In Mattera's Obama Zombies, global warming falsehoods live on

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG & KATE CONWAY

In his new book Obama Zombies, author Jason Mattera uses falsehoods, out-of-context quotations, and factual omissions to attack global warming science as an "eco-hoax," and a "'scientific' shell game promulgated by the left against America's youth."

Mattera mistakes U.S. temperatures for global temperatures

Mattera: "Not only is 1934 the hottest year on record, but five of the ten warmest years have transpired before World War II." From the chapter on global warming in Obama Zombies:

Which is it, Obama Zombies? Warming or cooling? I've got to know! You see, folks, meteorologist Obama can't predict the weather tomorrow, but he can predict a global climate catastrophe? Even Al Gore's most ardent believers have come to realize this fact, which is why now they prefer the term climate change to global warming. It's more vague that way.

Not only is 1934 the hottest year on record, but five of the ten warmest years have transpired before World War II -- well before we started pumping globs of CO2 into the atmosphere. So what was causing global warming in 1934? [Page 106]

Mattera's data is for U.S. temperatures -- globally, the 10 hottest years on record have all occurred in past two decades. According to Mattera's source, the blog Daily Tech, 1934 was the hottest year on record for U.S. temperature data. Because regional temperatures vary greatly, scientists use global temperatures to analyze global climate change.

In fact, NOAA's analysis of global temperatures found 2001-2008 "among the ten warmest" in 130 years. NOAA's State of the Climate Global Analysis for 2009 stated: "The years 2001 through 2008 each rank among the ten warmest years of the 130-year (1880-2009) record and 2009 was no exception." Contrary to Mattera's claim, none of the years "before World War II" are in the top 10 warmest years, which include only years from the past decade and two years from the 1990s. NOAA also provides the following chart:

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Mattery falsely suggests that recent warming is "largely a function" of the sun

Mattera: "[W]arming and cooling are largely a function of ... the sun!" In the chapter of Obama Zombies titled "Global-Warming Ghouls," Mattera writes:

But many of those who study atmospheric conditions believe the exact opposite: that the mild, barely noticeable warming the temperature has seen over the last hundred years is the result of normal planetary motions and natural climate changes. They understand that warming and cooling are largely a function of -- drum roll, please -- the sun! Yes, the sun, that massive firey ball in the sky that enables life on our planet. A bombshell, I know. [Page 93]

Sun cannot explain the recent increase in global temperatures. Aware that the sun has driven past changes in climate, scientists studying the global warming of the past half-century have scrutinized data to distinguish natural variations in climate from those caused by external forces like human activity. According to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, "Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG (greenhouse gas) concentrations." The authors of the IPCC report noted that the phrase "very likely" translates to greater than 90 percent probability. The IPCC further reported that "it is very unlikely [less than a 10-percent chance] that the contribution from solar forcing to the warming of the last 50 years was larger than that from greenhouse gas forcing." NewScientist reported in May 2007 that "there is no correlation between solar activity and the strong warming during the past 40 years. Claims that this is the case have not stood up to scrutiny." Climate blog Skeptical Science has also noted that "a number of independent measurements of solar activity indicate the sun has shown a slight cooling trend since 1960, over the same period that global temperatures have been warming."

Mattera falsely claims temperatures are "down to where they were in 1930"

Mattera: Cooling period "has brought temperatures down to where they were in 1930." In Obama Zombies, Mattera writes:

But if you're losing sleep over such a mild warming in the last century, don't. We've now entered a cooling period, one that has brought temperatures down to where they were in 1930. [Page 93]

In fact, global average temperatures are now higher than in 1930. Yearly global temperature data from both NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that the global average temperature in 1930 was lower than the global average temperature for any year in the decade 2000-2009, and was indeed lower than any year after 1976. NOAA also provides the following chart of global temperature anomalies, which it notes are calculated as departures from the 20th century average:

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Mattera cites dubious Inhofe report to challenge consensus on global warming

Mattera cites Sen. Inhofe's list of "more than 650 top scientists ... who have challenged the global-alarming hysteria." In Obama Zombies, Mattera writes:

The final tool used to lobotomize aspiring Obama Zombies involves the "scientific" shell game promulgated by the left against America's youth.

If a lie is repeated often enough, it's thought to be true. And nowhere is this more true than in the false notion that a "consensus" of scientists is that man is responsible for warming the planet. It's not true. But Obama Zombies don't want a real debate. They want an Al Gore slide show that leaves folks feeling all warm and fuzzy about saving polar bears.

U.S. senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma has himself assembled a growing list of more than 650 top scientists from around the globe who have challenged the global-alarming hysteria proffered by the liberal machine. Consensus? What consensus? Slowly, even the reliably liberal media are noticing. [Page 104]

Questions have been raised about legitimacy of list. The original version of the list, posted on Sen. Inhofe's Environment and Public Works Press blog, included the names of over 400 "prominent scientists" who supposedly disputed man-made global warming. According to Climate Progress editor Joseph Romm, many of the scientists included were not actually experts in climate science, and a number of those who were experts did not, in fact, deny anthropogenic climate change -- including George Waldenberger, who asked that his name be removed from the list. Inhofe's updated report (now up to a count of 700), still includes Waldenberger's name, and has come under criticism from The New Republic, Climate Progress, MSNBC's David Shuster, and others. The Center for Inquiry reviewed Inhofe's list and concluded that "while there are indeed some well respected scientists on the list, the vast majority are neither climate scientists, nor have they published in fields that bear directly on climate science."

Mattera falsely claims CO2 is not a pollutant that is causing the earth's temperature to rise

Mattera claims CO2 is not a pollutant. In Obama Zombies, Mattera writes:

So let's get to the basics. Is carbon dioxide a pollutant that is causing the earth's temperature to rise?

I'm gonna go with no.

Here's why: Try this experiment. Breathe in the air that you exhale. Now, let me know if you feel faint, feel nauseous, or as if you're about to die. After all, we human beings exhale carbon dioxide, for crying out loud! Perhaps Barack Obama forgot, but carbon dioxide is essential for life. Plants and crops depend on it. Some farmers even deliberately generate increased levels of CO2 to bulk up food production. More "pollution," anyone? [Page 105]

In fact, excessive CO2 discharges are considered pollutants. Scientists do not assert that carbon dioxide is inherently harmful. Rather, they point to the potential danger posed to the ecosystems and human welfare by excessive amounts of C02, as the Natural Resources Defense Council noted:

[A] pollutant is a substance that causes harm when present in excessive amounts. CO2 has been in the atmosphere since life on earth began, and in the right amounts CO2 is important for making the earth hospitable for continued life. But when too much CO2 is put into the atmosphere, it becomes harmful. We have long recognized this fact for other pollutants. For example, phosphorus is a valuable fertilizer, but in excess, it can kill lakes and streams by clogging them with a blanket of algae.

Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that Clean Air Act required EPA to examine greenhouse gases and that GHGs "fit well within" the Clean Air Act's "definition of 'air pollutant.' " In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that "the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act by improperly declining to regulate new-vehicle emissions standards to control the pollutants that scientists say contribute to global warming," as The Washington Post reported. The court stated that "EPA identifies nothing suggesting that Congress meant to curtail EPA's power to treat greenhouse gases as air pollutants." After reviewing "decades of sound, peer-review, extensively evaluated scientific data," the EPA concluded that "six greenhouse gases [including carbon dioxide] taken in combination endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations."

Mattera falsely claims that because CO2 is less than 1 percent of atmosphere, rising levels are "nothing to worry about"

Mattera: "[R]ising carbon dioxide levels are nothing to worry about, since it comprises less than 1 percent of the atmosphere." In Obama Zombies, Mattera writes:

In any event, there's no need to become apoplectic over CO2. Geologist Dudley J. Hughes published a paper for the Heartland Institute pointing out that rising carbon dioxide levels are nothing to worry about, since it comprises less than 1 percent of the atmosphere. Nitrogen and oxygen, by contrast, cover about 99 percent. Hughes gives us a workable analogy to understand how absurd it is to say that CO2 has any meaningful effect in our vast atmosphere. "For simplicity, let us picture a football stadium with about 10,000 people in the stands. Assume each person represents a small volume of one type of gas....Carbon dioxide is represented as only about 4 parts in 10,000, the smallest volume of any major atmospheric gas. [Pages 105-106]

Carbon dioxide is the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas. Although carbon dioxide is a small overall percentage of the atmosphere, as the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) after water vapor, carbon dioxide plays a significant role in the greenhouse effect, and changes in CO2 concentration can significantly alter the climate. As NOAA states, the "global concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere today far exceeds the natural range over the last 650,000 years." Furthermore, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, while CO2 is a natural gas, the current high levels in the atmosphere are the result of "human activities, such as the burning of oil, coal and gas, and deforestation." These conclusions are supported by the 2007 United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 "Synthesis Report," which further states: "Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important anthropogenic GHG. Its annual emissions have grown between 1970 and 2004 by about 80%, from 21 to 38 gigatonnes (Gt), and represented 77% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions in 2004."

Mattera falsely suggests former NY Times reporter denies global warming is occurring

Mattera suggests former Times reporter Revkin was "noticing" a lack of "consensus" among scientists. In the chapter of Obama Zombies titled "Global-Warming Ghouls," Mattera writes:

The final tool used to lobotomize aspiring Obama Zombies involves the "scientific" shell game promulgated by the left against America's youth.

If a lie is repeated often enough, it's thought to be true. And nowhere is this more true than in the false notion that a "consensus" of scientists is that man is responsible for warming the planet. It's not true. But Obama Zombies don't want a real debate. They want an Al Gore slide show that leaves folks feeling all warm and fuzzy about saving polar bears.

U.S. senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma has himself assembled a growing list of more than 650 top scientists from around the globe who have challenged the global-alarming hysteria proffered by the liberal machine. Consensus? What consensus? Slowly, even the reliably liberal media are noticing. Politico conceded that a growing accumulation of atmospheric data could signal that the "science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation," and the New York Times's environmental reporter Andrew Revkin acknowledged that "climate science is not a numbers game (there are heaps of signed statements by folks with advanced degrees on all sides of the issue.)" [Page 104]

In fact, Revkin's position is that there is a "strong consensus" on human-caused global warming. In a February 24 New York Times article -- cited by Mattera on the very next page of Obama Zombies -- Revkin wrote: "As president-elect, Mr. Obama, making a video appearance at a California climate conference, began by saying that the science pointing to human-caused warming was beyond dispute -- a statement backed by a strong consensus among scientists."

Mattera falsely states that "we may be experiencing global cooling now"

Mattera : "We may be experiencing global cooling now." In the chapter of Obama Zombies titled "Global-Warming Ghouls," Mattera writes:

Basically, our world doesn't have a thermostat that liberals can toy with. Our climate is always changing, from the Medieval Warming Period to the Little Ice Age, which followed that. There is no such thing as a global mean temperature. Besides, the infinitesimal "warming" that certain parts of the world are experiencing -- over the past hundred-plus years -- is nothing to write home to Mom about and is a far cry from saying kids in Jamaica are going to burst into flames one of these days.

But the Jamaican kid can relax. In fact, let's buy him a sweater, because we may be experiencing global cooling now. In 2008, outlets that track global temperatures worldwide released data showing that the earth faced cooling cycles large enough to negate the warming documented over the past hundred years. Baghdad, for instance, experienced snowfall for the very first time.[Page 106]

Every year from 2001-2009 is in top 10 warmest years on record. Contrary to Mattera's claim that recent data show "that the earth faced cooling cycles large enough to negate the warming documented over the past hundred years," the National Climatic Data Center states that every year from 2001-2009 was in the top 10 warmest years on decade. The following graph from NASA shows the context of 2008 (the year Mattera cited) which was the least warm year in the warmest decade on record, and was certainly not cool "enough to negate the warming documented over the past hundred years":

AP: "Statisticians Reject Global Cooling" and have identified a "distinct decades-long upward trend." In an experiment, the Associated Press "gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented." Their conclusion was that the "experts found no true temperature declines over time." From the AP's October 26, 2009, article:

Global warming skeptics base their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. Since then, they say, temperatures have dropped -- thus, a cooling trend. But it's not that simple.

Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998. Published peer-reviewed scientific research generally cites temperatures measured by ground sensors, which are from NOAA, NASA and the British, more than the satellite data.

The recent Internet chatter about cooling led NOAA's climate data center to re-examine its temperature data. It found no cooling trend.

"The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record," said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. "Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming."

The AP sent expert statisticians NOAA's year-to-year ground temperature changes over 130 years and the 30 years of satellite-measured temperatures preferred by skeptics and gathered by scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880.

Saying there's a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers.

2000-2009 was "by far" the warmest decade on record. Scientific organizations agree that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record. The U.K. Met Office stated on December 7 that "[t]he first decade of this century has been, by far, the warmest decade on the instrumental record" and that "despite 1998 being the warmest individual year -- the last ten years have clearly been the warmest period in the 160-year record of global surface temperature, maintained jointly by the Met Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia." NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Meteorological Organisation have all released similar findings.

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Environment & Science, Climate Change
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Jason Mattera
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