Debunking Charlottesville’s climate change hysteria
by Dr. Charles Battig

The recent announcement that Ms. Cynthia Adams, Charlottesville’s Climate Protection Program Coordinator, was hired by the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) prompted me to re-visit the City’s “Environmental Sustainability” page.  Scrolling down to the “A Green City” option, led me to the next set of options, and finally the “Climate Change – A Basic Overview” option. It is my understanding that Ms. Adams has had overall responsibility for the content contained therein.

From my own scientific perspective, the “Climate Change – A Basic Overview” is now badly in need of updating and does not live up to the claim of being an “overview.”  It presents not an overview, but a one-sided view of the most basic aspects of climate theory, as is understood today.  In 2008, I had a series of communications with Ms. Adams regarding the content of this web-site and some of the more blatant pseudo-science content.   The site featured a widely circulated photograph of the island country Tuvalu, purporting to show it at imminent risk of sinking below the Pacific Ocean because of carbon-dioxide-caused global warming and resultant sea level rise. The Swedish sea-level expert, Dr. Niels-Axel Morner, had published his detailed findings on Tuvalu and the Maldives in the scientific press in 2007 documenting no such catastrophic sea-level rises. In fact, satellite data indicated a fall in the sea-level surrounding these islands..  Extensive pineapple cultivation was noted as the probable cause for sea water intrusion into the island’s fresh water aquifer.  Following our exchange of e-mails, I did note that the picture of Tuvalu had been removed from the web-site.

What was added was a bold print listing of national and international organizations invoked as justifying the claim that human activities are to blame for global climate change.  In fact, the National Academy of Scientists and the American Meteorological Society did not allow their members to vote on these climate statements. Thus these organizations are speaking via their small group of leadership activists, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of their members. Members of the U.N.’s IPCC scientific group have resigned from that organization because their contrary views, i.e. non-manmade global warming, were edited out of the final reports. Over 30,000 scientists have gone on record opposing the hypothesis that man has had a significant influence on the climate.

The present version of the city web-site continues to provide a one-sided view of climate understanding.  The publication in November 2009 of thousands of e-mails, dating back to 1996, from the U.K. University of East Anglia and its Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU) has provided an insight into the level of scientific activism promoting the hypothesis of man-made climate change and the attributed role of carbon dioxide, to the exclusion of contrary scientific opinion.  Amid this scandal, Professor Phil Jones, head of the CRU…one of the most important climate data centers, has been forced to step down, and publically admit that there has been no global warming since 1995 and that the medieval warm period (AD 900-1300) was  likely warmer than the present, even though carbon dioxide levels were much lower then. Here in the U.S., ex-UVA climatologist Michael Mann has been under investigation by Penn State University for his possible unethical scientific conduct in his research reports on climate change.  Professor Mann is the primary author of the now-discredited “hockey stick” graph which claimed to show human activity since the 1850s to have produced a unique and unprecedented rise in global temperatures.

The EPA graphic shown on the city’s web site is a simplified version of the one by climatologist Kenneth Trenberth in 1997. One of Trenberth’s more recent quotes is that it is “a travesty” that “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment.” The 2009 hurricane season ended with just three named Atlantic hurricanes, none of which made U.S. landfall, in spite of carbon dioxide increases every year since the 2005 Katrina catastrophe, and in spite of Mr. Gore’s and Trenberth’s predictions of ever increasing hurricane activity because of global warming.

A number of the official science-sources listed on the city’s web site in support of the hypothesis of man-made global warming, have themselves now become the objects of investigation for alleged climate data manipulation, destruction, and inappropriate sequestration/hiding.   The temperature record as presented by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA) has come under scientific attack for its demonstrated policy of manipulation of the raw temperature data and dubious “adjustments.” There is serious doubt as to the accuracy of our historical global and U.S. temperature record because NOAA has dropped 4,500 of its 6,000 temperature monitoring sites since 1990, retaining only one above the Arctic Circle. Less than 3 per cent of the 1,221 climate monitoring stations of NOAA meet the Class 1 siting specifications by NOAA’s own criteria. Thus the majority of the NOAA temperature stations in the US Historical Climate Network (USHCN) are producing readings with a warm bias due to proximity to artificial heat sources. The human component of atmospheric temperature increase may be only one-third of what the “official” sites claim when such biases are taken into account.

Some points of scientific contention regarding the current Charlottesville “Climate Change” website include:

  1. Claim: The very lowest layer of the atmosphere…the troposphere…is the zone in which “all weather occurs.”  Fact: Weather changes also take place in the lower stratosphere, as climatologist Susan Solomon has reported in her finding that recent drops in global warming are linked to decreases in water vapor in the lower stratosphere.
  2. Claim: Three main factors influence the long term climate.  Fact: Long term factors also include the Milankovitch Cycles, describing the changes in the mechanics of the Earth’s orbit about the Sun and our solar system’s changing position in the galaxy.
  3. Claim: The main greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide… etc. Fact:  Yes, but there is no mention made of the relative contribution of each of these gases to the greenhouse effect; a very important and obvious omission.  Water vapor is estimated to contribute about 95% of the total effect; carbon dioxide, both natural and manmade, is estimated to contribute about 3.5% to the effect.  All of manmade carbon dioxide is estimated to contribute only about 0.12% to the greenhouse effect.
  4. Claim: Since the time of the Industrial Revolution…concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane…etc.  Fact: No mention of the number one green house gas, water vapor.  No definition of “risen dramatically.”
  5. Claim:  According to the NOAA…carbon dioxide has never been above 300ppm in the past 400,000 years.  Fact: Independent scientists had documented higher levels in the recent past.  In the mid 1800s levels of over 400ppm were measured; between1936-1944, German Professor Ernst-George Beck measured levels of 393-454ppm by physical chemistry methods.  Carbon dioxide levels of several thousand ppm are documented further back in time than the arbitrary 400,000 year limit of NOAA.
  6. Claim: Methane increases…etc.  Fact: Is the increase in methane levels constant?  No, the atmospheric levels rise and fall.  During the Medieval Warm period warmer temperatures than at present apparently did not cause catastrophic releases of methane from global stores.
  7. Claim: Water vapor: More water is evaporated as the air warms…etc.  Fact: Yes, but what is the impact on climate?  Thirty years of satellite measurements have failed to show the existence of the “fingerprint of manmade global warming” which had been predicted by the U.N.’s IPPC climate computers. The presumed blanket of additional water vapor over the tropics has not produced the predicted “hot spot” of additional warming in the troposphere.
  8. Claim: The issue is not whether the Earth’s…etc. “The current issue is that our actions are seriously contributing…and perhaps wholly causing climate change…etc.  Fact:  By what standard of proof? Not one bit of scientific evidence is given for this dogmatic claim of climate alarmism.
  9. Claim: Decades ago, climate scientists told of predicted patterns of climate change…what they predicted is exactly what we are seeing.  Fact: No. The now documented lack of global warming since 1995 was not predicted by the IPCC or other climate agencies.  They all predicted continuing warming.
  10. Claim: Most towns and cities will be directly affected…etc.  Fact: Of course this has always been true.  The great southeast drought of 2007 was the source for much predictions of a continuing disaster, that is, until heavy rains returned last year and replenished reservoirs.
  11. Claim: The summer of 2007 caught the attention of most climatologists as melting Arctic ice was so dramatic.  Fact:  Yes, but since that low point, Arctic ice has recovered about 24 per cent from that seasonal low, as documented by Japanese satellite observations. Each subsequent year has shown an increase in Arctic ice extent as compared to the prior year. This entry is in need of some serious updating.
  12. Claim: Just three feet of raised water will have flooding impacts…etc.  Fact:  Yes, but how likely is that? Why stop at three feet of conjectured rise; why not  five feet or 20 feet per Mr. Gore?  This is simple scare talk.  What about adaptation?  Venice has been sinking for decades, but seems to adapt.  The IPCC falsely claimed over 50 per cent of the Netherlands is currently under sea level; the true number is about 20 per cent.  Their inhabitants have successfully adapted to this situation.
  13. Claim: “other events that are likely to occur (besides more hurricanes) include an increase in the duration and quantity of heat waves.”  Fact: The global warming hypothesis calls for warmer, winter-low-temperatures, mostly in the northern hemisphere, not hotter summers.
  14. Claim: The U.N.’s IPCC estimates that global average sea level will rise between 0.3 and 2.9 feet in this century if current emissions continue.  Fact: There has been no dramatic change in the historic 10-12 inch per hundred year rise in sea level.  The IPCC claim is pure speculation.   This same IPCC has been forced to retract other unfounded claims such as:  the predicted melting of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035; the false claim that the Amazon rainforest is being adversely affected…in fact there has been documented a significant increase in equatorial biomass related to the fertilizing benefit of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide; the unfounded claim of devastation of African agriculture; the unfounded claims of animal and plant extinction. For example, the extinction of the Monteverde gold toad in Costa Rica is now shown to be related to normal variations in El Nino weather patterns and a fatal fungus, not climate change, according to a recent National Academy of Sciences report.  Most of these IPCC pronouncements of climate catastrophes are the result of computer speculation and are devoid of real world, predictive value.
  15. Claim: Moderate emission scenarios cited in the Governor’s Report forecast average warming for Virginia to be 5.6 degrees.  Fact:  There is no scientific ability to make such forecasts; and over what unspecified time period?  Even the U.N.’s IPCC explicitly states in its Assessment Report 2001 “that the long term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”  There is no valid basis for this temperature “forecast.”  What does the governor’s committee know that the U.N.’s experts do not?
  16. Claim: Even if carbon dioxide…emissions stopped entirely today…etc.  Fact: The majority of scientific studies show a carbon dioxide residence time in the atmosphere of five to ten years, although some alarmists claim a residence time of a hundred years or more.
  17. Claim: In June 2007, the City conducted a greenhouse gas emissions baseline report…etc.  Fact:  For what logical purpose in view of the fact that the complete cessation of all carbon dioxide emissions by all of Virginia would see their replacement by the rest of the world sources in about 50 days according to a published study.  The setting of arbitrary targets for carbon dioxide emissions is consigning the local population to an arbitrary limit on growth. Who is to be trusted to foresee accurately our future energy needs?  As the web site notes, “conservation (voluntary) and energy efficiency” are key. The creation of a new burdensome bureaucracy will itself consume more resources.  Why not just an education program for the public?

See below for Charlottesville City “Climate Change” web site citations referenced above:


  1. Dr. Battig’s essay should be included as required reading/learning in our local (national?) schools. Our children should be shown how elected officials can and will make up nonsense, or worse, blindly buy into it and then claim the need for funding to “study” or “monitor” the supposed problem. Students should learn to examine facts before deciding on any supposed hysterical claim.
    The whole “global warming” idea, and all the various spin-offs of it, is little more than a form of mass-hysteria invoked specifically for the sake of causing the mindset of the common man to “seek guidance” from “leaders” on how to thwart the ever-new and frightening “boogy-man”. It is a tool that officials have routinely used for centuries to maintain power and to confuse the attention of the masses so they don’t notice other things going on.
    My favorite claim vs fact example from the essay is number 8. The good Dr. is kind in simply asking “by what standard?” instead of pointing out the glaring reality that mankind’s contribution to any atmospheric effect is patently insignificant compared to naturally occurring events that effect our atmosphere. As a single example, it is well known that volcanoes spew more “trash” and toxic gasses into our atmosphere than we are capable of measuring and that it is “estimated” that the volcanic activity of just the last 100 years has cast more such stuff into the earth’s atmosphere than all of mankind has been capable of since our appearance on earth. This is based on science but “global warming” is not.
    Students should be instructed to always be suspicious of the motives of anyone who seeks a public office. When we see “leaders” lining up to take their turn at supporting something for which there is little or no evidence [like “global warming”] we should be telling ourselves not to vote for those people again because they are very clearly fools. If you vote for such a person what does that say about you?

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