Study Claiming Rapid Arctic Ice Melt Refuted at Climate Summit (, Dec. 14, 2004)

A couple days ago I was listening to the BBC, and they had a couple guests on who were debating the issue of climate change. I only heard part of the show and didn't catch their names, but it was pretty interesting that even the BBC felt compelled to present both sides of the issue. The guest who was skeptical that human activity was the source of climate change noted there is no consensus among scientists that humans are responsible for global warming, and his debater didn't try to claim otherwise. They had people calling in from a number of different countries, and if what I heard was representative, most were skeptical about the need for implementing the Kyoto accords.

  Among those on the other side was a guy from Bangladesh who was incensed that his country was allegedly going to "sink" under the ocean because of developed world emissions. He claimed that Bangladesh has "already achieved" the low-emission goals that the U.S. and Europe were aiming for. Yeah, right! They never had the development to begin with, and to boast of this "achievement" in a country where large numbers of people regularly die in natural disasters due to a lack of the infrastructure that comes with development is a sick joke! Not to mention that fears of Bangladesh sinking beneath the waves are just not supported by the evidence, whether or not climate change is human caused (see information in the article below on how much sea levels are expected to rise even under global warming scenarios compared to how much they've already risen). I suspect even the guest who believed we must take expensive action to reduce climate change was embarrassed by some of the arguments being advanced by callers supporting his position.

  Anyway, if you still believe (or your media outlet is still reporting) that it might be worth spending billions of dollars to try to correct something that may or not be causing a problem which may or may not be happening -- rather than, say, spending the money to fight poverty, or to reduce the spread of AIDS in poor countries -- I hope you'll take a minute to read this informative piece on the Buenos Aires climate summit.

Peace, love & liberty,
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Study Claiming Rapid Arctic Ice Melt Refuted at Climate Summit
By Marc Morano Senior Staff Writer
December 14, 2004

Buenos Aires, Argentina ( - A researcher who predicts a rapid melt in the Arctic region presented his findings to participants at the United Nations climate change conference here on Monday, but many conference participants questioned the validity of the science used in the study.

Robert Corell, the chair of the international Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), summed up the findings of his group's report, saying, "We are now experiencing some very rapid and severe climate change in the Arctic."

The study, entitled "Impacts of a Warming Arctic," concludes that climate change will accelerate over the next 100 years, "contributing to major physical, ecological, social and economic changes," Corell said during his presentation to a packed conference room at the meeting.

Corell warned that the rise in sea levels from the projected melting of Greenland's ice shelf could have major impacts on coastal areas worldwide.

But Myron Ebell of the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) refuted Corell and his international commission's report on Arctic melting.

"The temperature graph [of the Arctic used in the ACIA study] does not agree with any of the known [temperature] data sets for the Arctic. In other words, who knows where they got this data from," Ebell told

Ebell, who is attending the U.N. climate change summit, is the director of international environmental policy for CEI. He believes that alarm over the projected melting of Greenland's ice shelf is misplaced.

"It was warmer in 1000 A.D. than it is today, and Greenland had much less ice cover back then," Ebell said.

But Correll presented his case for a quick and alarming Arctic melt with confidence. "It's happening there and it's happening rapid[ly]... Places that used to be frozen year round are now opening up," Corell said.

"The preponderance of evidence is that the observed warming on the planet and most definitely in the Arctic over the last 30 to 50 years is due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations," he added.

Rising sea levels, changes in animal habitats and possible changes in ocean currents are some of the potential problems the Earth faces, according to the ACIA report.

But Ebell questioned why rising Arctic temperatures are something to fear. "If global warming in the Arctic is such a problem, why do 80 percent of Canadians live within 50 miles of the U.S. border?" Ebell asked rhetorically.

"If Canada warmed up a bit they might be able to live in more of their own country," he added.

'Did anyone notice?'

Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a book that debunks what he sees as flawed eco-science, also dismissed concerns about the catastrophic impacts of rising sea levels.

"We are probably gong to see sea levels rise about 50 centimeters over the coming century. Now that is a substantial amount, but what we don't remember is that in the last century they rose somewhere between 10 and 25 centimeters -- and did anyone notice? I mean it is something we dealt with," Lomborg told

Lomborg is in Buenos Aires trying to convince world governments to worry less about climate change and worry more about what he considers the pressing problems of AIDS in Africa, world poverty, and inadequate sanitation.

He said rising sea levels aren't going to be a big problem. "It's going to be a challenge and it's going to cost us money," Lomborg said, "but it's going to be something we will deal with."

Lomborg believes that focusing on the Kyoto Protocol to help ward off rising sea levels is unrealistic.

"They are going to rise, but the point is with Kyoto, we are going to postpone that rising for only about six years in 2100 -- that is it," he said.

Corell of the ACIA study did concede that there is not much the world can do to stop rising sea levels.

"What would happen if we did in fact reduce C02 emissions over the next 100 years -- in a very concerted effort -- what would happen to sea-level rise? It would take literally over a thousand years for the sea level to stop rising as a consequence of what we have done over the last 150 years," Corell said during his presentation.

Arctic report 'debunks itself'

Other analysts and scientists have debunked the notion that Arctic ice is melting as a result of human activity.

Steven Milloy, who hosts the website, wrote an essay in November refuting the ACIA report on Arctic melting.

"The report...pretty much debunks itself on page 23 in the graph labeled "Observed Arctic Temperature, 1900 to Present," Milloy wrote.

"The graph shows that Arctic temperatures fluctuate naturally in regular cycles that are roughly 40 years long. The Arctic seems currently to be undergoing a warming phase - similar to the one experienced between 1920 and 1950 - which will likely be followed by a cooling phase - similar to the once experienced between 1950 and 1990," Milloy said.

Milloy also disputed the ACIA's claim that "global warming could cause polar bears to go extinct by the end of the century by eroding the sea ice that sustains them."

"...the notion of a declining polar bear population doesn't square well with available information," Milloy wrote.

"A Canadian Press Newswire story earlier this year reported that in three Arctic villages, polar bears 'are so abundant there's a public safety issue.' Inuit hunters wanted to be able to kill more bears because they are 'fearsome predators,'" he wrote.

Milloy said that if polar bears are getting skinnier, it probably does not have anything to do with climate change, but overpopulation as a larger bear population competes for the same level of resources.

Despite the numerous critiques of the ACIA's report on Arctic melting, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, held a Senate hearing in November to hear testimony from some of the report's authors.

Because the hearing did not feature any scientists who believed the Arctic study to be scientifically flawed, McCain was criticized for not holding balanced hearings on Arctic melting.

Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, the author of a new book Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media, told in November that McCain's hearing was probably "the most biased hearing" he had ever seen on Capitol Hill.

See Related Articles:
UN Climate Conference Called 'Meeting About Nothing' (Dec. 13, 2004)
Essay Claiming 'Scientific Consensus' for Global Warming is Ridiculed (Dec. 7, 2004)
Meteorologist Likens Fear of Global Warming to 'Religious Belief' (Dec. 2, 2004)