Global Warming Skeptics are Deconstructing Al Gore's Inconveinient Truth

Mauna Loa Observatory
Since 1958, the observatory at Mauna Loa has
tracked concentrations of atmospheric CO2
(Photo: NOAA)

Editor’s Note: People who have abandoned all interest in questioning global warming theories and the facts behind them should beware. It is the duty of any environmentalist to leave their skepticism intact – skepticism is healthy, and is one of the primary emotions that helped give rise to environmentalism, along with many other illustrious movements in history. By blindly joining the movement to curtail CO2 emissions at any cost, it isn’t a bandwagon environmentalists have hopped onto, it is a juggernaut, gathering momentum and carrying the potential to crush everything that gets in its path.

Like many historical movements, it is a simplification to attribute the resonance global warming alarm has suddenly found in America, and has held for over a decade in Europe and elsewhere, to cynical motives and conspiracies. But this is somewhat beside the point. Wouldn’t it be tragic if the momentum of the global warming juggernaut, along with causing extreme economic sacrifice, severe loss of liberties and dangerous international tensions, might actually trigger more global warming?

Thanks to the anti-CO2 juggernaut we are already seeing the acceleration of deforestation everywhere in the world, especially in the tropics. We can fret all we like about the West Antarctic Ice Sheet sliding into the South Atlantic (unlikely to say the least), or Greenland’s Ice Cap melting away (virtually impossible), but meanwhile the tropical forests of the world are about to dissolve before our eyes. Why? To grow biofuel crops so western oil companies, adhering to environmentalist-influenced government mandates, can earn their “carbon credits.”

Don’t underestimate the potential of biofuel as a cash crop to decimate the world’s forests, and in the bargain drive up food prices in places where food is already way too expensive for the urban poor. The process has already begun. From Cassava in Nigeria to Sugar Cane in Brazil, to Jatropha in India, biofuel crops are on the march, and forests are the victims. There are 18 million square miles of forest left on earth, and less than one third of those are in the tropics, where forest canopy is green and growing all year around. Tropical forests are crucial regulators of global climate, and they also are the best places to grow biofuel – at least until their fragile topsoil is destroyed due to the absence of forest canopy overhead. Biofuel can augment world energy supplies at best, but should only be grown in regions where these crops are not replacing farms or forests.

If you believe atmospheric CO2 needs to be reduced, then also be aware that the most imminent manifestation of the movement to fight global warming on earth, right now, is deforestation to grow biofuel. What if forests bring rain, and deforesting causes drought? What if forests regulate global temperatures, and deforestation is a greater cause of global warming than anthropogenic CO2? – Ed “Redwood” Ring

Deconstructing Al Gore’s “Truth”
by D. James Guzy, November 15, 2006
Weather Balloon
What’s up there? A weather balloon ascends
to add another piece to the puzzle.
(Photo: NOAA)

The facts are in the figures – and the figures don’t support the ex-vice president’s dire predictions about global warming

According to Al Gore, if we don’t take action to prevent global warming over the next 10 years, we will have pushed the earth into a climatic and environmental tailspin that will by the end of the century have caused sea levels to rise; ice caps to melt; and hurricanes, droughts, and floods to increase in both strength and frequency. And that’s just the beginning. Gore and others who warn of global warming – including organizations such as the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) – predict that all of these catastrophes will occur as a result of rapidly rising global temperatures caused primarily by emissions of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2).

With Gore’s views front and center via his new book and documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, it’s time to take a closer look at the global warming/greenhouse gas prognostications – particularly when one considers the massive amounts of money governments are committing to solving the perceived problem. Consider this as you think about the statistics revealed in this article: The Kyoto Accord is anticipated to cost the participating Western nations a whopping 2% of their GDP per year. Is it worth it?

Scientific data indicates that the earth has warmed by approximately 0.8 degrees Celsius over the last century, and that man-made CO2 has contributed to global warming since World War II. Meanwhile, the net earth warming since World War II has been 0.4 C. The debate among experts boils down to the following issues: How much global warming occurs naturally, and how much can be attributed to human inflicted change? And how much effect to CO2 gases – by themselves – have on temperature increases and other predicted climate change?

Proponents of global warming theories predict that temperatures will rise 5.8 C (IPCC, 2001) or more this century. Let’s take a closer look. For the earth to experience a growing greenhouse effect and linear rising temperatures, CO2 levels must increase exponentially. If CO2 levels increase only linearly, the increase in temperature flattens out. Water vapor, the main greenhouse gas, acts in the same way. Well, guess what? CO2 emissions have been increasing at exponential rates since World War II, fueling the warnings of those pointing to the dangers of climate change.

Chart of CO2 in the Atmosphere
CO2 in our atmosphere has increased from around 315 PPM in 1958 to
about 370 PPM today. Note the annual drop of 5-10 PPM caused during
spring and summer in the vast forests of the northern hemisphere.
(Source: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center)

Digging a little deeper, though, a study of the CO2 atmospheric content data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reveals that since the late 1970′s – the start of the modern-day energy conservation movement – CO2 levels have only increased linearly (at approximately 1.5 ppm per year).

What’s more, since the late 1970′s, the global temperature has been increasing at a constant rate of 0.17 C per decade. Add to this information data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing that the annual per-capital CO2 global emissions rate has flattened out since the early 1980s, and you begin to see the problem: Based on these facts, no one can predict exponential increases in man-made CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. And if there’s no exponential increase in CO2, there can be no global warming.

Still need convincing? Consider these facts: Per GDP dollar, we’re currently using only 60% of the energy we used in 1980. In addition, recent upper-atmosphere weather balloon and satellite temperature measurements show no net upper atmosphere warming since 1970. There are also plenty of studies predicting that warming in the next 50 years will amount to less than 1.0 C. In fact, even most climate models referred to in the IPCC study from 2001 predict warming to be around their low value of 1.4 C.

So how does Gore come to his conclusions? In his movie, he points to a global temperature model reflecting 1,000 years of temperature history to support his thesis. The graph shows a flat temperature range for 900 years and a dramatic rise over the last 100 years. Since human-produced greenhouse emissions have only existed since the last century, Gore deduces, they must be the reason for the warming during that same period. This graph, however, is controversial for a couple of reasons: 1) Many believe it should show temperature fluctuations starting earlier in the last millennia; and 2) it depends solely on tree-ring analysis, which provides accurate documentation of temperature variances over decade-long periods but is far less accurate for long-term variance.

20th Century Sea Surface Temperatures
If historical trends hold, by around 2025, sea surface temperatures
will decline again, and Atlantic hurricanes will diminish in intensity.
(Source: NOAA)

Various studies show that mean global temperatures rose and fell long before man-made greenhouse gases existed. The sun’s energy is the main determinant for the earth’s varying temperature; earth axis rotation and other systemic cycles also have an effect. Man, in contrast, has a minor effect.

Take hurricanes: Gore believes that the recent increase in hurricanes is a result of human activity and the global warming that has resulted. But the recent upsurge in hurricanes is consistent with observed trends since 1850.

The main forcing function for hurricane formation is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Every 25 to 40 years, the warm Gulf waters and the Caribbean currents oscillate northward or southward to or from the upper Atlantic Ocean. Sure enough, observed hurricane activity and intensity since 1850 have increased and decreased in tandem with this oscillation. In contrast, recent studies show that increased sea surface temperatures have only added to storm intensity by a couple of percentage points.

Or take Mr. Gore’s prediction that sea levels will rise 20 feet by the end of this century. For the last few thousand years, the sea level has risen at a steady rate of 1.5 mm per year. The 6 inch increase in sea level during the last century is consistent with that rate. In addition, Greenland ice levels have been constant over the last few decades as well. While it’s true that ice cleaving and ice flow rates at the coast have increased in recent years, these shifts are due to the AMO – and will abate once the AMO oscillates southward. What the global warming theorists fail to mention in their findings is that the increased ice and snow pack on Greenland is balancing out the coastal melting. And what’s creating the increased ice and snow pack? Warmer sea surface temperatures: The increased temperatures create moisture, which in turn causes additional snowfall.

Mt. Kilimanjaro from Space
Is it global warming, or deforestation, that shrinks
the glacier? Mt. Kilimanjaro from outer space.
(Photo: NASA)

Similar observations have been made in the Antarctic. Although proponents of the global warming theory refer to a study showing reduced ice content at the tip of one peninsula, they ignore the snowfall data from several Antarctic continental stations showing increasing ice packs from the extra sea moisture.

Finally, climate data indicates that the ice cap on Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro depends on localized temperature-independent precipitation levels. Based on simple observations of the melt rate on Mt. Kilimanjaro, we can see that ice was actually melting at a higher rate early last century than it is today because of less precipitation.

Given this data, one has to question the motives of climate change theory proponents: Could they be after the $4 billion in government grants available to scientists studying climate change? With policies such as the Kyoto Accord’s CO2 emission control goal offering no apparent discernible temperature reduction, it’s imperative that a debate on global warming ensue.

This article was originally published in AlwaysOn Magazine, and is republished with permission.

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