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there were two periods since the last Ice Age, which was considerably warmer or noticeably warmer than today. In both those periods of time, mankind flourished from all the kinds of evidence that I could put together, and during cold periods things did not go as well.
Mr. BROWN. Would you refresh my memory on the dates of those last two Ice Ages? You are referring to the little Ice Age?
Mr. MOORE. Well, the little Ice Age started about 1300 in Europe, a little bit earlier in the Orient, and there were fluctuations in a period of time. I think the worst of that was somewhere around the end of the 18th century, when it was extremely cold and the weather was terrible. With this onset of this little Ice Age, all the construction in Europe that had been going on under the warm period stopped. Innovation stopped. There was a population drop first because of crop failure and then the Black Death, which I believe was exacerbated by the cold and dampness which drove people and the rats that carried the fleas indoors.
So that the mini-Ice Age was very, very hurtful.
Mr. BROWN. I have been looking at human history in a sort of a superficial way for some time, and in the last 10,000 years I have seen a lot of rise and fall in various human civilizations, and I am just wondering if we could correlate this in any way to the good periods when human population was expanding around the globe.
Was that the warm periods and then in the cold periods they stayed quiescent or something like that?
Mr. MOORE. On page, I think it's 8 of my testimony, you will find a chart which shows the expansion in the population relative to an underlying model of what the population was expected to grow, and during the warm periods it grew faster and during the cool periods it grew slower.
Mr. BROWN. All right: I thank you for that. That will be helpful to me, and I will explore it further.
Dr. Watson, I am looking at some notes from the staff here. It says that in the IPCC report there is a great deal of discussion dedicated to plausible impacts, such as the spread of disease and the increase of severe weather and hurricanes. The question is do these plausible impacts, in fact, have a scientific basis, or are they, as some have said, just scare tactics?
I have an interest in how we distinguish between a scientific basis or just scare tactics, and I may go into Dr. Moore's testimony a little more to see just how strong the scientific basis is for some of the things that you have said also.
Mr. WATSON. Yes. This document, half of which is about the impacts and adaptation strategies for climate change, over half are mitigation, probably has something like 5,000 references in the peer-reviewed literature. It was put together by many, many hundreds of scientists.
As I said in my verbal testimony, there is absolutely no doubt that the human health community believes there will be adverse effects to human health because of increased spread of vector-borne diseases and indeed some non-vector-borne diseases.
It is actually not very complicated. You change the life; you warm the planet. You change the climate; malaria can spread. Today, about 40 percent of the world's population is in a region where you have the potential for malaria. In a world three to four degrees centigrade warmer, you would have the right conditions for having the potential mosquito which carries malaria in an area which would cover 60 percent of the world's population. You simply only have to understand the dynamics of the mosquito to understand that you have an increased vulnerability.
When one looks effectively at the situation such as droughts and floods, there is actually evidence that the United States has already gotten an increase in floods and droughts. Tom Karl has done an excellent documentation of that, totally consistent with the theoretical models, the suggestion of a warmer world, you have more floods and more droughts.
Unfortunately, the paper of Thomas Gale Moore is fundamentally flawed throughout. The first thing is indeed it was warmer in the holocene period. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with more CO2. It was because of changes in the orbital characteristics of the Earth.
Hence, while it was a warmer period, and unfortunately only in summer and not all over the globe, you don't necessarily have the same precipitation patterns which helped the advent of agriculture.
Also, in the sort of very optimistic view of Gale Moore, completely ignores the issues of rate of change of climate and the impact of pests on agriculture.
This particular document looks at some of those issues. In fact, we ourselves significantly underestimate a quantitative assessment of the effects of pests on agriculture. So we point out that carbon dioxide is positive in some areas of the world because you have the CO2 fertilization, but in the tropics and subtropics there would be very negative effects. And that is without even taking into account the effects of pests.
So I would argue these are not scare-mongering tactics, they are the views of the world's scientific community, and they are well documented.
Mr. BROWN. You are aware, Dr. Watson, that there have been periods in history in which the scientific community was wrong, aren't you?
Mr. WATSON. That's true. Some people thought the Earth was flat at one stage. We now realize it is not.
Mr. BROWN. Yes. [Laughter.]
Mr. Nierenberg, you had a comment to make before I begin my questioning?
Mr. NIERENBERG. When I listen to Bob Watson here, I realize that we make, we the scientists, make the same error over and over again. The one thing that is missing in these—what is the word we are using, projections, I forget-in these projections is the fact that there is another field of human endeavor, which is called science and invention. And in this period of 100 years, and we are talking about 100 years, we are going to be able to do a lot of things.
I just wanted to mention two. As an example, one is history. Our agricultural scientists are always ignored. They are not nuclear physicists, so we don't think much of them. In the last 80 years, and it is still continuing, they have increased the production of corn at two percent per year per acre.
I am sure that this has come up here before. And I am sure they will do wonderful things like this in the future.
Second, the question of malaria. Aside from anything else, malaria is a disease. We haven't had much luck with it up till now, but I can't believe that to now in a hundred years from own we shan't have some cure, some vaccination, some protection against malaria. In fact, if we can't do that, we are not going to be able to do a hell of a lot of other things that are equally important.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Dr. Nierenberg, I would just like to take the chairman's priority and sort of wind things up and wrap things up. I didn't have a question session earlier.
I personally, Dr. Watson, after I heard you in the last panel on ozone, and, frankly, some of the arguments that you made moved me as an individual, and I certainly felt after that hearing that I should be more concerned about ozone depletion than I was prior to going into the hearing. I do not believe that the people that I have heard today on the issue of global warming have even come close to that. I am more skeptical now about global warming than when I walked into this panel.
With that said, let me proceed to ask some questions, and feel free to come back very strong. That's fine. That is what this is all about.
First of all, let me say that much of what I have heard is based, again, not on basically scientific models, especially computer models and scientific information, but instead on models and an extrapolation from models. All you described, all that was described to me, is extrapolation by so-called experts.
What that leads to is headlines like this. This is, what, Time magazine. Time magazine. "Heading for Apocalypse."
I mean we have a situation where the Atlanta Constitution is writing an editorial about the inundation in Savannah and Charleston and New Orleans. Basically, if we would proceed to the type of billions of dollars of infrastructure construction you would see, sea walls or whatever, that would be a big disservice to mankind if these extrapolations are not correct.
And if the inventions that Dr. Nierenberg was talking about could, you know, come into play, and even if they are correct, some of them may come into play and knock these projections off.
First of all, let's go right down to this idea of extrapolation.
Mr. EHLERS. I am really sorry to interrupt you, but I couldn't resist. On an earlier comment, I suspect that headline was written by a journalist who wanted to get his point right at the beginning. (Laughter.]
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You know, I think that is an excellent point. (Laughter.) You have to take it when you're up here, too, you know, as well as give it. (Laughter.)
You know, I did want to tell a story. I will tell this story. You know we want to get you out of here in the next ten minutes.
It was interesting, the dispute between the economic expert and the more scientific expert and their approaches. There is a story
about a fellow who went back to his college and he is waiting to see his economics professor, and he is waiting in the outer office, and he notices that the exam time is coming up and there are the examinations.
He looks over and he is shocked to find out that it is the same final exam that he took when he was there 15 years before. His professor comes out, and he is a renowned economist. He says, "Professor, I couldn't help but notice your final exam is exactly the same one that you gave me 15 years ago. Aren't you afraid that some of the students will cheat?”
The professor said, "Why, no.” He says, “We're not afraid of that at all.” He says, "We don't change the questions, but every now and then we change the answers.” (Laughter.)
So you have already heard that, I know. I just couldn't hold back.
Moving right along, Dr. Corell, can you clarify for me which of these impacts claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are projected by climate models and which ones are based on assumptions made on climate models, which is different, which is a totally different way of coming to a conclusion?
Do, for example, climate models project that one-third of the world's forests will be lost or changed?
Mr. CORELL. Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, I would like to pass this to Dr. Watson, since he chaired the group that did that and I was not personally involved.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. All right.
Mr. WATSON. That particular conclusion comes from a complex forest ecological model, where it takes plausible changes in temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and soil moisture, and it looks to see to what degree ecological systems, how its species move, how its ecosystems disassemble and reassemble. So it is a model. It is based first on the climate model, but then also a forest ecological model.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. And is this true also of the projection that rangelands will be lost?
Mr. WATSON. Yes. Based on ecological modeling.
Mr. WATSON. You don't even need a model to come to that conclusion. The answer is quite clearly “yes.”
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Okay. Do models project that one-third to one-half of existing mountain glaciers will disappear?
Mr. WATSON. That comes from simply understanding the relationship between mountain glaciers and thermal structure of the glaciers.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. So I take that as a “no.”
Mr. WATSON. No, it is a glacial model. Now, with each of these, it starts with changes in temperature, and for that you would have to understand the glacial model.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I am just getting you on record.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Okay. Do they project that diseases such as malaria are the ones you were talking about, this came from scientific models and not extrapolation?
Mr. WATSON. Absolutely.
For some reason, I am getting a different concept from what I heard from the earlier panel here. I was left with the impression that these things could not be stated absolutely for certain that this would be the outcome. And of course Dr. Nierenberg is suggesting to us that when we are making these type of apocalyptic predictions, that may not be the best approach and the most defensible approach to looking to the future. Am I wrong? I mean maybe I will go back and review our notes in terms of what the earlier panel said.
Let me ask Dr. Watson, you suggested, am I wrong, that there was a one-half degree, centigrade degree, temperature rise in this century? Is that what we found? Is that what you testified?
Mr. Watson. That is what the IPCC has. 0.3 to 0.6 degrees centigrade has been a consistent view of the IPCC.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Now, I will have to say that I found, and I know that my good friend and colleague Mr. Olver doesn't agree with me on this, we had a little discussion on the way, or he might, but we will see, but the fact is that I found Patrick Michael's, Dr. Michael's chart to be absolutely understandable and devastating to your argument.
Mr. WATSON. That was actually the vertical distribution of temperature only over the last 30 years.
What we have is hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of data points on the surface of the Earth, both land and the ocean, since 1860. And it is that database that suggests, strongly suggests, and I would imagine that Bill Nierenberg would agree, that there is direct evidence, I am not saying cause and effect, direct evidence that the Earth's surface has warmed .3 to .6 degrees centigrade.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes. I would say that that minor of a change in variation, and again I am going to just frank with you, I find impossible to understand that scientists are sitting here telling me that that is a significant as you suggest.
Mr. NIERENBERG. I will imitate a congressman again. I agree with you, of course.
Mr. WATSON. Yes.
Mr. NIERENBERG. It is a tremendous. It is the only good data we have, and it is often the case we have to use it. In fact, I am surprised you even say .3. I always say .6 degrees.
Taking your point of view, that is on the other hand, you realize that you heard this morning also something that you would agree with, namely that very few of the scientific community, you see, really accept this as necessarily completely global warming. Bob will tell you this.
It is just like what I was saying before, they vary in between. Some of it may be, some of it likely is, and some of it likely isn't, because unfortunately it is in the range of natural fluctuations.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, now, Dr. Nierenberg, that is exactly my point.
Mr. NIERENBERG. I know.