Just as Galileo and Einstein transcended the "consensus" of their day, so too will a growing body of scientific evidence eventually vindicate non-alarmist views on global warming, predicts environmental scientist Fred Singer.
The very notion of consensus on global warming is a "laughable" proposition, Singer said during a talk at the Heritage Foundation this week.
Proponents of man-made global warming theories, such as former Vice President Al Gore, claim there is scientific consensus on a link between human activity and rising temperatures.
In a new book he co-authored with Dennis Avery entitled "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years," Singer writes, "It is sheer fantasy to suggest that a huge number of scientists with expertise in global climate change endorse an alarming interpretation of the recent climate data."
Singer points out that hundreds of climate scientists have argued against what passes for a consensus view on the subject.
Singer is an adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis, professor emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
His book includes a list of surveys and statements from climate scientists who have argued against man-made global warming theories.
For instance, a 1997 survey of U.S. state climatologists found that 90 percent agreed with the statement that "scientific evidence indicates variations in global temperature are likely to be naturally occurring and cyclical over very long periods of time."
The hypothesis promoted by Gore and others is also strongly challenged in a study released through the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) just last year, Singer said Tuesday.
Over a 10-year period the CCSP took a hard look at the models that presume a significant correlation between human activity and rising temperatures and found "very little agreement between the models and observation," Singer said.
However, the executive summary attached to the report gave a skewed impression of the report's data by claiming there was "clear evidence" in favor of "anthropocentric" global warming models, he argued.
The report cost about $18 billion, Singer said, arguing that taxpayers were not getting their money's worth, because the actual data has been obfuscated, hidden away and ignored.
"The summary misrepresents what's in the report," he charged.
Although the CCSP is a solid report that goes a long way toward challenging man-made global warming theories, Singer said, "misinformation" continues to drive policy on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.
The scientist believes global warming is fueled by largely natural forces beyond human control. He advises against the implementation of policy measures such as those prescribed by the Kyoto Treaty, which he said would be both ineffective and economically harmful.
Kyoto required industrialized signatory nations to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by set amounts.
Earlier this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) labeled Singer a "climate contrarian" (Singer has in turn declared that the UCS has "zero credibility as a scientific organization.")
UCS Media Director Elliott Negin on Wednesday declined to comment for this report.
"I don't consider you guys to be real news service - you're just a right-wing group," he said. "And I'm not going to talk to you."
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) media official Erika Viltz also declined to provide a representative to speak on the matter.
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change is a non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to the advancement of polices that both protect the environment and promote economic growth. Unlike Singer, the Pew Center believes a "strong consensus" on global warming science has indeed emerged.
Last year the Pew Center released a comprehensive report advocating a mix of "technology investment" and "market development" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to create a market for emission-reducing technologies.
Jay Gulledge, senior research fellow and staff scientist for the center, told Cybercast News Service that there is room for dissent in science and that consensus should not imply unanimity.
Nevertheless, he believes it is fair to say "a critical mass" of scientists in relevant fields have concluded there is a link between man-made emissions and global warming.
Singer's argument that global warming is caused primarily by natural variability has become "an increasingly marginalized view," Gulledge said.
While there is a legitimate debate over the proportion over human influence on the environment, most scientists are convinced that in the last 50 years most of the warming is attributable to human greenhouse gas emissions like CO2, Gulledge added.
Singer insists the current warming period is the result of both extra-terrestrial influences and natural forces on earth that cannot be impacted by means favored by Pew and others.
One of the extra-terrestrial factors frequently overlooked in global warming science is the sun itself, Singer said at Heritage. Although it was thought at one time to be a "constant star," the sun in fact has periods of variability that impact the earth's climate, he argued.
"The earth continually warms and cools," Singer writes in his book. "The cycle is undeniable, ancient, often abrupt and global. It is also unstoppable. Isotopes in the ice and sediment cores, ancient tree rings and stalagmites tell us it is linked to small changes in the irradiance of the sun."
Singer also discusses the data derived through satellite and high-altitude weather balloon observations. He says they show that, contrary to what has been widely reported, the lower atmosphere is not trapping lots of additional heat as a result of higher CO2 concentrations.
"There is strong evidence that carbon dioxide is not the primary climate factor," Singer writes.
He also laments that a certain "dogma" is being fostered by the media.
"Mainstream journalists have long since committed themselves to the environmental cause," he writes. "It appeals to their sense of superiority, and it gives them an unending source of scary news for front pages and TV sound bites."