Real Implications of Atmospheric CO2

“In a telling 2007 PBS interview, former Sen. Tim Wirth gloated about how he had rigged the 1988 Senate testimony chamber to dramatize the impact of NASA scientist James Hansen’s histrionic testimony on imminent danger from global warming: ‘We called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer…So we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo, it was the hottest day on record in Washington or close to it.’  Not content to gamble on the vagaries of weather statistics, Mr. Wirth also boasted, ‘What we did is that we went in the night beforehand and opened all the windows…so the air conditioning wasn’t working inside the room…when the hearing occurred it was really hot.’” Roger W. Cohen, William Happer, and Richard S. Lindzen, The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2012, p. A14

“In an effort to move the science debate completely into the political arena, Mr. Krupp [see yesterday’s blog] implies that with the exception of a few enlightened Republican governors and captains of industry, most ‘conservatives’ are climate skeptics—and vice versa.  But some of the most formidable opponents of climate hysteria include the politically liberal physics Nobel laureate, Ivar Giaever; famously independent physicist and author, Freeman Dyson; environmentalist futurist, and father of the Gaia Hypothesis, James Lovelock; left-center chemist, Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the fathers of the German environmental movement, and many others who would bristle at being lumped into the conservative camp.

“Whether increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is bad or good is a question of science.  And in science, truth and facts are not the playthings of causes, nor a touchstone of political correctness, nor true religion, nor ‘what I tell you three times is true.’

“Humanity has always dealt with changing climate.  In addition to the years of drought and excessive moisture described above, the geological record makes it clear that there have been longer-term periods of drought, lasting for many years as during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s to many decades or centuries.  None of these past climate changes, which had a profound effect on humanity, had anything to do with CO2, and there are good reasons for skepticism that doubling CO2 will make much difference compared to natural climate changes.

“It is increasingly clear that doubling CO2 is unlikely to increase global temperature more than about one degree Celsius, not the much larger values touted by the global warming establishment.  In fact, CO2 levels are below the optimum levels for most plants, and there are persuasive arguments that the mild warming and increased agricultural yields from doubling CO2 will be an overall benefit for humanity.  Let us debate and deal with serious, real problems facing our society, not elaborately orchestrated, phony ones, like the trumped-up need to drastically curtail CO2 emissions.” Roger W. Cohen, Fellow, American Physical Society; William Happer, Princeton University; Richard S. Lindzen, MIT, The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2012, p. A14

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