The 2012 GOP guide to the climate debate

By Steve Milloy
May 16, 2011, The Daily Caller

If you’re thinking of becoming a GOP presidential candidate — and who isn’t these days? — you can plan on being pressed on the climate issue.

In the wake of last week’s new report from a panel of the National Research Council (NRC) reiterating its old talking points on climate, The Washington Post editorialized that all (read “Republican”) candidates for political office should be quizzed about whether they agree with the “scientific consensus of America’s premier scientific advisory group.”

Though this threat is intended to intimidate Republicans who tend toward queasiness when confronted with environmental issues, the attack is easy to parry and then even to counterattack — that’s why Al Gore and his enviros duck debating so-called climate skeptics.

First, let’s dismiss a couple of the faulty premises of The Post’s editorial.

While it is true that the NRC operates under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences, the NRC panel that authored the report has nothing to do with the prestigious individual scientists who comprise the National Academy of Sciences membership. NRC panels are highly politicized and often stacked, and no climate skeptics were included in the panel that wrote last week’s report.

Next, science doesn’t work on a consensus basis. We don’t accept that the Earth revolves around the Sun because most scientists, or a group of scientists, have agreed to say so. Science is driven by data, not groupthink.

In actuality, the NRC report is more of an exercise in political rather than climate science.

Skeptics don’t deny global warming or climate change. We think the atmosphere probably has warmed slightly and on an average basis over the past 200 years (for unknown reasons), and we recognize that climate is continually, albeit slowly, changing.

We don’t agree, however, that manmade emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are having either detectable or predictable effects on climate — and we have at least two key means of establishing this point.

First, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by about 8 percent or so since the mid-1990s. According to climate alarmists, this should have caused measurable global warming. But none has been observed, a fact that was finally admitted by climate alarmists in the wake of the ClimateGate scandal.

Next, if it were true that global temperature was so sensitive and dependent upon atmospheric CO2 levels, then climate models (essentially elaborate scientific formulas) could be constructed so as to accurately predict the temperature effects from changing CO2 levels. But not only do existing models not predict the future temperature, they can’t predict the past when historical data is put through them.

But shouldn’t we err on the side of precaution and reduce emissions anyway? As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already demonstrated and admitted, we could shut down the U.S. in terms of CO2 emissions for 100 years, and we would make precious little difference in atmospheric CO2 level — possibly on the order of 5 percent.

Given that an 8 percent increase in CO2 over the past 15 years has amounted to zero global warming, candidates would be on firm ground wondering whether a 5 percent increase over 100 years is worth wrecking the economy over.

Candidates should not fall for bogus distractions like melting polar ice, threatened polar bears, bad weather and the like.

The Washington Post wants candidates to be quizzed on what they would do about “the rising seas, spreading deserts and intensifying storms that, absent a change in policy, loom on America’s horizon.”

But natural disasters, topographic changes and population booms and busts have always occurred and will continue to occur. Moreover, none of these phenomena can be scientifically tied to manmade emissions of CO2. So they are simply irrelevant sideshow issues.

Carbon dioxide should also not be referred to as a “pollutant.” It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and is an essential nutrient for plants and, therefore, humans. Alarmists call it “carbon pollution;” the rest of us call it “life.”

One last science point is the ClimateGate scandal. Alarmists claim that numerous subsequent investigations of the matter by independent groups have failed to uncover wrongdoing or faulty science. But none of these whitewashes were truly independent or anything more than superficial. No input from skeptics, even those mentioned in the emails, was included.

None of this is difficult to learn and or articulate. Yet ask almost any Republican politician about any of this and the best you can hope for from them is an expression of concern about jobs and/or the fact that China and India aren’t cutting their emissions.

While those are true and valid points, they too are sideshow distractions. The central point of the science debate is whether manmade CO2 emissions are causing harm. There is no evidence that they are.

People often ask, “What if you’re wrong about the science?” or “Shouldn’t we err on the side of better-safe-than-sorry?” But of course it’s the alarmists who need to be second-guessing themselves. They’ve been repeatedly wrong and never right since they started forecasting climate doom almost 25 years ago. Give them no quarter.

Steve Milloy publishes and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.”

18 thoughts on “The 2012 GOP guide to the climate debate”

  1. Steve one of the problems with the AGW theory I see is the melting Ice in the north. With the air temp never above -20 deg F how can the atmosphere CO2 melt the Ice. The only answer that makes sense to me is the increase in the Solar output.

  2. Arguing the science is fine as far as it goes but it’s not a winning strategy. Read Alinsky: “The issue is never the issue, the issue is always power and control”. That is the battlefield on which this war must be fought if it is to be won.

  3. NRC Climate Report Panel Members (From Appendix H of the Report)

    HENRY J. VAUX, JR., is a Berkley Economics professor
    MICHAEL E. CAMPANA is a Hydrogeology professor
    JEROME B. GILBERT is a water quality engineer
    ALBERT E. GIORGI is a Fisheries Scientist at BioAnalysts, Inc.
    ROBERT J. HUGGETT is a Zoology professor with ties to the EPA
    CHRISTINE A. KLEIN is a Professor of Law
    SAMUEL N. LUOMA is a Hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey
    THOMAS MILLER is a Biology professor
    STEPHEN G. MONISMITH is a Professor of Fluid Mechanics
    JAYANTHA OBEYSEKERA is a Hydrology Professor
    HANS W. PAERL is a Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences
    MAX J. PFEFFER is a Sociology professor
    DESIREE D. TULLOS is an Assistant Engineering Professor

    What 650 climatologists think:

  4. @Rich Kozlovich “Newtie wants to get rid of the EPA”

    “You betcha” . . . That because it’s a Heads “I Win” & Tails “YOU lose”!
    It’s like “we get all the power” or “it must be a “free for all” . . . . And that’s what people that think like Newtie want . . . If they had their way they would “Baker Act” anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

    That’s why regressive taxation is soooo. . . tempting . . . but sooo destructive . . . and sooo corrupting . . . (in my opinion)

  5. As you have said, “They’ve been repeatedly wrong and never right since they started forecasting climate doom almost 25 years ago.” As for the comment, “Give them no quarter”; if they were just wrong you might be willing to excuse them. But they cannot be excused because are not only wrong, but they lie to cover their errors unendingly! This whole thing failed the history test, as has been pointed out. They had to know what they were doing was disreputable. For anyone to believe that these frauds didn’t know the truth from the beginning is like believing that day is dark and night is light.
    Having said all of that, I have to add that any politician, like Tim Palenty or Newt Gingrich, who at any time ever subscribed to this baloney, is also a liar and a fraud. They are at the center of information. If someone like me with my relatively limited access to information and to the experts can see through this they had to be able to do so also. Now Newtie wants to get rid of the EPA. I wonder, after all of these years at the center of information, what final piece of information could have possibly come his way that allowed him to come to that conclusion? Perhaps it is information of polling convenience. Their past position on AGW is the test of integrity, or intelligence or both. Then again, to fail one is to fail both.

  6. Given that an 8 percent increase in CO2 over the past 15 years . . .

    To me, this should communicate: there has been a XX% increase in CO2 as a percentage of AIR over the past 15 years. . . this has been misleading since the very beginning. . . in my opinion . . . .

    As someone I respect would say . . . nuff said!

  7. The problem with the Republican party is that there are too many closet greens in there. Check out, Republicans for Environmental Protection.

    They think the EPA is wonderful, but then it does have two former EPA administrators on its honorary board, Russell Train, co-founder of WWF-US and Christine Todd-Whitman, who has been on Pew Centre panels. Both have been active in supporting the EPA endangerment finding and its regulatory advance.

    It also has Sherwood Boehrlert, Wiki says: “Boehlert is best known for his work on environmental policy. Beginning in the 1980s with the acid rain crisis, Boehlert became a prominent voice in the Republican party for the environment. He was a major contributor to the acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Boehlert pushed continually to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks and automobiles and was the lead GOP sponsor of numerous CAFE amendments. Due to Boehlert’s constant battles over environmental legislation, often putting him at odds with his party’s leadership, National Journal dubbed Boehlert the “Green Hornet” and featured him as one of the dozen “key players” in the House of Representatives.”

    They also have Theodore Roosevelt IV, who is chairman of the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change and former chairman of the ill-fated Lehman Brothers’ Global Council on Climate Change, a board member of the Alliance for Climate Protection, whose chairman is Al Gore and a board member of the World Resources Institute, also with Al Gore, plus William Ruckelshaus, (first administrator of the EPA under Richard Nixon and again for two years under Reagan).
    “For the 2012 election cycle, we plan to invite Republican candidates for Congress who are interested in endorsement by Republicans for Environmental Protection and a possible campaign contribution from REP PAC to contact Government Affairs Director David Jenkins.”

    With “friends” like these……

  8. Dr. Rust: “This is the issue that can beat Obama in 2012. Anything else is a waste of time.”

    Sorry Dr. Rust, but if the economy is still in the dumper Obama will lose, and that will be the reason. The second possible reason is jobs. CAGW fraud is so low on the list of what is on peoples’ minds that most of them just don’t care. Sad, but true.

  9. I like Gary Johnson, so far.
    Do not know his cagw stance but, he pushes
    “cost benefit anaylsis”
    not good for greenies.

  10. Newt will be taken out early in the primaries he is wasting his time and money . this whole snake oil sales that we have been subjected to for the last 25 years has done nothing but harm our great country by dividing us on an very important issue . Yes the climate she is a changing but we do not know why it be doing that . To bad we have what my Father used to refer to as educated idiots,.

  11. Also, in response to the err on the side of precaution, the GOP response should be “Why not wait?” If anything is obvious, we have copious time to continue studying the science until it is settled. It would be irresponsible and wreckless to do anything more than study.

  12. Precisely!!!! It is high time for Republicans to actually use CAGW as another in a long, long list of issues the Democrats are absolutely dead WRONG on. If an intelligent and articulate GOP candidate could emerge from the primordial soup of politics, this very issue could be spinned beautifully to show the American public and the world how stupid the Dems are. This could further be used to call into question Barry’s flawed reasoning abilities as the leader of the so-called “free” world. If ever a lucid GOP candidate emerges, he/she would be wise to hook-up with scientists/policy makers like Mr. Milloy, Lord Monckton, Dr. Lindzen, etc. to educate themselves and summarily pummel Barry in debate.

  13. Great idea to get this out. But I think most of the candidates really need a pamphlet-depth reference on the facts, with strong emphasis on debunking. I agree with Dr Rust, particularly on the Medieval Warming Period wherein the candidate could make some very good citations from Lamb’s history of climate. On the other hand I disagree with Dr. Rust on the depth that a candidate should get into the models’ mathematical deficiencies, but rather stress their statistical deficiencies.

    Another attack point must be the economic damage that the warmers would cause world wide … such a depression has no precedent, and no understanding by the warmers.

  14. Perhaps they should also point out that that what comprises the AGW crowd is a bunch of failed collectivists who couldn’t sell communism and so try to gain whatever control over others they can. The bogus AGW argument is just a catalyst to usurp our freedom and exert their control over us. Correlation isn’t cause, there is no science as they claim. Perhaps the question fired back should be: “Why are you all such a bunch of control freaks”?

  15. The Washington Post asking all candidates to spell out their position on CAGW is good news for Republicans. This is the issue that can beat Obama in 2012. Anything else is a waste of time. Obama is hopelessly in bed with the environmental movement that he can’t extricate himself.

    Steve failed to mentioned two other reasons carbon dioxide changes don’t influence climate. For at least the last three thousand years we have had cycles of warm and cold periods of about 500 year duration. The last warm period from 900-1350 may have had warmer temperatures than we have had so far in the Current Warming Period–i.e. Greenland. Second, measurements many thousands of years ago show that temperature rises precede carbon dioxide increases–maybe about 800 years. Another factor is all computer models predict a upper atmosphere warming area in the mid-tropics. This may be due to the models predicting carbon dioxide causes upper atmosphere warming as carbon dioxide levels increase. All experimental data show no such trend. Thus the computer models are worthless.

    Call down Obama on the science. He is a lawyer and can’t think on his own on this topic and probably doesn’t have or ever will have a clue about what is happening. He could be pointed out as an idiot in a debate.

    Obama and friends will will fall back on the let’s do it anyway to be safe. This policy will make the U. S. a third-world country. Has anyone thought of the land area required to have our energy come from solar, wind, and biofuels? It will be over one million square miles. In 2010 we had over 80,000 square miles planted in corn and soy beans to manufacture less than 6 percent of our transportation fuels. I actually question whether we have acomplished anything making biofuels because we most likely expend more energy making biofuels than they contain.

    Here is the arguments. CAGW doesn’t exist and following policies to prevent something that doesn’ t exist will ruin the country. Do you want poverty, which kills, for nothing?

    The big question is do we have a Republican candidate smart enough to defend this position? I haven’t seen any.

    Newt Gingrich agrees CAGW is a problem; better to have Obama as president than have a Republican following this baloney who will try to get his own party to participate in ruining the country.

    James H. Rust

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