IP-8-2000 (September 2000)
Author: Ron Bain
Seventeen consecutive days with high temperatures above 90o that wilted Denver. Raging forest fires that threaten homes and parklands throughout the Western United States. Heatwaves in California and Colorado that have utility bills soaring and tempers flaring.
It must be global warming, mustn’t it?
“Global warming is a strategic threat,” writes Vice-President Al Gore in his 1992 campaign book, “Earth In The Balance.” This threat endangers “the earth’s ability to regulate the amount of heat from the sun retained in the atmosphere.”1
At the end of his book, Gore refers to “the faith that is so essential to restore the balance now missing in our relationship with the earth.”2 Gore seems more willing to put his faith in junk science than rational thought and the scientific method.
Gore’s theory is that minor increases in mean global temperature over the past 120 years are due to additional “greenhouse gases” — primarily carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and nitrous oxide — that man has placed into earth’s atmosphere. Scientists refer to this as “anthropogenic,” or human-caused, warming. However, scientists are cautious to use terms such as “feasible,” “possible” or “likely” when referring to measurements that indicate worldwide warming trends. Not so the media.
The Global Historical Climatology Network claims to have temperatures for all latitudes and longitudes since 1880 (but many are extrapolations). The National Weather Service was founded in the U.S. in 1874 and began recording scientific measurements of American temperature extremes. This 120- to 125-year period coincides almost precisely with the Industrial Revolution, the invention of the internal combustion engine and man’s rise to technological preeminence. Temperatures from times prior to 1874 are determined from flood records, tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments and historical observations. Satellite measurements of atmospheric temperatures have been made since the late 1970s.
One of the problems with global warming theory is that it relies too heavily on a very large set of assumptions:
- that century-old temperature records are accurate;
- that tree rings, ice cores, flood plains and ocean sediments can be precisely interpreted;
- that the modern earth is a steady-state, unchanging planet receiving a constant, invariable amount of heat from the sun;
- that burning of fossil fuels is the only explanation for increased atmospheric CO2;
- that disaster would befall civilization if the earth’s average temperatures rose by a few degrees.