Half an hour later, Forrister blew up when confronted with the most recent scientific findings, which provide compelling and conclusive evidence that folks who have beaten the apocalyptic global warming drum for the last decade have been just plain wrong.
In 1990 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) offered a “best estimate” prediction of warming over the next century of 3.2 degrees Celsius. By 1995, thanks in part to incessant attacks by so‐called skeptics, the warming estimate was lowered to 2.0°C.
Three months ago Department of Commerce researcher Ed Dlugokenky published a paper in Nature demonstrating that atmospheric methane — an important man‐created greenhouse gas — is likely to show very little change in the next century. That forces the warming estimate down to about 1.75°C. Forrister called this observation “frivolous.”
At the same time, Norwegian researcher Gunnar Myhre discovered that the direct heating effect of carbon dioxide has been overestimated, something the “skeptics” had maintained had to be true because the planet has warmed so little. His work was published in Geophysical Research Letters. That drops the warming estimate to 1.5°C. Forrister called this “frivolous.”
A popular climate model from 10 years ago that served as much of the basis for the infamous U.N. Climate Treaty and the subsequent Kyoto Protocol (currently 0 for 95 in the Senate) said that, over the past decade, the globe should have warmed about 0.45°C. The observed temperature as measured at the surface, inflated by an urban (warm) bias, shows warming of just 0.11°C. Weather balloon thermistors and barometers, two independent instruments, showed cooling, as do the satellites, even after correction for recently discovered orbital drift. Forrister shouted “frivolous.”
NASA scientist James Hansen has recently argued that the reason dramatic warming didn’t show up as he had forecast was because the soil and vegetation are taking up carbon dioxide at an increasing rate. That makes the planet greener, not browner (sorry, Carol!). Accounting for Hansen’s work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lowers 21st‐century warming to about 1.25°C. Forrister called this “frivolous.”
Tom Wigley of the National Science Foundation has just published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters showing that if every nation met its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, planetary cooling would be an undetectable 0.07°C by 2050, compared to what the temperature would be if we did nothing. My own research, recently published in Climate Research, shows that the largest warmings occur in the coldest winter air masses rather than in the summer. “These are all frivolous arguments,” Forrister said.
En coda, Forrister was asked if there would even be a Kyoto Protocol if the climate modelers had told us 10 years ago that it would only warm 1.0–1.5°C over the next century. After a long pause, he said (as best as I can recall), “I don’t know. Maybe yes, maybe no.”
Having thus opened Pandora’s floodgates, Forrister was asked if the new findings might not make it appropriate for the Senate to pass a resolution forcing the president to withdraw the United States from the U.N. treaty, which allows such an option. “Frivolous!” he shouted. “You just can’t go making frivolous arguments like that!”
Thus the new White House policy: those who do not agree with their (now thoroughly discredited) view of global warming are evil and will scorch the earth. Science is “frivolous,” to be dismissed quite casually when it turns out to be inconvenient. Stay tuned. Things can only get worse.