Senator Presents Scientific Case for Climate Realism

Published February 1, 2007

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, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, stated on the Senate floor on September 26, 2006.

In his address, Inhofe summarized the state of climate variance science, drawing upon the latest scientific research.

Reproduced below is the second installment in an ongoing series presenting Inhofe’s address, edited for length. Environment & Climate News will publish subsequent parts of the address in upcoming issues.

Many Scientists Skeptical

My skeptical views on man-made catastrophic global warming have only strengthened as new science comes in. There have been recent findings in peer-reviewed literature over the last few years showing that the Antarctic is getting colder and the ice is growing, and a new study in Geophysical Research Letters found that the sun was responsible for 50 percent of twentieth century warming.

Recently, many scientists, including a leading member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, predicted long-term global cooling may be on the horizon due to a projected decrease in the sun’s output.

A letter sent to the Canadian Prime Minister on April 6 [2006] by 60 prominent scientists who question the basis for climate alarmism clearly explains the current state of scientific knowledge on global warming.

The 60 scientists wrote, “If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, [the Kyoto Protocol] would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.”

The letter also noted, “‘Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes occur all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural ‘noise.'”

Computer Models Unrealistic

One of the ways alarmists have pounded this mantra of “consensus” on global warming into our pop culture is through the use of computer models which project future calamity. But the science is simply not there to place so much faith in scary computer model scenarios which extrapolate the current and projected buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and conclude that the planet faces certain doom.

Dr. Vincent Gray, a research scientist and a 2001 reviewer with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has noted, “The effects of aerosols, and their uncertainties, are such as to nullify completely the reliability of any of the climate models.”

Earlier this year [2006], the director of the International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska testified to Congress that highly publicized climate models showing a disappearing Arctic were nothing more than “science fiction.”

In fact, after years of hearing about the computer-generated scary scenarios about the future of our planet, I now believe that the greatest climate threat we face may be coming from alarmist computer models.

History of False Alarms

One final point on the science of climate change: I am approached by many in the media and others who ask, “What if you are wrong to doubt the dire global warming predictions? Will you be able to live with yourself for opposing the Kyoto Protocol?”

My answer is blunt: The history of the modern environmental movement is chock full of predictions of doom that never came true.

We have all heard the dire predictions about the threats of overpopulation, resource scarcity, mass starvation, and the projected death of our oceans. None of these predictions came true, yet it never stopped the doomsayers from continuing to predict a dire environmental future.

The more the eco-doomsayers’ predictions fail, the more the eco-doomsayers predict.

These failed predictions are just one reason I respect the serious scientists out there today debunking the latest scaremongering on climate change.

[These include] scientists like MIT’s Richard Lindzen, former Colorado State climatologist Roger Pielke Sr., the University of Alabama’s Roy Spencer and John Christy, Virginia State Climatologist Patrick Michaels, Colorado State University’s William Gray, atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Oregon State climatologist George Taylor, and astrophysicist Sallie Baliunas, to name a few.

Relying on Symbolism

But more importantly, it is the global warming alarmists who should be asked the question, “What if they are correct about manmade catastrophic global warming?” because they have come up with no meaningful solution to their supposed climate crisis in the two decades that they have been hyping this issue.

If the alarmists truly believe that manmade greenhouse gas emissions are dooming the planet, then they must face up to the fact that symbolism does not solve a supposed climate crisis.

Kyoto No Solution

The alarmists freely concede that the Kyoto Protocol, even if fully ratified and complied with, would not have any meaningful impact on global temperatures. And keep in mind that Kyoto is not even close to being complied with by many of the nations that ratified it, including 13 of the EU-15 nations that are not going to meet their emission reduction promises.

Many of the nations that ratified Kyoto are now realizing what I have been saying all along: The Kyoto Protocol is a lot of economic pain for no climate gain.

Legislation that has been proposed in this chamber would have even less of a temperature effect than Kyoto’s undetectable impact.

And more recently, global warming alarmists and the media have been praising California for taking action to limit CO2. But here again, this costly feel-good California measure, which is actually far less severe than Kyoto, will have no impact on the climate–only the economy.

Symbolism does not solve a climate crisis.

Not a Pressing Problem

[In early September 2006] my committee heard testimony from Danish statistician Bjørn Lomborg, who was once a committed left-wing environmentalist until he realized that so much of what that movement preached was based on bad science.

Lomborg wrote a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist and organized some of the world’s top Nobel Laureates to form the 2004 “Copenhagen Consensus,” which ranked the world’s most pressing problems.

And guess what? They placed global warming at the bottom of the list in terms of our planet’s priorities.

The “Copenhagen Consensus” found that the most important priorities of our planet included combating disease, stopping malaria, securing clean water, and building infrastructure to help lift the developing nations out of poverty.

I have made many trips to Africa, and once you see the devastating poverty that has a grip on that continent, you quickly realize that fears about global warming are severely misguided.

I firmly believe that when the history of our era is written, future generations will look back with puzzlement and wonder why we spent so much time and effort on global warming fears and pointless solutions like the Kyoto Protocol.