Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Top Lukewarmist Fred Singer Now Admits CO2 Cools Climate

The article below seems to have been unfairly neglected so I am republishing it

One of the world’s most respected climate scientists, Dr Fred Singer, publishes an article admitting that top scientists have privately been conceding that carbon dioxide (CO2) DOES act to cool the atmosphere. Now some are going public.

With ‘Does the Greenhouse Gas CO2 cool the climate?‘ (April 2, 2018) Professor Singer, emeritus professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia admits “Much further work awaits!” as ever more peer-reviewed papers are abandoning the so-called greenhouse gas theory, 17 such papers have been published in recent months.  [1]

Singer’s latest admission, while accompanied with the usual nuanced middle-of-the-road lukewarming equivocations, will be regarded as a boost to the findings of 1,300+ independent scientists and researchers (The ‘Slayers’) at Principia Scientific International (PSI). Since publication of their ground-breaking book (2010) the ‘Slayers’ have insisted that empirical scientific evidence (not climate models) proves CO2 cools the climate. As such, the trace atmospheric gas (a mere 0.04 percent by volume) therefore cannot be blamed for global warming or act as earth’s climate’s control knob.

Singer’s  latest admission proves there is a growing and undeniable intellectual schism among the world’s leading climate experts. Singer reveals the change of thinking has come after private discussions with the brightest and best, including Professor William Happer. Happer called climate science “a glassy-eyed cult.”

The greenhouse gas theory predicts that more CO2 in the air causes higher temperatures by “trapping” heat and/or delaying cooling. Even NASA had bought into the non-science nonsense that CO2 was guilty and earth’s atmosphere acts like a greenhouse, but well refuted in ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory.’ In the eight years since publication, this important book is being vindicated by the real world evidence, so something has clearly gone awry with the theory. Even to non-scientists, it is very clear that ever-rising levels of atmospheric CO2 are out of step with global temperatures, which have remained stubbornly flat for a generation.

Professor Singer writes of the “puzzling ineffectiveness of the greenhouse gas (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2) in warming the climate” and illustrates his point with the telling graph [2] below:

Implying that government climate science has been on the wrong track since the 1980’s Singer observes:

“Such is the power of group-think that even experts, with some exception, find the idea that CO2 might cool the climate difficult to accept.“

That “some exception” is Principia Scientific International (PSI). PSI has been forthright in challenging both alarmists and lukewarmists to openly and publicly debate the theory, but there have been no takers. In 2015 the ‘Slayers’ drew ire from Singer after senior PSI scientist, Joseph E Postma published ‘Dr Fred Singer’s Position Consistent with No Radiative Greenhouse Gas Effect.’

Postma, a young Canadian space scientist, had the temerity to claim Singer stood apart from other lukewarmers and was “converging on the truth” after Singer published an article where he conceded climate sensitivity to CO2 was “close to zero.” At the time Singer confessed:

“I should note that I am somewhat out of step here with my fellow skeptics. Few of them would agree with me that the climate sensitivity (CS) is indeed close to zero. I will have to publish the analyses to prove my point and try to convince them. Of course, nothing, no set of facts, will ever convince the confirmed climate alarmists.” [3]

Fellow PSI scientist, Dr Pierre R Latour spoke of discussions he had with Singer, both in person and in emails. At the time Singer conceded there were problems with the GHE when assessing molecular transition and lapse rate. Latour wrote:

“I met Singer at his University of Houston lecture hosted by Prof Larry Bell on February 6, 2012 and his several talks at the latest Heartland Institute ICCC, Las Vegas, July 7-9, 2014….Singer correctly notes there are several different temperatures involved; a source of confusion I discovered years ago. The Greenhouse Gas Effect Theory (GHE) literature is intellectually incoherent, a mess. He is correct to point out atmospheric global warming ceased since 1997 until now, 2014. The globe warms about half the time, 4.6 billion/2 = 2.3 billion years. It cools half the time also.

Singer now thinks it is possible that CO2 could be the one ‘greenhouse gas’ that “produces cooling of the climate when its molecular transitions are in a region of positive lapse rate.”

Professor Singer points to persuasive new scientific findings now triggering a reassessment of CO2’s role in climate. Singer clarified further:

“Another example is temperature over the winter poles [Happer – private communication; Flanner et al. GRL 2018]. While the climate cooling is not obvious, it counters [conventional] GH warming.”

While Singer, Happer et al. play catch up elsewhere climate realism has taken hold already. Even in Japan, scientists are pointing out the hidden fatal errors James Hansen et al. rely on and another paper in 2018 shows how our planet’s temperature is easily explained without reliance on any GHE. Recently, Russian scientists have declared the ‘greenhouse gas’ science is dead as global cooling sets in; while a team of Italian scientists are demanding a wider and “deep re-examination” of the failing theory.


The Green/Left Is an Existential Threat

The March 2020 issue of Fortune magazine focused on the "existential threat" to the Earth posed by global warming, despite the fact that no significant global warming seems to be taking place.  With its appealing cover art — an image of the Earth tied up in a plastic trash bag — this issue is just what I'd expect from a liberal outfit.

It's typical of climate alarmists to begin by assuming their premise: warming is an existential threat because, well, it is.  And anyone who questions that premise is a criminal.

Just what is meant by "existential threat" is a bit vague.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez famously announced that the Earth would come to an end by 2030.  No more life on the planet, no more planet.  That means that the planet somehow evaporates or shatters into a billion bits that go flying around in space.  Unless we give up everything to a totalitarian socialist government headed by Ocasio-Cortez and the like.

Is this what Fortune means by declaring that "our warming earth is an existential threat"?  Fortune's editor-in-chief is Clifton Leaf.  In addition to editorial positions at a number of other publications, Leaf has written for the New York Times and appeared on Charlie Rose, CNN, and NPR, among other places.  No mention of Fox News.  An untarnished résumé of a life inside the liberal bubble.

It would have been more convincing if Fortune had painstakingly authenticated global warming, documenting just how much and when the Earth's climate has warmed, if it has, and showing the source of that warming.  It would also be more convincing if that analysis had stretched back over a reasonable period of geologic time — say 40,000 years — to demonstrate that current warming, if it exists, is not just a blip in Earth's history, but a significant departure, which it is not.  It was warmer than now, for example, in the Medieval Warm Period (900–1300 A.D.).  As the illustrious historian Norman Cantor has shown, that period coincided with great advances in human civilization in Europe — advances made possible by increased wealth and population resulting from warmer temperatures.

The Medieval Warm Period is estimated to have been one degree Celsius warmer than current temperatures, yet there was no "existential threat."  Far from it: 900 to 1300 A.D. was the period in which Europe's monumental cathedrals were built; its population expanded rapidly; and humans settled Iceland, Greenland, and, for a short time, North America.  Civilization flourished as a result of global warming.  (England's 11th-century population is estimated at 2 million, growing to "5 or 6 million by the end of the 13th century.")  If human beings prospered during the Medieval Warm Period, why not today?

Even Fortune acknowledges that many northern regions will flourish if predictions of warming come to pass.  By 2100, for instance, Canada's GDP will increase by 246.7% and Russia's by 419.1%, while warmer regions may suffer.  North Dakota will flourish as seniors migrate from Florida in search of cooler breezes.

How, exactly, do climate scientists know that Russia's economy will expand by 419.1% by 2100 or that India's will decline by 91.8%?  That estimate is taken from a 2017 article (Hsiang et al.) in Science magazine.  I'm sure Hsiang et al. worked overtime to create such a precise model of the effect of climate change on economic growth.  The problem is that none of those doomsday predictions has worked out in the past.  In the 1970s, Paul and Anne Ehrlich published The Population Bomb, which claimed that humans were on the verge of mass starvation.  According to the Ehrlichs, the Earth's food production could support only 8 billion people, and we're already at 7 billion.  The Ehrlichs seemed repelled by the masses of people living in China and India and at the purported wastefulness of those in developed countries like the U.S.

As another example, Alvin Toffler's series of "future shock" books were taken seriously back in the 1970s   Toffler, by the way, was also an associate editor of Fortune.

Now another futurist is telling us that the Ehrlichs "may have underestimated" the risk: it's not mass starvation, but the planet itself we have to be worried about.  David A. Sinclair is a specialist on human longevity, and he sees catastrophe ahead if we continue to consume and waste.

The solution, as always for such prognosticators, is strict regulation.  No more fossil fuels, no more plastic, no more big homes and big cars.  According to Sinclair, even monks in the U.S. are living twice as wastefully as we need to: imagine a brown woolen robe, a bowl of roots, and a bunk in an unheated hovel.  Now, that's what we need to keep things going!

The reality is just the opposite.  Given the evidence that exists for the benefits of warming, what stands behind the environmental movement's claims of an existential threat?  "Existential" means that the Earth will no longer exist.  Yet the Earth was warmer in the Medieval Warm Period than now, and it continued to exist and even thrive.  The false claim of an existential threat is in fact motivated by political considerations.

And those huddled masses in Bombay and Beijing — they're not the risk but the solution.  Every human being born on this planet is precious and is part of the solution to whatever crises we face in the future.  From those beautiful children — "beggars," the Ehrlichs called them — will come the great minds that lead us toward a better future.

As liberals see it, all human activity can be regulated and restricted on the pretext that all activity contributes to warming.  Even my personal decision to build a home for my family would be strictly regulated, and not from Washington, but from some place like Brussels or Geneva.  Likewise, my decision of what car to purchase, how to work, where and when to travel, and thousands of other personal matters would be decided not by me, but by the global state.

Political and economic control is the real goal of environmentalism.  The radical environmentalist movement is nothing more than another front for the left, whose overarching goal is totalitarian collectivism.  The iconic image for leftists — what leftists really treasure in their hearts — is that of obedient masses marching off to work, row after silent row under the thumb of the State.  Those who rule never see themselves as marching off — they stand on the imperial balconies, basking in the admiration of the workers who pass by.  The achievement of that godlike sense of power underlies all leftist thought.

But capitalism brings economic prosperity, not collectivism.  The impact of the coronavirus has temporarily halted our economic progress, but the benefits of capitalism will outlast the epidemic.  Once the virus is under control, economic activity will increase, and extremely low energy prices will spur economic growth.

There is no reason why the benefits of cheap energy should not continue for decades or centuries to come.  The United States possesses huge reserves of coal, natural gas, and oil.  Coupled with nuclear energy, these fossil fuels should render our country largely free of dependence on foreign energy suppliers — that is, if the environmentalists don't shut them down, as Biden pledges to do.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for signs of the earth's demise in nine and a half years.  Fortune and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez assure me that the end is near.

Here's my prediction: we'll still be here in 2030 — most of us, anyway.  And the Earth will be doing just fine.  Hopefully, a bit warmer.  And if global temperatures do reach the level of the Medieval Warm Period, it will be a blessing, but probably not for long.  Remember the first rule of climate change: temperatures rise and fall, and change is inevitable.

In one sense, Fortune is right: we are facing an "existential crisis," but it is a political crisis, not an environmental one.  The future of American democratic capitalism is threatened by the left, whose members want to transform America into a socialist state.  The Earth is not going to cease to exist in 11 years, but our liberty could if we fail to defend it.


Heartland launches 22 climate science “gatebreakers”

“Gatebreaker” is a word I use to describe a special kind of document that until recently has been few and far between. It is a one or two page nontechnical refutation of a specific alarmist argument. It is something a student or citizen can use to confront an alarmist gatekeeper, hence the name gatebreaker. I wrote about the need for gatebreakers several years ago.

The Heartland Institute has just published a whopping 22 gatebreakers, with more promised. This is a true wealth of important skeptical material, unlike anything we have seen before. My dream is coming true.

A gatebreaker is something a skeptical student can send around to the class when the teacher insists on alarmism. Or something short and simple to send to a journalist in response to an alarmist article, or to a politician making alarmist speeches, or the local blowhard alarmist. It’s power lies in its specificity and its simplicity.

The Heartland website is called “Climate at a Glance” ( which makes it sound softer than it really is, sort of like a pink pistol which you can actually buy. These are not glances; they are hard hitting rebuttals.

Heartland calls these short pieces “summaries” because each summarizes a strong response to a common alarmist claim or argument. The summaries are wide ranging because the climate change debate is like that. There is hard science, but also policy, economics and things in between. Extreme weather gets a lot of attention. Here is a partial list to give the flavor of the mix:

Antarctic Ice Melt


Carbon Dioxide Tax


National Security

Crop Production


Water Levels – Great Lakes

Climate Sensitivity


Sea Level Rise

And my personal favorite: Tipping Point – 1.5 Degrees Celsius Warming

Plus a bunch more.

Here is how Heartland explains it. The what: “This website condenses frequently argued climate issues into one- or two-page “at-a-glance” summaries. Bullet-points at the top provide quick, memorable information. Short summaries of a paragraph or two provide additional depth. Many summaries include powerful visual graphs. Embedded links verify the information.”

And the why: “Climate At A Glance puts frequently argued climate issues into short, concise, summaries that provide the most important, accurate, powerful information. The summaries are designed to provide a library of solid yet simple rebuttals so that legislators, teachers, students, and laymen can easily refute the exaggerations of the so-called “climate crisis.””

Taken together these summaries make a nice short course on the climate change debate.

In addition to refuting the primary alarmist arguments, Heartland might consider adding summaries of positive skeptical arguments related to key issues that alarmists ignore. These include issues like the flaws in the climate models, the little ice age, natural variability, scaring children, the impossibility of 100% renewables, and the incredible benefits of fossil fuels.

Then too it would be very useful if some of these skeptical summaries were specifically geared to the new Next Generation Science Standards. These are just coming into force for many of America’s K-12 students. Climate change is taught in both middle and high school, with a definite slant toward alarmism. Students are required to use climate models in middle school. No doubt these are alarmist models.

Also there is a somewhat different approach, which I have experimented. This is to teach just that there is a serious scientific debate on a given issue. The student is not expected to understand the technical scientific debate. Rather it is like going to visit a big laboratory, to see that a lot of work is being done. This approach is useful in settings where digging into the science would be disruptive.

I do this by first briefly explaining both sides of the issue, then show the student a Google Scholar search on that topic in the recent scientific literature. For example, a search on “little ice age” finds over 10,000 articles in the last five years talking about the LIA. Over 250 have it in their article title. Clearly there is still a ton of research going on. My LIA gatebreaker is at

But possible additions are not a criticism of the present grand package. Heartland’s new collection of gatebreakers is an awesome resource. A clear antidote to climate alarmism at the street level. Spread the word. Climate at a Glance is a game changer.


CFACT: Technology to enable private conservation of oceans?

An interesting article in the Economist suggests that technological development might soon be able to plug one of the holes in a framework of environmental protection known as “Free-Market Environmentalism.” That could extend this alternative to command-and-control environmental regulation to a domain where private solutions have been seen as impossible: the oceans, and wide-ranging migratory fowl.

In a nutshell, free-market environmentalism differs from conventional environmentalism in terms of what it perceives as the causes of environmental degradation and what solutions to those problems might entail. Whereas traditional environmentalism tends to focus on the idea that capitalism and market economies are inherently destructive of the environment. Free-market environmentalism observes that in fact, governmental mis-management is what often leads to what pioneering researcher Garrett Hardin identified as the “tragedy of the commons.”

Hardin observed that if a resource is not owned, with defined property rights. Instead it is free to anyone who wants to use it and will inevitably be over-consumed. We have seen this play out over time as air pollution (air is a commons), water pollution, plastic pollution, over-farming, over-fishing, over-grazing, and just about over-everything.

By contrast, free-market environmentalism observes that historically, it was often establishing and enforcing property rights that led to most successful environmental protection. That in the main, environmental destruction which comes, as Hardin pointed out, not because people hate the environment, but because there is a lack of property rights. This to a point where invested owners have a stake in conserving and protecting the environment because it is in their self-interest to do so.

One of the problems that free-market environmentalism could not reconcile in its earlier forms was trans-jurisdictional (my term) pollution. That is, problems such as air pollution, ocean pollution, and climate change, feature pollutants moving freely between regulatory jurisdictions. All that may have wildly different and often incompatible views of property rights which resist management by property rights. Note that such problems are also generally impossible to address through regulation. This as different regulatory regimes will also have different views of what they want to protect, and for what purposes.

Yet technology may be injecting a new element into the equation of environmental protection. An element which might indeed allow the development of enforceable property rights over the global commons of the world’s oceans.

An article in the Economist describes the development of new technology that could dramatically (and affordably) expand our ability to not only track destructive activities in the oceans, but to trace them back to particular actors and locations. The article describes an initiative by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which, though focused on military defense, has also given us such technologies as the internet, by which you are almost certainly reading this column. DARPA’s initiative is to distribute many thousands of inexpensive, but networked sensors in the oceans that could detect, “…water temperature to wave heights, weather conditions, nearby wildlife and more. All this would then be made freely available to scientific and commercial users.” One example is that floating sensors at the ocean’s surface, for example, could track migratory bird patterns and populations by the frequency of their landing to perch on a sensor.

It is, of course, very early days for this technology, and there is the question of whether the sensors themselves might constitute pollution in some sense, but one could envision using such sensors to track threatened whale populations for example, and identify which vessels, from which point of origin, are harvesting or otherwise threatening endangered whales. That in turn could lead to countries (or private conservation groups) to potentially secure, monitor, and enforce “ownership” of, migratory whale populations. Of course, some will argue that we can’t “own” whales, or put a price on them, but that same argument was made over the protection of elephants in Africa, to African rhinos, to managing coastal fisheries in the US and Canada. In all three of those cases, establishing a rights-based management regime led to superior environmental and economic outcomes.

For those who favor using markets and property rights to protect and manage our environment, technological advances like this might let us expand the framework of free-market environmentalism into realms formerly thought out of its reach: the global atmosphere, the oceans, and migratory wildlife, which have often proven unmanageable by regulatory regimes that are frequently incompatible from one country to another.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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