Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels told a Capitol Hill luncheon Friday that the fears of catastrophic global warming are scientifically unfounded and 'alarmist.' Michaels also declared that any climate change that does occur would not impact the Earth or its inhabitants in any significant way.
"The science is settled in a very non-alarmist way," Michaels told CNSNews.com. Michaels predicted that his message would not be well received by many in the climate debate.
"A non-alarmist way is politically very unpopular in Washington, D.C.," he said.
Michaels, author of the book Satanic Gasses: Clearing the Air about Global Warming and an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia, was the featured speaker at a luncheon sponsored by the Cato Institute on Friday.
"Scientific data really tells us how much it is going to warm over the next 100 years, and it's going to be at the low end of the projections, and people will adapt as long as their economies are free. We have been adapting for a long time," Michaels explained.
Michaels said he expects a negligible warm-up and pointed to the past 100 years as proof that any effects of potential increased global temperatures are going to be negligible.
"As the planet warmed up about one degree Fahrenheit in the last 100 years, the life span in the industrialized democracies went from 40 to 80 [years], and crop yields doubled. Global warming did not cause that, but it didn't stop it either," Michaels said.
Instead of being concerned about potential climate change, people should "worry about something that is really a serious problem," he added.
The whole climate change debate is over, according to Michaels.
"You would think I would tire of shooting fish in barrels, but it's still fun and that is what's going on here [with the climate debate]," Michaels said.
'Heads in the sand'
Debbie Boger, an energy expert with the Sierra Club, dismissed Michaels' claims that the global warming debate is over.
"We need to remember both the National Academy of Sciences and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have both come out with reports saying global warming is a real phenomenon, caused by human-made emissions and will have real consequences," Boger told CNSNews.com.
"To say there will be not be consequences is putting our heads in the sand," she added.
Michaels called the persistent belief in catastrophic global warming "a religion" and said that is why he has faced so much opposition to his scientific work.
"If you say something against a religion, people yell out at you. People wonder why I drive a [low emission] hybrid car -- they would never blow up a hybrid car," he said to laughter.
'A couple billion dollars'
Michaels outlined three periods of atmospheric change in the last 100 years of U.S. history, noting a warming in the first part of the 20th century, a cooling in the middle part of the century and a warming in the latter part of the century.
"There is the cooling of the mid-20th century that gave rise to congressional hearings in the mid-1970s about the coming ice age, and [scientists were asked], 'Could you use a couple billion dollars to study this?'" Michaels said.
The money politicized the scientific process and "consume[d] billions of dollars of your money," he said.
"The more money you throw at [climate science], the less certainty you get. If you shut off all the money, the scientists would probably all agree," he added.
The real scientific proof that man could not impact our environment with greenhouse gas emissions in any catastrophic way already exits, Michaels believes.
Paleo records indicate that the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was up to 14 times higher than it is today when the Earth was but 8 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today," Michaels said, referring to the climate of millions of years ago.
There is no way we can get the Earth that hot again, he said -- even "if we burn everything as fast as we could," he added.
And the Earth was not unpleasant during the period of high CO2 concentrations and higher temperatures, according to Michaels.
"The planet was greener than a [casino] crap table. That is where all that coal came from that we are burning now," he explained.
Michaels does not expect the media to portray climate change as anything but catastrophic. "The media are either very untrained in the field or really are looking the other way," Michaels said.
"Unfortunately, they have pumped this [alarmist] mindset up so much that it is very clear that people are beginning to get...apocalyptic fatigue," he added.
'Plutonian global warming'
Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the free-market environmental think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, attended the luncheon and pointed to the recent scientific indications that the planet Pluto is warming up despite moving away from the sun.
"Pluto's warm-up is a reminder that no matter where you are climate happens. It always has, it always will -- with or without SUVs. And it should remind us to continue taking with an ever-increasing grain of salt these claims that your car acts as a weather machine," Horner said.
Horner also predicted that it would not be long before environmentalists came up with a theory on why Pluto was warming.
"There will be inevitably and likely imminent claims that mankind is also causing Plutonian global warming," he said.
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