Climate scepticism attracting powerful friends

The US Senate building

From the SPPI site comes a remarkable statement from a US Senator reaffirming the primacy of science in the search for truth and emphasising that between the scientific and political arms of the IPCC there are strong contradictions.

Statement by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch Before the United States Senate,
June 10, 2010

EPA Disapproval Resolution

Mr. President, I rise today as an original cosponsor of the Disapproval Resolution of the carbon regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. I would like to start off by applauding Senator Murkowski for her strong leadership on this issue, and I stand squarely behind her effort.

To summarize what has already been laid out today, the EPA has released findings that, one, human carbon emissions contribute in a significant way to global warming; and, two, that global warming – which has been going on for about 10,000 years now — is an endangerment to humans. The EPA’s foundation for its proposal relies on the assumption that both of these findings are true.

Mr. President, I was sorely disappointed – but not too surprised – when I learned that the EPA based it’s “findings” almost entirely on the work by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the IPCC. I have no problem with much of the science produced by IPCC scientists, but I have a real problem with the way that science is summarized by the political leaders at the IPCC and by the conclusions drawn by those same political leaders in the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, which is not a science document. And it becomes immediately evident that the EPA relies very heavily on these political summaries and conclusions rather than actual science produced by the IPCC. Because we now have abundant proof that a wide gulf exists between what the science indicates and what the political leaders at the IPCC pretend that it indicates.

But I’m not asking anyone to take my word for it. Instead, let’s listen to what IPCC scientists themselves are saying about the conclusions the politicians at the IPCC have been selling to policymakers. Here’s what Dr. John T. Everett has to say, he was a UN IPCC lead author and expert reviewer, and a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) senior manager. He says: “It is time for a reality check. Warming is not a big deal and is not a bad thing, the oceans and coastal zones have been far warmer and colder than is projected in the present scenarios of climate change.” Well there’s one of the IPCC’s top scientists saying that the warming we are experiencing is NOT an endangerment. Let’s hear from another scientist, Dr. Richard Tol. He was an author of three full UN IPCC Working Groups, and the director of the Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Science. He says, “There is no risk of damage [from global warming] that would force us to act injudiciously.” As an illustration, he explains that “warming temperatures will mean that in 2050 there will be about 40,000 fewer deaths in Germany attributable to cold-related illnesses like the flu.” What’s that, Mr. President? Here we have another top scientist at the IPCC telling us that warming will actually SAVE lives – not endanger them.

Dr. Oliver W. Frauenfeld, a contributing author of the UN IPCC Working Fourth Assessment Report, sends those of us who are policymakers a serious warning. He says, “Only after we identify these factors and determine how they affect one another, can we begin to produce accurate models. And only then should we rely on those models to shape policy.” I hope my colleagues in the Senate are listening today, because these UN IPCC scientists are speaking directly to us. Mr. President I wonder at what cost to our economy and our competitiveness will we as policymakers continue to ignore the actual scientists at the IPCC. There is nowhere near a scientific consensus on either one of the EPA’s “findings” that humans are causing warming, or that warming is necessarily bad for humankind.

MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen, another IPCC lead author and expert reviewer dispels the notion that there is a scientific consensus in favor of drastic climate policy. He explains, “One of the things the scientific community is pretty agreed on is those things will have virtually no impact on climate no matter what the models say. So the question is do you spend trillions of dollars to have no impact? And that seems like a no-brainer.”

Another top IPCC scientist and lead author was Dr. John Christy. He explained that the UN IPCC process had become corrupted by politics. He says, “I was at the table with three Europeans, and we were having lunch. And they were talking about their role as lead authors. And they were talking about how they were trying to make the report so dramatic that the United States would just have to sign that Kyoto Protocol.”

The politicization at the UN was so egregious, that Dr. Christopher W. Landsea, UN IPCC author and reviewer, atmospheric scientist, and expert with NOAA’s National Hurricane Center pronounced, “I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.“ Dr. Aynsley Kellow, UN IPCC Contributing Author and referee for the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report echoes this sentiment when he observed that “the scientists are in there but it is, after all, called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientists are there at the nomination of governments.”

Mr. President, there are many more UN and government scientists who have publicly expressed their professional opinions that the IPCC political projections are overblown and not supported by the science. I have put together a sampling of their quotations in a report called UN Climate Scientists Speak Out on Climate Change. It is available for download on my Climate 101 link on my webpage, and I ask unanimous consent that the full report be placed in the record at the end of my remarks.

Thank you Mr. President.


This article is long; here’s a bonus for persevering so far:

US Postal charges show good correlation with global temperatures


Now, I would like to address an issue that has been very carefully ignored by the EPA, and that is the benefit that Americans can expect from the EPA’s actions. As senators, not many of us are scientists, but each of us is a policymaker. And as policymakers we are expected to fully analyze the costs and benefits of any proposal that comes before us. The “endangerment” that the EPA points to is the warming we are supposedly causing. If warming is the “endangerment,” then the benefit is the amount of warming the regulations would avoid. And thanks to the IPCC, we have all the numbers and assumptions we need to be able to determine just how much warming we could avoid for the amount of carbon emissions the EPA can stop.

Mr. President, let’s go on the assumption that the EPA will successfully reduce human CO2 emissions in this country by 83 percent over the next century. Well, according to the alarmist (and some would say overblown) assumptions at the UN IPCC, Americans can expect a cooling benefit of somewhere between 0.07 and 0.2 degrees Celsius after a full hundred years of effort. That’s right, Mr. President, we are being asked to give up trillions of dollars in economic activity, send all new manufacturing activity overseas, give up millions of jobs, and put basic human activities under the control of the EPA all for a benefit that cannot be measured on a household thermometer after a hundred years of sacrifice and pain.

That also begs the question, Mr. President: If reducing CO2 emissions by a full 83 percent in the United States only reduces temperatures by less than 0.2 degrees, then what’s the logical argument that human emissions are causing an endangerment? No wonder so many actual scientists at the UN are trying to wave us off trying to control human carbon emissions.

The EPA tells us our human carbon emissions are leading to a general catastrophe, but then we find out that if we do what they say it will make no real difference. And so I would ask the EPA Administrator this question: Have you done a real risk – benefit analysis of these proposed carbon emission regulations? I don’t want to hear all the scary scenarios about general global warming. I want to know the actual risks associated with a 0.07 to 0.2 degree decrease in temperature over 100 years. Because that’s what we’re talking about here. That’s the analysis I want to see. Because when you stack up the astounding costs on the scale against such a tiny benefit, you have the most lopsided and obvious failure of a cost-benefit analysis I have ever seen.

Mr. President there is no real climate knob the government can use to turn the temperature down. We’ve seen the simple calculation using the IPCC’s own formula and assumptions lead one to believe that this entire effort is less about trying to control our planets climate and more about using scary scenarios as an excuse to put most human activities under government control.

Dr. Richard Lindzen, the IPCC scientist from MIT said it best when he said: “controlling carbon is a bureaucrats dream. If you control carbon, you control life.” I wonder if the EPA bothered to talk to him about their endangerment finding.

Well, Senator Hatch is missing the point, the alarmists will say. They’ll talk about the global effect on the overall climate, on species, on habitat, on our deserts, and on sea levels. So let’s take a look at those questions, Mr. President.

Another point well hidden in the IPCC science is that, one, warming will result in more water vapor in the air; and, two, heightened CO2 in the atmosphere significantly increases plant growth and habitat.

I wonder if any of my colleagues have seen the article by the National Geographic Society published not long ago. The magazine reported that due to global warming and its accompanying increase in water vapor, the Sahara desert has shrunk at a remarkable rate due to global warming. Let me repeat that for those listening today. The Sahara desert had SHRUNK to Global warming and its accompanying increase in water vapor. The desert is experiencing a remarkable increase in vegetation and humans and other species are moving into new areas that have never been habitable in recorded history. I’d be very interested if anyone over at the EPA is aware of this gigantic benefit of global warming in the driest region on the planet. Mr. President, I ask that a copy of this article also be printed in the record following my remarks.

Mr. President, needless to say, there is a very strong case that the EPA is acting on assumptions that are in no way settled, and it is up to this body of elected officials to take control of this matter and ensure that the public interest is being protected.

Thank you Mr. President. I yield the floor.

US Capitol building

Colloquy

Mr. BARRASSO: Mr. President, I would like to ask a question of my good friend from Utah. I am very interested in the story of the Sahara Desert shrinking due to Global Warming, because if the driest part of the earth is benefitting from global warming, then I’m very interested to know how the EPA is using that information in its endangerment calculation. Are you aware of any other scientific evidence that warming would be a benefit for humans?

Mr. HATCH: Mr. President, I thank my friend from Wyoming for that question, and I can say that there are literally hundreds of scientific studies showing real-world evidence that species and their habitats generally increase under warming conditions. And it’s very important to point out that these studies are based on real-world observations, because the UN IPCC uses computer models not only for its climate predictions, but also for its scary projections of shrinking species and habitat. And we all know that computer models can never prove anything, they can only reflect the assumptions that are put into them and project them into the future. I have here a list of studies the IPCC relies upon for their alarmist species projections, followed by a list of studies that specifically test these models in the real world. In just about every case, the real-world response to warming has been positive disproving the models the IPCC relies on. Mr. President I ask that this list be included in the record following my remarks.

Thank you Mr. President.

Sample of Scientific Studies Showing Real-World Benefits of Warming for Species and Habitat

IPCC Global Warming-Induced Extinction Hypothesis Based on Computer Models

1. Woodwell (1989) wrote that “the climatic changes expected are rapid enough to exceed the capacity of forests to migrate or otherwise adapt.”

[Woodwell, G.M. 1989. The warming of the industrialized middle latitudes 1985-2050: Causes and consequences. Climatic Change 15: 31-50]

2. Davis (1989) said that “trees may not be able to disperse rapidly enough to track climate.”

[Davis, M.B. 1989. Lags in vegetation response to greenhouse warming. Climatic Change 15: 75-89. Gear, A.J. and Huntley, B. 1991. Rapid changes in the range limits of Scots pine 4000 years ago. Science 251: 544-547. Root, T.L. and Schneider, S.H. 1993. Can large-scale climatic models be linked with multi scale ecological studies? Conservation Biology 7: 256-270.

3. Malcolm and Markham (2000) agreed that “rapid rates of extinction [since] many species may be unable to shift their ranges fast enough to keep up with global warming.”

[Malcolm, J.R. and Markham, A. 2000. Global Warming and Terrestrial Biodiversity Decline. World Wide Fund for Nature, Gland, Switzerland.

4. Thomas et al (2004) developed computer models predicting future habitat distributions. These models were used by the IPCC to make estimates of species extinction.

[Malcolm, J.R., Liu, C., Miller, L.B., Allnutt, T.and Hansen, L. 2002. Habitats at Risk: Global Warming and Species Loss in Globally Significant Terrestrial Ecosystems. World Wide Fund for Nature. Gland, Switzerland.]

Scientific Rebuttals to Thomas’ Computer Models

1. Stockwell (2000) observes that the Thomas models, due to lack of any observed extinction data, are not ‘tried and true,’ and their doctrine of ‘massive extinction’ is actually a case of ‘massive extinction bias.’

[Stockwell, D.R.B. 2004. Biased Toward Extinction, Guest Editorial, CO2 Science 7 (19): http://www.co2 science.org/articles/V7/N19/EDIT.php]

2. Dormann (2007) concludes that shortcomings associated with climate alarmist analyses “are so numerous and fundamental that common ecological sense should caution us against putting much faith in relying on their findings for further extrapolations.”

[Dormann, C.F. 2007. Promising the future? Global change projections of species distributions. Basic and Applied Ecology 8: 387-397.

Plants Ability to Avoid Extinction with the Help of CO2

1. Idso and Idso (1994) found that high levels of CO2 have many positive effects on plants

[Idso, K. E. and Idso, S.B. 1994. Plat responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment in the face of environmental constraints: A review of the past 10 years’ research. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 69: 153: 203]

2. Idso and Idso (1994) also showed that the positive effects of CO2 on plants were amplified as temperatures increase.

[Idso, K. E. and Idso, S.B. 1994. Plat responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment in the face of environmental constraints: A review of the past 10 years’ research. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 69: 153: 203]

3. Wittwer (1988) asserts that even the most extreme global warming envisioned by the IPCC would probably not affect the majority of Earth’s plants, because 95% of all plants can naturally adapt to high levels of CO2 while remaining in their current habitat.

Wittwer, S.H. 1988. The greenhouse effect. Carolina Biological Supply, Burlington, NC.

4. Drake (1992) shows that increases in atmospheric C02 can actually raise the optimum growth temperature of plants.

[Drake, B.G. 1992. Global warming: The positive impact of rising carbon dioxide levels. Eco-Logic 1(3): 20-22.]

Real-World Examples of Plants Adapting to Climate Change

1. Allen et al. (1999) discovered that the vegetation naturally responds to rapid changes in climate. Warmer was always better in terms of vegetation production.

[Allen, J.R.M., Brandt, U., Brauer, A., Hubberten, H.-W., Huntley, B., Nowacyk, N.R., OBerhansli, H., Watts, W.A., Wulf, S. and Zolitschka, B. 1999. Rapid environmental changes in southern Europe during the last glacial period. Nature 400: 740-743.

2. Kullman (2002), in a long-term study of the Swiss Alps, similarly shows that the Earth’s vegetation can rapidly respond to climate warming. Warming does not result in species extinction, but actually leads to a greater number of species.

[Kullman, L. 2002. Rapid recent range-margin rise of tree and shrub species in the Swedish Scandes. Journal of Ecology 90: 68-77.]

Plants Do Not Need to Migrate to Adapt

1. An international team of 33 researchers found that, with warming, “when species were rare in a local area, they had a higher survival rate than when they were common, resulting in enrichment for rare species and increasing diversity with age and size class in these complex ecosystems.”

[Wills, C., Harms, K.E., Condit, R., King, D., Thompson, J., He, F., Muller-Landau, H.C., P., Losos, E., Cmita, L., Hubbell, S., LaFrankie, J., Bunyavejchewin, S., Dattaraja, H.S., Davies, S., Esufali, S., Foster, R., Gunatilleke, N., Gunatilleke, S., hall, P., Itoh, A., John, R.,Kiratiprayoon, S., de Lao, S.L., Massa, M., Nath, C., Noor, M.N.S., Kassim, A.R., Sukumar, R., Suresch, H.S., Sun, I.-F., Tan, S., Yamakura, T. and Zimmerman, J. 2006. Nonrandom processes maintain diversity in tropical forests. Science 311: 527-531.]

Evolutionary Responses to Clmatic Stresses

1. Franks et al., 2007 showed that disease incidence was lower in environments with elevated CO2 levels.

[Franks, S.J., and Weis, A.E. 2008. A change in climate causes rapid evolution of multiple life-history traits and their interactions in an annual plant. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 1321-1334.]

2. Sage and Coleman (2001) concluded that species are continually evolving and have high capacity for further evolving as CO2 content continues to rise.

[Sage, R.F. and Coleman. J.R. 2001. Effects of low atmospheric CO2 on plants: more than a thing of the past. TRENDS in Plant Science 6: 18-24.]

Animals Avoiding Extinction – Birds

1. Thomas and Lennon (1999) showed that both British birds and European butterflies have expanded their ranges in the face of global warming. This is a positive response that decreases the likelihood of extinction to a lower possibility than it was before the warming.

[Thomas, C.D. and Lennon, J.J. 1999. Birds extend their ranges northwards. Nature 399: 213.]

2. In a similar study (1999) Brown et al. showed that the warming trend leads to an earlier abundance of food for the Mexican jay. This, in turn, leads to the jay laying eggs earlier in the season, and thus increasing the chances of survival for young jays.

[Brown, J.L, Shou-Hsien, L. And Bhagabati, N. 1999. Long-term trend toward earlier breeding in an American bird: A response to global warming? Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, U.S.A. 96: 5565-5569.]

3. Brommer (2004) demonstrates that the range of birds in a warming world will likely increase in size, which decreases the likelihood of extinction.

[Brommer, J.E. 2004. The range margins of northern birds shift polewards. Annales Zoologici Fennici 41: 391-397.]

4. Lemoine et al. concludes that “increase in temperature appear to have allowed increases in abundance of species whose range centers were located in southern Europe and that may have been limited by low winter or spring temperature.” In addition they found that, “the impact of climate change on bird populations increased in importance between 1990 and 200 and is now more significant than any other tested factor,” because warming has tremendously benefitted European birds and helped buffer them against extinction.

[Lemoine, N., Bauer, H.-G., Peintinger, M. And Bohning-Gaese, K. 2007. Effects of climate and land-use change on species abundance in a central European bird community. Conservation Biology 21: 495-503.]

5. Hapulka and Barowiec (2008) observed that increasing temperatures over a 36-year period led to an increase in the length of the egg-laying period. For several reasons, these temperature increases resulted in birds having significantly more offspring.

[Halpuka, L., Dyrcz, A. And Borowiec, M. 2008. Climate change affects breeding of reed warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus. Journal of Avian Biology 39: 95-100.]

6. UN Modeler Jensen et al (2008) stated, “global climate change is expected to shift species ranges polewards, with a risk of range contractions and population declines of especially high-Arctic species.”

[Jensen, R.A., Madsen, J., O’Connell, M., Wisz, M.S., Tommervick, H. And Mehlum, F. 2008. Prediction of the distribution of Arctic-nesting pink-footed geese under a warmer climate scenario.]

7. When this theory was actually tested, the same researchers, Jensen et al (2008) discovered that global warming “will have a positive effect on the suitability of Svalbard for nesting geese in terms of range expansion into the northern and eastern parts of Svalbard which are curently unsuitable.”

[Jensen, R.A., Madsen, J., O’Connell, M., Wisz, M.S., Tommervick, H. And Mehlum, F. 2008. Prediction of the distribution of Arctic-nesting pink-footed geese under a warmer climate scenario. Global Change Biology 14: 1-10.]

Other Climate Warming Bird Population Studies

1. UN modelers Seoane and Carrascal (2008) wrote that “it has been hypothesized that species preferring low environmental temperatures which inhabit cooler habitats or areas, would be negatively affected by temperature during the last two decades.” After an intense study of 57 species between 1996 and 2004, they discovered that, “one-half of the study species showed significant increasing [italics added] recent trends despite the public concern that bird populations are generally decreasing,” while “only one-tenth showed a significant decrease.”

[Seoane, J. And Carrascal, L.M. 2008. Interspecific differences in population trends of Spanish birds are related to habitat and climactic preferences. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17: 111-121.]

SPPI Note: See: Plant and Animal Response to Global Warming

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