From the private collection of Nicky Sundt, a Washington-based climate change science, policy and communications expert, this 1995 pre-publication draft report and its corresponding attachments were prepared by Accu-Weather, Inc. for the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). The report, titled “Changing Weather? Facts and Fallacies about Climate Change,” emphasized uncertainty in climate change science while promoting a “wait and see” attitude. Although the report is undated, an Accu-Weather correspondence dates the release to February 3, 1995. Also included with the report was a summary fact sheet, an Accu-Weather promotional document, and resumes of the report’s authors (all attachments embedded below).
The report’s analysis cited climate deniers whose research was repeatedly touted in GCC publications, including Patrick Michaels, John Christy, Roy Spencer, and Richard Lindzen. In Dec. 1995, the same year as this report, Mobil Corporation’s Lenny Bernstein specifically discredited both Lindzen’s and Michaels’ work in an internal GCC draft primer on climate change as “not convincing.” Even after this internal assessment, Lindzen and Michaels continued to be cited as experts in GCC materials designed to influence the debate on climate change.
The Summary Fact Sheet describes the main conclusions of the report in the following question and answer format:
“Does climate change naturally? Yes.”
“Is the slight increase in temperature over the past century significant? No.”
“Is the weather more variable today than it was 50 to 100 years ago? No.”
“Greenhouse gases have increased. Has global warming begun? No.”
“Do climate models accurately predict the Earth’s future climate? No.”
“Will the climate continue to change? Yes.”
Reflecting these conclusions, the following quotes illustrate the report’s effort to undermine the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.
Statements discrediting climate science and emphasizing natural variation
- “While slight global warming has occurred within the past 100 years, this increase falls within the limits of natural climate variability and does not signal an internally forced (‘greenhouse’) global warming.” (link)
- “Historical and observational data and an understanding of the theoretical issues of climate suggest that man’s activities do not appear to be a significant agent of climate change.” (link)
- “No convincing observational evidence exists to support recent claims that man-made global warming is masked by external or internal source.” (link)
- “…while climate does change, man’s activities do not appear to be a significant agent of change.” (link)
- “During the past few years, there has been a shift of opinion in the general scientific community away from the concept that an apocalyptic climatic change is on our doorstep in the near future to a more moderate ‘wait and see’ attitude.” (link)
Statements challenging the correlation between greenhouse gases and increased global temperatures
- “Do observed data indicate significant global temperature changes? No. Global air temperatures as measured by satellites and land-based weather stations show an increase of only some 0.45 degrees C over the past century … much of the observed temperature increase during the past century occurred before the rise in greenhouse gases” (emphasis added) (link). This theory was later debunked.
- “…there is no consistent, obvious signal announcing the presence of catastrophic global warming in any of the data the authors examined. There is a general consensus in the scientific community that there has been a gradual increase…However, that increase is certainly within the limits of natural variability. Most important, a significant fraction of the air temperature’s [sp] increase occurred between 1916 and the mid-1940s, that is before the rapid increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Indeed, there is very little evidence of any warming in the global air temperature during the past one to two decades” (emphasis added) (link).
Statements disputing the correlation between extreme weather events and climate change
- “Global warming alarmists have also fallen into a statistical trap and ignored physical reality as well…some have stated the climate models’ predictions of warming of sea surface temperature by a few degrees will cause more numerous and more intense tropical storms. In addition, higher sea surface temperatures will also extend the tropical storm season. We will show later that these conclusions are not correct.” (link)
- “No convincing, observational evidence exists that hurricanes, tornadoes and other extreme temperature and precipitation events are on the rise because of the recent slight increase in the Earth’s surface temperature. Rather, the greater attention severe weather events now receive may simply reflect two non-weather related facts: a) More people live in areas that were once sparsely populated or even uninhabited, and b) local media are now able to quickly report extreme weather … in distant parts of the globe.” (link)
- “The authors concluded that the development and intensity of tropical storms is not directly related to sea surface temperature. In fact, they found no correlation between intensification (or maximum intensity) or tropical storms and sea surface temperature.” (link)
- “Although some people have argued that hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent, that tornadoes have increased in number and that droughts and floods are becoming more common, recent work by scientists worldwide disputes this hypothesis. In fact, both theoretical arguments and observational data show that hurricane frequency is not increasing, the number of violent tornadoes is not increasing, and the temperature and precipitation extremes are not more common now than they were 50 to 100 years ago.” (link)
Statements questioning the validity of climate models and methods used to collect global temperature data
- “Moreover, a number of scientists, including Richard Lindzen of MIT, have expressed doubts about the ability of models to simulate small scale processes.” (link)
- “…to date, computer models cannot reliably predict local or global climate changes several decades into the future.” (link)
- “The climate system is so complex that a model incorporating all the possible variables for all parts of the globe could not be run on even today’s fastest, most advanced super-computers.” (link)
- “More complex recent computer models indicate that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide may result in significantly smaller temperature increases than first thought.” (link)
- “Some climatologists have argued … that human-induced global warming has begun. However, the apparent temperature increase since the 1970s, especially in air temperature (figure 3) may be biased. Moreover, such increases most often appear in daily minimum (nighttime) but not maximum (daytime) temperatures. This suggests that global warming, if it exists, may not be the threat some advocates envision.” (link)
- Referencing work of Spencer and Christy on satellite temperature data, “Recent satellite observations of global air temperature also cast doubt on the reality of the apparent rise in surface temperatures since the 1970s.” (link)
- “Lindzen (1994 has presented a more rational way of understanding general changes in the character of short-lived weather systems in the middle and high latitudes, should global warming occur. For example, Lindzen presents strong evidence that the sea surface temperatures and air temperatures in the tropics have not changed significantly during cold and warm regimes in past geological epochs.” (link)
In an errata sheet sent to journalists, the GCC asked that the report’s “reference to the study by Dr. [David] Keith at Harvard … not be cited” until his entire study had been released. Keith’s work was later cited in GCC’s 1995 Climate Watch Bulletin, Vol. 3 Issue 2. A GCC News Release on the report is also hosted on Climate Files.
Summary Fact Sheet:
Accu-Weather Resumes of Norman MacDonald, Charles Hosler, Joel Myers, Joseph Sobel (author Michael Steinberg not included):
Interested in more GCC documents? See more in the full Global Climate Coalition collection.