"The Arctic will retain its power to amaze for a long time. Yet it is now changing beyond the usual regional and annual variations in sea-ice formation, glacier melt and so forth. The Arctic is clearly melting. Its floating ice cap is shrinking and thinning and its glaciers are retreating. By the end of this century, maybe much sooner, there will be frequent Arctic summers with almost no sea...
Quotes on Climate Change 101
"This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. Entire regional airsheds, crop plant environments, and river basins are heavy with noxious materials. Motor vehicles and home heating plants, municipal dumps and factories continually hurl pollutants into the air we breathe. Each day almost 50,000 tons of unpleasant, and sometimes poisonous, sulfur dioxide are added to the atmosphere, and our automobiles produce almost 300,000 tons of other pollutants."
"The United States is strongly committed to the IPCC process of international cooperation on global climate change. We consider it vital that the community of nations be drawn together in an orderly, disciplined, rational way to review the history of our global environment, to assess the potential for future climate change, and to develop effective programs. The state of the science, the social and economic impacts, and the appropriate strategies all are crucial components to a global resolution. The stakes here are very high; the consequences, very significant."
"So, the United States will continue its efforts to improve our understanding of climate change -- to seek hard data, accurate models, and new ways to improve the science -- and determine how best to meet these tremendous challenges. Where politics and opinion have outpaced the science, we are accelerating our support of the technology to bridge that gap. And we are committed to coming together periodically for international assessments of where we stand. ...
Where developing nations are concerned, I know some argue that we'll have to abandon the free-market principles of prosperous economies. In fact, we think it's all the more crucial in the developing countries to harness incentives of the free enterprise system in the service of the environment. I believe we should make use of what we know. We know that the future of the Earth must not be compromised. We bear a sacred trust in our tenancy here and a covenant with those most precious to us -- our children and theirs. We also understand the efficiency of incentives and that well-informed free markets yield the most creative solutions. We must now apply the wisdom of that system, the power of those forces, in defense of the environment we cherish."
"On Earth Day I made a commitment to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000. And I asked for a blueprint on how to achieve this goal. In concert with all other nations, we simply must halt global warming. It is a threat to our health, to our ecology, and to our economy. I know that the precise magnitude and patterns of climate change cannot be fully predicted. But global warming clearly is a growing, long-term threat with profound consequences. And make no mistake about it, it will take decades to reverse."
"My Cabinet-level working group has met regularly for the last 10 weeks to review the most recent, most accurate, and most comprehensive science. They have heard from scientists offering a wide spectrum of views. They have reviewed the facts, and they have listened to many theories and suppositions. The working group asked the highly respected National Academy of Sciences to provide us the most up-to-date information about what is known and about what is not known on the science of climate change.
First, we know the surface temperature of the Earth is warming. It has risen by .6 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years. There was a warming trend from the 1890s to the 1940s, cooling from the 1940s to the 1970s, and then sharply rising temperatures from the 1970s to today.
There is a natural greenhouse effect that contributes to warming. Greenhouse gases trap heat and thus warm the Earth because they prevent a significant proportion of infrared radiation from escaping into space. Concentration of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have increased substantially since the beginning of the industrial revolution. And the National Academy of Sciences indicates that the increase is due in large part to human activity.
Yet, the Academy's report tells us that we do not know how much effect natural fluctuations in climate may have had on warming. We do not know how much our climate could or will change in the future. We do not know how fast change will occur or even how some of our actions could impact it. For example, our useful efforts to reduce sulfur emissions may have actually increased warming because sulfate particles reflect sunlight, bouncing it back into space. And finally, no one can say with any certainty what constitutes a dangerous level of warming and, therefore, what level must be avoided."
"During the ice ages of the last million years global temperatures varied by about 10-12˚C, and until about 10,000 years ago global temperatures averaged over the ice ages were perhaps 4˚C lower than at the beginning of the 20th century. Global temperatures were higher than at the beginning of the 20th century by about 1.3˚C during the Holocene Maximum, which extended from somewhat over 7,000 years ago to about four thousand years ago. Since then variations are thought to have been within a 2˚C range; i.e., within a degree of the temperature at the beginning of the 20th century.
The most recent variations of significance have been the Medieval warm period from 1000 AD to 1400 AD, which was about 0.6-0.7˚C warmer than the beginning of the twentieth century, and the cooling between 1400 AD and 1900 AD. This cooling period included the Little Ice Age from 1500 AD to 1700 AD when temperatures were 0.6-0.7˚C cooler. From 1700 AD to 1900 AD global temperatures were about 0.3˚C lower than at the beginning of the twentieth century, with a rapid rise after the turn of the century. So since 1000 AD temperatures have varied over a range of about 1.5˚C, and over almost the last 10,000 years they have varied within a range of 2˚C. This can be considered the 'natural' variation over these periods. The reader should note at this point that the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is believed to have been relatively constant before 1770, and has risen steadily since then. Therefore, none of the natural variation before 1770 was due to changes in carbon dioxide concentration."
"Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus."
"... A review of the science suggests that uncertainty is so high as to raise a good prospect that mandatory green house gas reductions will produce little or no environmental benefit."
"Responding to concerns that human activities are increasing concentrations of 'greenhouse gases' (such as carbon dioxide and methane) in the atmosphere, most nations of the world joined together in 1992 to sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The United States was one of the first nations to ratify this treaty. It included a legally non-binding, voluntary pledge that the major industrialized/developed nations would reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000, and that all nations would undertake voluntary actions to measure, report, and limit greenhouse gas emissions.
However, as scientific consensus grew that human activities are having a discernible impact on global climate systems, significantly contributing to a warming of the Earth that could result in major impacts such as sea level rise, changes in weather patterns, and health effects — and as it became apparent that major nations such as the United States and Japan would not meet the voluntary stabilization target by 2000 — parties to the treaty decided in 1995 that it would be necessary to enter into a legally binding, not voluntary, agreement. Negotiations began on a protocol to establish legally binding limitations or reductions in greenhouse gas emissions."
"The global warming debate as presented by the media usually focuses on the increasing mean temperature of the earth, associated extreme weather events and future climate projections of increasing frequency of extreme weather events worldwide. In reality, the climate change issue is considerably more complex than an increase in the earth's mean temperature and in extreme weather events. Several recent studies have questioned many of the projections of climate change made by the IPCC reports and at present there is an emerging dissenting view of the global warming science which is at odds with the IPCC view of the cause and consequence of global warming. Our review suggests that the dissenting view offered by the skeptics or opponents of global warming appears substantially more credible than the supporting view put forth by the proponents of global warming. Further, the projections of future climate change over the next fifty to one hundred years is based on insufficiently verified climate models and are therefore not considered reliable at this point in time."
"Global warming is real and human activity is the main cause. The consequences are mainly negative and headed toward catastrophic, unless we act. However, the good news is that we can meet this challenge. It is not too late, and we have everything we need to get started."
"Global warming may be a ‘crisis,’ even ‘the most pressing environmental problem of our time.’ ... Indeed, it may ultimately affect nearly everyone on the planet in some potentially adverse way, and it may be that governments have done too little to address it. It is not a problem, however, that has escaped the attention of policymakers in the Executive and Legislative Branches of our Government, who continue to consider regulatory, legislative, and treaty-based means of addressing global climate change.
Apparently dissatisfied with the pace of progress on this issue in the elected branches, petitioners have come to the courts claiming broad-ranging injury, and attempting to tie that injury to the Government's alleged failure to comply with a rather narrow statutory provision. I would reject these challenges as nonjusticiable. Such a conclusion involves no judgment on whether global warming exists, what causes it, or the extent of the problem. Nor does it render petitioners without recourse. This Court's standing jurisprudence simply recognizes that redress of grievances of the sort at issue here ‘is the function of Congress and the Chief Executive,’ not the federal courts.”
"Climate is always changing. The global surface temperature is never steady; it's always going up or down. Sea level is either rising or falling. Glaciers are either retreating or advancing."
"Climate cannot be adjusted in a predictable way. The initiatives sought to "control climate" have no dependable outcome, and the initiatives proposed to date would have such tiny impact that we can't even measure their potential impact."
"It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation."
"In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage."
"Moreover, the scientific evidence of how serious this climate crisis is becoming continues to amass week after week after week.
Let me share with you just a few recent examples:
-The Arctic is warming at an unprecedented rate. New research, which draws upon recently declassified data collected by U.S. nuclear submarines traveling under the arctic ice cap for the last 50 years, has given us, for the first time, a three-dimensional view of the ice cap, and researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School have told us that the entire Arctic ice cap may totally disappear in summer in as little as five years if nothing is done to curb emissions of greenhouse gas pollution. For most of the last 3 million years, it has covered an area the size of the lower 48 states. Almost half of the ice has already melted during the last 20 years. The dark ocean, once uncovered, absorbs 90 percent of the solar heat that used to bounce off the highly reflective ice. As a direct consequence, some of the vast amounts of frozen carbon in the permafrost surrounding the Arctic Ocean are beginning to be released as methane as the frozen tundra thaws, threatening a doubling of global warming pollution in the atmosphere."
"Some of the most intriguing new research is in the area of extreme weather events and rainfall. A recent study by German scientists published in Climatic Change projects that extreme precipitation will increase significantly in regions that are already experiencing extreme rainfall. Man-made global warming has already increased the moisture content of the air worldwide, causing bigger downpours. Each additional degree of temperature increase causes another seven percent increase in moisture in the air, and even larger downpours when storm conditions trigger heavy rains and snows."
"Ultimately, fears of manmade global warming, species extinction, and ocean acidification arise from scientists not fully understanding the checks and balances which exist in nature. Nature is not static, but causes its own, internally-generated changes – both in climate and in biological systems. The common view that nature is in some sort of 'delicate' balance is a romantic or religious opinion, and it is a view even held by most scientists. But balances in nature are always readjusting, either to internal forces or external forces. Nature is dynamic, not static. Just because a state of balance might be observed at any point in history does not mean that balance is in any way 'delicate'."
"Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre. There is general support for the assertion that GATA [globally averaged temperature anomaly] has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the middle of the 19th century. The quality of the data is poor, though, and because the changes are small, it is easy to nudge such data a few tenths of a degree in any direction. Several of the emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have caused such a public ruckus dealt with how to do this so as to maximize apparent changes.
The general support for warming is based not so much on the quality of the data, but rather on the fact that there was a little ice age from about the 15th to the 19th century. Thus it is not surprising that temperatures should increase as we emerged from this episode. At the same time that we were emerging from the little ice age, the industrial era began, and this was accompanied by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. CO2 is the most prominent of these, and it is again generally accepted that it has increased by about 30%."
"The defining characteristic of a greenhouse gas is that it is relatively transparent to visible light from the sun but can absorb portions of thermal radiation. In general, the earth balances the incoming solar radiation by emitting thermal radiation, and the presence of greenhouse substances inhibits cooling by thermal radiation and leads to some warming.
That said, the main greenhouse substances in the earth's atmosphere are water vapor and high clouds. Let's refer to these as major greenhouse substances to distinguish them from the anthropogenic minor substances. Even a doubling of CO2 would only upset the original balance between incoming and outgoing radiation by about 2%. This is essentially what is called 'climate forcing.'
There is general agreement on the above findings. At this point there is no basis for alarm regardless of whether any relation between the observed warming and the observed increase in minor greenhouse gases can be established. Nevertheless, the most publicized claims of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deal exactly with whether any relation can be discerned. The failure of the attempts to link the two over the past 20 years bespeaks the weakness of any case for concern."
"The main statement publicized after the last IPCC Scientific Assessment two years ago was that it was likely that most of the warming since 1957 (a point of anomalous cold) was due to man. This claim was based on the weak argument that the current models used by the IPCC couldn't reproduce the warming from about 1978 to 1998 without some forcing, and that the only forcing that they could think of was man. Even this argument assumes that these models adequately deal with natural internal variability—that is, such naturally occurring cycles as El Nino, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, etc.
Yet articles from major modeling centers acknowledged that the failure of these models to anticipate the absence of warming for the past dozen years was due to the failure of these models to account for this natural internal variability. Thus even the basis for the weak IPCC argument for anthropogenic climate change was shown to be false."
"Now, as the world's largest economy and as the world's second largest emitter, America bears our responsibility to address climate change, and we intend to meet that responsibility. That's why we've renewed our leadership within international climate change negotiations. That's why we've worked with other nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. That's why we've taken bold action at home by making historic investments in renewable energy, by putting our people to work increasing efficiency in our homes and buildings, and by pursuing comprehensive legislation to transform to a clean energy economy.
These mitigation actions are ambitious, and we are taking them not simply to meet global responsibilities. We are convinced, as some of you may be convinced, that changing the way we produce and use energy is essential to America's economic future, that it will create millions of new jobs, power new industries, keep us competitive, and spark new innovation. We're convinced, for our own self-interest, that the way we use energy, changing it to a more efficient fashion, is essential to our national security, because it helps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and helps us deal with some of the dangers posed by climate change."
"I was very surprised when I first saw the celebrated 'hockey stick curve,' in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC. Both the little ice age and the medieval warm period were gone, and the newly revised temperature of the world since the year 1000 had suddenly become absolutely flat until the last hundred years when it shot up like the blade on a hockey stick. This was far from an obscure detail, and the hockey stick was trumpeted around the world as evidence that the end was near. We now know that the hockey stick has nothing to do with reality but was the result of incorrect handling of proxy temperature records and incorrect statistical analysis. There really was a little ice age and there really was a medieval warm period that was as warm or warmer than today. I bring up the hockey stick as a particularly clear example that the IPCC summaries for policy makers are not dispassionate statements of the facts of climate change. It is a shame, because many of the IPCC chapters are quite good."
"Climate assessments like the IPCC have to date been written through a process in which IPCC-selected authors are given significant authority over the text, including judging their own work against work of their critics. This has led to biased information in the assessments and thus raises questions about a catastrophic view of climate change because the full range of evidence is not represented. Three examples follow.
1.A. Regarding the Hockey Stick of IPCC 2001 evidence now indicates, in my view, that an IPCC Lead Author working with a small cohort of scientists, misrepresented the temperature record of the past 1000 years by (a) promoting his own result as the best estimate, (b) neglecting studies that contradicted his, and (c) amputating another’s result so as to eliminate conflicting data and limit any serious attempt to expose the real uncertainties of these data.
1.B. In the IPCC 2007 report, Dr. Ross McKitrick presented evidence that indicated warming processes other than greenhouse gas warming affected the popular surface temperature data sets. The IPCC authors were themselves producers of these data sets, yet as 'final-say' authors they sat in judgment over this controversy, eventually denying McKitrick’s evidence with what turned out be (apparently) their own fabricated claim.
1.C. The EPA Finding misrepresented key evidence on the evaluation of climate models against real data. In IPCC-like fashion, the EPA gave authority to its hand-picked author team to respond to evidence which contradicted the Finding with assertions that were not based on reliable data or methods. The evidence shows the EPA overstated the agreement between models and observations when in fact there was disagreement."
"The global warming alarm is based on a chain of three linked elements, each depending on the preceding element and each element highly complex due to the number of variables and the types of relationships. It is much like a three-legged stool. Each leg involves much uncertainty.... The alarm requires:
1. a substantive long-term rise in global mean temperatures in the absence of regulations,
2. serious net harmful effects due to global warming, and
3. cost-effective regulations that would produce net beneficial effects versus alternatives such as doing nothing.
Effective policy-making requires scientific forecasts for all three elements. Without proper forecasts, there can be no sound basis for making policy decisions. Surprisingly, then, despite repeated appeals to global warming alarmists, we have been unable to find scientific forecasts for any of the three elements."
"The claim by alarmists that nearly all scientists agree with the dangerous manmade global warming forecasts is not a scientific way to validate forecasts. In addition, the alarmists are either misrepresenting the facts or they are unaware of the literature. International surveys of climate scientists from 27 countries, obtained by Bray and von Storch in 1996 and 2003, summarized by Bast and Taylor (2007), found that many scientists were skeptical about the predictive validity of climate models. Of more than 1,060 respondents, 35% agreed with the statement 'Climate models can accurately predict future climates,' while 47% percent disagreed."
"Global warming alarmists have used improper procedures and, most importantly, have violated the general scientific principles of objectivity and full disclosure. They also fail to correct errors or to cite relevant literature that reaches conclusion[s] that are unfavorable. They also have been deleting information from Wikipedia that is unfavorable to the alarmists’ viewpoint ... (e.g., my entry has been frequently revised by them). These departures from the scientific method are apparently intentional. Some alarmists claim that there is no need for them to follow scientific principles. For example, the late Stanford University biology professor Stephen Schneider said, 'each of us has to decide what is the right balance between being effective and being honest.' He also said 'we have to offer up scary scenarios'.... Interestingly, Schneider had been a leader in the 1970s movement to get the government to take action to prevent global cooling. ClimateGate also documented many violations of objectivity and full disclosure committed by some of the climate experts that were in one way or another associated with the IPCC.
The alarmists’ lack of interest in scientific forecasting procedures ... and the evidence from opinion polls ... have led us to conclude that global warming is a political movement in the U.S. and elsewhere.... It is a product of advocacy, rather than of the scientific testing of multiple hypotheses."
"The magnitude of the surface temperature response of the climate system to an imposed radiative energy imbalance remains just as uncertain today as it was decades ago .... Over 20 coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models tracked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produce a wide range of warming estimates in response to the infrared radiative forcing theoretically expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions ....
From a modeling standpoint, this lack of progress is evidence of the complexity of the myriad atmospheric processes that combine to determine the sign and magnitude of feedbacks. It is also due to our inability to quantify feedbacks in the real climate system, a contentious issue with a wide range of published feedback diagnoses ... and disagreements over the ability of existing methods to diagnose feedback ...."
"Climate change is not simply a matter of slowly rising temperatures and seas; it affects all aspects of our way of life: extreme weather costs billions of dollars in property damage, insurance premiums, health and welfare spending, and lost productivity. Climate-related disasters—be they short and sudden, like cyclones, or long term and chronic, like drought—can set in motion a cascade of problems: loss of lives and livelihoods, environmental deterioration, strain on family relations and finances, emotional fallout, and the movement of large groups of people.
Increasingly recognised and reported is the mental health dimension of disaster. In recent years, a body of evidence has emerged showing just how insidious, pervasive, deep and—for some people and communities—profoundly dangerous the mental health impacts of climate change-related disasters can be."
"Little more than a year ago, President Obama hailed Solyndra during a tour of the company, saying the company expected to hire 1,000 workers and make enough panels over the lifetime of its planned expanded facility that it would be like replacing eight coal-fired power plants. ...
Instead, Solyndra, which was launched in 2005, last week shed more than 900 full-time employees, leaving just a 'core group' of 113 employees, according to bankruptcy records filed Tuesday."
“The concern that polar bears will decline if the climate continues to warm is valid. However, the assertion that polar bears will become extinct unless immediate measures are taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions is irrational because it is inconsistent with the long-term persistence of polar bears through previous periods of warming and cooling; and because the IPCC climate model predictions 50 and 100 years into the future do not suggest a future with insufficient sea ice to support polar coordinated research and management programs developed and implemented under the International Agreement for the Conservation of Polar Bears and their Habitat.... During the last 30 years, it is generally agreed that polar bear numbers have increased as a response to improved conservation measures (harvest controls). Climate warming has occurred continuously during that period and consequent reductions in sea ice have been to the detriment of polar bear populations in at least two areas.... However, the assertion that polar bears as a species are in imminent danger of extinction or even threatened with extinction in the foreseeable future is both unproven and unlikely.”
"For many critical climate-sensitive sectors and indicators, matters have actually improved, especially during the last half century. ... Global agricultural productivity has never been greater, for instance.
An acre of cropland sustains about twice as many people today as it did in 1900, and it sustains them better. Based on nutrition and affordability of food, people have never been fed better or more cheaply. Between 1961 and 2001, global food supplies per person increased 24 percent, although global population almost doubled."
"Consider sea level rise. Mean sea level is rising at a rate of about 0.1 to 0.2 mm per year. ... While it is not known what fraction, if any, might be due to any human-caused warming, the IPCC’s Science Assessment notes that there was no detectable acceleration of sea level rise during the 20th century. ... Suffice it to say, so far, any accelerated sea level rise due to man-made warming is unlikely to have caused anything other than a minor impact on human or natural systems compared to other environmental stresses (such as development of coastlines, conversion of lands for aquaculture, drainage for other human land uses, sediment diversion due to dam construction, construction of seawalls, and subsidence owing to water, oil and gas extraction)."
"Agricultural demand for water – probably the largest threat to freshwater species – continues to increase. ... Meanwhile, threats to terrestrial biodiversity – primarily the conversion of habitat to agricultural uses ... – have not diminished. Forested area declined by 124 million hectares (306 million acres) in tropical and subtropical nations between 1990 and 2000. ... This decline, which occurred largely because increases in food demand outstripped increases in agricultural yields in those nations, is unrelated to global warming. During the same period, forest cover in the rest of the world (mainly wealthy nations) expanded by 28 million hectares (69 million acres) primarily because technology-based, high yield agriculture has reduced the demand for cropland in those countries."
"[James Lovelock] claimed in 2006 that 'before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.'
But he has told MSNBC that he overstated the case and now acknowledges that 'we don't know what the climate is doing.'
'We thought we knew 20 years ago,' he said. 'That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened.'
The 92-year-old Lovelock notes that 'the climate is doing its usual tricks' and concedes 'there's nothing much really happening yet' even though 'we were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now.'
Lovelock hasn't fully changed course yet. MSNBC says he still believes climate change is occurring, though not as rapidly as he once thought.
'The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time,' he said. Yet the temperature 'has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.'"