By Fred Hubler
When Princeton physicist and anthropogenic (caused by human activity) global warming skeptic William Happer opines on AGW, many AGW alarmists are quick to point out that he is not a climate scientist. A front-page story (“Difference of opinion and policy” in the Dec. 18 Gazette) begins by stating that 155 Iowa scientists signed an Iowa Climate Statement without informing us of how many of those 155 scientists are climate scientists or how many are even physicists — the basic science underlying climate science.
This is just another instance of the old logical fallacy of arguing from authority.
Even AGW alarmists James Hansen, the former head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research concede that global temperatures have plateaued for more than a decade as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased steadily. Despite this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report states that climate scientists have increased their level of confidence in AGW to 95 percent. This confidence level evidently was derived from climate computer models because actual climate data cannot support such a conclusion.
It used to be that when an AGW skeptic used cold weather in an attempt to refute AGW, alarmists were quick to reply that skeptics didn’t know the difference between weather and climate. Now that global temperatures have plateaued, every extreme weather event is cited by alarmists as evidence of AGW.
However, Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, in his July 18 testimony before the U.S. Senate summarized the findings of IPCC’s latest report, testifying that the report concluded that although there was regional climate variability, they could find no evidence of a global increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events over more than half a century. Open the following link, then open the PDF link in line 3: http://tinyurl.com/kmjy24w
Alarmists are quick to cite low levels of Arctic sea ice as evidence of global warming while completely ignoring record-high levels of Antarctic sea ice. Also, there would have to be an enormous acceleration in sea level rise for sea levels to reach just the minimum of the range predicted by the IPCC for this century. Yet the rate of sea level rise has remained constant or has slowed slightly in the past 60 years, according to two studies based on tide gauge measurements published in the Journal of Coastal Research.
Alarmists often accuse skeptics of taking money from big oil or big coal even as they receive billions of dollars in government grants to further what we are told is settled science. But, in addition to government grants, there are many rent-seeking schemes associated with AGW. Here are just a few:
l Big banks lobbied Congress for cap and trade on carbon emissions.
l Insurance companies seek to profit selling global warming insurance.
l Farmers put marginal and highly erodible land into corn production for ethanol.
l Wind turbine operators just got a license to kill predatory birds in addition to their $22-per-megawatt-hour government subsidy.
When members of Congress, especially those who favor big government, can curry favor with rent seekers of almost any stripe, they will be quick to seize the opportunity in the conceit that they really are protecting the public’s interest and that they can foresee, and control, all of the unintended consequences.
We now are seeing the results of such folly with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, but the real pain of Obamacare doesn’t even begin until next year.
Fred Hubler of Cedar Rapids is retired from Rockwell Collins after three decades as an electrical engineer. Comments: email@example.com