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Copenhagen and Global Warming: Ten Facts and Ten Myths on Climate Change

By Prof. Robert M. Carter
Global Research, December 9, 2009
James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

Ten facts about climate change

1.     Climate has always changed, and it always will. The assumption that prior to the industrial revolution the Earth had a “stable” climate is simply wrong. The only sensible thing to do about climate change is to prepare for it.

2.    Accurate temperature measurements made from weather balloons and satellites since the late 1950s show no atmospheric warming since 1958.  In contrast, averaged ground-based thermometers record a warming of about 0.40 C over the same time period. Many scientists believe that the thermometer record is biased by the Urban Heat Island effect and other artefacts.

3.    Despite the expenditure of more than US$50 billion dollars looking for it since 1990, no unambiguous anthropogenic (human) signal has been identified in the global temperature pattern.

4.    Without the greenhouse effect, the average surface temperature on Earth would be -180 C rather than the equable +150 C that has nurtured the development of life.

Carbon dioxide is a minor greenhouse gas, responsible for ~26% (80 C) of the total greenhouse effect (330C), of which in turn at most 25% (~20C) can be attributed to carbon dioxide contributed by human activity. Water vapour, contributing at least 70% of the effect, is by far the most important atmospheric greenhouse gas.

5.    On both annual (1 year) and geological (up to 100,000 year) time scales, changes in atmospheric temperature PRECEDE changes in CO2. Carbon dioxide therefore cannot be the primary forcing agent for temperature increase (though increasing CO2 does cause a diminishingly mild positive temperature feedback).

6.    The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has acted as the main scaremonger for the global warming lobby that led to the Kyoto Protocol. Fatally, the IPCC is a political, not scientific, body.

Hendrik Tennekes, a retired Director of Research at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, says that “the IPCC review process is fatally flawed” and that “the IPCC wilfully ignores the paradigm shift created by the foremost meteorologist of the twentieth century, Edward Lorenz“.

7.    The Kyoto Protocol will cost many trillions of dollars and exercises a significant impost those countries that signed it, but will deliver no significant cooling (less than .020 C by 2050, assuming that all commitments are met).
The Russian Academy of Sciences says that Kyoto has no scientific basis; Andre Illarianov, senior advisor to Russian president Putin, calls Kyoto-ism “one of the most agressive, intrusive, destructive ideologies since the collapse of communism and fascism“. If Kyoto was a “first step” then it was in the same wrong direction as the later “Bali roadmap”.

8.    Climate change is a non-linear (chaotic) process, some parts of which are only dimly or not at all understood. No deterministic computer model will ever be able to make an accurate prediction of climate 100 years into the future.

9.    Not surprisingly, therefore, experts in computer modelling agree also that no current (or likely near-future) climate model is able to make accurate predictions of regional climate change.

10.   The biggest untruth about human global warming is the assertion that nearly all scientists agree that it is occurring, and at a dangerous rate.

The reality is that almost every aspect of climate science is the subject of vigorous debate. Further, thousands of qualified scientists worldwide have signed declarations which (i) query the evidence for hypothetical human-caused warming and (ii) support a rational scientific (not emotional) approach to its study within the context of known natural climate change.

LAYING TEN GLOBAL WARMING MYTHS

Myth 1 Average global temperature (AGT) has increased over the last few years.

Fact 1       Within error bounds, AGT has not increased since 1995 and has declined since 2002, despite an increase in atmospheric CO2 of 8% since 1995.

Myth 2 During the late 20th Century, AGT increased at a dangerously fast rate and reached an unprecedented magnitude.

Facts 2      The late 20th Century AGT rise was at a rate of 1-20 C/century, which lies well within natural rates of climate change for the last 10,000 yr. AGT has been several degrees warmer than today many times in the recent geological past.

Myth 3 AGT was relatively unchanging in pre-industrial times, has sky-rocketed since 1900, and will increase by several degrees more over the next 100 years (the Mann, Bradley & Hughes “hockey stick” curve and its computer extrapolation).

Facts 3      The Mann et al. curve has been exposed as a statistical contrivance. There is no convincing evidence that past climate was unchanging, nor that 20th century changes in AGT were unusual, nor that dangerous human warming is underway.

Myth 4 Computer models predict that AGT will increase by up to 60 C over the next 100 years.

Facts 4      Deterministic computer models do. Other equally valid (empirical) computer models predict cooling.

Myth 5 Warming of more than 20 C will have catastrophic effects on ecosystems and mankind alike.

Facts 5      A 20 C change would be well within previous natural bounds. Ecosystems have been adapting to such changes since time immemorial. The result is the process that we call evolution. Mankind can and does adapt to all climate extremes.

Myth 6 Further human addition of CO2 to the atmosphere will cause dangerous warming, and is generally harmful.

Facts 6      No human-caused warming can yet be detected that is distinct from natural system variation and noise. Any additional human-caused warming which occurs will probably amount to less than 10 C. Atmospheric CO2 is a beneficial fertilizer for plants, including especially cereal crops, and also aids efficient evapo-transpiration.

Myth 7 Changes in solar activity cannot explain recent changes in AGT.

Facts 7      The sun’s output varies in several ways on many time scales (including the 11-, 22 and 80-year solar cycles), with concomitant effects on Earth’s climate. While changes in visible radiation are small, changes in particle flux and magnetic field are known to exercise a strong climatic effect. More than 50% of the 0.80 C rise in AGT observed during the 20th century can be attributed to solar change.

Myth 8 Unprecedented melting of ice is taking place in both the north and south polar regions.

Facts 8      Both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are growing in thickness and cooling at their summit. Sea ice around Antarctica attained a record area in 2007. Temperatures in the Arctic region are just now achieving the levels of natural warmth experienced during the early 1940s, and the region was warmer still (sea-ice free) during earlier times.

Myth 9 Human-caused global warming is causing dangerous global sea-level (SL) rise.

Facts 9      SL change differs from time to time and place to place; between 1955 and 1996, for example, SL at Tuvalu fell by 105 mm (2.5 mm/yr). Global average SL is a statistical measure of no value for environmental planning purposes. A global average SL rise of 1-2 mm/yr occurred naturally over the last 150 years, and shows no sign of human-influenced increase.

Myth 10 The late 20th Century increase in AGT caused an increase in the number of severe storms (cyclones), or in storm intensity.

Facts 10    Meteorological experts are agreed that no increase in storms has occurred beyond that associated with natural variation of the climate system.

Robert M. Carter is a Research Professor at James Cook University (Queensland) and the University of Adelaide (South Australia). He is a palaeontologist, stratigrapher, marine geologist and environmental scientist with more than thirty years professional experience.

Global Research Articles by Robert M. Carter

December 9, 2009 - Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular

14 Comments »

  1. Your graphix are neat.

    Comment by GarsLuber | December 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. Good article, except you inadvertantly switched the fact heading with the myth heading, otherwise not bad.

    Comment by Kayt | December 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. Kayt,

    The facts cited by Carter are not really in dispute. If you find them hard to believe it simply reflects that the media you are exposed to is suppressing the truth.

    Comment by aletho | December 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. [...] Copenhagen and Global Warming: Ten Facts and Ten Myths on Climate Change [...]

    Pingback by Global Warming-Facts & Myth - Montpelier | December 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. citations of facts from sources that msm brainwashed sheep will accept would be nice…otherwise they poopoo anything that goes against their training

    Comment by tony | December 9, 2009 | Reply

  6. tony,

    I understand your concern. There are some good articles that are chock full of undisputed facts written by the BBC, The Telegraph and The Times. You can find some of them still on the home page here. The Telegraph article is the first link on my piece “There’s more to climate fraud than just tax hikes”.

    Comment by aletho | December 9, 2009 | Reply

  7. Monckton Says Secretive Copenhagen Treaty Creates Global Government Tax
    “We’re looking at a grab for absolute power and absolute financial control worldwide by the UN and its associated bureaucracies and 700 new bureaucratic bodies,” said Monckton.
    Speaking about how such draconian measures were being forced through despite the recent scandal surrounding how key IPCC-affiliated scientists conspired to “hide the decline in global warming, Monckton emphasized how the climate change establishment were still ludicrously attempting to downplay the significance of the climategate emails by merely repeating their already discredited propaganda about global warming.
    “What has happened is that the mainstream media has done themselves terrible damage by signing up to this climate nonsense and then by servilely refusing to admit that climategate was happening, admit how serious it was and simply inform their readers of what was actually in these emails,” said Monckton, “Admissions that while they’re telling us, as the Met Office did just today, that today is the warmest decade since records began 150 years ago, privately what they’re saying in the climategate emails is ‘hey look we’ve got a temperature which has been falling and we can’t explain why and it’s a travesty that we can’t explain why’ – so they’re saying one thing to us publicly to maintain the scare that’s making them rich, and that’s what’s called fraud, it’s criminal fraud, and on the other hand they’re saying privately ‘oh dear oh dear we can’t account for the fact that there’s been no warming for the last 15 years’”.Monckton said that the Copenhagen treaty meant America was in “immediate peril” of losing its freedom to a “sinister dictatorship” being formed under the contrived pretext of global warming. infowars.com
    NEW! NEW! NEW!
    Check out the Copenhagen Document Leaks : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W7vrgW8GTQ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94KH-WMZuw0 – Tells how they will get rid of UN and use IMF to tax you!
    Protest the False Climate Measurments being used in the Copenhagen Treaty: http://www.gopetition.com/online/32485.html

    Comment by Btok | December 10, 2009 | Reply

  8. Great article ,keep up the good work. I find myself reading more and more articles by your good self.

    Comment by cuthulan | December 10, 2009 | Reply

    • An expert anwser to the artical:

      MYTH: The science of global warming is too uncertain to act on.

      FACT: There is no debate among scientists about the basic facts of global warming.

      The most respected scientific bodies have stated unequivocally that global warming is occurring, and people are causing it by burning fossil fuels (like coal, oil and natural gas) and cutting down forests. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which in 2005 the White House called “the gold standard of objective scientific assessment,” issued a joint statement with 10 other National Academies of Science saying “the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.” (Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005)

      The only debate in the science community about global warming is about how much and how fast warming will continue as a result of heat-trapping emissions. Scientists have given a clear warning about global warming, and we have more than enough facts — about causes and fixes — to implement solutions right now.

      MYTH: Even if global warming is a problem, addressing it will hurt American industry and workers.

      FACT: A well designed trading program will harness American ingenuity to decrease heat-trapping pollution cost-effectively, jumpstarting a new carbon economy.

      Claims that fighting global warming will cripple the economy and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs are unfounded. In fact, companies that are already reducing their heat-trapping emissions have discovered that cutting pollution can save money. The cost of a comprehensive national greenhouse gas reduction program will depend on the precise emissions targets, the timing for the reductions and the means of implementation. An independent MIT study found that a modest cap-and-trade system would cost less than $20 per household annually and have no negative impact on employment.

      Experience has shown that properly designed emissions trading programs can reduce compliance costs significantly compared with other regulatory approaches. For example, the U.S. acid rain program reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 30 percent from 1990 levels and cost industry a fraction of what the government originally estimated, according to EPA. Furthermore, a mandatory cap on emissions could spur technological innovation that could create jobs and wealth. Letting global warming continue until we are forced to address it on an emergency basis could disrupt and severely damage our economy. It is far wiser and more cost-effective to act now.

      MYTH: Water vapor is the most important, abundant greenhouse gas. So if we’re going to control a greenhouse gas, why don’t we control it instead of carbon dioxide (CO2)?

      FACT: Although water vapor traps more heat than CO2, because of the relationships among CO2, water vapor and climate, to fight global warming nations must focus on controlling CO2.

      Atmospheric levels of CO2 are determined by how much coal, natural gas and oil we burn and how many trees we cut down, as well as by natural processes like plant growth. Atmospheric levels of water vapor, on the other hand, cannot be directly controlled by people; rather, they are determined by temperatures. The warmer the atmosphere, the more water vapor it can hold. As a result, water vapor is part of an amplifying effect. Greenhouse gases like CO2 warm the air, which in turn adds to the stock of water vapor, which in turn traps more heat and accelerates warming. Scientists know this because of satellite measurements documenting a rise in water vapor concentrations as the globe has warmed.

      The best way to lower temperature and thus reduce water vapor levels is to reduce CO2 emissions.

      MYTH: Global warming and extra CO2 will actually be beneficial — they reduce cold-related deaths and stimulate crop growth.

      FACT: Any beneficial effects will be far outweighed by damage and disruption.

      Even a warming in just the middle range of scientific projections would have devastating impacts on many sectors of the economy. Rising seas would inundate coastal communities, contaminate water supplies with salt and increase the risk of flooding by storm surge, affecting tens of millions of people globally. Moreover, extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts and floods, are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity, causing loss of lives and property and throwing agriculture into turmoil.

      Even though higher levels of CO2 can act as a plant fertilizer under some conditions, scientists now think that the “CO2 fertilization” effect on crops has been overstated; in natural ecosystems, the fertilization effect can diminish after a few years as plants acclimate. Furthermore, increased CO2 may benefit undesirable, weedy species more than desirable species.

      Higher levels of CO2 have already caused ocean acidification, and scientists are warning of potentially devastating effects on marine life and fisheries. Moreover, higher levels of regional ozone (smog), a result of warmer temperatures, could worsen respiratory illnesses. Less developed countries and natural ecosystems may not have the capacity to adapt.

      The notion that there will be regional “winners” and “losers” in global warming is based on a world-view from the 1950’s. We live in a global community. Never mind the moral implications — when an environmental catastrophe creates millions of refugees half-way around the world, Americans are affected.

      MYTH: Global warming is just part of a natural cycle. The Arctic has warmed up in the past.

      FACT: The global warming we are experiencing is not natural. People are causing it.

      People are causing global warming by burning fossil fuels (like oil, coal and natural gas) and cutting down forests. Scientists have shown that these activities are pumping far more CO2 into the atmosphere than was ever released in hundreds of thousands of years. This buildup of CO2 is the biggest cause of global warming. Since 1895, scientists have known that CO2 and other greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the earth. As the warming has intensified over the past three decades, scientific scrutiny has increased along with it. Scientists have considered and ruled out other, natural explanations such as sunlight, volcanic eruptions and cosmic rays. (IPCC 2001)

      Though natural amounts of CO2 have varied from 180 to 300 parts per million (ppm), today’s CO2 levels are around 380 ppm. That’s 25% more than the highest natural levels over the past 650,000 years. Increased CO2 levels have contributed to periods of higher average temperatures throughout that long record. (Boden, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center)

      As for previous Arctic warming, it is true that there were stretches of warm periods over the Arctic earlier in the 20th century. The limited records available for that time period indicate that the warmth did not affect as many areas or persist from year to year as much as the current warmth. But that episode, however warm it was, is not relevant to the issue at hand. Why? For one, a brief regional trend does not discount a longer global phenomenon.

      We know that the planet has been warming over the past several decades and Arctic ice has been melting persistently. And unlike the earlier periods of Arctic warmth, there is no expectation that the current upward trend in Arctic temperatures will reverse; the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases will prevent that from happening.

      MYTH: We can adapt to climate change — civilization has survived droughts and temperature shifts before.

      FACT: Although humans as a whole have survived the vagaries of drought, stretches of warmth and cold and more, entire societies have collapsed from dramatic climatic shifts.

      The current warming of our climate will bring major hardships and economic dislocations — untold human suffering, especially for our children and grandchildren. We are already seeing significant costs from today’s global warming which is caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Climate has changed in the past and human societies have survived, but today six billion people depend on interconnected ecosystems and complex technological infrastructure.

      What’s more, unless we limit the amount of heat-trapping gases we are putting into the atmosphere, we will face a warming trend unseen since human civilization began 10,000 years ago. (IPCC 2001)

      The consequences of continued warming at current rates are likely to be dire. Many densely populated areas, such as low-lying coastal regions, are highly vulnerable to climate shifts. A middle-of-the-range projection is that the homes of 13 to 88 million people around the world would be flooded by the sea each year in the 2080s. Poorer countries and small island nations will have the hardest time adapting. (McLean et al. 2001)

      In what appears to be the first forced move resulting from climate change, 100 residents of Tegua island in the Pacific Ocean were evacuated by the government because rising sea levels were flooding their island. Some 2,000 other islanders plan a similar move to escape rising waters. In the United States, the village of Shishmaref in Alaska, which has been inhabited for 400 years, is collapsing from melting permafrost. Relocation plans are in the works.

      Scarcity of water and food could lead to major conflicts with broad ripple effects throughout the globe. Even if people find a way to adapt, the wildlife and plants on which we depend may be unable to adapt to rapid climate change. While the world itself will not end, the world as we know it may disappear.

      MYTH: Recent cold winters and cool summers don’t feel like global warming to me.

      FACT: While different pockets of the country have experienced some cold winters here and there, the overall trend is warmer winters.

      Measurements show that over the last century the Earth’s climate has warmed overall, in all seasons, and in most regions. Climate skeptics mislead the public when they claim that the winter of 2003–2004 was the coldest ever in the northeastern United States. That winter was only the 33rd coldest in the region since records began in 1896. Furthermore, a single year of cold weather in one region of the globe is not an indication of a trend in the global climate, which refers to a long-term average over the entire planet.

      MYTH: Global warming can’t be happening because some glaciers and ice sheets are growing, not shrinking.

      FACT: In most parts of the world, the retreat of glaciers has been dramatic. The best available scientific data indicate that Greenland’s massive ice sheet is shrinking.

      Between 1961 and 1997, the world’s glaciers lost 890 cubic miles of ice. The consensus among scientists is that rising air temperatures are the most important factor behind the retreat of glaciers on a global scale over long time periods. Some glaciers in western Norway, Iceland and New Zealand have been expanding during the past few decades. That expansion is a result of regional increases in storm frequency and snowfall rather than colder temperatures — not at all incompatible with a global warming trend.

      In Greenland, a NASA satellite that can measure the ice mass over the whole continent has found that although there is variation from month to month, over the longer term, the ice is disappearing. In fact, there are worrisome signs that melting is accelerating: glaciers are moving into the ocean twice as fast as a decade ago, and, over time, more and more glaciers have started to accelerate. What is most alarming is the prediction, based on model calculations and historical evidence, that an approximately 5.4 degree Fahrenheit increase in local Greenland temperatures will lead to irreversible meltdown and a sea-level rise of over 20 feet. Since the Arctic is warming 2-3 times faster than the global average, this tipping point is not far away.

      The only study that has shown increasing ice mass in Greenland only looked at the interior of the ice sheet, not at the edges where melting occurs. This is actually in line with climate model predictions that global warming would lead to a short-term accumulation of ice in the cold interior due to heavier snowfall. (Similarly, scientists have predicted that Antarctica overall will gain ice in the near future due to heavier snowfall.) The scientists who published the study were careful to point out that their results should not be used to conclude that Greenland’s ice mass as a whole is growing. In addition, their data suggested that the accumulation of snow in the middle of the continent is likely to decrease over time as global warming continues.

      MYTH: Accurate weather predictions a few days in advance are hard to come by. Why on earth should we have confidence in climate projections decades from now?

      FACT: Climate prediction is fundamentally different from weather prediction, just as climate is different from weather.

      It is often more difficult to make an accurate weather forecast than a climate prediction. The accuracy of weather forecasting is critically dependent upon being able to exactly and comprehensively characterize the present state of the global atmosphere. Climate prediction relies on other, longer ranging factors. For instance, we might not know if it will be below freezing on a specific December day in New England, but we know from our understanding of the region’s climate that the temperatures during the month will generally be low. Similarly, climate tells us that Seattle and London tend to be rainy, Florida and southern California are usually warm, and the Southwest is often dry and hot.

      Today’s climate models can now reproduce the observed global average climates over the past century and beyond. Such findings have reinforced scientist’s confidence in the capacity of models to produce reliable projections of future climate. Current climate assessments typically consider the results from a range of models and scenarios for future heat-trapping emissions in order to identify the most likely range for future climatic change.

      MYTH: As the ozone hole shrinks, global warming will no longer be a problem.

      FACT: Global warming and the ozone hole are two different problems.

      The ozone hole is a thinning of the stratosphere’s ozone layer, which is roughly 9 to 31 miles above the earth’s surface. The depletion of the ozone is due to man-made chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). A thinner ozone layer lets more harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the earth’s surface.

      Global warming, on the other hand, is the increase in the earth’s average temperature due to the buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities.

      For more information, see our in-depth scientific report [PDF] on the myths and facts of global warming by Dr. James Wang and Dr. Michael Oppenheimer.

      Comment by alex | December 10, 2009 | Reply

  9. Science is only science if the data is followed, not preconceived notions. With the recent statistical manipulations of the data coming to light at the research arms of the IPCC, it is only normal for scientist to question the original hypothesis. If a scientist is not questioning the original hypothesis, then why is he researching it? What is corrupting the science? Greed.

    I am not against green technologies, if fact that is my interest, but I am against manipulation of people. I know that people will do anything if they are scared enough, and that is the picture that I see being painted. I think that western society has been “dumbed down” in recent years and aren’t thinking for themselves anymore. No one notices that the media in the northern hemisphere talks about the Artic ice in the summer and Antarctic ice in the winter. This falls in the summer season of each ice pack, but the “dumbed down” western society believes that if it is summer here it is summer everywhere.

    Another thing that worries me is that all of the western governments are banding together to impose a tax system to reduce a gas that every living being produces. They try to make us feel better by telling us that these taxes will only effect the big polluters. In a capitalistic society, where all that matter is beating last years profit margin, the additional tax will be 100% transferred to the consumer. That is the people if you are puzzled. So if the leader of a capitalist country is telling the citizens that these taxes added by “green” policy changes will not effect them, then he is either flat out lying or inept. However money is green so Orwellian double speak applies.

    Comment by dan | December 10, 2009 | Reply

  10. Please, say: I´M SORRY:

    http://malomalisimo69.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/iam-sorry/

    Comment by Malo Malísimo | December 10, 2009 | Reply

  11. [...] Copenhagen and Global Warming: Ten Facts and Ten Myths on Climate Change By Prof. Robert M. Carter Global Research, December 9, 2009 James Cook University, Queensland, Australia Ten facts [...] [...]

    Pingback by Top Posts — WordPress.com | December 10, 2009 | Reply


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