Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural?

S Fred Singer
Professor, University of Virginia

S Fred SingerS. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, a distinguished research professor at George Mason University, and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project. He performed his undergraduate studies at Ohio State University and earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University. He was the founding dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami, the founding director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service, and served for five years as vice chairman of the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere. Dr. Singer has written or edited over a dozen books and monographs, including, most recently, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on the Hillsdale College campus on June 30, 2007, during a seminar entitled “Economics and the Environment,” sponsored by the Charles R. and Kathleen K. Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence.

The nations of the world face many difficult problems. Many have societal problems like pov-erty, disease, lack of sanitation, and shortage of clean water. There are grave security prob-lems arising from global terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Any of these problems are vastly more important than the imaginary problem of man-made global warm-ing. It is a great shame that so many of our resources are being diverted from real problems to this non-problem. Perhaps in ten or 20 years this will become apparent to everyone, par-ticularly if the climate should stop warming (as it has for eight years now) or even begin to cool.

We can only trust that reason will prevail in the face of an onslaught of propaganda like Al Gore’s movie and despite the incessant misinformation generated by the media. To-day, the imposed costs are still modest, and mostly hidden in taxes and in charges for electricity and motor fuels. If the scaremongers have their way, these costs will become enormous. But I believe that sound science and good sense will prevail in the face of irrational and scientifically baseless climate fears.