London, 12 Aug 2004.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Association of British Drivers Calls For Restraint Over Fuel Duty
The Environmental Audit Committee is expected to call for even higher levels of fuel duty to put a brake on rising emissions from transport that have been linked to global warming. However, this claimed environmental basis is fatally flawed.
"The environment is a fig leaf used to hide the government's embarrassment at having the greediest approach to taxing fuel in Europe, and an attempt to stave off the electoral unpopularity they deserve" said ABD Environment Spokesman, Ben Adams.
"Raising fuel duty is a King Canute exercise as far as climate change is concerned, its true aim is to fleece motorists. Current modest variations in climate remain well within geological limits, which have seen temperature gradients several times greater on many occasions when there were no cars or factories around."
"The entire rationale for fuel duty hikes is flawed. The UK will already meet its Kyoto target, although this 'success' won't do the planet any good. All the scientific research the ABD can find - seven papers published in the last 5 years - show that rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide always occur after the temperature has gone up 1 due to natural astronomical and geophysical forces. No self-proclaimed environmentalist, and no politician, can put effect before cause by raising taxes."
"Whilst there is a consensus amongst some political parties, environmental groups and sections of the media that emissions of carbon dioxide are affecting the global climate, the independent scientific community has always leaned the other way. The Leipzig Declaration 2 and the Oregon Petition 3 show this clearly, but these statements and the overwhelming majority of independent scientists supporting them remain under-reported as politicians use spin to force scary 'predictions' under the spotlight."
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory said
"At a time when oil prices have risen sharply this is the last thing our economy needs. Motorists have been mugged too many times. There is no excuse for short-term fiscal greed founded on what Professor Bellamy 4 has described as green 'poppycock'."


Notes for Editors

(1) Scientific research evidence:
Petit et al. (1999) reconstructed surface air temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration profiles from Vostok ice core samples covering 420,000 years, and concluded that during global cooling (glaciation) "the CO2 decrease lags the temperature decrease by several thousand years" and "the same sequence of climate forcing operated during each termination."
Using sections of ice core records from the last three inter-glacial transitions, Fischer et al. (1999) decided that during global warming "the time lag of the rise in CO2 concentrations with respect to temperature change is on the order of 400 to 1000 years during all three glacial-interglacial transitions."
On the basis of atmospheric carbon dioxide data obtained from Antarctic Taylor Dome ice core samples, and temperature data obtained from the Vostok ice core, Indermuhle et al. (2000) looked at the relationship between these two variables over the period 60,000-20,000 years BP (Before Present). A statistical test on the data showed that movement in the air's CO2 content lagged behind shifts in air temperature by between 900 and 1200 years.
In a study of air temperature and CO2 data obtained from high time resolution samples at the Antarctic Concordia Dome site, for the period 22,000-9,000 BP (which covers the last glacial-to-interglacial transition) Monnin et al. (2001) found that the start of the CO2 increase lagged the start of the warming phase temperature increase by 800 years.
From a study of the 420,000-year Vostok ice-cores, Mudelsee (2001) concluded that variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration lagged behind variations in air temperature by 1300 to 5000 years.
In their study of sediments in the tectonically stable Bonaparte Gulf of Australia, Yokoyama et al. (2000) determined the timing of the initial melting phase of the last great ice age. Commenting on the results of that study, Clark and Mix (2000) note that the rapid rise in sea level caused by the melting of land-based ice that began approximately 19,000 years ago preceded the post-glacial rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration by about 3000 years.
The most recent study the ABD has reviewed covering this theme is that of Caillon et al. (Caillon, N., Severinghaus, J.P., Jouzel, J., Barnola, J.-M., Kang, J. and Lipenkov, V.Y. 2003. Timing of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across Termination III. Science 299: 1728-1731, 2003), who focused on an isotope of argon (40Ar) that offers constraints about the relative timing of CO2 shifts and climate change. Air bubbles in the Vostok ice core over the period that comprises what is called Glacial Termination III - which occurred 240,000 years BP - were studied. The result of their painstaking analysis was that "the CO2 increase lagged behind Antarctic deglacial warming by 800 200 years." This finding, in the words of Caillon et al., confirms that CO2 is not the forcing that drives the climatic system.
(2) The Leipzig Declaration:
"As scientists, we - along with our fellow citizens - are intensely interested in the possibility that human activities may affect the global climate; indeed, land clearing and urban growth have been changing local climates for centuries. Historically, climate has always been a factor in human affairs - with warmer periods, such as the medieval 'climate optimum', playing an important role in economic expansion and in the welfare of nations that depend primarily on agriculture. For these reasons we must always remain sensitive to activities that could affect future climate.
Attention has recently been focused on the increasing emission of 'greenhouse' gases into the atmosphere. International discussions by political leaders are currently underway that could constrain energy use and mandate reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Although we understand the motivation to eliminate what are perceived to be the driving forces behind a potential climate change, we believe this approach may be dangerously simplistic. Based on the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the so-called 'scientific consensus' that envisages climate catastrophes and advocates hasty actions.
As the debate unfolds, it has become increasingly clear that - contrary to conventional wisdom - there does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide. On the contrary, most scientists now accept the fact that actual observations from earth satellites show no climate warming whatsoever. And to match this fact, the mathematical climate models are becoming more realistic and are forecasting temperature increases that are only 30 percent of what was considered the 'best' value just four years ago.
We consider the Global Climate Treaty concluded in Rio de Janeiro at the 1992 'Earth Summit' to be unrealistic; its goal is stabilisation of atmospheric greenhouse gases, which requires that fuel use be cut by 60-80 percent worldwide! Energy is essential for all economic growth, and fossil fuels provide today's principal global energy source. In a world in which poverty is the greatest social pollutant, any restriction on energy use that inhibits economic growth should be viewed with caution. For this reason, we consider 'carbon taxes' and other drastic control policies - lacking credible support from the underlying science - to be ill-advised, premature, wrought with economic danger, and likely to be counterproductive."
This statement is based on the International Symposium on the Greenhouse Controversy, held in Leipzig, Germany on November 9-10, 1995, under the sponsorship of the Prime Minister of the State of Saxony.
(3) The Oregon Petition:
"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."
(4) Copy of David Bellamy's article


Notes for Editors