Many believe that global warming is one of the most critical challenges that face our planet today. According to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), many scientists and most environmentalists and their allies in the media and academia, uncontrolled rising temperatures will cause more frequent droughts, food shortages, melting polar ice caps and coastal flooding, and the extinction of polar bears and many other species. They claim that modern, industrialized society is causing global warming, and they predict climatic calamity including frequent category five hurricanes and numerous other severe storms resulting in great suffering.
After years of study, John Coleman is convinced that none of this is true. And thousands of scientists and other meteorologists hold this same dissenting view.
Currently, John Coleman is a TV weatherman for KUSI News in San Diego. But Coleman is most famous for being founder of the Weather Channel. He has had a long career in predicting the weather, working for the first time as a TV weatherman during his freshman year in college in 1953. With this extensive background, we might take John Coleman seriously when he states bluntly that global warming “is the greatest scam in history.”
The New American: As someone who has been in weather broadcasting for pretty much its whole history, are you concerned about global warming?
John Coleman: I’m only concerned about people who are going hysterical about it. How many billions of dollars is our government going to spend to combat something that isn’t real? That has my attention.
TNA: Are you saying there hasn’t been any warming?
Coleman: Well, there are absolutely normal climate fluctuations — little ice ages, then warm-ups. Historically the Earth has vacillated through all of these. Solar cycles change dramatically. Ocean currents change. They all have a significant impact on climate.
TNA: Al Gore and others claim that science has spoken and that there is a universal consensus among scientists.
Coleman: Was there a consensus of 2,500 scientists at the Bali meeting of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Heavens no. The key paragraphs or chapters of their report and the research documents behind it, which are very voluminous, were not widely read by these scientists.
If you look at the history of the IPCC, its mission and existence was to prove that there is climate change. So they start hiring scientists and giving them research money to go out and prove that its mission is valid.
But 19,000 scientists signed a petition against the Kyoto Protocol, and 400-plus scientists spoke out against global warming in 2007, along with at least four dozen TV meteorologists. There is no consensus.
TNA: In the middle of your career in broadcasting, 30 years or so ago, we were told in similar panic terms that we were going to face global cooling and a new ice age.
Coleman: Time magazine came out with a picture of the skyscrapers of Chicago trapped in a huge glacier, creeping down over the Midwest.
TNA: So, you’re still waiting for the ice cap?
Coleman: I never believed it was coming, nor do I believe global warming is coming. Are you aware that officials of both the Canadian and Russian governments in the past six weeks have warned of a coming ice age? Climatologists are constantly reacting to swings in the climate.
TNA: Yes, could you address that?
Coleman: It has to do with what’s known as a “Maunder Minimum,” where the number of solar flares diminishes to zero and the sun lays quiet. Clearly the sun is the source of all energy on Earth. And so, how brightly the sun shines is the key element.
It burns irregularly, throwing off huge amounts of radioactive materials at times, and other times it lays quiet. And which side of the sun that is facing Earth at the time of these events has a lot to do with the energy received on Earth. All of these factors control the climate on Earth.
TNA: Are there many scientists who view the temperature increase we have seen — the very minor increase — not with alarm, but as a benefit?
Coleman: Well, if you live in Canada or Minnesota, you might feel a little global warming would be a wonderful thing.
I would tend to think a few degrees warmer might be a very good thing. The preponderance of evidence suggests that we might have had 0.2° Celsius of warming over the last 30 or 40 years. But that’s hard to pin down because during this period of time these great cities have built up. Urban heat islands are very real. If you have a thermometer in the city, its temperature has definitely climbed. But the thermometers in the countryside around that city haven’t increased significantly, if at all.
What is the right temperature for planet Earth? What is our ideal climate regime? Is it what we have had for the last 50 years?
TNA: Compared with other periods in history, we’ve had larger increases, haven’t we?
Coleman: Around 1900, the Northwest Passage was clear of ice — we had a warm spell. We had the Medieval Warm Period that preceded that by about 400 years. Remember that the coast of Greenland was fertile, clear, and beautiful farming country. There were farms that operated there for 100 years on those same coasts that are now covered in ice and where the ice is reportedly melting now. Yet now the global-warming alarmists scream.
TNA: In previous warming periods, do we have any evidence of species extinction?
Coleman: Take the polar bear, about which there is so much talk. Polar bears made it through all of the climate changes in the last 5,000 years. But, on the other hand, ancient climate change clearly did in the dinosaurs.
Al Gore stood in front of a picture of a polar bear on a piece of ice floating by and decried the poor polar bear’s situation. No polar bear died in that, and I think it is horrible fraud to take that picture and turn it into an emotional plea to people implying the polar bear died.
TNA: What about the concerns many people have about tsunamis and hurricanes as a result of all this?
Coleman: How about the hurricane of 1900 that wiped out Galveston, Texas? Global warming didn’t cause that. In 1969, I was in Hurricane Camille, the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the United States. Was that part of global warming, back in ’69? We were still talking about the coming ice age then.
To blame Katrina on global warming is another one of these emotional frauds. Katrina, when it made landfall, was a category three hurricane that happened to produce a very heavy rainfall over a city built below sea level, protected by inferior dikes because, while science makes the world great, government screws it up. The government hadn’t built decent dikes and hadn’t taken care of its business.
TNA: Are you concerned about the increasing political impact of government on science?
Coleman: I have had some TV weathermen say, “I’m afraid. I can’t say anything because of my job.” The mayor of New York has just declared the threat of global warming worse than the threat of terrorism. Because of all of this incredible grand-standing by politicians, supposedly 80 percent of Americans believe global warming is a threat. The politicians have clearly trumped the science in molding public opinion.
TNA: If weathermen on television networks are worried about saying anything to refute global warming, how come you’re speaking out?
Coleman: I’m in my retirement job. If I get fired here today, I’m fine, thank you. I only work because it’s fun. I happen to work for a company that is very supportive of me.
TNA: If we were to go forward with Kyoto or any variation of Kyoto, would this impose vast restrictions on all human activity?
Coleman: Well, all of this is predicated on carbon being a dirty word. And the carbon we’re talking about is carbon dioxide. Now, it’s the last remaining cornerstone of global warming.
The hockey-stick chart, that ridiculous scientific fraud, got shot down. The pronouncements by NASA about global temperature averages going up have been corrected, and now we know the warmest U.S. decade was the 1930s not the ’90s.
All that’s left is carbon. Imagine a box my hands are defining about nine inches square. Let’s say there are a 100,000 molecules of atmosphere. Thirty-eight of those are carbon dioxide. Even after all the fossil fuel we burn, there are only 38. When you and I breathe, we breathe out carbon dioxide. It’s not a pollutant, but a natural component.
Our crops and our forests are thriving because of increased carbon dioxide. But when fossil fuels burn to power cars or plants, they emit carbon dioxide, and that’s supposedly a very bad thing according to the global-warming crowd.
The environmentalists are making this whole “carbon as the enemy of mankind thing,” as they try to orchestrate the elimination of fossil fuels. Well, fossil fuels have powered our civilization — are powering civilization.
Environmentalists have built this whole fictitious case that this carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which has doubled in the last 50 years because of these emissions, is what is driving global warming.
Without carbon to blame, the global-warming advocates don’t have anything left — their whole case is destroyed scientifically. But they still have the media and the government.
TNA: What about just relying on solar and wind power?
Coleman: Solar power might work great in San Diego where I live, but it doesn’t work worth a hoot in Antarctica or Alaska. And it’s not very good in Seattle. And wind power is only good in a few limited places. It’s a very expensive technology still.
TNA: Is it true that since 2000 or 2001, we haven’t seen any rise in the temperature?
Coleman: We’re in a cooling trend. The sun has gone quiet. Those guys in Canada and Russia are talking about an ice age; they’ve probably gone over the edge, but they have a point. The sun is in a very quiet phase. A cooling trend is under way.
South America has had the worst winter in 50 years. China has had the worst winter in 50 years. The United States is having a real old-fashioned winter. Alaska just finished one of the worst cold spells in a couple of decades — I didn’t see any press on it at all, but it was 40 below for seven days straight in Fairbanks. Another Alaskan community had 72 below, some of the coldest weather they’ve ever seen in modern times in Alaska. The Arctic ice cap that we heard all about melting last summer is frozen up.
TNA: Are you hopeful that you and many of the other scientists may be able to head this off before a Kyoto-style political solution is put in place?
Coleman: What things can we hope for through your efforts, mine, and those of thousands of others who know the truth? We can hope that we can begin to change some public opinion and calm the fears, so that maybe our government won’t spend billions and billions and billions of dollars on silliness.
And we can hope to all live for another 20 years so we can look back and have the last laugh.