By John Coleman
January 28, 2009 (Revised and edited February 11, 2009)
The key players are now all in place in Washington and in state governments across America to officially label carbon dioxide as a pollutant and enact laws that tax us citizens for our carbon footprints. Only two details stand in the way: the faltering economic times and a dramatic turn toward a colder climate. The last two bitter winters have led to a rise in public awareness that there is no runaway global warming. A majority of American citizens are now becoming skeptical of the claim that our carbon footprints, resulting from our use of fossil fuels, are going to lead to climatic calamities. But governments are not yet listening to the citizens.
How did we ever get to this point where bad science is driving big government to punish the citizens for living the good life that fossil fuels provide for us?
The story begins with an Oceanographer named Roger Revelle. He served with the Navy in World War II. After the war he became the Director of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute in La Jolla in San Diego, California. Revelle obtained major funding from the Navy to do measurements and research on the ocean around the Pacific Atolls where the US military was conducting post war atomic bomb tests. He greatly expanded the Institute's areas of interest and among others hired Hans Suess, a noted Chemist from the University of Chicago. Suess was very interested in the traces of carbon in the environment from the burning of fossil fuels. Revelle co-authored a scientific paper with Suess in 1957—a paper that raised the possibility that the atmospheric carbon dioxide might be creating a greenhouse effect and causing atmospheric warming. The thrust of the paper was a plea for funding for more studies. Funding, frankly, is where Revelle's mind was most of the time.
Next Revelle hired a Geochemist named David Keeling to devise a way to measure the atmospheric content of Carbon dioxide. In 1958 Keeling published his first paper showing the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and linking the increase to the burning of fossil fuels. These two research papers became the bedrock of the science of global warming, even though they offered no proof that carbon dioxide was in fact a greenhouse gas. In addition they failed to explain how this trace gas, only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, could have any significant impact on temperatures.
Back in the1950s, when this was going on, our cities were entrapped in a pall of pollution left by the crude internal combustion engines and poorly refined gasoline that powered cars and trucks back then, and from the uncontrolled emissions from power plants and factories. There was a valid and serious concern about the health consequences of this pollution. As a result a strong environmental movement was developing to demand action.
Government heard that outcry and set new environmental standards. Scientists and engineers came to the rescue. New reformulated fuels were developed, as were new high tech, computer controlled, fuel injection engines and catalytic converters. By the mid seventies cars were no longer significant polluters, emitting only some carbon dioxide and water vapor from their tail pipes. New fuel processing and smoke stack scrubbers were added to industrial and power plants and their emissions were greatly reduced as well.
But an environmental movement had been established and its funding and very existence depended on having a continuing crisis issue. Roger Revelle's research at the Scripps Institute had tricked a wave of scientific inquiry. So the concept of uncontrollable atmospheric warming from the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels became the cornerstone issue of the environmental movement. Automobiles and power planets became the prime targets.
Revelle and Keeling used this new alarmism to keep their funding growing. Other researchers with environmental motivations and a hunger for funding saw this developing and climbed aboard as well. The research grants flowed and alarming hypotheses began to show up everywhere.
The Keeling curve continues to show a steady rise in CO2 in the atmosphere during the period since oil and coal were discovered and used by man. Carbon dioxide has increased from the 1958 reading of 315 to 385 parts per million in 2008. But, despite the increases, it is still only a trace gas in the atmosphere. The percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 remains tiny, about 3.8 hundredths of one percent by volume and 41 hundredths of one percent by weight. And, by the way, only a fraction of that fraction is from mankind's use of fossil fuels. The best estimate is that atmospheric CO2 is 75 percent natural and 25 percent the result of civilization.
Several hypotheses emerged in the 70s and 80s about how this tiny atmospheric component of CO2 might cause a significant warming. But they remained unproven. As years have passed, the scientists have kept reaching out for evidence of the warming and proof of their theories. And, the money and environmental claims kept on building up.
Back in the 1960s, this global warming research came to the attention of a Canadian born United Nation's bureaucrat named Maurice Strong. He was looking for issues he could use to fulfill his dream of one-world government. Strong organized a World Earth Day event in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. From this he developed a committee of scientists, environmentalists and political operatives from the UN to continue a series of meetings.
Strong developed the concept that the UN could demand payments from the advanced nations for the climatic damage from their burning of fossil fuels to benefit the underdeveloped nations—a sort of CO2 tax that would be the funding for his one-world government. But he needed more scientific evidence to support his primary thesis. So Strong championed the establishment of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC). This was not a pure, "climate study" scientific organization, as we have been led to believe. It was an organization of one-world government UN bureaucrats, environmental activists and environmentalist scientists who craved UN funding so they could produce the science they needed to stop the burning of fossil fuels.
Over the last 25 years the IPCC has been very effective. Hundreds of scientific papers, four major international meetings and reams of news stories about climatic Armageddon later, it has made its points to the satisfaction of most governments and even shared in a Nobel Peace Prize.
At the same time Maurice Strong was busy at the UN, things were getting a bit out of hand for the man who is now called the grandfather of global warming, Roger Revelle. He had been very politically active in the late 1950's as he worked to have the University of California locate a San Diego campus adjacent to Scripps Institute in La Jolla. He won that major war, but lost an all important battle afterward when he was passed over in the selection of the first Chancellor of the new campus.
He left Scripps finally in 1963 and moved to Harvard University to establish a Center for Population Studies. It was there that Revelle inspired one of his students. This student would say later, "It felt like such a privilege to be able to hear about the readouts from some of those measurements in a group of no more than a dozen undergraduates. Here was this teacher presenting something not years old but fresh out of the lab, with profound implications for our future!" The student described him as "a wonderful, visionary professor" who was "one of the first people in the academic community to sound the alarm on global warming." That student was Al Gore. He thought of Dr. Revelle as his mentor and referred to him frequently, relaying his experiences as a student in his book "Earth in the Balance," published in 1992.
So there it is. Roger Revelle was indeed the grandfather of global warming. His work had laid the foundation for the UN IPCC, provided the anti-fossil fuel ammunition to the environmental movement and sent Al Gore on his road to his books, his movie "An Inconvenient Truth," his Nobel Peace Prize and a hundred million dollars from the carbon credits business.
The global warming frenzy was becoming the cause célèbre of the media. After all, the media is mostly liberal, loves Al Gore, loves to warn us of impending disasters and tell us "the sky is falling, the sky is falling." The politicians and the environmentalist loved it, too.
But the tide was turning with Roger Revelle. He was forced out at Harvard at 65 and returned to California and a semi retirement position at UCSD. There he had time to rethink Carbon Dioxide and the greenhouse effect. The man who had inspired Al Gore and given the UN the basic research it needed to launch its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was having second thoughts. In 1988 he wrote two cautionary letters to members of Congress. He wrote, "My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse effect is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways." He added, "…we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer."
And in 1991 Revelle teamed up with Chauncey Starr, founding director of the Electric Power Research Institute and Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, to write an article for Cosmos magazine. They urged more research and begged scientists and governments not to move too fast to curb greenhouse CO2 emissions because the true impact of carbon dioxide was not at all certain, and curbing the use of fossil fuels could have a huge, negative impact on the economy, jobs, and our standard of living. Considerable controversy still surrounds the authorship of this article. However, I have discussed this collaboration with Dr. Singer and he assures me that Revelle was considerably more certain than he was at the time that carbon dioxide was not a problem.
Did Roger Revelle attend the summer enclave at the Bohemian Grove in Northern California in 1990 while working on that article? Did he deliver a lakeside speech there to the assembled movers and shakers from Washington and Wall Street in which he apologized for sending the UN IPCC and Al Gore on this wild goose chase about global warming? Did he say that the key scientific conjecture of his lifetime had turned out wrong? The answer to those questions is, "Apparently." People who were there have told me about that afternoon, but I have not located a transcript or a recording. People continue to share their memories with me on an informal basis. More evidence may be forthcoming.
Roger Revelle died of a heart attack three months after the Cosmos story was printed. Oh, how I wish he were still alive today. He might be able to stop this scientific silliness and end the global warming scam. He might well stand beside me as a global warming denier.
Al Gore has dismissed Roger Revelle's mea culpa as the actions of a senile old man. The next year, while running for Vice President, he said the science behind global warming is settled and there will be no more debate. From 1992 until today, he and most of his cohorts have refused to debate global warming and when asked about us skeptics, they insult us and call us names.
As the science now stands, the global warming alarmist scientists say the climate is sensitive to a "radiative forcing" effect from atmospheric carbon dioxide which greatly magnifies its greenhouse effect on atmospheric warming. The only proof they can provide of this complex hypothesis is by running it in climate computer models. By starting the models in about 1980 they showed how the continuing increase in CO2 was step with a steady increase in average global temperatures in the 1980s and 1990's and claim cause and effect. But, in fact, those last two decades of the 20th century were at the peak of a strong 24 year solar cycle, and the temperature increases actually may have been a result of the solar cycle together with related warm cycle ocean current patterns during that period.
That warming ended in 1998 and global temperatures (as measured by satellites) leveled off. Starting in 2002, computer models and reality have dramatically parted company. The models predicted temperatures and carbon dioxide would continue to rise in lock step, but in fact while the CO2 continues to rise, temperatures are in decline. Now global temperatures are in such a nose dive there is wide spread talk from climatologists about an impending ice age. In any case, the UN's computer model "proof" has gone up in a poof.
Nonetheless, today we have the continued claim that carbon dioxide is the culprit of an uncontrollable, runaway man-made global warming. We are told that when we burn fossil fuels we are leaving a dastardly carbon footprint. And, we are told we must pay Al Gore or the environmentalists for this sinful footprint. Our governments on all levels are considering taxing the use of fossil fuels. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of naming CO2 as a pollutant and strictly regulating its use to protect our climate. The new President and the US Congress are on board. Many state governments are moving on the same course.
We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways. Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by the prohibiting of new refineries and of drilling for decades. We pay for the shortage this has created every time we buy gas. On top of that, the whole issue of corn based ethanol costs us millions of tax dollars in subsidies, which also has driven up food prices. All of this is a long way from over.
Yet I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis for any of it.
Global Warming: It is a hoax. It is bad science. It is high-jacking public policy. It is the greatest scam in history.
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