I thought it would be easy to figure out who first said of climate science that, “The science is settled”. Al Gore’s testimony to congress about global warming in 2007 was the first item in my Google search. But it has been so often repeated by sources from Obama and the Sierra Club to most recently, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt that it is hard to determine who was first and I don’t care very much. I care even less when their answer to “why” sounds an awful lot like my mother’s “Because I said so!” Most people know that usually only works until the age of 6 or 7 – except, of course for people who are politicians.
Dr. Steven E. Koonin authored an article titled “Climate Science Is Not Settled.” Koonin was Obama’s undersecretary for science in the US Energy Department and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from CalTech and a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Much of his work focused on renewable energy and low-carbon energy technologies, so he is not some anti-science outlier-rabble out to trash the planet. Seems to me that his resume is more impressive relative to climate change than politicians and the like, but I am probably not politically correct (again).
Arguing that the science is not settled is a waste of breath…or in this case, pixels. It is tantamount to heresy to challenge this belief which is sacred to those who have incorporated it into their litergy. But Koonin acknowledges that “that during the 20th century the Earth’s global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.” He goes on to affirm his belief that humans are influencing the climate primarily due to carbon dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels.
I am not sure that anything in science is ever “settled”, but I’ll try to compromise here. if the science we are saying is “settled” is that (1) carbon dioxide emissions can influence climate and (2) humans are influencing climate by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it is okay with me if you say it is settled – thanks for asking.
There are some things that I do find unsettling.
- It is unsettling that a key research institution destroyed its original climate data used to support global warming theory.
- It is unsettling that U.S. bureaucracies including NOAA, NASA, and the Department of Energy manipulated temperature data to show global warming. 
- It is unsettling that global warming has not occurred as models predicted. 
Climate is what we expect, and weather is what we get.
Iowa State University
- It is unsettling that global warming proponents, frustrated that missing data, faulty models, and corrupted methodology haven’t carried the day are now asserting that a “consensus” of scientists is proof of global warming.
- It is unsettling that this “consensus” is crumbling as over 1,000 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, have now turned against the UN IPCC. 
- It is unsettling that the “97% of scientists agree” statement widely used (including Obama and Kerry), has been largely debunked. Apparently, taking a poll after you ban everyone who disagrees skews the results. 
How many people would be surprised if 97% of Miami, Florida residents agree that Dan Marino is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time?
- It is unsettling that global warming scientists are extensively funded by grants dependent on studies that prove apocalyptic global warming theory. If Microsoft Excel flags “Circular References” it seems like this ought to raise a flag as well.
“On its Web site, the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit describes how it could barely make ends meet for most of the years since it was founded in 1972, and how most researchers weren’t even guaranteed salaries in the early years.” “In 1988-1989, the U.S. ponied up 199,500 Swiss francs ($198,995) to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. By the end of Bill Clinton’s and Al Gore’s tenure in the White House, America’s annual offering to the international global warming authority had ballooned more than 2,600%—to 5.42 million Swiss francs in 2000-2001. The very earth hung in the balance, after all.” 
- It is unsettling that in 2013, the U.S. spent $22.5 BILLION on climate change! 
- It is unsettling that global warming proponents resorted to a PR stunt and changed their name to climate science in an attempt to disassociate themselves with the errors and misdeeds associated with their global warming sect.
Just because they are unsettling, these things do not prove that global warming is a hoax.
In logical arguments, smoke doesn’t mean fire. However, if the smoke alarm goes off, it would be an error in judgment to roll over and go back to sleep.
In spite of the alarms, I have already agreed with science that says (1) carbon dioxide emission can have undesirable effects on the planet and (2) humans are influencing the climate by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I don’t know about 97%, but will further stipulate that you can find a consensus of scientists that pretty much agree as well.
That being the case what is there to debate? I mean, Obama says that the “debate is over.” Well, heck. If you can’t believe the Prez, the world is in a lot of trouble, right?
I am a U.S. citizen, so let’s take a look at our impact on global warming. The IPCC projected a 1.1° C to 6.4° C warming during the next century. We’ll table the discussion of how overstated that is for now and accept it at face value. Using the mid-range, the U.S. would contribute about .19° C of the total global temperature rise. Double that if it makes you feel better, but notice that is point-one-nine, not one-nine. In spite of our “bloated”, “consumptive” lifestyle, our “contribution to ‘global warming’ this century will amount to the neighborhood of about 0.2°C. Not five degrees. Not two degrees. But about two-tenths of a degree Celsius.”  (Emphasis mine.)
The point is that if the U.S. eliminated all internal combustion engines and shut down all of our agricultural and manufacturing operations, the impact on global warming over the next century, would be inconsequential. It would also be an economic catastrophe of more epic proportion than the likely impact of global warming.
“So what”, you say, we still ought to do our part, right? I agree. I don’t have any great fondness for smog. By all means, take reasonable measures to protect our share of the world.
I just object to the extremist view. $22.5 BILLION (more now I am sure) is a lot to spend for what we appear to be getting. However, that doesn’t even begin to count the direct and indirect costs of restrictive controls already implemented and proposed.
What business board could spend more than $22 billion without any accounting for its stockholders? You can’t trim a tree in Oregon without an Environmental Impact Study on the one-eyed, one-horned flying purple-pooping owl. Why does it not make sense to do the same kind of due diligence on climate science expenditures? Why does it not make sense to do the same kind of due diligence on impact of job loss and increased consumer costs before implementing environmental restrictions? (I want to discuss who died and made the EPA führer, but that is for another post.)
The Law of Unintended Consequences
I am not suggesting we do away with all efforts at controlling CO2 emissions, but every control and restriction that we put in place that is not done universally, world-wide, makes our agriculture and manufacturing less competitive on the world market. That means expansion in China, India and other non-participating countries…expansion of uncontrolled, emissions in multiples far in excess of any we contribute.
There are lots of examples of the law of unintended consequences, but I love this recent example from an article titled, “Your electric car isn’t making California’s air any cleaner.” 
It compares the impact of electric car subsidies for two California cities, San Ramon and Mendota. Since 2010, citizens of San Ramon purchased 463 zero-emissions vehicles with about $1 million in subsidies. Mendota citizens purchased – wait for it – one whose owner received $2,500. The catch? San Ramon already scored in the cleanest 10% of California’s cities. Mendota already scored in the “dirtiest” 10%.
Why? Median household income in San Ramon is $140,444 while Mendota’s is $28,660. People in Mendota can’t afford electric cars with or without subsidies. People in San Ramon can get subsidies for things they can afford without them and there are inconsequential benefits to the atmosphere.
I am in favor of rational environmental policy. But that isn’t what we have now. What we have now is a monumental cash cow dispensing globs of political pork, stupidity, and of course voter pandering.
There is no science, settled or otherwise on the political aspects of climate change. There are also numerous unsettled scientific issues being obfuscated by the radical alarmists. Koonin says that the unsettled scientific question for policy is how will climate change under both human and natural influences? Human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can have serious consequences but by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Sure, let’s pay attention to that, but let’s also keep it in perspective.
Running around screaming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” does no more to promote rational behavior than yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater. Sure you get a lot of immediate action. Great if panic and chaos is the objective, but… Hmmm. Maybe I am onto something.
The problem with The Chicken Little approach to climate change is that like most extremist positions, it is all-or-nothing. It polarizes not just the extremists on the other side, but also the reasonable moderates on both sides. When people are busy choosing sides based on politics, they are too distracted to consider rational cost/benefit or risk/reward analyses.
That is the most unsettling thing about the whole issue.
1. Climate Science is Not Settled
2. Government Funded Research Unit Destroyed Original Data
3. U.S. Agencies Accused of Fudging Data to Show Global Warming
4. Just Hit the NOAA Motherlode
5. GAIA Scientist James Lovelock: I was an alarmist about climate change.
6. What is Climate Sciences?
7. Global Temperature Trends and the IPCC
8. As The Consensus Among Scientists Crumbles, Global Warming Alarmists Attack Their Integrity
9. The Myth of the Climate Change “97%”
10. The Economics of Climate Change
11. The Science and Environmental Policy Project
12. Carbon Tax is Climatically Useless
13. Your Electric Car Isn’t Making California’s Air Any Cleaner.