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"Consensus" on man-made warming shattering

By Dennis T. Avery
web posted July 21, 2008

The "consensus" on man-made global warming may have received a mortal wound.

Physics & Society, The journal of the 46,000-member American Physical Society, just published "Climate Sensitivity Revisited," by Viscount Christopher Monckton. Monckton is an avowed man-made warming skeptic, and former science advisor to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (If you want to see the science, go to www.APS.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm)

Viscount Monckton contends that the climate alarmists have mistakenly pre-programmed their computer models with equations that overstate the earth's sensitivity to CO2 by 500 to 2,000 percent—thus creating a senseless First World panic that itself threatens the future of society.

Physics & Society says: "There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S."

The journal then offers both the Monckton paper and a response by David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz, of the California Polytechnic Institute. P&S also issued an open invitation to "further contributions from the physics community." 

It had to happen. Too much evidence has mounted against CO2 as a cause of the modern warming. Sea ice is expanding globally, not retreating (especially in the Antarctic). The oceans have stopped rising, and actually started to fall; that might be because they "stopped warming 4–5 years ago" according to NASA, based on data from the 3,000 new Argo floats now scattered world-wide. The number and intensity of hurricanes, cyclones, and tornadoes hasn't increased. Rain has returned to Australia, reminding us again it is naturally the driest continent on earth.

The crowning blow: After nine years of non-warming, the planet actually began to cool in 2007 and 2008 for the first time in 30 years. The net warming from 1940 to 1998 had been a miniscule 0.2 degree C; the UK's Hadley Centre says earth's temperature has now dropped back down to about the levels of 100 years ago. There has thus been no net global warming within "living memory"!   

The current cooling doesn't mean another Ice Age is looming. There is massive global evidence of a 1,500-year warming cycle, going back 1 million years. It may be driven by the slightly varying distance between the earth and the sun. The sunspot index has had a 79 percent correlation with the earth's thermometer record since 1860, during this time,  the temperature correlation with CO2 is a dismissive 22 percent. 

NASA's Jason satellite tells us the Pacific Ocean has entered a cool phase. Historically, these have lasted 25–30 years. After that, there may be some additional warming. However, the 1,500-year cycles typically shift abruptly; we should already have most of this one's warming. When we'll get the inevitable cooling? Probably centuries from now.

The warming debate is far from over, but an actual debate looks likely.  Reputations and huge bundles of cash have been bet on man-made warming, including billions in government funding for climate research. The UN's reputation—and perhaps its future—are on the line.

The American Physical Society itself has issued a statement: It stands by its belief that human-emitted CO2 is "changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the earth's climate" and notes that Physics & Society is not peer-reviewed. Nonetheless, the debate is finally and openly joined, after 20 years of the Greens proclaiming humanity's guilt for wrecking the planet as beyond sane discussion. 

Now, we look forward to a full-scale exploration of the science. We have heard quite enough from the computers. ESR

Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and is the Director for the Center for Global Food Issues. (www.cgfi.org) He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 2442 or email to cgfi@hughes.net.


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