Global warming and other myths

Published December 1, 2001

What are some of the common features of the Global Warming scare and other widely spread popular beliefs, like astrology, UFOlogy, harmful effects from low-level nuclear radiation and from electric transmission lines?

1. A tenuous scientific base. There certainly is an atmospheric greenhouse effect, but is it significant?

2. Selective use of empirical evidence by ignoring contrary data. Weather satellites, balloon sondes, and a variety of proxy data show no current warming.

3. Misinterpreting other evidence. Deep-ocean warming, shrinking of glaciers and of Arctic ice cover, sea-level rise are all evidence of past–not of current–warming.

4. Adjusting theories to fit the preferred scenario. Bringing in adjustable parameters like aerosols.

5. Manipulating the media. Manufacturing disaster scenarios.

6. Quasi-religious fervor. Faith-based acceptance of coming catastrophes.

In addition, Global Warming (“the mother of all environmental scares,” according to Professor Aaron Wildavsky) has special unique features of an economic and political nature: money, careers, prestige, power, inter-nation rivalries, and sovereignty issues.

Outline of an invited talk by S. Fred Singer to the 10th European Skeptics Congress, Prague September 9, 2001