>> 13 Sep 2004

A FEW HOME TRUTHS ON "GLOBAL WARMING."



The wild distortions of the mainstream liberal media on the topic of alleged global warming are laid bare by this little story.



BACKGROUND:



The Associated Press ran a global warming story that makes the following statements:



"Carbon dioxide, the gas largely blamed for global warming, has reached record-high levels in the atmosphere after growing at an accelerated pace in the past year..."



"Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space."



"Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases."






Faulty "news" stories like this one, which mislead people all over the world, are one of many alarmist global warming reports by the news media that do not reflect a consensus of scientists. What is more alarming than what scientists genuinely know about global warming is that a media outlet as influential as the AP would run a wire story this faulty, and that so many news editors would be gullible enough to run it.





DISCUSSION: A brief refutation:



Quote 1: The AP said: "Carbon dioxide, the gas largely blamed for global warming, has reached record-high levels in the atmosphere after growing at an accelerated pace in the past year..."

Facts: Carbon dioxide is not the major greenhouse gas (water vapor is).



Carbon dioxide accounts for less than ten percent of the greenhouse effect, as carbon dioxide's ability to absorb heat is quite limited.3



Only about 0.03 percent of the Earth's atmosphere consists of carbon dioxide (nitrogen, oxygen, and argon constitute about 78 percent, 20 percent, and 0.93 percent of the atmosphere, respectively).



The sun, not a gas, is primarily to "blame" for global warming -- and plays a very key role in global temperature variations as well.





Quote 2: The AP said: "Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space."



Fact: Most of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not come from the burning of fossil fuels. Only about 14 percent of it does.





Quote 3: The AP said: "Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases."



Facts: Most of 20th Century global warming occurred in the first few decades of that century,6 before the widespread burning of fossil fuels (and before 82 percent of the increase in atmospheric CO2 observed in the 20th Century).



The Earth does not have "world governments." It doesn't even have even one, as the United Nations is not a government, but an association of nations.



If the AP is referring to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the AP should become aware that the IPCC report itself (the part written by scientists) reached no consensus on climate change. What did reach a conclusion was an IPCC "summary for policymakers" prepared by political appointees. Most reporters quote only the summary, being either too lazy or too undereducated to understand the actual report. This does not explain, however, why reporters don't more frequently interview scientists who helped prepare it -- scientists such as IPCC participant Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, who says the IPCC report is typically "presented as a consensus that involves hundreds, perhaps thousands, of scientists... and none of them was asked if they agreed with anything in the report except for the one or two pages they worked on." Lindzen also draws a sharp distinction between the scientists' document and its politicized summary: "the document itself is informative; the summary is not."



From the excellent National Center for Public Policy Research.

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