Last week World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern issued a report predicting that global warming will cause the world’s economy to shrink by some 20 percent. It was the latest agitation for the U.S. to sign the famous Kyoto Treaty–even though not a single one of the countries that did sign have come anywhere near being on track to meet Kyoto’s goals for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Here’s how the Miami Herald characterizes the Stern Report:

“By Mr. Stern’s calculation, the world could stabilize emissions in two decades and lower them afterward with an investment of 1 percent of the global gross domestic product. The benefits — avoiding economic losses on the scale of the Great Depression or the world wars of the 20th century — would be well worth the cost.”

My own reaction to dire futurologist predictions–whether it’s a population bomb, nuclear winter, avian flu, AIDS for everyone, or the coming Great Depression #2–is: I’ll believe it when I see it.

And now comes Christopher Monckton in the first of a series of articles for the U.K. Telegraph, nicely taking apart the “hockey stick“–that much-circulated U.N. global warming graph that shows the earth’s climate as being more or less a flat projection from the dawn of mankind until the invention of the internal combustion engine–at which point it takes off on a soar. Monckton says the the hockey stick is actually a combination of massaged data and the deliberate suppression of facts about previous periods in the earth’s history when the climate was as warm as it is now:

“First, the UN implies that carbon dioxide ended the last four ice ages. It displays two 450,000-year graphs: a sawtooth curve of temperature and a sawtooth of airborne CO2 that’s scaled to look similar. Usually, similar curves are superimposed for comparison. The UN didn’t do that. If it had, the truth would have shown: the changes in temperature preceded the changes in CO2 levels.

“Next, the UN abolished the medieval warm period (the global warming at the end of the First Millennium AD). In 1995, David Deming, a geoscientist at the University of Oklahoma, had written an article reconstructing 150 years of North American temperatures from borehole data. He later wrote: ‘With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. One of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said: “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”‘

“So they did. The UN’s second assessment report, in 1996, showed a 1,000-year graph demonstrating that temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today. But the 2001 report contained a new graph showing no medieval warm period. It wrongly concluded that the 20th century was the warmest for 1,000 years. The graph looked like an ice hockey-stick. The wrongly flat AD1000-AD1900 temperature line was the shaft: the uptick from 1900 to 2000 was the blade….

Monckton’s concluding prediction is a lot less dire than that of the Stern Report:

“Removing the UN’s solecisms, and using reasonable data and assumptions, a simple global model shows that temperature will rise by just 0.1 to 1.4C in the coming century, with a best estimate of 0.6C, well within the medieval temperature range and only a fifth of the UN’s new, central projection.”

Monckton has the hard data to back him up, too. Thanks, Kathy Shaidle. And click here for the Wall Street Journal’s take on the Stern report.