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The Challenges of Global Cooling and the High Cost of Global Warming Policies

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By relying upon climate models that do not properly account for the impact of natural influences, the U.N. has greatly overstated the amount of warming that is likely to occur as a result of rising CO2.

This file picture shows an enormous iceberg (R) breaking off the Knox Coast in the Australian Antarctic Territory on January 11, 2008. A UN panel said on 27 September 2013 it was more certain than ever that humans were causing global warming and predicted temperatures would rise by 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5-8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) this century. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

While planet Earth is getting colder, the United Nation’s climate models are getting hotter.

This is a problem for the undeveloped countries the U.N. claims to champion since the impetus behind the global warming policies that deny them access to cheap, affordable energy shows no signs of abating. The representatives from 132 countries who walked out of the climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland this past November had the right attitude, but they settled on the wrong policy prescriptions.

The most vulnerable populations in the world today will be better equipped to handle severe weather conditions in the future if they become richer and wealthier. The answer lies not in the form of redistribution schemes that bilk the West, but in more economic growth, better infrastructure and yes more energy production in form of fossil fuels.

Qatar's Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah,left, President of previous COP18 ( Conference of Parties) addresses delegates during the opening session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP19 in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Thousands of participants from nations and environment organizations from around the world have opened two weeks of U.N. climate talks that are to lay the groundwork for a new pact to prevent global warming. Photo Credit: AP

So what gives? Why have temperatures been flat since the late 1990s despite rising levels of carbon dioxide (Co2)?

Climate skeptics have a straightforward answer that even the media is beginning to pick up on here in the U.S. and overseas. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is viewed by environmentalists and the scientific establishment as the authority on global warming, has operated under the assumption that human emissions are responsible for the warming period that was recorded in the latter half of the 20th Century. While the IPCC claims to be a detached, neutral observer, there is good reason to believe otherwise.

That’s what a team of over 40 international scientists have concluded in a competing set of reports that were first circulated in 2008 at the behest of Fred Singer, a retired astrophysicist from the University of Virginia, who has been a vocal, outspoken critic of theories that link global warming to human emissions.

Singer worked in cooperation with three non-profit groups to form the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). They are: The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and The Heartland Institute. The idea was to provide climate skeptics with a platform that is free and independent of undue political influence. The latest version of the NIPCC’s Climate Change Reconsidered series was published in September to coincide with the release of an early draft of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.

By relying upon climate models that do not properly account for the impact of natural influences, the U.N. has greatly overstated the amount of warming that is likely to occur as a result of rising CO2, according to Singer’s team of researchers.

“Any warming that may occur is likely to be modest and cause no net harm to the global environment or to human well-being,” they conclude.

This file picture shows an enormous iceberg (R) breaking off the Knox Coast in the Australian Antarctic Territory on January 11, 2008. A UN panel said on 27 September 2013 it was more certain than ever that humans were causing global warming and predicted temperatures would rise by 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5-8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) this century. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

For global climate models (GCM’s) to have any value in terms of making future projections “they must incorporate not only the many physical processes involved in determining climate, but also all important chemical and biological processes that influence climate over long time periods,” the NIPCC report says. “Several of these important processes are either missing or inadequately represented in today’s state-of-the-art climate models.”

Put simply, the U.N. put all of its faith into theory that has been used to justify restrictions on the use of fossil fuels instead of devoting more time and attention to satellite and weather balloon measurements. William Happer, a professor of physics at Princeton University, has written extensively on the discrepancy between climate model predictions and the amount of global warming that has actually occurred in past 15 years. He points to NASA satellite measurements, for example, that show temperatures have remained stable since the El Nino of 1998.

“There has indeed been some warming, perhaps about 0.8 degrees Celsius, since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age in the early 1800s,” Happer wrote in the "Wall Street Journal." “Some of that warming has probably come from increased amounts of CO2, but the timing of the warming—much of it before CO2 levels had increased appreciably—suggests that a substantial fraction of the warming is from natural causes that have nothing to do with mankind.”

Within the body of its main report, the U.N. has been forced to back away from alarmist claims made in its previous assessments. The pause in global warming, the failure of climate models, the expansion of Antarctic sea ice and the Medieval Warming of 1,000 years ago, are among the “retreats” the NIPCC lead authors have identified. Yet, the U.N.’s Summary for Policymakers, which precedes the main report claims it is “extremely likely that human influence has been the dominate cause of observed warming since the mid-20th Century.”

[sharequote align="center"]The attitude here seems to be never let the facts get in the way of an alarmist narrative.[/sharequote]

The attitude here seems to be never let the facts get in the way of an alarmist narrative; especially one that can be used to rationalize the anti-energy regulations that flow out of government agencies. But there’s a complicating factor that could make the U.N. position completely untenable in the near future. A growing body of evidence now points to a global cooling phase that could persist for decades. There is, for example, a group of German scientists who predict temperatures could fall for the remainder of the 21st Century.

The main culprit here appears to be a less active sun. Some researchers have warned of the potential for a “Little Ice Age” based on the declining number of sun spots that have been observed. The NIPCC report devotes an entire chapter to solar influences on climate that are left out of its U.N. counterpart. Another key figure here is Donald Easterbook, a geologist from Western Washington University, who is forecasting 30 years of global cooling based on a shift Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

How then should the world prepare itself?

During the Warsaw climate summit, U.N. negotiators worked to hash out the details of a new global warming treaty that would replace and update the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which sets global emissions reductions targets. The new treaty would go into effect beginning in 2015. But how will this help a country like the Philippines, which was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in early November?


A relative offers flowers and lights candles at the ruins of a house once lived in by family members in Tacloban on December 17, 2013, to mark the 40th day after Super Typhoon Haiyan brought deadly storm surges on the city on November 8, 2013. The typhoon killed more than 6,000 people, most of them from Tacloban and nearby areas, and left nearly 2,000 others missing. Filipinos end the mourning period for their dead after 40 days. AFP PHOTO/Jay DIRECTO

During the Summit, Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general bellowed, “We have seen now what has happened in the Philippines. It is an urgent warning. An example of changed weather and how climate change is affecting all of us on Earth.” He should check in with his own IPCC report which says there is “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century.”

But there’s no question that poorer countries like the Philippines are more vulnerable to violent storms when they do occur. What then is the best approach to help them stand up? Since human greenhouse gas emissions are a valuable component of the industrial processes that unleash economic activity and raise living standards, doesn’t the Kyoto Protocol put the undeveloped world in more of a compromised position? It would seem that the threat to humanity comes more from global warming policies; less from global warming per se.

Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), has a keen understanding of the U.N.’s motivations.

“It was inherently self-serving for the IPCC to identify human activities as the cause of global warming,” he explains.  “Human activities can be regulated, either through an international treaty or through domestic regulatory schemes to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.  The ultimate goal was to ration energy and to have bureaucrats and political appointees do the rationing. It was, and still is, about power. This required that fossil fuels be demonized and that all other influences on the climate be ignored. Not even the IPCC or Al Gore would propose regulating solar activity, volcanos, or undersea vents.”

What the opportunity cost is to humanity of pouring time, energy and effort into global warming policies that call for emissions restrictions in an age of global cooling is a question someone in the Philippines may want to raise at upcoming conferences.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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