NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 14, 2004

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has publicly expressed deep concern over what he sees as rapid Artic warming as a direct result of human activity on earth. But climatologist Patrick J. Michaels and astrophysicist Sallie Baliunas say McCain's fears are misplaced. Nevertheless the media will continue to play up the senator's message.

McCain asserts that the arrival of wildlife never previously seen in the Artic region and the receding glaciers are evidence of human-caused global warming. The two scientists dispute this view, noting that:

  • It is widely understood by climatologists that the Artic region was warmer 4,000 to 7,000 years ago; past warming of the Artic could not be blamed on greenhouse gas emissions because it occurred prior to the industrial era.
  • Antarctica has been cooling for the last 50 years; most of the Artic has not warmed over long time scales.

Baliunas summarizes her skepticism: "Temperatures [have] always changed in the past and [they] always will. It can either go up or it goes down. We don't have enough understanding of natural variability and we don't see enormous amounts of temperature change to be alarmed about."

Michaels adds that the scientific literature is full of skepticism, but newspapers choose not to include this view, preferring instead to publish a stories about the end of the world due to global warming.

Source: Marc Morano, "John McCain's Global Warming Hearings Blasted by Climatologist,", November 19, 2004.


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