Top 10 'Global-Warming' Myths

Compiled by Christopher Horner, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism” (Regnery — a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

10. The U.S. is going it alone on Kyoto and global warming.

Nonsense. The U.S. rejects the Kyoto Protocol’s energy-rationing scheme, along with 155 other countries, representing most of the world’s population, economic activity and projected future growth. Kyoto is a European treaty with one dozen others, none of whom is in fact presently reducing its emissions. Similarly, claims that Bush refused to sign Kyoto, and/or he withdrew, not only are mutually exclusive but also false. We signed it, Nov. 11, 1998. The Senate won’t vote on it. Ergo, the (Democratic) Senate is blocking Kyoto. Gosh.

Don’t demand they behave otherwise, however. Since Kyoto was agreed, Europe’s CO2 emissions are rising twice as fast as those of the climate-criminal United States, a gap that is widening in more recent years. So we should jump on a sinking ship?

Given Al Gore’s proclivity for invoking Winston Churchill in this drama, it is only appropriate to summarize his claims as such: Never in the field of political conflict has so much been asked by so few of so many … for so little.

9. Global-warming proposals are about the environment.

Only if this means that they would make things worse, given that “wealthier is healthier and cleaner.” Even accepting every underlying economic and alarmist environmentalist assumption, no one dares say that the expensive Kyoto Protocol would detectably affect climate. Imagine how expensive a pact must be — in both financial and human costs — to so severely ration energy use as the greens demand. Instead, proponents candidly admit desires to control others’ lifestyles, and supportive industries all hope to make millions off the deal. Europe’s former environment commissioner admitted that Kyoto is “about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide” (in other words, bailing them out).

8. Climate change is the greatest threat to the world’s poor.

Climate — or more accurately, weather — remains one of the greatest challenges facing the poor. Climate change adds nothing to that calculus, however. Climate and weather patterns have always changed, as they always will. Man has always best dealt with this through wealth creation and technological advance — a.k.a. adaptation — and most poorly through superstitious casting of blame, such as burning “witches.” The wealthiest societies have always adapted best. One would prefer to face a similar storm in Florida than Bangladesh. Institutions, infrastructure and affordable energy are key to dealing with an ever-changing climate, not rationing energy.

7. Global warming means more frequent, more severe storms.

Here again the alarmists cannot even turn to the wildly distorted and politicized “Summary for Policy Makers” of the UN’s IPCC to support this favorite chestnut of the press.

6. Global warming has doomed the polar bears!

For some reason, Al Gore’s computerized polar bear can’t swim, unlike the real kind, as one might expect of an animal named Ursa Maritimus. On the whole, these bears are thriving, if a little less well in those areas of the Arctic that are cooling (yes, cooling). Their biggest threat seems to be computer models that air-brush them from the future, the same models that tell us it is much warmer now than it is. As usual in this context, you must answer the question: Who are you going to believe — me or your lying eyes?

5. Climate change is raising the sea levels.

Sea levels rise during interglacial periods such as that in which we (happily) find ourselves. Even the distorted United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports refute the hysteria, finding no statistically significant change in the rate of increase over the past century of man’s greatest influence, despite green claims of massive melting already occurring. Small island nations seeking welfare and asylum for their citizens such as in socially generous New Zealand and Australia have no sea-level rise at all and in some cases see instead a drop. These societies’ real problem is typically that they have made a mess of their own situation. One archipelago nation is even spending lavishly to lobby the European Union for development money to build beachfront hotel resorts, at the same time it shrieks about a watery and imminent grave. So, which time are they lying?

4. The glaciers are melting!

As good fortune has it, frozen things do in fact melt or at least recede after cooling periods mercifully end. The glacial retreat we read about is selective, however. Glaciers are also advancing all over, including lonely glaciers nearby their more popular retreating neighbors. If retreating glaciers were proof of global warming, then advancing glaciers are evidence of global cooling. They cannot both be true, and in fact, neither is. Also, retreat often seems to be unrelated to warming. For example, the snow cap on Mount Kilimanjaro is receding — despite decades of cooling in Kenya — due to regional land use and atmospheric moisture.

3. Climate was stable until man came along.

Swallowing this whopper requires burning every basic history and science text, just as “witches” were burned in retaliation for changing climates in ages (we had thought) long past. The “hockey stick” chart — poster child for this concept — has been disgraced and airbrushed from the UN’s alarmist repertoire.

2. The science is settled — CO2 causes global warming.

Al Gore shows his audience a slide of CO2 concentrations, and a slide of historical temperatures. But for very good reason he does not combine them in one overlaid slide: Historically, atmospheric CO2, as often as not, increases after warming. This is typical in the campaign of claiming “consensus” to avoid debate (consensus about what being left unspoken or distorted).

What scientists do agree on is little and says nothing about man-made global warming, to wit: (1) that global average temperature is probably about 0.6 degree Celsius — or 1 degree Fahrenheit — higher than a century ago; (2) that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen by about 30% over the past 200 years; and (3) that CO2 is one greenhouse gas, some level of an increase of which presumably would warm the Earth’s atmosphere were all else equal, which it demonstrably is not.

Until scientists are willing to save the U.S. taxpayer more than $5 billion per year thrown at researching climate, it is fair to presume the science is not settled.

1. It’s hot in here!

In fact, “It’s the baseline, stupid.” Claiming that present temperatures are warm requires a starting point at, say, the 1970s, or around the Little Ice Age (approximately 1200 A.D to the end of the 19th Century), or thousands of years ago. Select many other baselines, for example, compared o the 1930s, or 1000 A.D. — or 1998 — and it is presently cool. Cooling does paint a far more frightening picture, given that another ice age would be truly catastrophic, while throughout history, warming periods have always ushered in prosperity. Maybe that’s why the greens tried “global cooling” first.

The claim that the 1990s were the hottest decade on record specifically targets the intellectually lazy and easily frightened, ignoring numerous obvious factors. “On record” obviously means a very short period, typically the past 100+ years, or since the end of the Little Ice Age. The National Academies of Science debunked this claim in 2006. Previously rural measuring stations register warmer temps after decades of “sprawl” (growth), cement being warmer than a pasture.