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Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2001 / 28 Teves, 5761

Joseph Perkins

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Consumer Reports

What global warming 'crisis'? -- I DON'T GET IT. I've been informed, repeatedly, that the scientific evidence of global warming is indisputable. And that no less indisputable is the evidence that this calamitous climate trend has been precipitated by human consumption of fossil fuels, which has increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

Yet, hardly a fortnight passes, it seems, without some revelation that appears to this non-scientist to contradict the prevailing wisdom on global warming, that suggests to this skeptic that proposals to tax or regulate American families and business into lower energy use -- as some government scientists advocated back in November -- are unjustified.

Consider the recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center. It notes that in 2000 the United States experienced its coldest November and December on record, with an average national temperature of 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

If, as we've been warned, we are in the midst of a man-made planetary warming trend, and if, as certain scientists have claimed, the past 10 years have been the hottest on record, we certainly wouldn't expect to see record cold temperatures in this country for the last two months of last year.

And this is not the only recent report that casts serious doubt upon the global warming orthodoxy.

In November, scientists at Armagh Observatory in Ireland said that an analysis of climate records, culled from weather observations made almost daily since 1795, indicates that the sun has been the main contributor to global warming over the past two centuries (NOT human consumption of fossil fuels). In December, a top Canadian scientist who has tracked global temperatures and greenhouse gases as far back as 500 million years, arrived at the same conclusion as the scientists at Armagh.

Carbon dioxide has been oversold as the chief cause of climate change, said Jan Veizer, selected by Canadian government science officials to study global warming. He attributes warming to fluctuations in the sun's intensity and other natural, rather than man-made, factors.

"I don't want to jeopardize the environmental agenda," he said last month. "But it's better to be honest." Nevertheless, the global warming faithful will find a way to discount the contradictory research of Veizer and the Armagh scientists. They will gin up some explanation for the record cold temperatures recorded here in this country in November and December. For that is their standard defense when confronted with evidence, with research, that is inconsistent with the global warming gospel.

That's what happened in 1999 when the Climate Prediction Center, another division of the NOAA, reported that the continental United States actually got cooler, rather than warmer, over the past third of a century.

That's what happened when Scripps Institution of Oceanography examined Antarctic ice core samples from the last three glacial cycles (the transitional periods between ice age and planetary warming) and discovered increases in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were actually preceded by rises in planetary temperature. According to global warming theory, the opposite should have occurred. There should have been a rise in carbon dioxide levels followed by a rise in global temperatures.

It is increasingly clear that there is no global warming "crisis." That, to the extent that planetary temperatures have increased, human activity has had little to do with it.

Those who continue to ominously warn us of looming calamity, who continue to offer prescriptions for averting this putative environmental disaster (like higher energy taxes and more research dollars), are doing so not on the basis of sound science, but because they have a vested interest in global warming -- politically, professionally or otherwise.

JWR contributor Joseph Perkins is aSan Diego Union-Tribune columnist and television commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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