Rep. Paul Ryan: 'We Don't Even Know If The Science Will Change!'

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:59:00 GMT

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, has again rejected the scientific fact of anthropogenic global warming. In a Carthage College debate with challenger Rob Zerban on Monday, Ryan expressed his doubt of “science.”

“Climate change is in large part due to human activity”: I don’t know the answer to that question. And I don’t think science does either. Uh, does climate change occur? Yeah, yes, of course we have climate change. We’ve had climate change forever. Uh, is human involvement involved? Yes, it is. What extent? I don’t know.

Ryan then cited economic figures from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century about the potential impact of climate regulations. The chamber’s directors include ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, American Ethane, Alliance Resource Partners, Pepco, Consol Energy, Black Hills Corporation, and Southern Company.

“We don’t even know if the science will change,” Ryan continued.

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. The world’s national scientific societies and the world’s practicing climate scientists are in overwhelming agreement about this fact, based not on feelings but on evidence and laws of physics.

Still Not a Scientist: Mitch McConnell Gets Climate Science Wrong Again

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:27:00 GMT

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has again rejected the scientific fact of anthropogenic global warming. In a Kentucky Educational Television Senate debate with challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes on Monday, McConnell cited conservative columnist George Will as his expert on climate change, mocking scientists who feel that this is a problem>

“Look, there are a bunch of scientists who feel that this is a problem and that maybe we can do something about CO2 emissions. George Will, a columnist, wrote recently that back in the ‘70s a lot of scientists felt we were moving toward an ice age.”

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. The world’s national scientific societies and the world’s practicing climate scientists are in overwhelming agreement about this fact, based not on feelings but on evidence and laws of physics.

“There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age,” actual scientists Thomas Peterson and William Connolley wrote in a 2008 review for the American Meteorological Society. “Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.”

Allison Grimes, Mitch McConnell Challenger: "I Do" Believe in Climate Change

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:04:00 GMT

The U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky’s Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes, has been marked by competing acts of fealty to the coal industry.

“Mr. President, Kentucky has lost one-third of our coal jobs in just the last three years,” one Grimes radio spot runs. “Now, your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie in the sky regulations that are impossible to achieve.”

“We know what Obama needs to wage his war on coal,” McConnell retorted. “Obama needs Grimes.”

However, there is now a point of contention between the two candidates: Grimes, unlike McConnell, recognizes, at least in rhetoric, the reality of climate change.

In an interview on September 25 with Matt Jones on Louisville talk radio station WKJK, Grimes said she believes in the science of climate change.

JONES: “Do you believe in climate change?”

GRIMES: “I do. You know, Mitch McConnell and I differ on this. He still wants to argue with the scientists. I do believe that it exists, but I think that we have to address, especially leaving this world in a better place, in a balanced manner. We’ve got to keep the jobs that we have here in the state, especially our good coal jobs.”

This question came in the context of a longer discussion about Grimes’ disagreement with President Barack Obama on the coal industry. “I think we have to rein in the EPA,” Grimes said. “I think the regulations as they exist now are overburdensome.”

The McConnell campaign extracted a clip of the conversation, ending Grimes’ remarks at “it exists.”

VIDEO: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) Denies Global Warming at Candidate Debate

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:18:00 GMT

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) stumblingly rejected the science of climate change in a debate for his re-election to Colorado’s sixth district on Tuesday. His challenger, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, expressed his confidence that climate change is caused by humans and can be reversed. Visibly uncomfortable, Coffman paused and mumbled his answers to the two questions from the moderators, Denver Post reporters Jon Murray and Chuck Plunkett. Watch the video, courtesy of ColoradoPols.com:

Rep. Coffman does not believe that humans are contributing significantly to climate change, which is already damaging Colorado with increased drought, wildfire, and floods.

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. The world’s national scientific societies and the world’s practicing climate scientists are in overwhelming agreement about this fact.

Transcript:

MODERATOR #1 (Denver Post reporter Jon Murray): Mr. Coffman, do you believe humans are contributing significantly to climate change?

COFFMAN: Um…No.

MODERATOR #1: Mr. Romanoff?

ROMANOFF: Yes.

MODERATOR #2 (Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett): Mr. Romanoff, do you think we can reverse climate change?

ROMANOFF: Yes.

MODERATOR #2: Mr. Coffman?

COFFMAN: Don’t know.

MODERATOR #2: Um, what? Sir?

COFFMAN: Um . . . [long pause] No.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) Questions Manmade Global Warming

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 08 Sep 2014 22:44:00 GMT

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) rejects the scientific fact of anthropogenic global warming. In an October 2012 interview with Arizona Public Radio, Flake questioned whether global warming is manmade:
“Certainly, nobody can deny that we’ve had several years of warmer temperatures. If that signals just a routine change that is manmade or not, I don’t think anybody can say definitely.”

Listen:

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. WIthout global policy to end the combustion of fossil fuels, concentrations are expected to double from current levels within decades.

Flake’s position on global warming and climate policy represents a retreat for the conservative politician and former mining lobbyist, who co-sponsored a bipartisan carbon-tax legislative proposal as a member of the House of Representatives in 2009. He disavowed the plan immediately upon election to the U.S. Senate in November 2012. In March 2013, Flake voted for an amendment introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) prohibiting further greenhouse gas regulations for the purposes of addressing climate change, and voted for Sen. Roy Blunt’s amendment to create a point of order against legislation that would create a federal tax or fee on carbon emissions.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Inks Deal With Saudi Aramco

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 26 May 2014 16:35:00 GMT

WHOI and oilWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), one of the premier climate research institutions in the world, has signed deals to assist foreign oil companies seek deep-sea carbon reserves, the Boston Globe reports.

In the coming days, according to officials at Woods Hole, the institution is set to sign agreements with Saudi Aramco, the primary oil company owned by the Saudi government, to study the potential for “hydrocarbons” in the Red Sea. It is also preparing to ink a deal for a “simulation study” on behalf of the Italian oil company Eni, while it has half a dozen other proposals in the works with unnamed corporations, the officials said.

Woods Hole’s new Center for Marine Robotics is the vessel for the petrodollars. As the center’s industry sponsorship page notes, benefits for funding companies include the ability to “establish a portfolio of sponsored research projects or define an engineering research program tailored to your company’s needs, with negotiated IP rights.”

The center’s interim director, marine robotics expert Dana Yoerger, is on the board of BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, a project established by the oil giant following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Before joining the BP-funded project, Yoerger had participated in a NSF-funded effort to map the undersea hydrocarbon plume from the gushing wellhead.

This new deal with Saudi Aramco follows Woods Hole’s $25 million 2008 partnership for Red Sea research with Saudi Aramco’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). That research partnership conducted research global warming and ocean acidification to Red Sea coral reefs. James Luyten, a former director of Woods Hole, joined KAUST in 2008 to direct its Red Sea Science and Engineering Research Center. According to Luyten, academic freedom at KAUST is curtailed by Saudi Arabia’s petrostate interests, directing research towards biofuels and away from the impacts of climate change caused by fossil fuels.

“Woods Hole has historically received most of its funding from federal research grants, which has helped ensure its independence,” the Globe’s Bryan Bender notes. “But cutbacks at a variety of agencies — and a near-halving of its Pentagon research dollars in the last three years — has prompted it to seek new sources of funding.”

Woods Hole recently touted its involvement in the National Climate Assessment, which found that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the global warming and ocean acidification that is dramatically altering the oceans.

Update: Woods Hole has issued a response. “Climate research tells us that human society should wean itself quickly from fossil fuels,” the webpage states. “But the hard fact is that our society still relies on oil, and oil companies are looking for it in ever-deeper and more remote waters where they have limited experience.” The response does not deny that Woods Hole will assist Saudi Aramco’s search for oil in the Red Sea.

Iowa's Joni Ernst Chalks Up Global Warming to 'Cyclic Changes in Weather'

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 20 May 2014 03:06:00 GMT

The leading contender for the Republican nomination to compete for Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) seat doubts the science of climate change and rejects any response that calls for more than voluntary actions. In a May 9, 2014 interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board, Iowa state senator Joni Ernst, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, expressed her disbelief in the science of anthropogenic climate change.

Yes, we do see climates change but I have not seen proven proof that it is entirely man-made. I think we do have cyclic changes in weather, and I think that’s been throughout the course of history. What impact is man-made. . . but I do think we can educate people to make good choices.

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution.

When asked how she believes the nation should respond to “our current climate situation,” her first recommendation was “encouraging people to, obviously, recycle.” She repeatedly and adamantly opposed “cap and trade” as a “tax on energy” and a “mandate.” She then argued the renewable fuel standard, which mandates the use of ethanol in gasoline, was not a mandate.

During the interview, Ernst expressed the similarly contrarian and evidence-less belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003.

Ernst has been endorsed for the June 3 Republican primary by the Register, Sarah Palin, the National Rifle Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. If she wins, she will face Rep. Bruce Braley in the general election.

Sen. Marco Rubio: "I Do Not Believe That Human Activity Is Causing These Dramatic Changes to Our Climate"

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 12 May 2014 01:18:00 GMT

During an interview in which he expressed his readiness to be President of the United States, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) rejected the science of climate change. Rubio told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on Sunday’s “This Week” that he does not accept the findings of the National Climate Assessment which warned of the damages already occurring in Florida because of human-caused global warming. He went on to claim that “these scientists” are proposing laws to “destroy our economy.”

I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. That’s what I do not—and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy.

Transcript:

KARL: Do you think you’re ready to be president?

RUBIO: I do.

. . .

KARL: But you think you’re ready?

You think you’re qualified?

You think you have the experience to be president, if you make that decision?

RUBIO: I do, but I think we have other people, as well. I think in essence, I think our party is blessed to have a number of people in that position.

And the question is what—who’s vision is the one that our party wants to follow?

. . .

KARL: Miami, Tampa, are two of the cities that are most threatened by climate change. So putting aside your disagreement with what to do about it, do you agree with the science on this? I mean, how big a threat is climate change?

RUBIO: Yes, I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate.

Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity, I do not agree with that.

KARL: You don’t buy it. You don’t buy it.

RUBIO: I don’t know of any era in world history where the climate has been stable. Climate is always evolving, and natural disasters have always existed.

KARL: But let me get this straight, you do not think that human activity, its production of CO2, has caused warming to our planet.

RUBIO: I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. That’s what I do not—and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy.

KARL: It’s talk like that that Rubio hopes will appeal to the conservatives he would need to win the Republican nomination.

New York Times Joins the Bumbling Keystone XL Cops

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 25 Apr 2014 13:21:00 GMT

Coral Davenport
Coral Davenport
In a New York Times Earth Day story, the usually excellent Coral Davenport grossly misrepresents the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline’s true impact on global warming, and questions the wisdom of pipeline opponents like the activists now encamped on the National Mall.

The pipeline is intended to ship upwards of 830,000 barrels of tar-sands crude a day for a 40-year lifespan. The pipeline will add 120-200 million tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent to the atmosphere annually, with a lifetime footprint of 6 to 8 billion tons CO2e. That’s as much greenhouse pollution as 40 to 50 average U.S. coal-fired power plants. Furthermore the Keystone XL pipeline is recognized by the tar-sands industry as a key spigot for the future development of the Alberta tar sands, which would emit 840 billion tons CO2e if fully exploited.

Interviewing Washington insiders who have offered various forms of support for the Keystone XL project, Davenport claims instead that “Keystone’s political symbolism vastly outweighs its policy substance.” To support the claim, Davenport then erroneously underestimates the global warming footprint of the pipeline by a factor of ten. Davenport’s crucial error is to contrast the actual carbon footprint of existing fossil-fuel projects — such as US electric power plants (2.8 billion tons) and tailpipe emissions (1.9 billion) — to the impact of the pipeline’s oil being dirtier than traditional petroleum, without explaining that she was switching measurements:
Consider the numbers: In 2011, the most recent year for which comprehensive international data is available, the global economy emitted 32.6 billion metric tons of carbon [dioxide] pollution. The United States was responsible for 5.5 billion tons of that (coming in second to China, which emitted 8.7 billion tons). Within the United States, electric power plants produced 2.8 billion tons of those greenhouse gases, while vehicle tailpipe emissions from burning gasoline produced 1.9 billion tons.

By comparison, the oil that would move through the Keystone pipeline would add 18.7 million metric tons of carbon [dioxide] to the atmosphere annually, the E.P.A. estimated.

[There are two side errors in the passage: Davenport uses “tons of carbon” where she means “tons of carbon dioxide equivalent”. One ton of carbon is the equivalent of 3.67 tons of carbon dioxide. All of her numbers refer to tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent. Secondly, the estimate was not made by the E.P.A. but by a State Department contractor hired by TransCanada; the E.P.A. cited that analysis but did not make the calculations.]

What the oil-industry contractor for the State Department actually calculated is that the oil that would move through the Keystone pipeline would add 147-168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually, 1.3 to 27.4 million of which (central estimate 18.7 million from the draft assessment) are because tar-sands crude is dirtier than other petroleum sources. Those 18.7 million tons are the “incremental” or “additional” footprint of the pipeline, not the full 160 million-ton footprint.

Based on this order-of-magnitude measurement-switching error, Davenport incorrectly concludes that “the carbon emissions produced by oil that would be moved in the Keystone pipeline would amount to less than 1 percent of United States greenhouse gas emissions, and an infinitesimal slice of the global total.”

In fact, the carbon dioxide emissions produced by oil that would be moved in this single pipeline would amount to 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and half a percent of the global carbon footprint. Only thirty-two countries have larger annual footprints than this single tar-sands project.

Climate scientist John Abraham made this point in The Guardian last week. “People who think Keystone is a minor issue don’t understand science and they sure don’t understand economics,” he wrote.

Jason Bordoff
Jason Bordoff
How on earth could Davenport and the pipeline supporters she cites — Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, Kevin Book of the fossil-industry consultancy ClearView Energy Partners, former Obama White House climate advisor Jason Bordoff of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution, and fossil-industry lobbyist David Goldwyn (a former advisor for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and also a Brookings fellow) — make this basic and outsized mistake?

Putting aside any possible political and economic motivations to support the intentions of the global petroleum industry, the intellectual failure rests on an obvious error made subtle through convolution.

Whether one is looking at actual or incremental footprints of carbon-infrastructure projects, the results should be equivalent from a policy standpoint, although the numbers would be different. Why, then, does the incremental analysis used by the EPA and the State Department’s oil-industry contractors appear to give the absurd result that the Keystone XL impact is “infinitesimal”?

The methodology of incremental footprint analysis assumes a baseline of future projected carbon pollution, and then looks whether a given project would increase or decrease the baseline. The validity of incremental-footprint analysis thus depends on the baseline.

In line with scientific warnings, President Barack Obama and the U.S. State Department have committed to limiting global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. In the International Energy Agency’s 2°C scenario, global oil consumption would fall by 50 percent from current levels by 2050, within the intended operating lifetime of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Keystone XL final environmental impact statement instead assumes that global oil demand will increase over that time period. The baseline used is the Energy Information Administration’s 2013 Annual Energy Outlook, which projects that global oil consumption will increase by 30 to 40 percent by 2040. In that scenario, the world would be on a pathway for rapid and catastrophic global warming of 4 to 6°C (or greater) by 2100.

No matter the analysis, the Keystone XL pipeline is incompatible with climate security. The global-warming impact of constructing Keystone XL is only “infinitesimal” if you assume catastrophic global warming is inevitable and that the signed climate pledges of the United States government are worthless.

Perhaps Ms. Davenport should ask Levi, Book, Bordoff, Morris, and Goldwyn if that is their assumption.

Update May 2: The Times has posted a correction:

Correction: May 2, 2014

An article and an accompanying chart on April 22 comparing the projected Keystone XL pipeline with other sources of carbon emissions referred imprecisely to projected emissions from tar-sands oil moving through the pipeline. Producing and burning that oil would emit 18.7 million more metric tons annually than would conventional oil, or far less than 1 percent of United States emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The tar-sands oil would not emit 18.7 million tons total, but about 150 million tons, or less than 3 percent of United States emissions.

The correction itself is in error; the estimate of 18.7 million metric tons is not from the E.P.A., but is from the draft assessment prepared by TransCanada contractor Environmental Resources Management for the State Department.

Tony Strickland, Republican Candidate for California's 20th District, Believes Global Warming a 'Hoax'

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:12:00 GMT

Former California state senator Tony Strickland, vying for the Republican nomination to unseat Democratic Rep. Sam Farr in California’s 20th district, rejects the science of manmade global warming. Speaking at a candidate forum at the University of Southern California on Wednesday, Strickland told students that “there are a lot of scientists that say it’s a hoax.”

When I was a kid it was global cooling — I got a little older and it’s called global warming, and now it’s called climate change. The problem with that is scientists will be on both sides. There are a lot of scientists that say it’s a hoax.

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. The world’s national scientific societies and the world’s practicing climate scientists are in overwhelming agreement about this fact.

Strickland’s primary opponent, former Assemblyman and USC visiting fellow Anthony Portantino, also does not seem to understand the science of global warming. “It is hotter in places where it used to be cooler and is it cooler in places where it used to be hotter,” he was quoted as saying by the USC Daily Trojan.

Portantino is incorrect. Although there are regional variations in global warming, there is almost nowhere on the planet that is cooler than it was in the middle of the 20th century.

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