Uncertainties of Global Climate Change Observations
and Simulation Modelling.

by K. Ya. Kondratyev
Res. Centre of Ecol. Safety, Russian Acad. Sci., St. Petersburg
kondratyev@kk10221.spb.edu - 13. April 2004

There is no doubt

that the success of the Second UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 in Rio-de-Janeiro, as well as that of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UN GASS) which followed 5 years later in New York (1997), “Rio+5”, has been due to the circumstance that these two events attracted the attention of governments and general public to the problems of global change and sustainable development.
Unfortunately, both worldwide forums have not been adequately prepared. And perhaps the most important negative result was the inability to work out the “Earth Charter” which was intended as a formulation and substantiation of priorities. Instead, a most amorphous and declarative document – the “Rio Declaration” – was approved. The principal purpose of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg (August 26 – September 6, 2002) was to make further steps in understanding the key issues of sustainable development.
Unfortunately, this aim has not been achieved either.

Three global environmental problems have attracted general attention nowadays:

1) climate change (“global warming”)
2) the present and future of the ozone layer
3) the closed nature of global biogeochemical cycles (the concept of biotic regulation of the environment)


The sad paradox consists in the fact that, despite the convincingly substantiated in the scientific literature primary importance of the latter problem and the secondary value of the former ones, the UNCED documents reflect the lack of understanding the conceptually significant circumstance that the following sequence of events is the most important issue: socio-economic development (stimulated by industrial development and the population size growth) -> anthropogenic impact on the biosphere -> consequences of the impact for the environment (climate, ozone, etc.)

A result of this lack of understanding was the placing in the foreground of the problem of “global warming”, and hence – the adoption of a lame, confusing and unjust for the developing world UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC). It is focused, regardless of the scientific substantiations, on the anthropogenic origin of the observed global climate warming and recommends industrially developed countries to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions to the atmosphere (first of all, this concerns carbon dioxide emissions).

In December 1997, in Kyoto (Japan) there was held the third Conference of the states (over 160), which signed the FCCC. It was focused on lengthy and heated discussions about the possibility of adopting the requirement for developed countries of an approximately 5% carbon dioxide emission reduction by 2008-2012 (relative to the 1990 level), despite the absurdity of the situation in general and in the absence of any noticeable progress with the CO2 emission reduction (global carbon dioxide emissions continue and will continue growing not only in the developing world, but also in industrially developed countries, including the United States). The position of the developing states is naturally based on their striving for the increase of the standard of living as the first priority; thus they are not prepared for any curtailment of their industry for the sake of carbon dioxide emission reduction.  However, it is the latter requirement that was the condition for signing the FCCC proposed by the USA and other countries of the “golden billion”.

U.S. President G. Bush has justly rejected the Kyoto Protocol  (KP), because:

1) this document does not have an adequate scientific substantiation
2) since the use of fossil fuels prevails in the energy production, following KP recommendations on reduction of GHGs emissions will result in very serious economic consequences without positive environmental improvement.

One might think that the absurd situation mentioned is a consequence of the lack of a scientific basis of solving global change problems. Such a conclusion would not be quite correct because as far back as 1990, some publications appeared (e.g., /5,9/) which were devoted to the discussion of key aspects of global ecology. V.G. Gorshkov /5,6/ proposed and substantiated the fundamental concept of biotic regulation of the environment, whereas K. Ya. Kondratyev /8-19/
revealed an inadequacy of the “greenhouse” hypothesis of global warming and appealed to a necessity of studying the “atmosphere-ocean-ice cover-biosphere” climatic system, taking account of the entire complexity of feedbacks between its interactive components.
The problem of a global observing system was subjected to a serious analysis /9,11,12/.
The problem of atmospheric ozone variability also deserves special attention /15/.

The existing delusions (“myths”) related to global climate change problems include the following /1-4,7,11-21,23,24/:

1) the observation data (still inadequate from the standpoint of their comprehensiveness and reliability) do not confirm the presence of uniform “global warming” (which is especially true for the data of surface observations in the USA, the Arctic, and satellite remote sensing results)

2) if the increase of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to the supposed doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, is about 4 W/m2, the uncertainties due to the unreliable accounting for the climate-forming role of atmospheric aerosols and clouds, as well as quite a number of other factors, reach several tens or even more W/m2

3) the results of numerical climate modeling that substantiate the “greenhouse global warming” hypothesis, are nothing but an adjustment to observational data

4) recommendations concerning levels of reduction of GHGs emissions are  senseless from the viewpoint of their impact on climate change (if realized, however, they may have long-term negative socio-economic consequences).

Thus the basic conclusion is obvious, namely:

An open discussion concerning priorities of global change problems is required. Now, it should be done in the context of the WSSD deliberations. The dominance of such a false priority as “greenhouse warming” not only compromises science but may also hamper the socio-economic progress of the developing and industrially developed countries /2/.


1. Bate R. (Ed.). Global Warming. The Continuing Debate. ESEF, Cambridge. – 1998, 229 p.
2. Boehmer-Christiansen S. Who and in What Way Determines the Global Climate Change Policy? Izvestiya Russion Geograph. Soc. -  2000, vol. 132, No.3, p.6-22 (in Russian)
3. Demirchian K. S., Demirchian K. K., Danilevich Ya. B., Kondratyev K. Ya. Global Warming, Energetics, and Geopolicy. Proc. Russian Acad. Sci., Ser. Energetics. –2002, No.3, p. 18-46 (in Russian)
4. Essex C.,McKitrick R. Taken by Storm. The Troubled Science, Policy, and Politics of Global Warming. Key Porter Books, Toronto. – 2002, 320 pp.
5. Gorshkov V. G. Biospheric Energetics and Environmental Stability. Itogi Nauki i Tekhniki. Theoretical and General Problems of Geography. Vol.7, Moscow: VINITI Press, -1990, 238 pp. (in Russian)
6. Gorshkov V. G., Gorshkov V. V., Makarieva A. M. Biotic Regulation of the Environment. Key Issues of global Change.  Springer/PRAXIS, Chichester, U. K. – 1998, 761 pp.
7. Gray V. The Greenhouse Delusion. A Critique of “Climate Change 2001”. Multi-Science Publ. Co., Ltd., U. K. – 2002, 95 pp.
8. Kondratyev K. Ya., Grigoryev Al. A., Varotsos C. A. Environmental Disasters: Anthropogenic and Natural. Springer/PRAXIS, Chichester, U. K. – 2002, 484 pp.
9. Kondratyev K. Ya. Key Problems of Global Ecology. Itogi Nauki i Tekhniki. Theoretical and General Problems of Geography. Vol.9, Moscow: VINITI Press. – 1990, 454 pp. (in Russian)
10. Kondratyev K. Ya., Donchenko V. K., Losev K. S., Frolov A. K. Ecology-Economics-Policy. St. Petersburg Branch of Russian Acad. Sci. Publ. – 1996, 828 pp. (in Russian).
11. Kondratyev K. Ya. Multidimensional Global Change. Wiley/PRAXIS, Chichester, U. K. – 1998, 761 pp
12. Kondratyev K. Ya., Cracknell A. P. Observing Global Climate Change. Francis & Taylor, London. – 1998, 592 pp.
13. Kondratyev K. Ya. Ecodynamics and Geopolicy. Vol. 1.  Global Problems.  St. Petersburg Branch of Russian Acad. Sci. Publ. – 1999, 1036 pp. (in Russian).
14. Kondratyev K. Ya. Climatic Effects of Aerosols and Clouds.  Springer/PRAXIS, Chichester, U.K. – 1999, 264 pp.
15. Kondratyev K.Ya., Varotsos C. A. Atmospheric Ozone Variability: Implications for Climate Change, Human Health, and Ecosystems. Springer/PRAXIS, Chichester, U. K. – 2000, 758 pp.
16. Kondratyev K. Ya., Demirchian K. S. Global Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol. Herald Russian Acad. Sci. – 2001, No.11, p. 1-20 (in Russian)
17. Kondratyev K. Ya., Adamenko V. N., Boehmer-Christiansen, Demirchian K. S., Kukla G. Global Climate Change: Conceptual Aspects. St. Petersburg Scientific Centre. – 2001, 125 pp. (in Russian).
18. Kondratyev K. Ya., Krapivin V. F., Phillips G. W. Global Environmental Change: Ecoinformatics. Springer/PRAXIS, Chichester, U. K. – 2002, 761 pp.
19. Kondratyev K. Ya. Global climate change: Facts, assumptions, and perspectives of research. Optics of the Atmos.  and Ocean. – 2002, vol. 15, No.10, p. 1-15. (in Russian)
20. Kondratyev K.Ya., Krapivin V.F., Varotsos C.A. Global Carbon Cycle and Climate Change. Springer/PRAXIS, Chichester, U.K. – 2003, 372 pp.
21. Kondratyev K.Ya., Krapivin V.F., Savinykh V.P. Perspectives of Civilisation Development. Logos, Moscow. – 2003, 431 pp. 
22. Menzhulin G. V. (Ed.) Climate Changes and Their Consequences. St. Petersburg: NAUKA. – 2002, 270 pp. (in Russian)
23. Singer S. F. Hot Talk, Cold Science. Global Warmings’ Unfinished Debate. The Independent Institute, Oakland, CA. – 1997, 110 pp.
24. Soon W., Baliunas S., Kondratyev K. Ya., Idso S. B., Postmentier E. C. Calculating the Climatic Effects of Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions: Unknowns and Uncertainties. Climate Research. – 2001, vol. 18, No.3, p. 259-275.


Prof. Dr. Kirill Ya. Kondratyev
Academician, Counsellor RAS,
Research Centre for Ecological Safety Russian Academy of Sciences,
Nansen International Environmental,
Remote Sensing Fund

Korpusnaya St., 18
197110 St. Petersburg, RUSSIA

Phone: +7 (812) 230-78-37 (office) +7 (812) 322-29-67 (home) +7 (812) 231-77-73
Fax:     +7 (812) 322-29-67 (home) +7 (812) 230-79-94  +7 (812) 235-43-61
E-mail: kondratyev@kk5486.spb.edu

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