U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Majority Fact of the Day
New York Times Op-Ed Heat Wave Hype Melts Under Scrutiny

Fact of the Day: Friday, August 4, 2006

New York Times Op-Ed Heat Wave Hype Melts Under Scrutiny

The August 3 New York Times op-ed by Bob Herbert titled “Hot Enough Yet,” makes several dubious global warming claims. See: http://select.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/opinion/03herbert.html?hp Herbert promotes the idea that the recent heat wave that has swept across the United States is another example of human caused catastrophic global warming. But the facts do not support this latest example of climate hysteria.

Claim: Herbert implies that the recent heat wave hitting the eastern United States is somehow evidence of global warming.

Fact: The recent heat wave hitting Mid-Atlantic States is nowhere close to breaking record temperatures set in 1930 – nearly 60 years before fears of human cased catastrophic global warming began. "That summer has never been approached, and it's not going to be approached this year," said the state of Virginia’s climatologist Patrick Michaels. See: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200608/NAT20060804c.html

In addition, even climate alarmist, NASA scientist James Hansen, rebuffs any attempts to tie any single weather event to global warming. "I am a little concerned about this, in the sense that we are still at a point where the natural fluctuations of climate are still large -- at least, the natural fluctuations of weather compared to long-term climate change," Hansen, director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told reporters in April 2006.

Claim: Herbert wrote: “We should keep in mind, as Al Gore has pointed out, that of the 21 hottest years ever measured, 20 have occurred within the last 25 years. And the hottest year of this recent hottest wave was last year.”

Fact: According to official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK, the global average temperature did not increase between 1998-2005. “…this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” noted paleoclimate researcher and geologist Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia in an April 2006 article titled, “There is a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998.” See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/09/do0907.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/04/09/ixworld.html

Claim: Herbert wrote: “But with polar bears drowning because they can’t swim far enough to make it from one ice floe to another…”

Fact: Polar Bears are not going extinct because of the supposedly melting ice, according to a biologist Dr. Mitchell Taylor from the arctic government of Nunavut. “Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present,” Taylor wrote on May 1, 2006. See here: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1146433819696&call_pageid=970599119419

Claim: Herbert wrote: “…with the once-glorious snows of Kilimanjaro about to bring down the final curtain on their long, long run…”

Fact: A New York Times recent article debunked Herbert’s claims, noting that there is ‘dubious evidence’ that Kilimanjaro is melting due to global warming. “The ice on Kilimanjaro has been in retreat since at least the 1880's, with the greatest decline occurring at the beginning of that period, when greenhouse gas concentrations were much lower,” says the New York Times article of July4, 2006 by Philip M. Boffey. “The National Academies panel judged that Kilimanjaro's glaciers "may be shrinking primarily as a continuing response to precipitation changes earlier in the century," Boffey noted.

Claim: Herbert wrote: “…with the virtual disappearance of Lake Chad in Africa, which was once the size of Lake Erie, it may be time to get serious about trying to slow this catastrophic trend.”

Fact: The disappearance of Lake Chad primarily has been caused by human overuse of water, not global warming. “The lake’s decline probably has nothing to do with global warming, report the two scientists, who based their findings on computer models and satellite imagery made available by NASA. They attribute the situation instead to human actions related to climate variation, compounded by the ever increasing demands of an expanding population,” according to the April 26, 2001 National Geographic titled “Shrinking African Lake Offers Lesson on Finite Resources.” See: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/04/0426_lakechadshrinks.html ).

Claim: Herbert wrote: “I think the single most effective thing most ordinary Americans could do to become more informed about global warming — and the steps we need to take to fight it — is to go see Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and read his book of the same title.”

Fact: Gore has been criticized by many scientists for his incorrect and misleading presentation of science in his movie. “A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.” – wrote Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, in an op-ed in the June 26, 2006 Wall Street Journal. For more scientific critique of Gore see here: http://epw.senate.gov/pressitem.cfm?party=rep&id=257909

In April, 60 scientists wrote a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister questioning the basis for climate alarmism. The letter noted, "’Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural "noise." See web link:

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=3711460e-bd5a-475d-a6be-4db87559d605