Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Dec. 13, 2007
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, N.Y.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.
The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by government representatives. The great majority of IPCC contributors and reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.
Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:
Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.
The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.
Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.
In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/wg1_timetable_2006-08-14.pdf) to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.
The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the "precautionary principle" because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.
The current UN focus on "fighting climate change," as illustrated in the Nov. 27 UN Development Programme's Human Development Report, is distracting governments from adapting to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever forms they may take. National and international planning for such changes is needed, with a focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens adapt to conditions that lie ahead. Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity's real and pressing problems.
Don Aitkin, PhD, Professor, social scientist, retired vice-chancellor and president, University of Canberra, Australia
William J.R. Alexander, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Member, UN Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994-2000
Bjarne Andresen, PhD, physicist, Professor, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Geoff L. Austin, PhD, FNZIP, FRSNZ, Professor, Dept. of Physics, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Timothy F. Ball, PhD, environmental consultant, former climatology professor, University of Winnipeg
Ernst-Georg Beck, Dipl. Biol., Biologist, Merian-Schule Freiburg, Germany
Sonja A. Boehmer-Christiansen, PhD, Reader, Dept. of Geography, Hull University, U.K.; Editor, Energy & Environment journal
Chris C. Borel, PhD, remote sensing scientist, U.S.
Reid A. Bryson, PhD, DSc, DEngr, UNE P. Global 500 Laureate; Senior Scientist, Center for Climatic Research; Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography, and of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin
Dan Carruthers, M.Sc., wildlife biology consultant specializing in animal ecology in Arctic and Subarctic regions, Alberta
R.M. Carter, PhD, Professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
Ian D. Clark, PhD, Professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
Richard S. Courtney, PhD, climate and atmospheric science consultant, IPCC expert reviewer, U.K.
Willem de Lange, PhD, Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences, School of Science and Engineering, Waikato University, New Zealand
David Deming, PhD (Geophysics), Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma
Freeman J. Dyson, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, N.J.
Don J. Easterbrook, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Geology, Western Washington University
Lance Endersbee, Emeritus Professor, former dean of Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Monasy University, Australia
Hans Erren, Doctorandus, geophysicist and climate specialist, Sittard, The Netherlands
Robert H. Essenhigh, PhD, E.G. Bailey Professor of Energy Conversion, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University
Christopher Essex, PhD, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Associate Director of the Program in Theoretical Physics, University of Western Ontario
David Evans, PhD, mathematician, carbon accountant, computer and electrical engineer and head of 'Science Speak,' Australia
William Evans, PhD, editor, American Midland Naturalist; Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
Stewart Franks, PhD, Professor, Hydroclimatologist, University of Newcastle, Australia
R. W. Gauldie, PhD, Research Professor, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean Earth Sciences and Technology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Lee C. Gerhard, PhD, Senior Scientist Emeritus, University of Kansas; former director and state geologist, Kansas Geological Survey
Gerhard Gerlich, Professor for Mathematical and Theoretical Physics, Institut fŸr Mathematische Physik der TU Braunschweig, Germany
Albrecht Glatzle, PhD, sc.agr., Agro-Biologist and Gerente ejecutivo, INTTAS, Paraguay
Fred Goldberg, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Royal Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden
Vincent Gray, PhD, expert reviewer for the IPCC and author of The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of 'Climate Change 2001, Wellington, New Zealand
William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University and Head of the Tropical Meteorology Project
Howard Hayden, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Connecticut
Louis Hissink MSc, M.A.I.G., editor, AIG News, and consulting geologist, Perth, Western Australia
Craig D. Idso, PhD, Chairman, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Arizona
Sherwood B. Idso, PhD, President, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, AZ, USA
Andrei Illarionov, PhD, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity; founder and director of the Institute of Economic Analysis
Zbigniew Jaworowski, PhD, physicist, Chairman - Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland
Jon Jenkins, PhD, MD, computer modelling - virology, NSW, Australia
Wibjorn Karlen, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden
Olavi KŠrner, Ph.D., Research Associate, Dept. of Atmospheric Physics, Institute of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics, Toravere, Estonia
Joel M. Kauffman, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
David Kear, PhD, FRSNZ, CMG, geologist, former Director-General of NZ Dept. of Scientific & Industrial Research, New Zealand
Madhav Khandekar, PhD, former research scientist, Environment Canada; editor, Climate Research (2003-05); editorial board member, Natural Hazards; IPCC expert reviewer 2007
William Kininmonth M.Sc., M.Admin., former head of Australia's National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological organization's Commission for Climatology Jan J.H. Kop, MSc Ceng FICE (Civil Engineer Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers), Emeritus Prof. of Public Health Engineering, Technical University Delft, The Netherlands
Prof. R.W.J. Kouffeld, Emeritus Professor, Energy Conversion, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Salomon Kroonenberg, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Geotechnology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Hans H.J. Labohm, PhD, economist, former advisor to the executive board, Clingendael Institute (The Netherlands Institute of International Relations), The Netherlands
The Rt. Hon. Lord Lawson of Blaby, economist; Chairman of the Central Europe Trust; former Chancellor of the Exchequer, U.K.
Douglas Leahey, PhD, meteorologist and air-quality consultant, Calgary
David R. Legates, PhD, Director, Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware
Marcel Leroux, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Climatology, University of Lyon, France; former director of Laboratory of Climatology, Risks and Environment, CNRS
Bryan Leyland, International Climate Science Coalition, consultant and power engineer, Auckland, New Zealand
William Lindqvist, PhD, independent consulting geologist, Calif.
Richard S. Lindzen, PhD, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A.J. Tom van Loon, PhD, Professor of Geology (Quaternary Geology), Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland; former President of the European Association of Science Editors
Anthony R. Lupo, PhD, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, Dept. of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science, University of Missouri-Columbia
Richard Mackey, PhD, Statistician, Australia
Horst Malberg, PhD, Professor for Meteorology and Climatology, Institut fŸr Meteorologie, Berlin, Germany
John Maunder, PhD, Climatologist, former President of the Commission for Climatology of the World Meteorological Organization (89-97), New Zealand
Alister McFarquhar, PhD, international economy, Downing College, Cambridge, U.K.
Ross McKitrick, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Guelph
John McLean, PhD, climate data analyst, computer scientist, Australia
Owen McShane, PhD, economist, head of the International Climate Science Coalition; Director, Centre for Resource Management Studies, New Zealand
Fred Michel, PhD, Director, Institute of Environmental Sciences and Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Carleton University
Frank Milne, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Economics, Queen's University
Asmunn Moene, PhD, former head of the Forecasting Centre, Meteorological Institute, Norway
Alan Moran, PhD, Energy Economist, Director of the IPA's Deregulation Unit, Australia
Nils-Axel Morner, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden
Lubos Motl, PhD, Physicist, former Harvard string theorist, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
John Nicol, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Physics, James Cook University, Australia
David Nowell, M.Sc., Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, former chairman of the NATO Meteorological Group, Ottawa
James J. O'Brien, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Meteorology and Oceanography, Florida State University
Cliff Ollier, PhD, Professor Emeritus (Geology), Research Fellow, University of Western Australia
Garth W. Paltridge, PhD, atmospheric physicist, Emeritus Professor and former Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia
R. Timothy Patterson, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences (paleoclimatology), Carleton University
Al Pekarek, PhD, Associate Professor of Geology, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Dept., St. Cloud State University, Minnesota
Ian Plimer, PhD, Professor of Geology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
Brian Pratt, PhD, Professor of Geology, Sedimentology, University of Saskatchewan
Harry N.A. Priem, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Planetary Geology and Isotope Geophysics, Utrecht University; former director of the Netherlands Institute for Isotope Geosciences
Alex Robson, PhD, Economics, Australian National University Colonel F.P.M. Rombouts, Branch Chief - Safety, Quality and Environment, Royal Netherland Air Force
R.G. Roper, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
Arthur Rorsch, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Molecular Genetics, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, principal consultant, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, B.C.
Tom V. Segalstad, PhD, (Geology/Geochemistry), Head of the Geological Museum and Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology, University of Oslo, Norway
Gary D. Sharp, PhD, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, CA
S. Fred Singer, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia and former director Weather Satellite Service
L. Graham Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario
Roy W. Spencer, PhD, climatologist, Principal Research Scientist, Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama, Huntsville
Peter Stilbs, TeknD, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Research Leader, School of Chemical Science and Engineering, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), Stockholm, Sweden
Hendrik Tennekes, PhD, former director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
Dick Thoenes, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
Brian G Valentine, PhD, PE (Chem.), Technology Manager - Industrial Energy Efficiency, Adjunct Associate Professor of Engineering Science, University of Maryland at College Park; Dept of Energy, Washington, DC
Gerrit J. van der Lingen, PhD, geologist and paleoclimatologist, climate change consultant, Geoscience Research and Investigations, New Zealand
Len Walker, PhD, Power Engineering, Australia
Edward J. Wegman, PhD, Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Virginia
Stephan Wilksch, PhD, Professor for Innovation and Technology Management, Production Management and Logistics, University of Technolgy and Economics Berlin, Germany
Boris Winterhalter, PhD, senior marine researcher (retired), Geological Survey of Finland, former professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, Finland
David E. Wojick, PhD, P.Eng., energy consultant, Virginia
Raphael Wust, PhD, Lecturer, Marine Geology/Sedimentology, James Cook University, Australia
A. Zichichi, PhD, President of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva, Switzerland; Emeritus Professor of Advanced Physics, University of Bologna, Italy