PARIS — The international wealth-redistribution schemes of the United Nations, justified under the guise of battling alleged man-made global warming, are really a massive subsidy to kleptocrats ruling poor countries paid for by the poor and middle classes of wealthier and freer nations, according to internationally renowned physicist Dr. Fred Singer.
On top of that, the professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia said, the burden of proof in attributing climate changes to human activities is on man-made global-warming theorists seeking to regulate and control carbon dioxide, and not on skeptics. And so far, the alarmists have failed to demonstrate that mankind is responsible for any measurable impact on the climate, he said.
Speaking at the Heartland Institute's “Day of Examining the Data” conference in Paris, which took place during the UN's COP21 climate summit last month, Singer and other scientists from around the world denounced the global-warming alarmism coming out of the nearby UN confab. Among other concerns, the experts said there was no climate crisis — much less a man-made one — and that the real agenda of the UN involves primarily money and power, not the climate.
Dr. Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist with unassailable scientific credentials, told The New American in an interview after his speech that climate science was far from settled, and that taxpayer money distributed by governments was buying the cooperation of scientists. He also suggested that human impacts on the climate, if there are any, are likely to be so tiny as to be completely insignificant.
“The climate has always been changing — warming and cooling, warming and cooling,” Singer said. “So we assume that this is a continuing process. The fact that we are now fairly well advanced in the industrial revolution — it has no influence on natural forcing, we don't affect what the sun does, we don't affect the volcanoes. So the null hypothesis, which means the normal way events go, we would assume that all changes in climate, even today, are due to the same kinds of natural forcing.”
The burden of proof, then, is on the alarmists demanding trillions of dollars and vast new controls over humanity under the guise of battling alleged anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW) — not the other way around. “The null hypothesis that has to be disproven or amended is that natural forcings are changing the climate, simply because it's always been that way and we would assume that it would continue that way,” Singer emphasized. “So the burden of proof definitely has to be on the people who want to control CO2.” Other speakers at the summit emphasized that CO2 is the gas of life, not pollution.
And overcoming that burden will be a very tough, assuming it is even possible. “In all honesty, I will tell you that they have a very difficult job, I don't want that job of having to prove that,” said Singer, founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). “We're quite open to the idea that maybe CO2 does have some influence, but it has to be demonstrated,” he continued. “So far, they have not been able to demonstrate uniquely to our satisfaction that CO2 has any measurable influence.”
In his personal view, Singer continued, he believes CO2 probably has “some kind of a role,” because after all, it is a greenhouse gas, and its concentration in the atmosphere is increasing. However, the atmosphere is very complicated, and the effects may be “extremely small, and virtually undetectable.” “In that case, it has no practical significance,” he said. “Effects too small to measure are too small to have any political influence, but this doesn't seem to bother the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] or the UN. They continue to propagate the idea that you have to control CO2.”
As for why the UN would want to control CO2, and what the implications would be, Singer said control was the key word. “Now, control of CO2 means, essentially, control of energy, and that means control of economies,” he told The New American at the summit, which brought in skeptic and realist scientists and experts from around the world. “So it's a matter, really, of trying to control things, I think, more than anything else.” Literally every human activity, including breathing, produces CO2, which is required by plants and has been present in far higher concentrations in the past. Mutliple experts even said life on Earth is "starving" for more CO2.
As always, money is also central. “Money is involved in various ways,” said Singer, who has a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University and served as a distinguished research professor at the Institute for Space Science and Technology. “First of all, each government pays large sums of money to its scientific fellows and essentially it buys their cooperation.” Numerous other scientists at the counter-UN summit echoed those remarks, saying that billions in “climate funding” from government was being abused to purchase compliance or at least silence from the scientific community on the increasingly obvious problems with AGW alarmism.
There are also forces that critics often denounce as “crony capitalists” at play — forces hoping to profit from government subsidies linked to climate alarmism. “There's a large industry trying to produce energy to replace fossil fuels, but they're not doing very well,” Dr. Singer explained. “Both solar and wind are unreliable, intermittent, and expensive. I doubt whether you could replace fossil fuels. The only thing I see on the horizon is nuclear.” Still, vast sums of public wealth are flowing into the coffers of “green energy” cronies such as bankrupt solar company Solyndra, a company controlled by large Obama donors that received about half-a-billion tax dollars from the Obama administration before going bust.
Finally, there is the international wealth redistribution from richer nations to the governments and dictators ruling over poorer ones. “In addition to the scientists and to the energy sources which some hope will replace fossil fuels, like solar and wind, there's the matter of paying money to less-developed countries,” he said, touching on a theme that was central to the UN COP21 summit. “This is a direct subsidy to, frankly, to kleptocracies. We know what happens to that money. It goes into the pockets or bank accounts of the people who run these countries — it's been happening all the time, and I think it will continue to happen. So, as someone put it, it's a matter of the poor in the rich countries supporting the rich in the poor countries.”
Obama has pledged billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the UN Green Climate (slush) Fund, and despite tough talk from some GOP lawmakers about blocking the funding, the Republican-controlled Congress recently passed a budget that will reportedly allow the global wealth redistribution to proceed. The UN and the largely autocratic regimes hoping to benefit from the transfers are demanding $100 billion per year to start, eventually hoping to secure trillions in handouts from Western taxpayers under the guise of climate reparations.
In addition to the qualifications already described, Dr. Singer also has a long history of public service, including time serving as the chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Transportation. He also served as the vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Oceans and Atmosphere (NACOA) and as deputy assistant administrator for policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Before that, he served as deputy assistant secretary for water quality and research at the U.S. Department of the Interior. He was also the first director of the National Weather Satellite Service in the 1960s.
Singer's academic career is also more than impressive. In addition to his professorship in environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, he served as founding dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at University of Miami. He also served as the director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics at University of Maryland for almost a decade. Singer has published hundreds of scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, including many of the world's most prestigious scientific publications.
During his speech at the Heartland Institute summit in Paris, Singer emphasized just how wildly inaccurate the “climate models” relied upon by the UN have been when compared to the observable data from the real world. He also highlighted the ongoing “pause” in global warming, now about 18 years and counting, that has so befuddled the climate alarmists. The NIPCC he founded has examined the peer-reviewed literature on climate and reached drastically different conclusions than the UN and its increasingly discredited IPCC.
Other scientists and experts speaking at the summit echoed Singer's concerns and debunked various elements of the climate hysteria. Another counter-COP21 summit in Paris, this one organized by French realists, also brought together prominent scientists to challenge the UN and its alarmism. For more on the counter-COP21 summits, the UN conference, and climate change generally, check out the related articles below.
Image: screenshot of TNA interview with Dr. Fred Singer