For those that aren't familiar, S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, a research professor at George Mason University, and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
He is also one of the world's leading anthropogenic global warming skeptics.
With that in mind, he gave a lecture concerning climate change at Hillsdale College on June 30 which has been adapted as an article at the Hillsdale Imprimis (h/t Marc Morano).
What follows are some of the key highlights, although I highly recommend reading the entire piece (emphasis added throughout):
In the past few years there has been increasing concern about global climate change on the part of the media, politicians, and the public. It has been stimulated by the idea that human activities may influence global climate adversely and that therefore corrective action is required on the part of governments. Recent evidence suggests that this concern is misplaced. Human activities are not influencing the global climate in a perceptible way.
Because of the mistaken idea that governments can and must do something about climate, pressures are building that have the potential of distorting energy policies in a way that will severely damage national economies, decrease standards of living, and increase poverty. This misdirection of resources will adversely affect human health and welfare in industrialized nations, and even more in developing nations.
In identifying the burning of fossil fuels as the chief cause of warming today, many politicians and environmental activists simply appeal to a so-called "scientific consensus." There are two things wrong with this. First, there is no such consensus: An increasing number of climate scientists are raising serious questions about the political rush to judgment on this issue. For example, the widely touted "consensus" of 2,500 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an illusion: Most of the panelists have no scientific qualifications, and many of the others object to some part of the IPCC's report. The Associated Press reported recently that only 52 climate scientists contributed to the report's "Summary for Policymakers."
Likewise, only about a dozen members of the governing board voted on the "consensus statement" on climate change by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Rank and file AMS scientists never had a say, which is why so many of them are now openly rebelling. Estimates of skepticism within the AMS regarding man-made global warming are well over 50 percent.
Some consensus, huh?
The second reason not to rely on a "scientific consensus" in these matters is that this is not how science works. After all, scientific advances customarily come from a minority of scientists who challenge the majority view-or even just a single person (think of Galileo or Einstein). Science proceeds by the scientific method and draws conclusions based on evidence, not on a show of hands.
But aren't glaciers melting? Isn't sea ice shrinking? Yes, but that's not proof for human-caused warming. Any kind of warming, whether natural or human-caused, will melt ice. To assert that melting glaciers prove human causation is just bad logic.
Actually, I think it's more accurate to say that such a conclusion lacks logic. But I digress:
What about the fact that carbon dioxide levels are increasing at the same time temperatures are rising? That's an interesting correlation; but as every scientist knows, correlation is not causation. During much of the last century the climate was cooling while CO2 levels were rising. And we should note that the climate has not warmed in the past eight years, even though greenhouse gas levels have increased rapidly.
Don't you hate it when facts are brought into the discussion, especially when the debate is over because the science is settled?
With that in mind, after explaining the flaws in current climate models which are key to advancing global warming hysteria, Singer discussed the more natural and logical explanations for historical climate change:
Natural factors include continental drift and mountain-building, changes in the Earth's orbit, volcanic eruptions, and solar variability. Different factors operate on different time scales. But on a time scale important for human experience-a scale of decades, let's say-solar variability may be the most important.
Solar influence can manifest itself in different ways: fluctuations of solar irradiance (total energy), which has been measured in satellites and related to the sunspot cycle; variability of the ultraviolet portion of the solar spectrum, which in turn affects the amount of ozone in the stratosphere; and variations in the solar wind that modulate the intensity of cosmic rays (which, upon impact into the earth's atmosphere, produce cloud condensation nuclei, affecting cloudiness and thus climate).
If this line of reasoning is correct, human-caused increases in the CO2 level are quite insignificant to climate change. Natural causes of climate change, for their part, cannot be controlled by man. They are unstoppable.
And they have been since the dawn of time.
Do yourself a favor, and read the whole thing.