MARKO, SOON, ET AL: To Put America First Is to Put Our Planet’s Climate First


The article below was contributed by Istvan Marko, J. Scott Armstrong, William M. Briggs, Kesten Green, Hermann Harde, David R. Legates, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, and Willie Soon.

On June 2, 2017, in a Letter regarding US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement addressed to the MIT community, Professor Rafael Reif, president of MIT, criticized President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accords. In this refutation, we propose to clarify the scientific understanding of the Earth’s climate and to dispel the expensively fostered popular delusion that man-made global warming will be dangerous and that, therefore, the Paris Agreement would be beneficial.

Professor Reif wrote, “Yesterday, the White House took the position that the Paris climate agreement – a landmark effort to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions – was a bad deal for America.”

There is no science unambiguously establishing that CO2 is the chief cause of the warming observed since the end of the Little Ice Age. The opposite has been repeatedly demonstrated. Ice cores have revealed that changes in CO2 concentration follow, rather than precede, changes in temperature. During the last deglaciation, the latest high-resolution records show atmospheric CO2 lagging temperature by 50 to 500 years. Our enterprises and industries return to the air some of the CO2 that was formerly present there, and some warming may be expected. That warming will be small and beneficial.

Professor Humlum and colleagues have demonstrated that changes in CO2 concentration follow changes in temperature after about 8-11 months. The time-lag between changes in temperature and consequent changes in CO2 concentration are caused by outgassing of CO2 from the oceans when they warm and uptake by the oceans as they cool. In addition, the growth rate of the atmospheric CO2 has been slowing recently, linked to an enhanced terrestrial biosphere uptake. Our contribution to atmospheric CO2 adds to the effect of these fluctuations, but it does not add much. One of us (Harde 2017) has reached similar conclusions.

Professor Reif’s assertion that global temperatures can be regulated by an international agreement to atone for our sins of emission is, therefore, at odds with scientific knowledge regarding cause and effect. King Canute’s warning to his English courtiers in 1032 A.D. that even the divinely anointed monarch could not command sea level should be heeded by bombastic intergovernmental agencies a millennium later. The professor’s assertion is, moreover, logically invalid, since the Paris agreement permits China and India to industrialize without limit on their emissions.

Besides, the Paris agreement is not binding. Under its terms, no nation is compelled to sin no more, and many – even including Germany and Denmark, the leaders in renewable energies – now appear unlikely to meet the agreement’s targets. The Paris agreement is, in practice, a political tool for suppressing growth and redistributing wealth. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, former chairman of the IPCC, said, in resigning in 2015, that the environment was his “religion,” and Ms. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change until last year, openly stated in 2015 that the goal was to overturn capitalism — in her words, “to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.”

Professor Reif writes, “The scientific consensus is overwhelming.”

The late author Michael Crichton, in his Caltech Michelin Lecture 2003, said, “In science consensus is irrelevant. … There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” Doubt is the seedcorn of science. Consensus is a political notion which, when pleaded, indicates that the pleader is totalitarian. As Abu Ali ibn al-Haytham said in the eleventh century:

The seeker after truth [his splendid definition of the scientist] does not place his faith in any mere consensus, however venerable or widespread. Instead, he subjects what he has learned of it to his hard-won scientific knowledge, and to investigation, inspection, inquiry, checking, checking and checking again. The road to the truth is long and hard, but that is the road we must follow.

The alleged “consensus” is nothing more than an agreement that the weather has warmed in the past 300 years. Yet the quantum and attribution of warming are hotly debated among climatologists. Even today, measuring global temperature is subject to errors, biases, missing data, and subjective adjustments.

The estimation of global average temperature from satellite data is relatively new and employs a completely different temperature measurement method from the older methods. Nevertheless, the satellite data and balloon data have provided essentially identical estimates. Neither displays a worrying trend. Both are increasingly at odds not only with the surface temperature records, all of which have been adjusted ex post facto so as to show more warming than the original raw data showed, but also with the alarming projections of the serially unreliable computer models of climate on which the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change profitably but misguidedly relies.

Scientists agree that climate changes. It has done so since the first wisps of the Earth’s atmosphere formed, but they disagree on the causes of climate changes, including the mild warming since the Little Ice Age. Legates et al. (2015), for example, found that only 0.3 percent of 11,944 peer-reviewed articles on climate and related topics, published during the 21 years of 1991 to 2011, had explicitly stated that recent warming was mostly man-made.

Professor Reif wrote, “As human activities emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global average surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather.”

In the last 20 years, we have released more than a third of all the CO2 produced since the beginning of the industrial period. Yet global mean surface temperature has remained essentially constant for 20 years, a fact that has been acknowledged by the IPCC, whose models failed to predict it. NOAA’s State of the Climate report for 2008 said that periods of 15 years or more without warming would indicate a discrepancy between prediction and observation – i.e., that the models were wrong. Just before the recent naturally occurring el Niño event raised global temperature, there had been 18 years and 9 months without any global warming at all.

The climate models relied upon by the IPCC and the politicians they advise have predicted warming at about twice the rate observed during the past 27 years, during which the Earth has warmed at 0.4 °C, about half of the 0.75 °C 27-year warming rate implicit in IPCC’s explicit 1990 prediction that there would be 1.0 °C warming from 1990-2025.

Green and Armstrong (2014) conducted longer-term validation tests of the models and found that their forecasts were much less accurate than assuming there had been no global warming at all. The relative inaccuracy of the IPCC projections increased with longer (multi-decadal) horizons. Even forecasts of natural global cooling at a rate of 1 ºC per century were much more accurate over long periods than the IPCC’s projections of dangerous man-made global warming.

Ten years ago, Al Gore asserted that global temperatures had reached a dangerous “tipping point,” with extreme warming imminent and unavailable. Professor Scott Armstrong challenged Mr. Gore to a ten-year bet based on the Green-Armstrong-Soon (2009)) scientific no-change forecast of global mean temperatures.

Mr. Gore declined the bet, but theclimatebet.com website keeps track of how the bet would have turned out. With the ten-year life of the bet due to end at the end of this year, the cumulative monthly error in the IPCC’s business-as-usual 0.3 ºC per decade prediction is 22 percent larger than the error from the benchmark prediction of no warming at all.

Why does Professor Reif continue to champion the notion of dangerous manmade global warming when it is so greatly at odds with observation?

Professor Reif wrote, As human activities emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global average surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather.”

The average sea level rise since 1870 has been 1.3-1.5 mm (about a twentieth of an inch) per year. Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, a renowned sea-level researcher who has published more than 500 peer-reviewed articles on this topic, has been unable to find observational evidence that supports the models’ predictions of dramatically accelerating sea level rise.

Professor Reif wrote, “As human activities emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global average surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather.”

Observations during the last few decades indicate that extreme events, including tornadoes and hurricanes, have been decreasing, rather than increasing, both in number and in intensity. Moreover, the total accumulated cyclonic energy has also been declining. As MIT Emeritus Professor Richard Lindzen has explained, the decline in storminess is a consequence of reduced temperature differentials between the tropics and exo-tropics that arise when global average temperatures are warmer.

Professor Reif wrote, “As the Pentagon describes it, climate change is a “threat multiplier” because its direct effects intensify other challenges, including mass migrations and zero-sum conflicts over existential resources like water and food.”

Milder temperatures and increased CO2 levels green the planet, instead of browning it. Deserts are retreating, and vegetation cover has increased throughout recent decades. The production of maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans is at a record high. More CO2 in the air helps plants by CO2 fertilization. Our planet has seen more than 20 percent greening during the past three decades, half of which is due to the action of CO2.

Forecasts of droughts are also not borne out by experience. For example, since the now-former Australian Chief Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery warned that dams would no longer fill owing to lack of rain, Australia has been subjected to a series of dramatic floods and overflowing dams.

Governments’ naïve belief in Professor Flannery’s warnings appear to have led to policy actions and omissions that exacerbated flooding and failed to take full advantage of the rainfall when it came. The most comprehensive recent study of the worldwide extent of droughts (Hao et al., 2014) found that for 30 years the percentage of the Earth’s land mass under drought or severe drought has been declining.

Though the U.N. Environment Program had published in 2005 a document predicting 50 million climate refugees by 2010, to date there have been no bona fide climate refugees. Nor has mass migration owing to global warming been observed. The one person recognized as a climate refugee had his demand rejected by the Supreme Court of New Zealand. He has returned to his island home, where he remains safe from inundation.

Professor Reif wrote, “The carbon dioxide our cars and power plants emit today will linger in the atmosphere for a thousand years.”

The average residence time of a CO2 molecule in the Earth’s atmosphere is about four to seven years. Taking into account multiple exchanges leads to an estimate of a mean lifespan of 40 years (Harde 2017). Rather than a problem, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the prime nutrient for plants. Indeed, plants grow more strongly when CO2 concentrations are much higher than they currently are, which is why commercial greenhouses add CO2 to the air. The current CO2 concentration is higher than for 800,000 years, but it is far lower than at almost any time in the previous history of our planet.

Nor is CO2 a pollutant. It is a colorless, odorless gas that is not toxic to humans and other animals even at concentrations much higher than we are currently experiencing. It is also one of the most important fuels for phytoplankton, which use carbon dioxide for energy and that release oxygen. Up to 75 percent of the oxygen present in the air originates in the phytoplankton photosynthetic water-splitting process.

Moreover, during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, there were long periods during which the levels of CO2 were much higher than today, but the temperatures were far colder. We are not aware of any explanation that squares the man-made global warming theory with that fact.

Professor Reif wrote, “In 2016 alone, solar industry employment grew by 25 percent, while wind jobs grew 32 percent.”

Growing jobs by subsidy is easy, provided that one cares nothing for the far greater number of jobs destroyed by the additional taxation, energy price hikes, or public borrowing necessary to pay for the subsidy. Several studies have shown that the creation of one “green” job results in the loss of two jobs elsewhere in the economy. Despite all those subsidies, solar power accounts for 0.9 percent and wind generation for 5.6 percent of total U.S. electricity production. Electricity itself is a small fraction of total energy consumption, including transportation, industrial processes, and heating.

The so-called alternative energy companies survive through heavy subsidies and supportive regulations. For example, SunEdison received $1.5 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees, and yet it was compelled to file for bankruptcy. Solyndra is another example. So-called “renewable” energy is cripplingly expensive to the customer but is often unprofitable even after massive subsidies from taxpayers.

Europe is suffering from political rejection of fossil fuels: energy prices have soared, millions of poor people are unable to pay their energy bills, and energy-intensive businesses are relocating to where energy is cheaper. Theirs is not an example the U.S. should wish to follow.

By withdrawing from the Paris agreement, President Trump did a wonderful thing for America and the world. He showed that advocacy masquerading as science should not be the basis for political decisions. He showed that to put America first is to put the planet first. And, by rejecting the non-problem of man-made global warming, he began the long and necessary process of waking up the likes of Professor Reif to the fact that the diversion of time, effort, and trillions of dollars away from real environmental problems and towards the bogus but (to MIT) profitable non-problem of supposedly catastrophic global warming is as bad for the planet as it is for true science.



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June 16th, 2017 by
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