The issue of global warming continues to be a fault line in this country and across the world. There are, on the one hand, those who believe, like Al Gore, that the earth is warming to a catastrophic degree, that it is caused by man’s overuse of carbon-based energy, and if we don’t hurry and do something about it we will face the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, biblical flooding, and increased tornadoes and hurricanes. Their holy grail is the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which they cite as confirmation of their theories.
In a recent interview with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), we discussed his recent book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, in which he documents his personal journey of discovery on this issue—from his early days in politics, as the mayor of Tulsa, to his time as a congressman—from his years in the insurance and oil businesses, and seeing firsthand the heavy hand of the federal government.
In what way is global warming a hoax? Inhofe said, “...I’m talking about MoveOn.org, George Soros, Michael Moore, the Al Gore Hollywood elites, and all that. These are people who really want to believe this, and they have unlimited funds that they pour into campaigns. They brag about having ‘defeated’ people, which they’re able to do, and that’s how they got so much political power. That is where the hoax comes in, because they’re perpetrating a hoax, and that hoax is that catastrophic global warming is taking place in the world now, and it’s due to manmade gases—CO2, carbon, methane, that type of thing—and what they want to do is just shut down this machine called America.”
Inhofe has led the battle in the Senate to block cap-and-trade legislation after it had passed the House. Cap-and-trade is supposed to be a market-based plan to reduce pollution, and in this case CO2, with the goal of halting or slowing global warming. He has had quiet support in the Senate, but he was the one willing to be hammered by the media and his Senate colleagues for not toeing the line and agreeing that this is settled science and necessary for the preservation of earth as we know it.
A recent article in American Thinker by Randall Hoven, a retired Boeing Technical Fellow who, following a three-year stint in the U.S. Navy, worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory from 1979 to 1982, has laid out the most recent scientific findings on global warming. He uses data from NASA/GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) data going back to 1880, and the Hadley Center from Great Britain which goes back with the data to 1875.
In short, both temperature data sets (NASA and Hadley Center) show:
- Minimal global warming over the last 130 to 160 years: about half a degree Celsius per century.
- No statistically significant global warming in the last 14 to 17 years.
- Global cooling in the last 9 to 13 years.
In addition, Hoven cites the same data to shatter another myth, the melting of the Arctic ice. “While Northern Hemisphere winter sea ice extent was shrinking over much of the time that satellite measurements have been available (since 1979), the trend over the last eight years has been growth. There has been no statistically significant shrinkage of winter sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere for 13 years (since 1999).”
Adds Hoven, “Southern Hemisphere winter sea ice extent has grown over all the 32 years that satellites have been measuring it. And that growth is statistically significant.”
But James Hansen, who heads up GISS, sees it quite differently. “[g]lobal warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.” Hansen, in a New York Times column in May, called the situation “apocalyptic” and faulted President Obama for failing to “provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course.”
However, in late March of this year, a group of 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts joined a growing list of scientists who now publicly reject the global warming theory that says, with a high degree of certainty, man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change. They all signed an open letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, criticizing the agency for its role in advocating this theory as proven science, while ignoring or neglecting empirical evidence contradicting the conventional view.
The group who signed the letter includes seven Apollo astronauts and two former directors of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. They argue that NASA, and specifically GISS, rely too heavily on climate models that have not been borne out over time.
“We believe the claims by NASA and GISS that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated,” they wrote, “especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”
Another figure lauded by Sen. Inhofe is Václav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic. He spoke in May at The Heartland Institute conference in Chicago, where he stated that the global warming alarmists “have succeeded in establishing the religion of environmentalism as the official religion of Western society—a religion that demands a radical transformation of Western civilization. Skeptics must continue the ideological battles. As he has stated previously, the purpose of this entire issue is to control human behavior—human liberty.”
As with every issue, there will always be conflicting opinions, and in many cases, conflicting facts. So in the end, each person has to decide for him or herself whether or not they choose to believe that man-made global warming is real, and if so, what can and should be done about it.
To those who believe, or in some cases claim to know it is occurring, what is the optimum average global temperature we should be seeking? Could a planet that is another degree or two warmer mean less need for heating fuel, and a higher yield in food crops? Are we certain that carbon dioxide is the culprit, and is it realistic to think we can tweak that average global temperature by reducing its output; and at what cost in terms of dollars, and in terms of the surrendering of our sovereignty to a United Nations bureaucracy that is largely hostile to U.S. interests?
Now that thousands of scientists dissent from the alarmist point of view, and former hardcore believers have abandoned the theory, can the remaining scientists still claim there is a consensus that man-made global warming exists, and that we must take drastic measures to prevent the potential catastrophic impact of said warming? And should the media still label the skeptics as “deniers,” as in Holocaust deniers?
In The Greatest Hoax, Inhofe states, “I believe that many globalist elites have worked within the United Nations to expand its responsibility to an alarming degree. Now, instead of facilitating international cooperation, I believe the UN’s primary institutional goal—in practice, if not in word—is to actively build a global utopia. The UN believes that it can—with enough power and influence—determine what is best for the world by reaching agreements by majority agreement, or better yet—consensus—among all of the member states participating at the United Nations.”
Also in the book, Inhofe publishes verbatim more than 100 of the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia University, resulting in what came to be known as “ClimateGate.”
If it wasn’t clear that the global warming theory was in trouble when the ClimateGate scandal erupted in 2009, showing the corruption in academia willing to “hide the decline” and suppress scientific studies and views that didn’t conform to those of the “warmists,” then it should have been when they largely dropped the term “global warming” and replaced it with “climate change.” Who, after all, could disagree with the notion that the climate is changing? It has been changing since the beginning of time. One would have to be positively anti-science to make such a suggestion, a term thrown around a lot by the Left to describe the Republicans who ran for president this year.