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Hot Talk, Cold Science
Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate
S. Fred Singer (Author)
Frederick Seitz (Foreword)
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S. Fred Singer (Author)
Frederick Seitz (Foreword)

Paperback • 120 pages • 24 figures • 6 x 9 inches • Index

ISBN-13: 978-0-94599-981-2

Publication Date: May 15, 1999

Publisher: Independent Institute

Educators: Request exam copy

Paperback (ISBN 978-0-94599-981-2)
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Hot Talk, Cold Science
Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate
S. Fred Singer (Author)
Frederick Seitz (Foreword)
List Price: $15.95
Price: $13.55
Discount: $2.40 (Save 15%)

Free Shipping On Orders Over $60! (Within U.S.A.)

Paperback • 120 pages • 24 figures • 6 x 9 inches • Index

ISBN-13: 978-0-94599-981-2

Publication Date: May 15, 1999

Publisher: Independent Institute

Educators: Request exam copy

Paperback (ISBN 978-0-94599-981-2)
Click to expandeBooks


S. Fred Singer is a distinguished astrophysicist who has taken a hard, scientific look at the evidence. In this book, Dr. Singer explores the inaccuracies in historical climate data, the limitations of attempting to model climate on computers, solar variability and its impact on climate, the effects of clouds, ocean currents, and sea levels on global climate, and factors that could mitigate any human impacts on world climate.

Singer’s masterful analysis decisively shows that the pessimistic, and often alarming, global warming scenarios depicted in the media have no scientific basis. In fact, he finds that many aspects of any global warming, such as a longer growing season for food and a reduced need to use fossil fuels for heating, would actually have a positive impact on the human race. Further, Singer notes how many proposed “solutions” to the global warming “crisis” (like “carbon” taxes) would have severe consequences for economically disadvantaged groups and nations.

Hot Talk, Cold Science is essential reading for anyone who wants to be fully informed about the global warming debate.


Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: The Scientific Case Against The Global Climate Treaty
  • Chapter 2: Scientific Issues To Be Resolved
  • Chapter 3: What To Do About Greenhouse Effects?
  • Appendix: Mitigation Of Climate Change—A Scientific And Economic Appraisal

Detailed Summary


According to proponents of the Global Climate Treaty, a consensus within the scientific community supports the view that human-caused global warming is occurring and that it threatens human health and well-being. Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from viewing the existence of global warming as “settled,” most atmospheric scientists and climate specialists hold that the global warming issue should be considered “unfinished business” requiring much further research.

In HOT TALK, COLD SCIENCE: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, astrophysicist S. Fred Singer probes the literature on climate change and lays out the scientific case against the likelihood of an imminent, catastrophic global warming. Theoretical computer models to the contrary, man-made global warming has not been documented. But even if it were to occur, the evidence suggests that it would largely be benign and may even improve human well-being, Singer argues.

Rather than embark on economically destructive policies to solve a problem that to the best of our knowledge does not exist, Singer urges policymakers to adopt a “no regrets” policy of continued research and unimpeded economic growth. We would then have more scientific knowledge, technology, and economic resources with which to confront climate warming, if we ever discover that it is occurring and poses a real threat. But prematurely mandating severe reductions of greenhouse gas emissions would make us—and developing countries, especially—poorer and less able to cope with any future problems.

No Scientific Consensus of Warming

That there is no scientific consensus of a global-warming threat is indicated by surveys of active scientists. A November 1991 Gallup poll of 400 members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union found that only 19 percent of those polled believed that human-induced global warming has occurred.

That same year, Greenpeace International surveyed 400 scientists who had worked on the 1990 report of the influential U.N. Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or had published related articles. Asked whether current policies might instigate a runaway greenhouse effect, only 13 percent of the 113 respondents said it was “probable” and 32 percent “possible.” But 47 percent said “probably not”—far from a consensus.

In recent years, research on global climate change has led even more scientists to doubt that global warming is upon us or that it would soon bring disaster (Science, May 16, 1997). Yet these doubts are characteristically downplayed in IPCC reports. While the body of the IPCC’s 800-page, 1996 report, The Science of Climate Change, mentioned some doubts (albeit cryptically), the report’s much-publicized, politically approved Summary for Policymakers did not. This gave the false impression that all 2000-plus scientists who contributed to (or had their work cited in) the report alsosupported the view that man-made global warming was occurring or posed a credible threat. The IPCC report even indicated that the scientists who reviewed and commented on earlier drafts endorsed the report—whether their comments on the drafts were positive or negative.

Man-Made Global Warming Not in Evidence

The announced purpose of the Global Climate Treaty is to avoid “dangerous interference with the climate system.” However, this goal is entirely arbitrary because we have no scientific guidance for determining what constitutes a “dangerous interference.” Nor do we have evidence that human activity has had much effect on world climate.

While it is true that global temperatures have risen about 0.5 degree Celsius in the last century, most of this warming occurred before 1940, while most of the human-caused CO2 emissions occurred after 1940. Further, we simply do not know whether climate variability depends on carbon dioxide concentrations. Scientists are only now beginning to study the role of other potential factors in global climate change, such as the interaction between the atmosphere and oceans, variations in solar radiation, and the cooling effects of volcanic emissions and sulfate aerosols.

By and large, General Circulation Models (GCMs) have not yet considered these factors, which may explain why computer models cannot account for observed temperatures. Many models indicate that global warming has arrived and will intensify unless we reduce greenhouse gas emissions like CO2. However, weather satellite and balloon-borne radiosonde data indicate that global temperatures have fallen slightly since 1980. (But neither the weather satellite data nor the discrepancy between them and the GCMs are mentioned in the IPCC Policymakers’ Summary.)

While surface temperatures show slight increases—notably smaller than those predicted by the models—this appears to be due to the urban heat island (UHI) effect, stemming from population increases near weather stations. After correcting for the UHI effect, the years around 1940 emerge as the warmest years of the century in both the U.S. and Europe.

The gap between the satellite observations and existing theory is large enough to cast serious doubt on all computer-model predictions of future warming. Whatever the cause of the gap, we cannot rely on GCM forecasts of future warming. (GCMs are not even consistent with each other; their temperature forecasts vary by some 300 percent.) Until GCMs become validated by actual climate observations, they should not be used as the basis for policy.

Would Global Warming Be a Threat?

Given the incessant talk about the purported catastrophes a global warming might cause—severe storms, coastal flooding, increases in mosquito-carried diseases—it sounds strange to hear about benefits from a global warming. Nevertheless, the scientific literature supports the view that increases in CO2 concentration and global temperatures, were they to materialize, might actually improve human well-being. Some benefits include a CO2-enriched biosphere more conducive to plant growth, longer frost-free growing seasons, greater water efficiency for plants, and more available farmland at higher latitudes.

A reduction in severe storms would be another likely benefit if global warming were to occur. Since a global warming would probably mostly warm the latitudes farther north and south, the temperature gradient between the equator and the poles would fall, thereby reducing the severity of storms. (Contrary to anecdotal reports, theory and observations indicate that severe storms, both tropical and extratropical, have not increased in the past 50 years. In fact, North Atlantic hurricanes have noticeably declined in frequency and in intensity.)

Rising sea levels, another alleged consequence of a global warming, may also be a phantom problem. It seems likely that a global warming would lower, rather than raise sea levels, because more evaporation from the oceans would increase precipitation and thereby thicken the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica. This possibility is supported by an observed inverse correlation between the rate of rise of the sea level and tropical sea surface temperature.

Ocean Fertilization and Economic Resilience

If increases in carbon dioxide concentrations do become a problem, a policy of ocean fertilization—to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton and speed up the natural absorption of CO2 into the ocean, as recently documented in field testing—seems more prudent (and cheaper) than energy rationing. Ocean fertilization would also likely bring an important side benefit: vast ocean deserts could be turned into thriving fisheries. Developing countries in particular would benefit from this less expensive policy by investing the saved wealth in strengthening the resilience of their economies, safeguarding against naturally occurring harmful climate events, and improving their health care systems.


“In Hot Talk, Cold Science, the illustrious Fred Singer dares to point out that ‘the Emperor has no clothes.’ Is there evidence to suggest ‘discernible human influence’ on global climate? Of great interest, this book demonstrates that at best, the available evidence is sketchy and incomplete. Hot Talk, Cold Science should have widespread circulation.”
SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE, scientist and author, 2001: A Space Odyssey; originator, communications satellite system

“The highly sensible and well-accepted scientific views in Hot Talk, Cold Science deserve the widest possible exposure.”
RICHARD S. LINDZEN, Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography, M.I.T.

“In Hot Talk, Cold Science, Singer has made an important scientific contribution to the global warming debate—a debate that some have attempted to quash or declare concluded. Let us depend on, rather than fear. a healthy scientific debate.”
SENATOR FRANK H. MURKOWSKI, Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

“Where to Learn More About Climate Change: In Hot Talk, Cold Science, an atmospheric scientist writes that the scientific community is far from a consensus on the causes and repercussions of global warming.”

Hot Talk, Cold Science will be difficult to dismiss, though many in their rush to establish international agreements and poorly conceived policies and regulations, will undoubtedly wish to do so.”
FREDERICK SEITZ, past President, National Academy of Sciences; President Emeritus, Rockefeller Univ.

Hot Talk, Cold Science clearly and concisely documents the increasing climate of doubt about global warming. A breath of fresh air amidst a sea of hype, the book should be required reading for anyone truly interested in the greenhouse debate.”
ROBERT C. BALLING, Jr., Director, Office of Climatology, Arizona State University

“The scientific urge to consensus on the greenhouse issue tends to compromise away dissent. Fred Singer, with impeccable credentials, does not compromise. His criticism is crucial to the current debate—a debate that will not soon be settled.”
THOMAS C. SCHELLING, Professor of Economics, University of Maryland

Hot Talk, Cold Science is an important, comprehensive, timely, and thorough book.”
WILLIAM A. NIERENBERG, Director Emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Hot Talk, Cold Science is essential reading for those who wish to be fully informed about global warming. The importance of this book is its review of the scientific, economic and policy background on global warming with a reasoned assessment of these facts.”

Hot Talk, Cold Science is immensely enjoyable. In assessing the possibility of global warming from increasing greenhouse gases, Dr. Singer examines diverse theoretical and empirical studies and presents the results in an accessible and highly readable book. By carefully weighing the evidence, Singer shows that the case for significant and catastrophic global warming remains unverified. On the contrary, the climate record to date manifests at most a small human-caused global warming. Furthermore, there are gross gaps in knowledge about climate change science that prevent present computer simulations from yielding reliable projections of future climate change. Given the lack of knowledge on all the relevant causes of climate change and the slow pace of projected warming by the computer simulations, Singer argues a cautious course of adaptation and cost effective mitigation.”
SALLIE BALIUNAS, Astrophysicist, Center for Astrophysics, Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory; Deputy Director, Mount Wilson Observatory

Hot Talk, Cold Science is a unique and in-depth analysis of an important component of the global warming issue. It presents evidence contrary to the hypothesis that global warming is an immediate and serious threat from man-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Singer’s organization of observational material is good and supports the argument that any climate change that has occurred over the last century has been natural and not man-induced. I would encourage anyone involved with the global warming issue to give this book a serious hearing. His view that the evidence does not support the industrial nations taking action at this time to pass laws at reducing fossil fuel emissions in the belief that a significant future global temperature reduction would occur is well thought out. More research and debate is needed on the subject before mandatory restrictions are imposed. He is right, this topic is definitely ‘unfinished business’.”
WILLIAM M. GRAY, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Hot Talk, Cold Science is a very effective book to finally initiate constructive discussion on this topic.”
ROGER A. PIELKE, Sr., Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Hot Talk, Cold Science is an important, comprehensive book on the issues involved in the raging debate over global warming. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand this problem, especially as it affects working Americans.”

Hot Talk, Cold Science carefully reviews the scientific, economic and policy literature on global warming, and provides a welcome, reasoned assessment of the facts and uncertainties. I strongly recommend this important book to any citizen.”
WILLIAM HAPPER, Professor of Physics, Princeton University; former Director of Energy Research, U.S. Department of Energy

Hot Talk, Cold Science is the outstanding, up-to-date, scholarly and objective analysis of current conflicting viewpoints on all the key issues relating to greenhouse warming. I highly recommend this excellent book to specialists and non-specialists alike who are interested in determining the state of the science and the arguments and data behind the various aspects of this important issue.”
HUGH W. ELLSAESSER, Participating Scientist, Atmospheric and Geophysical Sciences, E.O. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

“For those who believe that the collapse of the Kyoto summit would herald an environmental disaster, we suggest an antidote: a book called Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, by S. Fred Singer (The Independent Institute, Oakland, California). Singer, a pioneer in the development of weather satellites, demands that we drag the global warming debate back to the fundamental issue: Is global warming taking place? Look at the date, this physicist advises, warning that computer models that predict global warming in the future are unable to verify the present climate. There are simply not enough data to verify global climate change caused by human activity.“

Hot Talk, Cold Science is of much interest: I’ve long followed the literature on the long and short term temperature records, ice ages, etc. I like especially the many charts and graphs in the book. One of the refreshing ideas is that the worry about the melting of the icecaps could be the reverse: enough increased evaporation from the oceans to make the caps grow!”
H. RICHARD CRANE, Member, National Academy of Sciences

Hot Talk, Cold Science, by S. Fred Singer, is a powerful book, and the author’s credentials are formidable. No one who reads this book will hereafter doubt that there is a serious scientific case against the global-warming hullabaloo, or that it is anything less than overwhelming.”
WILLIAM A. RUSHER, Syndicated Columnist, Newspaper Enterprise Association

“In an important new book, Hot Talk, Cold Science, S. Fred Singer sums up the evidence on global warming as ‘neither settled, nor compelling, nor even very convincing.’”
LINDA CHAVEZ, Syndicated Columnist, Creators Syndicate

Hot Talk, Cold Science presents a comprehensive assessment of scientific controversies on the climate change issue The book raises important questions about the causes of natural climate change, and points to more cost-effective remediation for the buildup of carbon dioxide, should that be needed.”

“The author of Hot Talk, Cold Science, S. Fred Singer maintains that the proposals put forth at Kyoto were based on forecasts from flawed computer models of the earth’s climate, and not on actual observations, and he has urged policymakers to adopt a ‘no regrets’ policy of continued research and unimpeded economic growth. In Hot Talk, Cold Science, Singer examines the literature on climate change and lays out a case against the likelihood of an imminent, catastrophic global warming He also cites evidence suggesting that even if global warming were to occur, it would largely be benign and may even improve human well-being.”
NOIA WASHINGTON REPORT, National Ocean Industries Association

“The arguments in Hot Talk, Cold Science are not advanced as idle speculation but firmly crafted from reliable data and almost seamless logic. Opting finally for prudent measures that include conservation and efficiency as well as nuclear and alternative energy sources, the author hedges his bets and agrees to a ‘no regrets’ policy which includes adaptation to climate change—just in case.”

“In Hot Talk, Cold Science, Fred Singer does not accept global warming. . . . The references and index are both quite thoroughly done. . . . This a book that deserves to be read and digested as good arguments are made and if nothing else, the book can serve as an effective ‘devil’s advocate’ for those who may think greenhouse warming is real.”
EOS-Transactions of the American Geophysical Union

“This book claims that global warming is greatly exaggerated. . . . Singer is correct in depicting the fundamental physics of climate change based upon the increase in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. . . . Hot Talk, Cold Science is useful in that it contains in concise form virtually all of the skeptic’s views about climate change.”

“The scientist who set up the American weather satellite system, Dr. S. Fred Singer, has expressed great skepticism as to whether the globe has in fact gotten any warmer in recent years. The temperature readings from the weather satellites don’t show it. The careful analysis of data from a variety of sources by Dr. Singer in his book, Hot Talk, Cold Science, is in sharp contrast to the hysterical simplicities of the ‘global warming’ zealots and politcians.’”
THOMAS SOWELL, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Columnist, Forbes

“If you’re interested, there is a sensible and unbiased discussion of the subject [of global warming/the Kyoto Treaty] in a book called Hot Talk, Cold Science by S. Fred Singer, a distinguished scientist. Singer put together the weather satellite program and also predicted the depletion of the ozone in the atmosphere. He is not carrying water for anybody. In the introduction, Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences, sums up the situation this way: ‘We do not at the present have convincing evidence of any significant climate change from other than natural sources.’”
CHARLEY REESE, syndicated columnist

“Basically a book at the level of Scientific American, Hot Talk, Cold Science provides a significant contribution to the politics of science as well. Singer very effectively interweaves the science of ‘global warming’ with the associated politics, discussing possible means of controlling CO2 levels, the likely benefits of increased CO2 in the atmosphere, the lack of evidence of atmospheric warming, and the efforts by its advocates to push their agenda. Anyone interested in the politics and sociology of ‘big science’ especially environmental science, should read this book.”

“In his book on the politics and science of global warming, Hot Talk, Cold Science, S. Fred Singer provides a review of the position that the current atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide will not have apocalyptic consequences to the planet Earth. Hot Talk, Cold Science is useful in that it contains in concise form virtually all of the skeptics views about climate change.”


S. Fred Singer is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, and a Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute for Space Science and Technology. He was the first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. He is the former director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and former Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Transportation.


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News Date
“Greta’s Smile” Research Fellow Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science cited on American Thinker Tue., Jan. 28, 2020
“UN Report Shows Politics And Climate Science Are A Deadly Mix,” by Research Fellow Dominick Armentano (The Daily Caller) Sat., Dec. 22, 2018
Research Fellow S. Fred Singer and his Independent Institute book, Hot Talk, Cold Science, favorably cited (Wanganui Chronicle, New Zealand) Tue., Jul. 3, 2018
“You Wouldn’t Think Sea Level Is So Complex” Research Fellow Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science mentioned in The Wall Street Journal Fri., Jun. 1, 2018
“The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change” Research Fellow Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal Tue., May. 15, 2018
“Does the Greenhouse Gas CO2 Cool the Climate?” Research Fellow Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science Op-Ed on Mon., Apr. 2, 2018
“Global Warming and Peer Review” Research Fellow Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science Op-Ed on Mon., Oct. 30, 2017
“California Wildfires Fuel Globalist Agenda” Research Fellow Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science cited in The New American Wed., Oct. 18, 2017
“Preventing the other Climate Catastrophe” Research Fellow Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science Op-Ed in the Washington Times Tue., Sep. 12, 2017
“The China Climate Accord: A bad deal for the US” Research Fellow Fred Singer Op-Ed in American Thinker Mon., Dec. 8, 2014
“The Stealth Carbon Tax” S. Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science in American Thinker Mon., Feb. 3, 2014
“The Inventor of the Global Warming Hockey Stick Doubles Down” Research Fellow S. Fred Singer Op-Ed in American Thinker Tue., Jan. 21, 2014
“A Tale of Two Climate HockeySticks” Research Fellow and author of Hot Talk, Cold Science S. Fred Singer in American Thinker Tue., Aug. 20, 2013
“Could Global Warming Slow Sea Level Rise?” Op-Ed by Research Fellow and author of Hot Talk, Cold Science S. Fred Singer in American Thinker Thu., Jun. 6, 2013
“Climate Science vs Politics: The Road Ahead” By Research Fellow S. Fred Singer in American Thinker Thu., Dec. 27, 2012
“Environmental Protection Lessons from Ronald Reagan: ‘Trust but Verify’,” by S. Fred Singer in American Thinker Mon., Dec. 24, 2012
“Bloomberg’s November Surprise” by Research Fellow S. Fred Singer in the American Thinker Sat., Nov. 3, 2012
“Climate Realism” by Research Fellow S. Fred Singer in The American Thinker Wed., Sep. 26, 2012
Research Fellow Fred Singer in American Thinker “Winning the AGW Science Debate: Here’s How” Thu., Aug. 30, 2012
Heartland Institute to host event on environmental policy with Independent Institute Research Fellow Dr. S. Fred Singer, July 30, 2012 Wed., Jul. 18, 2012
Research Fellow Fred Singer article in the American Thinker “’Cap and Trade’ for CO2 Needs a Stake Through the Heart” Mon., Jun. 11, 2012


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