Climate Conference Keynoters Rebuke Alarmists

Published May 1, 2009

U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) and scientist Arthur Robinson, who has assembled a list of more than 31,000 U.S. scientists skeptical of global warming alarmism, in separate keynote speeches at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change rebuked global warming alarmists for hypocrisy and inconsistent predictions of doom.

The two also pointed out embarrassing inconsistencies in Al Gore’s popular movie, An Inconvenient Truth.

The conference, produced by The Heartland Institute and 60 cosponsors, attracted some 700 scientists, economists, and policy experts to confront the question, “Global Warming: Was it ever really a crisis?”

Ever-Changing Crisis Claims

McClintock joked about being the first to discover global warming during a grade school trip to a natural history museum, where he deduced dinosaurs were destroyed by warming temperatures.

Unfortunately, McClintock said, Miss Conroy, his elementary school teacher, failed to nominate him for a Nobel Prize, “so instead of jetting around the world in a fleet of Gulfstream Fives to tell people they need to feel guilty about driving to work, I have to take the subway. And I don’t get paid $100,000 a speech for my original discovery. But then again, I don’t have Al Gore’s electricity bills either, so I guess it all balances out.”

The congressman also noted that James Hansen, the notorious NASA astronomer who has urged forcing global warming skeptics to face a Nuremberg-style trial for crimes against humanity, in 1971 warned of a coming deadly ice age but lately has made front-page news by warning of a deadly global warming.

Inconvenient Flubs

Robinson, who heads the independent Oregon Institute of Science & Medicine, dissected Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth by noting contradictions in it, much to the delight of the audience.

For instance, Robinson noted Gore produced a chart that the former vice president said showed computer models predicted a sharp rise in global temperatures—years before computers capable of such projections existed. Another Gore graphic warned of species becoming extinct—and illustrated the point with wooly mammoths and other species that disappeared thousands of years before humans emitted significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

Robinson also ridiculed Gore’s contention that Pacific Ocean islanders have been forced to evacuate their land for New Zealand—as ocean levels rose a mere 3 inches.

31,000 Scientists Sign Petition

Robinson presented an updated list of 31,478 scientists who have proclaimed their skepticism about claims of dangerous global warming. Alarmists have criticized the list for including the names of many non-climate scientists, but as Bob Carter noted in a keynote presentation the following day, United Nations officials concede no more than roughly 20 percent of the competing Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are climate scientists.

Robinson noted scientists with expertise in areas other than atmospheric physics have strong credentials for exposing flawed assertions of climate change impacts on plant life, animal populations, ocean currents, ice sheets, and other related topics.

Panelists Address Key Issues

More than 50 presentations were made in Monday panel sessions, tackling a variety of key issues.

Tom Segalstad from Oslo University in Norway noted the composition of ocean water—including carbon dioxide, calcium, and water—can act as a buffering agent in the alleged acidification of the oceans, a relatively new worry raised by global warming alarmists in the face of mounting data showing global temperatures pose little risk.

Syun-Ichi Akasofu of the University of Alaska said Earth’s climate is currently in a period of long, slow recovery from the Little Ice Age. The data suggest a large-scale trend of about 0.5 degrees Celsius per century of linear, rather than accelerating, temperature rise, punctuated by multidecade-long oscillations. He said his data suggest the warming may end soon, because by historical standards it should not last for more than about another 100 years.

Missing Hotspot, Warming Noted

David Evans, a former researcher in the Australian Department of Climate Change, said the IPCC’s computer models clearly predict the emergence of a “hotspot” in the upper troposphere over the tropics. However, he noted, radio temperature data for the upper troposphere clearly show there is no hotspot. The IPCC’s assertion of alarming manmade global warming rests on this fundamental prediction, Evans said, but the hotspot just isn’t there.

Evans suggested “the science behind [substantial human-caused global warming] is weak” and consists largely of 45 people peer-reviewing each other’s papers, which tends toward groupthink on science questions.

Australian climatologist William Kininmonth said his data show a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would produce a temperature change at the surface of about 0.6 degrees Celsius. By contrast, models favored by alarmists predict an average temperature increase nearly three times higher.

The alarmist models have a consistent track record of predicting more warming than has actually occurred in the real world, while Kininmonth’s data produces much more empirically accurate results. He said the difference is significant because it influences predictions of worldwide sea levels, a big worry promulgated by global warming alarmists.

Dan Miller ([email protected]) is executive vice president and publisher for The Heartland Institute. Bloggers Daniel Foty and Thomas Sheahen contributed to this article.