Michael MacCracken’s analysis of errors in Robinson, Robinson, and Soon 2007 contrarian article


Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, in an analysis posted here for the first time, identifies dozens of scientific errors and misleading statements in a 2007 paper by Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon entitled “Environmental Effects of Increased Carbon Dioxide” – a contrarian effort that exemplifies the sort of work that provides fodder for the global warming disinformation campaign.

The full text of MacCracken’s analysis is available here in PDF.

Analysis by Michael MacCracken of the paper
“Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”
by Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon

(Robinson et al. paper published in Journal of American Physician and Surgeons (2007) 12, 79-90)


Expanding on a paper first presented ten years ago, the authors present a summary of climate change science that finds fault with nearly all of the internationally peer-reviewed findings contained in the comprehensive scientific assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In particular, the authors find fault with IPCC’s conclusions relating to human activities being the primary cause of recent global warming, claiming, contrary to significant evidence that they tend to ignore, that the comparatively small influences of natural changes in solar radiation are dominating the influences of the much larger effects of changes in the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on the global energy balance. After many scientific misstatements and much criticism of IPCC science, the authors conclude with a section on the environment and energy that argues for construction of 500 additional nuclear reactors to provide the inexpensive energy needed for the US to prosper and to end importation of hydrocarbon fuels (particularly petroleum). Taking this step, along with the beneficial effects of the rising CO2 concentration, will, they argue in complete contrast to the prevailing scientific views, create a “lush environment of plants and animals” that our children can enjoy.

The Robinson et al 2007 article is posted here.

Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon
Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, 2251 Dick George Road, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523 [artr@oism.org]


A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th and early 21st centuries have produced no deleterious effects upon Earth’s weather and climate. Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in hydrocarbon use and minor greenhouse gases like CO2 do not conform to current experimental knowledge. The environmental effects of rapid expansion of the nuclear and hydrocarbon energy industries are discussed.

For an analysis that, in contrast, reflects an understanding of the scientific evidence that is generally shared in the climate science community, see MacCracken’s recent journal article, “Prospects for Future Climate Change and the Reasons for Early Action,” which is posted on the Climate Institute Web site here (3.2 MB).

ISSN:1047-3289 J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc. 58:735–786
Copyright 2008 Air & Waste Management Association

Prospects for Future Climate Change and the Reasons for Early Action

Michael C. MacCracken
Climate Institute, Washington, DC


Combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas, and to a lesser extent deforestation, land-cover change, and emissions of halocarbons and other greenhouse gases, are rapidly increasing the atmospheric concentrations of climate-warming gases. The warming of approximately 0.1–0.2 °C per decade that has resulted is very likely the primary cause of the increasing loss of snow cover and Arctic sea ice, of more frequent occurrence of very heavy precipitation, of rising sea level, and of shifts in the natural ranges of plants and animals. The global average temperature is already approximately 0.8 °C above its preindustrial level, and present atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases will contribute to further warming of 0.5–1 °C as equilibrium is re-established. Warming has been and will be greater in mid and high latitudes compared with low latitudes, over land compared with oceans, and at night compared with day. As emissions continue to increase, both warming and the commitment to future warming are presently increasing at a rate of approximately 0.2 °C per decade, with projections that the rate of warming will further increase if emission controls are not put in place. Such warming and the associated changes are likely to result in severe impacts on key societal and environmental support systems. Present estimates are that limiting the increase in global average surface temperature to no more than 2–2.5 °C above its 1750 value of approximately 15 °C will be required to avoid the most catastrophic, but certainly not all, consequences of climate change. Accomplishing this will require reducing emissions sharply by 2050 and to near zero by 2100. This can only be achieved if: (1) developed nations move rapidly to demonstrate that a modern society can function without reliance on technologies that release carbon dioxide (CO2) and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases to the atmosphere; and (2) if developing nations act in the near-term to sharply limit their non-CO2 emissions while minimizing growth in CO2 emissions, and then in the long-term join with the developed nations to reduce all emissions as cost-effective technologies are developed.

See our earlier posts by Mike MacCracken:

(1) MacCracken on Lindzen’s misleading Newsweek Op-Ed (May 12, 2007)

(2) Michael MacCracken’s 2002 letter to the ExxonMobil board of directors (November 23, 2006)

(3) Gore as Science Educator: Climate Scientist Michael MacCracken’s Assessment (July 15, 2006)

(4) Refuting a Global Warming Denier (critical analysis of report by David Legates) (June 11, 2006)

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