Heartland Institute Celebrates Halloween with 10 ‘Climate Scares Debunked’ Videos

The short, sharable videos, debunk some of the biggest phony climate scares meant to spook kids and adults, alike

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (October 31, 2019) – For environmental activists, every day is Halloween as they try to scare children about supposed catastrophes that will soon befall the earth due to climate change. They also try to frighten politicians in the United States and around the world into taking radical, economy-killing action to “stop” global warming.

But like most spooky stories told around Halloween, those climate scares turn out to be tall tales. From the supposed polar bear population crisis, to children never experiencing snow, to coastal cities being uninhabitable, one scare after another has proven false.

The Heartland Institute has released 10 videos for Halloween that debunk some of the most-popular climate scares pushed by radical environmentalists over the decades.

See the playlist at this link for the 10 videos that were released one per day for the last 10 days leading up to Halloween.

#10: Al Gore Says the Polar Ice Cap Will Disappear by 2013

#9: Children Won’t Know What Snow Is

#8: Polar Bears Are in Danger

#7: Syrians Are Fleeing Due to Climate Change

#6: Pulling Out of the Paris Accord Dooms Humanity

#5: We Have 12 Years to Save the World

#4: Hurricanes Are Increasing in Severity

#3: Climate Change Leads to Mass Starvation

#2: An Underwater New York City

#1: We’re Entering a New Ice Age

The scares for the videos were picked by staffers at Heartland, as well as our friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Energy & Environment Legal Foundation.

The Heartland Institute is a 35-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.

Climate Alarmists Foiled: No U.S. Warming Since 2005

When American climate alarmists claim to have witnessed the effects of global warming, they must be referring to a time beyond 14 years ago. That is because there has been no warming in the United States since at least 2005, according to updated data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In January 2005, NOAA began recording temperatures at its newly built U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN). USCRN includes 114 pristinely maintained temperature stations spaced relatively uniformly across the lower 48 states. NOAA selected locations that were far away from urban and land-development impacts that might artificially taint temperature readings.

Prior to the USCRN going online, alarmists and skeptics sparred over the accuracy of reported temperature data. With most preexisting temperature stations located in or near urban settings that are subject to false temperature signals and create their own microclimates that change over time, government officials performed many often-controversial adjustments to the raw temperature data. Skeptics of an asserted climate crisis pointed out that most of the reported warming in the United States was non-existent in the raw temperature data, but was added to the record by government officials. 

The USCRN has eliminated the need to rely on, and adjust the data from, outdated temperature stations. Strikingly, as shown in the graph below, USCRN temperature stations show no warming since 2005 when the network went online. If anything, U.S. temperatures are now slightly cooler than they were 14 years ago.

Temperature readings from 2005 (far left) to the present (far right) show absolutely no warming.

Climate activists frequently visit or mention particular regions, states, or places in the United States and claim warming impacts are evident, accelerating, and unmistakable. Yet how can that be when there has been no warming in the United States since at least 2005?

Unfortunately, when politicians and climate activists claim they can see the impacts of climate change in a particular place, the media rarely question them on it and tend to accept the claims at face value. But the objective temperature data show no recent warming has occurred. 

There is also good reason to believe U.S. temperatures have not warmed at all since the 1930s. Raw temperature readings at the preexisting stations indicate temperatures are the same now as 80 years ago. All of the asserted U.S. warming since 1930 is the product of the controversial adjustments made to the raw data. Skeptics point out that as the American population has grown, so has the artificial warming signal generated by growing cities, more asphalt, more automobiles, and more machinery.

If anything, the raw temperature readings should be adjusted downward today relative to past temperatures (or past temperatures adjusted upward in comparison to present temperatures) rather than the other way around. If raw temperature readings are the same today as they were 80 years ago, when there were fewer artificial factors spuriously raising temperature readings, then U.S. temperatures today may actually be cooler than they were in the early 20th century.

The lack of warming in the United States during the past 14 years is not too different from satellite-measured global trends. Globally, satellite instruments report temperatures have risen merely 0.15 degrees Celsius since 2005, which is less than half the pace predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate models.

Climate crisis advocates attempt to dismiss the minor satellite-measured warming by utilizing ground temperature stations around the globe, which tend to have even more corrupting biases and problems than the old U.S. stations. Of course, they adjust those readings, as well. Perhaps the time has come for American officials to direct some of the billions of dollars spent each year on climate-research and climate-change programs to building and maintaining a global Climate Reference Network.

Either way, it is becoming increasingly difficult for American politicians and climate activists to say they can see the effects of warming temperatures in the United States. For at least the past 14 years, there have been no such warming temperatures.

James Taylor (JTaylor@heartland.orgis director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute.

SPIKED AT FORBES: Global Warming? An Israeli Astrophysicist Provides Alternative View That Is Not Easy To Reject

                           By Jim Lakely

NOTE: This article about 'skeptic' climate scientist Nir Shaviv was published and then quickly pulled from Forbes.com. We publish it here to save the trouble of using the Wayback Machine to read it. The Internet is Forever.

By Forbes.com contributor
Doron Levin

The U.S. auto industry and regulators in California and Washington appear deadlocked over stiff Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards that automakers oppose and the Trump administration have vowed to roll back – an initiative that has environmental activists up in arms.

California and four automakers favor compromise, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the president’s position that the federal standards are too strict. The EPA argues that forcing automakers to build more fuel efficient cars will make them less affordable, causing consumers to delay trading older, less efficient vehicles. Complicating matters is California’s authority to create its own air quality standards, which the White House vows to end.

However the impasse is resolved, the moment looks ripe to revisit the root of this multifactorial dustup: namely, the scientific “consensus” that CO2 emissions from vehicles and other sources are pushing the earth to the brink of climate catastrophe.

In a modest office on the campus of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, an Israeli astrophysicist patiently explains why he is convinced that the near-unanimous judgments of climatologists are misguided.  Nir Shaviv, chairman of the university’s physics department, says that his research and that of colleagues, suggests that rising CO2 levels, while hardly insignificant, play only a minor role compared to the influence of the sun and cosmic radiation on the earth’s climate.

 “Global warming clearly is a problem, though not in the catastrophic terms of Al Gore’s movies or environmental alarmists,” said Shaviv. “Climate change has existed forever and is unlikely to go away. But CO2 emissions don’t play the major role. Periodic solar activity does.”

Shaviv, 47, fully comprehends that his scientific conclusions constitute a glaring rebuttal to the widely-quoted surveys showing that 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity – the combustion of fossil fuels – constitutes the principle reason for climate change.

“Only people who don’t understand science take the 97% statistic seriously,” he said. “Survey results depend on who you ask, who answers and how the questions are worded.  In any case, science is not a democracy. Even if 100% of scientists believe something, one person with good evidence can still be right.”

History is replete with lone voices toppling scientific orthodoxies. Astronomers deemed Pluto the ninth planet – until they changed their minds. Geologists once regarded tectonic plate theory, the movement of continents, as nonsense. Medicine were 100% certain that stomach resulted from stress and spicy food, until an Australian researcher proved bacteria the culprit and won a Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Lest anyone dismiss Shaviv on the basis of his scientific credentials or supposed political agenda, consider the following: He enrolled at Israel’s Technion University – the country’s equivalent of MIT – at the age of 13 and earned an MA while serving in the Israel Defense Force’s celebrated 8200 Intelligence unit. He returned to Technion, where he earned his doctorate, afterward completing post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. He also has been an Einstein Fellow at The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

In other words, he knows tons more about science than Donald Trump or Al Gore.

As for politics “in American terms, I would describe myself as liberal on most domestic issues, somewhat hawkish on security,” he said. Nonetheless, the Trump administration’s position on global climate change, he said, is correct insofar as it rejects the orthodoxy of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s findings and conclusions are updated every six years; the latest report, released this week, noted that deforestation and agribusiness are contributing to CO2 emissions and aggravating climate change.

In 2003, Shaviv and research partner Prof. Jan Veizer published a paper on the subject of climate sensitivity, namely how much the earth’s average temperature would be expected to change if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is doubled.  Comparing geological records and temperature, the team came up with a projected change of 1.0 to 1.5 degrees Celsius – much less than the 1.5 to 4.5 degree change the IPCC has used since it began issuing its reports. The reason for the much wider variation used by the IPCC, he said, was that they relied almost entirely on simulations and no one knew how to quantify the effect of clouds – which affects how much radiant energy reaches the earth – and other factors.

“Since then, literally billions have been spent on climate research,” he said. Yet “the conventional wisdom hasn’t changed. The proponents of man-made climate change still ignore the effect of the sun on the earth’s climate, which overturns our understanding of twentieth-century climate change.”

He explained: “Solar activity varies over time. A major variation is roughly eleven years or more, which clearly affects climate. This principle has been generally known – but in 2008 I was able to quantify it by using sea level data.  When the sun is more active, there is a rise in sea level here on earth. Higher temperature makes water expand.  When the sun is less active, temperature goes down and the sea level falls – the correlation is as clear as day.

“Based on the increase of solar activity during the twentieth century, it should account for between half to two-thirds of all climate change,” he said. “That, in turn, implies that climate sensitivity to CO2 should be about 1.0 degree when the amount of CO2 doubles.”

The link between solar activity and the heating and cooling of the earth is indirect, he explained. Cosmic rays entering the earth’s atmosphere from the explosive death of massive stars across the universe play a significant role in the formation of so-called cloud condensation nuclei needed for the formation of clouds.  When the sun is more active, solar wind reduces the rate of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. A more active solar wind leads to fewer cloud formation nuclei, producing clouds that are less white and less reflective, thus warming the earth. 

“Today we can demonstrate and prove the sun’s effect on climate based on a wide range of evidence, from fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old to buoy readings to satellite altimetry data from the past few decades,” he said. “We also can reproduce and mimic atmospheric conditions in the laboratory to confirm the evidence.

"All of it shows the same thing, the bulk of climate change is caused by the sun via its impact on atmospheric charge,” he said. “Which means that most of the warming comes from nature, whereas a doubling of the amount of CO2 raises temperature by only 1.0 to 1.5 degrees.  A freshman physics student can see this.”

Nevertheless, the world of climate science has “mostly ignored” his research findings. “Of course, I’m frustrated,” he said. “Our findings are very inconvenient for conventional wisdom” as summarized by the IPCC.  “We know that there have been very large variations of climate in the past that have little to do with the burning of fossil fuels.  A thousand years ago the earth was as warm as it is today. During the Little Ice Age three hundred years ago the River Thames froze more often.  In the first and second IPCC reports these events were mentioned.  In 2001 they disappeared. Suddenly no mention of natural warming, no Little Ice Age. The climate of the last millennium was presented as basically fixed until the twentieth century.  This is a kind of Orwellian cherry-picking to fit a pre-determined narrative.”

Shaviv says that he has accepted no financial support for his research by the fossil fuel industry. Experiments in Denmark with Prof. Henrik Svensmark and others to demonstrate the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation were supported by the Carlsberg Foundation. In the U.S. the conservative Heartland Institute and the European Institute for Climate and Energy have invited him to speak, covering travel expenses.

“The real problem is funding from funding agencies like the National Science Foundation because these proposals have to undergo review by people in a community that ostracizes us,” he said, because of his non-conventional viewpoint.

“Global warming is not a purely scientific issue any more,” he said.  “It has repercussions for society.  It has also taken on a moralistic, almost religious quality. If you believe what everyone believes, you are a good person. If you don’t, you are a bad person.  Who wants to be a sinner?”

Any scientist who rejects the UN’s IPCC report, as he does, will have trouble finding work, receiving research grants or publishing, he said.

In Shaviv’s view, the worldwide crusade to limit and eventually ban the use of fossil fuels isn’t just misguided “it comes with real world social and economic consequences.” Switching to more costly energy sources, for example, will drive industry from more industrialized countries to poorer countries that can less afford wind turbines and solar panels.

“It may be a financial sacrifice the rich are willing to make, he said. “Even in developed countries the pressure to forego fossil fuel puts poor people in danger of freezing during the winter for lack of affordable home heating.  The economic growth of third world countries will be inhibited if they cannot borrow from the World Bank to develop cheap fossil-based power plants. These are serious human problems in the here and now, not in a theoretical future.”

For Shaviv, the rejection and closed-mindedness his minority view provoke may contain a silver lining.  Just think of the acclaim that awaits if his research -- and scientific reconsideration of the current orthodoxy -- one day proves persuasive.

Alarmists Claim Maple Syrup Climate Crisis, Yet Production Sets New Records

by James Taylor

The 2019 maple syrup harvest brought another opportunity for global-warming alarmists to gin up a fictitious climate scare.

With feel-good stories abounding about hardy Canadians and Americans collecting sap from their sugar maples from February to April, The New York Times and other media outlets attempted to turn the news into a maple syrup climate crisis. Objective facts, however, reveal maple syrup production is setting new records nearly every year, as temperatures continue their modest recent warming trend.

According to The New York Times: “In fact, climate change is already making things more volatile for syrup producers. In 2012, maple production fell by 54 percent in Ontario and by 12.5 percent in Canada overall, according to data from the Canadian government, because of an unusually warm spring.”

“Warm weather can hurt syrup production because the process depends on specific temperature conditions: daytime highs above freezing with nighttime lows below freezing. But because of climate change, some years those key temperatures are more elusive,” The Times added.

Taking its cue from the establishment media, the Care2 Healthy Living website was even more direct. “Expect maple syrup shortages,” the website reported.

A look at objective data on maple syrup production shows the exact opposite is happening. The New York Times had to dig up very old news, all the way back to 2012, to find a production year it could describe as discouraging. And even 2012 saw merely a 12.5 percent decline relative to 2011. Interestingly, maple syrup production has increased every year since then.

Strikingly, The New York Times chose not to mention that Canadian maple syrup production set records in 2016 and 2017. After failing to set a record in 2018, the outlook is promising for a new record this year.

“Sweet sap is making for an even sweeter maple syrup season for producers in Waterloo Region,” observed The Waterloo Record, in Ontario, Canada.

“Wilfred Schmidt of Schmidt Family Syrup in New Hamburg said he has cut his sap boiling time by 10 percent this year because of higher than normal sugar content in the trees,” The Record observed. “That’s a good thing for producers as a shorter boil means more syrup.”

“We set some records this year and we haven’t changed the amount of trees (tapped) in 10 years. All of a sudden, we’re getting a lot more syrup from the same amount of sap—it makes a huge difference,” said Schmidt.

Maple syrup producers in the United States are enjoying even greater success than their Canadian counterparts.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that U.S. syrup makers produced a record 4.27 million gallons of maple syrup in 2018. That total beat the previous record of 4.21 million gallons in 2017.

Final data for the 2019 season isn’t yet available, but early indications are once again promising.

The Maple News, published in Greenwich, New York, described the 2019 season as “a winner for most.” The Maple News cited U.S. farmers as predicting record 2019 production.

The public messaging regarding maple syrup production is typical of how global-warming issues are portrayed in the establishment media. Climate change alarmists look for a popular news or culture item and then find a way—whether supported by science or not—to assert that global warming is making things worse. They trust most people won’t have the time, inclination, or ability to research the issue themselves and discover the truth. As a result, people are led to erroneously believe that objectively good news is actually bad news.

In this case, people are being led to believe global warming is damaging maple syrup production and maple syrup shortages are imminent. In reality, maple syrup production sets new records on a near-annual basis as our climate modestly warms.

James Taylor (JTaylor@heartland.orgis a senior fellow for environment and climate policy at The Heartland Institute. The article first appeared here