When Cooling Becomes Warming

The Left desperately attempts to revive global warming alarmism in the midst of one of the coldest winters on record.

Were the stakes not so serious, the continuing efforts of global warming apologists to explain every climate condition using their pet theory would be comical. Unfortunately, and despite the death of cap and trade, the climate change crowd has already been very successful in undercutting the use of cheap, plentiful and economically beneficial fossil fuels in the United States. Even worse, the Obama administration will begin to clamp down even harder on the use of fossil fuels in 2011, in the midst of an economic crisis when America can least afford such largesse. In this context, the claim by global warming alarmists that record cold temperatures and massive snowstorms somehow confirm their beliefs demands refutation.

In an op-ed published in The New York Times on December 25, Dr. Judah Cohen, Director of Seasonal Forecasting for Atmospheric and Environmental Research, patiently told readers why all of the unseasonably cold weather that Europe and North America has been experiencing is further proof that mankind is indeed causing global warming. According to Dr. Cohen, global warming is heating up the atmosphere, which means that the atmosphere can hold more water vapor. This in turn means that there is more water that will return to the earth in the form of snow during the winter, particularly in Siberia. More snow cover in Siberia means that more sunlight is reflected off into space, which in turn cools the planet, affects the jet stream and alters weather patterns to create colder temperatures.

Cohen thus takes the position that water vapor is indeed a very important component of the global climate picture, something that skeptics like myself have been saying for years. That’s a position that runs contrary to assertions made by prominent global warming alarmists like NASA climatologists Dr. Andrew Lacis and Dr. Gavin Schmidt. In fact, Lacis, Schmidt and their colleagues recently published a paper that asserted that water vapor in the atmosphere really doesn’t matter at all – only carbon dioxide counts. This is a rather remarkable claim, given that water vapor is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere dwarfs the amount of carbon dioxide it contains.

Prominent skeptics, like the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s Dr. Roy Spencer, argue that the importance of water vapor is far more significant than that of carbon dioxide and that the global climate system is more or less self correcting. That is, if a small increase in carbon dioxide means that the atmosphere will contain a bit more water vapor, mother nature will deal with the problem by forming more clouds, which help cool the earth. The ultimate issue is about how sensitive the planet is to a slight increase in the concentration of a relatively insignificant greenhouse gas. Alarmists would have us believe that the earth is hyper-sensitive to the slightest change in carbon dioxide concentrations, which pretty much means that we’re doomed whatever we do. Skeptics say that the planet is robust and full of self-correcting mechanisms and that natural cycles are far more important than human activity.

Cohen is trying to play both ends against the middle. In his world, water vapor is causing short term cooling anomalies, but this effect ultimately won’t matter. At some point, he asserts, cooling will turn back to warming and then we’ll be doomed. On the other hand, maverick British meteorologist Piers Corbyn accurately predicted this year’s bone-chilling winter based on solar activity that he says is the most important climate driver of all. While official, government forecasters in the UK, who are completely on-board with IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)-driven global warming hysteria, were predicting a mild, unseasonably warm winter this year. Corbyn said in November that this winter would be a bear and now says that we haven’t yet seen the worst of it.

For Corbyn, global warming theory “is complete nonsense, it’s fiction, it comes from a cult ideology. There’s no science in there, no facts to back [it] up.” That’s the ever-increasing consensus among the unbiased scientific community. Despite the IPCC’s prediction that average global temperatures would continue to rise precipitously, the earth’s climate has remained essentially stable since the mid-nineties. Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s leading global warming alarmists, admitted that fact in one of the e-mails released during last year’s climategate scandal.

The fact is that, despite lofty claims to account for each and every aspect of the earth’s enormously complex climate system, none of the models that organizations like the IPCC and NASA have relied upon to predict global climate disaster have been proven correct by actual data. The fact is there is nothing remarkable or troubling about recent global changes when one considers any sort of historical context. The planet is a bit warmer than it has been in very recent times, a bit cooler than it has been from a slightly broader point of view and much, much warmer than it has been when one looks back across millennia. In geological terms, the recent history of planet earth suggests that "ice ages" are the norm and that we’re living in an unexpectedly bountiful era of relative warmth.

And yet, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, old media outlets like The New York Times continue to push the tired canard that human activities can alter weather patterns around the world. As a result, more than half of the states in America have committed to reducing the use of cheap fossil fuels in order to combat this non-problem, and to thus vastly increase the cost of the energy that is vital to economic recovery. Worse still, and apparently unsatisfied by the massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that the United States has already realized and the further reductions that the majority of the states have committed to, the Obama administration wants even more. Beginning on January 2, 2011, the USEPA will begin demanding further reductions in fossil fuel use by utilizing provisions of the Clean Air Act to force even more draconian cutbacks on the burning of abundant fossil fuels to create energy. It’s a recipe for economic disaster, but nobody in the current administration or within the mainstream media seems to care.