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History of the global warming scare.

Chapter 3: 1990-1995
Cha-am Jamal, 2010
All rights reserved

1990, SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS CONFIRMS GLOBAL WARMING,


(NYT) Global warming will cause serious environmental damage starting early
in the next century long before the maximum predicted temperature is
reached. We must set limits beyond which the global temperature and sea
level should not be permitted to rise to avoid serious and ever increasing risks
posed by the continued flow of heat trapping gases into the atmosphere at
present rates. The IPCC report serves as a prelude to the Second World
Climate Conference in Geneva later this year.

1990, BUSH ADMINISTRATION COOL ON GLOBAL WARMING. (NYT)


The Bush administration’s global warming policy is tepid because of
conflicting views within the White House where some are skeptical of the
computer models on which forecasts of global climate warming are based
because these models have a history of past failures. These models are not
good enough to form the basis for policy, they say, but that is only an excuse
for inaction. Even though the computer models may not be precise, their
forecasts are so grim that we must take corrective action immediately as we
do not have to luxury of waiting until all the bugs are worked out. These
actions should include preserving tropical forests, banning greenhouse
chemicals, and increasing energy efficiency.

1990, EXPERTS WARN ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING COSTS, A UN panel


of international climate experts came out to strongly support the global
warming theory saying that the buildup of CO2 from fossil fuel consumption
lead to rising temperatures worldwide, altered weather patterns, lower food
production, and rising sea levels. In the long run the cost of inaction exceeds
the cost of mitigation. The panel put political pressure on President Bush who
is not inclined to take costly measures against CO2 as long as there are
credible scientists who oppose the global warming theory and as long as
there is no “scientific consensus” on the issue.

1991, PROMPT ACTION TO CURB GLOBAL WARMING THREAT, The


National Academy of Sciences says US should act quickly to reduce carbon
dioxide emissions by developing new generation nuclear power plants and by
implementing reforestation, mass transit, and higher fuel efficiency standards
for cars. The plan represents a compromise between the more extreme
positions of the EPA and the Bush administration. Despite great uncertainties,
global warming poses a threat sufficient to merit a prompt response.

1991, COST OF REVERSING GREENHOUSE EFFECT WILL BE HIGH,


There is division in the scientific community as to the existence and the
extent of the greenhouse effect. Environmentalists say that a 20% reduction
in CO2 emissions from the industrialized countries is needed. An energy
saving program could reduce CO2 emissions by 35% over the next 25 years
but it will be costly and it assumes technological breakthroughs.

1991, COOLING IMPACT DISCLOSED, Burning fossil fuels produces


aerosols that reflect sunlight and cool the earth. The resulting rise in
temperature could more than offset the cooling achieved by reduction in CO2
emissions in the next 10 to 30 years according to an article in Nature by Prof.
Wigley, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia in England. The aerosol
effect is a sleeping giant because it is something that has been missed and its
effect is not trivial. It implies that reducing fossil fuel consumption will cause
acceleration in global warming for 10 to 30 years before the gains from CO2
emission reduction kick in.

1991, PANEL SAYS THE U.S. CAN ADAPT TO GLOBAL WARMING


(NYT), The National Academy of Sciences says that the cost of inaction is not
high because the US can easily adapt to the effects of global warming due to
the greenhouse effect of pollutants in the atmosphere. It is more costly to
control the climate change than to adapt to it. Human adaptability has been
grossly underestimated. A dissenting committee member said that indirect
costs of global warming have not been adequately considered. The report
said it might be harder for developing countries to adapt to global warming. It
encouraged "efforts to advance regional mobility of people, capital and
goods," better preparations for disaster and famine relief and expansion of
free-market economies, so that changing prices can serve as market signals
that would encourage people to adapt to global warming.

1992, TREATY TO CURB GLOBAL WARMING, Sixty nations sign an


agreement at the Earth Summit in which they promise to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions to 1990 levels. The agreement is not binding and there is no
time table.

1992, WHITE HOUSE VOWS ACTION TO CUT GLOBAL WARMING


GASES, The concentration of greenhouse gases is growing because of
human activity and that could lead to catastrophic warming of the earth in the
next century. On the eve of the Earth Summit in Rio, the US is seen
uncooperative by the Europeans who insist on a year 2000 deadline for
stabilizing CO2 emissions. The US supports increasing energy efficiency and a
budget of $75 million in aid to developing countries to do likewise although it
does not target CO2 stabilization. Global warming advocates say that this
move is positive and shows that the US has abandoned “the flat earth
society” of global warming deniers.

1992, GLOBAL WARMING ANOMALY, Critics of global warming point out


that their computer models predict a temperature rise of 2.0F for the last 100
years whereas the actual rise has been 1.0F; and that most of the warming in
the last 100 years occurred prior to 1940 whereas most of the CO2 was
added after that.

1992, GLOBAL SNUB ON GLOBAL WARMING, To control rising


temperatures due to the greenhouse effect of CO2, the Europeans want
industrialized countries to put a cap on CO2 emission but the Bush
administration is wary. The USA is seen as a laggard and an impediment to
global action to ward off the potentially dangerous effects of global warming.
A cost effective way to check global warming is for the USA to give foreign aid
to developing countries like china to implement clean burning coal
technologies. The impasse is that the USA is opposed to imposed CO2
emission caps. As it is there are countries endorsing emission caps but not
implementing programs to achieve them. The real cost of emission caps could
be sky high.

1993, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: “CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION


PLAN”, Emissions of CO2, CH4, NO, and CFC have caused temperatures to
rise by 1.0F in the last 100 years, and unchecked, global warming could cause
melting glaciers and polar ice caps, rising sea level, flooded coastal areas,
droughts, damaged ecosystems, and reduced agricultural production. The
Clinton administration’s Action Plan proposes 44 action steps to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 mainly by
voluntary participation by business and industry. The plan is consistent with
international efforts outlined by the Earth Summit in 1992.

1993, SCIENTISTS CONFRONT RENEWED BACKLASH AGAINST


GLOBAL WARMING, Conservatives and industry groups attacked the
Clinton Administration’s climate change action plan and the global warming
scenario characterizing it as hysteria and a plan by socialists to control the
economy. Two books, one by the Cato Institute and another by Dixy Lee Ray
attacked the greenhouse effect hypothesis. The Washington Post and the
Wall Street Journal published articles debunking global warming. A column by
Jeffrey Salmon of the George C. Marshall Institute said that there was no
scientific evidence that the earth is warming because of man-made
greenhouse gases. Richard Lindzen of the MIT wrote that the heat trapping
amplification through water vapor assumed by the global warming computer
model is flawed and therefore that even a doubling of CO2 will have little
effect on temperature. Other critics point out that the computer models can’t
be right because they give incorrect and inconsistent results for known
historical data. Although scientists disagree on global warming the political
debate is more extreme than the scientific debate.

1993, THE NEW YORK TIMES DEFENDS GLOBAL WARMING, There are
two undisputed facts about global warming – carbon dioxide produced by
burning fossil fuels has been accumulating in the atmosphere for a hundred
years, and carbon dioxide traps heat reflected from the earth’s surface that
would otherwise radiate out to space. It only remains to compute exactly how
much the earth will heat up after an amount of CO2 is injected into the
atmosphere. Since a real world experiment is not possible it must be carried
out in mathematical models on supercomputers that simulate the earth’s
climate although these models are far from perfect. Scientists have examined
the results from the best computer models and advised the UN that CO2 will
double by 2100 and cause a temperature rise of somewhere between 5F and
9F. These findings are supported by leading experts in the field at the UN and
the National Academy of Sciences. Although the amount of heat trapped by
the minute amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is small, it snowballs because it
causes water to evaporate and water vapor is also a heat trapping gas. The
ability of computer models to predict temperature will be greatly improved
once the aerosol effect of fossil fuels is incorporated.

1993, PRESIDENT CLINTON’S PLAN TO HALT GLOBAL WARMING,


Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in millions of tons annually: energy
efficiency in home and appliance design = 16.3, non-industrial private forest
management = 9.5, private sector investment in efficient electrical motors =
8.8, increased efficiency of public transit and transportation = 6.6, better
regulation of chemical industry = 5.0, recycling and pollution prevention =
4.2, methane recovery from landfills = 4.2, natural gas star program to
reduce methane emission = 3.0, promote natural gas = 2.2, promote
hydroelectricity = 2.0. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane,
nitrous oxides and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

1993, RISING SEAS A PRECISE MEASURE OF GLOBAL WARMING,


Using the most accurate system ever devised for measuring global sea levels,
scientists have found a steady rise of 3 mm per year for the past two years.
These data now establish beyond any doubt that the greenhouse effect is
causing global warming. If this trend continues for another few years it will be
solid evidence of a warming trend related to increases in atmospheric carbon
dioxide. Doubts about the reliability of older and less precise temperature
data may now be put aside as the very accurate sea level data clearly
establishes the scientific basis of global warming. The sea level measurement
satellite of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory takes 500,000 sea level
measurements per day.

1994, GLOBAL WARMING MAY HELP U.S. AGRICULTURE, (NYT)


Remember global warming? In brief, civilization is playing a high stakes game
with mother nature by emitting heat trapping greenhouse gases that could
forever alter our fragile ecosystem in catastrophic ways. The planet is going
to et hotter with radically altered weather and rainfall patterns. Yet, a new
study appears to show that its effect on American agriculture will not be the
dust bowl catastrophe that was once predicted. In fact, global warming is
now expected to benefit American agriculture by greatly increasing crop
yields. It will be a lot harder in the wake of this study to motivate the
American will to fight global warming. It was once predicted that although
Canadian and Russian farmers would gain from longer growing seasons,
American farmers would lose more than $20 billion per year with “corn
blistering on the stalk”. These studies were based on the inability of U.S.
farmers to adapt to changes. If farmers change the crops they grow as the
climate changes, they will not lose but in fact gain in the net.

1994, HOT AIR ON GLOBAL WARMING, (BW), The Clinton Plan of Action
against global warming is so much hot air because it is too vague and not
practical. It is typically Clintonian window dressing to give the appearance of
doing something.

Jamal’s notes:

The major events of this period are:


1. The Bush administration’s recalcitrance
2. The Clinton administration’s Action Plan
3. The Earth Summit in Rio
4. The global warming conference in Geneva
5. Continued ambivalence on the effect of GW on agriculture
6. Continued ambivalence on the countervailing effect of aerosols