Planet Gore

Top Ten Underreported Stories of 2008

The Heartland Institute’s James Taylor has put together a list of ten bits of good news on climate for the New Year:

Sound science put to rest numerous unsubstantiated global warming scares in 2008. Sensationalist predictions that the North Pole would melt, polar bear numbers would decline, hurricanes would run amok, devastating droughts would occur, and Antarctic ice sheets would flood the southern seas never materialized.

Unfortunately, this will not stop the purveyors of gloom and doom from creating similar false global warming scares and sensationalist predictions for 2009.

Keeping in mind the following 10 global warming truths will help us avoid falling prey to global warming scams in the upcoming New Year.

Global temperatures are not rising. The warmest year in the past century occurred a full decade ago, in 1998. Temperatures have been gradually and steadily falling for most of the past decade. Temperatures in 2008 were no warmer than temperatures in 1980.

The Earth is colder than its long-term average. For most of the past 10,000 years, global temperatures have been 1.0 to 3.0 degrees Celsius warmer than our current climate. Twentieth century temperatures appear unusually warm only when compared to the preceding Little Ice Age, which had the coldest global temperatures of the past 10 millennia. The rise of human civilization occurred in a much warmer climate than that of today.

Polar bear populations are not declining; they’re thriving. The global polar bear population has more than doubled since the 1980s. Moreover, polar bears had no problems surviving and flourishing in the much warmer temperatures that dominated the past 10,000 years.

Polar ice is not shrinking. Arctic sea ice has moderately declined in recent years, due in large part to a recent shift in regional wind patterns. But in the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice has been growing at a record pace. Polar ice as a whole is right on its long-term average.

Global warming is not causing more droughts. Throughout the twentieth century and since, global precipitation has been increasing, as has global soil moisture. A recent paper in one of the world’s foremost peer-reviewed science journals noted, “the terrestrial surface is literally becoming more like a gardener’s greenhouse”–an environment that is great for plant growth.

Higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are not killing sea life. Numerous recent studies show that aquatic ecosystems become more productive and robust under higher carbon dioxide conditions. Assertions that higher carbon dioxide concentrations cause harmful ocean acidification are unsupported by real-world evidence, ignore the prevalence of shellfish during prior geological periods when there was much more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and would apply to only a small subset of aquatic creatures versus the vast majority of aquatic life that benefits from higher atmospheric carbon dioxide.

See the rest here.

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