Saturday, May 29, 2010

Governments and climate research

(Note: This is my article for "People's Brigada News", submitted May 20, 2010)

Detroit, Michigan – Resting here at a Filipino friend’s house after the conference that I attended in Chicago ended two days ago. It was the 4th International Conference on Climate Change (4th ICCC) sponsored by the Heartland Institute, Our think tank, Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc. ( is the only Philippine-based institute that was one of many co-sponsors of the event. I was given a travel scholarship by Heartland to attend the 3-days conference, and out of the 700+ people who registered and attended that big conference, I was the only one from the Philippines and from south-east Asia.

Most of the participants there were scientists – physicists, geologists, meteorologists, climatologists, biologists, geophysicists, even former astronauts. Breakfast and lunch have two speakers each, then there were four simultaneous tracks or panel discussions to choose, two on science and one each on economics and public policy.

Being a non-scientist and very much interested in the scientific debate about “man-made warming”, I attended mostly the science tracks. My brief article discussing briefly the tracks or panels that I attended on day 2 of the conference, entitled “Sea level, the Sun and climate”, can be found at my blog, or at

On the third and last day of the conference, I attended the last 2 science tracks. On the first track, the four speakers were: Tom Segalstad of the University of Oslo, Norway; George Kukla of the Lamont-Dohery Earth Observatory at Columbia University, USA; Madhav Khandekar of Environment Canada; and Leighton Steward of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at Southern Methodist University, USA.

Dr. Sevalstad had an interesting paper, “Geochemistry of Carbon Dioxide: The whereabouts of carbon dioxide (CO2) on Earth”, and he explained that CO2 follows certain cycles, like day-night, wet-dry, El Nino-La Nina cycles, and stay just a few days or months or few years, depending on where they are deposited (upper atmosphere, lower troposphere, land surface, ocean, plants and trees, etc.) and not “several hundred years” as propagated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr. Kukla’s paper was entitled “Interglacials start with global cooling and end with global warming.” He looked at the “obliquity” or the angle of the earth on the Sun's equator. He said that based on the angular position of the Earth through the recent years, global warming, especially in the tropics, will continue, and that humanity’s carbon mission has nothing to do with this climate cycle of cooling-warming.

Dr. Steward’s paper was on “Empirical evidence (Paleoclimates) and the disconnect of climate change” and he showed that CO2 is a useful gas and food plant, that without CO2 there will be no plants, crops and trees on the planet and life will not be possible. And that based on plenty of scientific studies, more CO2 actually results in more and faster plant growth, bigger harvest of crops.

The other science track that I attended had three speakers: William Kinonmonth of the Australasian Climate Research Institute in Australia; Victor Velasco Herrara of the Institute of Geophysics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico; and Ian Palmer of the University of Adelaide, Australia. Prof. Kininmonth presented a paper on “Natural responses limiting anthropogenic climate forcing” and argued that man-made carbon emission cannot be a big factor in affecting the Earth’s climate.

Dr. Herrara, a young physicist in Mexico, presented an interesting paper, “The new solar minimum and the mini-ice age of the twenty-first century”. He showed solar activity and inactivity via solar cycles and geomagnetic field index, and predicted a prolonged global cooling from 2010 to 2070. In the previous day’s presentation, a geologist from the Western Washington University, USA, was also observing the Sun and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and predicted that global cooling will start in 2014 and will last for the next 30 years or more.

While it was mentally tiring for a non-scientist to follow the presentations of those scientists who have been doing climate research work for years and decades, it was also very rewarding to realize that there are plenty of other factors, natural factors (the Sun, the ocean, volcanoes, geologic degassing, galactic cosmic rays, etc.) that affect the Earth’s climate, whether it is global cooling or global warming.

That is why I never believe Mr. Al Gore, a politician and not a scientist, and the IPCC, a political and intergovernmental body, not a scientific body, in their “man-made global warming” claims.

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