Friday, March 20, 2015

Early Greenpeace Leader Offers Alternative Take on Climate Change

In eye-opening testimony, an early leader of the Greenpeace movement questioned assertions that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity are solely responsible for global warming.

Patrick Moore, Ph.D., testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: "There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the earth's atmosphere over the past 100 years."  Moore who, in his Senate testimony, recounted his early involvement with Greenpeace, beginning in 1971, says he left the organization in 1986 because Greenpeace  "took a sharp turn to the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific perspective."

Moore says, 
Perhaps the simplest way to expose the fallacy of “extreme certainty” [regarding climate change] is to look at the historical record....  When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time.  Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today....  The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.
Climate change activists, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have asserted that: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”  

However, Moore counters with the observation that, 
The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000.  Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to "human influence."  They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact only the increase "since the mid-20th century."  Why does the IPCC believe that a virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by "human influence," when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-1940?
Citing what many scientists accept regarding the swing in temperatures throughout the earth's history, Moore observes, "Today we remain locked in what is essentially still the Pleistocene Ice Age, with an average global temperature of 14.5oC.  This compares with a low of about 12oC during the periods of maximum glaciation in this Ice Age to an average of 22oC during the Greenhouse Ages, which occurred over longer time periods prior to the most recent Ice Age."

Based on these temperature swings, Moore questions the dire predictions of some environmentalists regarding global warming:  
During the Greenhouse Ages, there was no ice on either pole and all the land was tropical and sub-tropical, from pole to pole.  As recently as 5 million years ago the Canadian Arctic islands were completely forested.  Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.  There is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would bring disastrous results for human civilization.
Moore concludes, 
It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a 2oC rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species.  We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist.  The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing.  It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age.  It is “extremely likely” that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.
I would add the observation that, despite the many disagreements between creationists and evolutionists, biblical creationists believe that, in the period prior to the Noahic Flood, the earth was surrounded by a water vapor canopy in the upper atmosphere, so that the earth was very much like a tropical greenhouse from pole to pole--a view that is consistent with the fossil evidence and with what evolutionists believe about the earth's early history.

The claim of some scientists and politicians today that global warming is "settled science" has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs in industries such as coal mining and continues to hamper the efforts of developing countries to become energy independent.  While Al Gore last week stated in a speech that "climate change deniers need to be punished" and that we should "tax carbon emissions," a more responsible view is that we need to insist that our politicians not adopt "solutions" to a problem, the existence of which is still anything but "settled science."  In fact, it is politicians like Al Gore (whose "carbon footprint" is ten times as large as anyone reading this column) who need to be punished until they accept the need to come to reasonable rather than coercive and politically-motivated positions regarding the world's climate. 

(Patrick Moore is the author of a number of books, including, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist. (2011) Beatty Street Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0-9864808-2-9)

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