NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Many Scientists Reject Global Warming Theories

January 18, 2000

The recent report from a National Research Council panel assessing temperature fluctuations -- and concluding that there has probably been a rise in the Earth's temperature -- has drawn praise from environmental activists, but criticism from sectors of the scientific community.

Critics point out that even if surface temperatures have risen, which is still debatable, that does not establish that the cause is the burning of fossil fuels.

Scientists fault the report on a number of points:

  • To begin with, the panel's report waffles on the central issue -- saying that the differences between surface and atmospheric temperature levels led them to conclude that the disparity "is probably at least partially real."
  • It also states that uncertainties in all of the records are too great to draw conclusions about the relative effects of volcanic eruptions, measurement errors due to localized human activity in urban areas, instrument errors, human release of greenhouse gases and other factors.
  • Some scientists contend that the current warming trend began about 300 years ago and this rising trend and fluctuations within it are closely correlated with solar activity.
  • They argue that Earth temperatures are now near the 3,000-year average and are not unusual.

For these and other reasons, more than 17,000 American scientists have signed a petition opposing the Kyoto treaty -- which aims at sharply reducing energy use.

Looking on the bright side, some experts theorize that what they term "carbon dioxide fertilization" could been a boon to mankind -- accelerating the growth of more plants and animals, and increasing farm production.

Source: Arthur B. Robinson and Noah Robinson (both chemists at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine), "Global Warming Is 300-Year-Old News," Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2000.


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