I actually feel kind of silly writing this article, as it should be obvious to everyone that global warming is a bust, based on a very cold last winter, and a winter right now that is likely to be the coldest in 100 years (see below for more on that). But I am compelled to write because, amazingly, there are still people in the world who believe (or at least want you to believe) that global warming is a serious problem demanding drastic and draconian preventative and corrective measures.
As a starting point for discussing the most common claims made by the global warming alarmists I'll use a March 2009 document from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE). The document is titled "Proposed NCEE Comments on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act" [hereafter called the "NCEE Document"], and, as the title indicates, is in response to a draft EPA document [hereafter called the "draft TSD"] that blindly accepts the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) claims that Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are causing global warming and endangering mankind. (Click Here to download the 5+ MB document.)
So let's do what the EPA and "many other agencies and countries", as well as politicians, pundits, reporters and citizens haven't done: pay attention to the science of global warming.
Global Temperatures Are Declining
This fact alone should give the global warming alarmists pause. For years the IPCC has claimed that increasing GHG leads to increasing global temperatures. The fact of the matter is that, in spite of increasing GHG levels, global temperatures are declining.
The NCEE Document states: "Global temperatures have declined -- extending the current downtrend to 11 years with a particularly rapid decline in 2007-8; in addition, the PDO [Pacific Decadal Oscillation] went negative in September, 2007 and the AMO [Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation] in January, 2009, respectively. At the same time atmospheric CO2 levels have continued to increase and CO2 emissions have accelerated" .
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has been using satellites to collect global temperature data for years. The data shows that in the last decade global temperatures have declined, with a particularly large drop around 2008. UAH Climatologist Roy Spencer, PhD, has some charts on his blog: http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. He also has numerous blog entries, links to research articles, and FAQs that discuss the science surrounding global temperature fluctuations. 
Globally, the winter of 2008-2009 was the coldest since 2001 [16, 17, 18]. This winter, 2009-2010, could be the coldest in over 25 years, "like the great winters of the 60s and 70s", predicts Joe Bastardi, Chief Meteorologist of AccuWeather.com . Funny how back in the 60s and 70s, after a couple decades of cooling temperatures, there were lots of people worried that we were heading into an ice age, and the alarmists back then (many of them now global warming alarmists) latched on to global cooling to try to promote their political agendas [20, 21, 22]. (Look out for that to happen again...**)
The NCEE Document wisely concludes that "Given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until at least 2030) there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data" . No kidding. Let's see... GHGs increase and global temperatures decline... A climate crisis? Hardly. The only crisis is with the global warming alarmist's credibility.
The Gore Effect
On a more humorous note, there's talk now of "The Gore Effect", when "a global warming-related event, or appearance by the former vice president and climate change crusader, Al Gore, is marked by exceedingly cold weather or unseasonably winter weather" . Some examples:
- March, 2007: A Capitol Hill media briefing on the Senate’s new climate bill was canceled due to a snowstorm. 
- Oct. 22, 2008: Gore’s global warming speech at Harvard University coincided with near 125-year record-breaking low temperatures. 
- Oct. 28, 2008: The British House of Commons held a marathon debate on global warming during London’s first October snowfall since 1922. 
- Dec. 17, 2009: Freezing weather as a blizzard dumps 4 inches of snow on Copenhagen global warming conference. Denmark has a mild climate, and has only had a "white Christmas" seven times in the last 100 years. 
- There is a God.
- God has a sense of humor.
- God doesn't agree with Al Gore.
Global Temperatures Have Been Higher In Recent History
The global warming alarmists want everyone to believe that recent temperatures are the highest they've been since mankind has been on the earth. Of course that isn't true. There have been at least three extended periods of time when the globe was warmer.
Between approximately 800 AD and 1200 AD there was what is known as the "Medieval Warm Period" [7, 14]. Of course, during that time period there were no man-made CO2 emissions of any significance. Yet global temperatures were significantly warmer than the centuries before or after the Medieval Warm Period. Prior to the Medieval Warm Period there was the "Roman Climate Optimum", and before that, during the time period when the great pyramids were build in Egypt, the "Holocene Climate Optimum" .
But you don't even have to go back that far to find warm temperatures that rival recent warm temperatures. In fact, the warmest year on record in the United States is actually 1934, and four of the 10 warmest years recorded in the United States were in the 1930s . Yet CO2 levels back in the 1930s were much lower than they are today. Is CO2 really to blame?
Increasing CO2 Levels do NOT Cause Increased Global Temperatures
What really causes global warming and cooling? Man-made CO2 emissions? Not so fast...
According to the NCEE Document, "Changes in GHG concentrations appear to have so little effect that it is difficult to find any effect in the satellite temperature record, which started in 1978" .
If GHG concentrations don't appear to correlate with the satellite temperature record, then what about the surface temperature record? According to the NCEE Document:
"The surface measurements (HADCRUT) are more ambiguous than the satellite measurements in that the increasing temperatures shown since the min-1970s could either be due to the rapid growth of urbanization and the heat island effect or by the increase in GHG levels. However, since no such increase is shown in the satellite record it appears more likely that urbanization and the UHI effect are the most likely cause. If so, the increases may have little to do with GHGs and everything to do with the rapid urbanization during that period. Given the discrepancy between surface temperature records in the 1940-1975 and 1998-2008 and the increases in GHG levels during these periods it appears even more unlikely that GHGs have much effect on measured surface temperatures either." 
CO2 increases are actually the result of rising temperatures, not the cause. The Vostok Ice Cores data reveals that higher temperatures proceed CO2 increases by hundreds of years, which is the opposite of what Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" claims [14, 15].
And the Real Scapegoat is...
So if GHGs aren't responsible, what is? In the prior quote the NCEE cited "urbanization and the heat island effect" as one possible contributor. The NCEE writes that "because most surface measurements are made in urban areas there is a high risk that the urban heat island effect will influence the measurements made. This UHI effect is well known and well documented. Strong support for this effect can be found in the extreme divergence between surface and satellite measurements" .
The NCEE Document also cites another much more obvious contributor to global temperature changes: The sun. Surprised? Then you are either a global warming alarmist or you completely forgot about that useful orange/yellow ball of fire that makes life possible on earth...
"There appears to be a strong association between solar sunspots/irradiance and global temperature fluctuations. It is unclear exactly how this operates, but it may be through indirect solar variability on cloud formation. This topic is not really explored in the Draft TSD but needs to be since otherwise the effects of solar variations may be misattributed to the effects of changes in GHG levels." 
E. Friis-Christensen and K. Lassen of the Danish Meteorological Institute published an article titled "Length of the Solar Cycle: An Indicator of Solar Activity Closely Associated with Climate", in which they conclude that the solar cycle length record "closely matches the long-term variations of the Northern Hemisphere land air temperature during the past 130 years". In other words, fluctuations in temperature over the last 130 years correlate with solar activity. 
In a lengthy research paper titled "Climate Change Science", Kenneth Gregory of Friends of Science examines the effect of solar activity and provides the following summary table comparing CO2 warming hypothesis predictions and sun/cosmic ray hypothesis predictions with actual data :
"I also present an analysis of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which shows that most climate change might well be the result of….the climate system itself! Because small, chaotic fluctuations in atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems can cause small changes in global average cloudiness, this is all that is necessary to cause climate change. You don’t need the sun, or any other 'external' influence (although these are also possible…but for now I’ll let others work on that). It is simply what the climate system does." 
CO2: Good for Me, Good for You
Rather than let their pet political projects die because global warming isn't happening in spite of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, the global warming alarmists are now switching tactics and trying to scare people with the idea that atmospheric CO2 is a harmful pollutant. The EPA recently issued an "endangerment finding" claiming as much . More hysterical hogwash.
The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere today, even after a couple of centuries of industrialization, is very small: only 39 out of every 100,000 molecules of air is CO2 . The NCEE writes that "there is an obvious logical problem posed by steadily increasing US health and welfare measures and the alleged endangerment of health and welfare discussed in this draft TSD during a period of rapid rise in at least CO2 ambient levels. This discontinuity either needs to be carefully explained in the draft TSD or the conclusions changed" .
The NCEE Document elaborates:
"One of the most glaring problems with the EPA's Endangerment TSD is the nearly complete disregard of observed trends in a wide array of measures which by and large show that despite decades of increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions the U.S. population does not seem to have been adversely affected by any vulnerabilities, risks, and impacts that may have arisen (to the extent that any at all have actually occurred as the result of any human-induced climate change)."For instance, despite the overall rise in U.S. and global average temperatures for the past 30 years, U.S. crop yields have increased, the population's sensitivity to extreme heat has decreased, and our general air quality has improved. Further, there has been no long-term increase in weather-related property damage once changes for inflation, population size, and population wealth are accounted for (an essential step in any temporal comparison). All of these trends are in the opposite sense from those described in the EPA's Endangerment TSD." 
"Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an essential component of photosynthesis (also called carbon assimilation). Photosynthesis is a chemical process that uses light energy to convert CO2 and water into sugars in green plants. These sugars are then used for growth within the plant, through respiration. The difference between the rate of photosynthesis and the rate of respiration is the basis for dry-matter accumulation (growth) in the plant. In greenhouse production the aim of all growers is to increase dry-matter content and economically optimize crop yield. CO2 increases productivity through improved plant growth and vigour. Some ways in which productivity is increased by CO2 include earlier flowering, higher fruit yields, reduced bud abortion in roses, improved stem strength and flower size. Growers should regard CO2 as a nutrient.
"For the majority of greenhouse crops, net photosynthesis increases as CO2 levels increase from 340–1,000 ppm (parts per million). Most crops show that for any given level of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), increasing the CO2 level to 1,000 ppm will increase the photosynthesis by about 50% over ambient CO2 levels." 
"Far from being a pollutant, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will never directly harm human health, but will indirectly benefit humans in a number of ways. Chief among these benefits is global food security. People must have sufficient food, simply to sustain themselves; and the rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration that has occurred since the inception of the Industrial Revolution (an increase of approximately 100 ppm) has done wonders for humanity in this regard. And, it will continue to work wonders in helping us meet the rising food consumption needs of a larger, future population.
"In addition to increasing the quantity of food available for human consumption, the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration is also increasing the quality of the foods we eat. It significantly increases the quantity and potency of the many beneficial substances found in their tissues (such as the vitamin C concentration of citrus fruit), which ultimately make their way onto our dinner tables and into many of the medicines we take, improving our health and helping us better contend with the multitude of diseases and other maladies that regularly afflict us. In just one species of spider lily, for example, enriching the air with CO2 has led to the production of higher concentrations of several substances that have been demonstrated to be effective in fighting a number of human maladies, including leukemia, ovary sarcoma, melanoma, and brain, colon, lung and renal cancers, as well as Japanese encephalitis and yellow, dengue, Punta Tora and Rift Valley fevers." 
The True Scientific Consensus: Global Warming Worries are Unfounded
The NCEE Document states that its "conclusions do represent the best science in the sense of most closely corresponding to available observations that we currently know of, however, and are sufficiently at variance with those of the IPCC, CCSP, and the Draft TSD [EPA]" .
The fact is, lots of scientists are "at variance with those of the IPCC".
Back in 2006, in an open letter to Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, 60 expert scientists wrote (emphasis added):
"... Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada's climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.
"While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formulation. The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an "emerging science," one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.
"...'Climate change is real' is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural "noise".
"... It was only 30 years ago that many of today's global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe. But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas." 
Way back in 1998 a group of scientists began "The Global Warming Petition Project", in order to combat the global warming alarmist claims, including the assertion that the "science is settled" and the claim that there was a global warming "consensus" among scientists. To date, the petition has been signed by 31,486 American scientists. The petition signers are carefully screened to make sure that they are scientists, and to prevent duplication and fraud. Here is an excerpt from the petition's letter (emphasis added):
"The United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and of technologies that depend upon coal, oil, and natural gas and some other organic compounds."This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful." 
"In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming... In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country's new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted.
"...The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. — 13 times the number who authored the U.N.'s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world's first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak "frankly" of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming "the worst scientific scandal in history." Norway's Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the "new religion." A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton's Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists' open letter.)
"The collapse of the 'consensus' has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.
"Credit for Australia's own era of renewed enlightenment goes to Dr. Ian Plimer, a well-known Australian geologist. Earlier this year he published "Heaven and Earth," a damning critique of the "evidence" underpinning man-made global warming. The book is already in its fifth printing. So compelling is it that Paul Sheehan, a noted Australian columnist — and ardent global warming believer — in April humbly pronounced it "an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence." 
Global Warming Alarmism: A Fanatical Religion, not Science
Science is "a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws" . It is (or should be) chiefly concerned with seeking out the truth by systematically gathering and examining data, using evidence and reason to sift out error and to cast aside false hypotheses in favor of new ones. The process is one that demands precision and accuracy, honesty and accountability, and openness to new theories and ideas. True scientists value truth over being right. They welcome scrutiny, and they respect and study the opposing viewpoints of other scientists.
Religion is "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects" . It is "something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience" . Typically, religious principles and ideas cannot be definitively proven. They are generally faith-based. In religious matters, men often run to extremes, fanatically trumpeting their beliefs, for better or for worse. The more fanatical they are, the more they avoid close examination and reasoned debate, and the more often they favor force and intimidation as a means of preserving and propagating their religion.
The global warming alarmists exhibit far more characteristics of fanatical religionists than of truth-seeking scientists. (For details and references for much of what follows, please refer to my "The Global Warming Gestapo" article.) Their tactics have included the intimidation and blacklisting of scientists that oppose them. They've sought to exclude opposing research from being published in scholarly journals. They've refused to make their data and research available to scientists who are skeptical of their findings. They've hi-jacked and manipulated public sources of information, such as Wikipedia, to censor opposing information and research . They've ignored legitimate avenues of research and inquiry that undermine their own hypotheses. They've avoided public debate and have tried to stifle further debate, inquiry and investigation by claiming that "the science is settled".
No, the science of climate change isn't settled. Far from it. The science of climate change is too complex and too new to be settled so quickly. What is settled, however, is the fact that there is no global warming crisis. There is no science-based reason for elitist power-mongering politicians and bureaucrats to pass laws and regulations that rob freedom and prosperity by implementing socialism, wealth redistribution and a lowest-common denominator world government.
** Footnote Just prior to posting this article, and the day after I wrote "Look out for that to happen again" at the end of the "Global Temperatures are Declining" paragraph, I read the following on FoxNews.com (my comments are in brackets) :
From Miami to Maine, Savannah to Seattle, America is caught in an icy grip that one of the U.N.'s top global warming proponents says could mark the beginning of a mini ice age.
Oranges are freezing and millions of tropical fish are dying in Florida, and it could be just the beginning of a decades-long deep freeze, says Professor Mojib Latif, one of the world's leading climate modelers.
Latif thinks the cold snap Americans have been suffering through is only the beginning. He says we're in for 30 years of cooler temperatures — a mini ice age, he calls it, basing his theory on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the world's oceans.
[Hey, sounds like Roy Spencer's hypothesis... Read on...]
Latif, a professor at the Leibniz Institute at Germany's Kiel University and an author of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, believes the lengthy cold weather is merely a pause -- a 30-years-long blip -- in the larger cycle of global warming, which postulates that temperatures will rise rapidly over the coming years.
At a U.N. conference in September, Latif said that changes in ocean currents known as the North Atlantic Oscillation could dominate over manmade global warming for the next few decades. Latif said the fluctuations in these currents could also be responsible for much of the rise in global temperatures seen over the past 30 years.
[Good for Latif, he must be reading Roy Spencer's research. But still Latif tries to hang on to global warming...]
Latif is a key member of the UN's climate research arm, which has long promoted the concept of global warming. He told the Daily Mail that "a significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles -- perhaps as much as 50 percent."
[I can imagine Latif thinking: I have no idea, but I know it's a lot, so I'll just throw out some random number... But not too big a number, as I wouldn't want to take too much warming credit away from CO2, especially since there are yet other factors involved that also deserve credit, like solar activity...]
The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSICD) agrees that the cold temperatures are unusual, and that the world's oceans may play a part in temperatures on land.
[May play a part in temperatures on land?!?!? Anyone who lives anywhere near the ocean knows that ocean's play a huge part in land temperatures. And legitimate scientific research, such as that done by Roy Spencer, shows meaningful correlation between major ocean currents and atmospheric temperatures.]
"Has ocean variability contributed to variations in surface temperature? Absolutely, no one's denying that," said Mark Serreze, senior research scientist with NSIDC. But the Center disagrees with Latif's conclusions, instead arguing that the cold snap is still another sign of global warming.
"We are indeed starting to see the effects of the rise in greenhouse gases," he said.
[Amazing! None of the vaunted (actually, seriously flawed) global warming models predicted global cooling! But nevertheless, the same man-made factors are still to blame! Convenient, isn't it, when you can say anything you want and you don't have to rely on facts.]
Many parts of the world have been suffering through record-setting snowfalls and arctic temperatures. The Midwest saw wind chills as low as 49 degrees below zero last week, while Europe saw snows so heavy that Eurostar train service and air travel were canceled across much of the continent. In Asia, Beijing was hit by its heaviest snowfall in 60 years.
And as for the cold weather?
"This is just the roll of the dice, the natural variability inherent to the system," explained Serreze.
[Finally, Serreze says something sensible...]
1 Proposed NCEE Comments on Draft Technical Support Document
for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act