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History of the global warming scare.

Chapter 4: 1995-2000
Cha-am Jamal, 2010
All rights reserved

1995, GLOBAL WARMING RESUMED IN 1994, CLIMATE DATA SHOW, After a


three year hiatus and a bitter winter in 1993-1994, the warming trend has returned with
a warmer than usual winter in 1994-1995. Global warming is not gone, it was just
temporarily interrupted by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Aerosols in the upper
atmosphere from the eruption reflected sunlight and cooled the earth. In 1994
temperatures rebounded to the levels of the 1980s – the warmest decade on record –
reaching the record high of 60C reached in 1990. Global temperatures from March to
December were the warmest since 1951. The mainstream view among researchers on
climatic change is that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases could double by
the end of the next century and that this could produce a global warming of three to
eight degrees Fahrenheit. By comparison, the earth is five to nine degrees warmer now
than in the last ice age, which ended about 10,000 years ago. A four-degree warming,
could cause ice at the poles to melt, rising sea levels, shifting climatic zones, and more
extreme floods, droughts, storms, and cold and heat waves. Violent and frequent
weather extremes have become more common since 1980

1995, NEW EVIDENCE POINTS TO HUMAN ROLE IN GLOBAL WARMING, Global


warming will bring altered crop growing seasons, more severe storms, more tropical
diseases, and the inundation of low lying areas by rising seas. As to the cause, the
scientific debate about whether the warming is a natural variation or caused by man has
now been settled. A scientific consensus due to advances in computer modeling has
emerged that the cause of the warming is the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide
emitted by man’s fossil fuel consumption. This finding is issued in a new report of the UN
IPCC panel of scientists and is based on the best data and science available. These
findings are now beyond question and debate as to the cause of the warming in the last
100 years is now over. The job now is to implement worldwide emission reduction plans
to reverse this trend. If no action is taken global temperatures will rise 1.44F to 6.3F in
the next 100 years. It is a very significant rise if you consider that 5F can make the
difference between an ice age and an interglacial. Emission reduction starting right now
could limit the warming to 1.0F to 3.6F. The warming cannot be stopped because of the
CO2 that is already in the air will continue to trap heat. “Although it is impossible to know
for sure to what extent global warming is caused by man, it only makes sense, in light of
the new scientific consensus, to work with other nations to curb greenhouse gas
emissions.”

1995, GLOBAL WARMING JURY DELIVERS GUILTY VERDICT,(New Scientist) UN


IPCC scientists issued a report in Dec 1995 saying that the warming of the earth by 0.5C
in the last 100 years is the biggest since the last ice age and is not within the range of
natural variability. Therefore it must represent a man made influence on global climate.
Periods of cooling during the overall warming period can be explained in terms of global
warming.
1996, GLOBAL WARMING TO BLAME FOR BLIZZARD, Just four days after scientists
announced on Jan 3 1996 that global temperatures had crept to a record high in 1995,
the Northeast US was hit by record cold and snowfall but scientists say that the blizzard
of 1996 as well as the bitter cold in Europe were actually caused by global warming
because warming increases evaporation that in turn increases precipitation. Besides, the
effects of global warming are small compared with seasonal variations and so severe
winters are not necessarily incompatible with global warming. The bitter winter this year
represents a southward bulge of the Arctic air mass and not a cooling trend.

1996, GLOBAL WARMING POSES THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH, (NYT) According


to UN scientists, there are serious threats to public health of actions to reduce global
warming come too slowly. The earth’s climate will change rapidly in the coming century
as greenhouse gases trap solar radiation. Thousands could die in major cities in heat
waves and tens of millions will face malaria epidemics in areas where the disease does
not now occur. Last July a heat wave killed 465 people in Chicago alone. This is an issue
that must be taken seriously. Climate negotiators are warned against taking a wait and
see attitude because the consequences of inaction are dire. We must act quickly even as
industry backed lobbyists call for a go slow approach fearing harm to economic growth.
The voluntary approach in the USA is now working as emissions have continued to rise
since the 1992 treaty at the Earth Summit. Carbon dioxide emissions rose 12% from
1990 to 1995. Immediate action is needed to reverse this trend. Because adverse public
health is likely to result from climate change, we do not have the luxury of seeking
definitive empirical evidence before acting.

1996, UN IPCC REPORT, Ahead of Geneva, the second follow up meeting on global
warming after the Earth Summit in Rio, the UN IPCC has issued a report that says that
humans are influencing global climate. Excerpts from the report issued in June 1996:
Earth’s temperature will rise by 3.6F in the next 100 years with serious negative effects.
Extreme temperatures will become normal. Habitats will change. Many plants and animals
will become extinct. Some regions will suffer water shortages. Polar ice will melt. The sea
level will rise. Emissions of greenhouse gases that trap solar energy will double by the
year 2010. A 50% reduction in emissions over the next 50 years is needed to reverse the
warming trend. We are currently not on track to meet emission reduction guidelines set
in the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. Yet the Rio commitments are not enough to halt global
warming.

1996, U.S. URGES BINDING ACCORD ON GLOBAL WARMING, As an endorsement


of the IPCC report the Clinton administration is urging 150 nations meeting in Geneva to
agree to binding cuts on greenhouse gas emissions to control global warming as long as
the targets are moderate and achievable; although many feel that Clinton is playing
politics with global warming in an effort to garner the green vote. Ratification of binding
reductions in the Republican controlled Congress is unlikely.

1997, THE BBC MAKES THE CASE FOR THE KYOTO PROTOCOL, Twenty years of
hard data from meteorological stations and nature show clear warming trend. Growth
rings in Mongolian and Canadian trees are getting wider. Butterflies in California are
moving to higher ground once too cold for butterflies. Stalactites in Britain are growing
faster. The growing season for crops in Australia is getting longer. Permafrost in Siberia
and Canada is melting. The evidence is there anywhere you look. The warming rate is
one degree Celsius per century – enough to wreak havoc. The cause is the greenhouse
effect of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels as well as CFCs and HCFCs that trap heat. The
effect is being compounded as deforestation simultaneously removes trees that absorb
CO2. Some scientists are skeptical but the majority view is that the greenhouse effect is
real and it requires urgent action. This conclusion rests on the results from sophisticated
computer simulation models that give the best possible information on this topic even
though they are not perfect. These models are giving us scary accounts of the future and
we should be paying attention. The IPCC tell us that melting ice and thermal expansion of
oceans will cause the sea level to rise by one meter by 2037 and inundate low lying areas
and island nations. Extreme weather events will become common. El Nino and La Nina
cycles will become more extreme. There will be millions of climate refugees driven from
their home by global warming. Some regions of the world will become hotter, others
colder, some wetter, others drier. Entire weather systems will be dramatically altered.
The Gulf Stream will switch off making Europe colder. Tropical diseases such as malaria
will ravage the world as vectors migrate to higher latitudes and altitudes. Some wheat
farmers may be able to grow more wheat but the net effect of global warming is
overwhelmingly negative.

1997, THE ROAD TO KYOTO, In the Earth Summit of 1992 developed nations
promised to hold their year 2000 greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels but they have
not acted because of the perceived economic impact of cutting emissions. Forecasts show
that CO2 emissions in 2000 will be 14% above 1990 levels. Research in the USA and
Australia show that reduced emissions will mean reduced living standards while those in
Europe indicate emission reduction will actually have a positive effect on the economy.
The industrial lobby is stronger in the USA and it is opposed to emission reduction. The
Earth Summit agreement has to teeth because it cannot be enforced. The upcoming
meeting in Kyoto in December is expected to address these deficiencies with legally
binding cuts in greenhouse gas on a timetable.

1997, U.S. STANCE ON GLOBAL WARMING OFFERS COLD COMFORT, (LA Times)
The USA is out of sync with the rest of the world in the crucial ecological issue of global
warming. President Clinton’s statement was met with disdain in Bonn where 150 nations
are meeting to control global warming. The U.S. is seen as an environmental pariah in
this meeting.

1997, WORLD VIEWS ON GLOBAL WARMING (LA TIMES), Entire nations among
the Pacific islands vanish beneath the waves, coastal communities in the USA from North
Carolina to the Texas Gulf wash out to sea, wild swings in precipitation first bring drought
and then torrential rains and floods, coastal mudslides in California become routine, and
maple trees of the North die out and dengue fever and mosquito borne encephalitis move
in. In December delegates from 167 nations will go to Kyoto to write a binding treaty
among nations to fight against carbon dioxide emissions and save the planet. There are
serious implications for humanity if actions to curb global warming come too slowly.

1997, THE MYTHS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING, (Chicago Tribune) The union of
concerned scientists, President Clinton, and VP Gore have repeatedly stated that “the
threat of global warming is real and it is already here”. Yet, the IPCC has admitted that
none of their computer models of climate has been validated by the record. Man made
emissions of carbon dioxide are so small compared to natural emissions that they could
not possibly cause climate change.
1997, HOW MUCH TO CUT EMISSIONS AND BY WHEN DIVIDES NATIONS, A
global warming summit of 150 nations opened in Kyoto Monday. Its agenda is to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions that are causing potentially catastrophic increase in the earth’s
atmosphere. The summit is dogged by contentious economic, political, and scientific
questions. “People are still very cautious about acting on climate change because they
count the economic costs but not the benefits”.

1997, WRANGLING CONTINUES OVER GLOBAL WARMING TREATY, (CNN)


Climate delegates in Kyoto are working overtime to forge a treaty to cut greenhouse gas
emissions. Greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 6%-8% below 1990 levels by
2008 have been set for 34 industrialized nations. None has been set for developing
countries. Contentious issues remain. They include the twin American proposals to allow
the industrialized nations to achieve their reduction target by buying carbon credits and
offsets from developing countries; and the imposition of binding emission cuts on four
non-industrialized countries, namely, China, India, Brazil, and Mexico to prevent these
emerging economies from gaining from unfair competition. U.S. ratification is not likely
without these provisions.

1997, SCIENTISTS WARN KYOTO DELEGATES, “Without reductions in greenhouse


gas emissions, scientists warn that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could double during
the next century, warming the atmosphere and triggering an environmental chain
reaction that could raise sea levels, change ocean currents and intensify damage from
storms, droughts and the spread of tropical diseases” (CNN).

1998, WEATHER TREND IS PROOF OF GLOBAL WARMING, Last year was the
hottest year on record and this decade has already produced 9 of the 11 hottest years of
the century. The data show that man made greenhouse gases are causing a potentially
disastrous warming of the earth. These data should help Pres. Clinton as he seeks Senate
approval for the Kyoto Treaty. That there is a human component in the rising
temperature is becoming clearer with each year’s measurements and the likelihood that
the rising temperature is a natural phenomenon is becoming increasingly remote. For the
last three years the data have pointed in the direction of man made global warming.

1998, U.S. SIGNS INTERNATIONAL GLOBAL WARMING TREATY, Delegates in


Kyoto hammered out a treaty that sets 2000 as the deadline for creating a a global
mechanism to police emissions reductions of greenhouse gases that cause global
warming and to hold failing nations accountable. The treaty allows industrialized nations
to meet emission reduction targets by trading emission credits or funding clean air
projects in poor nations. In the USA there is stiff opposition from Senate opponents who
demand similar emission reduction by developing countries.

1998, IT’S OUR MOVE ON GLOBAL WARMING, The debate on global warming
started with the scientific question about whether the problem was real and evolved into
an economic and political debate between developed and developing countries on who
should act to reduce emissions. At the global warming conference in Buenos Aires this
weekend the USA signed on to the Kyoto Accord but there is stiff opposition to ratification
in the Senate without an equal commitment by developing nations.

1998, NEW DATA SHARPEN GLOBAL WARMING DEBATE, Satellite measurements


of temperatures in the lower atmosphere show a cooling trend from 1979 to 1995
contradicting the warming trend in ground based temperatures. However, this
discrepancy can be offset by revising the satellite measurements with the “falling satellite
effect”. As the satellite slows and drops the instrument perceives the same temperature
as cooler. The amount of this revision is in dispute. It could be insignificant or it could be
enough to make the apparent cooling trend into a warming trend again. NASA scientist
James Hansen says that the perceived cooling is just an artifact of the falling satellite
phenomenon and not real but John Christy of the University of Alabama Huntsville says
that the corrected satellite data do not show warming.

1998, WORLD DEBATES GLOBAL WARMING, Climate scientists in the Hadley Center
on Climate Change have issued a report on global warming timed to coincide with the
meeting in Buenos Aires where delegates from 180 nations are meeting to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. The findings of the report are based on a computer model for
the case with no emission reductions are as follows: 1998 will be UK’s hottest year since
1106, “the warmest year of the millennium”; sometime between 2041 and 2070 we will
see a sharp rise in sick, hungry, and thirsty people; by 2048 the world’s forests will
become so degraded that they will change from net CO2 sinks to net CO2 producers
further accelerating global warming; human greenhouse gas emissions have contributed
substantially to global warming over the past half century; the climate model is validated
by its ability to reconstruct the last 150 years of climate conditions; the 1997-1998 El
Nino is the most extreme on record; in the next 100 years global temperatures will rise
by 6.0C – the most extreme in the last 10,000 years; the Amazon forest will die out and
rot releasing carbon dioxide; tropical grasslands will be transformed into deserts; For the
first half of the 21st century, vegetation will absorb CO2 at a rate of about 2-3 GtC per
year while human emissions of CO2 are about 7GtC a year; from 2050 onwards,
vegetation dying under the impact of climate change will itself add about 2GtC a year to
greenhouse emissions, further intensifying global warming; global warming will accelerate
due to "positive feedback" - a way by which the global warming we have caused will itself
cause further global warming; 170 million people will suffer from water shortage; Crop
yields will increase in areas like Canada and Europe, but nearer the equator they will
shrink; 18% more of Africa’s people will be at risk of hunger simply because of climate
change; sea levels will rise by 21 cm inundating 20 million people; malaria infection will
also increase, and in areas where it is not currently endemic. The overwhelming
consensus of scientific opinion is that climate change is real, and that we are playing the
chief part in causing it. The report confirms previous findings of the panel of scientists at
the IPCC, “the world’s most authoritative group of climatologists.

1998, GORE CLAIMS NEW DATA PROVE GLOBAL WARMING IS TAKING PLACE,
The first half of 1998 was the warmest six months ever recorded on earth. The month of
July, 1998 will also set a record. A heat wave in the Southwest has caused dozens of
deaths with the hottest weather to hit the state since 1980. Tuesday was the 9th straight
day that the temperature there had broken 100F. The heat wave is accompanied by
drought that will drain $4.6 billion from the Texas economy in the next few months.
Oklahoma had 6 deaths and Louisiana 20 deaths from the heat wave. According to NOAA
data the near surface temperature for June 1998 over both land and water were at an all
time high. There is no time in data history that we have seen this sequence of record
setting for six consecutive months. It is compelling evidence that global temperatures are
on a long term warming track. These are evidence of long term warming of the planet
by man’s greenhouse gas emissions. How much more proof do we need that global
warming is real? Congress must not block efforts by the White House to reduce heat
trapping greenhouse gases.

1999, NEW STUDY SHOWS ARCTIC ICE SHRINKING PROBABLY BECAUSE OF


GLOBAL WARMING, Sea ice in the Arctic Basin is shrinking by 14000 square miles per
year “probably” because of global warming caused by human activity according to a new
international study that used 46 years of data and sophisticated computer simulation
models to tackle the specific question of whether the loss of Arctic ice is a natural
variation or caused by global warming. The computer model says that the probability that
these changes were caused by natural variation is 1% but when global warming was
added to the model the ice melt was a perfect fit. Therefore the ice melt is caused by
human activities that emit greenhouse gases.

1999, SURPRISE THEORY BEHIND BIG ANTARCTIC THAW, An article in the


journal Science says that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a natural event
not related to global warming contrary to claims by climate scientists. The WAIS is indeed
melting quite rapidly receding at the rate of 400 feet per year but it has been doing so for
thousands of years long before human activity and greenhouse gas emissions having
receded 800 miles since the last ice age. If the process continues unchecked it will melt
completely in another 7000 years. Therefore it seems unlikely that the event is linked to
human activity or that the timeframe of a collapse of the ice shelf could fall within 100
years.

1999, WARM ARCTIC MAY ENHANCE GLOBAL WARMING, A sophisticated


computer simulation model shows that increasing the temperature or snowfall on the
Arctic tundra can triple its CO2 emissions from the soil of the tundra. The Arctic contains
1/3 of the earth’s soil stored carbon dioxide. The computer model shows a positive
feedback look that can cause global warming to snowball because warming in itself can
increase carbon dioxide in the air and accelerate the rate of warming. It is a frightening
scenario that could cause global warming catastrophe to occur sooner than previously
thought.

Jamal’s notes:

This period is marked by

1. The Kyoto Protocol and the warm-up meetings in Geneva and Bonn
2. Differences between the USA and Europe in Kyoto
3. The differences between land based and satellite based temperature
measurements
4. A sharp rise in scientific rhetoric to rally policy makers to their cause in Kyoto
5. The bitter northern winter of 1995-1996 and its explanation in terms of global
warming
6. The 1998 climate conference in Buenos Aires.
7. The Clinton administration’s apparent endorsement of the global warming agenda.
8. New controversy about the West Antarctic Ice Shelf