In Part 1, published Monday, September 23, titled, Thorner: Global warming debate emphasizes vast scientific opinion differences, details were related about the nature and scope of a debate about global warming held on Monday, September 16, at the Wilmette Public Library between Kent Taylor, Al Gore trainee, and Steve Goreham, author and researcher on environmental issues.
In Part 2 the "nitty gritty" (or the "nuts and bolts") of the Wilmette debate are documented. The comments made by each debater are accordingly noted as they relate to one of three question arbitrarily written by me. The first name of Mr. Taylor was used not to confuse Kent Taylor with James Taylor, J.D., who is a Senior Fellow at The Heartland Institute and Managing Editor of Environment and Climate News.
Question 1: If no action is taken now what will happen?
Kent Taylor: If we wait until all is certain, it will be too late. We can't just sit it out and hope that global warming doesn't happen. We have to listen to the "smart" people. Every major scientific body agrees with my position. It's a matter of physics. Two things must be taking place for global warming to be denied: 1) Something unknown is suppressing the greenhouse effect. 2) Something unknown is causing the global warming that mimics its effect. As for a leveling out of temperature over the past 16 years, this can be true only if data is cherry-picked. 1998 produced the hottest temperatures in history. It is a matter of physics that as CO2 increases in the atmosphere, temperature go up. Dr. James Hansen, a climate scientist who recently stepped down from his NASA post after almost 50 years, agrees and suggests that global warming has not stalled and is but a "diversionary tactic" from "deniers" who want the public to be confused about climate change.
Goreham: There is no evidence that we are in danger. Empirical evidence shows that climate models are wrong and are not good predictors of temperature changes. As the rise of CO2 levels lags temperature rise, this results in rises of temperature that are observed centuries later. In refuting the remark that 97% of scientists accept man-made global warming, noted was the return of a much larger mailing by the IPPO which requested a two-question response. While 3,000 responses were returned, only seventy-seven were selected to calculate the 97% consensus figure of scientists who accept man-made global warming. Global temperatures have been flat for the last 16 years, contradicting the 44 climate models used by IPCC that called for a temperature rise.
Question 2: How do CO2 levels affect temperature change?
Kent Taylor: Atmospheric CO2 has been steadily rising since the Civil War, and its increase has been solid since 1960. Since the Industrial Revolution greenhouse gasses are up by 40%. During the 20th century the Earth's average temperature rose one degree Fahrenheit, faster than at any time since the end of the last Ice age 11,300 years ago. As far as the future: Our living atmosphere is only 6 miles deep. As we are producing 90 million tons of CO2 a day, we could easily fill up our living atmosphere with it. With no place to go, as more and more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, the earth will heats up. Both daytime and nighttime temperature records are being broken, but more records are being broken at night because greenhouse gasses aren't assisting in making nighttime temperatures less severe.
Goreham: Changes in temperature have occurred in regular cycles for millions of years. During the Medieval Warm Period (900 - 1300) the temperature was warmer than it is today. Consider Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period when trees flourished and farming was productive. In the Little Ice Age (1300 - 1850) temperatures cooled, resulting in shorter growing period and a shortage of food, while In Europe Frost Fairswere held on the Thames River. Just described were but two of the natural cycles of temperature fluctuations. Antarctica ice is expanding, and with 90% of the earth's ice, it's also getting thicker. Ice in the Arctic comes and goes. Consider the story of the "Glacier girl" where a WWII P-38 Lightning lay buried under arctic ice for 50 years when it crashed trying to cross Greenland in1942. The plane was finally pulled piece by piece from under 268 feet of ice on October 26, 2002.
Predicted by Al Gore and Dr. James Hanson was that should all the ice melt in the north and south poles, sea levels would rise as much as 20 feet by 2,100 to flood coastal cities, etc. This, however, is based on circumstantial evidence only, which is consistent with the hypothesis embraced by global warming believers. The global average sea-level continues to increase, but only at its long-term rate of 1-2 mm/year globally.
Question 3: Is CO2 the main culprit of climate change?
Kent Taylor: "Red herrings" are being used to convince people otherwise that global warming is not CO2 produced. Using slides to present examples of red herrings, U. S. Representative Dana Rohrbacher was seen stating that solar activity was a cause of global warming. (Denied by Taylor: Solar forcing has a negligible effect to climate change); Speaker John Boehner was seen blaming volcanoes because they emit large quantities of CO2. (Denied by Taylor: Volcanoes emit only a pittance of CO2); Glen Beck was shown making fun of CO2 as a source of global warming when he exhaled repeatedly emitting CO2. (Dismissed by Taylor as an example of sheer nuisance on the part of Beck, for, according to physics, CO2 traps heat and lots of it!)
In Taylor's view these are individuals trying to discredit the consensus that CO2 is the cause of global warming by attacking the messenger, the "smart" people who are in the know. Two scientists were cited who likewise have concluded that CO2 is the culprit for global warming: 1) Svante August Arah found that temperatures rise as more CO2 is added to the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect of trapped CO2 can generate a temperature increase of 5 or 6 degrees. 2) Roger Revelle began measuring CO2 in the atmosphere in the 50's and likewise found that as CO2 goes up temperature has to follow. On our present course it will be by 3 - 10 degrees.
In Taylor's words: "To deny global warming is to deny the Carbon Cycle, a sequence of events that are key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life." Humans are impacting the Carbon Cycle. Our desire to extract as as much oil from the ground as possible shows intent to put CO2 into the atmosphere with no natural place for it to go. If we don't change our habits we will see CO2 rising, coupled with the rising of both ocean levels and temperatures. I doesn't matter about the CO2 spewed froth from volcanoes or other natural source, because we are overwhelming our natural resources.
Goreham: CO2 is only a trace gas. The IPCC U.N. models predicted hot spots in the atmosphere, but none were found. What natural sources produce CO2? 75% of CO2 release is from water vapor. Consider that the Pacific Ocean covers 46% of the earth. Other natural sources of CO2 emissions come from Methane and other gasses and volcanoes, yet a small trace of CO2 in the atmosphere is being blamed for causing global warming Then there is the sun. The lack of solar activity and observed cycle patterns suggest planetary cooling could occur over the next few decades.
Another thoughts to ponder: Despite an increase in atmospheric CO2 by 8% -- representing 34% of all extra CO2 added to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution -- the Earth has not warmed significantly for the past 16 years. Instead, temperatures have remained flat, despite published IPCC projections since 1990 that a doubling of CO2 could cause a rise in temperature by up to 6 degrees Centigrade by 2100. In reality, the doubling of CO2 from natural sources would only raise the temperature by one degree. Temperatures are described from 2000 to 2009 as the warmest.
The media picks this up and runs with it, without noting what has happened in the past. Short term variation of temperatures (dips and rises) can be seen within a longer straight line which indicates that a recovery of temperature has taken place from the Little Ice Age. This is indicative of a 60 year-modulation cycle of temperature which corresponds to the warming/cooling induced in the ocean. About violent weather, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes have not been more frequent in this nation or have the number of tropical storms.
Presently there is a 40 year low in hurricanes, and it's been 23 years since a category 3 hurricane has hit the US. Furthermore, over the last century there have been no decisive trends showing an increase of droughts or floods in the U.S.
The Wilmette debate demonstrates the passion on both sides of the global warming argument with this question remaining paramount: "How much do humans contribute to climate change?" Although Steve Goreham believes that climate change has happened and will continue to happen in cycles through natural causes with no reason for concern, Kent Taylor believes that global warming is man-made, that it's happening, and that drastic steps must be taken to curb the amount of CO2 released into the air to save mankind and civilization.
Even so the debate ended with a cordial hand shake.
CO2 has become increasingly vilified since that fateful day on December 7, 2009, when it was declared a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Even so, the Heartland Institute considers it a badge of honor to have been called by the Economist on May 26: 2012:, The World's most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.
All throughout the month of September The Heartland Institute has been conducting a series of phone calls about Climate Change Reconsider II. The final call took place on Tuesday, September 24, at 1:00 EST/Noon CST. It's topic: Response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report. Thorner will listen to the call and will follow up with a writeup for Illinois Review.
With the United Nation's IPCC AR5 report due to be released at the end of this week, the already released NIPCC report of a week ago by The Heartland Institute is certain to come under fire for its stance against the IPCC's claim that dangerous global warming is occurring, and will keep occurring, from human-related greenhouse gas emissions. A summary of the NIPCC report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, can be read at climatechangereconsidered.org.
It would be wise to listen to what Apollo moonwalker Dr. Buzz Aldrin, NASA Astronaut has to save about climate:
I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” he said.
“If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favour of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today.
“I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it.