When did global warming become climate change?
On May 15, 2013, "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature" was published in "Environmental Research Letters" by a group who referred to themselves as "citizen scientists." In the "letter" that reported their findings, they made a claim that "97.1% [of scientists surveyed] endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming" (emphasis added). On May 16, 2013, President Barack Obama tweeted, " Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree #climatechange [emphasis added] is real, man-made and dangerous."
It is unclear whether President Obama made an inadvertent error in quoting the report findings or if he purposefully rephrased the conclusion. In his film, An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore refers to "global warming," as do many academic societies, the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other world politicians. Today, however, the term "climate change" is used almost exclusively by the proponents of the global warming hypothesis instead of the term "global warming." Climate change blames severe weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, floods, extreme heat and cold, mudslides, wildfires, and other natural events on man's activities and their impact on the environment.
In its seminal report in 1990, the IPCC predicted that "[u]nder the IPCC Business-as-Usual (Scenario A) emissions of greenhouse gases ... global mean temperature [emphasis added] will increase by 1°C by 2025." The average increase in the temperature anomaly for the lower troposphere (first 8 km of the Earth's atmosphere) for that period was 0.402°C (about 0.01°C per year), about 40% of the U.N. IPCC prediction and well within the measurement margin of error. Measured increases in the temperature of the land mass and oceans were even less.
The purpose of this analysis is not to point out the significant error that the U.N. IPCC made in its prediction. (It has been consistently wrong since its inception.) The point is that the U.N. IPCC defined climate change as an increase in the Earth's average temperature, and it linked the predicted rise in the Earth's mean temperature to an increase in the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide or CO2. As a result, the public adopted the phrase "global warming," and it stuck, at least for a while.
Since accurate measurements of the lower troposphere temperature began to be measured by NOAA satellites in 1979, the average temperature anomaly has increased by 0.13°C/decade, or 0.013°C/yr., well within the measurement margin of error. It should be noted that from 1979 to 1998, the temperature anomaly decreased every year — global cooling. Arguably, this value is within the measurement margin of error, and it certainly does not constitute a heat wave! Since 2000, NOAA's Argo Float Program has measured changes in the temperature of the world's oceans to be 0.02°C/decade or 0.002°C/yr. This value is well within the margin of error and is not statistically significant. Finally, NOAA records on the temperature of the land mass indicate an increase in average surface temperature of 2°F for the period 1880–2020. That is an increase of 0.014 °F per year, well within the measurement margin of error during a time when temperature measurements were made with thermometers graduated in 1, 3, and 5°F increments. Clearly, the temperature database of the Earth's land, ocean, and atmosphere show no significant increase.
But what about the CO2 concentration in the Earth's atmosphere? Has it changed?
Since 1980, the global mean average CO2 concentration in the Earth's atmosphere has risen from 340 ppm (parts per million) to 420 ppm, an increase of 23.5%. CO2 emissions from the Earth into the atmosphere result from natural causation and anthropogenic (man-made) emissions.
Natural causes include wildfires, volcanic eruptions (both above and below the Earth's surface), decomposing vegetation, and outgassing from the ocean. Anthropogenic emissions result primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels in internal combustion engines, manufacturing facilities, and electric power plants. How much of the increase of 80 ppm in CO2 concentration is due to natural causation versus man-made activities? No one knows. There has been no significant, if any, warming of the Earth's land mass, atmosphere or oceans during the period when CO2 concentration increased. Therefore, there cannot be a correlation between a rising level of CO2 in the atmosphere and global warming, since there has been no significant global warming.
In my book, titled Global Warming: The Great Deception — The Triumph of Dollars and Politics Over Science and Why You Should Care, I disprove all of President Obama's claims. First, I analyze the citizens' science project to demonstrate that their data do not support the claim that 97% of the scientists believe that humans have caused global warming. Second, I cite peer-reviewed research in the relevant scientific fields of thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, atmospheric physics, and spectroscopy to prove that CO2 (man-made or otherwise) does not cause global warming. In addition, I use publicly available data from the world's temperature databases to prove that there has been no significant global warming of the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, or land mass.
The proponents of the fraudulent man-made global warming hypothesis seem to have an identity problem. If the "climate problem" is no longer global warming, but climate change, what is the mechanism to link man to climate change? If there is no global warming, an increase in CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere has not caused global warming. But if man's emissions of CO2 have not caused global warming, how can man's activities be linked to climate change? Might it be time for a new hypothesis?
Guy K. Mitchell, Jr. is the author of a new book, titled Global Warming: The Great Deception — The Triumph of Dollars and Politics over Science and Why You Should Care.
Image via Public Domain Pictures.