When the global warming movement started gaining momentum in the early 1990s, proponents began insisting that climate change science is irrevocably settled and the issue is not up for debate. It’s irrefutable, they said, that human-caused climate change is real, and carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases resulting from the use of fossil fuels are an urgent threat and must be stopped.
That’s still the refrain today, but this rigid stance doesn’t sit well with the numerous scientists who don’t agree and who worry about the billions being spent to prevent a tiny amount of anticipated warming—efforts that may in the end bring about little, if any, change.
These so-called skeptics say the climate has historically had warm periods and cool periods and will continue to do so—that’s simply how the climate cycles—and that man-made CO2 is not a pollutant, nor is it on track to cause apocalyptic climate change, as the global warming movement maintains.
“In general, science is never settled, it’s always an ongoing organic process. But they’re trying to abuse the authority of science in order to pursue policy objectives that, for one reason or another, they think are important,” says climatologist and author Patrick Michaels, the director of the Center for Study of Science at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.
“There has really been no recent convincing evidence that what we would call the view of cataclysmic global warming has any support. I mean, the Earth’s surface temperature continues to warm at a very modest rate. It didn’t warm at all, depending on whose record you look at, from the late 1990s to about 2014—and the only way that a warming was deduced from that record was to change the data, not the observation.”
As for anthropogenic global warming (AGW), Michaels says it’s possible for humans to exert subtle changes on the climate, but there are other factors as well.
“Some of the warming since late 1970s has a human component, but I don’t believe that the warming from 1910 to 1945 had a human component,” he says. “So yes, we have a role, but so does nature and natural variability.”
Back in 1997, Michaels was one of the 31,500 concerned U.S. scientists, including 9,000 with PhDs, who signed their names to a petition rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, the first international climate change treaty.
The preamble states that the limits on greenhouse gases (GHGs) proposed by the Kyoto agreement “would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science, and damage the health and welfare of mankind” and notes that there’s no scientific evidence that GHGs are causing catastrophic heating of Earth’s atmosphere.
“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,” it reads.
A posting on the Right Climate Stuff, a website founded by former NASA scientists and engineers, says CO2 “is a naturally occurring substance required to sustain human, animal, and plant life, and for which there is no substitute” and says it is “scientifically embarrassing” that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared it a pollutant that must be regulated.
Michaels, a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, is a former contributing author and reviewer on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that leads the charge in the push to halt warming.
The IPCC claims that, according to its computer models, the world has already warmed by 1°C and is projected to reach 1.5°C by 2040. If that happens it would bring catastrophic results like rising sea levels, more powerful hurricanes, scorching temperatures, worsening droughts, heavy flooding, and melting glaciers.
To forestall such a scenario, the IPCC wants the world to move away from fossil fuels and reduce or even eliminate CO2.
There is substantive disagreement in the broader scientific community about this theory. Skeptics say such talk is alarmist, not based on sound science, and amounts to eco-hysteria and scare-mongering.
“I believe that the global warming establishment is a political, social organization, not a scientific one, so I don’t think the science is settled and I don’t think they know what they’re talking about,” says Ian Clark, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa and director of the Ján Veizer Stable Isotope Laboratory, named in honour of Canada’s leading geoscientist Ján Veizer.
“The main problem I see is that it’s overstated, because the evidence doesn’t find that CO2 is a strong global warming agent, a strong greenhouse gas. … And I’ll also say that the danger, the impacts, the cries of climate catastrophe are also hugely overstated, because there really hasn’t been much of an impact.”
Numerous dire predictions made over the years by the IPCC and others have failed to materialize. Among them is climate change guru Al Gore’s famous 2008 prediction that the Arctic would be ice-free within five years (by 2013).
The latest IPCC report, released in October, says if CO2 not drastically reduced by 2040, the world will suffer disastrous, irreversible consequences.
“My belief is that there is a very strong, a very large group of scientists who either don’t know or don’t believe in [the AGW] opinion,” says Clark, adding that it would be far better if the “billions upon billions upon billions” being spent on climate change were instead put toward some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems.
After the release of the IPCC report, Gore made an astonishing admission in a wide-ranging interview on PBS NewsHour: that the language in the report’s presentation was exaggerated to prompt political action.
“The language that the IPCC used in presenting it was torqued up a little bit, appropriately—how [else] do they get the attention of policy-makers around the world?” he said.
Gore’s statement doesn’t surprise Marc Morano, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” co-writer and narrator of the documentary “Climate Hustle,” and founder of the website ClimateDepot.com.
“I have a whole chapter [in my book] just on U.N. scientists who turned against the U.N., and they talk about how they’ll sit around at meetings at the United Nations and say, ‘We’ll make the next report so alarming the world will have to act,’” he says.
“What they’ve done is they’ve tried to make every normal weather event seem unusual,” adds Morano, formerly a U.S Congressional aide who served as a senior adviser and climate researcher for U.S. Senator James Inhofe.
In 2010, Morano released a report listing more than 1,000 scientists worldwide who challenged the IPCC’s claims of man-made global warming.
The same year, 130 German scientists sent a letter to the chancellor voicing their concerns. In 2009, more than 100 international scientists challenged then-President Barack Obama’s climate claims, calling them “simply incorrect.” Also in 2009, 166 scientists from around the world wrote an open letter to the U.N. secretary-general declaring that the science is not settled. Scientists in Russia and India have also challenged the AGW theory.
“The bottom line is this: there’s massive scientific dissent,” Morano says, adding that the claim that there’s a 97 percent consensus among scientists on AGW has also been roundly debunked.
‘Built on Dishonesty’
The IPCC was established on the basis that CO2 is a threat, Morano says, so any other finding is not an option. The reason? Financial gain and a push for increased central planning, he says.
“The idea was if they find CO2 is dangerous not only do they get to keep having annual meetings and budget increases and national media and go all over the world and keep this alive, but the U.N. gets to also be in charge of the solution. So what are the odds that the climate panel is ever going to find that we don’t have a climate crisis?”
Canadian author Grant R. Jeffrey states in his book “The Global Warming Deception” that the industry overall is extremely well-funded.
“The climate change industry supports the academics, scientists, non-governmental organizations, media, and political groups that together promote the anthropogenic global warming movement,” he writes.
“There is far greater financial support available to those who promote the man-made global warming agenda than there is for any scientists who dare to explore alternative research theories.”
Nations are currently meeting at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, to finalize the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Morano says the outcome will simply be more money poured into supporting a movement “built on dishonesty.”
“Even if we do face a man-made climate crisis and we have to rely on the United Nation or the EPA to save us we would all be doomed, because nothing they propose would actually make a difference. It’s all climate symbolism, with a real economic and political agenda behind them.
“That’s what it’s all about, not the science.”