Senator Inhofe on Thursday, January 14, 2010 released a new Senate Report by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Republican staff detailing the Obama Administration's actions to obstruct, delay, and ultimately halt surface coal mining operations in Appalachia.
"Since President Obama took office, the Obama Administration has taken several actions to obstruct, delay, and ultimately halt surface coal mining operations in Appalachia," Senator Inhofe said. "Unfortunately, such action by the Obama administration will destroy jobs in the Appalachian region and threaten our nation's energy security.
"The case of the Mingo Logan Spruce No. 1 mine in West Virginia exemplifies the Administration's opposition to coal mining and demonstrates their failure to appreciate the economic hardship their policies bring to Appalachia. This Senate report released by my committee staff details how the EPA halted a major operation that would bring jobs and economic growth in West Virginia. In doing so, it quite plainly acted without transparency by failing to properly inform West Virginia officials, or take their concerns into consideration before taking such a drastic step."
Oklahoma's two largest newspapers published editorials this week sharing Senator Inhofe’s concerns with the Obama Administration's proposed ozone standard.
In the piece, titled "Smog Cops," the Tulsa World called the proposal an "alarming development." The article argues, "Air quality standards should not penalize communities for things that are beyond local control, like weather patterns, geography and pollution that flows across borders and boundaries." In their list of principles for judging air quality rules, the Tulsa World noted that "standards should seek to keep air healthy, but not at the cost of choking off economic development."
The Oklahoman also raised questions about the new proposal, writing that it fails to properly balance environmental protection with the need for jobs and economic growth, "Obviously it's hard to eat well and afford necessities like health care without good jobs, and too often it seems environmental decisions are made without appropriately considering their potential collateral economic impact." The EPA cost estimate for imposing the standard would fall between $19 and $90 billion by 2020. As the Oklahoman pointed out, "The U.S. economy remains weak as a kitten, unemployment continues to be measured in double figures and a number of economists are worried last year's recession could be followed by another dip."
Asked by the Tulsa World for his response to the Rolling Stone "Climate Killer" article, Senator Inhofe said, "'My first response was I should have been No. 1, not No. 7,' said Inhofe, perhaps the most vocal global-warming skeptic in Congress. 'I am serious about that. I have spent now literally years on this thing, and it has been a long, involved thing.''' See how Rolling Stone responded Friday online to Inhofe's comments.
Be sure to listen/watch more Inhofe interviews on the Rolling Stone piece:
Inhofe on 'enemies' list
By: Jim Myers
January 13, 2010
WASHINGTON - In a cover story on global warming titled "You Idiots!" Rolling Stone named U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe as one of the "planet's worst enemies.''
The Oklahoma Republican took issue.
"My first response was I should have been No. 1, not No. 7," said Inhofe, perhaps the most vocal global-warming skeptic in Congress. "I am serious about that. I have spent now literally years on this thing, and it has been a long, involved thing.''
Although the magazine did not actually rank its "Climate Killers" by number, it does appear Warren Buffett, the legendary investor from Nebraska who is one of the richest people in the nation, took the top spot.
Buffett was the first one profiled and, unlike the other 16 "polluters and deniers," he did not have to share a page.
Still, Inhofe conceded his profile said some "nice'' things about him.
The magazine described him as "one of the GOP's loudest and most influential voices on climate change."
Citing his headline-grabbing comments from the past, it states that Inhofe is far from being marginalized and continues to hold remarkable sway.
He is credited with leading an effort that helped cloud the future of a major climate change bill in the Senate and "diminishing America's bargaining position at the Copenhagen climate negotiations."
Inhofe is called "God's Denier" for the way he dismisses concern about rising sea levels.
"I say God is still up there, and we will always have these changes," he said.
In addition to Inhofe and Buffett, the magazine's list includes Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas; media baron Rupert Murdoch; former Democratic House leader Dick Gephardt; columnist and television pundit George Will; U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue; Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries; and others from the energy industry.
"I am really in a better crowd than I have been in for quite some time," Inhofe said.
As for the title of the article, Inhofe takes it in stride.
"It is something I have taken eight years of hits for, and then finally we have come from a position of about only 18 percent of the people in America agreeing with my original position 10 years ago to about 75 percent now," Inhofe said, adding that he now feels redeemed on the issue.
In the middle of working on a book, he said, he has been going through the other names he has been called in the past.
"If you don't have truth on your side, you don't have logic on your side and you don't have science on your side, you have to revert to name calling," he said.
Politico: Dems to W.H.: Drop cap and trade - Bruised by the health care debate and worried about what 2010 will bring, moderate Senate Democrats are urging the White House to give up now on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year. "I am communicating that in every way I know how," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of at least a half-dozen Democrats who've told the White House or their own leaders that it's time to jettison the centerpiece of their party's plan to curb global warming. The creation of an economywide market for greenhouse gas emissions is the heart of the climate bill that cleared the House earlier this year. The creation of an economywide market for greenhouse gas emissions is the heart of the climate bill that cleared the House earlier this year. But with the health care fight still raging and the economy still hurting, moderate Democrats have little appetite for another sweeping initiative - especially another one likely to pass with little or no Republican support.
AP: Bingaman: Cap and Trade Bill Unlikely This Year - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said Tuesday that it's unclear whether Congress will be able to pass cap and trade legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions this year. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said there's no consensus on what form a cap-and-trade system would take, but strong desire exists in both the Senate and House to pass other energy-related bills that would curb pollution blamed for global warming.
National Journal: Peterson Revives Opposition to Climate Bill - House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, who supported the climate change bill passed by the House last summer, now says he will vote against a conference report if it is similar to the House version. Peterson told Scott Hennen, a Fargo, N.D.-based conservative talk show radio host, that he believes the climate change bill "is not going anyplace in the Senate." "But if it did, and we ended up with a bill that was similar to what came out of the House and that was going to become law, I would vote no," he told Hennen in a program broadcast Friday.
Politico: Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, called the bill "impossible to pass" - Moderates don't like cap and trade. Republicans question climate change. And even some liberal Democrats say there's little chance for a climate bill to pass the Senate this year... Prospects for Senate passage of the legislation - already approved by the House last summer - have dimmed in recent months, with the bruising health care debate and looming midterm elections. Last month was particularly brutal, as environmental advocates fended off criticism of climate negotiations in Copenhagen that failed to produce a strong international agreement. Even some supporters now publicly doubt that the bill will get done this year. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) told The Associated Press last week that passage of the legislation was unlikely. And Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, called the bill "impossible to pass" in an interview with POLITICO.
Congress Daily: Several Factors Threaten Senate Climate Agenda - A midterm election, limited supply of White House political chits and a mixed review of the impact of last month's Copenhagen talks have clouded predictions of the Senate acting on a broad climate and energy plan this year. Democratic leaders and other supporters remain hopeful a bill can be finished. But there is no clear end to the healthcare talks. And Senate Democratic leaders who have already lined up a jobs bill and a financial regulatory measure, under pressure from key Democratic interest groups, might also give immigration reform a higher priority than climate change on the Senate calendar.
After a brief hibernation, EPW Policy Beat is back, this time grappling with EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA). We've commented on the finding before, and our view is straightforward: EPA's action (under Section 202(a) of the Act) is predicated on flawed science and will lead to a regulatory dragnet covering every corner of the economy, including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, commercial buildings, restaurants-and many more. On top of that, EPA's action will have an infinitesimal affect on global warming, as emissions from China, India, and other developing countries will easily negate any emissions reductions here at home.
So what next? EPA plans to finalize regulations covering emissions from new motor vehicles at the end of March. At that point, EPA either will decide that CO2 is a pollutant "subject to regulation" under the CAA, or choose to make that determination at a later date (possibly 2011). This is no mere arcane legalism-it will dictate when small businesses and thousands of other stationary sources will be subject to EPA's regulatory morass. We will ponder this issue another day. As for now, we thought it helpful (how presumptuous) to describe the basics of the endangerment finding, including its origins, its legal and scientific foundations, and its potential real-world consequences. In essence, it's EPW Policy Beat's "just-the-facts-ma'am" series on endangerment.
Our first installment describes some of the major legal milestones that led to the endangerment finding:
The Road to Endangerment
- The legal road to endangerment stretches back to 1999, when the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), along with 18 other organizations, petitioned EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the Section 202(a) of the CAA. For more background on the ICTA petition, click here: http://www.icta.org/doc/ghgpet2.pdf
- EPA Administrator Carol Browner punted the petitionn-the agency concluded CO2 is a pollutant under the CAA but declined to regulate to the Bush Administration, which on September 8, 2003, rejected it and issued the so-called "Fabricant Memo" (named after EPA General Counsel Bob Fabricant). Among other things, EPA concluded that the CAA "does not authorize regulation to address global climate change." It also pointed to a National Research Council report, which concluded that "a causal linkage" between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming "cannot be unequivocally established." EPA believed unilateral regulation of U.S. motor vehicle emissions could weaken efforts to persuade developing countries to reduce their emissions. For more details on the Fabricant Memo, click here: http://elc.law.umaryland.edu/pdf/EPACO2memo2.pdf
- A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit ruled 2 to 1 in favor of EPA, though the majority issued differing opinions. In ruling on the merits, Judge Randolph found that EPA's action was not "arbitrary and capricious," while Judge Sentelle determined that none of the petitioners had standing under Article III of the Constitution. For a copy of the Massachusetts v. EPA decision, click here: http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200507/03-1361a.pdf
- The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court. On April 2, 2007, in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court found that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the CAA. According to EPA, "The Court held that the Administrator must determine whether or not emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or whether the science is too uncertain to make a reasoned decision." For a copy of Massachusetts v. EPA, click here: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/05-1120.pdf
- In response to the court, the Bush Administration issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on July 30, 2008, which outlined how regulating greenhouse gases under the CAA will harm the economy and create a legal and administrative maelstrom. As former EPA Administrator Steve Johnson wrote, "I believe the ANPR demonstrates the Clean Air Act, an outdated law originally enacted to control regional pollutants that cause direct health effects, is ill-suited for the task of regulating global greenhouse gases. Based on the analysis to date, pursuing this course of action would inevitably result in a very complicated, time-consuming and, likely, convoluted set of regulations." For a copy of the ANPR, click here: http://www.epa.gov/EPA-AIR/2008/July/Day-30/a16432a.pdf
- On December 7, 2009, EPA issued the "endangerment and cause or contribute findings" for greenhouse gases under the CAA. "Pursuant to CAA section 202(a), the Administrator finds that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare." For a copy of the findings, click here: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/downloads/Federal_Register-EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171-Dec.15-09.pdf
In Part 2 of ‘Endangerment 101,' we tackle the so-called "Tailoring Rule" (TR). What is it? That's a timely question, and the answer lies at the heart of the endangerment finding. The TR was unconsciously conceived on April 2, 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled on Massachusetts v. EPA. In that opinion, one searches in vain for any hints that the majority understood the regulatory maelstrom that inexorably ensues once endangerment is triggered.
Though EPA's "Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings" concern "new motor vehicles" and "new motor vehicle engines" (pursuant to Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act), once CO2 becomes a pollutant "subject to regulation" under the CAA, EPA's regulatory reach extends well beyond cars to stationary sources-an inevitability apparently lost on the Massachusetts 5-and hence creates the economic and administrative necessity for the TR.
EPA will lord over the usual suspects-e.g., power plants, refineries, cement kilns, and other large manufacturing facilities. Any "major source" that falls into one of 28 categories and has the potential to emit 100 tons per year of CO2, or other establishments with the potential to emit 250 tons per year, will be covered. Those levels, mind you, are significant for such traditional pollutants as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. But not for CO2-and that's why if one builds or makes major modifications to nursing homes, schools, farms, big box stores, commercial buildings, or restaurants, to name a few, one will be forced to obtain (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) preconstruction and (Title V) operating permits from EPA or state permitting authorities. This "absurd result"-to use the legal term of art employed by EPA-makes manifestly clear that the CAA was never intended to regulate greenhouse gases, and it's why, among many other reasons, the Massachusetts decision was such a legal travesty.
Hundreds of thousands of sources will thus be swept into the ambit of the CAA. The already-soft economy will labor under the added weight of EPA's regulatory dragnet. And it will create an administrative nightmare to boot. EPA estimates (http://www.epa.gov/nsr/documents/GHGTailoringProposal.pdf) that PSD permit applications could jump from roughly 280 to 41,000 per year-more than a 140-fold increase. In addition, Title V permit applications would grow from 14,700 to 6.1 million per year-a 400 fold increase. The "enormous numbers of permit applications" would "vastly exceed the current administrative resources of permitting authorities."
Enter the TR. To get around the aforementioned unpleasantness, EPA concocted a novel-and some believe prima facie illegal-approach: simply defenestrate the CAA's express 100 and 250 ton levels and exempt all sources emitting less than 25,000 tons per year of CO2 from CAA permitting requirements. As EPA explained,
"[The Tailoring Rule] is necessary because EPA expects soon to promulgate regulations under the CAA to control GHG emissions from light-duty motor vehicles and, as a result, trigger PSD and title V applicability requirements for GHG emissions. When the light-duty vehicle rule is finalized, the GHGs subject to regulation under that rule would become immediately subject to regulation under the PSD program, meaning that from that point forward, prior to constructing any new major source or major modifications that would increase GHGs, a source owner would need to apply for, and a permitting authority would need to issue, a permit under the PSD program that addresses these increases."
EPA goes on to state that "if PSD and title V requirements apply at the applicability levels provided under the CAA, many small sources would be burdened by the costs of individualized PSD control technology requirements and permit applications" (http://www.epa.gov/NSR/documents/GHGTailoringProposal.pdf).
We applaud EPA for seeking redress from the horrors of the endangerment finding. Yet this whole business could have been avoided had it not made the finding in the first place (the science simply doesn't justify it). Not to mention that the TR is a green nostrum-it won't solve the "small source problem"- that more than likely won't survive legal challenge. More on that in the days to come.
The Wall Street Journal
States Want Delay on Emission Rules
By: Stephen Power and Ian Talley
January 11, 2010
A growing number of state regulators are urging the Obama administration to slow the rollout of proposed federal rules curbing industrial greenhouse-gas emissions, saying the administration's approach could overwhelm them with paperwork, delay construction projects and undercut their own efforts to fight climate change.
The concerns echo some criticisms that business groups -- including the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers -- have voiced about the potential consequence of new regulations, though the states generally don't challenge the legality of the proposed regulations, as some business groups have. Indeed, many state regulators continue to say they support the Environmental Protection Agency's effort to regulate greenhouse gases. Their concerns, they say, have more to do with how quickly such rules should be phased in, and how to pay for an expansion in regulatory oversight at a time when their budgets are in the red.
Regulators from around the U.S., including Kansas, Pennsylvania, Florida and California, are calling on the EPA to go slowly with its new rules, and in some cases warning that they lack funding to regulate some of the new emissions sources that would be covered.
The states' warnings vary in urgency, with some saying the EPA's proposal can be easily tweaked and others urging the agency to reconsider the proposal, predicting dire consequences. South Carolina regulators, in a letter to EPA dated Dec. 23, said the proposal will cause chaos and warned that many construction projects -- and jobs -- are at risk.
In a Dec. 24 letter to the EPA, the California Energy Commission, which oversees energy policy in the state, said the EPA's proposal "will likely retard, rather than facilitate," reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions from its electricity sector.
Because California, which has been a leader among states in pursuing its own emissions efforts, plans to require electric utilities to use more renewable power than they do currently, the state needs new natural-gas-fired power plants to provide back-up power when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine. Most of those new plants aren't subject to the EPA permit process but will require permits under the EPA's proposal, the state says.
"We are gravely concerned that EPA's current proposal will likely create a huge administrative burden," said Melissa Jones, the commission's executive director. While most states stop short of predicting job losses, California says the proposed rules would cause "gridlock" on the construction of power plants.
Kansas's Department of Health and Environment has warned that the EPA proposal will affect some animal-feeding operations as well as some municipal solid-waste landfills, and Florida's Department of Environmental Protection has called the proposed permitting approach unmanageable.
The EPA declined to comment about the criticisms raised by state regulators. "We are still reviewing the comments. No decisions have been made about the final rule," an EPA spokeswoman said.
The Obama administration has said it would prefer that Congress pass legislation that would use a so-called cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. Under a cap-and-trade system, the government would require companies to hold permits in order to emit greenhouse gases. Over time, the government would issue fewer permits, bringing emissions down while allowing companies to buy and sell permits among themselves. But prospects for that legislation passing the Senate -- at least in its current form -- are dim, leaving EPA regulation as the administration's main tool.
In order to acquire a permit, facilities would be required to demonstrate to state or local regulators that they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize greenhouse-gas emissions. The decision on what constitutes those practices would, in most cases, be left to states, which are expected to rely heavily on guidance from the EPA. The EPA is expected to publish such guidance in the coming months.
Officials in other states say they worry the EPA won't give them enough time to revise their own state rules, which generally set much lower emissions thresholds for regulating air pollutants. If the EPA doesn't give them enough time, state officials say, tens of thousands of new air-quality permits would need to be issued over the next 18 months or so, a scenario that state officials say could delay the process for many new facilities.
Citing budget shortfalls, some state agencies are suggesting the EPA propose new fees on businesses that could generate revenue that states could use to hire more employees to process permits. But the proposals would likely encounter opposition as many businesses are still struggling to recover from the recession.
"This issue [of permits] is an extraordinarily hot topic among the states," said William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. Mr. Becker said that during a recent conference call organized by his group and involving more than 100 state and local air-quality agencies, "most, if not all, said EPA is seriously underestimating the number of sources" that would be subject to regulation under its proposal.
Mr. Becker emphasized that most of his group's members support EPA regulation of greenhouse gases and that most of the problems they have identified are surmountable. His group has suggested that the EPA wait until at least 2011 to trigger permitting requirements for major stationary sources of greenhouse gases.
A central issue is an EPA proposal slated to take effect as early as the spring to require facilities emitting at least 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year to obtain construction and operating permits. The EPA relies on states and local agencies to administer air-quality permits, and has said its proposed emissions threshold is high enough that it will effectively exempt small businesses, such as farms and restaurants.
In comments filed with the EPA last month, the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration said the EPA's proposed rules "are likely to have a significant economic impact on a large number of small entities."
Business groups, meanwhile, have questioned the EPA's legal authority to pick and choose which facilities to regulate, citing federal statutes that set much lower emissions thresholds for requiring permits.
Referring to the federal law that defines the EPA's duties for protecting and improving air quality, Carl Pope, executive director of the environmental group Sierra Club, said, "The fact that the Clean Air Act permitting authority is not a particularly good way for dealing with my backyard barbecue...does not mean that we should not have a Clean Air Act permit on...major fossil-fuel power stations."
Daily Mail Online
The mini ice age starts here
By David Rose
Last updated at 11:17 AM on 10th January 2010
The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world's most eminent climate scientists.
Their predictions - based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans - challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy's most deeply cherished beliefs, such as the claim that the North Pole will be free of ice in
According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007 - and even the most committed global warming activists do not dispute this.
The scientists' predictions also undermine the standard climate computer models, which assert that the warming of the Earth since 1900 has been driven solely by man-made greenhouse gas emissions and will continue as long as carbon dioxide levels rise.
They say that their research shows that much of the warming was caused by oceanic cycles when they were in a ‘warm mode' as opposed to the present ‘cold mode'.
This challenge to the widespread view that the planet is on the brink of an irreversible catastrophe is all the greater because the scientists could never be described as global warming ‘deniers' or sceptics.
However, both main British political parties continue to insist that the world is facing imminent disaster without drastic cuts in CO2.
Last week, as Britain froze, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband maintained in a parliamentary answer that the science of global warming was ‘settled'.
Prof Latif, who leads a research team at the renowned Leibniz Institute at Germany's Kiel University, has developed new methods for measuring ocean temperatures 3,000ft beneath the surface, where the cooling and warming cycles start.
He and his colleagues predicted the new cooling trend in a paper published in 2008 and warned of it again at an IPCC conference in Geneva last September.
Last night he told The Mail on Sunday: ‘A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles - perhaps as much as 50 per cent.
'They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely. Summers will also probably be cooler, and all this may well last two decades or longer.
‘The extreme retreats that we have seen in glaciers and sea ice will come to a halt. For the time being, global warming has paused, and there may well be some cooling.'
As Europe, Asia and North America froze last week, conventional wisdom insisted that this was merely a ‘blip' of no long-term significance.
Though record lows were experienced as far south as Cuba, where the daily maximum on beaches normally used for winter bathing was just 4.5C, the BBC assured viewers that the big chill was merely short-term ‘weather' that had nothing to do with ‘climate', which was still warming.
On the one hand, it is true that the current freeze is the product of the ‘Arctic oscillation' - a weather pattern that sees the development of huge ‘blocking' areas of high pressure in northern latitudes, driving polar winds far to the south.
Meteorologists say that this is at its strongest for at least 60 years.
As a result, the jetstream - the high-altitude wind that circles the globe from west to east and normally pushes a series of wet but mild Atlantic lows across Britain - is currently running not over the English Channel but the Strait of Gibraltar.
However, according to Prof Latif and his colleagues, this in turn relates to much longer-term shifts - what are known as the Pacific and Atlantic ‘multi-decadal oscillations' (MDOs).
For Europe, the crucial factor here is the temperature of the water in the middle of the North Atlantic, now several degrees below its average when the world was still warming.
But the effects are not confined to the Northern Hemisphere. Prof Anastasios Tsonis, head of the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, has recently shown that these MDOs move together in a synchronised way across the globe, abruptly flipping the world's climate from a ‘warm mode' to a ‘cold mode' and back again in 20 to 30-year cycles.
'They amount to massive rearrangements in the dominant patterns of the weather,' he said yesterday, ‘and their shifts explain all the major changes in world temperatures during the 20th and 21st Centuries.
'We have such a change now and can therefore expect 20 or 30 years of cooler temperatures.'
Prof Tsonis said that the period from 1915 to 1940 saw a strong warm mode, reflected in rising temperatures.
But from 1940 until the late Seventies, the last MDO cold-mode era, the world cooled, despite the fact that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continued to rise.
Many of the consequences of the recent warm mode were also observed 90 years ago.
For example, in 1922, the Washington Post reported that Greenland's glaciers were fast disappearing, while Arctic seals were ‘finding the water too hot'.
'Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now moraines, accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended into the sea they have entirely disappeared.'
As a result, the shoals of fish that used to live in these waters had vanished, while the sea ice beyond the north coast of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean had melted.
Warm Gulf Stream water was still detectable within a few hundred miles of the Pole.
In contrast, Prof Tsonis said, last week 56 per cent of the surface of the United States was covered by snow.
‘That hasn't happened for several decades,' he pointed out. ‘It just isn't true to say this is a blip. We can expect colder winters for quite a while.'
For example, in 1974, a Time magazine cover story predicted ‘Another Ice Age', saying: ‘Man may be somewhat responsible - as a result of farming and fuel burning [which is] blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the Earth.'
Prof Tsonis said: ‘Perhaps we will see talk of an ice age again by the early 2030s, just as the MDOs shift once more and temperatures begin to rise.'
'This isn't just a blip. We can expect colder winters for quite a while'
But he added: ‘I do not believe in catastrophe theories. Man-made warming is balanced by the natural cycles, and I do not trust the computer models which state that if CO2 reaches a particular level then temperatures and sea levels will rise by a given amount.
'These models cannot be trusted to predict the weather for a week, yet they are running them to give readings for 100 years.'
Prof Tsonis said that when he published his work in the highly respected journal Geophysical Research Letters, he was deluged with ‘hate emails'.
He said he also received hate mail from climate change sceptics, accusing him of not going far enough to attack the theory of man-made warming.
Tsonis did not give a figure; Latif suggested it could be anything between ten and 50 per cent.
Other critics of the warming orthodoxy say the role played by MDOs is even greater.
William Gray, emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University, said that while he believed there had been some background rise caused by greenhouse gases, the computer models used by advocates of man-made warming had hugely exaggerated their effect.
According to Prof Gray, these distort the way the atmosphere works. ‘Most of the rise in temperature from the Seventies to the Nineties was natural,' he said. ‘Very little was down to CO2 - in my view, as little as five to ten per cent.'
But last week, die-hard warming advocates were refusing to admit that MDOs were having any impact.
In March 2000, Dr David Viner, then a member of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, the body now being investigated over the notorious ‘Warmergate' leaked emails, said that within a few years snowfall would become ‘a very rare and exciting event' in Britain, and that ‘children just aren't going to know what snow is'.
Now the head of a British Council programme with an annual £10 million budget that raises awareness of global warming among young people abroad, Dr Viner last week said he still stood by that prediction: ‘We've had three weeks of relatively cold weather, and that doesn't change anything.
'This winter is just a little cooler than average, and I still think that snow will become an increasingly rare event.'
The longer the cold spell lasts, the harder it may be to persuade the public of that assertion.