Former vice president and current global-warming alarm entrepreneur Al Gore has found a new group to scare: investors. Last week Gore released a report claiming fossil fuels are an investment bubble and businesses heavily invested in “carbon” fuel technologies are headed for a crash at some unspecified time in the future. Gore’s premise is that these fuels and the businesses that depend on them will lose value rapidly as governments place more and more restrictions on their use.
The organization behind much of the government action is the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which recently released its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Once again the IPCC has concluded mankind is causing dangerous climate change. On the plus side of the energy ledger, just before the IPCC report was released, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released the first volume of its latest report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science (CCR-II). It is a powerful scientific counter to the IPCC’s theory of manmade global warming.
This is important because a large majority of heads of state around the world say they still believe humans are causing dangerous climate change. The IPCC — a project of the United Nations — has been remarkably successful in convincing people the world will suffer disastrous consequences if humans do not immediately and dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Since its establishment in 1988, the IPCC has been cited by national, provincial, state, and local governments and activists as the basis for dirigiste government control of the economy and consumer decisions. Among these government interventions are carbon taxes, cap-and-trade schemes, renewable energy mandates, ethanol and biodiesel fuel mandates, electric car subsidies, the ban on incandescent light bulbs, and other such constraints.
The IPCC and its abettors in governments across the world have thus held everyone hostage to policies that have handicapped society, wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, raised energy costs, and stalled efforts to lead developing nations out of poverty. All of this was based on mathematical models alleged to emulate the world’s climate, models that in fact have had no ability ever to successfully predict future climate or even reproduce the climate of recent years for which the data are known.
Alarmists continually make false claims of a scientific consensus for their position. That’s a myth. The reality is this: In 2007 the Global Warming Petition Project published a list of more than 31,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s, stating, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”
Meanwhile, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) published Climate Change Reconsidered in 2009 as the first scientific rebuttal to the findings of the IPCC. That report provided an alternative view of climate change by supplying comprehensive information on thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers the IPCC had ignored and which indicated climate change is a natural process and the human contribution is tiny. In 2011, the NIPCC updated the 2009 work with an Interim Report.
Then, a few weeks ago, the NIPCC released Climate Change Reconsidered II, a 1,000-page report written by a global team of 47 scientists referencing thousands of additional peer-reviewed scientific papers showing the human role in climate change is negligible. The report concludes the late-twentieth global warming was entirely within the normal range of cyclical climate change and almost certainly caused by natural factors. The book also notes the climate models used by the IPCC projected a warming of more than 0.3°C over the last 15 years, but instead the global temperature has stayed flat or even cooled during that period.
The one thing Gore is right about is that many governments around the world seem determined to destroy their economies by forcing people and industry to “decarbonize.” We’d better hope they fail, especially here in the United States, because we’ll all go broke if governments continue to make energy production more expensive and further bog down the world’s already stagnant economy.
Jay Lehr (email@example.com) is science director of The Heartland Institute. Steve Goreham is executive director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of “The Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.”