While the United Nations and the Obama administration assert that climate change is settled science and requires dramatic regulatory oversight, 31,072 U.S. scientists have signed the Petition Project, saying the issue remains decidedly unsettled.
"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate," the petition says.
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"The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of 'settled science' and an overwhelming 'consensus' in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong," the petition asserts. "No such consensus or settled science exists."
Over 9,000 of the petition's signatories have a Ph.D. in a scientific field.
For all the talk of "settled science," all that has been settled is the stunning inaccuracies of alarmists — from failed computer models and a discredited "hockey stick" graphic that pointed to exponential warming, to dire predictions of melting Himalayan glaciers, receding rain forests, increases in hurricane activity, and the end of snow.
Other climate-change claims include assertions that the United States has suffered the warmest temperatures ever recorded in recent years and that the melting polar icecaps will cause drastic sea rises, leading to widespread flooding and death.
But those are all myths, according to the World Climate Report, whose editor is climatologist Patrick Michaels, a prominent skeptic of anthropogenic global warming — the notion that mankind's greenhouse gas emissions are driving catastrophic climate change.
Historical temperature records for the United States are spotty at best, and "after removing biases caused by urbanization, thermometer relocations, instrument changes, and so on, it is clear that there is no trend in mean annual temperatures in the last 65 years" in the United States, the World Climate Report found. In fact, "aside from a sharp rise from 1915 to 1930, when trace-gas concentrations were low, the trend is essentially zero."
The report also found that Northern Hemisphere temperature changes have been greatly exaggerated, and "based on the best available temperature records," the region has actually warmed only "about 0.65 degrees Celsius [about 1.1 degree F.] since 1860."
The report noted, "We weren't producing much [carbon dioxide] prior to 1945, so the greenhouse effect should have been most prevalent in the last 40 years. But most of the temperature increase occurred prior to 1945."
Todd Myers, director of the Center for the Environment at the Washington Policy Center, said: "It's true, temperatures have risen, but not in the last 15 years."
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"We've seen glaciers receding since 1862 — long before human activities that caused carbon dioxide."
As for melting icecaps causing worldwide flood-related disasters, the World Climate Report found that in Antarctica, "there is absolutely no evidence of increasing temperatures since the mid-1960s."
What about the dire predictions of the looming deaths of polar bears, owing to melting ice and dwindling livable space? Gross exaggerations and emotionally charged fallacies, other scientists and researchers say.
"We tend to hear nothing but alarming messages about the current status and future welfare of polar bears from animal advocates of all kinds, including lobby groups and activist scientists," Susan Crockford, a zoologist and evolutionary biologist with 35-plus years of experience who works at the University of Victoria, Canada, said in a previously published statement.
"Many of these tales of imminent doom, however, have important facts left out, glossed over or misrepresented — and much of the uncertainty in the underlying research has been downplayed," she said.
One more fallacy that the climate-change movement doesn't like to remember is the infamous "hockey stick" predictor, said Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "That's the curve that showed an exponential increase with the hike attributed largely to human activities that emit greenhouse gases."
"They are otherwise burdened by the only 'climate-change denial' on record: rewriting history — the hockey stick — to pretend [temperatures] didn't change until the horrors of industrial society were unleashed."
Horner said the science touted by climate-change proponents often falls by the wayside, a victim of factual evidence.
"The most notable changes were the cessation of a brief warming trend they vowed would continue linearly and without interruption, that the noisy hurricane season of 2005 was the future here and now – only to see things go remarkably quiet," Horner said.
Nevertheless, President Barack Obama is determined to make climate change regulation one of his legacies, declaring in his State of the Union address that "climate change is fact" and embracing the notion that the issue is "settled science."
White House spokesman Jay Carney recently said that "97 percent of scientists who study this issue agree that climate change is real and it is the result of human activity."
But even the White House's assertion that there is a consensus among scientists about the influence of human behavior on the environment is a matter of debate, as the Petition Project demonstrates.
Adherents of the "science-is-settled" argument often cite a study that tabulated the number of times global warming appeared in abstracts of articles and concluded that 97 percent of climate scientists accept the theory that human activity causes global warming.
The 97 percent figure is highly misleading considering that only 32.6 percent of the scientists endorsed anthropogenic global warming, while two-thirds expressed no position.
In 2013, Popular Technology
contacted some of the scientists cited as belonging to the 97 percent. Craig D. Idso, chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, was one of the scientists whose paper was cited as supporting the argument that humans cause global warming.
Asked by the magazine whether his work was properly represented, he said it was "not an accurate representation of my paper" and that it "would be incorrect to claim that our paper was an endorsement of CO2-induced global warming."
The impartiality of the scientific community backing climate change was also brought into question after emails exchanged between scientists were made public in 2009, showing how key researchers skewed evidence and blackballed dissenters.
"Once you grasp who and what they are, their desperation and seemingly irrational moves make much more sense," Horner, an author of several books about the pitfalls of environmental politics, told Newsmax.
However, daring to raise questions — a pursuit normally associated with the scientific method — is a sure-fire path toward receiving attacks as skeptics in the research community are subjected to harsh criticisms from colleagues, often isolated and derided for their findings.
Swedish meteorologist Professor Lennart Bengtsson recently accused the climate change world of "McCarthyist"-type pressure for scientists having to tow the alarmism line or face professional shunning, the Daily Mail
Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading in England, joined with four of his scholarly colleagues to pen a study that suggested the planet might be less vulnerable to greenhouse gases than previously believed — a notion that flies directly in the face of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's claim that the Earth's temperatures are due to rise by 4.5 degrees Celsius if greenhouse gas levels double.
Bengtsson's paper simply suggested that the IPCC might want to conduct further research to "reduce the underlying uncertainty" of its findings.
"The problem we now have in the climate community is that some scientists are mixing up their scientific role with that of a climate activist," said Bengtsson, who spoke of unbearable pressure coming from other researchers after he submitted his paper. "It is an indication of how science is gradually being influenced by political views. The reality hasn't been keeping up with the models."
Climate change alarmism is big business for some – including Al Gore, who was on a path a few years ago to become what The Telegraph described as the world's first "carbon billionaire" for pushing government environmental controls that would direct a vast fortune to his personal business ventures.
But to at least one environmental analyst, the rhetoric surrounding the green debate is too harsh and vicious to be all about money.
"My basic argument is that climate change is an identity, and changing their mind about science means changing their identity," Myers told Newsmax, referring to how many in the environmental movement refuse to acknowledge when climate change alarmism falters in the face of facts.
"That's too much for people to do — to say 'I've been living a lie.' It's become all about who they are as a person, as their identity. And that's why the attacks have become so personal."
Jennifer Hickey contributed to this report.
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