Where’s the Runaway Warming?

The global cooling trend that began early in 2007 continues. America’s official global reading for March, 2009 has been issued by Goddard Space Institute. The month was the coldest of this young century and colder than March of 1990. The satellite records show an even stronger recent cooling trend.

Equally interesting, Goddard says this year’s March was just 0.03 degrees warmer than March of 1981, a year when the El Nino/La Nina index was approximately the same as today’s. Does that mean the planet’s net warming is only three hundredths of a degree C over the last 30 years? Thanks to Czech physicist Lubos Motl for spotting that relationship.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Goddard Institute, James Hansen, recently sent a letter to President Obama saying that Obama has “only four years left to save the earth” from “runaway warming.” He told the London Observer in February that “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.” Hansen maintains that recent warming has pushed the planet close to a “tipping point” for runaway warming. What recent warming? Three hundredths of a degree C over 30 years, with temperatures still declining, doesn’t seem worth ruining the world’s economies.

Goddard’s famous computerized climate warming predictions continue to be wrong. In contrast, sunspots predicted the temperature rise from 1976-98, and sunspots began predicting the current cooling in 2000. Earth’s temperatures have demonstrably been following changes in the earth’s cloudiness, which are linked–evidently thru cosmic rays–to the recently-declining level of solar activity.

The sunspots and cosmic rays have a 79 percent correlation with our thermometer record since 1860. Meanwhile the CO2 correlation is a mere 22 percent. I love repeating that comparison! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change already admitted in 2001 that it’s modeled “scenarios” cannot accurately predict cloud impacts on temperatures.

In addition to the sunspots, NASA’s Jason satellite has confirmed the Pacific Ocean moving into its cool phase. Such cooling phases last 30 years or so. During our last cooling phase, from 1940-75, global warming should have surged if caused by industrial CO2 emissions. The world’s whole industrial revolution really kicked off in 1945. Soon after that, the postwar explosion in auto emissions hit worldwide.

Hansen still claims that global warming is occurring rapidly but has been masked by aerosols in the atmosphere. The “lost heat” was supposedly lurking in the oceans. However, 3000 new Argo floats are giving us the most accurate sea temperatures ever recorded, and they say the oceans stopped warming in 2003. If the oceans aren’t warming, neither is the planet.

The ongoing cooling makes it horribly difficult for President Obama to issue his long-promised multi-trillion-dollar tax on energy. Twenty-six Blue Dog Democrats recently voted against letting a carbon cap-and-trade “tax” be attached to the budget–and thus pass with less than the 60 votes otherwise required. It may now be left to the Environmental Protection Agency to declare CO2 a human health hazard and try to regulate global warming under the Clean Air Act.

We’ll need still-bigger “global warming tea parties” if the EPA issues regulations to control greenhouse emissions. The ballooning cost of such regulations, in both carbon taxes and exported jobs, would dwarf even our huge new federal debt load in the long term.

Sources: March global temperatures: Goddard Institute for Space Studies web site, Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index, giss/nasa.gov/tabledata.GLB.Ts+dSST.txt, 4/15/ 2009.

Net warming of 0.03 degree C over 30 years: Lubos Motl, The Reference Frame, motls.blogspot.com/2009/04/giss-march-2009-coolest-march-in-this.html.

James Hansen quotes:

“NASA’s Hansen Warns Barack Obama on Climate Change,” The Guardian, Jan. 1, 2009.

“Coal-fired Power Plants are Death Factories. Close Them,” Commentary by James Hansen, The Observer, London, Feb 15, 2009.

IPCC’s inability to model cloud impacts: IPCC Report AR-3, 2001, section 7.2.2.4 Cloud-radiative feedback processes.

DENNIS T. AVERY is an environmental economist, and a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421 or email to [email protected]

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