February 1999

Much has been written about the potential effects of global warming on agriculture. Global warming skeptics have generally argued that the net effects will be positive, while believers have claimed that the effects could be disastrous. A new report from the Pew Center on Climate Change (believers) argues that the net effects of global warming on U.S. agriculture will probably be small even though there could be significant regional effects.

For example, agriculture in the northern United States and Canada could benefit from warmer temperatures, while agriculture in the southern United States could be harmed. The report also concedes that “currently available climate forecasts cannot resolve how extreme events and variability will change; however, both are potential risks to agriculture.” This seems to be the tack taken by the Pew Center on each of the aspects relating to agriculture and global warming it discusses. To wit, we dont know how global warming will effect agriculture but it could have both positive and negative consequences.

The report concludes that “climate change is not expected to threaten the ability of the United States to produce enough food to feed itself through the next century; however, regional patterns of production are likely to change.” It also concludes, “the form and pattern of change are uncertain because changes in regional climate cannot be predicted with a high degree of confidence.” The report also discusses that farmers will have several means to adapt to any potential change in regional conditions. The report can be found at www.pewclimate.org.

 Greens Oppose Early Credit Bill

Several Green groups, including the Center for International Environmental Law, Greenpeace, National Environment Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ozone Action, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, U.S. PIRG, and World Wildlife Fund, have written a legislative analysis opposing the current “Credit for Voluntary Early Action Act.” Although not opposed to the idea in principle, these groups argue that they cannot support the Act as currently written.

There are several points of contention, a couple of which will be discussed here. The groups only favor giving “rewards and incentives for actions that would not otherwise have occurred,” and, therefore, oppose credits for actions that occur overseas. They point out that the Kyoto Protocol already provides incentives for early action through the Clean Development Mechanism, and that “additional incentives in U.S. domestic legislation for international actions are [not] needed or appropriate.”

They also argue that the Act should employ a “declining baseline over time to reflect, at a minimum, existing U.S. commitments under the Rio Convention.” They also argue that “baselines must be set in a way that avoids awarding credits for changes in market share unrelated to overall changes in emissions.”

They oppose allowing the “President to award credits for actions reported under the controversial section 1605b program,” under the Department of Energy that allows companies to report voluntary emission reduction efforts. They believe that reported reductions under this program are not verified. Finally, the groups oppose any credits related to nuclear power which they call “an inherently high-risk form of energy production.”

Senators to Sponsor a Counter Bill

Senate opponents of the Kyoto Protocol are offering a bill to counter administration proposals, as well as the Chafee-Mack-Lieberman Credit for Early Action bill that could grease the skids to ratification. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-Neb), Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) will cosponsor the bill.

According to Hagels spokeswoman “the legislation will include provisions to increase scientific research on climate change, invest in long-term research and development and remove tax and regulatory barriers that prevent voluntary industry action.” The bill, according to the spokeswoman, is a “recognition that Kyoto is going nowhere,” and is a “market-based way to approach climate change” (National Journals CongressDaily, February 5, 1999).

NRC Sees Shortcomings in Global Warming Science

Global warming skeptics have argued for years that the science is riddled with uncertainties, errors and outright ignorance about the climate system. While those who use the threat of global warming to advance political agendas have dismissed this argument, scientists who believe that man is warming up the planet readily admit to these problems.

The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences has just released a report, The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century, which discusses in great detail the shortcomings of climate science. The NRC admits that there are large natural variations in the climate system, which make it very difficult to locate a human fingerprint. It argues, for example, that paleoclimatic and computer data show that the climate has varied significantly in the past, and that we can expect it to vary in the future, “irrespective of human impacts on climate.”

The report also admits, “current observational capabilities and practice are inadequate to characterize many of the changes in global and regional climate.” And that “significant progress in characterizing and predicting seasonal-to-century time-scale variability in climate, including the role of human activities in forcing variability, is likely to take a decade or more.” For at least ten years, similar reports have claimed that it would take a decade to fully understand the climate system.

The report also discusses problems with the computer models. One the most important but least understood aspects of global warming is cloud feedback mechanisms. According to the report, “intercomparison of the magnitude of cloud feedback in a number of global climate models indicates a fourfold range of uncertainty, with some models predicting strong positive cloud feedback and others a weak negative feedback to the climate system.”

In contrast to the statement by the American Geophysical Union, which stated that sufficient knowledge exists to take action now, the NRC argues that “current observational systems are far from adequate in addressing the questions being posed by scientists and policy makers concerning climate change.”

Another major problem, according to the report, is the poor quality of the surface temperature record. Even in the United States, which probably has the best surface temperature record in the world, serious problems exist. There is no reference temperature network; there are problems with maintaining the homogeneity of minimum and maximum temperature readings; and discontinuities resulting from inadequate overlap during changes in instrumentation have occurred. In addition, data corrupted by urban heat island effects, changes in local conditions and a failure to calibrate new instruments with old, remains uncorrected. The report can be found at www.nas.edu.

Coral Bleaching May be Naturally Caused

Coral bleaching is one of a myriad of ecological phenomena that has been blamed on global warming. A new study in Science (February 5, 1999) argues that the observed bleaching is probably due to natural causes. Coral bleaching occurs when a symbiotic algae, known as zooxanthellae, is expelled from the coral. The researchers monitored the Acropora formosa coral in a shallow lagoon in Mauritius for six years. They found that there is a strong seasonal cycle with bleaching occurring almost entirely in the spring and summer. In fact the density of the algae during the “autumn and winter are three times the densities in spring and summer.” The study concludes that “bleaching events in corals within such lagoons may be frequent and part of the expected cycle of variability.”


  • An article appearing in the EM-Environmental Manager (December 1998) characterized the debate between global warming proponents, made up of various environmental activist groups and government agencies, and skeptics, primarily the Cooler Heads Coalition, as “greens” versus the “red, white and blues.”


  • The Cooler Heads Coalitions is sponsoring a briefing for congressional staff and media on February 22, 1999 to discuss the Credit for Early Action Act. The briefing will feature Marlo Lewis, Vice President at CEI and Mark Mills of Mills-McCarthy and Associates and a CEI adjunct scholar. The briefing will be held the Cannon House Office Building room at 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • The transcripts from the Cooler Heads science briefings for congressional staff and media and CEIs Costs of Kyoto lectures are available on CEIs website at www.cei.org. Transcripts currently available include, Climate Change: Insights from Oceanography, by Dr. Roger Pocklington; Global Warming: Evidence from the Satellite Record, by Dr. John R. Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer; Global Warming and Vector-Borne Disease: Is Warmer Sicker? by Dr. Paul Reiter; Kyoto & Our Collective Economic Future: Economic & Energy Underpinnings, by Mark P. Mills; Emissions Credits: The Supply and Demand Gap, by Robert Reinstein; and Hot Times or Hot Air: The Sun in the Science of Global Warming, by Sallie Baliunas.

Developing countries have balked at the idea of taking on emissions reduction targets, and with good reason. Such actions may well preclude future economic development leading to perpetual poverty. A paper by Ramon Lopez, published by Resources for the Future, proposes two means by which developing nations can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Lopez suggests first that the developing countries eliminate energy subsidies that promote coal and oil consumption. Such subsidies include “direct subsidies to consumers through under-priced energy services, and implicit subsidies to producers through trade barriers that limit the availability of more energy-efficient technologies.” According to one study the elimination of such subsidies would lead to a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions of a little over 3 percent in 2005 relative to business as usual scenarios.

Second, Lopez suggests that the cessation of burning biomass for the purpose of clearing farmland would also lead to significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions while providing a potential economic windfall through the earning of emissions credits. According to Lopez, this “could result in potentially large revenues from the sale of carbon credits, if these credits were legitimated under the Kyoto Protocol.” Lopez argues that the economic benefit from selling emission credits would be greater than the economic benefits of expanding agricultural lands. The developing countries should be cautious, however. They would be far better off relying on the economic benefits of expanding agricultural production than relying on fickle, politically created global redistribution schemes. The paper can be found at www.weathervane.rff.org.

Clinton Asks for $4 Billion to Prevent Global Warming

In a blatant attempt to implement the unratified Kyoto Protocol the Clinton Administration has said it will ask the Congress for $4 billion next year to finance policies to address global warming. This is a sharp increase over last years funding. According to Gore, the move represents “significant new investments to accelerate our aggressive, commonsense efforts to meet the challenge of global warming.”

Many programs are included under the initiative such as a $200 million “clean air partnership fund” that would “generate millions more in state and private funds to help reduce greenhouse gases.” The money would be used to retrofit buildings, purchase fuel-efficient automobiles and “promote public-private partnershipsincluding voluntary efforts by companies to improve energy efficiency.” Much of the money would be tied to promises of state matching funds.

Other programs include: $1.4 billion for research and development of energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy programs, tax credits for purchase of energy-efficient homes and equipment, $122 million to develop cleaner burning, coal-fired power plants (Associated Press, January 26, 1999).

American Geophysical Union Makes Controversial Policy Statement

The American Geophysical Union, one of the top scientific organizations dealing with climate issues, released a position statement on January 28 regarding global warming. On the whole, the statement was a cautious review of the state of global warming science. In the end, however, it side-stepped the science and made a policy pronouncement. The statement concluded, “AGU believes that the present level of scientific uncertainty does not justify inaction in the mitigation of human induced climate change and/or the adaptation to it.”

The AGUs press conference was a public relations fiasco. Reporters asked whether the statement truly represented the views of the membership. It was asserted that the vast majority of the membership agreed with the statement. When asked what that assertion was based on, one of the panelists replied that the 26 member panel, which voted unanimously on the statement, was in tune with the membership and closely represented their views.

The panel also argued that the membership was given opportunities to comment and participate in the drafting of the statement. For example, a draft of the statement was posted on the web a few months ago and comments were received and incorporated into the statement. According to Fred Singer, however, an AGU Fellow and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, the final statement was not presented to the membership. “It was not displayed on the website nor announced in Eos (as required by AGU procedure; cf. Eos Dec. 29, 1998), but was sent to a panel which contained only five of the 13 members of the original panel,” according to Singer.

Reporters spent much of the time questioning the nature of the final sentence. David Wojick of Electricity Daily pointed out that the statement was not scientific, but merely talked about the science, and that it employed a triple negative that translateds into “uncertainty justifies action.” Another reporter pointed out that the use of double and triple negatives in statements of this sort are usually employed to cover-up widespread disagreement.

Wojick mentioned that in his estimation the current scientific uncertainty justified inaction. One of the panelists, Eric Sundquist of the US Geological Survey, asked Wojick if he had published that statement in a peer reviewed journal. Wojick replied that neither his nor the AGUs statement were scientific and would more properly be published in a journal of philosophy or logic, where degrees of uncertainty are discussed.

Finally, one reporter pointed out that this statement may be used by the Greens, as well as the Clinton Administration, to claim support for their global warming positions. The panelists argued that such claims would not be valid. A statement by Vice President Al Gore, however, stated, “We have an obligation to act responsibly in assessing potential damages, and to protect our economy and national security by investing in efficient energy technologies. As the AGU reinforced today, the risks of climate change are serious, the costs of potential impacts are large, and the time to act to protect our national interests is now.” So far, the AGU has not disabused Gore of this notion. The AGU statement is located at http://earth.agu.org. A critique can be found at www.sepp.org.

Greens Backpedal from Early Credits

Many Green groups are beginning to become disenchanted with the “credits for early action bill.” Aides to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair John Chafee (R-RI) and Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Connie Mack (R-FL) told the groups that the bill would be introduced with few changes. Groups such as Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the US Public Interest Research Group and the Union of Concerned Scientists argue that the bill “lacks adequate provisions to prevent fraud and abuse.” One Senate staffer complained about the attitude of the Green groups, accusing them of “whining” and scolding them for walking away from the process (Greenwire, February 1, 1999).

The Emerging Sun

Global warming research continues to reveal that the sun is playing an increasingly important role. James Hansen has argued, for example, that if aerosols cancel out much of the climate forcing effects of carbon dioxide, then the sun may play a greater role in the small amount of observed warming than previously thought. Recent research, published in the Journal of Climate (December 1998), has found that the sun has exerted a significant influence over the earths climate over the last 400 years.

Using several types of data, Judith Lean of the E.O. Hulburt Center for Space Research and David Rind of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies found that “the correlation of reconstructed solar irradiance and Northern Hemisphere surface temperature anomalies is 0.86 in the pre-industrial period from 1610 to 1800.” For later periods the correlation dropped somewhat, but remains strong. Solar forcing may account for about half of the 0.55 degrees C increase in temperatures since 1900 and about one-third since 1970.

If half of the last centurys warming was caused by the sun, then the other half must be divided up among many other influences, including rebound from the Little Ice Age, urbanization, and other effects. That leaves little room for greenhouse gases argues Patrick Michaels, a climatologist with the University of Virginia. Michaels also points out that during the 1990s, the sun has been brighter than at any other time in the last 400 years. Combined with the El Nio of 1998, it would have been surprising if 1998 wasnt the warmest year on record.

Fewer Droughts, No Change in Floods

One of the most consistent claims by global warming activists is that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide will lead to more severe floods and droughts. This claim was invoked as recently as Clintons State of the Union address, even though government researchers have found otherwise. In an article published in the Geophysical Research Letters (January 15, 1999), Harry Lins and James Slack of the U.S. Geological Survey found that there are fewer droughts but no more floods since the 1940s.

Lins and Slack came to this conclusion by analyzing stream flow trends for “395 climate-sensitive streamgaging stations in the coterminous United States to evaluate differences between low-, medium-, and high-flow regimes during the twentieth century.” What the researchers found was that there is a “distinct upward trend” in the low to middle range of flows. For the highest flows, however, “only four percent of the gages experienced increases, while five percent showed decreases.”

“We can draw three general conclusions form these trends,” Lins said. “First, the nations streams are carrying more water on average. Secondly, the streams are experiencing less severe hydrologic droughts, and thirdly, the streams are not experiencing more floods.” Lins also noted that, “the United States is now less extreme hydrologically than it was earlier in the century.”

The article is at http://water.usgs.gov/public/osw/lins/streamflowtrends.html.

No Evidence of Climate Change in New Hampshire

Long-term, continuous and reliable temperature data sets are hard to come by and those available have become important in the global warming debate. Recently, an analysis of one such data set has been released, and the results are encouraging. Mount Washington in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire has an observatory located at the 4,000 foot summit that was founded in 1932. “The Observatory,” according to the report, “is the only fully-staffed, year-around alpine weather observatory in continental North America.” Observations are taken every three hours and reported to the National Weather Service. Another characteristic that makes this location ideal is that minimal land-use changes have occurred throughout the duration of the Observatorys life.

An analysis of the minimum and maximum temperature data for the period 1939 to 1997 found that there was “little-to-no response to the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases through the 20th century. And there appears to be no obvious compensating cooling effects that may have overwhelmed the warming effects of the increased concentrations of carbon dioxide.”

The report also pointed out that it appears that the daily temperature range seem to have decreased over much of the planet. The diurnal temperature range on Mount Washington fell by 0.42 degrees F over the 60-year period, but was change was not statistically significant. Other stations do nothing to clear up the picture. The Pic du Midi station located in the Pyrenees at 9,387 feet elevation shows a significant reduction in the diurnal temperature range. But high elevation stations in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria fail to show a reduction. The report can be found at www.greeningearthsociety.org/Articles/mtwash.htm.

Record Rainfall Not Due to Global Warming

Britain has just experienced its wettest January ever with more than five inches falling during the month. According to Rob Nichols, spokesman for the Environment Agency, “The main issue is global warming. Part of the result of the world getting warming is that winters are getting wetter and summers are getting drier” (The People, January 31, 1999).

Not so, according to a spokesman at the Meteorological Office. “A front has been snaking its way over the Midlands but recent weather systems over Europe have prevented it moving on as fast as it should have. It is just a natural fluctuation. I am sure the last time it was nearly as wet, back in January 1960, they were not all talking about climate change. Yes, its been very wet, but its not the end of the world as we know it” (Birmingham Evening Mail, January 26, 1999).


  • The Competitive Enterprise Institute has released a monograph, titled Doomsday Dj vu: Ozone Depletions Lessons for Global Warming. Author Ben Lieberman argues that rather than serving as a successful model for the Kyoto Protocol, the Montreal Protocol should serve as a cautionary tale. Its mistakes would be greatly amplified if repeated under the Kyoto Protocol. The study can be obtained from CEIs website at www.cei.org or by contacting CEI at (202) 331-1010.
  • The transcripts from the Cooler Heads science briefings for congressional staff and media and CEIs Costs of Kyoto lectures are available on CEIs website at www.cei.org. Transcripts currently available include, Climate Change: Insights from Oceanography, by Dr. Roger Pocklington; Global Warming: Evidence from the Satellite Record, by Dr. John R. Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer; Global Warming and Vector-Borne Disease: Is Warmer Sicker? by Dr. Paul Reiter; Kyoto & Our Collective Economic Future: Economic & Energy Underpinnings, by Mark P. Mills; Emissions Credits: The Supply and Demand Gap, by Robert Reinstein; and recently released, Hot Times or Hot Air: The Sun in the Science of Global Warming, by Sallie Baliunas.

With Friends Like These…

Rodney Chase, president and deputy chief executive of BP Amoco told the Fabian Society that the newly merged oil giant favors an energy tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but cautioned that it “could do more harm than good if we are not very careful with its design.”

Chase also favors emissions trading, arguing that it could be the most effective and lowest cost means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But he also supported a taxing scheme that would incorporate a “carrot and stick” approach. Companies that meet their obligations, said Chase, could get tax credits while those who do not would face higher taxes (The Daily Telegraph (London), January 14, 1999).

Are the Greens Never Satisfied?

The recent Greater Los Angeles Auto Show featured several concept vehicles that would use a combined gas and electric motor to achieve much greater fuel efficiency on the order of 70 miles per gallon. One would expect so called environmentalists to be very pleased with this development. One would be wrong, however.

The fact that these vehicles use diesel fuel has the greens in an uproar. Jason Marks, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, accused automakers of trying “to prove that dirty diesel can be clean.” Diesel fuel emits nitrogen oxide and soot particle that can cause cancer, according to Marks. One suspects, however, that the greens are more upset with the viability of continued automobile use rather than potential environmental threats (USA Today, January 20, 1999).

Greens Criticize Early Emissions Bill

A bill introduced by Sens. John Chafee (R-RI), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Connie Mack (R-FL) to give early emission credits to companies who voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions has come under fire from environmental groups. Green activists argue that the legislation “contains too many gaping loopholes for polluters.” According to John Passacantando, executive director of Ozone Action, “were all wrestling with what this loose language means, because it is filled with loopholes that could swallow any benefits of early action. There is a growing coalition of environmentalists that finds this bill may possibly be more trouble than its worth.”

The bill, according to Joseph Lieberman, “grows out of principles developed in a dialogue between the Environmental Defense Fund and a number of major industries.” The EDF is currently the only green group to endorse the bill, not surprising since they are presumably the principal authors. Other groups, though careful not to alienate Senate sponsors Chafee and Lieberman, have voiced reservations. Alden Meyer, director of government relations at the Union of Concerned Scientists, likes the idea of inducing companies to participate in early reductions, but would like to see “a much better version of this introduced (in the 106th Congress) as a starting vehicle for debate.”

Jennifer Morgan, climate policy officer at the World Wildlife Fund, “applauds” the actions but “we think we need to build on it,” she says. “I think this bill sets a precedent for the future climate change debate, and its incredibly important that we get it right,” she added.

One of the problems with the bill, according to the greens, is that it allows companies who have reported emission reductions under existing programs to gain emission credits. The greens argue that weak verification systems should preclude the crediting of emissions reductions under these programs (The Energy Daily, January 11, 1999).

Global Warming in State of the Union Address

In his State of the Union address President Bill Clinton claimed that “last years heat waves, floods and storms are but a hint of what the future generations may endure if we do not act now.” The implication here is that the Kyoto Protocol will eliminate heat waves, floods and storms, a dubious proposition at best.

To counteract global warming Clinton proposed a new “clean air fund to help communities reduce greenhouse gases.” By spreading around federal largess, Clinton hopes to accomplish de facto implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and bypass Senate ratification. He expressed support for early credits to companies who reduce emissions in yet another attempt to buy off potential opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.

Small Business Group Opposes Early Credits

Although many big businesses are lobbying hard for passage of the “Credit for Voluntary Early Action Act,” small businesses have seen it for what it is: a boon to big corporate special interests at the expense of small to mid-sized businesses. It is also a blatant push for the illegitimate implementation of the Kyoto Protocol without the constitutionally required Senate ratification.

“Weve all learned to be wary of the words voluntary and temporary when elected officials tout their solutions,” said Karen Kerrigan, President of Small Business Survival Committee. “This credit for early action stuff is as bad as the treaty itself. And the overwhelming share of the business community from small businesses to the very large are united in their opposition to this misguided, costly and ineffective proposal, as well as to backdoor it or early action programs” (PR Newswire, January 7, 1999).

Updated Satellite Data Presented

With the end of 1998, much has been made of the record high temperatures from the last year. In an ironic twist, satellite temperature data, which also showed a temperature spike in 1998, was suddenly cited as credible evidence even though it had been harshly criticized as either flawed or irrelevant in the past. At the recent 10th Symposium on Global Change Studies at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society, Dr. John Christy of the Univeristy of Alabama in Huntsville, Dr. Roy Spencer of NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, and Dr. William Braswell of Nichols Research Corp., discussed the updated version of the satellite temperature data.

Dr. Christy stated that “1998 was particularly interesting. While two previous strong El Nios occurred in the past 20 years, this is the first one that occurs without a simultaneous volcanic eruption.” El Nio events in 1991 and 1983 were both accompanied by volcanic eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo and El Chichon respectively. The eruptions ejected huge amounts of aerosols into the atmosphere which served to dampen the warming effects of El Nio.

“Obviously,” said Christy, “El Nios are part of the natural weather cycle, and shouldnt be discounted. When one looks at long-term trends, however, we shouldnt assign excess importance to individual unusual or extreme short-term events, such as this El Nio or the cooling that followed the eruption of the Pinatubo volcano in 1991.”

Dr. Spencer spoke about the adjusments to the data that were necessitated by findings that were published in Nature. Regarding the study, Spencer pointed out that “when the need for some of the corrections was first noticed, people applied them to the entire dataset. However, this isnt correct, as the data are compiled from nine different satellites, each with its own necessary adjustments.” The data was adjusted to account for orbital decay, diurnal drift, and instrument-body temperature feedback.

Christy addressed another criticism. “The tropical region was the region criticized in the past year as being the region of greatest errors in the MSU (microwave sounding units). However, a direct comparison of the data shows that the agreement (with independent measures taken with balloon-borne instrumentation) is astounding between these different tropical temperature data sets,” Christy said. The 20 year satellite record has shown no warming trend until the major warm El Nio even of 1998 (www.ssl.msfc.nasa.gov).

There were several other interesting papers presented at the AMS meeting. Duane J. Gubler at the US Department of Health and Human Services argued that even though there has been a “dramatic global resurgence of dengue and other vector-borne diseases in the past 20 years” there is little evidence to suggest that it may be a result of global warming. “Most vector-borne diseases exist in complex transmission cycles involving three hosts.” There are many factors which can effect the transmission of vector-borne diseases and it is the complex interaction of all these factors [that] determine transmission.

Abdel R. Maarouf at the University of Toronto discussed temperature-related mortality. In Canada, for example, the number of deaths from the 1995 heat wave “were not significantly different from normal.” Maarouf analyzed long-term mortality statistics and found “a very pronounced seasonal pattern, with the highest rates in winter and the lowest rates in summer. Predictions from global warming computer models suggests that in the event of manmade global warming Canada would experience “much greater warming in winter than in summer, in mid and high latitudes.” Maarouf concludes that “based on temperature variations only, climate change would be associated with a significantly reduced winter mortality, thus offsetting any potential increase in heat-related summer mortality.”

Finally, William Gray at Colorado State University, showed that global atmospheric circulation experiences distinct multi-decadal variations which effect hurricane activity, El Nio events, sea-surface temperatures, global mean temperatures and many other related weather anomalies.

For example, the period from the mid-1940s to late 1960s experienced a different general circulation patterns than the period of 1970-1994. Gray hypothesizes that these differences are due to variations in the strength of the global ocean thermohaline circulation, in particular the Atlantic portion, which fluctuate on 20-50 year time scales, according to ice core data going back thousands of years.

When the circulation is stronger, North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures are warmer than normal and vice versa. Gray predicts that we will see an increase in the frequency of intense hurricanes as a result of warmer sea-surface temperatures due to a stronger thermohaline circulation. Abstracts of these papers can be found at www.ametsoc.org/AMS/meet/meet_79page.html.

Temperature Accuracy too Good to be True?

Newspapers across the United States are reporting that 1998 was the hottest year on record. That may be true (though it may not, as well show below), but what is truly astounding is the degree of accuracy that is being claimed by NASA. According to NASA 1998s global average temperature was 58.496 degrees F, higher than the previous record of 59.154 degrees F recorded in 1995.

The Electricity Daily (January 19, 1999) makes a back of the envelope estimate that it would take about 8 billion temperature sensors, evenly distributed over the globe, to ascertain the global average temperature to within a degree of accuracy. “Especially since temperature can vary 50 degrees in one day, and 100 degrees in a year, in many places,” it says. In reality there are only 7,000 sensors, about one per 30,000 square miles, and most of these sensors are clustered in the U.S. and Europe, leaving much of the globe entirely unmeasured.

Moreover, the temperature record upon which global warming advocates base their claims goes back to 1880 “when most of the globe was scientifically uninhabited.” The coverage in those days was about “one questionable station per million square miles in many cases.” The conclusion, “basically we have no worldwide mean temperature data. Period . . . . We know nothing about global mean temperature. Nothing, nothing, nothing at all.”


The UKs Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, told an audience at the first of a series of nationwide seminars that the Government would place greater emphasis in environmental studies in schools. Designed to promote a climate change consulation paper by the Department of Environment and Transport, Prescott reported, according to the Hull Daily Mail (January 9, 1999), “that parliament had approved a “Childrens Parliament, a body of young people with direct input into parliament, to have their say in the Governments future proposals.” According to the Deputy Prime Minister, “The way to bring the country into line with the rest of Europe is through education. The way to bring adults into line is by getting the children on-side. The power of our young people cannot be underestimated.”


  • The Competitive Enterprise Institute has released a monograph, titled Doomsday Dj vu: Ozone Depletions Lessons for Global Warming. Author Ben Lieberman argues that rather than serving as a successful model for the Kyoto Protocol, the Montreal Protocol should serve as a cautionary tale. Its mistakes would be greatly amplified if repeated under the Kyoto Protocol. The study can be obtained from CEIs website at www.cei.org or by contacting CEI at (202) 331-1010.
  • The transcripts from the Cooler Heads science briefings for congressional staff and media and CEIs Costs of Kyoto lectures are available on CEIs website at www.cei.org. Transcripts currently available include, Climate Change: Insights from Oceanography, by Dr. Roger Pocklington; Global Warming: Evidence from the Satellite Record, by Dr. John R. Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer; Global Warming and Vector-Borne Disease: Is Warmer Sicker? by Dr. Paul Reiter; Kyoto & Our Collective Economic Future: Economic & Energy Underpinnings, by Mark P. Mills; Emissions Credits: The Supply and Demand Gap, by Robert Reinstein; and recently released, Hot Times or Hot Air: The Sun in the Science of Global Warming, by Sallie Baliunas.