Big government politicos keen to control American wealth and lifestyles via environmental regulation had a major failure recently: The US Senate recently passed an energy bill that abandons cap-and-trade, the legislation touted to “solve” the man-made global warming crisis. Despite the hopes of environmental activists and “green” business entities that worked to promote Cap&Trade at the federal level, the bill avoids all mention of economy-wide emission caps and does not impose renewable electricity standards on utility companies.
Americans, who are increasingly dismissing the assertion that man-made global warming is a serious concern, have dodged an economic bullet. Cap&Trade’s taxes and regulations would have placed a serious crimp in the country’s economic health. However, California’s regulators are still going forward with their plans to enforce the state equivalent to this plan: AB-32, the Global Warming Solution’s Act. In other words, California will confine the deleterious impact on business and lifestyle to this state. In fact, GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman just stated on the John and Ken show (AM640, click here for the 8/4 podcast/third hour) that she wants AB-32 to go into effect and then she will suspend it for one year while SHE decides the best way to implement Cap & Trade.
“Angry doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now, “ said Sarah Bond, Chief Executive Officer of the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition. “ We must VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 23. The ballot measure, also known as the Jobs First Initiative, will temporarily suspend implementation the state’s global warming law California’s unemployment rate is lower and the state is in less economic danger.”
Hopefully, the temporary suspension will lead to a permanent one, as the theory of man-made global warming has been seriously questioned, and many parts refuted, by experienced scientists. I was privileged to attend a talk hosted by the Lynceans, a organization of physicists and engineers in the San Diego Area, that focused on the actual data pertinent to science supposedly driving the Cap&Trade schemes. It seems that the “debate” is not over, and there are several scientists who would relish the opportunity to rebut man-made global warming proponents directly in a live match.
Dr. Martin Fricke of San Diego, a nuclear physicist and Senior Fellow of The American Physical Society, arranged for two experts to review aspects of the “debate”. These experts were Dr. William Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Roger Cohen, who spent over 40 years in industrial research in the electronics and energy industries and was the Senior Director for Exxon’s Corporate Research Laboratories and Manager of Strategic Planning and Programs.
Both men have stellar scientific biographies. For example, Happer was appointed as the Director of Energy Research, serving under the Secretary of Energy, where he oversaw basic research programs including much of the federal funding for high energy and nuclear physics, materials science, magnetic confinement fusion, environmental science, and the human genome project. Happer’s term of service included some time under Clinton Administration. Cohen initiated and managed a basic research program in climate science and has remained actively involved in the area since that time. Both men are members in several prestigious professional organizations — in other words, they represent some of the best scientific minds in America.
Californians interested in our state’s future can use the information presented in this seminar effectively in countering the global warming proponents wherever and whenever they encounter them. Cohen’s discussion focused on the dynamics of the debate, and how to address global warming believers effectively. Happer’s talk was focused on the technical side, refuting the global warming evidence and providing facts necessary for risk assessment related to carbon dioxide levels. Both presentations offered a lot of solid background material.
DEBATING the DEBATE TACTICS
“A remarkable feature of the dynamics is what happens when you ask the simple question regarding the case for serious anthropogenic global warming,” Cohen explained. “Responses tend to fall into three categories.” These categories are:
- Appeal to Authority. Cohen cited the argument that “the evidence for man-made global warming is overwhelming” as an example of this response.
- Precautionary Principles. “Proponents argue that even if the science supporting man-made global warming is wrong, if there is any risk at all, we need to do something heroic to reduce it.”
- Pure Anger. Probably, the class of response best known to pundits, in which people challenging the assertion man is causing global warming are called “deniers”, “oil company shills”, or are otherwise insulted.
The thrust of Cohen’s talk was to address these three debate styles. For example, the Appeal to Authority argument counters itself: over 30,000 scientists (including myself) have signed the Petition Project that challenges the man-made global warming hypothesis. Additionally, the American Physical Society Petition of 266 experienced and distinguished physicists calling for a new, independent, and objective assessment of the science. Furthermore, a recent open letter to the UN Secretary General, signed by dozens of highly-placed climate science professional, calls Global Warming science unsettled and challenged the United Nations Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming.
Interestingly, the “thousands of scientists” often referred by proponents boils down to a group of about 30 who actually write the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), after consulting with governments. In fact the last SPM (2007) was written before the science reports were completed. The SPM is the overall assessment of the science that is all the media ever sees, and the IPCC press release is based on it. There has been much made of the fact that this Summary does not faithfully represent the body of science that goes into IPCC reports. One key item of many of the IPCC reports was the infamous “hockey stick” graphic.
“The hockey stick became the poster child of global warming, the most celebrated graph since Descartes invented the idea of graphs,” explained Cohen. “ We saw it in Gore’s movie. It appeared over and over again in the IPCC report. Let me read from that report, “The rate and duration of warming of the 20th century has been much greater than in any of the previous nine centuries. Similarly, it is likely that the 1990s have been the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year of the millennium.
“End of argument? Well no. We now know that this statement is baseless; it rests on work laden with technical errors and outright finagling. Climate-gate told us about the behind-the-scenes manipulations to promote and defend the stick, and to prevent opposing views from being published. But even before Climate-gate, the work of Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Hans Von Storch, and others had disposed of it from a science perspective. There are many documented serious problems with the stick. The early statistical methods were found to be flawed; they would produce an upward blade even from bogie proxies with no trend whatsoever.
“The most notorious issue involves a widely publicized e-mail string that has scientists discussing a so- called trick to hide the decline. They were talking about how to deal with a problem in showing how tree ring proxies stack up to the actual temperature record. The problem is that tree rings show a decline in their inferred temperature after 1960, while the actual temperature is believed to have increased. This is called the divergence problem. At issue is whether tree rings can be trusted as proxy “thermometers” going back 1,000 years or more if they can’t reproduce the last 40. The divergence problem was well known before the revelations. What is new is that we now know the details of an organized effort to cover up the discrepancies.”
After rebutting the Appeal to Authority argument, Cohen addresses how to handle Precautionary Principals. The Precautionary Principle warns that no matter how small the environmental risk, we should drive this risk as close to zero as we can. But environmentalists fail to include economic risk in the equation. In fact, a thorough economic/environmental study was conducted by Professor William Nordhaus of Yale (who has an award from the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and serves on the Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Experts). Nordhaus’ work is based on the most dire global warming data approved by the IPCC, erroneous as it is, and indicates that essentially doing nothing for the next 50 years is one of the best options.
“So the Precautionary Principle is hazardous to our future economic health,” explained Cohen. “Following the Precautionary Principle would logically lead us to spend trillions on other improbable events such as the next large asteroid collision, and we know that will happen someday. One purpose of science is to reduce uncertainty so as to facilitate wise decisions to promote human progress. The Precautionary Principle claims that one special brand of uncertainty is itself a reason to make decisive economic sacrifices. But the science does not support such economic interventions. Beware of the It Doesn’t Matter response. It does matter, and it matters a great deal.”
Lastly, Cohen noted that there only way to address the Pure Anger approach is to enjoy the fact that it a sign that the man-made global warming supporters are losing the debate. Cohen describes it as cognitive dissonance: The idea is that when presented with information that is dissonant from strong beliefs that people have invested in, the easiest way to deal with it is to ignore it, refuse to accept it, or simply avoid that type of information.
“But how can a belief be held so strongly when most people do not have the training or the inclination to make a scientific assessment?” queried Cohen. “Well, it is easy for people to fold their global warming cognitive into their political cognitive or their too-many-people cognitive. There it becomes heartily resistant to new information.”
CARBON DIOXIDE REALITIES
Dr. Happer’s talk focused on the physical science, highlighting evidence of the variability of carbon dioxide levels throughout Earth’s history, showing the complexity of trying to account for clouds and water vapor in computer climate models, showing that enhanced carbon dioxide levels can be good for the environment, and higher temperatures in the recent past have been very beneficial to mankind. In fact, the first part of Happer’s talk was actually on carbon dioxide itself.
“The Supreme Court recently ruled that carbon dioxide was a pollutant,” Happer said. “However, carbon dioxide is an essential component of the atmosphere. “The reading in this room is about 900 ppm (parts per million), after the meter was moved from under the A/C vent; yet, limits of 350 ppm are being discussed by the EPA as part of potential regulation. And in the air you exhale is 45,000 ppm. Additionally, people drink carbon dioxide in soda daily – are they actually drinking a toxic substance?”.
He then discussed how the molecule of carbon dioxide actually responded when exposed to sunlight of various wavelengths. It turns out that the water molecule is actually a much more potent global warming agent than CO2. Happer noted that cloud cover impacted how much heat was either received or radiated out from Earth, and how climate model programs were just not designed to adequately address this fact and can produce any answer you want by varying unknown parameters.. Happer reviewed a lot of detailed scientific research, including the Vostok Ice Cores that demonstrate the carbon dioxide levels are a lagging indicator – they actually rose AFTER global temperature increases, not vice versa.
“The Climate-gate scandals show that global-warming proponents have a high threshold for embarrassment, remarked Happer. “Essential surface data was not shared.” Happer continued to explain that through geologic history, research indicates that carbon dioxide levels varied widely – with seemingly no relationship to the actual global temperature. The following graph illustrates this important point.
Happer also described advertisements for equipment that elevate carbon dioxide levels. Plants thrive in atmospheres with about four times more carbon dioxide than average. Greenhouses will use the equipment for better crop yields and healthier plants. Happer highlighted this point: “In fact, if you do the math, 15% of the food yield increase we have seen in recent years is related to the increase in CO2. If we reduce the levels of CO2, we will noticeably reduce food yields.”
It is essential that Californians become better informed about the Climate-gate scandal, as well as proposals to regulate carbon dioxide coming from Sacramento and Washington. A LA Times Poll indicates that 67% of Californians currently support AB-32. It seems that the environmental activists’ talking points have been better promoted by the traditional media, but I know that Californians can be persuaded by facts once they have them. For example, a California State University study estimates AB-32 will result in an average family cost of about $3,900 per year, a small business cost of about $50,000 per year and a total loss of output in the range of $180 billion. And economists anticipate that AB-32’s implementation can cost California up to 1.1 million jobs.
It is up to knowledgeable citizens everywhere to talk to their friends, neighbors, and fellow voters about the types of information that leading scientists and engaged Americans, such as Drs. Cohen and Happer, have presented. Our future, and the future of the state, are on the line this November.
For readers interested in technical details and further information, please use the following links.
Dr. Cohen’s Presentation
Dr. Happer’s Presentation
List of Related References
Dr. Roy Spencer’s site: http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/
MUT News and Views:
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and the Physicians Against Obamacare are organizing a Tea Party on Aug 7th to demand a repeal of Obamacare. Speakers include, Roger Hedgecock, Sharron Angle, Joseph Rarah, Sally Pipes, Nick Popaditch, Chuck Devore and many more! This event will be held in conjunction with other events across the U.S. On the same day.
Date: Sat. Aug. 7
Time: Noon – 3:00 pm
Location: Spanish Landing East; 3900 N. Harbor Dr.; San Diego, CA 92101
* Michelle Malkin discusses other elite-business/leftist regulator partnerships that hurt the average citizen: The shady Shorebank bailout revisited
* Hot Air notes the dire economic situation natioanally: ADP report shows anemic private-sector job growth
* Gateway Pundit reveals the use of tax dollars: Michelle And Sasha’s Excellent Spanish Adventure…At Taxpayers Expense!BizzyBlog follows up with equally excellent analysis!
* The HillBuzz Team have a gripping review of Obama on his birthday.
* Patterico, the Anchoress, Althouse, and Malkin all cover a key California issue – the overturning of Proposition 8.
From the SLOBs:
* Beers with Demo continues his Elton John Appreciation Week with a humble suggestion from me, to express our gratitude to the citizens of Missouri for their brave choice on Proposition C!
* Left Coast Rebel reports on a British Citizen arrested in Dubai for wearing a bikini.
* Kimberly Dvorak has two HOT stories.
1) Why did the taxpayers of California have to fund a bunch of state government employees’ trip to protest an Arizona matter? Astro Turf provided by SEIU hijacks Arizona 1070 rally
2) MUT MUST READ: A comprehensive analysis of the deterioration of the US/Mexican border situation that is under-reported by the elite media (as it is mired in endless distractions): Drug cartels, media blackouts and more are commonplace along border