Scientist: Global Warming Claims a Lot of Hype
Friday, July 3, 2009 10:17 PM
By: Phil Brennan Article Font Size
Lawmakers who described the alleged effects of global warming are spreading a lot of "eye wash," a top climate scientist says.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, S. Fred Singer, a renowned climatologist and professor of environmental sciences emeritus at the University of Virginia, discussed the background behind the recent open letter to Congress he and six other scientists sent to members of the House and Senate.
In the letter, the scientists cited a letter sent by the Woods Hole Research Center, which exhorted Congress to act quickly to avoid a global disaster due to alleged global warming.
Singer said the Woods Hole group “put on a sort of scary exaggerated kind of letter to Congress ahead of the vote in the House in an obvious attempt to stampede them into voting for the Waxman-Markey [cap and trade environmental] bill.
Singer explained: “We thought it would be useful to write a letter that would provide a balance. The instigator of the letter was Harold Lewis, a retired professor of physics at the University of California in Santa Barbara.” Lewis, he said, “provided the initial draft, several of us made comments and seven of us signed our names to it.”
Lewis sent the letter "to every member of Congress ... and it was also sent to a number of bloggers and others who are generally sympathetic" to the group’s point of view.
“The letter itself is self-explanatory,” Singer said, noting that it did not “give much detail.”
“Two of us, Richard Lindzen and myself, are actively working on climate issues. The others are renowned physicists – people of some stature, members of the National Academy and others who have a good amount of scientific judgment but who have not directly published or been pre-eminent in climate research.”
Asked if it is not established that the earth is cooling, Singer explained that “The earth is either always warming or cooling; one cannot tell which it is unless one specifies the time interval.
“It's like the stock market: it is rising or falling. Both depend on whether it's a week or a month or a year. It's the same with the temperature – if we start during the last Ice Age 15,000 years ago, then the temperatures have warmed. If you start from the Little Ice Age, which ended 200 years ago, it certainly has warmed.
“If you start from 1998, however, then it has not warmed – it has cooled. So it depends on the time interval. People argue about this, and much of the difference between groups comes about when you don't specify the time interval. There's no question that the climate has not been warming in the last 10 years."
Reminded that there were members of Congress standing up in the debate and talking about the terrible things that are happening now as a result of global warming, Singer said: “That's all eye wash. That's not true. That's simply hype.”
He went on to explain that “Nothing untoward is happening. The ice is not melting any faster, the sea level is not rising any faster. Hurricanes are not increasing in intensity or frequency; there's been no impact. Those things are always hard to measure. It depends on statistics. The easiest thing is to specify temperature, because it's easily measured and there is relatively little disagreement on what temperature stands for.”
He then went on to challenge what he called former Vice President Al Gore’s “mantra” that he says Gore’s "been handing out for years now – that the science is settled. That is simply not true.
“When you have 31,000 scientists signing the Oregon petition saying they disagree with the current wisdom that humans are producing increased warming, it speaks for itself. It's true that the 31,000 are not all climate scientists. There are not that many in the world.
“However, it does show you that the science is not settled. Among climate scientists there is a split. There are those who believe in models, and those who believe in observations. And there are some who don't believe in both, and some who don't believe in any.
“The modelers believe that the models correctly describe what's going on in the atmosphere, and they trust their models to predict the future. And the models all predict increased global warming. Some more, some less. There are plenty models in the world, and they all get different results. We don't know which one of them is correct, if any, or even if any of them is correct.
Then there are those – sometimes called the skeptics, but we prefer to call them the realists – who believe in the observations, who believe that the atmosphere tells us what's going on. The models try to describe what's going on in the atmosphere, but they don't succeed. It's extremely difficult – the atmosphere is very complicated. For example, the models can't really describe clouds. Yet clouds are very, very important. So that's the basic split.
“When the observations show that the climate has not been warming in the last 10 years, which contradicts the models, who are you going to believe? The models or the observations. Obviously, we believe in the observations.
“When you ask the other side to debate on this issue they either won't debate; or if they do debate, they say, Well there must be something wrong with the observations.'”
Singer agreed that it is a case of "do you believe what the models tell you, or do you believe in your lying eyes?"