Investors Business Daily (Link) (December 15, 2009)
Drip by drip, like a glacier melting in the sun, the claim that man is changing the climate is dissolving into irrelevance. The recent findings of Swiss researchers expose another hole.
Former Vice President Al Gore has for years warned that man-made global warming is melting the world’s glaciers — a tactic commonly used by alarmists who want to whip up hysteria. Swiss researchers, however, have presented evidence that weakens the argument.
Scientists at Zurich’s Federal Institute of Technology have found that solar activity caused Alpine glaciers to melt in the 1940s at rates faster than today’s pace, even though it’s warmer now.
The study found that the sun in the 1940s was 8% stronger than average and far more powerful than it is today. It also concluded that solar activity was weaker from the 1950s to the 1980s, an era in which the glaciers advanced.
The Swiss researchers are spinning their own work, saying that the evidence doesn’t mean the public can stop worrying about man-made warming. But their finding validates other researchers who have said solar activity has a far greater impact on temperatures than human CO2 emissions.
This report from Zurich reminds us of another myth perpetrated by Gore. In his Academy Award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” he contends the snowcap on Mount Kilimanjaro has retreated because of human greenhouse-gas emissions. Yet scientists have been telling a different story.
They say the melting on the 19,340-foot mountain has been going on for more than a century, beginning long before man accelerated CO2 emissions. They also report that temperatures at the top of Kilimanjaro never fall below freezing, so the reason for snowcap loss has to be due to one or more causes not related to temperature. A lack of snowfall is likely one of those.
Just as the Swiss researchers tried to soft-pedal their findings, the scientists who have studied Kilimanjaro also refuse to let the narrative unravel. They say the facts about the snowcap shouldn’t be used to raise doubts about the official line that man is warming the planet. Nothing to see here, they say in effect, so move on.
Another sign that the alarmists’ claims are falling apart is the statement made Monday by Gore at the global warming conference in Copenhagen: “Some of the models suggest ... that there is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”
While the chance that sea ice will disappear that soon is virtually nil, there’s a 100% certainty that Gore was wrong.
“It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at,” said Wieslav Maslowski, a scientist from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School whose work Gore had misused. “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”
It wasn’t the first time Gore has crossed into fantasyland. Last month, he announced on the “Tonight Show” that “the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees,” when in fact it’s no more than 9,000 degrees Celsius and might be only 4,000. Not even the sun is “several million degrees.” Its surface — based on Gore’s criteria — is a cool 5,550 to 6,000 degrees Celsius.
Then there’s his movie, so full of scientific errors — at least nine of them — that a British court two years ago ruled it could be shown in secondary schools only when notes to balance its political bias were also presented in class.
Despite his poor stewardship of the facts and his refusal to debate the issue, Gore is still the go-to guy for most journalists who cover global warming. He’s still identified as the climate guru who actually has something to contribute to the conversation.
The truth, though, is that Gore and so many others gathered in Copenhagen are propagandists. They know that the way to arrange the world economy to fit their preferences and require lifestyle changes in developed nations is to demand that governments do something about the environment.