NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 18, 2004

A new report on the impact of global warming on the Arctic warns of impending danger to coastal areas from erosion and storms, and among other things, the economic and cultural impacts on indigenous people.

However, the recently released summary of the report (the actual report is not available until January) presents more questions and contradictions than it answers, says National Post writer Ken Green:

  • The 140-page summary includes only three pages discussing observable changes in the Arctic sea ice.
  • From 1950 onward, sea ice has been steadily declining, yet the temperature from 1957 to 1978 was colder than usual.
  • The report, compiled by some 250 scientific contributors, only had seven "outside" reviewers, just one of them was an Arctic climatologist, while three were associated with advocacy groups.
  • The researchers are confident about their projections, yet they are using the same regional climate modeling that many experts have claimed is too limited for fine-scale predictions.

Furthermore, Australian economists Ian Castles and David Henderson have reported the chosen scenarios used in the report, and supported by the United Nations, are "deeply flawed." They overstate future greenhouse gas emissions by overstating the expected economic growth rate of developing countries, say Castles and Henderson.

Source: Ken Green, "Arctic Warming Scare Continues, Despite Meager Data," National Post, November 16, 2004; and Susan Joy Hassol, "Impacts of a Warming Arctic," Cambridge University Press, 2004.

For NP text (subscription required)


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