The scientific case against man-made global warming
Why global warming is not a crisis
by Christopher (Viscount) Monckton of Brenchley
(DVD, Science and Public Policy Institute, Washington DC, 2008. Inquiries from Freedom Publishing)
The ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of those still open to the scientific facts about climate change - as distinct from today's new man-made global warming religion - has been given a fillip with the recent addition of an enlightening DVD to the sceptics' arsenal.
The video format of Apocalypse? No! makes it an effective antidote to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
The DVD documents a power point presentation by former UK political advisor and non-scientist, Lord Monckton, to the Cambridge Union Society in 2007. Included are the complete, illustrated address, followed by questions, and a shorter version of the same address.
Monckton provides the mainly student audience with an overwhelming dose of the scientific reasons to reject claims that global warming is due to human activities.
The presentation focuses on the numerous errors of scientific fact in the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) reports and in Al Gore's film, and then concludes with the serious moral and economic consequences of the proposed drastic global measures to curb emissions.
The British peer was initially set on the investigative trail by the realisation that in the 1995 IPCC report the final conclusions were the reverse of those in the draft document. The draft contained three separate statements about a lack of (scientific) evidence to link man- made greenhouse gasses with global warming. But these were replaced in the final version with an opposite conclusion not supported by the scientific facts. In addition, he found that the Greenland and Arctic ice- melt data were overestimated by a factor of 10 in the document.
Monckton then shows how historical global temperature data were distorted: in the 1990 IPCC report the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), during which temperatures were up to three degrees celsius higher than today, appeared in the temperature graph covering the last 1000 years, but this was replaced in the 2001 report with the so-called 'hockey-stick' graph, omitting the MWP and purporting to show stable world temperatures until the recent past.
Copious data charts later Monckton convincingly shows that historically there has never been a linkage between carbon dioxide and temperature. Moreover, in recent years the temperature has not moved in accord with IPCC predictions. On the other hand, he demonstrates there is a strong correlation between solar activity and temperature.
Turning to Al Gore's film, Lord Monckton rather quickly deals with 20 of 36 gross errors advanced in An Inconvenient Truth as contemporary physical evidence of global warming due to human activity.
These include weather events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Japan typhoon, Arctic ice warming, snow melt on Mt Kilimanjaro (where the temperature never rises above zero!), Greenland ice-cap reduction, Lake Chad drying up, rising sea levels, the mosquito line, polar bear mortality, the (non) relationship between infant mortality and carbon dioxide emissions and so on. Either they have occurred routinely throughout history or can be explained by natural phenomena.
Monckton reserves his most scathing comments for the precautionary principle as a (moral) justification for taking action against the human carbon dioxide 'scourge'. This principle holds that if there is uncertainty about cause and effect it's better to be sure than sorry. He examines two such well-intentioned applications of the principle in the last half century that have been unmitigated disasters:
* By not separating HIV-infected people from the general community during the early phases of this disease, in accord with sound epidemiological practice, the death toll is now 25 million from the disease and (currently) there are 40 million HIV positive carriers.
* The (misguided) banning of DDT resulted in the deaths from malaria of between 30-50 million people until the ban was finally lifted in 2006.
Monckton's address concludes by drawing attention to the great moral problem confronting the pro- warming crusade that, apart from the deliberate distortion of science in the IPCC reports, it is now sheltering behind the precautionary principle in imposing the burden of substantially increased costs of 'clean' and taxed energy (through carbon trading schemes) on everybody, but especially on vulnerable families in developing countries.
For several billion people spread through many countries cheap energy is a key basic means of reducing the incidence of poverty. Using data that show a close correlation between prosperity and birth rates, Monckton concludes that high energy costs would inevitably cause a sharp increase in birth rates along with the incidence of poverty in developing countries and cause associated damage to the environment.
'Get the science right or we get policy wrong', he concludes, 'and in the case of global warming we should do nothing.'
Peter Finlayson is an active Catholic in the Ballarat Diocese and a recently retired agricultural scientist with experience advising about farm management across Australia and in 35 developing countries.