August 29, 2007
RALEIGH – An environmental group misses the boat when it tries to use temperature data from N.C. cities to make a case for the dangers of global warming. That’s according to a new analysis from the John Locke Foundation.
“Environment North Carolina is trying to mislead the public with its new report,” said Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar. “First, they can’t make a case that local temperature data prove anything about a global climate change phenomenon. Second, their report seems to cherry-pick only the data that’s useful for their alarmist argument.”
Cordato points to claims Environment North Carolina makes that 2006 temperature data in selected N.C. cities show signs of warming. “This group ought to pay more attention to the latest climate data,” Cordato said. “Then they would know that it’s wrong to say 2006 produced the second warmest temperatures on record for the lower 48 states. The second warmest year was actually 1998. The warmest year on record is 1934, long before SUVs and other factors that supposedly cause such peril for the environment.”
Data from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network, a project of the U.S. Department of Energy, actually show cooling for most of North Carolina from 1906 to 2006, Cordato said. “Twenty-nine N.C. localities have data stretching back to the early 1900s,” he said. “In 25 of the 29 localities tracked by the U.S. Historical Climatology Network, the real data show cooling or no trend for local temperatures. Only four of the 29 cases — less than 14 percent — show warming. If local temperatures are ‘indicative of what we can expect’ in the future, that sounds pretty good to me.”
The environmentalist group seems to have come up with a complicated formula to make its alarmist case, rather than use the raw data that tell a different story, Cordato said. “The John Locke Foundation would like to challenge Environment North Carolina to a public debate on the issue of global warming,” he said. “They can choose an expert to debate our expert. That would give citizens of North Carolina a fair, balanced perspective on questions of climate change.”