A Further Perspective

Henny-Penny Meets Cosmic Rays

Facing the glum prospect of no warming for the next 50 years.

By 1.4.10

It was New Year's Eve so I decided to visit Ms. Henny-Penny, founder and Recording Secretary of the Holy Order of the Sky Is Falling. I wanted to wish her a happier new year than the one just finished and to bring her the good news that the sky isn't actually falling. I found her sitting on her nest looking glum

Us: Happy New Year, Ms. H-P

Ms. H-P: What's so happy about it? All that talk in Copenhagen and no action. We're all going to fry in a few years and no one is doing anything about it.

Us: It looks as if we won't fry, after all. A new peer-reviewed study by a Canadian physicist says the warming in the 20th century was caused by the interplay of cosmic rays on chlorofluorocarbons in our atmosphere. And now that the CFCs are gone, the temperature has gone down and there is likely to be no warming for the next 50 years.

Ms. H-P: What's the name of this scientist?

Us: Dr. Qing-Bin Lu

Ms. H-P: Sounds Chinese

Us: It's a Chinese name, but he's Canadian; a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Waterloo. His study was published in the online journal, Physics Reports.

Ms. H-P: I wonder if he's a Chinese spy. After they backed out of a carbon emissions inspection regime at Copenhagen, they may do anything to play down the danger of carbon dioxide.

Us: Come now, Ms. H-P. When Prof. Qing started he was studying the formation of the ozone hole, not global warming. The data showed him that CFCs, which were once widely used as refrigerants, conspired with cosmic rays to cause both the ozone hole and warming. He said this finding was "totally unexpected." 

He found that, while CO2 increased a great deal from 1850 to 1950, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, global temperatures stayed constant or rose only 0.1 degree Celsius. He says that CFCs, a greenhouse gas, declined around 2000 and that surface temperature has also been dropping, despite the fact CO2 is continuing to grow. 

Ms. H-P: Maybe so, but he's only one scientist. Why aren't others supporting him?

Us: They are, when it comes to global cooling.

Last September, at a UN conference in Geneva, Mojib Latif, a leading climate modeler and a member of its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said in a speech that the Earth has been cooling and will continue to do so for the next two decades or more..

At Western Washington University, Professor Don Easterbrook has been studying the close relationship between oceans and global temperatures and says the planet experiences natural cycles of warming and cooling. He says that the most important ocean cycle is something called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation; that in the 1980s and '90s it was in a warming cycle and so was the Earth. Earlier, a global cooling cycle from 1940 to 1975 had some scientists predicting an ice age. President Obama's science advisor, John Holdren, was one of them.

Prof. Easterbrook says that the warm mode of the PDO has now been replaced by a cool one and "this virtually assures us of three decades of global cooling."

Ms. H-P: That makes me feel a little better, but why are so many sciences pushing global warming, or "climate change" as they now call it?

Us: Alas, science has become subject to fads and politics like most everything else. This UN effort, with gigantic conferences such as the one in Copenhagen, is driven by bureaucrats whose main objective is to redistribute the wealth of the industrialized nations to those that aren't.

Ms. H-P: What about our Pontiff, Al Gore?

Us: He's never met an outlandish claim he didn't like, and he's making a lot of money from promoting global warming.

Ms. H-P: Oh. I think I'll go lay an egg.

Peter Hannaford is going to buy a new parka with thicker insulation for this winter. 

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About the Author

Peter Hannaford, who died on September 5,  was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. His most recent book, Washington Merry-Go-Round: The Drew Pearson Diaries, 1960-69, of which he is editor, has just been published.