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Global Warming: Looking for Proof

Global Warming: Looking for Proof

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Temperatures rising

Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index

Evidence of rising temperatures is pervasive and striking: Thermometer records kept over the past century and a half show Earth's average temperature has risen more than 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius), and about twice that in parts of the Arctic.

That doesn’t mean temperatures haven't fluctuated among regions of the globe or between seasons and times of day. But by analyzing average temperatures all over the world, scientists have demonstrated an unmistakable upward trend.

This trend is part of climate change, which many people consider synonymous with global warming. Scientists prefer to use “climate change” when describing the complex shifts now affecting our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts.

All of these changes are emerging as humans continue to add heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

The Most Powerful Evidence Climate Scientists Have of Global Warming

Hurricane forecasters look closely at ocean temperatures. Sea surface temperatures above 78 degrees, shown here in yellow, orange and red, are sufficiently warm to fuel hurricanes. Credit: NOAA


Rate of Ocean Warming Has Nearly Doubled Over Two Decades, Study Says

Already Debunked Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Gets Another Dunking

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Earth’s temperature is rising, and it isn’t just in the air around us. More than 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions has been absorbed into the oceans that cover two-thirds of the planet’s surface. Their temperature is rising, too, and it tells a story of how humans are changing the planet.

This accrued heat is “really the memory of past climate change,” said Kevin Trenberth, the head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and co-author of a new paper on ocean warming.

It’s not just the amount of warming that is significant—it’s also the pace.

The rate at which the oceans are heating up has nearly doubled since 1992, and that heat is reaching ever deeper waters, according to a recent study. At the same time, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been rising.

The charts that follow show how the oceans are changing and what they’re telling us as a thermometer of global warming.

Scientists say the accumulation of heat in the oceans is the strongest evidence of how fast Earth is warming due to heat-trapping gases released by the burning of fossil fuels.

Oceans have enormous capacity to hold heat. So ocean temperatures, unlike temperatures on land, are slow to fluctuate from natural forces, such as El Niño/La Niña patterns or volcanic eruptions. Think night and day, said Trenberth. As night falls on land, so do air temperatures. But in the oceans, temperatures vary little.

This makes it easier to tease out the influence of human-caused climate change from other possible causes of surging ocean heat.

How much extra heat are we talking about? And what are the impacts on the climate system? “On a day-to-day a basis, it’s really quite small,” Trenberth said, but the cumulative effects are not.

According to research by Trenberth and Lijing Cheng, of the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in Beijing, the heat storage in the oceans during 2015 and 2016 amounted to a stunning force: an increase of 30.4 X 1022 joules of energy roiling Earth’s systems since 1960. The overload is helping throw off Earth’s energy balance, needed for the climate to be relatively stable. Put another way: The excess energy amassed in the oceans since 1992 is roughly equivalent to 2,000 times U.S. electricity generation during the past decade, the researchers explained.

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Ocean temperatures have been rising about 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade on average over the past 50 years. The higher temperatures are driving marine life toward the poles in search of livable habitats, bleaching coral reefs, and causing severe impacts on fisheries and aquacultures. They also contribute to more frequent and intense extreme weather events. In the three back-to-back deadly hurricanes of 2017—Harvey, Irma and Maria—warmer waters played a role in worsening the storms.

Though ocean temperature represents a clear signal of climate change, one challenge for researchers is that the record only goes back so far. Since the early 2000s, an international effort called Argo has launched nearly 4,000 ocean-going sensors that gather important data about the oceans, including temperature.

Meanwhile, as oceans heat up, thermal expansion causes sea levels that are already rising from the melting of land ice (triggered by higher air and sea temperatures) to rise even more. Nearly 50 percent of the sea level rise so far has come from ocean warming, according to new work by Cheng and Trenberth. Much of the rest comes from the melting of ice on Antarctica and Greenland.

Ocean warming can impact sea level rise in another way, too. This year has seen extensive losses from Antarctica’s ice shelves. “It’s most likely because that ice is being undermined through warmer ocean underneath the ice, which is contributing to the thinning of the ice and weakening of the shelf,” Trenberth said. The ice shelves themselves are already floating, but they are attached to land and play a critical role in slowing the ocean-bound ice flow from the massive ice sheets behind them. Scientists say the West Antarctic Ice Sheet alone holds enough ice to raise global sea level by about 11 feet.

There's no empirical evidence

"There is no actual evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming. Note that computer models are just concatenations of calculations you could do on a hand-held calculator, so they are theoretical and cannot be part of any evidence." (David Evans)

The proof that man-made CO2 is causing global warming is like the chain of evidence in a court case. CO2 keeps the Earth warmer than it would be without it. Humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. And there is empirical evidence that the rising temperatures are being caused by the increased CO2.

The Earth is wrapped in an invisible blanket

It is the Earth&rsquos atmosphere that makes most life possible. To understand this, we can look at the moon. On the surface, the moon&rsquos temperature during daytime can reach 100°C (212°F). At night, it can plunge to minus 173°C, or -279.4°F. In comparison, the coldest temperature on Earth was recorded in Antarctica: &minus89.2°C (&minus128.6°F). According to the WMO, the hottest was 56.7°C (134°F), measured on 10 July 1913 at Greenland Ranch (Death Valley).

Man could not survive in the temperatures on the moon, even if there was air to breathe. Humans, plants and animals can&rsquot tolerate the extremes of temperature on Earth unless they evolve special ways to deal with the heat or the cold. Nearly all life on Earth lives in areas that are more hospitable, where temperatures are far less extreme.

Yet the Earth and the moon are virtually the same distance from the sun, so why do we experience much less heat and cold than the moon? The answer is because of our atmosphere. The moon doesn&rsquot have one, so it is exposed to the full strength of energy coming from the sun. At night, temperatures plunge because there is no atmosphere to keep the heat in, as there is on Earth.

The laws of physics tell us that without the atmosphere, the Earth would be approximately 33°C (59.4°F) cooler than it actually is.

This would make most of the surface uninhabitable for humans. Agriculture as we know it would be more or less impossible if the average temperature was &minus18 °C. In other words, it would be freezing cold even at the height of summer.

The reason that the Earth is warm enough to sustain life is because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases act like a blanket, keeping the Earth warm by preventing some of the sun&rsquos energy being re-radiated into space. The effect is exactly the same as wrapping yourself in a blanket &ndash it reduces heat loss from your body and keeps you warm.

If we add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, the effect is like wrapping yourself in a thicker blanket: even less heat is lost. So how can we tell what effect CO2 is having on temperatures, and if the increase in atmospheric CO2 is really making the planet warmer?

One way of measuring the effect of CO2 is by using satellites to compare how much energy is arriving from the sun, and how much is leaving the Earth. What scientists have seen over the last few decades is a gradual decrease in the amount of energy being re-radiated back into space. In the same period, the amount of energy arriving from the sun has not changed very much at all. This is the first piece of evidence: more energy is remaining in the atmosphere.

Total Earth Heat Content from Church et al. (2011)

What can keep the energy in the atmosphere? The answer is greenhouse gases. Science has known about the effect of certain gases for over a century. They &lsquocapture&rsquo energy, and then emit it in random directions. The primary greenhouse gases &ndash carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), water vapour, nitrous oxide and ozone &ndash comprise around 1% of the air.

This tiny amount has a very powerful effect, keeping the planet 33°C (59.4°F) warmer than it would be without them. (The main components of the atmosphere &ndash nitrogen and oxygen &ndash are not greenhouse gases, because they are virtually unaffected by long-wave, or infrared, radiation). This is the second piece of evidence: a provable mechanism by which energy can be trapped in the atmosphere.

For our next piece of evidence, we must look at the amount of CO2 in the air. We know from bubbles of air trapped in ice cores that before the industrial revolution, the amount of CO2 in the air was approximately 280 parts per million (ppm). In June 2013, the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Hawaii announced that, for the first time in thousands of years, the amount of CO2 in the air had gone up to 400ppm. That information gives us the next piece of evidence CO2 has increased by nearly 43% in the last 150 years.

Atmospheric CO2 levels (Green is Law Dome ice core , Blue is Mauna Loa, Hawaii ) and Cumulative CO2 emissions ( CDIAC ). While atmospheric CO2 levels are usually expressed in parts per million, here they are displayed as the amount of CO2 residing in the atmosphere in gigatonnes. CO2 emissions includes fossil fuel emissions , cement production and emissions from gas flaring.

The Smoking Gun

The final piece of evidence is &lsquothe smoking gun&rsquo, the proof that CO2 is causing the increases in temperature. CO2 traps energy at very specific wavelengths, while other greenhouse gases trap different wavelengths. In physics, these wavelengths can be measured using a technique called spectroscopy. Here&rsquos an example:

Spectrum of the greenhouse radiation measured at the surface. Greenhouse effect from water vapor is filtered out, showing the contributions of other greenhouse gas es ( Evans 2006 ).

The graph shows different wavelengths of energy, measured at the Earth&rsquos surface. Among the spikes you can see energy being radiated back to Earth by ozone (O3), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N20). But the spike for CO2 on the left dwarfs all the other greenhouse gases, and tells us something very important: most of the energy being trapped in the atmosphere corresponds exactly to the wavelength of energy captured by CO2.

Summing Up

Like a detective story, first you need a victim, in this case the planet Earth: more energy is remaining in the atmosphere.

Then you need a method, and ask how the energy could be made to remain. For that, you need a provable mechanism by which energy can be trapped in the atmosphere, and greenhouse gases provide that mechanism.

Next, you need a &lsquomotive&rsquo. Why has this happened? Because CO2 has increased by nearly 50% in the last 150 years and the increase is from burning fossil fuels.

And finally, the smoking gun, the evidence that proves &lsquowhodunit&rsquo: energy being trapped in the atmosphere corresponds exactly to the wavelengths of energy captured by CO2.

The last point is what places CO2 at the scene of the crime. The investigation by science builds up empirical evidence that proves, step by step, that man-made carbon dioxide is causing the Earth to warm up.

Basic rebuttal written by GPWayne

Addendum: the opening paragraph was added on 24th October 2013 in response to a criticism by Graeme, a participant on the Coursera Climate Literacy course. He pointed out that the rebuttal did not make explicit that it was man-made CO2 causing the warming, which the new paragraph makes clear. The statement ". and humans are adding more CO2 all the time" was also added to the 'what the science says section.

". these global warming studies that now we're seeing (are) a bunch of snake oil science." (Sarah Palin)

The 2009 State of the Climate report of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released in mid-2010, brings together many different series of data &ldquofrom the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean&rdquo. The conclusion? All of these independent lines of evidence tell us unequivocally that the Earth is warming.

The very accessible 10-page summary examines the trends for 10 key climate indicators using a total of 47 different sets of data. All of the indicators expected to increase in a warming world, are in fact increasing, and all that are expected to decrease, are decreasing:

    as measured by weather stations. You know all those skeptic arguments about how the temperature record is biased by the urban heat island effect, badly-sited weather stations, dropped stations, and so on? This is the only indicator which suffers from all those problems. So if you&rsquore arguing with somebody who tries to frame the discussion as being about land surface air temperature, just remind them about the other nine indicators. . As with land temperatures, the longest record goes back to 1850 and the last decade is warmest. . as measured by satellites for around 50 years. By any of these measures, the 2000s was the warmest decade and each of the last three decades has been much warmer than the previous one. , for which records go back over half a century. More than 90% of the extra heat from global warming is going into the oceans &ndash contributing to a rise in&hellip . Tide gauge records go back to 1870, and sea level has risen at an accelerating rate. , which has risen in tandem with temperatures. . 2009 was the 19th consecutive year in which there was a net loss of ice from glaciers worldwide. , which has also decreased in recent decades.
  1. Perhaps the most dramatic change of all has been in Arctic sea ice. Satellite measurements are available back to 1979 and reliable shipping records back to 1953. September sea ice extent has shrunk by 35% since 1979.

Science isn&rsquot like a house of cards, in that removing one line of evidence (eg. land surface air temperature) wouldn&rsquot cause the whole edifice of anthropogenic global warming to collapse. Rather, &ldquoland surface warming&rdquo is one of more than ten bricks supporting &ldquoglobal warming&rdquo and with global warming established, there is a whole other set of bricks supporting &ldquoanthropogenic global warming&rdquo. To undermine these conclusions, you&rsquod need to remove most or all of the bricks supporting them &ndash but as the evidence continues to pile up, that is becoming less and less likely.

Looking Ahead

Later in this chapter, you will learn about the close relationship between climate, culture, and spirituality--and the devastating effects that climate change can have on a culture’s spiritual traditions.

Glaciers and snow cover have also declined in the Northern Hemisphere since the mid-twentieth century. For example, the Northwestern Glacier A glacier found at the head of Northwestern Fjord in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska which has been steadily receding over the past century. View Source in Alaska has diminished dramatically during that time. In addition, both the thickness and the extent of permafrost A layer of water-logged soil or bedrock that has been continuously frozen for at least two years and as long as tens of thousands of years. Permafrost can reach depths of up to 1,524 m (4,999 ft). It is predominantly found in the tundra biome and throughout most of the polar regions and underlies about one fifth of the Earth's land surface. View Source
Modified from permafrost. (n.d.) The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. (2005). Retrieved August 26 2014 from have experienced considerable reductions in the tundra Tundra is the coldest of all the biomes, occurring below the north pole and above the treeline in some large mountain ranges. A layer of permanently frozen subsoil called permafrost exists, consisting mostly of peat and gravel. The harsh living conditions and short growing season account for its low biodiversity. Warming in the tundra enhances decomposition of the peat under anoxic and water logged conditions, producing methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. of Northern Alaska and the Russian European North since the 1970s.

Permafrost is any soil or rock that remains frozen—below 0°C or 32°F—throughout the vast majority of the year, and thaws only at the very surface for a short growing season. For a soil to be considered permafrost, it must be frozen for two consecutive years or longer. Permafrost can be found in cold climates where the average annual temperature is less than the freezing point of water. Such climates are found near the North and South poles. In the northern hemisphere they occur as far south as 50° N throughout most of Siberia, Northern Europe, Mongolia, Alaska, parts of Canada, and in alpine regions Alpine tundra is an ecosystem that occurs in mountains worldwide. The high altitude climate is too cold and windy to support a wide variety of trees. The flora of the alpine tundra is characterized by dwarf shrubs close to the ground. The cold climate of the alpine tundra is caused by the low air pressure, and is similar to polar climate. View Source including the Himalayas.

Scientific Consensus: Earth's Climate Is Warming

Temperature data showing rapid warming in the past few decades, the latest data going up to 2020. According to NASA data, 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. The 10 warmest years in the 141-year record have occurred since 2005, with the seven most recent years being the warmest. Credit: NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals 1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree*: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.


Statement on Climate Change from 18 Scientific Associations

"Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver." (2009) 2

"Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening." (2014) 3

"The Earth&rsquos climate is changing in response to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and particulate matter in the atmosphere, largely as the result of human activities." (2016-2019) 4

"Based on extensive scientific evidence, it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. There is no alterative explanation supported by convincing evidence." (2019) 5

"Our AMA . supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change&rsquos fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant." (2019) 6

"Research has found a human influence on the climate of the past several decades . The IPCC (2013), USGCRP (2017), and USGCRP (2018) indicate that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-twentieth century." (2019) 7

"Earth's changing climate is a critical issue and poses the risk of significant environmental, social and economic disruptions around the globe. While natural sources of climate variability are significant, multiple lines of evidence indicate that human influences have had an increasingly dominant effect on global climate warming observed since the mid-twentieth century." (2015) 8

"The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2011), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (Melillo et al., 2014) that global climate has warmed in response to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases . Human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) are the dominant cause of the rapid warming since the middle 1900s (IPCC, 2013)." (2015) 9


International Academies: Joint Statement

"Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world&rsquos climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001)." (2005, 11 international science academies) 10

"Scientists have known for some time, from multiple lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth&rsquos climate, primarily through greenhouse gas emissions." 11


"Earth&rsquos climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities." (2018, 13 U.S. government departments and agencies) 12


&ldquoWarming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.&rdquo 13

&ldquoHuman influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.&rdquo 14


List of Worldwide Scientific Organizations

The following page lists the nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.

U.S. Agencies

*Technically, a &ldquoconsensus&rdquo is a general agreement of opinion, but the scientific method steers us away from this to an objective framework. In science, facts or observations are explained by a hypothesis (a statement of a possible explanation for some natural phenomenon), which can then be tested and retested until it is refuted (or disproved).

As scientists gather more observations, they will build off one explanation and add details to complete the picture. Eventually, a group of hypotheses might be integrated and generalized into a scientific theory, a scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.


Quotation from page 6: "The number of papers rejecting AGW [Anthropogenic, or human-caused, Global Warming] is a miniscule proportion of the published research, with the percentage slightly decreasing over time. Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.&rdquo

Quotation from page 3: "Among abstracts that expressed a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the scientific consensus. Among scientists who expressed a position on AGW in their abstract, 98.4% endorsed the consensus.&rdquo

W. R. L. Anderegg, &ldquoExpert Credibility in Climate Change,&rdquo Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol. 107 No. 27, 12107-12109 (21 June 2010) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107.

P. T. Doran & M. K. Zimmerman, "Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union Vol. 90 Issue 3 (2009), 22 DOI: 10.1029/2009EO030002.

Top 10 Global Warming Lies That May Shock You

Global warming alarmists frequently make false and deplorable assertions (see, for example, my recent column debunking false claims that global warming is causing a decline in wheat production), but the Environmental Defense Fund’s recent fund-raising mailer, “10 Global Warming Effects That May Shock You,” may well set a new low. However, climate realists can make lemonade from EDF’s preposterous mailer by using it to show open-minded people the difference between global warming alarmists and global warming truth-tellers.

EDF has assembled what it believes to be the 10 most powerful global warming assertions in the alarmists’ playbook, yet each assertion either backfires on alarmists or has been proven false. While reading how flawed EDF’s assertions are, remember these are the very best arguments global warming alarmists can make. Open-minded readers should have very little difficulty dismissing the mythical global warming crisis after examining the top 10 assertions in the alarmist playbook.

Alarmist Assertion #1

“Bats Drop from the Sky – In 2014, a scorching summer heat wave caused more than 100,000 bats to literally drop dead and fall from the sky in Queensland, Australia.”

Global warming alarmists’ preferred electricity source – wind power – kills nearly 1 million bats every year (to say nothing of the more than 500,000 birds killed every year) in the United States alone. This appalling death toll occurs every year even while wind power produces just 3% of U.S. electricity. Ramping up wind power to 10, 20, or 30% of U.S. electricity production would likely increase annual bat kills to 10-to-30 million every year. Killing 30 million bats every year in response to dubious claims that global warming might once in a great while kill 100,000 bats makes no sense.

Just as importantly, alarmists present no evidence that global warming caused the summer heat wave in a notoriously hot desert near the equator. To the contrary, climate change theory and objective data show our recent global warming is occurring primarily in the winter, toward the poles, and at night.

Australia’s highest recorded temperature occurred more than half a century ago, and only two of Australia’s seven states have set their all-time temperature record during the past 40 years. Indeed, Queensland’s 2014 heat wave paled in comparison to the 1972 heat wave that occurred 42 years of global warming ago. If global warming caused the 2014 Queensland heat wave, why wasn’t it as severe as the 1972 Queensland heat wave? Blaming every single summer heat wave or extreme weather event on global warming is a stale and discredited tactic in the alarmist playbook. Objective science proves extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, and droughts have become less frequent and less severe as a result of the Earth’s recent modest warming.

Windmills for electric power production, Zaragoza Province, Aragon, Spain. Getty

Alarmist Assertion #2

“Lyme Disease Spreads” – Warmer temperatures are contributing to the range expansion and severity of tick-borne Lyme disease.”

Lyme Disease is much more common in northern, cooler regions of the United States than in southern, warmer regions. Asserting, without any supporting data or evidence, that a disease that prospers in cool climates will become more prevalent as a result of global warming defies objective data and common sense. Moreover, a team of scientists extensively researched Lyme Disease climate and habitat and reported in the peer-reviewed science journal EcoHealth, “the only environmental variable consistently association with increased [Lyme Disease] risk and incidence was the presence of forests.”

Granted, alarmists can argue that forests are thriving under global warming, with the result that forest-dwelling ticks will also benefit. However, expanding forests are universally – and properly – viewed as environmentally beneficial. Alarmist attempts to frame thriving forests as harmful perfectly illustrate the alarmists’ proclivity to claim anything and everything – no matter how beneficial – is severely harmful and caused by global warming.

Moreover, even if global warming expanded Lyme Disease range, one must look at the totality of global warming’s impact on the range of viruses and diseases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports Lyme Disease “is rare as a cause of death in the United States.” According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is a contributing factor to less than 25 deaths per year in the United States. Indeed, during a recent five-year span examined by the CDC, “only 1 [death] record was consistent with clinical manifestations of Lyme Disease.” Any attempts to claim global warming will cause a few more Lyme Disease deaths must be weighed against the 36,000 Americans who are killed by the flu each year. The U.S. National Institutes of Health have documented how influenza is aided and abetted by cold climate. Any attempt to connect a warmer climate to an increase in Lyme Disease must be accompanied by an acknowledgement of a warmer climate’s propensity to reduce influenza incidence and mortality. The net impact of a warmer climate on viruses and diseases such as Lyme Disease and influenza is substantially beneficial and life-saving.

Alarmist Assertion #3

“National Security Threatened – The impacts of climate change are expected to act as a ‘threat multiplier’ in many of the world’s most unstable regions, exacerbating droughts and other natural disasters as well as leading to food, water and other resource shortages that may spur mass migrations.”

The alarmists’ asserted national security threat depends on assertions that (1) global warming is causing a reduction in food and water supplies and (2) migrations of people to places with more food and water will increase risks of military conflict. Objective facts refute both assertions.

Regarding food and water supplies, global crop production has soared as the Earth gradually warms. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is essential to plant life, and adding more of it to the atmosphere enhances plant growth and crop production. Longer growing seasons and fewer frost events also benefit plant growth and crop production. As this column has repeatedly documented (see articles here, here, and here, for example), global crops set new production records virtually every year as our planet modestly warms. If crop shortages cause national security threats and global warming increases crop production, then global warming benefits rather than jeopardizes national security.

The same holds true for water supplies. Objective data show there has been a gradual increase in global precipitation and soil moisture as our planet warms. Warmer temperatures evaporate more water from the oceans, which in turn stimulates more frequent precipitation over continental land masses. The result of this enhanced precipitation is an improvement in soil moisture at almost all sites in the Global Soil Moisture Data Bank. If declining precipitation and declining soil moisture are military threat multipliers, than global warming is creating a safer, more peaceful world.

Alarmist Assertion #4

“Sea Levels Rising – Warmer temperatures are causing glaciers and polar ice sheets to melt, increasing the amount of water in the world’s seas and oceans.”

The pace of sea level rise remained relatively constant throughout the 20th century, even as global temperatures gradually rose. There has similarly been no increase in the pace of sea level rise in recent decades. Utilizing 20th century technologies, humans effectively adapted to global sea level rise. Utilizing 21st century technologies, humans will be even better equipped to adapt to global sea level rise.

Also, the alarmist assertion that polar ice sheets are melting is simply false. Although alarmists frequently point to a modest recent shrinkage in the Arctic ice sheet, that decline has been completely offset by ice sheet expansion in the Antarctic. Cumulatively, polar ice sheets have not declined at all since NASA satellite instruments began precisely measuring them 35 years ago.

Alarmist Assertion #5

“Allergies Worsen – Allergy sufferers beware: Climate change could cause pollen counts to double in the next 30 years. The warming temperatures cause advancing weed growth, a bane for allergy sufferers.”

Pollen is a product and mechanism of plant reproduction and growth. As such, pollen counts will rise and fall along with plant health and vegetation intensity. Any increase in pollen will be the result of a greener biosphere with more plant growth. Similar to the alarmist argument, discussed above, that expanding forests will create more habitat for the ticks that spread Lyme Disease, alarmists here are taking overwhelmingly good news about global warming improving plant health and making it seem like this good news is actually bad news because healthier plants mean more pollen.

Indeed, NASA satellite instruments have documented a spectacular greening of the Earth, with foliage gains most prevalent in previously arid, semi-desert regions. For people experiencing an increase in vegetation in previously barren regions, this greening of the Earth is welcome and wonderful news. For global warming alarmists, however, a greener biosphere is terrible news and something to be opposed. This, in a nutshell, defines the opposing sides in the global warming debate. Global warming alarmists claim a greener biosphere with richer and more abundant plant life is horrible and justifies massive, economy-destroying energy restrictions. Global warming realists understand that a greener biosphere with richer and more abundant plant life is not a horrible thing simply because humans may have had some role in creating it.

Alarmist Assertion #6

“Beetles Destroy Iconic Western Forests – Climate change has sent tree-killing beetles called mountain pine beetles into overdrive. Under normal conditions those beetles reproduce just once annually, but the warming climate has allowed them to churn out an extra generation of new bugs each year.”

Alarmists claim warmer winters are causing an increase in pine beetle populations. This assertion is thoroughly debunked by objective, real-world data.

As an initial matter, alarmists have responded to recent bitterly cold winters by claiming global warming is causing colder winters. One cannot claim global warming is causing colder winters and then turn around and simultaneously claim global warming is causing warmer winters. Global warming activists’ propensity for doing so shows just how little value they place in a truthful debate.

Objective scientific data verify winters are getting colder, which counters the key prerequisite to EDF’s pine beetle claim. NOAA temperature data show winter temperatures in the United States have been getting colder for at least the past two decades. Pine beetles cannot be taking advantage of warmer winters if winters are in fact getting colder. Moreover, recent U.S. Forest Service data show pine beetle infestations have recently declined dramatically throughout the western United States.

Forests and plant life are expanding globally, and particularly in the western United States. Pine beetles are a natural part of forest ecosystems. Expanding pine forests can support more beetles. The predictable increase in pine beetles is largely a product of, rather than a foil against, expanding pine forests. One can hardly argue that western pine forests are “destroying iconic Western forests” when western forests are becoming denser and more prevalent as the planet warms.

Also, beetles have bored through North American forests for millennia, long before people built coal-fired power plants and drove SUVs. Beetles are not dependent on warm winters, as evidenced by their historic prevalence in places such as Alaska.

Finally, pine beetles tend to target dead, unhealthy, more vulnerable pine trees rather than healthy trees. Decades of over-aggressive fire suppression policies have caused an unnatural buildup of older, denser, more vulnerable pine forests. These conditions predictably aid pine beetles.

Alarmist Assertion #7

“Canada: The New America – ‘Lusher’ vegetation growth typically associated with the United States is now becoming more common in Canada, scientists reported in a 2012 Nature Climate Change study.”

Only global warming alarmists would claim that lusher vegetation and more abundant plant life is a bad thing. Playing on a general tendency for people to fear change, EDF and global warming alarmists argue that changes in the biosphere that make it richer, lusher, and more conducive to life are changes to be feared and opposed. If barren ecosystems constitute an ideal planet, then the alarmist fears of more plant life make sense. On the contrary, global warming realists understand a climate more conducive to richer, more abundant plant life is beneficial rather than harmful.

Alarmist Assertion #8

“Economic Consequences – The costs associated with climate change rise along with the temperatures. Severe storms and floods combined with agricultural losses cause billions of dollars in damages, and money is needed to treat and control the spread of disease”

Severe storms, floods and agricultural losses may cost a great deal of money, but such extreme weather events – and their resulting costs – are dramatically declining as the Earth modestly warms. Accordingly, EDF’s asserted economic costs are actually economic benefits.

As documented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and here at, severe storms are becoming less frequent and severe as the Earth modestly warms. This is especially evident regarding hurricane and tornado activity, which are both at historic lows. Similarly, scientific measurements and peer-reviewed studies report no increase in flooding events regarding natural-flowing rivers and streams. Any increase in flooding activity is due to human alterations of river and stream flow rather than precipitation changes.

Also, the modest recent warming is producing U.S. and global crop production records virtually every year, creating billions of dollars in new economic and human welfare benefits each and every year. This creates a net economic benefit completely ignored by EDF.

Regarding “the spread of disease,” as documented in “Alarmist Assertion #2,” objective evidence shows global warming will thwart deadly outbreaks of influenza and other cold-dependent viruses.

Additionally, the alarmists’ desired means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions – more expensive energy sources – make economic conditions even worse. Forcing the American economy to operate on expensive and unreliable wind and solar power will have tremendous negative economic consequences. President Obama acknowledged this fact when he promised that under his global warming plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” The economic consequences of Obama’s global warming policies can already be seen in electricity prices, which are currently the highest in U.S. history. Remarkably, Obama’s global warming policies are increasing electricity prices even while new natural gas discoveries, revolutionary advances in natural gas production technologies, and a dramatic resultant decline in natural gas prices would otherwise spur a dramatic decline in electricity prices.

Alarmist Assertion #9

“Infectious Diseases Thrive – The World Health Organization reports that outbreaks of new or resurgent diseases are on the rise and in more disparate countries than ever before, including tropical illnesses in once cold climates.”

Outbreaks of “new or resurgent diseases” are occurring precisely because governments have caved in to environmental activist groups like EDF and implemented their anti-science agendas. For example, DDT had all but eliminated malaria in the United States and on the global stage during the mid-20th century. However, environmental activists championed false environmental accusations against DDT and dramatically reduced use of the life-saving mosquito killer throughout much of the world. As a result, malaria has reemerged with a vengeance and millions of people die every year as a result.

Also, as documented above in “Alarmist Assertion #2,” global warming will reduce the impact and death toll of cold-related viruses such as influenza. In the United States alone, influenza kills 36,000 people every year, which dwarfs all heat-dependent viruses and diseases combined. Few people other than global warming alarmists would argue that it is better to have 36,000 people die each year from influenza than have a few people die each year from Lyme Disease (which, as documented above, isn’t even related to global warming).

Alarmist Assertion #10

“Shrinking Glaciers – In 2013, an iceberg larger than the city of Chicago broke off the Pine Island Glacier, the most important glacier of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. And at Montana’s Glacier National Park glaciers have gone from 150 to just 35 over the past century.”

Calling attention to anecdotal incidents of icebergs breaking off the Antarctic ice sheet, while deliberately ignoring the overall growth of the Antarctic ice sheet, is a misleading and favorite tactic of global warming alarmists. Icebergs break off the Antarctic ice sheet every year, with or without global warming, particularly in the Antarctic summer. However, a particular iceberg – no matter how large – breaking off the Antarctic ice sheet does not necessarily result in “Shrinking Glaciers” as EDF alleges. To the contrary, the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been growing at a steady and substantial pace ever since NASA satellites first began measuring the Antarctic ice sheet in 1979. Indeed, during the same year that the EDF claims “an iceberg larger than the city of Chicago” broke off the Antarctic ice sheet and caused “Shrinking Glaciers,” the Antarctic ice sheet repeatedly set new records for its largest extent in recorded history. Those 2013 records were repeatedly broken again in 2014. The Antarctic ice sheet in 2013 and 2014 was more extensive than any time in recorded history, and yet the EDF pushes the lie that the Antarctic Ice Sheet is shrinking.

The EDF’s assertion about Glacier National Park is also misleading. Alpine glaciers at Glacier National Park and elsewhere have been receding for over 300 years, since the Earth’s temperature bottomed out during the depths of the Little Ice Age. The warming of the past 300 years and the resulting recession of alpine glaciers predated humans building coal-fired power plants and driving SUVs. Moreover, opening up more of the Earth’s surface to vegetation and plant and animal life would normally be considered a beneficial change, if global warming alarmists had not so thoroughly politicized the global warming discussion.

There you have it. These are the 10 best arguments global warming activists like EDF can make, along with the objective scientific facts that prove them wrong.

No wonder global warming alarmists are so terrified of people having access to both sides of the debate.

Looking forward, how dangerous is climate change for our world today? And is it already too late to do anything about it?

The World Economic Forum, which produces an annual report on the major risks we have to deal with, put climate change at number one, ahead of trade disruption, population growth or pollution. The climate system is complex. It’s not just that you put another ton of carbon in the atmosphere and the temperature increases by a certain increment. You can also get what we call feedback loops. We see them in the Arctic, where the ice melts earlier and earlier, so there’s more dark ocean to absorb solar energy. As a result, the ocean heats up more than it would have in the past, so the ice melts even sooner. This isn’t a linear process at all. Indeed, it may be far from linear, which is one of the scary prospects we face.

But we cannot remain passive. We still have a chance of reducing warming. We’re not going to keep it below 2 degrees. But I think we can hold it below 3 degrees, globally, and we know what to do. The steps that need to be taken to reduce global warming are in front of us. We can make choices. It’s a question of making this a priority and wanting to do something about it.

Housing and transport are the areas I work in. Transport is the fastest growing contributor to greenhouse emissions. But there are alternatives. We can build and run electric trains and cars. Most trips made in urban settings can also be made on a bike. Changing the way we organize our cities to make us less dependent on the use of fossil fuels for transport is imminently achievable. Look at cities leading the way, like Barcelona, which has an infinitely smaller carbon footprint than, say, Houston. Can we halt climate change? I think we can. And I think we should!

Global warming: Fake News From the Start

President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change because it is a bad deal for America.

He could have made the decision simply because the science is false. However, most of the American and global public have been brainwashed into believing the science is correct (and supported by the faux 97% consensus), so they would not have believed that explanation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and indeed the leaders of many western democracies, support the Agreement and are completely unaware of the gross deficiencies in the science. If they understood those deficiencies, they wouldn’t be forcing a carbon dioxide (CO2) tax on their citizens.

Trudeau and other leaders show how little they know, and how little they assume the public knows, by calling it a “carbon tax” on “carbon emissions.” But CO2 is a gas, the trace atmospheric gas that makes life on Earth possible. Carbon is a solid, and carbon-based fuels are solid (coal), liquid (oil) or gaseous (natural gas).

By constantly railing about “carbon emissions,” Trudeau, Obama and others encourage people to think of carbon dioxide as something “dirty,” like soot, which really is carbon. Calling CO2 by its proper name would help the public remember that it is actually an invisible, odorless gas essential to plant photosynthesis.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is arguably the most misinformed of the lot, saying in a recent interview that “polluters should pay.” She too either does not know that CO2 is not a pollutant, or she is deliberately misleading people.

Like many of her political peers, McKenna dismisses credentialed PhD scientists who disagree with her approach, labelling them “deniers.” She does not seem to understand that questioning scientific hypotheses, even scientific theories, is what all scientists should do, if true science is to advance.

That is why the Royal Society’s official motto is “Nullius in verba,” Latin for “Take nobody's word for it.” Ironically, the Society rarely practices this approach when it comes to climate change.

Mistakes such as those made by McKenna are not surprising, considering that from the outset the entire claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was built on falsehoods and spread with fake news.

The plot to deceive the world about human-caused global warming gathered momentum right after the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) created the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.

After spending five days at the U.N. with Maurice Strong, the first executive director of UNEP, Hamilton Spectator investigative reporter Elaine Dewar concluded that the overarching objective of the IPCC was political, not scientific. “Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the global governance agenda,” she wrote.

The political agenda required “credibility” to accomplish the deception. It also required some fake news for momentum. Ideally, this would involve testimony from a scientist before a legislative committee.

U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO) was fully committed to the political agenda and the deception. As he explained in a 1993 comment, “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.…”

In 1988 Wirth was in a position to jump-start the climate alarm. He worked with colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to organize and orchestrate a June 23, 1988 hearing where the lead witness would be Dr. James Hansen, then the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Wirth explained in a 2007 interview with PBS Frontline:

“We knew there was this scientist at NASA, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So, we called him up and asked him if he would testify.”

Hansen did not disappoint. The New York Times reported on June 23, 1988: “Today Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation, but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere.”

Specifically, Hansen told the committee, “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming…. It is already happening now.”

Hansen also testified: “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now…. We have already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important.”

Wirth, who presided at the hearing, was pre-disposed to believe Hansen and told the committee. “As I read it, the scientific evidence is compelling: the global climate is changing as the earth's atmosphere gets warmer,” Wirth said. “Now the Congress must begin to consider how we are going to slow or halt that warming trend, and how we are going to cope with the changes that may already be inevitable.”

More than any other event, that single hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee publicly initiated the climate scare, the biggest deception in history. It created an unholy alliance between a bureaucrat and a politician, which was bolstered by the U.N. and the popular press – leading to the hoax being accepted in governments, industry boardrooms, schools and churches all across the world.

Dr. John S. Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor at NASA, wrote to the Senate Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “Hansen was never muzzled, even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Hansen never abandoned his single-minded, unsubstantiated claim that CO2 from human activities caused dangerous global warming. He defied Hatch Act limits on bureaucratic political actions, and in 2011 even got arrested at a White House protest against the Keystone XL pipeline. It was at least his third such arrest to that point.

Like Trudeau and other leaders duped by the climate scare, Senator Wirth either had not read or did not understand the science. In fact, an increasing number of climate scientists (including Dr. Ball) now conclude that there is no empirical evidence of human-caused global warming. There are only computer model speculations that humans are causing it, and every forecast made using these models since 1990 has been wrong – with actual temperatures getting further from predictions with every passing year.


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