How Does One Measure the “Global” Temperature?
Conservative commentator, Mark Levin, opens the section in his book entitled “Enviro-Statism” with this accusation of the statist ideologue: “His pursuit, after all, is power, not truth. With the assistance of a pliant or sympathetic media, the Statist uses junk science, misrepresentations, and fear-mongering to promote public health and environmental scares, because he realizes that in a true, widespread health emergency, the public expects the government to act aggressively to address the crisis, despite traditional limitations on governmental authority.” Is this true? Apparently, the signatories of “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,” which is part of the Evangelical Climate Initiative do not believe Levin’s words.
Claim 1 reads, “Human-Induced Climate Change is Real. Since 1995 there has been general agreement among those in the scientific community most seriously engaged with this issue that climate change is happening and is being caused mainly by human activities.” (Emphasis added.) Now many believe this statement, but disbelieve Levin. One of the most relevant questions that needs to be asked is this: Are those signatories—and others like them—relying on what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says without any personal investigation? Most do not feel qualified to discuss something as complex and convoluted as how weather works, so we are willing to leave that to the “experts,” who perform this boring work for a living. Why these scientists have probably never watched an episode of American Idol, don’t know which team Brett Favre plays for, what Tiger Woods’ shot at Augusta, or Ichiro Suzuki’s batting average is. Most of them probably believe that Elvis is still dead. That’s how out of touch they are. But they do serve a positive function for us. They study the environment so we don’t have to.
In the midst of this, we hardly ever ask even simple questions like: how do you actually measure the temperature of the globe? How do variants such as a temperature reading in Antarctica and in Honolulu average out? Once a reading has been taken from a weather balloon and a ship at some point in the vast ocean, how are they harmonized? Computer models? Are they reliable? How do we know? We’ll touch on computer models in a moment, but the notion of “global” warming appears silly on its face.
So when the IPCC comes out with position papers, we tend to rely on a few people reading them for us and then telling us what they conclude so we, in our turn, can feign upset about the environment, even though we’re not willing to give up on big oil and electricity quite yet. The IPCC report that the signatories cling to (which is different from clinging to one’s Bible and guns) also vilifies CO2 as a culprit in causing global warming. So I want to take a few moments in this installment of Ethos and look at CO2 and the development of the IPCC reports.
Is CO2 Really That Bad?
To hear Al Gore, the IPCC, and its hangers-on say it, one would believe that we are on the eve of destruction. Dr. Ian Plimer of Australia disagrees. In fact, you can add his name to your list of eminent scientists who believe that global warming, as it is presented to us today by the IPCC, the media, and the hacks and pundits is bogus. Dr. Plimer is a well-qualified scientist who has written a new and provocative book entitled Heaven and Earth. Global Warming the Missing Science.
Plimer is convinced that to one degree or another, “We are all environmentalists.” This begs the question: what kind of environmentalist are you? You see, there is more than one kind. “Some of us underpin our environmentalism with political and romantic views of the environment, some underpin their environmental view with economic pragmatism and many, like me, try to acquire an integrated scientific understanding of the environment.” In short, this integrated approach takes into account matters such as life, ice sheets, oceans, atmosphere, rocks and extraterrestrial phenomena which influence our planet. Note well: Plimer is not talking about Martians or flying saucers.
He is convinced that there are a number of “dynamic” factors at work and in play on planet earth, but he does not put God into the equation. What he does do and say, however can help us from a “common grace” standpoint. He writes, “Climate has always changed. It always has and always will. Sea level has always changed. Ice sheets come and go. Life always changes. Extinctions of life are normal.” Thank you! This gives us another good reason to shake off the chains of political correctness and environmental tyranny.
So what about the culprit CO2? Plimer declares, “The Earth’s climate is driven by the receipt and redistribution of solar energy. Without this, there would be no life on Earth. Despite well-documented linkages between climate and solar activity, the Sun tends to be brushed aside as the driver of climate on Earth in place of a trace gas (carbon dioxide—CO2), most of which derives from natural processes. The CO2 in the atmosphere is only 0.001% of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life.”
“But,” someone may object, “what about the supercomputers scientists use to gather their information?” Good question. Plimer’s answer, however, is this: “Calculations on supercomputers, as powerful as they may be, are a far cry from the complexity of the planet Earth, where the atmosphere is influenced by processes that occur deep within the Earth, in the oceans, in the atmosphere, in the Sun and in the cosmos.”
There are other issues as well. For example, “If we look at the history of CO2 over time, we see that atmospheric CO2 content has been far higher than at present for most of time.” Even more enlightening is his assertion that “To argue that human emissions of CO2 are forcing global warming requires all the known, and possibly chaotic, mechanisms of natural global warming to be critically analysed and dismissed. This has not even been attempted. To argue that we humans can differentiate between human-induced climate changes and natural climate change is naïve.”
Moreover, many are so under the influence of the media that they are convinced that CO2 is a pollutant. It is not. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. “Global warming and a high CO2 content bring prosperity and lengthen your life.” You will not hear that on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, or ABC. You have to wonder why, don’t you? Rather than being a pollutant, CO2 “is plant food, is necessary for life, and without CO2 there would be no complex life on Earth.”
Why Would You Sign the IPCC Reports?
In 1896, a Swedish chemist attempted to calculate crudely what would happen concerning CO2 and the burning of fossil fuels. His calculations led him to conclude that if atmospheric CO2 doubled, the temperature on earth could increase by five degrees Celsius. His prognostications proved false. The history of science is filled with predictions and failures and “our time” is no different, although some credulous beings tend to believe that we’re all going to roast and time is running out—rapidly.
On June 24, 1974, Time ran a piece that warned we were heading towards a new Ice Age. Newsweek followed suit in 1975, as did that paragon of unbiased reporting National Geographic in 1976. There was no doubt. Scientists agreed that the earth was rushing towards global cooling. I have my own theory and it is this: In the run up to President Jimmy Carter’s presidency (otherwise known as the “Index of Misery” by those of us who barely survived it), everything from the temperatures to bank accounts cooled off precipitously. So sure was science and the popular magazines that the earth was cooling that Lowell Ponte stated, “Global cooling present humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance: the survival of ourselves, our children, our species.”
The media laugh and scoff—rightly—when some evangelical’s head gets so big that he or she feels the compunction to predict the return of Jesus. Why don’t they, however, hammer Mr. Ponte as well? We all know the answer to that one. Anyway, fast forward to April 3, 2006 and without a word of apology for misleading the masses, Time devotes an issue to global warming. All the news fit to print. Oh, that was the New York Times. Sorry. The renewed interest in the latest fad—global warming—caught Al Gore’s attention and drew him away from his labors of inventing the Internet long enough for him to chair a meeting of the US Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Space in 1989. Thankfully, this hearing didn’t last long and allowed politicians to move on to important issues such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and universal health care.
But allow me to sketch a brief time line of how we came by the IPCC document. In 1990, this established UN entity became concerned after a number of climate experts such as Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, and Meryl Streep helped make opposition to global warming fashionable. Therefore, under this undue pressure, “The IPCC gathered many climatologists, meteorologists, environmentalists and political activists and published several voluminous publications, the first of which was 1990.” Like most of our important legislation these days, which is also so voluminous that our elected officials vote on it before they read it, few read or understood the contents of these reports and articles. To this date, those who contributed are touted as the 2,500 scientific experts that constitute a “consensus” about global warming.
In the 1996 edition—and this is funny—one contributor on the impact of global warming was a health expert, whose field of expertise was the effectiveness of motorcycle helmets. I should mention that the same author had written on the health effects of mobile phones. Others were environmental activists and one very specialized expert had written on the dangerous effects of mercury poisoning in land mines. There must be a doctoral dissertation in there somewhere. Are you kidding me? If you step on a land mine, mercury poisoning is the very least of your worries. More important, however, is the fact that “Those who drove the publication of the chapters on the health effects of global warming had no formal expertise in the chapters’ subject material…”What this boils down to is this: “if we investigate the biographies of the 2500 ‘climate scientists’, we find that many were not even scientists. To claim that this group of 2500 people represents the world’s top scientists is untrue.” The upshot is that the IPCC produced a Summary for Policymakers in 1996 that stated “the balance of evidence suggests that there is discernible human influence on global climate.” Don’t you love it when people lie to you and the media backs them up? It’s even a tougher pill to swallow when so-called evangelical leaders like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, and Jim Wallis sign this kind of nonsense and there are no repercussions from the evangelical community. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and refine my calculations on the Second Coming.
 Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny, (NY: Threshold Editions, 2009), p. 114.
 Ian Plimer, Heaven and Earth, (NY: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2009).
 Ibid., 9.
 Ibid., 10.
 Ibid., 11.
 Ibid., 12.
 Ibid. Emphasis added.
 Lowell Ponte, The Cooling. Has the Next Ice Age Begun? Cited by Plimer, Heaven, 18.
 Ibid. 19. Emphasis added.
 Ibid., 20.
Labels: Global Warming/Climate Change