Climate Variance No Crisis, Says Senate Committee Chair

Published December 1, 2006

Alarmism over climate variance is unsupported by the weight of scientific evidence, and proposals by environmental activists to impose a drastic climate variance prevention program are unwarranted, said Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, speaking on the Senate floor September 26.

Reproduced below is the first part of Inhofe’s address. Environment & Climate News will publish subsequent parts of the address in future issues.

Global warming–just that term evokes many members in this chamber, the media, Hollywood elites, and our pop culture to nod their heads and fret about an impending climate disaster.

As the senator who has spent more time [than any of his colleagues] speaking about the facts regarding global warming, I want to address some of the recent media coverage of global warming and Hollywood’s involvement in the issue. And of course I will also discuss former Vice President Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time periods.

From 1895 until the 1930s the media peddled a coming ice age. From the late 1920s until the 1960s they warned of global warming. From the 1950s until the 1970s they warned us again of a coming ice age.

This makes modern global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt to promote … climate change fears during the last 100 years.

Increasing Desperation

Recently, advocates of alarmism have grown increasingly desperate to try to convince the public that global warming is the greatest moral issue of our generation.

Just last week, the vice president of London’s Royal Society sent a chilling letter to the media encouraging them to stifle the voices of scientists skeptical of climate alarmism.

During the past year, the American people have been served up an unprecedented parade of environmental alarmism by the media and entertainment industry, which link every possible weather event to global warming.

The year 2006 saw many major organs of the media dismiss any pretense of balance and objectivity on climate change coverage and instead crossed squarely into global warming advocacy.

Hockey Stick Hysteria

First, I would like to summarize some of the recent developments in the controversy over whether or not humans have created a climate catastrophe. One of the key aspects that the United Nations, environmental groups, and the media have promoted as the “smoking gun” of proof of catastrophic global warming is the so-called “hockey stick” temperature graph by climate scientist Michael Mann and his colleagues.

This graph purported to show that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the twentieth century, presumably due to human activity. Mann, who also co-publishes a global warming propaganda blog reportedly set up with the help of an environmental group, had his “hockey stick” come under severe scrutiny.

The “hockey stick” was completely and thoroughly broken once and for all in 2006. Several years ago, two Canadian researchers tore apart the statistical foundation for the hockey stick. In 2006, both the National Academy of Sciences and an independent researcher further refuted the foundation of the “hockey stick.”

Attempts to Erase History

The National Academy of Sciences report reaffirmed the existence of the Medieval Warm Period from about 900 AD to 1300 AD and the Little Ice Age from about 1500 to 1850.

Both of these periods occurred long before the invention of the SUV or human industrial activity could have possibly impacted the Earth’s climate. In fact, scientists believe the Earth was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings grew crops in Greenland.

Climate alarmists have been attempting to erase the inconvenient Medieval Warm Period from the Earth’s climate history for at least a decade.

David Deming, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Geosciences, can testify first-hand about this effort.

Dr. Deming was welcomed into the close-knit group of global warming believers after he published a paper in 1995 that noted some warming in the twentieth century. Deming says he was subsequently contacted by a prominent global warming alarmist and told point blank, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”

When the “hockey stick” first appeared in 1998, it did just that.

End of Little Ice Age

The media have missed the big pieces of the puzzle when it comes to the Earth’s temperatures and mankind’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is very simplistic to feign horror and say the one degree Fahrenheit temperature increase during the twentieth century means we are all doomed.

First of all, the one degree Fahrenheit rise coincided with the greatest advancement of living standards, life expectancy, food production, and human health in the history of our planet. So it is hard to argue that the global warming we experienced in the twentieth century was somehow negative or part of a catastrophic trend.

Second, what the climate alarmists and their advocates in the media have continued to ignore is the fact that the Little Ice Age, which resulted in harsh winters which froze New York Harbor and caused untold deaths, ended about 1850. So trying to prove manmade global warming by comparing the well-known fact that today’s temperatures are warmer than during the Little Ice Age is akin to comparing summer to winter to show a catastrophic temperature trend.

Inconsistencies in Theory

In addition, something that the media almost never addresses are the holes in the theory that CO2 has been the driving force in global warming.

Alarmists fail to adequately explain why temperatures began warming at the end of the Little Ice Age in about 1850, long before manmade CO2 emissions could have impacted the climate. Then about 1940, just as manmade CO2 emissions rose sharply, the temperatures began a decline that lasted until the 1970s, prompting the media and many scientists to fear a coming ice age.

Let me repeat, temperatures got colder after CO2 emissions exploded.

If CO2 is the driving force of global climate change, why do so many in the media ignore the many skeptical scientists who cite these rather obvious inconvenient truths?