Tags: Study | Claiming | Rapid | Arctic | Ice | Melt | Refuted

Study Claiming Rapid Arctic Ice Melt Refuted at U.N.'s Climate Conference

Wednesday, 15 December 2004 12:00 AM

He warned that the rise in sea levels from the projected melting of Greenland's ice shelf could have major impacts on coastal areas worldwide.

But Myron Ebell of the free-market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) refuted the report.

"The temperature graph [of the Arctic used in ACIA's study] does not agree with any of the known data sets for the Arctic. In other words, who knows where they got this data from?" Ebell told CNSNews.com.

Ebell, who is attending the U.N. conference, is the director of international environmental policy for CEI. He believes that alarm over the projected melting of Greenland's ice shelf is misplaced.

"It was warmer in 1000 A.D. than it is today, and Greenland had much less ice cover back then," Ebell said.

But Correll presented his case for a quick and alarming Arctic melt with confidence. "It's happening there, and it's happening rapid[ly]... Places that used to be frozen year round are now opening up," he said.

"The preponderance of evidence is that the observed warming on the planet and most definitely in the Arctic over the last 30 to 50 years is due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations," he added.

Rising sea levels, changes in animal habitats and possible changes in ocean currents are some of the potential problems Earth faces, according to ACIA's report.

But Ebell questioned why rising Arctic temperatures were something to fear. "If global warming in the Arctic is such a problem, why do 80 percent of Canadians live within 50 miles of the U.S. border?" Ebell asked rhetorically.

"If Canada warmed up a bit they might be able to live in more of their own country," he added.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist," a book that debunks what he sees as flawed eco-science, also dismissed concerns about the catastrophic impacts of rising sea levels.

"We are probably gong to see sea levels rise about 50 centimeters over the coming century. Now that is a substantial amount, but what we don't remember is that in the last century they rose somewhere between 10 and 25 centimeters - and did anyone notice? I mean it is something we dealt with," Lomborg told CNSNews.com.

Lomborg is in Buenos Aires trying to convince world governments to worry less about climate change and worry more about what he considers the pressing problems of AIDS in Africa, world poverty, and inadequate sanitation.

He said rising sea levels aren't going to be a big problem. "It's going to be a challenge, and it's going to cost us money," Lomborg said, "but it's going to be something we will deal with."

Lomborg believes that focusing on the Kyoto Protocol to help ward off rising sea levels is unrealistic.

"They are going to rise, but the point is with Kyoto, we are going to postpone that rising for only about six years in 2100; that is it," he said.

Corell did concede that there is not much the world could do to stop rising sea levels.

"What would happen if we did in fact reduce C02 emissions over the next 100 years, in a very concerted effort - what would happen to sea-level rise? It would take literally over a thousand years for the sea level to stop rising as a consequence of what we have done over the last 150 years," Corell said during his presentation.

Other analysts and scientists have debunked the notion that Arctic ice is melting as a result of human activity.

Steven Milloy, who hosts the Web site junkscience.com, wrote an essay in November refuting ACIA's report on Arctic melting.

"The report ... pretty much debunks itself on page 23 in the graph labeled 'Observed Arctic Temperature, 1900 to Present,'" Milloy wrote.

"The graph shows that Arctic temperatures fluctuate naturally in regular cycles that are roughly 40 years long. The Arctic seems currently to be undergoing a warming phase - similar to the one experienced between 1920 and 1950 - which will likely be followed by a cooling phase - similar to the once experienced between 1950 and 1990," Milloy said.

Milloy also disputed ACIA's claim that "global warming could cause polar bears to go extinct by the end of the century by eroding the sea ice that sustains them."

"[T]he notion of a declining polar bear population doesn't square well with available information," Milloy wrote.

"A Canadian Press Newswire story earlier this year reported that in three Arctic villages, polar bears 'are so abundant there's a public safety issue.' Inuit hunters wanted to be able to kill more bears because they are 'fearsome predators,'" he wrote.

Milloy said that if polar bears were getting skinnier, it probably did not have anything to do with climate change, but overpopulation as a larger bear population competes for the same level of resources.

Despite the numerous critiques of ACIA's report on Arctic melting, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the outgoing chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, held a Senate hearing in November to hear testimony from some of the report's authors.

Because the hearing did not feature any scientists who believed the Arctic study to be scientifically flawed, McCain was criticized for not holding balanced hearings on Arctic melting.

Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, the author of a new book "Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media," told CNSNews.com in November that McCain's hearing was probably "the most biased hearing" he had ever seen on Capitol Hill.

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He warned that the rise in sea levels from the projected melting of Greenland's ice shelf could have major impacts on coastal areas worldwide. But Myron Ebell of the free-market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) refuted the report. "The...
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Wednesday, 15 December 2004 12:00 AM
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