Scientists Say Global Warming Theory is a Lot of Hot Air

By Bruce Sullivan | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

Washington ( - Some of the world's leading environmental scientists gathered in the US Capitol Tuesday to shed some light on the so-called global warming theory, saying it's the result of bad science and political correctness.

More than a dozen climatologists, physicists, geologists, chemists, meteorologists, engineers and economists met for an independent scientific review of the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which they say has been incorrectly summarized and distorted by the UN and the news media for political reasons.

Both the 1,000-page report and its Summary for Policy Makers conclude that there is evidence of "discernible human influence" on the global climate. However, the scientists meeting in Washington, many of whom participated in the IPCC report as technical reviewers, disagreed.

"We have carefully examined both documents and find no credible evidence to support this claim," said S Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

Was the Last Century the Hottest?

The Summary for Policy Makers, which is what most non-scientific types will read, is especially distorting and misrepresentative of the full report, said Singer. He added that the Summary is mainly a "political document put together by a few scientific bureaucrats."

According to Singer and his fellow scientists on the review panel, one of the main inaccuracies in the Summary is the claim that the 20th Century was the warmest in the last 1000 years, and that in just the last 20 years there has been a major increase in the earth's atmospheric temperature.

"We don't accept this. We challenge this," said Singer.

One of the big problems with trying to determine long-term temperature changes, according to Wibjorn Karlen, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Sweden, is that weather records only go back to about 1860. By relying on statistical reconstruction of the last 1000 years, using only the temperature patterns of the last 140 years instead of actual temperature readings, the IPCC report and Summary missed both a major cooling period as well as a significant warming trend during that millennium, said Karlen.

"The [report] relies extensively on an attempt to reconstruct the global climate during the last 1000 years," said Karlen. "This reconstruction shows neither a Medieval Warm Period nor a Little Ice Age. But extensive evidence shows that both these events occurred on a global scale and that climates fluctuated significantly."

What was that evidence? According to Karlen and Singer, scientists have bored deep into the Greenland Ice Cap and taken temperature readings on ice thousands of years old. Those readings show no actual evidence of recent warming on the Greenland Ice Cap, but they do show older warming periods.

"Warming 1000 years ago was greater than anything we've seen in the last century," said Singer.

Are Humans Influencing Global Climate?

Besides assuming that the earth is getting hotter, the IPCC Summary concludes that human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and causing a greenhouse effect, thereby raising temperatures. But again, said the review panel of independent scientists, those conclusions were erroneously based on statistical extrapolations, not facts.

"The IPCC's core sensitivity climate parameters are seriously flawed," said Peter Dietze, a German electrical engineer and environmental consultant.

The IPCC report minimizes many other important factors regarding the global climate, such as the sun, said European Space Agency solar physicist Paal Brekke.

"The sun has been very active over the past 100 years, but the IPCC seems to ignore this," said Brekke. "It also downplays how much indirect solar effects also increase global temperatures, by affecting the ozone layer (UV) and clouds (cosmic rays)."

There is one thing that both the IPCC report and the independent review panel agreed on - long term climate predictions are an inexact science.

"If you think weather forecasting is bad, you should try climate forecasting," said German meteorologist Gerd-Rainer Weber. "To presume that computer models can actually predict global climate to the year 2100 means we are basing our energy and economic policies - to say nothing of our children's futures - on a wild gamble."

What Does It All Cost?

Looming over the whole debate about global warming and the IPCC report is the Kyoto Protocol, a worldwide agreement for the developed nations to limit their greenhouse gases while putting less restrictions on the developing countries. The cost of Kyoto is enormous, said the panel.

The US alone has spent $15 billion during the last decade on environmental studies, said consulting engineer David Wojick.

The full cost of the Kyoto Protocol could run as high as $5 trillion, said Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

"Climate alarmists put the policy cart in front of the science horse," said McKitrick. "Even if global warming is happening, or is about to happen, and we decide its net effects are mostly bad, there are many feasible policy options to deal with it.

Perhaps the worst aspect of Kyoto is that it won't help the environment, said McKitrick.

"The Kyoto Protocol, for all the enormous costs it will impose on nations and our global economy, will have no discernible impact on the climate change process," said McKitrick.

"Why are we in such a hurry to adopt an incredibly expensive policy, which is a completely futile attempt to influence a process that we can neither predict, identify, measure, nor control," he added.