Beware of Global Cooling
by Fred L. Oliver
Dallas, Texas, USA
February 1, 2001
Dallas, Texas, USA
February 1, 2001
This is an attempt to put the current (scientific) studies of ongoing Global Climate Change in perspective for my grandchildren and the average American and for the Congress, politicians, environmentalists, journalists and current administration officials.
The UN-IPCC, with a great deal of support from a sector of political environmentalists, have predicted with the assistance of computer mathematical simulation, that there may be an excessive amount of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by the use of fossil fuels for energy, which may cause future catastrophic warming due to the Greenhouse Effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. They have used Global Circulation Models (GCM) in high capacity computers in an attempt to prove their point, and have proposed the withdrawal and reduction of CO2 from the atmosphere as a worldwide solution to this possible problem. There is serious scientific question if significant global warming by man-made CO2 influx is a scientific fact and if their very costly proposed solutions will work.
Over the past four years, I have attempted to become an informed layman on the subject of "Potential World Climate Change" -- I am neither a meteorologist, climatologist, nor an astrophysicist. I am a practicing professional petroleum geologist and engineer. I had some meteorology during my WWII service as a Navy pilot. I have a B.S. degree in Geology and a B.S. in Physics from UT Austin, Texas, and a lot of hours in college math which I now seldom use – but it was great academic training. Having estimated oil and gas reserves and the related economics and the risks involved with O&G exploration and production for about 50 years, has given me exposure to computer modeling and computer mathematical simulation studies for both oil and gas reservoirs. My studies of Global Climate Change as a layman over the past four years have led to the preparation of this article.
The prediction for any additional future Global Warming is not based on scientific fact! The conclusion of this presentation is that the proposed spending of trillions of dollars by the U.N. and its member nations to try to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in order to attempt to impede global warming is not justified – and would not be successful in this objective. There are better ways to improve the environment – which needs to be done – and also to provide a livelihood for the growing world population.
Why should all of this concern each of us as individuals? Why not just leave it up to the United Nations, your government and the science, politics and legal ramifications that may become involved? The answer is, because each of us will be taking a very substantial risk with the freedoms and economic well being of our children, grandchildren and future generations who will suffer extreme hardships if the problem of perceived global temperature change (warming) and world pollution are not scientifically addressed effectively and efficiently in the near future. The development of an effective U.S. Energy Policy is also required.
What you have seen, heard on nearly all TV programs, and read in most magazines and newspapers, or had presented by politicians such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore and by U.N. representatives, is that it is a foregone conclusion that Global Warming is upon us, and is being caused by excess anthropogenic (human) CO2 influx into the atmosphere, which in turn is caused by the excessive use of fossil fuels for the world’s energy requirements. There was a general statement in the 1995 UN-IPCC report that "there is a discernible human influence on the climate," and that some 2700 "scientists," representing the UN-IPCC, have reached a general consensus on that fact. Subsequent to that, a petition in Oregon was signed by more than 17,000 atmospheric scientists, questioning those findings and conclusions. There has been so much propaganda spread about the perceived fact of Global Warming that many people, organizations and various entities and school children accept the perceived warming as scientific fact. It is not! Today’s temperatures are not much different from those of the year 1940. There are multiple causes of any Global Climate Change during the past 10,000 years period of warmth and during geologic time.
The bases for many of these publicized expectations are taken from conclusions reached from computer mathematical simulation of the world climate and estimations of future warming with what are called Global Circulation Models or GCMs. Apparently, these studies have not been based on a concerted attempt or success in scientifically matching actual past climatic history in order to be able to use that data to predict future climate changes based on such actual past performance of the climate. When that is done, there may begin to be some validity to the model studies for such use. Vast sums of money have been and are being spent on those models and other studies by the U.S. government and representatives of hundreds of nations and various public, political, private, scientific and quasi-scientific organizations. The journalists have taken this GCM calculated information at face value and report it daily to the general public as "scientific fact." It is not! A "consensus" does not provide any proof of scientific theory, concept, or fact. More information and study are needed.
Greenhouse Effect -- The retention of warmth on earth from the radiation of the sun, as a result of the insulation effect of the Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) – A tiny fraction of the atmosphere (about 2%) which helps to reflect solar radiated heat and trap it on the surface and in the atmosphere of the earth. (Water vapor is a GHG and acts as the major greenhouse gas.)
Global Climate Model (GCM) -- a computer mathematical simulation of the earth and its climate and atmospheric circulation. GCM sometimes means Global Circulation Model.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) -- a major common chemical component on earth. It is not a pollutant. It is one of the major required constituents for life on earth and is very beneficial to such life. It is nature’s best and major natural fertilizer along with atmospheric nitrogen. It is held or sequestered in trees and all forms of plant and animal life, rocks, soils, and fossil fuels and the oceans. The beginning toxicity level of CO2 for the human body is thought to be above 5000 ppm of CO2 or about 10 times the current level. Commercial greenhouse operators set their CO2 levels at about 1,000 ppm in their growing areas to encourage rapid plant growth and it is not toxic to greenhouse workers at that level.
It is acknowledged, our use of fossil fuels for the generation of all forms of required energy has resulted in the growth of CO2 in the atmosphere and also provides plants with increasing amounts of CO2 , which they need and utilize for accelerated growth. Vegetation, plants, trees and farm lands require and use CO2 like humans use oxygen. Carbon and oxygen are the basis for all life on earth as we know it. CO2 and oxygen have been and are being cycled or recycled at all times throughout the geologic history of the earth. The current increased CO2 in the atmosphere is beneficial to farming and ranching and all natural growth.
Weather -- We all know the weather is what we have now or will have next week. It is in constant change because of atmospheric circulation on any useful time scale. It can sometimes be determined accurately by meteorologists with computer simulation assistance for a week or two.
Climate -- Climate is the averaging of catastrophic weather events in with normal weather over a period of years, i.e., volcanoes, El Niño, La Niña, ice ages, floods, drought, etc. Climate is an average of the weather over a 25-30 year period of time or longer. Climate has never been stabilized or "in balance" over the 5 billion years of the earth’s existence. There is no indication it has stabilized or is in balance in current short term human times. Evidence indicates the weather and climate have gotten milder over the past 12,000 years as the earth has warmed gradually since the latest major ice age.
Is there a threat of Climate Change?
A. Of course. It always changes in much the same way weather changes – just over a longer period of time.
Is there something we can do to prevent Climate Change?
A. Probably not. But we can and should prepare for it, and the environment can be improved even if humans cannot control the climate.
The scientific understanding of current climate systems is incomplete. Surprises will occur. There is a great amount of ongoing scientific effort to establish the past in order to attempt to predict the future.
Will sea level change?
A. Of course. We just do not know how much and in what direction. For example, if the earth were to get warmer, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere would increase. If that increased moisture reaches the Arctic and Antarctic , there could be large increases in precipitation in the form of ice and snow because the temperatures will still be below freezing most of each year, and glaciers would increase in size and volume. As a result, another ice age could be started and sea levels would be lowered. Changes in sea level also result from geologic changes: volcanism, downwarping of the earth’s crust in the oceans and uplifts on land, erosion of soils from the lands and deposition in the ocean.
The Planet Earth
The planet earth is about 5 billion years old. It has had some type of atmosphere and related "global warmth" almost from inception. If its early life was similar to Venus, as predicted, the early temperatures may have been in the range of 1,200° C or greater and the atmospheric pressure in the range of 500 bars or greater. By age 1.6 Ga (billion years ago), studies indicate the temperature had declined to 850° C with atmospheric pressure at 446 bars: with the mass of CO2 perhaps exceeding 164 bars or causing about 30% of that early barometric pressure. The current atmospheric pressure of CO2 is only .0005 bars of the total 1 bar for the mass from all current atmospheric gases.
Yes, there has been climate change, as there has been at all times over the past 5 billion years of the existence of Planet Earth. Climate or weather has never been stable during the entire history of the earth. It is foolhardy to presume it will become or can be made stable in the future. It is substantially less violent now than it was earlier, during the major early changes in the climate of our planet when the initial atmospheric temperatures reached perhaps 1,200°F or more and the barometric pressures were in the range of 500 bars or 7,500 psia instead of the current 14.65 psia. Many major climate changes resulted in overall global cooling over a long period of time which took place during the first 3 billion years before there was any appreciable life on the planet.
The amount of CO2 sequestered in the ocean is more than 50 times the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Known CO2 in carbonate rocks would represent more than 64 bars of the early atmospheric pressures. The oceans absorb and hold the greatest volume of CO2 when the water is coldest. As the oceans warm up, for any reason, CO2 is released into the atmosphere.
Of course there has been a discernible anthropogenic effect on the climate. There are now 6 billion of us on earth. During human history, we have constructed, built, manufactured, suburbanized, and industrialized with major transportation, communication, ranching, farming, cleared forests, paved, burned and polluted. We just don’t know how much has changed as a result of human efforts and the amount of the related changes: either hotter or colder or what effect this will have or can have on future climate. More work and data are needed before there is an opportunity to arrive at realistic projections and possible solutions if it is scientifically decided the climate is subject to any type of human control.
In Miocene times, about 15 million years ago, the evidence indicates the climate was about 10°F warmer than it is today. The CO2 concentration was significantly less than it is today, counter to most current GCM studies and IPCC assumptions. As a result, Miocene warmth must have resulted from mechanisms other than any excess CO2 in the atmosphere.
After Miocene, during the Pleistocene Age, the evidence indicates CO2 increased and was accompanied by global cooling. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet began to expand during this geologic time, also counter to most current published IPCC assumptions. Incidentally, it appears the East Antarctic Ice Sheet was present when the average of the earth’s temperature was 10°F warmer than it is today. There must have been some other controlling factors that have not been accounted for in today’s U.N. climate studies and computer models.
During the Cretaceous and Jurassic geologic periods (about 100 million years ago), CO2 levels were as much as 5 times greater than the current levels. The earth was warm and the dinosaurs flourished on the rich vegetation. The source of fossil fuels were produced in an abundance from vegetation growth during those geologic periods. Large volumes of limestone, reefs and carbonate rocks were also produced and deposited during that time, which sequestered vast amounts of CO2 that are still in storage.
This present interglacial period is now about 11,000 years old and this recent temperature record nearly matches the determined temperatures from the Pleistocene interglacial (warming) period almost 100,000 years ago. An Ice Age began developing right after that time. We are near the end of the Holocene and another period of cooling is expected to begin if the repetitive geologic history and climate record during the past 2 million years means anything. If CO2 warming were to occur as a result of excess man-made CO2 in the atmosphere, it would still provide some benefit by improving agriculture and helping to postpone the expected onset of the next Ice Age. A cold climate reduces agricultural output and decreases human livelihood and reduces the areas of the earth that can be inhabited by large populations. CO2 is normally reabsorbed by colder oceans, further reducing agricultural output.
The atmospheric gases provide an insulating blanket around the world. For all practical purposes, the atmosphere is now about 100,000’ thick or 20 miles in height. It traps some of the radiative heat received from the sun and about 30% of the sun’s heat energy is reflected back into space and lost. In some form, there has been "global warmth" created and retained by the earth from the remaining 70% of daily radiative heat trapped in the atmosphere, providing warmth on the land and oceans and an adequate temperature for life on the earth. Today if that "global warmth" from greenhouse gases as an insulating blanket were not present, the average temperature would be about -18° C -- well below freezing. Life on earth as we know it requires that insulating blanket and the resultant global warmth. Today, the average earth temperature is about +15°C or 60°F.
Incidentally, during the latest Ice Age the average temperature about 25,000 years ago was indicated to be 5°C or nearly 10°F lower than it is now. Apparently, during the most recent 600 million years of earth’s geologic history, there are millions of years in geologic time when the temperature was 10°F or more greater than it is now.
Chemical Composition of the Atmosphere
The atmosphere composition is as follows:
H2O (Water Vapor)
Argon & All Other Trace Gases
Total all gases
The variable presence of water vapor slightly changes the percentage of other atmospheric chemical components and barometric pressure. Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon provide very little reflectivity of the radiative heat from the sun or earth radiation and therefore do not represent "Greenhouse Gases" or GHG. Water Vapor, Carbon Dioxide, Methane and a number of fluorocarbons, aerosols and other reflective trace gases normally represent less than 2% of the total atmosphere. Water Vapor, which is variable with indeterminate measurements and effect on the temperature as clouds and rain, needs substantial additional scientific study: Water vapor represents more than 80% of the greenhouse gases by volume and its reflectively is perhaps 50 times more effective than the insulation warmth caused by CO2. CO2 is approximately 360 to 400 parts per million (ppm) or 0.04% of the atmosphere. If water vapor were to average 2% of the atmosphere, that is 50 times greater than the CO2 reflectivity.
Water vapor, and related clouds and precipitation (rain or snow), is the major greenhouse gas and perhaps the most variable and least understood or most difficult to measure and average from a scientific measurement standpoint. No one has suggested any attempt to reduce the water vapor in the air, in order to reduce any amount of global warming because it would have very detrimental results to our climate. Atmospheric water vapor needs more study and measurement to determine its actual effect on world climate and agriculture. Then it needs to be included in the model studies as the major world insulator from all greenhouse gases, providing the most global warmth (less the cooling represented by clouds, rain, ice and snow).
The first 100,000 feet above the earth contains about 99% of the mass of the atmosphere. The atmosphere can be divided into 3 temperature layers:
Mesophere (50-80km) from 164,000’ to 262,000’
Stratosphere (14-50km) from 46,000’ to 164,000’
Troposphere (0-14km) from 0’ to 46,000’
The Troposphere up to about 50,000’ contains about 90% of all atmosphere, and is the zone where all weather (climate) changes take place; it is warm at the surface and cold at 50,000’ where the tropopause zone begins to have increasing temperatures with altitude.
In the thermosphere (above 80km), the temperature increases and becomes greater than the temperature on the earth. This altitude is the location for travel by most satellites around the world.
An average of only 2% of the atmosphere (including water vapor) is composed of greenhouse gases. Over 90% of that 2% of GHG emissions are from natural causes (not man made); less than 5% of the 2% are man made GHG. Of that remaining 1/10 of 1%, CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels account for only a small portion of the .04% of CO2 in the total atmosphere. The CO2 derived from such human energy use cannot be reduced to near zero until there is a viable, reliable, major new source of energy that does not produce CO2 . Human life on earth cannot be maintained with the current population without the use of electrical power and other energy from fossil fuels.
CO2 remains a miniscule amount of GHG trace gases and should not be expected to provide a major effect on Global Climate change from major reductions in the minor amount of extracted man made atmospheric CO2. Changes in Water Vapor, variation of solar output, changes in the earth’s tilt, rotation, the location and magnitude of the jet stream, and the variable travel of the earth in an ellipse around the sun , all have much greater continuing effect on changes in the climate. Life on earth will be benefited if water vapor and related air circulation are increased in the atmosphere by additional global warmth.
The world may have been warmed by about 1°F over the past 100 years – 70% of it prior to 1940 (prior to a substantial increase in atmospheric CO2). An additional warming of 1°C (1.5°F) can be estimated or projected for the earth during the 21st century if the factors effecting Global Climate are constant and remain unchanged (stable). They will not. Increased CO2 results in increased vegetation with a resultant decrease in the plant demand for water. Such a change is highly beneficial to farming and ranching and forest growth. The availability of additional atmospheric CO2 would provide more food and sustenance for our increasing world population. The current enrichment of CO2 in the atmosphere will improve the animal and plant life on the earth.
Climate in the Balance, Related Economics and World Population
There has never been any balance or stabilization of the climate or atmosphere in geologic time. In many quarters, the concept of Global Warming as a result of increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is accepted as fact! There is and has been serious question among qualified scientists as to whether there is any such fact as the result of human activity, and if so, what can and should be done about it.
Al Gore’s book "Earth in the Balance" could just as well be named "The Road to World Socialism." It is not believed the citizens of the U.S. desire this political change or the cost involved without some assurance of environmental improvement. The current environmental political position of many environmentalists appears to be a shrewd planned campaign to inflict socialistic control over the U.S. and most of the world in the name of stabilizing the World Climate by reducing the use of fossil fuels (energy).
Of course, the "political environmentalists" would vote favorably for the Kyoto Protocol in the U.N. The Gore book suggests that we get rid of the combustion engine to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, and that we stop polluting the air by burning coal for the generation of electricity. However, the book did not provide any real substitute for the engine nor the increasing demands for power from fossil fuels that would need to be replaced by a major amount of some form of unknown nonpolluting energy.
A major, comprehensive U.S. Energy Policy is required to solve the problems involved with population growth and future energy requirements as well as the reduction of world pollution. A small reduction in the total amount of human-caused atmospheric CO2 will not accomplish these objectives.
Rhetorically, does the U.S. want to reduce the GNP? Does the new president desire to reduce the budget surplus by increasing the cost of world government control? A U.S. income tax reduction will be much better for our economy! Does it make sense to export our industry and manufacturing to other countries? Does it make sense to reduce our labor force by over 2.5 million workers and reduce the number of taxpayers by a like amount? It appears that happens if we attempt to change our power structure without having known efficient environmentally sensitive and effective replacements for our current methods of power generation and transportation. The cost to reduce the amount of CO2 from the atmosphere needed to enforce the UN-IPCC theory or concept that there "may be" potential global warming due to increasing amounts of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, is in the trillions of dollars ... per year. Currently, there is no real evidence that reduction of CO2 can be accomplished or that it will improve the environment or our livelihood – or the environment for our grandchildren and future generations.
Of course, there is an economic theory that the major use of energy over the last century by the U.S. has created an environmental hazard and we owe the rest of the world for this damage. The U.S. is expected to pay the major cost for this effort to try to improve the climate. There are predictions that such a project would reduce U.S. farm and ranch income by over 25%; that more than 2,500,000 U.S. jobs would be lost to other developing nations; and that much of our industry and manufacturing would be exported to 3rd world nations for economic reasons (cost of labor and energy). Apparently there is not a complete study of what would happen to the world economy if the U.S. is unable to afford to purchase these products from those foreign markets. Apparently, the U.S. has a CO2 "sink" on its east coast which removes much of the manmade CO2 from the atmosphere before it "contaminates" other parts of the world.
There is limited evidence the earth can sustain the current population of 6 billion people. It becomes highly questionable if it can accommodate the projected 9 billion people. In any case, engineers and scientists will be direly needed and in great demand to help solve these developing problems. Major industrial capability and capacity with adequate financing still will be an absolute requirement to provide adequate employment for our population.
Yes, fossil fuels as we know them are finite. During this century, oil will be the first to become in short supply as demand increases and supplies are depleted. Gas will be next. Commercial supplies of coal in some form may well last until the beginning of the next century.
Coal, oil and gas are depletable. These fossil fuels currently provide more than 75% of the energy consumption of the world. Energy from coal in the U.S. provides over 50% of the energy needed for the generation of electricity and demand for electricity is increasing. Coal can be modified to become a clean fuel.
Even nuclear energy is finite, and the use of this source of energy will need to be greatly expanded in some form in the near future. Safe development and use of nuclear power needs to start now. This should be part of a new U.S. Energy Policy. There is a dire need to develop a logical workable energy policy by the U.S. and other industrial nations in the immediate future. As the use of fossil fuels declines, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from such use will automatically decrease without additional effort or costs.
Current renewable or sustainable energies now can supply only 10-15% of the world’s energy requirements – at very high costs. To supply more, would require the use of major areas and portions of the world – both land and sea and would create additional major environmental problems and concerns.
Change in Climate
Yes, there has been between 1°F and 2°F warming during the past 150 years.
Yes, some small part of that warming could relate to a large percentage increase in the miniscule amount of CO2 in the atmosphere provided by anthropogenic output.
Yes, there are many other possible reasons for this past minor amount of increased warming, some of which are:
The planet earth is still coming out of a 90,000 year glacial period and warming during the recent 10,000 to 15,000 years is a natural result. Without such change in warming, we would still be in an ice age.
The sun and its electromagnetic output has been increasing in recent times, providing additional warmth for the earth.
Changes in ocean currents.
Changes in the salinity of the ocean.
Changes in atmospheric circulation, water vapor and jet streams (all apparently unpredictable by current GCM’s for realistic estimates of potential future climate conditions).
No, it does not appear the expenditure of multi-trillions of dollars by the economies of the world (but primarily from the good ole U.S. of A.) could or would be able to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. And, it appears to some climatologists there may not be any beneficial results in the climate if it did.
The Ice Man Cometh
Mother Nature is not gentle and loving in either hot or cold periods of significant changing world climate and temperature. The Greenhouse Effect creates the Atmospheric Insulation by utilizing about 2% of the atmospheric gases which provide Global Warmth for the earth.
Ice ages have a normal period of development of 90,000 to 100,000 years. Warm periods historically have abnormally short lives representing only 10% of that time. A normal range between the ice ages and warm interglacial periods is only 5°F to 10°F variation in temperature.
An Ice Age would be much more destructive to our way of life than increasing warmth. The world population as we know it, could not be sustained during an Ice Age.
From study of past geologic events, it seems we are near a pending arrival of a beginning new ice age, which eventually could create related catastrophic results – which perhaps could be modified and reduced with increased amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.
In the last 2 million years, the earth has gone through about 17 Ice Ages. It is scientifically illogical to assume these repetitive periods of major climate and temperature change have now stopped without some measured scientific indication or proof. Changes in the earth’s topography and ocean currents and continental drift all have had an earthbound effect on the changing climate. The tilt of the earth, and the output of the sun and the changes in the elliptical path of the earth around the sun also have major effects over geologic time on the climate and temperatures of the earth. Some of these changes are not necessarily slow.
The United Nations Position
The United Nations and the IPCC
In 1992, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the UN-IPCC) produced a report to "provide the technical basis for a ‘Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC).’" The United Nations held a convention in Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992 with the objective to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere."
There was another meeting in Berlin in March 1995 for the same purpose called the Conference of Parties (COP-1). COP-2 was held in Geneva in July 1996.
COP-3 -- the Kyoto Meeting was held in Kyoto, Japan in October 1997 and the "Kyoto Protocol" was developed. The United States representatives voted to agree to reduce the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to the 1990 level by the year 2012. With our growth in energy demand over the past decade, a 35% reduction from our expected energy use in 2012 would be required by that time.
Luckily, in my opinion, any such treaty agreement requires the approval of the U.S Senate. In early 1997, the Senate voted 95 to 0 against any such treaty unless all nations in the world are subject to the same rules, regulations, limitations and restrictions and share in the costs of a solution of the problem. China, Japan, India and Russia and many other smaller 3rd world nations have indicated, they could not or would not accept these requirements, restrictions and limitations on the use of coal and other fuels. However, large amounts of U.S. tax dollars have been spent under "Executive Authority" by the previous national administration to underwrite the intent of the protocol and the studies predicting Global Warming.
There was a recent COP-6 held at the Hague, Netherlands in November 2000, and the Executive report on that meeting will not become available until the spring of this year. But the conference has been listed as a failure because the U.S. representatives were not able to agree to have the U.S. to pay "its share" for this worldwide project or give up its sovereign rights – as proposed by the UN-IPCC.
Another meeting has recently been held in China during January 2001 with no changes in the UN-IPCC approach -- just relying on more models and more predictions of increased warmth without the needed backup scientific facts, measurements and proof.
In many quarters, the concept of increased Global Warming as a result of increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, is accepted as fact! There is and has been serious questions among many qualified atmospheric scientists as to whether it is a fact and whether the warming is the result of human activity, and if so, what can and should be done about it.
The Kyoto Protocol could inflict socialistic controls over our freedoms. Every nation as part of such Protocol would lose much of its sovereignty and global governance could develop as a result. In the name of environmental safety, we could be dragged into a world of socialism. The immutable law of nature has not been repealed with the arrival of a small increase in CO2 or a small increase in average temperature. Ideally, we are at the end of a prominent 10,000-12000 year period of warmth. This may now be an optimum period of warmth. In past geologic times, the range of warmth differences from Ice Age to Warmth is about 10°F ± in each direction from some average, (without any impact from human, anthropogenic increase in temperature caused by an increase in atmospheric CO2). As indicated, the impact on climate from many natural causes is hundreds of times greater than any possible substantial changes from the human use of fossil fuels.
The UN-IPCC Kyoto Protocol is proposing a puny but costly effort to reduce CO2. In any developing colder climate, Mother Nature would go on a rampage with greater temperature diversity (winters) and greater human suffering than can be imagined as a result from a minor reduction in atmospheric CO2 which may now be resulting in a minor increase in global warmth. The attempt to change this by reducing a miniscule amount of CO2 again would be similar to the attempt to build the Tower of Babel.
Computer -- The use of computer assisted studies in its many forms is very beneficial to our way of life – but the computer is not infallible. It is a good tool. It is not a substitute for science, engineering, medicine, accounting, manufacturing or business and legal efforts. It is becoming a useful tool for all people in all professions.
Everyone is aware of the sayings "Computers are fast idiots" or "Garbage in, Garbage Out." The trouble is some people who use computers and provide mathematical simulation models don’t realize when inadequate amounts of accurate data are provided, producing a result that is either erroneous or the answers are "non-unique" – meaning there are other possible answers using the same data or information. That is the case with the numerous Global Climate Models that are present in the world today. There is not enough reliable measured scientific data available to permit the results of the GCM studies to provide potential accurate projections of the climate in the future if the earth and its atmosphere and the climate were to remain stable for a hundred years. The gathering of additional factual data and scientific studies are required to improve this situation.
Many of the representatives of the various member nations of the United Nations do not care if the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol are detrimental to the U.S. and its economic well being. (They should, for their own economic well being.) In the studies of so-called global warming, there has not been any real demand or requirement for scientific accuracy and accountability and scientific peer review of the studies made by the U.S., NASA, EPA or the DOE, etc.
Mathematical manipulation by computers does not guarantee scientific accuracy. It has been presumed by most politicians and journalists and environmentalists, that CO2 is causing and will continue to cause Global Warming and something can and should be done about it. Their studies are generally encouraged, authorized, conducted and paid for as studies to prove the concept of "Global Warming", not with an objective of determining the actual scientific reasons for "Global Climate Change." That is a normal practice of politically controlled scientific work that starts out with a specific objective and then attempts to determine the proof. In my opinion, the current resultant studies will not provide the necessary scientific answers to questions concerning climate change and our energy requirements and the survival of the world population. A general consensus is not a realistic scientific objective.
There is need for more study. Even with many world studies and two dozen major computer GCM models, new and/or additional scientific studies are needed, supported by additional and more accurate data. We need to know the effect on global warmth from the major greenhouse gas, water vapor, and the effects (changes) created from clouds and precipitation. We need to attempt to determine the reasons and basis for changes in the electromagnetic output (heat) from the sun. The combined effect from these two sources of global warmth may be hundreds of times greater than the effect of excess influx of CO2 into the atmosphere from human activity.
Apparently none of the current GCMs attempt to provide an adjustment for the risks involved with the unknown geologic, celestial or solar variables.
In geologic times, there have been many unpredictable major or catastrophic changes due to continental drift, changes in ocean currents, mountain building, subsidence, rainfall, erosion, and meteor impact, changes in sun output, the atmospheric content and pressures to name a few. (Some took millions of years to complete the changes, some are ongoing.) There is no known evidence this natural variability or volatility has or can be stabilized. All of the natural variations have the opportunity to provide unpredictable changes in the climate now or within the next 100 years or 1,000 years or longer. They are not predictable with current knowledge and they almost make the current model studies moot. It is called Mother Nature or fate – and no crystal ball has been developed to determine those potential changes.
Beware of Global Cooling and beware of Computer Simulation Models -- which do not use actual measured historical climate data – which provide results which do not or cannot match the most recent 100 years of past climate history. If they won’t predict the known past or current history, they cannot be expected to have any capacity to accurately predict the next 100 years.
I don’t mind buying insurance, but I do desire to know the risk, costs and opportunity for some benefit before I agree to pay the premium. This is not being done in the case of potential global warming and a proposal for protecting the world from an unknown amount of climate change from human activity.
The UN-IPCC has proposed a very expensive program to remove perceived excess CO2 from the atmosphere in the stated hope and anticipation that such a program will reduce or eliminate a perceived period of catastrophic warming of the earth during the next 100 years and then improve the environment. In such a program as presented by the UN-IPCC Kyoto Protocol (Treaty), the cost for the world would be prohibitive and the results on climate change and reduced warming would be limited or nonexistent. This would not appreciably improve the environment. The proposed program could bankrupt the world economy. In my opinion, if all cars, trucks, tractors, airplanes, trains, travel, manufacturing, industry and electrical power generation were to miraculously find some reliable substitute for fossil fuels, the amount of reduction of atmospheric CO2 from human causes would not be sufficient to change the climate; but if new nonpolluting energy cannot be developed, then the world and its environment may not be able to support the world population at some time in the future.
Fossil fuels and nuclear power are finite sources of energy. They must be used in the near term while a positive, worldwide effort is made to develop adequate, efficient alternate sources of energy under a realistic U.S. Energy Policy where the use of Nuclear Energy will be required for an interim period. In my final analysis (to date), we have more to fear from possible Global Cooling than from Warming – and humans will not be able to do much about Mother Nature and climate change – except to cope and be prepared for change. Improvement of the environment is desirable and probably not directly related to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Yes, we need an Energy Policy and a major improvement in the efficient use of all forms of energy. This should be controlled for us by our sovereign nation – not the United Nations.
February 1, 2001
Fred L. Oliver, P.E.