by Tom Harris
Carleton University Professor Tim Patterson concluded his December 15th Canadian Senate testimony by saying, “If back in the mid‑1990s we had known what we know about climate change today, there would have been no Kyoto Protocol because it would have been considered unnecessary.”
According to Patterson and the three other scientists testifying to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Energy, The Environment and Natural Resources, Kyoto’s underlying science foundation is wrong. Human greenhouse gas emissions do not drive climate change. Canada’s climate policies are mostly a waste of money.
Never before have a team of climate ‘realists’ testified before any committee, in the Senate or the Commons.
Guelph University Professor of Economics Dr. Ross McKitrick led off the hearing by explaining how Kyoto was worse than the problem it was supposed to solve: “..if all the signatories to the Kyoto Protocol complied with their commitments, the level of carbon dioxide …we would have observed by 2100 would instead have been reached by about 2105,” said McKitrick. “When a policy is proposed that is too costly to implement and yields benefits that are too small to measure, you would expect reasonable people to see it as a bad idea.”
“The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] is not a neutral observer of the scientific process. Instead, it has a party line,” asserted McKitrick. The IPCC’s many problems, including “a toothless peer‑review process, means that IPCC assessments are guaranteed merely to repeat and reinforce a set of foregone conclusions.”
McKitrick explained how his research showed that much of the warming seen in the IPCC surface temperature record is almost certainly a result of urbanization, agriculture and other land use change, not greenhouse gases. He also found that the 50-year record of temperatures measured by balloons do not show the warming trend forecast by climate models.
University of Ottawa (U of O) Professor of Earth Sciences Dr. Ian Clark then described climate over the last half billion years, including the Little Ice Age, “a period when glaciers advanced globally. Agriculture failures were common. The Greenland colonies failed.” From 1900 we experienced “warming up to the 1940s, cooling again through the 1950s and 1960s to the mid 1970s, and then a second warming trend through the 1980s and 1990s,” explained Clark. “We have not really seen any global warming for the past 10 years. This is in stark contrast with the IPCC forecast of an increase of some 0.2 degrees per decade…”
Clark then showed that 20th century warming is one of a series of warm periods in the last 10,000 years, intervals in which carbon dioxide (CO2) was relatively steady. “CO2 had nothing to do with these warming periods,” he concluded.
Clark’s showed that over the last 500 million years, there is no correlation between temperature and CO2 levels. He explained that it is water vapour, not CO2, that is responsible for most of the greenhouse effect.
Finally, Clark reviewed the theory that the sun, not CO2, is driving climate change and concluded, “It is time to turn our attention to real…environmental problems.”
Dr. Jan Veizer, U of O Distinguished University Professor, began, “Many people think the science of climate change is settled. It is not.”
Veizer explained that the sun “drives the water cycle; the water cycle then generates climate, and climate decides how much jungle, how much tundra and so on we will have, and therefore drives around the carbon cycle.”
“The sun also warms the oceans that emit CO2 into the atmosphere,” said Veizer. “Atmospheric CO2 is thus the product and not the cause of the climate.”
Veizer explained that solar output must be amplified to explain recent warming. “The IPCC argues that because no amplifier is known,…man‑made greenhouse gases must be responsible,” said Veizer. “However, this is an assumption…There is no actual empirical experimental proof that carbon dioxide is a driver”, yet the climate modelers take it for granted.
Veizer then showed that changes in cloudiness can account for much of the warming of the past century. Changes in cloud cover has an enormous impact on Earth’s temperature, he explained, and these variations appear to be controlled largely by cosmic rays entering the atmosphere, which are regulated by the sun. This theory also accounts for climate change over the past 10,000 years.
Patterson discussed how his research in the fjords of British Columbia has revealed consistent correlations between solar cycles and climate over the past 5,000 years.
“Hundreds of other studies have shown exactly the same thing,” said Patterson. “The sun, and not variations in carbon dioxide, appears to be the most important driver of climate change.”
“Solar scientists predict that by later in this decade the sun will be starting into its weakest solar cycle of the past two centuries, and this will likely lead to unusually cool conditions on earth, which may persist for decades,” Patterson warned. “It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world.”
Patterson next outlined his research on the Tibbitt to Contwoyto winter ice road in northern Canada, 85% of which is built over frozen lakes. Patterson has identified natural cycles that allow him to forecast “a period spanning several decades where conditions will remain suitable for continued extensive use of the ice road.”
Some of the Senators seemed surprised with the testimonies. Others were relieved to hear that their skepticism was scientifically justified. Only Alberta Senator Grant Mitchell had a closed mind, asserting during the hour long Q&A that “to believe these arguments is to believe some kind of strange conspiracy theory...”
Patterson challenged Mitchell to come to one of the large earth sciences conferences where the skeptical point of view is supported by many researchers.
Yukon Senator Daniel Lang challenged the scientists, to “...do everything you can to get out and to have that public debate, …especially since, as Mr. Patterson's research has indicated, we may well be looking at a cooling period for quite some time. If that is the case, then we really better have a look at what we are doing.”
Quebec Senator Paul Massicotte said, “Scientists should be debating and contesting each other constantly. That is what allows the cream to rise to the top…Let us hope you cause this to be heard and continue your good debate.”
Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ClimateScienceInternational.org).