Sep 22, 2009

After Twenty Years of Global Warming – the End of the Hoax or of Western Freedom?

      Human-caused Global Warming (HGW) has become one of the hot-button issues of the last twenty years. The subject, namely the influence of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere on Earth's surface temperature, is not a trivial one, falling into the domains of mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, and biology. However, the most involved and influential proponents of HGW are journalists, politicians, lawyers, social scientists, and actors. These HGW fighters and true believers,
referred to as "warm mongers" by climate-change skeptics, do their best to silence any opposition to their catastrophic vision. One might question whether the general public has adequate information and knowledge to draw correct conclusions on such a complex issue. Anyone trying to understand the subject will see that the Earth's surface temperature is affected by innumerable factors: the type and quantity of clouds, solar radiation, the composition of the atmosphere and the absorption spectra of its components, the position of the Earth and its axis toward the Sun, the number of sunspots, the reflectivity of various types of Earth surfaces and clouds, ocean temperature cycles such as El Nino and La Nina, ocean currents, volcanic activity, Earth’s magnetic field, cosmic radiation, the position of Earth in our galaxy, the processes in the Earth’s core and mantle, quantity and type of the Earth flora, chemical reactions of the gases in the atmosphere and on the earth surface, and many others. The first conclusion that one should draw is that such a complex issue cannot be sufficiently understood by a politician with a few courses in politics, law and journalism, such as Al Gore. Regardless of the scientific education and moral integrity of the warming proponents, including Clinton, Gore and Obama, a second conclusion that can be drawn is that their hypotheses change like a weathervane to conform to the real climate.
      The history of HGW starts deep in the nineteenth century, along with other popular catastrophic concepts like class struggle or heat death of the universe. Joseph Fourier (the father of Fourier trigonometric series and also the governor of Lower Egypt under Napoleon) was the first, in 1824, to suggest the warming effect of the gases in the atmosphere on the Earth's surface temperature. Svante Arrhenius (Nobel Prize 1903) saw human-caused emission of CO2 positively. He suggested that the greenhouse effect resulting from CO2 emission might save the world from a new ice age. Optimistic news never attracts media attention so the greenhouse effect only became popular when it was recast as a recipe for global disaster – what we now refer to as Global Warming. Among the first proponents of the damaging greenhouse effects caused by burning fossil fuels was Margaret Thatcher, who tried to employ the idea in her political struggle against the British coal miners in the 1980s. But the birth of the current HGW hysteria may be associated mainly with the collapse of Communist rule in Eastern Europe around 1989. With the dissolution of their principal enemy, the Western public was available for new challenges and dangers. This void was immediately exploited by Leftist activists who had been undergoing a red to green transformation for some time and who were ready to take a leadership role in the new crusade against capitalism – now assuming an environmentalist face, replacing red terror with green terror. Typically, former European red terrorists founded new Green parties (e.g., Joschka Fisher). A broad sector of the Western population was provided with a new higher cause. The new cause brought new marketable goods: emission rates to be traded and new "clean" technologies. Very illustrative is the number of patents and patent applications containing the words "global warming"; the number was zero in 1988 – the year IPCC was founded, six in 1989 and more than 10,000 in 2009.
      Since the end justifies the means, nonconforming facts have been withdrawn from popular attention, including models failures, unfulfilled prophecies, and any observations that contradict the HGW proponent’s hypothesis. For example, a lesser Satan for the HGW advocates is methane, which is famously released by flatulent cows in supposedly dangerous amounts into the atmosphere. However, what has not been publicized is a recent surprising discovery that methane is a normal byproduct of plant metabolism; one could wonder when the HGW fanatics will try to punish plants. As for the principal villain, it was found that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere correlates with the Earth’s temperature during geological history. This led the HGW fighters to the initial hypothesis that current anthropogenic increase of CO2 in the Earth atmosphere would result in a permanent temperature rise. However, observed periods of cooling, for example during 1940-70, contradicted this hypothesis, and moreover, it turned out that the changing CO2 level in the atmosphere over time was not the cause but the effect of temperature change. This forced the HGW fighters to further hypothesize that the anthropogenic effects are so complex that anthropogenic warming might push the earth climate faster to a sudden shift, possibly causing a global cooling at certain stages – a paradox resembling Soviet dialectics. To be on the safe side, fighters' Newspeak often replaces the term "global warming" with an ambiguous term "climate change". Quite effectively in the struggle for public support, HGW advocates make categorical statements about broad consensus among the scientists in regard to climate change; conversely opponents are presented as a scientific and political fringe, possibly defending the interests of oil corporations. As for the corporations, for example Shell – the world's largest oil corporation – generously advertises the dangers of CO2 emissions. Also generally unknown are the protests of the scientists who helped the IPCC in preparing the Assessment Reports but disagreed with changes effected by the IPCC in the final edition. The fact is that the proponents of HGW and not their opponents are paid for their opinions. When money and threats were involved in science, history shows that many scientists were cautious to differ from the establishment, not only in the time of Galileo but also in the recent century of Soviets and Nazis.
      Could the facts defeat the weather alarmists? Maybe – at least if some freedom of expression would be preserved. Two science-oriented media have now revealed the gap between the facts and the proclaimed clarity of the HGW issue. Popular monthly Scientific American, in a low profile article in its July issue, casually mentioned mistakes disclosed by independent scientists in the data presented by warming proponents to the public, including systematic errors in the algorithms used as well as intentional "corrections and adjustments". It also mentioned the use of erroneous data regarding supposed “record” temperatures and the melting of Arctic ice. To be sure, the article seemed to excuse the mistakes, but after twenty years of unconditional support by the magazine for the HGW cause, it might be the first swallow signaling summer, possibly resulting from the replacement of the editor-in-chief the same month. Incidentally within one week after the above article, the weekly of the American Chemical Society (ACS) – the largest scientific organization in the world, Chemical and Engineering News, in its July 27 issue, published the sharp protests of many ACS members against non-scientific and non-democratic attempts of the editor-in-chief to de-legitimize free discussion about the HGW issue. In the August 24 issue, the editor and supporting letters he selected compared the dissenting ACS members, who apparently represented the majority of the correspondents, to creationists and holocaust deniers; curiously, chemists were denoted as people not having a "right mind-set to understand the climate changes". Both of the above cases demonstrate that, although silenced, a bulk of non-social scientists disagree with the generally accepted views on Global Warming.
      The HGW proponents view HGW very emotionally and from a very political perspective. Any scientific discussion has been de-legitimized. The HGW believers never criticized big CO2 emitters like China, Russia and India, but radiated green hatred toward the US government – when it was Republican. The organizations which market the HGW catastroph, including UNO and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), are particularly notorious for their contempt for the truth. Principal IPCC documents, Assessments Reports, are not fully available in the IPCC site, preventing the readers from reviewing contradictions or unfulfilled predictions. The latest Fifth Assessment Report, besides mentioning that thousands of experts participated in its creation, and besides presenting a mishmash of observations, such as "increase in hurricane intensity in North Atlantic" and "no clear trend in the number of hurricanes", estimates climate sensitivity at 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius. This parameter, characterizing the CO2 greenhouse effect, is defined as the expected temperature increase caused by doubling CO2 concentration. According to independent scientists, climate sensitivity is much lower than 2 degrees Celsius. For example, a new model published in 2007 by Ferenc M. Miskolczi, a former NASA researcher, more accurately accounting for the water-caused negative feedback, provides a climate sensitivity value of 0.24 degrees Celsius. The effect of CO2 in the atmosphere has been overestimated by the IPCC by a factor of ten. It is agreed by independent scientists that even if all fossil fuels were to be suddenly burned, the released CO2 would amount to merely one quarter of CO2 dissolved in the oceans, and would have no catastrophic effect on our climate. Moreover, plants consume CO2 in the process of photosynthesis and their growth is supported by increasing CO2; photosynthetic organisms and the oceans are a huge buffer prepared to absorb anthropogenic CO2 until the technology of controlled thermonuclear fusion is available to mankind. The technology is already tested in pilot projects and is expected to provide unlimited amounts of clean energy within several decades.
      As stated above, HGW proponents ignore scientific evidence contradicting their hypothesis of catastrophic anthropogenic warming. They are financially and politically motivated to ignore the truth, and usually they are incapable of understanding the scientific evidence related to HGW. Despite all this, the HGW alarmists have a disproportionate influence on the current political, technological, and economic developments in the world. At this stage it is not clear whether the problem of HGW will disappear and be forgotten like other hoaxes of the past, or whether it will remain firmly integrated within dogmas of politically correct thinking, further damaging the free development of Western society.