(April 21, 2014) There is a growing realization that the Green Movement and its focus on carbon dioxide emissions may be not fully justified by the facts. Lawrence Solomon is quoted in this opinion piece by a contributor to the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader.
By Robert Schramek of Port Townsend, published by the ptleader.com (Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader)
We’re told that only crackpots or shills of big oil are still arguing about what needs to be done. However, a significant number of respected scientists are questioning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, and question the need for drastic action now.
There is a growing realization that the Green Movement and its focus on carbon dioxide emissions may be not fully justified by the facts.
They are not claiming that climate change is not real, but that the predictions have been exaggerated to sell the public on onerous and expensive remedies recommended by the IPCC and the United Nations-backed Kyoto accords.
Of course, there are reasonable ways to reduce the wasteful use of oil and our over-reliance on petroleum from OPEC nations that make sense. We should support research and development of renewable energy from a wide variety of sources. Biofuels make sense as long as we don’t cause problems that will cause an increase in the cost of food and fiber.
But the costs of reducing CO2 emissions by 70 percent – the target quoted as necessary – are in the hundreds of billions or more, and would cause world-wide life-changing impacts for many people.
The argument that the majority of climate scientists who favor the IPCC reports overlooks the fact that consensus is not the way to prove scientific truth. Anyone who puts faith in voting as a way to prove scientific theory should read the story of J. Harlan Bretz, a remarkable geologist who spent 40 years charting the course and cause of the floods that created the scablands of Eastern Washington.
For most of his career the established science community belittled his theories. The story of his battle to get his ideas accepted by mainstream science can be read in his book, Cataclysms on the Columbia. It is a fascinating read and a good example of why we shouldn’t always accept majority opinions.
But, say the IPCC scientists, all our findings have been “peer reviewed,” and that proves we are right. Read the book written by Horace Judson, The Great Betrayal. It outlines the long history of fraud in science and the role peer reviews have played in perpetuating faulty and fraudulent methodology in order to win approval and further careers. His accounts of the peer review process show its frequent misuse to win grants and fame.
This is not meant to reject the science of climatology. Some climate change is occurring. There are some logical, effective and low-cost actions worthy of consideration. Actions to reduce our wasteful use of petroleum should be tried. We need to produce more petroleum energy in this country as soon as possible. Why, you ask?
None of the alternative energy sources are ready to produce significant volumes now and it will take decades for the economy to change. Most experts say it will be 40 to 50 years to develop these technologies. But we need better answers to predict what actions will be effective and economically sound. We need to listen to all voices in order to develop a sensible energy program, and learn to adapt to those climate changes that are most likely unstoppable.
We should avoid being pushed into change for political expediency. We need to protect those scientists who have been persecuted simply because their views and research have become politically incorrect. Science should never be suppressed, but judged for its truth through scientific methodology that is the basis for all scholarship. Lawrence Solomon’s book, The Deniers, gives us specific examples of this sort of persecution and explains that there are probably many more who would dissent but are afraid to testify for fear of retribution.
Politicians are prone to push for simplifying complex problems and identifying scapegoats to solve a problem that will refuse to go away. The unintended consequences may be much more serious and the people most likely to suffer are the poor and powerless of the world.
The current direction being touted by politicians would create legislation that would penalize those who can only afford conventional energy and fuels. It would cause us to reduce our travel and lower our standard of living.
The creation of a vast regulatory authority to tell us how to live our lives will not only cause pain, but shorten the life spans of those at the bottom of the economic ladder who the politicians claim to want to help.
Access to cheap readily available fuel is the most obvious way to help the poor of our world. This is not a problem where the first easy solution should be implemented without careful consideration of who will pay the most and whether the pay off is worth the cost.
(Robert Schramek spent 30 years in the U.S. Forest Service as a forest manager. He’s also worked in real estate.)