April 21 2008
The Telegraph: Stop the CO2 scare, before it's too late
As President Bush finally caved in to international pressure last week and committed the US to spending untold billions of dollars on "the fight against global warming", I happened to be in Washington at the same time, talking on the same subject to more than a dozen very lively and opinionated radio shows.
I was there with my co-author Richard North, at the invitation of an enterprising Washington think-tank, the Independent Women's Forum, to launch our book Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming, Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth.
Speaking to audiences across the country, for up to an hour at a time, we were impressed by how well informed -and sceptical about global warming - were the array of presenters who interviewed us. We told them it would have been unthinkable to have such intelligent conversations on this subject on any BBC programme back in Britain.
But the highlight of our visit was dinner with Dr Fred Singer, a distinguished US scientist, formerly professor at two universities, and founder of the US satellite weather service. He has done more than anyone in the scientific counter-attack against the ruthless promotion of global warming orthodoxy by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Dr Singer played a key part in last month's scientific conference in New York organised by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), and gave me an advance copy of its new report (which is now available online - just Google "sepp" and "NIPCC").
The report - Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate - presents a devastating analysis of the IPCC's case. Intended for a lay audience and signed by scientists from 15 countries, it takes all the key points of the IPCC's "consensus" case and tears them expertly apart, showing how the Intergovernmental Panel has either exaggerated, distorted or suppressed the evidence available to it, or has imputed much greater certainty to its findings than is justified by the data.
One of the central flaws in the IPCC's case is its reliance on computer models, based only on those parts of the evidence which suit its chosen "narrative", omitting or downplaying hugely important factors which might produce a very different picture. These range from the role played by water vapour, by far the most important of the greenhouse gases, to the influence of solar activity on cloud cover.
The report's most startling passage, however, is one that examines the "fingerprint" of warming at different levels of the atmosphere which the computer models come up with as proof that the warming is man-made. The pattern actually shown by balloon and satellite records is so dramatically different that, even on the IPCC's own evidence, the report concludes, "anthropogenic greenhouse gases can contribute only in a minor way to the current warming, which is mainly of natural origin".
The significance of this can scarcely be overestimated. At just the moment when, thanks to the overwhelming pressure generated by the IPCC, the world's politicians, led by the EU, are committing us to spending untold trillions of pounds, dollars and euros on measures to "mitigate" the claimed effects of man-made warming, here is a galaxy of experts producing hard evidence that - if the problem exists at all - the official explanation for it is oriented in wholly the wrong direction.
Furthermore the consequences of that warming and of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have, on balance, been wholly beneficial, by increasing plant growth.
The real danger, the report warns, is not a continued warming but that temperatures and agricultural production might drop as the world faces its worst food shortage in decades (now being made worse by the crazed rush to give over farmland to biofuels). And if that is the way the evidence lies, how much are any of our politicians doing to prepare for a crisis already upon us?