A summary of the IPCC's Third Assessment Report, which has been released, paints a bleak picture about the potential effects of man-made greenhouse gas emissions on the earth's temperature, says the CEI. But Paul Georgia, the institute’s environmental policy analyst, says if recent studies are correct, then catastrophic global warming is not developing and there would be little justification for policies aimed at reversing it.
“The science has already moved ahead of the IPCC's findings. Instead of really looking at the science, the bureaucrats driving the global warming process are using the IPCC to justify their anti-energy policies,” Georgia said.
“The Third Assessment Report will be the focal point for policymakers for the next five years, just as the Second Report has been for the past five. So it’s critical that it be as accurate as possible, and this one clearly is not going to be when it’s published later this year.”
One of the theories questioned is the “positive water vapor feedback” effect — that a small amount of warming from man-made greenhouse gas emissions will speed up evaporation, increasing the amount of water vapor, a major greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere. A recent study in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society suggests the reverse is true and there would actually be a cooling effect on the planet.
Aerosol emissions from burning coal are also a key component of catastrophic global warming theories, the CEI says. A new study in Nature, however, examines how black carbon aerosols affect the earth’s climate and finds that soot actually offsets the cooling effects of other aerosols, bringing things back to square one.
The “hockey stick graph” in recent global warming claims is refuted by a study in Science, says the institute. The graph indicates that current temperatures are higher than at any other time in the last 1,000 years. But the study's author says that this erroneously eliminates the Medieval Warm Period that spanned much of the first half of the last millennium, when global temperatures were higher than they are now.
The final study that contradicts the IPCC's findings appears in Geophysical Research Letters and maintains that the sea surface temperatures used in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's global temperature data are inaccurate, showing more warming than has actually occurred.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a non-profit public policy group dedicated to free enterprise and limited government. For more information, contact 202-331-1010; www.cei.org (website).
Publication date: 06/18/2001