Global Warming an Election Issue?
Jude Wanniski
May 12, 2004


Memo To: Senator John F. Kerry
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Don't Get Snookered

It is of course most fitting and proper that as the presidential campaign proceeds you will address your differences with President Bush on environmental issues. Please be assured that I am a "greenie," who would like to do everyone we possibly can to prevent the pollution of the planet and to clean up what pollution has been caused by past excesses of mankind. But I do wish you would be more skeptical than you have been in the past regarding the issue of global warming. It is the one topic that continues to excite environmentalists around the world although it is pure baloney. You will be pushed by Greenpeace to contest President Bush on the issue, but I'm afraid it will be a loser for you if you make the mistake of embracing it as a genuine problem to which great resources must be devoted. Your Democratic supporters -- Senator Lieberman, former Vice President Gore, and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean are all wacky on the topic, as is your closest Republican friend in the Senate, John McCain. They got snookered on global warming the way Mr. Bush got snookered by the neo-cons on Iraq. So be careful how you tread here.

I'm appending a few pieces that might arouse your skepticism. The first is a letter I wrote to the editor of the Final Call, the weekly newspaper of the Nation of Islam, which appears in its current issue. It states the argument on why the scientific community is divided on the issue very simply. The second item is a memo I posted here in 1999, at the time writing to former Vice President Dan Quayle, who was still exploring a run for the GOP presidential nomination and with whom I had discussed the issue. It relies on the arguments of a good friend, Dr. Gordon Prather, a nuclear physicist who was the Army's chief scientist in the Reagan years, a man who believes it is not physically possible that mankind contributes to global warming in the slightest. He asked me to advise you that if he is wrong, which he is not, the only alternative to the burning of fossil fuels is nuclear power, an alternative Greenpeace also opposes with illogical passion. Now is the time to get this sorted out, Senator, before the debates begin.

Global Warming Not a Worry

Dear Editor:

In your April 6 issue (Volume 23, Number 7), Jim Lobe writes from Washington that “Global Warming is Worse, Expert Says.” Mr. Lobe is typically on the mark when he covers politics, but I’m afraid his handling of this science issue leaves a lot to be desired. He chooses to quote only those who believe mankind contributes to the warming of the earth, while most scientific evidence is to the contrary. That is, the earth is clearly warmer than it was a century ago, but practically all of that occurred prior to 1944 and most of the “greenhouse gases” produced by humans were emitted after 1944.

The difference of opinion lies in who does the measuring. Those sensors placed at ground level support the global warming thesis by picking up heat changes created by industrialization and urbanization. But those placed at 30,000 feet above ground, where the “greenhouse effect” occurs show no change in recent decades. Climatologists tend to support the global warming thesis, while most physicists believe the warming occurred because of the changes in solar activity that began in the 19th century. The snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro are indeed melting today, but that’s because ice has a long memory. A block of ice will take a long time to melt if you lower the temperature only one degree below freezing.

There is simply nothing mankind can do to stop this warming trend, except hope that the sun doesn’t heat up some more. Those who insist we try anyway, by capping the oxidization of gas and oil in factories and autos, will force upon the United States a much lower level of economic growth. This, of course, runs counter to the interests of practically all readers of The Final Call who are not yet wealthy enough to sit out “slow-growth” scenarios.

The “disaster” scenarios cited by Jim Lobe in his dispatch are nothing more than wild guesses cranked out by computers programmed to produce disaster scenarios. There are lots of things to worry about. Global warming is not one of them.

Jude Wanniski
President, Polyconomics, Inc.
Parsippany, NJ

* * * * *

Global Warming? Impossible!

Memo To: Dan Quayle, August 11, 1999
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Al Gore & Global Warming

In recent years, I've posted several memos to Vice President Albert Gore on this website regarding his fascination with global warming, and have faxed them to his office. He never responds to my arguments on why there is nothing to worry about and continues to run around frightening senior citizens and little children. So I assume he cannot grapple with my simple analysis. Thus I write to you, Dan, hoping you might run into him in some future debate, and will explain this analysis to him. I've asked Dr. Gordon Prather, a distinguished nuclear physicist, to explain why global warming is impossible under the conditions that concern Mr. Gore.

You know of Dr. Prather as the man who successfully has debunked the Cox Commission report on Chinese espionage -- on the grounds that all the "secrets" the Chinese were alleged to have stolen were opened to the general public by the Clinton administration and the "openness policy" of former Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary. What you will find here is the argument that the only way the Earth can get warmer is if the sun gets warmer. He actually wrote this little missive a year ago, but sent it along now because Gore and the national press corps are heating up again. By the way, a similar argument was made in the August 5 Wall Street Journal, "Why So Hot? Don't Blame Man, Blame the Sun," by Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist. She is senior scientist at the George C. Marshall Institute and deputy director of Mount Wilson Observatory. The reason Al Gore thinks there is a problem is because he only consults climatologists, who are not taught physics. Plus, journalists no longer consult anyone, on the grounds that if the NYTimes says there is global warming, it must be true.

* * * * *

By Dr. Gordon Prather

There are three ways "heat" energy can be transferred from one place on the Planet Earth to another: Conduction, Convection or Radiation.

But Radiative transfer is essentially the only way energy can reach the Earth or leave it.

Radiation ["black-body"] varies directly as the fourth power of the absolute temperature [Stefan-Boltzman Law]. If the absolute surface temperature of the earth were to double, the amount of radiation emitted by the Planet Earth into outer space would increase by a factor of 16. If the absolute surface temperature of the Earth were to increase by one degree, there would be a small increase in the amount of radiation emitted by the Planet Earth into outer space.

So what are the Gore Global Warming Acolytes really asserting? They assert that, although Mother Earth has a surface "temperature," the aggregate radiative transfer per unit time by the Earth to the rest of the universe is no longer directly related to that temperature. According to Gore, the Stefan-Boltzman Law has been repealed. According to the acolytes, Mankind has increased the temperature of the Earth's surface by causing the radiative transfer of energy from the atoms in the Earth to the rest of the universe to decrease! A Stupendous Achievement!

Somehow West Virginia coal miners, Texas oil men, public utility executives and automobile owners -- by creating vast clouds of "greenhouse gases" -- are supposed to have somehow trapped, as convective [atmospheric and ocean currents] heat, energy that would otherwise be radiated [a la Stefan-Boltzman] to the rest of the universe. It is important to note that Gore and his Acolytes are not claiming that Mankind is actually warming the planet. They merely are claiming that Mankind -- by producing greenhouse gases -- is affecting the radiative properties of the planet.

Of course, it is possible that the Earth is warming up, but that neither Mankind or anything else on Earth had anything to do with it. For example, it is certainly possible that the aggregate transfer of energy per unit time from the Sun to the Planet Earth is greater now than it was a century ago. There are such things as Solar Cycles. But if one accepts the Acolyte charge, and if one assumes that the radiative input Earth from the Sun has remained constant, then the truth or falsity of the Al Gore argument hinges on whether or not the annual aggregate radiation transfer from the Earth actually has been decreasing over the past century. There is no conceivable way that anyone -- Acolyte or Doubting Thomas -- could calculate the aggregate radiation transfer from Planet Earth. They just assume that it has been decreasing because their explanation of how mankind conceivably could have affected global temperatures [greenhouse effect] requires such a decrease.

It might be possible to infer it from measurements made in outer space. That would mean positioning a large number of sensors [sensitive to photons of all energies] in outer space between the Sun and the Earth to measure incoming radiation. And positioning an even larger number of sensors in outer space all around the Earth to measure outgoing radiation. After a hundred years or so, one might infer -- from the measurements -- the incoming and outgoing annual aggregates, and then from those inferred aggregates, one might be able to conclude that the Planet Earth ought to be "warming." Or perhaps, "cooling."

But if one merely puts -- as the Acolytes have done -- thermometers in Times Square and elsewhere and records the temperature, there, every minute of the day for the last 100 years -- and even if one observes that the annual average temperature recorded by those thermometers linearly increases -- then all one has established is that the average temperature recorded on those thermometers has linearly increased with time. In terms of radiative transfer of energy from the Earth, who knows what that means, if anything?

There may be no determinable relationship between the temperatures recorded by Avogadro's number of thermometers positioned on every square inch of the surface of the Earth [measuring either air temperature on land or water temperature at sea] and the aggregate annual outgoing radiation from the Planet.

Nevertheless, the Acolytes have declared that Mankind is creating greenhouse gases which are trapping energy in the atmosphere and in the oceans that would have otherwise been radiated into space. Taking that as God's [or Mother Nature's] Truth, they have created incredibly complicated mathematical models that -- using surface temperatures as inputs -- are supposed to predict "weather" in the short term and "climate" in the long term. That is, they claim to be able to predict where this "excess" convective heat goes and what it does when it gets there.

But if the aggregate annual outgoing radiative transfer from Earth is not found to be linearly decreasing [and even if it is], If greenhouse gases cannot be shown to result in a decrease in annual outgoing radiative transfer from Earth [and even if they can],
If Mankind cannot be shown to be primarily responsible for the increase in greenhouse gases, then

Both the supposed "problem" and the proposed "solution" by the Acolytes are nonsense.

In the meantime, it needs to be brought home to the U.S. electorate exactly what Global Al and his Acolytes are up to. They allege that their fellow Americans are causing Mother Earth to get hot under the collar and they have announced their determination to put a stop to it -- not for the sake of their fellow Americans, but for the sake of the Transcendent Globe, Mother Earth.