The head of the largest farming lobbyist group believes that the earth is cooling. Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation, testified today before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the science of man-made climate change isn’t “the whole story,” citing several canards promoted by extremist global warming deniers. Stallman even claimed that “climate models that have gotten so much attention did not predict the cooling that has occurred over the last decade”:
As we have looked at this issue, we have tried to stay grounded in facts, and as someone once said, facts are stubborn things. We also believe very strongly that this issue, like others, ought to be grounded in sound science.
What do the facts and the science tell us about climate change? Number one, data seems clearly to indicate an identifiable warming trend. The data also shows that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing and that man-made emissions have increased for a number of decades.
But those aren’t the only facts, and they don’t tell the whole story. We also know, for instance, that the climate models that have gotten so much attention did not predict the cooling that has occurred over the last decade. We know that there have been times in the earth’s history when carbon concentrations in the atmosphere were greater, when temperatures have been cooler or warmer — in short, there are any number of variables that probably affect the earth’s climate in ways that we simply don’t know. We know that reputable scientists have raised questions about the computer models that are being used.
By denying the very troubling facts about global warming, Stallman is putting the 6 million members of the American Farm Bureau Federation at great risk. In reality, there’s no “cooling trend,” and there is no ambiguity about the role of man-made greenhouse gases. 2005 is the warmest year on record, according to NASA (although 1998 and 2007 were within the margin of error). More importantly, the last ten years have been the warmest decade by far — significantly warmer than the previous decade of 1989–1998, which had been the warmest, itself significantly warmer than 1979–1988, then the warmest decade in the last 150 years:
Data collected over the past 150 years by the 188 members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) through observing networks of tens of thousands of stations on land, at sea, in the air and from constellations of weather and climate satellites lead to an unequivocal conclusion: The observed increase in global surface temperatures is a manifestation of global warming. Warming has accelerated particularly in the past 20 years.