Testimony of Patrick Moore, Ph.D.
Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight
February 25, 2014
“Natural Resource Adaptation: Protecting ecosystems and economies”
Chairman Whitehouse, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s hearing.
In 1971, as a PhD student in ecology I joined an activist group in a church basement in
Vancouver Canada and sailed on a small boat across the Pacific to protest US
Hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We became Greenpeace.
After 15 years in the top committee I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to
the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific
perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it
certainly is now.
There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the
dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100
years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual
proof, as it is understood in science, exists.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: “It is extremely likely
that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since
the mid-20th century.” (My emphasis)
“Extremely likely” is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law.
The IPCC defines “extremely likely” as a “95-100% probability”. But upon further
examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical
calculation or statistical analysis. They have been “invented” as a construct within the
IPCC report to express “expert judgment”, as determined by the IPCC contributors.
These judgments are based, almost entirely, on the results of sophisticated computer
models designed to predict the future of global climate. As noted by many observers,
including Dr. Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, a
computer model is not a crystal ball. We may think it sophisticated, but we cannot
predict the future with a computer model any more than we can make predictions
with crystal balls, throwing bones, or by appealing to the Gods.
Perhaps the simplest way to expose the fallacy of “extreme certainty” is to look at the
historical record. With the historical record, we do have some degree of certainty
compared to predictions of the future. When modern life evolved over 500 million
years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this
time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higherthan today. There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal
relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that
we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were
10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that
human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.
Today we remain locked in what is essentially still the Pleistocene Ice Age, with an
average global temperature of 14.5oC. This compares with a low of about 12oC during
the periods of maximum glaciation in this Ice Age to an average of 22oC during the
Greenhouse Ages, which occurred over longer time periods prior to the most recent
Ice Age. During the Greenhouse Ages, there was no ice on either pole and all the land
was tropical and sub-tropical, from pole to pole. As recently as 5 million years ago the
Canadian Arctic islands were completely forested. Today, we live in an unusually cold
period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer
climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other
species. There is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would
bring disastrous results for human civilization.
Moving closer to the present day, it is instructive to study the record of average global
temperature during the past 130 years. The IPCC states that humans are the dominant
cause of warming “since the mid-20th century”, which is 1950. From 1910 to 1940
there was an increase in global average temperature of 0.5oC over that 30-year period.
Then there was a 30-year “pause” until 1970. This was followed by an increase of
0.57oC during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no
increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature. This in itself tends
to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to
accelerate during this time.
The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the
increase between 1970-2000. Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-
1940 to “human influence.” They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact
only the increase “since the mid-20th century”. Why does the IPCC believe that a
virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by “human
influence”, when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-
It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a 2oC rise in global
average temperature, that humans are a tropical species. We evolved at the equator in
a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these
cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing. It could be said that frost and ice are the
enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to
freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age. It is “extremely likely” that a
warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.
I realize that my comments are contrary to much of the speculation about our climate
that is bandied about today. However, I am confident that history will bear me out,
both in terms of the futility of relying on computer models to predict the future, and the fact that warmer temperatures are better than colder temperatures for most
If we wish to preserve natural biodiversity, wildlife, and human well being, we should
simultaneously plan for both warming and cooling, recognizing that cooling would be
the most damaging of the two trends. We do not know whether the present pause in
temperature will remain for some time, or whether it will go up or down at some time
in the near future. What we do know with “extreme certainty” is that the climate is
always changing, between pauses, and that we are not capable, with our limited
knowledge, of predicting which way it will go next.
Thank you for the opportunity to present my views on this important subject.
Attached please find the chapter on climate change from my book, “Confessions of a
Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist”. I would request it
be made part of the record.
Click below for: