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UN Climate Distractions By: Steven Milloy
Fox News | Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just issued the final installment of its year-long scare-the-pants-off-the public assessment of global warming.

It should come as no surprise that, according to the U.N., 257 years of western development and progress has placed the Earth in imminent danger of utter disaster and that the only way to save the planet is to drink the U.N. Kool-Aid and knuckle under to global government-directed energy rationing and economic planning.

Oh, and did I mention that the U.N. says we only have seven years to end the growth of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and 40 years to stop them entirely if we are to avoid killing as many as one-fourth of the planet’s species?

I’d be scared too, if I didn’t know that this is the very same U.N. that just admitted to inflating the African AIDS epidemic -- thereby maximizing the public panic feeding its fundraising efforts -- and the very same U.N. that presided over the corrupt oil-for-food program which gave Saddam Hussein as much as $20 billion in kickbacks while delivering food unfit for human consumption to hungry Iraqis.

What we need to do is peer through the U.N.’s frantic efforts to distract us with a multitude of dire predictions of climatic Armageddon and focus on the core issue of the global warming debate -- only then does it become obvious why the U.N.’s claims call for extreme skepticism.

That key issue, of course, is whether or not manmade CO2 emissions drive global temperature. In its shockingly brief and superficial treatment of this crucial issue, the U.N. states, in relevant part, that, “Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures, since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over every continent (except Antarctica)."

This glib statement overlooks that fact that from 1940 to 1975 globally-averaged temperature declined (giving rise to a much-hyped scare about a looming ice age) while manmade CO2 emissions increased. Global temperature has fallen since 1998 despite ever-increasing CO2 emissions. So for 27 of the last 50 years, globally-averaged temperatures have declined while CO2 emissions have increased.

If there’s a cause-and-effect relationship between CO2 and temperature in the last 50 years at all, it seems to be slightly in the opposite direction from what the U.N. claims. And if we are experiencing manmade global warming, someone should tell Antarctica to get with the program.

The U.N. also says that, "Atmospheric concentrations of CO2… exceed by far the natural range over the 650,000 years." Readers, apparently, are supposed to let their imaginations run away with them as to the implications of this statement. What the U.N. left out is that the relationship between CO2 and temperature over the last 650,000 years is precisely opposite of what it has led the public to believe with statements like the preceding one.

Increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 actually lag global temperature increases anywhere from 800-2,000 years according to the Antarctic ice core record that covers the 650,000-year span of time.

A new temperature reconstruction for the past 2,000 years created by Craig Loehle of the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement indicates that, 1,000 years ago, globally averaged temperature was about 0.3 degrees Celsius warmer than the current temperature. Since that climatic "heat wave" obviously wasn’t caused by coal-fired power plants and SUVs, the current temperature is quite within natural variability, further deflating the UN’s rash conclusion about the warming of the past 50 years.

There's also the matter of the quality of the temperature records relied on by the U.N.

In his project entitled, "How Not to Measure Temperature," meteorologist Anthony Watts travels the U.S. inspecting stations at which temperature data are recorded by NASA. In the recently released Part 34 of his series, Watts found that the Klamath Falls, Ore., station was located amid acres of heat-trapping asphalt and exposed to huge amounts of waste heat from electric power conversion. Watts says the location of the temperature station seems to have been chosen for the convenience of the observer rather than the integrity of the temperature reading.

It's not hard to imagine how the upward bias in temperature readings from this and similarly situated stations around the world has raised serious questions about the validity of official temperature records and, consequently, their use in the global warming debate. So when the U.N. claims to have divined a global warming trend averaging 0.75 degrees Celsius per century regardless of its cause, it’s useful to keep in mind that NASA alarmist James Hansen says that the margin of error around the average global temperature is plus/minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

So we can’t possibly have all that much confidence in what the U.N. claims to be happening global temperature-wise.

Don’t be distracted by the alarmist arm-waving and sideshows about the North Pole melting, polar bears drowning and the myriad other supposed catastrophes mentioned in the same breath as man-made CO2 emissions and global warming. There's no evidence that man-made CO2 emissions have created any environmental problem and certainly no scientific justification for handing the keys of the American economy over to the U.N.


Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.


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