ROBERT L. BRADLEY
Monday, Jan 12, 2008
The new century has cooled the case for climate alarmism. Global warming has stalled — not accelerated as expected. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have increased, but temperatures have been flat for the last eight years and have slightly fallen since 1998′s El Nino-driven temperature spike.
If the cool-off continues until 2015, as could be the case according to a study published in Nature magazine, we will have had a see-saw of global warming (1900-45), global cooling (1945-75), global warming (1975-98), and flatness (1998-2015).
Where does all of this leave us coming out of the Little Ice Age that ended in the mid-18th century — and after a century of greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere? Today’s temperature is about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer, and in a naturally warmer climate cycle. Compare this to Al Gore’s scary talk about an 11-degree man-made temperature rise this century under business as usual.
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One decade does not end the debate. But it is yet another data point against treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and stringently regulating today’s consumer-chosen energy economy. And it explains the desperation of those who accuse critics of climate catastrophism as being “deniers” (as in Holocaust deniers) and “flat earthers.”
Of course the climate is changing — always has and always will — and there may very well be a distinct human influence on climate. Carbon dioxide is a warming agent, as are the other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. But the good news is that so far the observed climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases is much less than what some climate models predict.
And the news gets better. A moderately warmer and wetter world, natural or man-made, coupled with the carbon dioxide fertilization effect on plants and agriculture, has distinct benefits, not just costs. As a climate specialist at the U.S. Department of Interior has calculated, a 600-fold increase in carbon dioxide emissions in the last two centuries has accompanied an eight-fold increase in population, a 75-fold rise in manufacturing and a 60-fold increase in global economic output. This is why climate economists are much more optimistic than many climate scientists about the future of climate and the economy.
This article was posted: Monday, January 12, 2009 at 5:12 am