December 21, 2007
By S.A. Miller - More than 400 scientists challenge claims by former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations about the threat of man-made global warming, a new Senate minority report says.
The scientists — many of whom are current or former members of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr. Gore for publicizing a climate crisis — cast doubt on the "scientific consensus" that man-made global warming imperils the planet.
"I find the Doomsday picture Al Gore is painting — a six-meter sea level rise, 15 times the IPCC number — entirely without merit," said Dutch atmospheric scientist Hendrik Tennekes, one of the researchers quoted in the report by Republican staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
"I protest vigorously the idea that the climate reacts like a home heating system to a changed setting of the thermostat: just turn the dial, and the desired temperature will soon be reached," Mr. Tennekes said in the report.
Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the report debunks Mr. Gore's claim that the "debate is over."
"The endless claims of a 'consensus' about man-made global warming grow less-and-less credible every day," he said.
After a quick review of the report, Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said 25 or 30 of the scientists may have received funding from Exxon Mobil Corp.
Exxon Mobil spokesman Gantt H. Walton dismissed the accusation, saying the company is concerned about climate-change issues and does not pay scientists to bash global-warming theories.
"Recycling of that kind of discredited conspiracy theory is nothing more than a distraction from the real challenge facing society and the energy industry," he said. "And that challenge is how are we going to provide the energy needed to support economic and social development while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions."
The Republican report comes on the heels of Saturday's United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, where conferees adopted a plan to negotiate a new pact to create verifiable measurements to fight global warming in two years.
In the Senate report, environmental scientist David W. Schnare of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said he was skeptical because "conclusions about the cause of the apparent warming stand on the shoulders of incredibly uncertain data and models. ... As a policy matter, one has to be less willing to take extreme actions when data are highly uncertain."
The hundreds of others in the report — climatologists, oceanographers, geologists, glaciologists, physicists and paleoclimatologists — voice varying degrees of criticism of the popular global-warming theory. Their testimony challenges the idea that the climate-change debate is "settled" and runs counter to the claim that the number of skeptical scientists is dwindling.
The report's authors expect some of the scientists will recant their remarks under intense pressure from the public and from within professional circles to conform to the global-warming theory, a committee staffer said.
Several scientists in the report said many colleagues share their skepticism about man-made climate change but don't speak out publicly for fear of retribution, according to the report.
"Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media," atmospheric scientist Nathan Paldor, professor of Dynamical Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said in the report.
The IPCC has about 2,500 members.
The following are comments from some of the more than 400 scientists in a Republican report on global warming:
•"Even if the concentration of 'greenhouse gases' double, man would not perceive the temperature impact."
Oleg Sorochtin of the Institute of Oceanology at the Russian Academy of Sciences
•"I find the Doomsday picture Al Gore is painting — a six-meter sea level rise, 15 times the [U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] number — entirely without merit. ... I protest vigorously the idea that the climate reacts like a home heating system to a changed setting of the thermostat: just turn the dial, and the desired temperature will soon be reached."
Atmospheric scientist Hendrik Tennekes, former research director at the Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute
•"The hypothesis that solar variability and not human activity is warming the oceans goes a long way to explain the puzzling idea that the Earth's surface may be warming while the atmosphere is not. The [greenhouse-gas] hypothesis does not do this. ... The public is not well served by this constant drumbeat of false alarms fed by computer models manipulated by advocates."
David Wojick, expert reviewer for U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
•"The media is promoting an unprecedented hyping related to global warming. The media and many scientists are ignoring very important facts that point to a natural variation in the climate system as the cause of the recent global warming."
Chief Meteorologist Eugenio Hackbart of the MetSul Meteorologia Weather Center in Sao Leopoldo-Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
•"There's no need to be worried. It's very interesting to study [climate change], but there's no need to be worried."
Anton Uriarte, a professor of physical geography at the University of the Basque Country in Spain
Source: Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee