When Scott and I wrote “The Global Warming Hoax” in 1992, a group of Danish scientists had just published a paper that compared solar energy output (as measured by sunspot activity) to global temperatures, and found a striking correlation. No surprise there: just about all energy on earth comes from the Sun. Investors’ Business Daily recalls that research and notes that the Sun has been quiet lately:
Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.
Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.
This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.
[Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council] reports no change in the sun’s magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere. ***
R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada’s Carleton University, says that “CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet’s climate on long, medium and even short time scales.”
Patterson, sharing Tapping’s concern, says: “Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth.”
I suspect that many global warming alarmists are well aware that time is running out for them. If nothing is done and global temperatures decline in coming years–as they inevitably will, the only question is when–the alarmists will have been refuted. On the other hand, if they succeed in pushing through industry-destroying caps on carbon emissions around the world, and especially here in the U.S., they will take credit for the cooling when it comes, claiming it as vindication of their theories.
In that context, the 2008 election shapes up as very important. I don’t worry too much about John McCain’s acknowledged lack of economic expertise, as his instincts on the economy are generally conservative. But McCain badly needs to educate himself on the debate currently raging over the climate. “Global warming” represents the Left’s most ambitious power grab since the fall of Communism, and if a Republican President doesn’t stand it its way, who will?
If McCain is looking for a sensible energy policy, he might start with these recommendations from the Science and Environmental Policy Project:
Our policy recommendation is to phase out natural gas (methane) for electric power generation (now about 20% in US and 40% in UK), replace it with coal/nuclear, and use gas as a clean transportation fuel (in the form of Compressed Natural Gas — CNG) for buses, trucks, and all fleet vehicles. In the US case it would cut oil imports by 30%. Further cuts would come from the use of plug-in and hybrid-electric cars.
There is lots of good work being done in climate science, a discipline that is still in its infancy. There are also plenty of creative proposals for how to address our energy needs. But if the Republican Party mindlessly signs on to the fake-science of anthropogenic global warming, those ideas will never see the light of day. Someone please get the word to John McCain.