March 25, 2017

Professor: Climate change science is still up for debate

(Photo courtesy of StockSnap / Pixabay)

To the Editor:

The State Hornet reported in January that Professor Joseph Palermo appeared on Tucker Carson’s Fox News program and that President Nelsen signed an open letter to President Trump. Both supported the Paris Climate Agreement. Combined with Governor Brown’s frequent news conferences on the topic, one might assume the climate change debate is over. There are at least three reasons to believe otherwise: (1) “scientific consensus” on climate change requires some qualification, (2) the global warming hypothesis deserves revisiting and (3) without fossil fuels modern prosperity doesn’t exist.

CO2 is not a pollutant; it’s plant food. Carbon is the basis of life. We fret over our carbon footprint, yet without carbon there would be no footprints. Want to do your part to reduce atmospheric CO2, stop exhaling the stuff.

Do 96 percent of scientists all agree man-caused climate change is real? Yes and no. In 2016, the American Meteorological Society surveyed its members. Among the membership, 96 percent believed climate change is happening, as defined by the AMS. The AMS definition of climate change includes natural external forcing, orbital elements, natural internal processes of the climate system and anthropogenic (man-made) forcing. So how much of the climate change is due to the latter category? The survey found that 29 percent believed climate change is entirely or largely man-made. Another 38 percent believed it is mostly man-made. One-third (33 percent) gave answers of less than “mostly.”

If you were born in 1997, the atmospheric content of CO2 during your lifetime has increased from 364 to 404 ppm (parts per million), yet the trend line for satellite measured global warming over that period remained flat. The climate models failed. The global warming hypothesis was not confirmed. Even climate activist Carl Mears admitted, “there is not much doubt that the rate of warming since the late 1990s is less than that predicted by most of the IPCC AR5 simulations of historical climate.” The fact is that not long ago the earth passed through other warming periods. Wine grapes once grew in Scotland, and Vikings built settlements in Greenland.

But in our day prosperity depends upon abundant, cheap, 24/7, scalable energy; think coal, oil, and natural gas. Like your cell phone? You can keep your cell phone, provided that America remains dotted with electronic data centers, each one consuming 100-200 times more electricity per square foot than does a modern office building. Try accomplishing that with those 300-foot bird slicers on the Altamont Pass.

Want to prove that quality of life and fossil fuels are inexorably linked? Google the growth curves for population (in billions of persons), life expectancy (in years), GDP per person (in thousands of 2009 dollars), and CO2  emissions (in billions of metric tons). Put the past 2,000 years on the x axes. You’ll see four identical graphs. Coincidence? No, when carbon muscle replaced human muscle, life in the western world vastly improved. If the climate nannies will just leave the developing countries alone for a while the feat will be replicated.

I’m just asking that we not close the debate. Professor Palermo, care to join me in the Union for a public debate? I’m not as handsome as Tucker Carlson, but every bit as fun.

Val R. Smith
Communication Studies

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  1. I am all for inquiry and being skeptical but this is just regurgitation of alt-right myths and disproven talking points. Water too is the stuff of life but too much and you drown, that CO2 is vital has nothing to do with too much too soon disrupting the climate. Meteorologists are not Climate Scientists (weather is not climate) and many in the AMS are “just” weathermen. Please see Your point on satellite records is just wrong, one data set (RSS) with which, if you cherry pick your starting and stopping end points, you can make it look like a pause. That not only does not negate the hundreds of independent lines of evidence but even the RSS does not even show the so-called pause when looked at any longer period of time. The Medieval Warming period was a localized not global shift. Clean low/no carbon resources are already proving them selves in the real world market and expanding rapidly. It is energy resources replacing muscle power that you curve really shows. Continues large carbon emissions are clearly already having adverse impacts on human quality of life and will just get worse. But you already know this or would if you just take make a little effort to go beyond your alt-facts bubble and look at the real world. Science is about evidence not belief and the vast preponderance of evidence for a wide range of disciplines and independent lines of research clearly shows the impact and danger of continuing down the carbon path.

  2. I didn’t realize that communications professors were authorities on climate science!

    And sorry, the global average temperature has already risen by .8 degrees Celsius since the mid 1900’s. The long-term cycles of climate and incoming solar radiation were trending downward and the global average temperature should have dropped over the same time period. Climate change is happening whether you hold debates about it or not.

  3. @Colin Kemp

    I had a similar reaction when I saw that Cal Smith is a professor of Communication Studies. Smith has a PhD in Communication. her undergrad was in Psychology. Her university profile list her primary teaching area as research methods and quantitative data analysis (statistics).
    In the end the claims and conclusions of Climate Science must be tested for validity by robust statistical methods.

  4. I had a similar reaction when I saw that Val Smith is a professor of Communication Studies. Smith has a PhD in Communication. her undergrad was in Psychology. Her university profile list her primary teaching area as research methods and quantitative data analysis (statistics).
    In the end the claims and conclusions of Climate Science must be tested for validity by robust statistical methods.

  5. The issue is about communication. Communication is also often for political and monetary gain. Not on the part of those in the fossil fuel industry, but on the part of people in the political control and power agenda. They have created a way to have power over all economic activity this way. Scientists have engaged in corruption of data and information to enhance their position of continuing what is pretty much a science grant welfare system. They have ruined the validity of the peer review system in the climate and ecology areas to being nothing more than a good old boys network. People with the wrong view do not get positive peer review and don’t get money from the government controlled system. Climate certainly changes, but us having any real influence on it it corrupted by power and greed from other than obvious capitalist sources. As it stands pay back is poor so far on large wind and solar generation methods, as they usually fail and have larger maintenance isssues before it breaks even with fossil fuel sources. Also, it is not available on demand and reliabilty is subject to weather conditions. Hydroelectric is great but they ridicule that for environmental aspects. Germany sells off their wind generation cheap to other countries because it is not deliverable where they need it and has excess generation when they don’t need it. Since control aspects are erratic they are now building more fossil fuel plants.

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