I have been "man-made" global warming skeptic from the very beginning. The world's climate is simply so huge that it is the height of hubris to pretend that we are directing it. The Earth's climate is variable, but it is a self correcting system, always seeking a point of equilibrium. Then when you look at the wild swings in climate in the Earth's history, it becomes quite clear that our effect on the climate of Earth is negligible.
1) The Earth was in a Little Ice Age until the last half of the 1800's. (this period was anywhere from 600 to 200 years long, depending on what starting date you choose) The Earth has been warming ever since this period. This warming is dangerous and will inevitably lead to disaster we are told. But isn't just as likely that the Earth is returning to a normal temperature from a period of unusual cold? Unmanipulated data from New Zealand shows this warming rate to be about .06 degrees Celsius per century. The manipulated data shows this warming to be just under 1 degree Celsius per century. Prior to the Little Ice Age was a period hundreds of years (perhaps five hundred years) long called the medieval warm period (hereafter MWP). A common name for the MWP is the medieval climate optimum. The use of the term optimum is certainly interesting. The Earth's temperature was at least 1 degree Celsius (C) warmer than today during this period. So according to the manipulated data from New Zealand, in 100 years we will be back to a temperature that has been labeled the optimum. "Man-made global warming" "scientists" (hereafter GW scientists) have necessarily attempted to discredit or minimize the MWP, because not only did civilization and humanity survive the MWP, they thrived. In fact Western Civilization came close to collapsing when the MWP ended and the Little Ice Age began. At one point the GW scientists attempted to argue that the MWP only affected the Northern hemisphere, or Europe, but recent discoveries have disproved this. (here is one example)
So at one point in human history, the Earth was at least 1 degree C warmer than today, man and civilization thrived at this time, it was followed by an ice age that we are now emerging from, and under the worst case scenario 100 years from now we will be back to the temperature the Earth had during a period labeled an optimum.
2) Warm periods such as the MWP have occurred throughout pre-industrial age human history. Industrialization and man made greenhouse gases are a modern phenomena, and obviously could not have contributed to historical and prehistorical warming periods. During these periods the Earth was warmer than today, and sometimes much warmer. What caused these warming periods? I personally believe it was that ball of burning gas we call the sun, but at the very least it was something non-man made. So using Occam's Razor, absent scientific proof, shouldn't we assume that the causes of today's warming and prior warming are the same?
My first theory on global warming: the same things that caused the Earth to warm in the past, are causing the Earth to warm today. I welcome any and all skeptics and believers to test my hypothesis and attempt to disprove it, and I will help you in your efforts any way possible. Which theory is more plausible? Which theory has required their proponents to manipulate the observed data?
3) Other celestial bodies in our solar system are warming at the same time as Earth. Mars has been proven to be getting warmer. One of Neptune's moons, Triton, is getting warmer. Jupiter is getting warmer. Pluto is getting warmer. There is also evidence that Jupiter's and Saturn's rings are getting warmer. Now, I'm not saying that it is proven that the rest of the solar system is heating up for the same reason Earth is, but there is also no reason that it isn't. So I am forced to return to that whole Occam's Razor thing.
4) To the dismay of the GW scientists, the Earth has in fact been getting cooler over the last ten years. This threatens to throw their whole theory into disarray and they know it. The leaked e-mails from the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (hereafter CRU) (which is the main source of global warming data used around the world), show them desperately attempting to account for the fact that their models did not predict this cooling period and instead predicted increased warming.
So why is the Earth getting cooler? The GW scientists will tell you that we don't know, but we are sure it is going to start getting warmer again.
I suggest we look at what was going on in the mini ice age and compare it to today. If you do, you see that throughout the mini ice age we see solar minimums ( little or no sunspots): (Wolf minimum 1280 - 1350, Spörer Minimum 1450 - 1550, Maunder Minimum 1645 - 1715, Dalton Minimum 1790 - 1820) and no solar maximums. At the beginning of the MWP, we see the ending of a solar minimum and the beginning of a solar maximum. There are no solar minimums during the duration of the MWP. Today we are at the end of a solar maximum and are entering another solar minimum. Now for some unexplained reason, during solar minimums we see the Earth's temperature go down, during the solar maximums we see the Earth's temperature go up.
My second global warming theory: The sunspot cycle has an exponentially larger impact on the Earth's climate than man does. I cite the historical record as my first piece of evidence.
5) To my dismay, but not surprise, the GW scientists have been manipulating the data to produce desired outcomes.
A) The most "prestigious", most wildly cited and far and above the most influential group of GW scientists operate out of the CRU. Their work is the basis of the IPCC findings. These finding are driving environmental policy world wide. Even the US EPA cites the IPCC report as the justification for regulating CO2 emissions in the US. We now know that the scientists at the CRU are guilty of scientific fraud in four areas.
i) Manipulating data: The leaked e-mails discuss the manipulation of data by CRU scientists and their collaborators in order to produce the desired results.
ii) Hiding and destroying data: The GW scientists have been stonewalling Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in both the United Kingdom and the United States for years. Independent scientists have been requesting information from the CRU and NASA among others so that they can attempt to reproduce their results. They have been denied, and some of the leaked e-mails from CRU actually discuss strategies to hide and destroy the data. Science does not work this way.
iii) Corrupting the peer review process: We have been repeatedly told that the science is settled and that a scientific consensus has been formed to support man made global warming. First of all science is not based on consensus. In fact, quite a bit, if not most, of science's advances have come about in direct opposition to the consensus of the time. The most damning evidence to come out of the leaked CRU e-mails however is the clear evidence of efforts to mold a consensus by corrupting the peer review process. This was done in several ways. First by preventing man made warming skeptics from publishing their work. So remember the next time a GW scientists says, "Ignore that guy, his work has never been published anywhere that counts", that he hasn't been published because of collusion among the GW scientists. Secondly they sought to control the editorial process of scientific journals by putting pressure on the journals and by removing editors who were too friendly to skeptics. Lastly they compiled lists of "friendly" reviewers and "unreliable" or skeptical reviewers, and made sure their articles were only reviewed by the friendly reviewers.
iv) The CRU models don't work: Perhaps one of the saddest stories to come out of the hacked CRU e-mails details the three year efforts of a GW scientist to get their computer model to work.
B) Some independent scientists asked for some data from the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (hereafter NIWA) to check the results. They were denied. So the skeptics took the raw data from temperature monitoring stations, and compared it to the manipulated data. The raw data showed a warming of .06 degrees C over a century, while the manipulated data showed a rise of .96 degrees C. The NIWA responded that the manipulation was needed to deal with the changing location of monitoring stations. (interestingly, the weather station at the NIWA headquarters is located on a roof, next to some air conditioners. I bet they get some accurate data from that!) They are refusing to release their justifications for the modifications. With one exception all of the data had been revised to show a warming trend.
6) US organizations often used data acquired from the CRU or the IPCC (which is itself based on data from the CRU). Other data used is collected from climate monitoring stations run by the National Weather Service, a department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A survey of these stations by skeptics has resulted in a report that details the fact that 89% of the stations fail to meet the siting criteria of the National Weather Service. These stations are located next to heat sources, and thus provide corrupt data showing temperatures that are too high. Even sadder, the US temperature monitoring system is considered the best in the world, so how flawed must be the data from everywhere else?
7) Now some scientists attempt to answer arguments like mine with the assertion that there is evidence that proves global warming: rising sea levels, rising co2 levels and shrinking glaciers and icecaps..
A) GW scientists and Al Gore say that the world's sea levels are rising, and will rise catastrophically in the future. Al Gore predicted a rise of twenty feet. Even the IPCC only predicts a rise of 17 inches by 2100. The leading expert on the world's sea levels, Nils-Axel Mörner, disagrees. In fact he details the way in which the IPCC took actual observations that showed no recent rise in the sea levels, and in 2003 manipulated the data in order to show a significant rise based on a single tide gage in Hong Kong. Further more, he points out the fact that out of 22 authors on rising sea levels for the IPCC reports, none of them are actually sea level experts. According to Dr. Mörner, the sea has not risen for the last fifty years, and at most it will rise 10 cm by the end of the century (with a +/- of 10 cm). So the sea could not rise at all, or it could rise 8 inches.
B) Some argue that CO2 levels are rising, man is a significant source of CO2, and CO2 causes global warming, so man-made global warming is occurring.
i) According to the evidence, CO2 levels are still rising. However since CO2 is a lagging indicator it will continue to rise even after warming has stopped.
ii) Man produces approximately 5% of the Earth's CO2. Nature accounts for the other 95%. So even if we magically drop man made CO2 to 0%, the Earth's CO2 levels will continue to rise. 5% can hardly be described as significant.
iii) CO2 is a greenhouse gas and does cause warming. However CO2 is .o4% of the earth's atmosphere. Water vapor contributes three to four times as much to global warming, why aren't we concentrating on reducing water vapor instead?
So, CO2 levels are rising, but most CO2 is produced naturally and CO2 has a much smaller effect on the Earth's temperature than water vapor anyway. If man made CO2 is reduced to 0% (at a HUGE cost to civilization) the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be reduced by .002%. Man-made CO2 is extremely small potatoes when it comes to global warming.
C) GW scientists argue that the world's glaciers and ice caps are shrinking. Some popular examples.
i) Mount Kilimanjaro: Many people like to cite the shrinking ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro as evidence for global warming. However it is now generally acknowledged that the melting is due to decreased precipitation, and this is largely due to the deforestation of the mount's slopes.
iii) Ice caps: The world's ice caps are shrinking. The Antarctic ice sheet is in fact growing. There is conflicting evidence on the Arctic ice, but there is at least some evidence that the trend is shifting, and the Arctic ice cap is growing again.
Just what is the Earth's normal temperature anyway? Or even more importantly, what is the best temperature for humanity? Any temperature we choose must be an arbitrary decision.
In conclusion, there is some question as to whether global warming is still occurring. If it is occurring there is a question as to how much is caused by man, and how much by other sources. Even if man is having some effect, the changes we can make will come at an enormous cost in wealth and effort, and will likely have little effect. The "science" produced by the GW scientists must now be judged as dubious at best. It is time to take a breath and produce some real global warming science based on actual observations, open sourced data and models that work. Then we can re-evaluate just what the best path truly is.