Horner challenges climate change data
Much of current global warming theory is based on distortions of scientific evidence, blind devotion to simple notion, and outright greed, according to a speaker at the American Farm Bureau's 91st annual meeting.
Christopher Horner, a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, contended that the theory suffers from problems with the measurement of the earth temperature and its interpretation. Comprehensive data collected since the Middle Ages reveal a natural process of fluctuation in average temperature. These data have been derived from studies of tree rings, ice cores and thermometer readings.
"The climate has always changed," Horner said. "The question is, how does society respond to it--hysterically or rationally?"
Since the late 19th century, the earth's average temperature has increased by an average of one degree Fahrenheit.
"When it's warm, there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," he said. Thus, the presence of higher concentrations of the gas, as detected in recent atmospheric samples, is not necessarily proof that the condition was created by human action.
Moreover, a careful assessment of late 20th century and early 21st century temperature data contradicts global warming theory.
"There is no net warming," Horner declared. "In fact, there has been a slight decline (in temperature) since 2001."
The reliability of temperature data gathered during this period is itself subject to question, according to Horner.
"Between 1985 and 2000 we had the hottest decade in history," he pointed out. "But there was no measurement at Siberian temperature stations." Much of the data collection was concentrated in urban locations in Europe and the United States. The resultant evidence shows an "urban heat island effect," not a comprehensive portrait of the subject.
Late last year, the revelations of leaked e-mail correspondence from certain climate scientists posed the likelihood of a more sinister danger associated with global warming theory. The so-called "ClimateGate" episode, Horner claimed, showed that many scientists are more interested in garnering research dollars with little additional investigation than with engaging in independent investigations. The episode "warrants an immediate stay of further steps" in any public policy guided by the theory.
Horner lampooned the reliance members of Congress have placed upon such theory in proposing climate change legislation now under consideration.
"It is all pain, no gain," he said. "It is all empty gesture. It is a rationing scheme under which the state decides how much of something you may use. It will raise the price of energy."
He urged farmers and ranchers to examine critically the "offsets" offered by the legislation. These features of the legislation amount to an "accounting gimmick" that will not aid agricultural producers or most other members of U.S. society. "Your input costs and everybody else's will rise," Horner predicted. "The free lunch is not there and you will be next."
Misguided congressional legislation should be abandoned, Horner said. "It is premised on demonstrably false results. It would accomplish wealth transfers and not affect the climate. It's about revenues, rents and ideologies."
He cited the product of the recent climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, as an example of the lack of effectiveness of such schemes. "It was a historic agreement to meet again next year," Horner said.
Agricultural producers and other citizens of this country must confront the issue directly and insert rationality into the debate, Horner explained. He believes demand for reliable, comprehensive scientfic evidence is the first place to begin.
"We want a richer world to deal with something that is always going to happen, not a poorer world," Horner concluded.