Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - After years of being warned about the threat of global warming and how human activity is worsening the problem, Americans might be surprised to learn that a Massachusetts environmentalist is now warning of a possible coming ice age.
It's not that Dr. Robert Gagosian, president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, is contradicting the many dire predictions related to global warming. Rather, Gagosian is taking the predictions one step further.
Gagosian believes the melting of the polar ice cap as a result of global warming will increase the amount of fresh water in the normally salty North Atlantic Ocean and could stop the Gulf Stream from carrying heat from the tropics north. This could all lead to the earth plunging into a new ice age, according to Gagosian.
When informed of Gagosian's theory, the director of a conservative Washington think tank quickly labeled it "bunk."
"The fact is that virtually anything that happens now is somehow going to be blamed on global warming," said Myron Ebell, director of Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Ebell was on Capitol Hill this week to screen an award winning Danish documentary on climate change. The film, "The Climate Conflict," focuses on how the sun plays a much larger role in climate change than human activity.
Gagosian's theory recently made international headlines with the publication of his essay "Triggering Climate Change: Can Global Warming Cause an 'Ice Age?'"
"[The] earth's climate could switch gears and jump very rapidly," into an ice age, Gagosian wrote, even materializing in our lifetimes and then possibly lasting hundreds of years. He added there is "strong evidence that we may be approaching a dangerous threshold" but "approaching this cliff blindfolded."
Gagosian's theory was also subject of a weekend report in Canada's National Post.
"[The] earth's climate could switch gears and jump very rapidly" into an ice age that could last hundreds of years, Gagosian reportedly said. The ice age could materialize in our lifetime and cause the world to "be drastically different," according to Gagosian.
But Ebell dismissed the concept. "Maybe they ought to just shut up about it since they clearly don't know what they are talking about," he said.
Ebell noted that many of today's global warming proponents first tried to promote the idea of a coming ice age 30 years ago, long before there was talk of global warming.
"We might have another cover of Time Magazine or Newsweek telling us about the next ice age around the corner, as we had in the 1970s," he said.
"I think in 20 or 30 years from now, we will look at what many climate scientists are saying today as silly and childish," Ebell said.
Sun 'More Important' Than Man
"The Climate Conflict" documentary, which has won six major awards in Europe, deals with the sun's influence on the earth's climate.
"This is a documentary that tells you that the sun may be more important in global warming than previously accepted inside the climate community," Dr. Paal Brekke told CNSNews.com. Brekke is an official with the European Space Agency and is featured in the documentary.
Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark is featured in the documentary, challenging the traditional greenhouse gas theory of climate change and concluding that the sun may be the driving force behind climate change on earth.
Brekke explained "the sun, via control of cosmic rays, controls the amount of clouds and that is a very efficient way of controlling the climate."
But Brekke cautioned that definitive climate science remains elusive. "There are so many uncertainties we really can't tell what contributes most [to climate change,] he said.
Brekke concluded that the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for steep reductions in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, is a misguided and ineffectual attempt to control the earth's climate.
"We need more science because I don't think anyone can really tell from what we know today," Brekke added.
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