- The Washington Times - Friday, November 24, 2000


THE HAGUE The world has not warmed since 1940, according to tree rings, coral-reef studies and ice-core bore holes, one of the world's leading "global warming" skeptics told a meeting at the climate-change conference here.
Fred Singer, a meteorologist at the University of Virginia, challenged the very basis of the U.N.-sponsored conference, where negotiators from 180 nations remained deadlocked yesterday in an attempt to draft rules requiring cuts in greenhouse gases.
"The climate has warmed in the last century, but this took place before 1940. The hottest years in America were around 1940. We don't know the cause of the warming, but we don't think it was human activity," Mr. Singer told a meeting on the sidelines of the conference.
Mr. Singer said he has found no evidence suggesting future extreme weather events, such as severe storms or droughts, increases in infectious diseases, or changes to forests and other ecosystems.
He said there has been an increase in greenhouse gases but thinks this has led to "a greening of the planet, improved agricultural yields and more vigorous forest growth."
His remarks came as negotiators worked overnight to piece together an agreement with far-reaching consequences for the U.S. economy and environment.
Any agreement coming out of the negotiations, due to end today, could require Americans to cut their energy use and emissions by as much as one-third by 2012.
Mr. Singer used the scientific temperature data assembled by James Hanson of NASA, who first highlighted the phenomenon of global warming, to dispute the findings of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The panel's recommendations formed the basis of the climate-change treaty signed in Kyoto, Japan, three years ago. The negotiators here are trying to implement that treaty.
Mr. Singer said he accepts evidence from temperature records all over the world that there appears to have been a pronounced warming since 1975, with some of the hottest years in the 1990s.
But he added that satellite records of the temperature three miles up, which should show a similar trend, show no warming at all.
"One explanation is that the satellites are wrong. The other explanation that is my hypothesis is that the surface appears to be warming but isn't really warming at all," he said.
Bob Watson, chairman of the IPCC, has used the surface-temperature records of the past 20 years to contend that the 20th century is the warmest in 1,000 years, but Mr. Singer disagreed.
Mr. Singer said he places greater faith in the "proxy" records of temperature, contained in tree rings, ocean sediments, ice cores and so on, which he said show no warming since 1940.
Thermometer readings may be misleading, he said. "Proxy records say the global temperature has not increased in the past 20 years."
Instead, "heat islands" caused by urbanization have distorted thermometer readings, Mr. Singer said.
He produced graphs from research conducted by the University of East Anglia and analyses of Greenland ice cores throughout 100,000 years published in scientific papers to support his point.
Mr. Singer is one of several scientists to challenge the broad conclusions of the IPCC, a distillation of the work of 3,000 scientists from most of the leading meteorological institutes. He shared a platform with Richard Coutney, from Britain's Institute of Economic Affairs, who suggested that the summary and conclusions of the IPCC's assessment of the climate had been manipulated by politicians.
Geoff Jenkins, head of Britain's Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research, and a leading figure in IPCC, said: "To say that politicians wrote the summary report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is rubbish."
Computer models used by scientists say warming in the atmosphere should reflect changes in ground temperatures.
The discrepancy needs to be resolved, Mr. Singer said. "We don't believe it invalidates the models' predictions of the future. But it's a weakness, and we need to sort it out."
Patrice Hill contributed to this article from The Hague.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide