years later. This contradicts everything alarmists have been saying about man-made global warming in the 20th century.

· University of Illinois researchers who reported "a net cooling on the Antarctic continent between 1966 and 2000." In some regions, like the McMurdo Dry Valleys, temperatures cooled between 1986 and 1999 by as much as two degrees centigrade per decade.

· Dr. Paul Reiter who convincingly debunks the claim that higher temperatures will induce more deaths and massive outbreaks of deadly diseases in a 2000 study for the Center for Disease Control.

· Dr. David Legates, a renowned professor at the University of Delaware and world's leading expert in the hydrology of climate.

· Over 4,000 scientists, 70 of whom are Nobel Prize winners, who signed the Heidelberg Appeal, which says that no compelling evidence exists to justify controls of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

· I also point to a 1998 recent survey of state climatologists, which reveals that a majority of respondents have serious doubts about whether anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases present a serious threat to climate stability.

· Drs. Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who have just completed the most comprehensive review of temperature records ever.

· Then there is Dr. Frederick Seitz, a past president of the National Academy of Sciences, and a professor emeritus at Rockefeller University.

· Over 17,000 independently verified signers of the Oregon Petition, which reads as follows:

"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

· Kenneth Green, D. Env., is Chief Scientist and Director of the Risk and Environment Centre at The Fraser Institute. He most recently wrote Global Warming: Understanding the Debate.

· George H. Taylor, who is the State Climatologist for Oregon, and a faculty member at Oregon State University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, manages the Oregon Climate Service, the state repository of weather and climate information. Mr. Taylor is a member of the American Meteorological Society and is past president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

· Pat Michaels is a research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and visiting scientist with the Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C. He is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. Michaels has authored tests on climate and is a contributing author and reviewer of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to Nature magazine, Pat Michaels may be the most popular lecturer in the nation on the subject of global warming.

· Freeman Dyson, professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, since 1953, is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, and has received numerous international awards;

· Robert Balling, Jr., Professor & Director of the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University who received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, has authored three books on climate;

· Professor Chris Essex of the University of Western Ontario and of the Niels Bohr Institute's Orsted Laboratory and the Canadian Climate Center co-authored Taken by Storm with Professor Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph and the Fraser Institute in Vancouver;

· Dr. John Reilly, of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, who established the benefits of CO2 on flora;

· and many, many others.

Finally I will return to the words of Dr. Frederick Seitz, a past president of the National Academy of Sciences, and a professor emeritus at Rockefeller University, who compiled the Oregon Petition:

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

These are sobering words, which the extremists have chosen to ignore. So what could possibly be the motivation for global warming alarmism? Since I've become chairman of the EPW Committee, it's become pretty clear: fundraising. Environmental extremists rake in million of dollars, not to solve environmental problems, but to fuel their ever-growing fundraising machines, part of which are financed by federal taxpayers.

So what have we learned from the scientists and economists I've talked about today?

1) The claim that global warming is caused by man-made emissions is simply untrue and not based on sound science.

2) CO2 does not cause catastrophic disasters-actually it would be beneficial to our environment and our economy.

3) Kyoto would impose huge costs on Americans, especially the poor.

4) The motives for Kyoto are economic not environmental-that is, proponents favor handicapping the American economy through carbon taxes and more regulation.

With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.