Global Warming: Lie or Fable?

We receive mail criticizing me for my opinons on climate change. This one from James contains some good information and some conclusions I find faulty. I thought I would share our interchange, with a guest appearance from a friend of mine.

Art, I enjoy you shows and this may not be the place to post this but frankly my time is limited and I couldn’t find a better one.

I’m watching your Glacier Bay Alaska show and its great except for your unscientific human induced global warming dig.

I’m a lifelong environmentalist and licensed professional engineer practicing in the field of environmental engineering for 39 years and while agree we need to be concerned about environmental change. There is no doubt Alaska and Greenland are warming.

However, you are totally and absolutely wrong to claim that the natural process is being accelerated by human activity.

The simple fact is Greenland is now almost as warm as it was when Eric the Red Discovered it in 1000 AD. Thats right Art, Greenland was green back then and Vikings farmed the green coastal land for 300 years until the mini ice age. As a fact you can verify if you want to Greenland is still 1 degree C COLDER than it was when Eric the Red Discovered it.

There is no evidence that CO2 is the cause of any acceleration of the natural warming cycle.

BTW Greenland ice cores more than 400,000 years old produce historic factual evidence that a rapid climate change is about 12,000 years and if you want to wait and see the effect of the current cycle of Global Warming you need to live a long time guy. But cheer up the ice cores prove incontrovertibly that the quickest and best way to cool the earth is to put small amounts of particulate matter in the upper atmosphere. Thats right a little air pollution will take care of even the chicken little human induced global warming fanatics claims. Before you open your mouth about global warming you really need to get the facts and the best way to do that is look at both sides of a question.

The best way to understand how fanatical human induced global warmists are is to go back and look at the religious fanatics who predicted the end of the earth and when it didn’t happen they rationalized. For an example of religious rationalization of global warmist theory go to unScinetific American’s recent Hot Times in Alaska and check out the professor from the University of Alaska who shows Alan Alda a paper with three charts on in. One is the inaccurate computer projection which he admits isn’t very good under that is a chart of what actually happened in the same time period and below that is one where he combines the inaccurate prediction with the historical fact and claims that by combining the two makes the predictions of dire immediate global warming in the next 100 years is proved. Aside from the unscientific process of combining fact and fantasy to prove fantasy its no different that what end of the world fanatics have done or said.

Please take the time to know what you are talking about before making a fool of yourself. But cheer up it will be thousands of years before anyone really knows how much of a fool.

As for the computer models they don’t prove anything except that the data and design were faulty. Models don’t prove anything, never have never will.

Personally as an environmentalist I am upset that people like you give credence to t a bunch of fanatics that are trying to create a State of Fear that will cause us to make rash decisions that will damage our country.

A perfect example is the poster boy of green alternative fuels, corn ethanol. Not only does corn ethanol drive up the price of food, its a net user of fossil fuels. Thats right guy it uses more fossil fuel BTU’s to produce a gallon of corn ethanol than the BTU’s in the ethanol. But the real clincher is the additional fertilizer (produced with fossil fuel) adds to the already grossly polluted ground water and run off to the Missisippie River which has a 200 mile dead zone at its mouth were nothing grows. Thats a fact just like like the one about Greenland being Green in 1000 AD.

Hi, James,

Thanks for your note.

We disagree on this subject. I wanted to respond clearly and fairly to your points so I asked my friend James Martin, the author and photographer of the upcoming book Planet Ice to respond for me. He is as well informed as anyone I know, has no axe to grind, but tends to speak bluntly. I give you James’ response:


I think the test of a scientific theory is how well it predicts future discoveries or events. When the climate change model was postulated back in the Seventies, it predicted that global temperatures would rise with the increase in CO2 and related gasses. Further, we would see wider swings in weather.

The predictions were conservative as it turns out. While it is certainly possible that this is a coincidence, I doubt it. When the early proponents of evolution and continental drift made their claims, they made predictions, and the accumulation of evidence supported their predictions.

Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica prove that this is the high point in atmospheric CO2. The conclusion that CO2 is a major contributor to climate change is accepted by almost all climate scientists and endorsed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which earned one more Nobel Prize than either you or I. Your denial of the relationship between CO2 and climate change is very much in the minority of the scientific community.

Although you seem well informed on much of the data, check out Two Mile Time Machine by Dr. Richard Alley, by all accounts one of the premier paleo-climatologists and a leader of US ice core programs. There is no hint of hysteria or handwaving, yet he makes the connection you deny.

You write as if you presume we are ignorant regarding climate variation in Greenland. You refer to the temperature increase of Younger Dryas event, which was incredibly fast, as much as 11 degrees in decades, but the preconditions for that, a temperature minimum, do not apply under these conditions.

You have a point regarding global warming alarmists. People on both sides of the issue tend to cherry pick the data they prefer; it’s human nature. Conflating alarmists with scientists is an ad hominum argument, though. The fact that Al Gore made an unsupportable connection between climate change and Katrina doesn’t mean his other points are without merit.

I’ve read about the idea of using certain particulates to cool the earth. Maybe. I agree completely regarding ethanol.

In the end, either of us could be wrong. The question is whether our positions are falsifiable. What set of facts would change your mind, or mine? If there is no set of facts, then we are being irrational. Certainty has no place in issues such as these and your arrogant and dismissive comments on those who disagree do harm to your argument.

James Martin

26 Responses to “Global Warming: Lie or Fable?”

  1. Jerry says:

    James Martin,

    Well said!

  2. Norm Arnett says:

    Thank you Mr. Martin. I would rather sit on your side of the fence!

  3. Jay Goodrich says:


    Thank you for the eloquent rebuttal. If James’ argument were as well written and less personal, I would have thought to take it a little more seriously.


  4. Beate says:

    Wow, there are still people out there that believe that human activity has no negative influence on climate change?? Thank you, James Martin, for your explanation.

  5. John Wall says:

    Astounding that even an engineer would be so poorly equipped to make a rational argument. That whole diatribe about religion was bizarre. It’s hard to know who’s opinion to trust on this potentially critical issue, but I tend to side with professionals like James Hansen more than some guy who seems to have found in his “research” only what he wanted to find.

  6. Harold says:

    Even if ain’t true about climate change, it would still be a better world to live in if we cleaned up our act and stop wasting, destroying and polluting the environment/our home!?

  7. Caitlin says:

    Great argument by Mr. Martin.

    It is true that there may be other effects that influence climate change, like the reversal of Earth’s magnetic field or the solar cycles. But as a student of science, I strongly believe that human activity (in increasing CO2 emissions) is chiefly responsible for the global warming trends we see today.

    Here’s a summary from an International Panel on Climate Change report from 2007 that supports the idea of global warming being caused by man:

  8. Thanks Art for being open enough to post opposing views, I think it helps readers get a betters sense of the challenges facing those of us who believe man has an effect on the environment. I’m no expert, but as others have mentioned before me, James’ condescending tone hurt his argument as much as his borderline religious zeal. Regardless of whether our climate is being changed, there is are only positive results to be gained from curtailing our pollution and disregard for the natural world.

  9. Susan Christopher says:

    Thank you, Art, for allowing Mr. Martin to reply so eloquently to this denunciation of your attempt to bring more attention to these issues. I am sorry that you were the target of such a personal attack. It saddens me that someone with such views can label themselves an environmentalist.

  10. Dave Taylor says:

    I too want to thank you for being civil enough to show opposing views. I see an unfortunate trend in these debates. Rather than both sides behaving in a civil manner, and not demeaning the other, it is far more typical to hear from self-proclaimed “experts” who will neither treat the opposition (and their studies) in the argument with respect, or use rational thought. While I too agree with the mentioning of ethanol, the language and attitude that was used to defend James’ argument completely undermined his “questionable” rational.
    Even if the theory of CO2 affecting climate change is false, I MUST AGREE WITH Harold and Robert Rodriguez Jr. (and others). What harm will come to us and this planet that we are SO fortunate to call our home, if we take a more responsible approach to lessening our impact upon this planet. And the argument that “It will take thousands of years to find out if we are killing this planet, so who cares – we won’t be around”. Well sir, that is blatant ignorance as well as a cop out. True, we as humans, are possibly not fully to blame. But we are the stewards of this beautiful sphere we call home. It is far past the time for us to take up this mantle, and attempt to give this planet something back in exchange for everything we have taken from it – and I don’t mean giving it more CO2 and toxic chemicals, or leveling mountain tops in the mining of coal, or systematic clearing of rain forests or production of paper products, or killing off multiple species of wildlife.
    As a fellow photographer and environmentalist, I have fully taken on this mantra: No photograph is more important than the subject (be it wild life or wild lands). I would rather pass from this planet a little poorer, and leave it a little richer.

    • Avatar photo admin says:

      To Dave and everyone who commented on Jim’s post, thank you all. I am heartened that so many people see the issue as we do.

  11. Norm Arnett says:

    Thank you again for including James Martins response. Why is it that so many people still insist on calling it Global Warming, when they should call it Climate change? Just the name Global Warming makes doubters of many, who look outside and see late snows in Seattle, or snow in Dallas, Texas. I think we need to re-educate the scientists and supporters to follow James Martin and always call it Climate Change.

  12. Jasonn G. says:

    This guy James is angry.

  13. Beate says:

    According to a report on BBC news about the Global Climate Conference in Copenhagen, scientists said, that the worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN two years ago are already being realised. More reports can be found on the BBC World News website.

  14. Robert Payne says:

    James Martin’s rebuttal was well said — up until the last sentence, that is. Name calling has no place in the discussion and is only likely to harden positions taken.

  15. Ria says:

    I was surprised by the title of your post, Art. It seems unbalanced, against the position you defend. I guess you meant to say, “Global warming: fact or fable”. Right?

    Big up from the Netherlands.

  16. Carole says:

    I’m not really surprised that there are people who deny that our actions/decisions can cause (or have caused) changes in the earth or its atmosphere. I see it every day, and hear it from many.

    I know people who adamantly defend their way of life and say that what we do on a daily basis holds no bearing. Some of those same people have come to realize that our choices do affect the planet. How can they not?

    Though I believe there are regular climatic changes that occur, I also believe that human beings have caused changes to the planet.

    Both sides use whatever data available to make their point, and a lot of people believe that’s all it is, a tug-of-war between two opinions with no real concrete proof from either.

    And there are those who will probably never change their minds. They believe what they believe and that’s it. Thankfully enough people realize that our actions/decisions DO have consequences.

    We’ll never give up the advantages to our way of life, but there can be more balance. Can’t there?

    Thanks for two sides of a heated debate.

  17. Asher says:

    “corn ethanol. Not only does corn ethanol drive up the price of food, its a net user of fossil fuels. Thats right guy it uses more fossil fuel BTU’s to produce a gallon of corn ethanol than the BTU’s in the ethanol. But the real clincher is the additional fertilizer (produced with fossil fuel) adds to the already grossly polluted ground water and run off to the Missisippie River which has a 200 mile dead zone at its mouth were nothing grows.” Unquote.

    The part about ethanol seems totaly true.
    Saw a show on 20/20 or maybe it was 60 mins,one of the two, about how ethanol is a big problem.
    Little less anger from James would be nice.What it looks like is, yes we are unclean to the earth,but also nature dose things to pollute the planet as well,like vulcanos.We as People can slow down, and act more clean to the Earth and Animals.The earth goes though changes and there is true and false about the warming.I don’t have the answers,but I do know we are getting cooler here in the west.3 degrees cooler.Thats a big change.The other question is what about the places on the planet that are warming?
    I would like to have a green car what ever the answer is.
    Looks to me like James got upset because he heard something he knows a little about,but not one of us knows it all.At the end of the day,let’s all forgive and forget.
    Question to Art please.
    Arthor have you always cared about all this warming,or is it good for bizz?
    Thank you, I mean that question in a polite way.
    Have a nice day.

    • Avatar photo admin says:

      Hi, Asher,

      I have always been concerned about environmental issues: pollution, deforestation, species loss, overpopulation (which is the root cause of them all). I see these effects everywhere I go. Climate change didn’t become important to me until it’s effects became manifest in the 90s. Before then, the science was unclear in my opinion, and now the evidence of human influence is overwhelming. Weighting that influence is difficult, though.

  18. Asher says:

    Thank you Art,
    Vary nice of you to reply on a tuff question. I vary much respect you’re answer.Also vary pleased how much you have grown over the years.
    Art I have always loved you’re work.
    You put a lot of heart and sole into photography as an art form.
    The heart and sole makes you stand above and stand out in the crowed.
    I have always kept you close even though we had differences many years ago.Have checked in on you many times just to enjoy you’re fine work.
    I have to say thank you for helping me when I started out.Art you made a huge differance in my work.Many have told me over the years that I have a vary natural eye and they love the ways I see.My comments back to the ones that tell me this are.
    I have what I have, I’m just another Artist out there.I met this Person who saw something special in me and gave his time to a good cause and really brought my talent out,all most over nite.
    Art the person was you!
    You did what noone else could do.
    I have grown in Personally over the years.I look back on it and still enjoy many times,the excitment of meeting with you and learning my baby steps.There is many things I would take back if I could.People like myself may take longer to grow up than others.But we always look back and learn from it.
    Human feelings are a strange thing,something that makes us all different.
    At the end of the day,you’re still my favorite Artist.
    Put in a good fight for the Animals Mr.Wolfe they need each and every one of our help in any way possible, big or small.

    Best Wishs From myself and my wife.

  19. Alyssa says:

    gobal warming is a lie, as of today it cannot even be called global warming the idiot obama researchers have to call it climate change because in the last ten years the earth has cooled down by 7%. the information you have is based on junk from the 70’s and if you want an accurate depiction of what is happening now look at unbiased thoughts of today’s climateologists that have done recent work on this subject. the earth will continue to cool down and heat up until the next ice age, all caused by the sun. humans cannot effect the enviornment as much as the sun does, so stop spreding lies and bundle up.

    • Avatar photo admin says:

      Gobal warming is a lie. And I should stop spreding lies. Obama, now in office for 11 weeks, has idiot researchers. Very persuasive.

  20. Asher says:

    I don’t think Obama made up gobal warming, Maybe a fast spell ckeck and Obama can read this hahaha
    why do People get so angry,
    I just sneez and I’m judged as angry.
    I think now days we need more kindness in the world.

  21. Asher says:
    The 11th hour film shows a lot of what over population is doing.

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