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The Art of Swallowing Camels Just Got a Whole Lot Harder
Volume 4, Number 29: 18 July 2001

In our Editorial of 27 June 2001 (The Art of Swallowing Camels) we reported on a number of what Crowley and Berner (2001) refer to as "notable disagreements" between inferred trends in near-surface air temperature and CO2 concentration over Phanerozoic time.  These disagreements led them to "reevaluate the validity of the assumed CO2-climate link," as they put it; but the damning evidence did not lead them to renounce that controversial hypothesis.  In fact, Crowley and Berner somehow concluded that the very real and obvious problems raised by the disagreements should not be allowed to "cloud interpretations of future anthropogenic greenhouse gas projections," which is the humongous CO2-induced global warming camel they and so many others are trying so desperately to make us swallow.

In and of itself, Crowley and Berner's conclusion makes no sense at all; and there is now additional evidence that makes that massive meal even more objectionable, giving us ample reason to say a loud "No thanks!" to the unpalatable economic pottage the IPCC politicos have been trying to shove down our throats ever since their unfortunate rise to bureaucratic power among the nations of the earth.

What we're talking about in this specific instance is the study of Royer et al. (2001).  Based on an inverse relationship they developed between the partial pressure of atmospheric CO2 and the leaf stomatal indices of modern Ginkgo biloba and Metasequoia glyptostroboides plants, the group of seven scientists (one of whom is Berner) recently constructed a history of atmospheric CO2 concentration for the middle Miocene (18 to 14 Ma) and the middle Paleocene to early Eocene (60 to 50 Ma) based on fossil Ginkgo and Metasequoia leaf cuticles from which they were able to derive stomatal indices.  Their results, based on fossil cuticles recovered from 24 different localities in western North America and from one locality in Scotland, are deemed by them to be the "most reliable" of all atmospheric CO2 reconstructions for these periods, particularly for the middle Paleocene to early Eocene; and, hence, their findings provide a firm foundation for their conclusions.

Royer et al.'s results?  That the atmosphere's CO2 concentration remained between 300 and 450 ppm throughout the periods studied, much below what had previously been believed likely, with the exception of a single high estimate near the Paleocene/Eocene boundary.  Their conclusions?  That "these results suggest that factors in addition to CO2 are required to explain these past intervals of global warmth."  Our conclusions?  That Royer et al.'s results and conclusions are both correct, and that they reinforce the reality of the growing number of "notable disagreements" between what scientific data reveal to be true and what has previously been erroneously believed about the role of atmospheric CO2 in forcing global climate change.

These observations raise a whole host of intriguing but worrisome questions.  Why, in the face of ever more accumulating evidence for non-CO2-forcing of a large number of past climate changes, do certain scientists and politicians continue to claim, as Crowley and Berner do, that it is not only unwise but actually hazardous to infer that "existing discrepancies between models and data" weaken climate alarmist predictions of impending CO2-induced catastrophic global warming?  Would not wisdom suggest that we do just the opposite, i.e., that we should question the climate alarmists' predictions in light of what sound science is continuing to reveal?  Especially when nearly everyone realizes that truly draconian measures would be required to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions to a level that would have a significant impact on earth's climate?  And even more especially when it's a proven fact that atmospheric CO2 enrichment significantly enhances plant growth and greatly improves plant water use efficiency?  And even much more especially, if such were possible, when there is indisputable evidence we are facing a future food production crisis that overshadows the global warming scenario and is even more certain of occurring, unless we allow the air's CO2 concentration to continue to rise (see our Editorial of 13 June 2001)?

What has happened to reason?  Where has it fled?  Has political correctness become so powerful that logic hides its face in fear of retribution?  Where are the valiant and uncompromising souls of our day -- the modern George Washingtons, Patrick Henrys and Thomas Jeffersons.  Where are the stalwarts who are willing to swear eternal enmity to every form of tyranny over the human mind and rise up and challenge the false theories that threaten to wreck havoc with the affairs of liberty-loving men and women everywhere?  Have we become mere chattel to be driven by the designs of the conspiring few who would bring the whole world under the thumb of their planetary management authority?  Where are the true of heart and honest of mind?  Where?

In spite of the forlorn tone of our questions, we believe such thinking and conscientious men and women are everywhere, interspersed among all the nations of the earth, and that they will indeed rise to the occasion and ultimately stand for what is right and true -- and that they will, eventually, prevail.  But unless they begin to act soon, and make their voices heard, a whole lot of damage could be done in the interim.  Ergo, we continue to call for the application of both the mind and heart to what we truly believe is a challenge of mammoth proportions, praying that the U.S. Catholic bishops would reconsider certain of the conclusions of their initial foray into the CO2/climate debate in light of our response to their plea for dialogue on the matter (see our Editorial of
4 July 2001).  The world needs the best efforts of honest people everywhere to properly resolve this important issue; and the bishops could do much to make that happen.

Dr. Craig D. Idso
Dr. Keith E. Idso
Vice President

Crowley, T.J. and Berner, R.A.  2001.  CO2 and climate change.  Science 292: 870-872.

Royer, D.L., Wing, S.L., Beerling, D.J., Jolley, D.W., Koch, P.L., Hickey, L.J. and Berner, R.A.  2001.  Paleobotanical evidence for near present-day levels of atmospheric CO2 during part of the Tertiary.  Science 292: 2310-2313.