TAR-2000: The Empire Strikes Back

Published July 1, 2000

Lawyers are fond of saying, “If you don’t like the law, argue the facts. If you don’t like the facts, argue the law.”

At the United Nations, without the scientific facts to back them up, they’ve engaged in a perverse twist of the lawyers’ dictum. They’re changing the facts to get a law. The law, in this instance, is a treaty–the Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the Rio Treaty.

The Kyoto Protocol would require dramatic decreases in the use of fossil fuels in the industrialized West. For the United States, the goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emission levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2010. Today, we already stand some 20 percent above 1990 levels. In a business-as-usual scenario, emission levels will rise as the economy grows and as we consume more and more fossil fuels to make the electricity that enables the new “wired world” we have embarked upon.

Those at the U.N. pushing for enactment of the Kyoto Protocol don’t like this. This is because they operate out of a belief that there are too many people on Earth living too well. The Clinton administration embraces that worldview. Vice President Al Gore, of course, is providing the political leadership for it here in the United States. One might fairly argue Gore is a world leader, since without U.S. funding and participation, the Kyoto Protocol is a dead letter and the U.N. climate-apocalypse apparatus would collapse.

The problem for “U.N. science,” the Clinton administration, the international environmental elite, and others is that there is no science that justifies the Draconian measures they propose be taken. In fact, there is no scientific justification for any reduction in carbon dioxide emission levels.

In saying this, I am not arguing against energy efficiency, the development of renewable energy resources, clean coal technology, and the like. I am for all of those–for other reasons. I simply am saying that CO2 emission levels are not a basis upon which to implement energy policy.

Publication of the Third Assessment Report (TAR-2000) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected in January 2001. Drafts are now circulating and media reports have surfaced describing what’s in it.

Among the many objectionable features of this report, the most outrageous is a “revision” of Earth’s climate history wherein–based on tree-ring analysis–the U.N. science editors are now prepared to hold that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age never occurred. Instead, they propose presenting a relatively flat temperature record going back a thousand years or so, all the better to show a dramatic 20th century warming at its end. Of course they will conclude the warming must be human-induced.

Certainly Big Media can be expected to grab on to this. They’ll trot out those willing to state that, of course, such a temperature spike is human-induced. I predict you will see the graph depicting this “virtual climate reality” again and again and again. It will be shown on national television. It will be an illustration in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Science Magazine, Newsweek, Time etc.

The dissemination of these new facts will be an impressive piece of public relations and media spin, to which we should all say, “Nice work guys, but we’re not buying.”

There was a Medieval Warm Period. Climate readings gleaned from Sargasso Sea sediments establish its reality. They also confirm the reality of the Little Ice Age. But we don’t need sea sediments or tree rings to prove that. All one need do is read American and European history and literature.

For example, during the Civil War, it snowed 37 times in the winter of 1863 in Richmond, versus two or three such snows this year. Does that prove the climate is warming? No. It simply shows that climate is highly variable with our without human influence. There are scientists all around the world who are not involved in the U.N. charade, and they know this. They will be heard from after the U.N. issues its latest version of virtual climate reality. We will make every effort in our activity to make certain the American people understand what they are being shown, and why.

Ice ages come and go. Warm periods come and go. Cold periods come and go; all with or without human influence. Warm is better than cold. Frankly, if that’s the direction we’re headed, so much the better. And if humans are giving it a nudge, so what?

The fact of the matter is that a massive regulatory regime is about to be crammed down our throats based on abuse of the scientific process by scientists who have access to too much money, and too little to do other than torture data in order to convince us all that we’re headed to Hell in a hand basket if we don’t get out of our SUVs and quit burning coal.

As I said before, we aren’t buying.

Fredrick Palmer, in adition to being President of Greening Earth Society, is General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Western Fuels Association Inc., a not-for-profit fuel supply cooperative comprised of consumer-owned electric utilities.