Frightened to death?

What if you took some high-resolution video footage of flooding, a few highly-massaged statistical

Glacial calving is a part of nature that has never ended, and will never end

Glacial calving is a part of nature that has never ended, and will never end

graphs, some more video of glacial calving, some demonstrably false climate history, a few before-and-after photos of melting glaciers on Kilimanjaro, yet more video, this time of Hurricane Katrina’s wrath in New Orleans, and ran it all through a world-class PowerPoint presentation, what would you get? If you said, “The death of innocent children in the Third World and continued dominance by the First World,” you get an A+.

For Al Gore, I am sorry to say, well-intentioned or no, has somehow convinced people that weather is a terrifying bogeyman. The film “An Inconvenient Truth,” and the amazingly manipulative PowerPoint presentation it showcases, is riddled with profound inaccuracies and distortions, a few of which I’ll detail below. More than that, Gore’s presentation is a deliberate manipulation of trusting and good people to achieve what I consider to be sinister political ends. It simply could not have been made at the tail end of a 30-year period of cooling such as the one we’re entering — with the switchover of the powerful Pacific Ocean cycle, the PDO.

Just a few falsehoods from the film: 1) Antarctica shows evidence of widespread glacial melt. No, the Antarctic Peninsula has some limited glacial calving, which is the nature of glaciers exposed to sea currents and the relative warmth of the Peninsula jutting up from the Antarctic mainland. Like the North Pole, the whole of Antarctica has been ice free many times in the past. Antarctica was populated by dinosaurs, who were not able to live there because of C02 or human-caused warming.

2) The ice-core record shows causality between elevated C02 and temperature increases. No, the ice core record shows an 800-year lag between temperature increases and the C02 increases that follow them. Cause and effect are inverted in Mr. Gore’s film, and even his fellow alarmists now acknowledge that the past episodes of warming were not initially caused by C02. They argue that the warmings were “continued” by C02. That is disputable, and it is a very different thing from the version sold to the public.

3) The melting of Kilimanjaro’s snow is evidence, in and of itself, of manmade global warming. No, there has been no increases in the number of days above freezing where Kilimanjaro’s glaciers used to be. What HAS happened is that the tropical rainforest encircling the great mountain has been chopped down, lowering humidity in the near atmosphere. The snows of Kilimanjaro have not melted, they have sublimated into exceedingly dry air — as the number of days with snowfall has dwindled due to the same deforestation.

These are but a few of the many, many points requiring correction from Mr. Gore’s “proof” of man’s role in putting the planet in jeopardy. One last correction for today: A variety of studies have been done disproving any connection between global warming and the number or intensity of hurricanes. A quote from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: “There  is nothing in the U.S. hurricane damage record  that indicates global warming has caused a  significant increase in destruction along our coasts.”

Well, so what, one might respond. So what if Al Gore wants to scare people out of their britches about climate? Unfortunately, Gore’s sales pitch for unmitigated horror does have real-world effects, and the effects are not good. Carbon trading among nations works like this: Signatories of the Kyoto

Malawian children have high malnourishment and mortality rates

Malawian children have high malnourishment and mortality rates

Protocol honor their commitments not to pollute past a given level by purchasing “pollution credits,” a.k.a. carbon credits from countries in the developing world. Translation: Malawi — with nearly all of its population living in the dark when the sun sets, cooking and heating with charcoal (if they’re lucky enough to get it), and seeing its children die in astronomical numbers for lack of health care and proper nutrition — sells its right to emit carbon dioxide (hey, there’s no national electric grid, so what’s the big deal?) to the United States, or France, or England. One result of this exchange is a worldwide timeout at a stage in the game when the First World has an extraordinary quantity of riches (including abundant energy and clean water) and the Third World is in desperate need of development.

You cannot say you are in favor of international carbon trading and are down with the people. Even if we were in a true climate crisis, which we are not, to restrain development in the Third World, when it means the perpetuation of these kinds of inequities, is no solution. It is chilling self-interest on the part of Western elites.

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About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
This entry was posted in Cap-and-trade, Climate change, development, global warming and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Frightened to death?

  1. Mike Sphar says:

    So far the US has never agreed to the KP. Gpre was out there alone beating the gw drum, sorry if a few other more gullible countries bought into that snake oil pitch.

    Would like to see more info on PDO. How does it switch, what does it do ? How will it affect currents into the arctic ?

  2. Harold Ambler says:

    The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a larger cycle of which La Ninas and El Ninos are parts. During a positive PDO, El Ninos predominate. You can get a La Nina, but it’s usually not too intense or too long. From roughly 1943 to 1978 there was a negative PDO, as you can see here: http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/2899/pdo1bk7.jpg
    During those 35 years or so, global warming took a break. Temperatures fell, as you can see here: http://regmedia.co.uk/2008/04/28/nasa_historic_temps.jpg

    From 1978 to about 18 months ago you had a positive PDO, characterized by several strong El Ninos, most notably the very intense El Nino of 1998, with sea surface temperatures nearly three degrees Celsius above average in the central Pacific. The rising temperatures during this phase of the positive PDO were so noticeable that global warming alarmism got a real boost. In fact, prior to 1977, most atmospheric scientists who were warning the public about any kind of climate change were pointing to the risks of an incipient ice age. The most famous of these is probably Stephen Schneider, who leads a brigade of global warming scientists at Stanford University. After the PDO switched to positive, and temperatures started mounting, his view of climate also switched. But he never turned away from the doomsday-prophesying.

    We are likely to see moderating and falling temperatures worldwide for the next 30 years, simply because of the negative PDO. A serious solar minimum, about which I’ll be writing in the weeks ahead on the site, is likely to drop temperatures even more.

  3. Harold Ambler says:

    P.S. The Arctic re-froze this fall at a higher pace than average for the previous ten years, and part of the reason for it is presumed to be the effect of the cool surface temps in the horseshoe-shaped PDO, which you can see here tied in with a La Nina: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/pdo_flip_042008.jpg

    Globally, the sea ice anomaly, meaning the departure from normal, is right about zero today, which you can see at Cryosphere Today: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

  4. Dmitry says:

    nice article, all of them are very interesting as a matter of fact.

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