What's New
Speeches & Articles
Newsletter - Sep 2012
Contact Information
Photo Album
Parliamentary Highlights
MEPs' Transparency

The Freedom Association
Visit the
Freedom Association

What will the future bring: warming or cooling?

Wednsday, 18th June 2008

By Hans Labohm

Originally published in Dutch on the website ‘Blind’

The fear of climate change has sometimes been called ‘the mother of all environmental scares’. We are mesmerized by man-made global warming, even to the extent that it borders on hysteria. That’s because we are exposed to an almost daily barrage of warnings from leading public figures about the imminent catastrophe of rising global temperatures. Because politics cannot ignore these concerns, costly measures have been proposed to ‘stabilize’ the climate, which in addition to requiring vast sums of money, will have profound implications for our political, social and economic order, as well as our individual liberty.

First the bad news and then the good. Everybody knows through the media as well as Al Gore's ‘documentary’, ‘An inconvenient truth’, that the rise of worldwide temperatures is accelerating and a climate catastrophe is imminent. Everyone knows that mankind is causing CO2 to accumulate in the atmosphere as a result of burning fossil fuels. Everyone also knows that all scientists agree about the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) hypothesis and that we should take urgent action to prevent a climate disaster. Everyone knows that sea levels are rising rapidly and that low-lying countries like the Netherlands will shortly be inundated. Everyone also knows that millions of plant and animal species are threatened with extinction; in particular the polar bear, which is the poster child of global warming.

Now the good news: none of these statements is true.

Is the earth rapidly warming up? No. Most people do not know that it has been as long as ten years ago that the average world temperature reached its peak. Since then the temperature dropped by about 1.8°F before rising again by about 1°F. From 2001 – 2006 temperatures remained relatively stable. Last year they dropped by 1°F. So, over the last ten years the earth has cooled somewhat. There was no warming … and certainly no alarming warming. It seems as if the climate catastrophe only exists in the virtual reality of climate models. So far, Mother Nature refuses to comply with their outcomes.

While many climatologists believe that world temperature may start increasing again, many astrophysicists expect the opposite, namely the beginning of a new Little Ice Age.

It has been argued that CO2 strongly affects temperature. However, no correlation has been observed between changes in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the atmosphere’s temperature changes. On the other hand it is a well-known fact that a strong correlation exists between solar activity and temperature.

Tens of thousands of scientists are of the opinion that mankind is not to blame for climate change. Everybody acknowledges that the climate is indeed changing. But that is nothing new and will probably continue as long as the earth exists. But it has nothing to do with humanity.

Sea level rises ... with about 7½ inches per century. That has already been going on for centuries. More interesting is the fact that there is no acceleration, which would have been expected if CO2 would play a significant role. As a matter of fact, sea level has declined over the last year, which has not been predicted by any climate model. So the Dutch can be fairly sure that they will keep their feet dry for a long time to come.

It is asserted by some that millions of plant and animal species are disappearing. Although there are models which produce this kind of outcomes, there is no evidence in the real world to support this claim, which is confirmed by a great number of peer-reviewed publications.

In addition, polar bears are doing well. The polar bear population has expanded dramatically during recent decades and may be at an all time high. Whether the seals appreciate this is, of course, debatable. Polar bears like seals as much as we do ... but in a different way.

To get back to Al Gore’s movie: from a technical point of view it certainly is a master piece … but it is a master piece of misleading climate propaganda. The British government has spared few efforts to distribute this movie among high school students. A number of other countries did the same.

Some time ago a British truck driver and member of a school board in Kent, Stewart Dimmock, requested the British High Court to forbid the showing of Al Gore’s movie at high schools. In his view the movie contains political indoctrination. The Judge decided that without appropriate warning the movie could no longer be shown in British schools. The Judge opined that the apocalyptic vision of the movie was in effect political and based on a one-sided interpretation of climate science. The verdict included 9 specific samples of incorrectness. Normally, one would not expect such a level of understanding of climate science from a judge. Therefore, the excellent logical and factual underpinnings of the verdict deserve highest praise. Meanwhile, other authors have found many more errors in Al Gore’s movie.

Nonetheless, Al Gore received the Nobel Prize for peace for a ‘documentary’ which is an exercise in disinformation. It is hard to understand the link between peace and a desire to waste vast amounts of money to solve a non-existent problem.

Many people undoubtedly do not know that the Nobel peace prize is awarded by 5 members of the Norwegian Parliament and not by the Swedish Nobel committee, which deals with prizes for science and literature. The selection process for the latter disciplines is thorough and tough. The Norwegian selection, on the other hand, rather reflects the current political power relationships in the Norwegian Parliament and the standards of ‘political correctness’ at the time. What this basically means is that Al Gore received his prize thanks to a coalition of Christian, social and green democrats.

Jose Manuel Barroso, Chairman of the European Commission, recently presented EU (European Union) plans about how to tackle the climate problem. It was an embarrassing experience.

The EU aims to improve economic growth and employment through the achievement of European climate objectives. Through actions focused on minimizing climate change the EU plans to prove its ability to operate effectively and project worldwide leadership as regards climate policy, according to Barroso. In other words, the fight against climate change has the highest priority in Europe. But is this policy based on rational thinking? I believe not.

The EU has the best paid politicians in Europe. Moreover, it has a staff of outstanding bureaucrats. One might ask whether there aren’t at least some members of this august organisation who are monitoring the evolution of the real climate and the relevant scientific literature in this field. If so, what might they have discovered?

They would have learned that the average world surface temperature during the past 100 years has increased by 1°F and that this increase has had no discernable influence on mankind. During the same period global economic development increased to levels never before seen in history. They would also have found out that the average world surface temperature has stopped rising since 1998 and has been relatively stable since.

Furthermore, they would have learned that in the most recent literature the AGW hypothesis has been falsified (according to the rules formulated by Karl Popper). This hypothesis (because that’s all it is) does not match the facts, observations and measurements. In that case the application of the scientific method requires the abandonment of the hypothesis in question. If one refuses to do so, one enters the field of pseudo science.

Attentive readers would also have discovered that there is one aspect about which both AGW adherents and climate skeptics do agree, namely that a purely European effort to minimize climate change would have no detectable impact on global warming, even if one takes the AGW hypothesis for granted. But would other countries not join such a European effort? As a matter of fact, the results of the Bali climate conference and subsequent international meetings make this outcome completely illusionary.

Finally, astrophysicists have been publishing many articles about their surmise that we may be in for a cooling period rather than the opposite, which temperatures similar to the so-called ‘Dalton Minimum’ (1790 – 1830).

It seems, however, that this information has been ignored by EU bureaucrats, possibly as a result of ‘cognitive dissonance’. Brussels continues to believe that something terrible is going to happen with our climate if we do not take immediate and forceful counter measures.

All this should remind us of King Canute trying to stop the tide from rising. But King Canute knew that he was not able to do so. He just wanted to teach his advisors, who did believe he could, that he was not almighty. Is it conceivable that Barroso will follow Canute’s example?

The man-made global warming hypothesis is contradicted by facts, observations and measurements. We know that over the last several decades the CO2 concentration has been following the temperature rise, rather than preceding it. This observation is completely at odds with the claims of the AGW hypothesis..

This same causality (temperature determines CO2 concentration, not the reverse) had already been determined for a much longer period, 420,000 years, based on the measurements from the Vostok ice cores. AGW adherents and climate skeptics agree on that.

The implications of the foregoing are that all efforts to curb the increase of CO2 will be futile. The AGW hypothesis serves as an alibi for exorbitant expenditures of public funds which will have no detectable impact on worldwide temperatures. It is all pain for no gain. This hypothesis is used as the justification for measures that will harm the economy, undermine our system of free enterprise by imposing high costs and new layers of regulation on it. Moreover, it will encroach upon the civil freedoms of the citizen.

Europe wants to spearhead this effort. If it sticks to its guns, it will have serious and long term consequences for its economy, its competitiveness and its employment opportunities.

AGW adherents, who are in the driver’s seat in the IPCC (the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), possess a quasi-information monopoly. Governments only listen to the IPCC and do not solicit a second opinion, even if it originates from scientists who are attached to the most prestigious scientific institutions in the world. This means that IPCC scientists carry a great responsibility for the economic losses that will accrue to the European economies, merely as a result of their desire to solve a non-existing problem.

It is of the utmost importance that these people stop ignoring research that reveals the anomalies in their AGW paradigm. Governments should insist on having all relevant facts included and evaluated in order to bring this climate hysteria to an end.

Hans Labohm is an independent economist and author. Together with Dick Thoenes and Simon Rozendaal he co-authored: ‘Man-Made Global Warming: Unravelling a Dogma’. He is (critical) expert reviewer of the IPCC.