Nature, not human activity, rules the climate

author: S. Fred Singer, University of Virginia
published: Oct. 9, 2008,   recorded: September 2008,   views: 21232

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The science is settled: Evidence clearly demonstrates that Carbon dioxide contributes insignificantly to Global Warming and is therefore not a 'pollutant.'

This fact has not yet been widely recognized, and irrational Global Warming fears continue to distort energy policies and economic policy. All efforts to curtail CO2 emissions, whether global or at the state level, are pointless -- and in any case, ineffective and very costly.

On the whole, a warmer climate is beneficial.

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Mark Kowal , January 8, 2009 at 7:38 p.m.:

This lecture is complete rubbish. Singer presents a ridiculous mish-mash of poor, unpublished, non-reviewed data, locating himself as a pure denialist of the robust unequivocal consensus. His talk is logically corrupt at every turn, spouting unfounded assertions, and finally pure madness about a global conspiracy... What the heck?

2007 Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists

The 2007 IPCC report, compiled by several hundred climate scientists, has unequivocally concluded that our climate is warming rapidly, and that we are now at least 90% certain that this is mostly due to human activities. The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere now far exceeds the natural range of the past 650,000 years, and it is rising very quickly due to human activity.

If this trend is not halted soon, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction.

The next round of focused negotiations for a new global climate treaty (within the 1992 UNFCCC process) needs to begin in December 2007 and be completed by 2009. The prime goal of this new regime must be to limit global warming to no more than 2ºC above the pre-industrial temperature, a limit that has already been formally adopted by the European Union and a number of other countries.

Based on current scientific understanding, this requires that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 50% below their 1990 levels by the year 2050. In the long run, greenhouse gas concentrations need to be stabilised at a level well below 450 ppm (parts per million; measured in CO2-equivalent concentration). In order to stay below 2ºC, global emissions must peak and decline in the next 10 to 15 years, so there is no time to lose.

As scientists, we urge the negotiators to reach an agreement that takes these targets as a minimum requirement for a fair and effective global climate agreement.


Comment2 david m, January 18, 2009 at 10:38 p.m.:

Mark, I wish you would please be more specific, if, in fact, you know anything about the science other than the consensus of the 'consensus'. Actually, I wonder if you watched the presentation at all. The 'unpublished, non-reviewed data' is mainly copied from the IPCC report.

For other people reading this (my) comment, I should mention that Mark Kowal was the first to comment on this video, and I am the second. It is remarkable that his lecture rating was one star on every count (worth seeing, well presented, understandable, etc.) This shows to me that Mark is irrational and reactionary. It can hardly be said that the lecture was poorly presented, for example, regardless of one's opinion of the content.

Regarding, 'conspiracy', this is off the mark. There are a fair number of people whose general poor opinion of mankind will make them uncritical of such issues as man-made GW. This is a matter of mindset, not conspiracy.

Comment3 Peter Brown, July 8, 2009 at 6:57 a.m.:

I agree with David. Mark's reaction is that of a "true believer" whose fundamental beliefs have been questioned. A bit like the people involved in the Spanish Inquisition. It is not the reaction of a scientist. Science is developed by collection and analysis of facts, formulation of hypotheses, testing of hypotheses against newer observable facts and revising the hypothesis where necessary. It is not developed by voting, consensus, or a majority opinion. If it was, we would all still have to believe that the sun revolved around the earth!

If Mark or anyone else really wants to refute what Fred Singer and tens of thousands (Yes I can support that figure) of other intelligent, reputable scientists are saying, he needs to produce some facts.

He also needs to answer a few fundamental questions such as "Why did temperatures drop from (roughly) 1940 - 1970?" And "Why has temperature been dropping since 1998 or thereabouts?" During both these periods, CO2 levels in the atmosphere were steadily increasing. And in fact "What evidence exists that the increase in net CO2 levels in the atmosphere are a result of human activity?"

There is no scientific value in personal attacks and effectively saying "IPCC said it so it must be correct!" The second to last IPCC report was shown to be wrong with its hockey stick graph - which has since been dropped for the latest IPCC report - and they have given no objective statistical basis for their assessment - quoted by Mark - that they are 90% certain that global warming is a result of human activities.

I can't help thinking that if Mark and the IPCC scientists are correct in their assertion that they have "unequivocally concluded that our climate is warming rapidly", then they need to rapidly explain why the world has been cooling for the last decade. And that in most places I have researched, the hottest temperature on record is earlier in the twentieth century than the coldest temperature on record in that century.

And have you noticed that the IPCC "true believers" have stopped talking about "global warming" and now talk instead about "climate change". You can't go wrong if you simply claim that climate is changing because that is always true. But it is still very hard to establish in any objective scientific manner that any change in climate is a reault of man's activities.

If people consider themselves to be scientists, then they need to begin to get back to scientific method, recognise that assertions are simply hypotheses and welcome other scientists who question these hypotheses and who generate newer hypotheses that are better reflective of all the facts. And they need to also avoid the danger of falling in the trap of confusing of cause and effect as so many have done in the CO2 / temperature rise debate.

Comment4 Ana M.T., September 24, 2009 at 10:54 p.m.:

I started reading Mark's comment and rolled my eyes, but let me just quote this line:

..."The 2007 IPCC report, compiled by several hundred climate scientists, has unequivocally concluded that our climate is warming rapidly, and that we are now at least 90% certain that this is mostly due to human activities."...

The (in)famous IPCC report was NOT compiled by "several hundred climate scientists". Most of them are: A) not climate scientists, B) not scientists at all. So where is science in there if it hasn't been done by scientists? (It serves as a nice screenplay for Al Gore's blockbuster, though!)

And if you take time and go graph by graph in the IPCC report, you'll find inconsistencies, graph captions saying one thing and graph showing the other, etc...

However, the IPCC report may serve as a fun read - gives me a good laugh every time.

Back to the videos...

Comment5 hugoalves, October 27, 2009 at 2:46 p.m.:

I have to say that after seeing all the video I'm not convinced.
I'm not convinced for three major reasons:
1 - I don't know if this was suppose to be a scientific presentation, but if that's the case then it was poorly conducted. The use of negative connotations on the work of fellows scientists never looks good and, at least, in the scientific community, doesn't give any credit.
2 - He usually criticize the way the IPCC arrives to conclusions, but he himself does the same. The only way to predict something that may happen is by using models. These models are not something that is created without very rigorous parameters. Of course, they have to allow for the change of the entry parameters, that's the all point of the model.
3 - The way he finish his talk shows how is vision of the world and the people advocating for a greener world are wrong. The world has suffered for more than 50 years of wars, famine and poverty caused or perpetuated by the use of fossil fuels. Saying that moving to renewable energy will increase poverty is unbelievable. One of the major advantages of renewable energy is that anyone can use the energy at the place they live. That means Africa will have as much energy as Europe or the rest of the world. That's what means to be green...doesn't mean to redistribute income (socialism), but to give the same opportunities to everyone to produce income.

Comment6 Andras, November 29, 2009 at 3:03 a.m.:

It is a telling fact that both the 1st and 5th comments - i.e. the negative lecture comments - are based on gigantic misunderstandings. Comments 2-4 already scrutinized comment 1, so I will just make a response to assertions of Hugo's comment:

1. The presenter has much stronger scientific credentials than most IPCC members. Equating IPCC with a scientific community is a falsification. Besides, I suggest you google up 'scientific method'; it has nothing to do with 'credit' and 'connotations'.

2. Do you understand the difference between a 'predictive model' and a model of atmospheric physics?

3. Have you heard about the concept of 'energy density'? Unless you live on a different planet, you will notice the link between a energy density and economy of an energy source.

Comment7 Anne M. Berg, January 9, 2010 at 10:49 p.m.:

Comments number 1 and 5 could very well come from debunkers. They always come out of the woodwork when truth is exposed. It never fails.

Comment8 Earl Soule, January 11, 2010 at 5:59 a.m.:

Thank you for telling the Truth about the Biggest Scam of the last two centurys by the Government and the scientific comunity.
I have thought this subject has been a big lie every since it was started.
As far as I am concerned, Al Gore wasn't any good as a Vice President, and he sure isn't a scientest who would have the knowledge to know one way or the other which way the enviroment is going period. He's a hipocrite plain and simple in my estimatiion and a pure phoney.
I feel that many of the scientests in this field have sold out to make money from a total government takeover of peoples lives and incomes, taxing the public, and having complete control, mostly control through World Government in the end theme.
This is the biggest scam that I could ever imagine yet. "Global Warming" I believe is as you have proven. and I also think that it will play out in this way in the end.
Thank you for hearing me out on this matter.

Comment9 Bob B., February 27, 2010 at 3:52 p.m.:

The first thing I noticed about Mark's comments is that he refers to the speaker as a "singer". I think maybe Mark was listening to his iPod; maybe smoking a little too much weed thereby leaving him incapable of understanding the speaker's lecture. Wake up you "Red Diaper Doper Babies". Global Warming, Climate Change, whatever these idiots want to call it is a hoax. Al Gore is a dunce!

Comment10 Rob V, December 20, 2010 at 7:41 a.m.:

Great lecture.
This needs to be taught in American universitys.

Comment11 Maxwell, December 21, 2010 at 6:29 a.m.:

This information might be beneficial to those just claiming that global warming is a huge "scam". To scam who? I like how your comments only display anger at some unknown "something". My comment is not driven by emotions but rationality. But ya check out the link, this is such an important issue, and really sucks when you have individuals and organizations distorting the facts. Makes it so unfair to those who are trying to figure out what the hell is going on this world. Creates apathy.

Comment12 Klimatilsynet, January 13, 2012 at 6:56 a.m.:

A great lecture by Fred Singer which should receive a wider distribution. Clear and objective. 5 stars.

Comment13 Ybsel, February 15, 2012 at 4:03 a.m.:

Mark's comment is based on his own feelings.

He clearly is a very sensitive man.

Mark complains that Singer does not refer to science, but every point of this lecture is backed by science.

Just not the science Mark "feels" is right.

Comment14 Chris Taylor, July 16, 2012 at 2:44 a.m.:

This is actually one of Fred Singers better lectures. He come across as quite a charming old guy and seems to be quite sincere in his beliefs. However I fail to understand why he had to go back 8000 years to find a correlation between cosmic rays and temperature. There has been a general correlation more recently, which is why climate scientists went to all the expense of quantify the effect as a forcing. Unfortunately, since 1970 the correlation has completely broken down, and it looks like the CO2 forcing has become the dominant factor. Further, the first results of the CERN experiments are in, and though demonstrate that the formation of small particles in the atmosphere is possible by cosmic rays, those particles are far far too small to form condensation nuclei for cloud droplet formation.

His other gripe about Urban Heat Island Effect is completely unfair. This effect is well known among all climate scientists, and it is compensated for. NOAA, NASA and the CRU all take UHIE into account, and this was proven by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project carried out by the very respected Dr Richard A. Muller.

The part about the atmospheric temperature gradient fingerprint misses out the most important part. The fingerprint for CO2 forced global warming in the atmosphere is that the lower climate will heat up due to the CO2 molecules transferring their kinetic energy to other air molecules in the lower atmosphere, but the process is reversed in the upper atmosphere where the other air molecules transfer their kinetic energy back to the CO2, and the CO2 is able to radiate that energy as heat out into space, thus cooling the upper atmosphere. This is a very specific fingerprint for CO2 induced global warming which cannot be created by solar heating alone. Observations clearly show this warming of the lower atmosphere and cooling at higher altitudes.

I was glad that Mr Singer acknowledged that all climate scientists understand the process of higher temperatures causing the oceans to release CO2 into the atmosphere. I just hope my children, their children and grandchildren won't be around when that tipping point is reached. Unfortunately our paleoclimate record demonstrates that it is inevitable. Lets hope that it's a really slow process.

Chris Taylor

Comment15 Reiner Wilhelms, July 24, 2012 at 1:41 a.m.:

I would want to ask Dr. Singer this: How can the annual CO2 production of by humans' burning of fossil fuels, at more than 9 billion tons per year, be insignificant if this amounts to more than 100 times the annual output of from all volcanic activity? Besides changes in solar output volcanic activity has been cited as the other big factor driving climate. Would you expect that multiplying volcanic CO2 output by a factor of 100 would also be insignificant? Looking at what's known about the carbon cycle, human activity amounts now to 5 percent of CO2 going into the atmosphere, above all other natural sources of CO2: how can this be without any significant effect?

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