There is no scientific proof of man-made climate change, a co-founder of Greenpeace told a committee of the U.S. Senate, rebutting claims made by environmental activists, prominent politicians, and a steady stream of media reports of a nearly unanimous "consensus" among scientists about "overwhelming" evidence that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases — mainly carbon dioxide — are responsible for global warming.
"There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth's atmosphere over the past 100 years," Patrick Moore said in his prepared remarks to members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Tuesday. A Canadian ecologist and business consultant, Moore was a co-founder of the environmental activist group Greenpeace as a Ph.D. student in 1971. Moore left the group in 1986, after it made what he described as a "sharp turn to the political left " and began espousing policies he could not longer support, though opposition to global warming was not then among them.
"Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it certainly is now," Moore said. But increases in the earth's surface and atmospheric temperatures are nothing new, he reminded the senators, as he noted little correlation between increases in carbon dioxide emissions and a heating of the planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he noted, has declared it "extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming trend since the mid-20th century. "
"'Extremely likely' is not a scientific term but rather a judgment as in a court of law," Moore said. "The IPCC defines 'extremely likely' as a '95-100% probability.' But upon further examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical calculation or statistical analysis. They have been 'invented' as a construct within the IPCC report to express 'expert judgment', as determined by the IPCC contributors." Projections based on "sophisticated computer models" have led to warnings of dire consequences from anticipated increases in temperatures worldwide, Moore said. The historical record suggests otherwise, he argued.
The IPCC states that humans are the dominant cause of warming "since the mid-20th century," which is 1950. From 1910 to 1940, there was an increase in global average temperature of 0.5°C over that 30-year period. Then there was a 30-year "pause" until 1970. This was followed by an increase of 0.57°C during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature. This in itself tends to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to accelerate during this time.
The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000. Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to "human influence." They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact only the increase "since the mid-20th century." Why does the IPCC believe that a virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by "human influence" when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-1940?
Reaching further back in time, Moore spoke of CO2 levels and temperature changes in days long before humankind invented the internal combustion engine and roamed the earth in SUVs.
"When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time," he added. "Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today." The human species came into being and developed in warm climates, he said.
"It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species," Moore said. "We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing." Those adaptations enabled the human species to survive long enough to invent a great many things, including sophisticated, but highly fallible, computer models, Moore maintained.
"We may think it sophisticated, but we cannot predict the future with a computer model any more than we can make predictions with crystal balls, throwing bones, or by appealing to the gods," he said. Today, as in prehistoric times, a warming of the planet could have beneficial effects on human life, Moore said.
"It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age," he noted. "It is 'extremely likely' that a warmer temperature than today's would be far better than a cooler one."
In its report on Moore's testimony, Fox News noted that a United Nations report on the scientific data about climate change released last September acknowledged there had been no increase in global surface temperatures over the previous 15 years. The 2,200-page report attributed that to a number of factors, including reduced heating from the sun and the ocean acting like a "heat sink" to suck up extra warmth in the atmosphere.
A resident of Vancouver, the Canadian-born Moore earned his Ph.D. in ecology from the Institute of Animal Resource Ecology at the University of British Columbia. In 1971, he helped found the Greenpeace movement when he went with a group of environmental activists in a small boat across the Pacific to encourage and organize an international protest against U.S. hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. He was for several years the director of Greenpeace International, reputed to be the world's largest environmental activist organization. Since parting from the group, Moore has developed what a report in International Business Daily described as "a history of sharply dissenting from policies supported by major environmental groups, including the one he helped create." As recently as 2006, however, he was himself warning of "catastrophic climate change" in an op-ed article in the Washington Post endorsing further development of nuclear energy.
"In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots," he wrote. "Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change." Coal and oil-burning electric plants in the United States "produce 36 percent of U.S. emissions — or nearly 10 percent of global emissions — of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for climate change," Moore wrote at that time, adding: "Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely."
Though he now disputes the alarmism over levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, Moore continues to be a proponent of nuclear energy as co-founder, chairman, and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies in Vancouver, a consulting and public relations firm on environmental issues.
A preliminary Google search has turned up no results of any reports in the "mainstream media" of Moore's testimony before the Senate committee. The story appeared in the Daily Caller and later on the Fox News website and in International Business Daily, but there was no evidence of the story being carried by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, or other major organs of the daily news. Reports of evidence running contrary to the apocalyptic view of man-made climate change have appeared frequently and for many years in The New American, both in the print magazine and on the publication's website. Examples can be found here and here.
Chances are the ecological scientist's remarks at the committee hearing will have little to no effect on the steady drumbeat of media reports of an allegedly near-unanimous scientific community warning of the devastating effects of climate change. Those who wish to find and consider other viewpoints will have to look elsewhere.