Time: Fri Dec 12 17:21:27 1997
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Global Warming Myth (fwd)
Bcc: sls

>Science has spoken: Global Warming is a Myth
>By Arthur B. Robinson
>and Zachary W. Robinson
>   Political leaders are gathered in Kyoto, Japan, working away on an 
>international treaty to stop "Global warming" by reducing carbon dioxide 
>emissions. The debate over how much to cut emissions has at times been 
>heated---but the entire enterprise is futile or worse. For there in not a 
>shred of persuasive evidence that humans have been responsible for 
>increasing global temperatures. What's more, carbon dioxide emissions 
>have actually been a boon for the environment.
>   The myth of "Global warming" starts with an accurate observation: The 
>amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising. It is now about 360 
>parts per million, vs. 290 at the beginning of the 20th century. 
>Reasonable estimates indicate that it may eventually rise as high as 600 
>parts per million. This rise probably results from human burning of coal, 
>oil and natural gas, although this is not certain. Earth's oceans and 
>land hold some 50 times as much carbon dioxide as is in the atmosphere, 
>and movement between these reservoirs of carbon dioxide is poorly 
>understood. The observed rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide does 
>correspond with the time of human release and equals about half the 
>amount released.
>   Carbon dioxide, water, and a few other substances are "greenhouse 
>gases" --  For reasons predictable from their physics and chemistry, they 
>tend to admit more solar energy into the atmosphere then they allow to 
>escape. Actually, things are not so simple as this, since these 
>substances interact among themselves and with other aspects of the 
>atmosphere in complex ways that are not well understood. Still, it was 
>reasonable to hypothesize that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 
>might cause atmospheric temperatures to rise. Some people predicted 
>"global warming", which has come to mean extreme greenhouse warming of 
>the atmosphere leading to catastrophic environmental consequences.
>Careful Tests
>   The global-warming hypothesis, however, is no longer tenable. 
>Scientists have been able to test it carefully, and it does not hold up. 
>During the past 50 years, as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have 
>risen, scientists have made precise measurements of atmospheric 
>temperature. These measurements have definitively shown that major 
>atmospheric greenhouse warming of the atmosphere is not occurring and is 
>unlikely ever to occur.
>   The temperature of the atmosphere fluctuates over a wide range, the 
>result of solar activity and other influences. During the past 3,000 
>years, there have been five extended periods when it was distinctly 
>warmer than today. One of the two coldest periods, known as the Little 
>Ice Age, occurred 300 years ago. Atmospheric temperatures have been 
>rising from that low for the past 300 years, but remain below the 3,000 
>year average.
>   Why are temperatures rising? The first chart nearby shows temperatures 
>during the past 250 years, relative to the mean temperature for 
>1951-1970. The same chart shows the length of the solar magnetic cycle 
>during the same period. Close correlation between these two parameters -- 
>the shorter the solar cycle (and hence the more active the sun), the 
>higher the temperature -- demonstrates, as do other studies, that the 
>gradual warming since the Little Ice Age and the large fluctuations 
>during that warming have been caused by changes in solar activity.
>   The highest temperatures during this period occurred in about 1940. 
>During the past 20 years, atmospheric temperatures have actually tended 
>to go down, as shown in the second chart, based on very reliable 
>satellite data, which have been confirmed by measurements from weather 
>   Consider what this means for the global-warming hypothesis. This 
>hypothesis predicts that global temperatures will rise significantly, 
>indeed catastrophically, if atmospheric carbon dioxide rises. Most of the 
>increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has occurred during the past 50 
>years, and the increase has continued during the past 20 years. Yet there 
>has been no significant increase in atmospheric temperature during those 
>50 years, and during the 20 years with the highest carbon dioxide levels, 
>temperatures have decreased.
>   In science, the ultimate test is the process of experiment. If a 
>hypothesis fails the experimental test, it must be discarded. Therefore, 
>the scientific method requires that the global warming hypothesis be 
>   Why, then, is there continuing scientific interest in "global 
>warming"? There is a field of inquiry in which scientists are using 
>computers to try to predict the weather -- even global weather over very 
>long periods. But global weather is so complicated that current data and 
>computer methods are insufficient to make such predictions. Although it 
>is reasonable to hope that these methods will eventually become useful, 
>for now computer climate models are very unreliable. The second chart 
>shows predicted temperatures for the past 20 years, based on the computer 
>models. It's not surprising that they should have turned out wrong -- 
>after all the weatherman still has difficulty predicting local weather 
>even for a few days. Long-term global predictions are beyond current 
>   So we needn't worry about human use of hydrocarbons warming the Earth. 
>We also needn't worry  about environmental calamities, even if the 
>current, natural warming trend continues: After all the Earth has been 
>much warmer during the past 3,000 years without ill effects.
>   But we should worry about the effects of the hydrocarbon rationing 
>being proposed at Kyoto. Hydrocarbon use has major environmental 
>benefits. A great deal of research has shown that increases in 
>atmospheric carbon dioxide accelerate the growth rates of plants and also 
>permit plants to grow in drier regions. Animal life, which depends upon 
>plants, also increases.
>   Standing timber in the United States has already increased by 30% 
>since 1950. There are now 60 tons of timber for every American. Tree-ring 
>studies further confirm this spectacular increase in free growth rates. 
>It has also been found that mature Amazonian rain forests are increasing 
>in biomass at about two tons per acre per year. A composite of 279 
>research studies predicts that overall plant growth rates will ultimately 
>double as carbon dioxide increases.
>Lush Environment
>   What mankind is doing is moving hydrocarbons form below ground and 
>turning them into living things. We are living in an increasingly lush 
>environment of plants and animals as a result of the carbon dioxide 
>increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with twice as much plant and 
>animal life as that with which we now are blessed. This is a wonderful 
>and unexpected gift from the industrial revolution.
>   Hydrocarbons are needed to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of 
>people across the globe. This can eventually allow all human beings to 
>live long, prosperous, healthy productive lives. No other single 
>technological factor is more important to the increase in the quality, 
>length and quantity of human life than the continued, expanded and 
>unrationed use of the Earth's hydrocarbons, of which we now have proven 
>reserves to last more than 1,000 years. Global warming is a myth. The 
>reality is that global poverty and death would be the result of Kyoto's 
>rationing of hydrocarbons.
>Arthur Robinson and Zachary Robinson are chemists at the Oregon Institute 
>of Science and Medicine. Taken from the December 4th, 1997 issue of the 
>Wall Street Journal.

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