Pennsylvania Congressman Keith Rothfus of the 12th District rejects the scientific fact of anthropogenic global warming. In a 2010 interview unearthed by Hill Heat, then-candidate Rothfus (R-Penn.) said he was “dubious” that global warming was “man-made” or a “fact.”
“I do not believe it’s man-made, and I am not convinced that it’s a fact. I think the science is still out. I think for the last 15 years we haven’t had any warming. I think you go back when we had a medieval warm period, where we were growing crops in Greenland. We could do that maybe if we kept warming up over the next 20 to 30 years. I do think the jury’s out on that. I’m very dubious as to whether or not this is what they call anthropogenic, man-made. When you talk about 280 parts per billion [sic] I think of carbon, these are very small amounts.”Watch:
In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible explanation for the rapid warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. Rothfus was off on his estimation of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by a factor of 1000. Carbon dioxide levels have risen from pre-industrial concentrations of 280 parts per million to the present-day 400 parts per million, a 40 percent increase. Because of the hundreds of billions of tons of industrial carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere, the global climate is continuing to warm, with every decade since the 1970s warmer than the last, and the impacts of global warming are accelerating faster than scientists projected.
The so-called Medieval Warm Period was a period between the 10th to 15th centuries of higher than average solar radiation and lower than average volcanic activity where some parts of the world, including Greenland, were about as warm as have been in the past decade. During that period the global climate was significantly cooler than the present day.
Montana Congressman Steve Daines believes that there is “compelling” evidence that solar cycles, not industrial pollution, are causing global warming. In a 2012 radio interview unearthed by Hill Heat, then-candidate Daines (R-Mont.) details to NPR’s Sally Mauk his version of the “sun causes global warming” canard:
Q: You mentioned that there is debate about whether human activity is contributing to climate change, the burning of fossil fuels particularly. My question is where do you come down on that debate. Is it, or is it not?Listen:
DAINES: I think the jury’s still out in my opinion, Sally, on that. I’ve seen some very good data that says there are other contributing factors there, certainly looking at the effect the sun has, and it’s the solar cycles versus CO2 and greenhouse gases. So I look at this as saying I want to keep an open mind on this, but I’m not convinced. I’m a skeptic, I hear sometimes on both sides, because I think they’re using their agenda here just for political points here rather than looking objectively at the data. I think there’s compelling data on both sides of the equation now, for and against, that I think we need to continue to look and study this before making firm policy-type decisions on it.
In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible explanation for the rapid warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. The variations in solar warming and other natural influences, scientists have found, have had a cooling influence entirely swamped out by human-induced warming. Because of the hundreds of billions of tons of industrial carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere, the global climate is continuing to warm, with every decade since the 1970s warmer than the last, and the impacts of global warming are accelerating faster than scientists projected.
Full interview audio is available here.
AUDIO: Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) Believes Global Warming Is 'Fraudulent Science' To Promote Wind Farms
“These mandates and these wind farms are all based on this fraudulent science from the EPA, meaning their claim that CO2 is a pollutant and is causing global warming. I’m sure you’re familiar with one of the leading climate research centers in the world there at East Anglia University in England, the Hadley Research Centre. The director, Phil Jones, his emails, he admitted that he was falsifying temperature data. The reason he had to do is because was the data was showing the global climate is actually declining in temperature, temperatures were going down. He was overlaying higher temperatures on the real data to show that it was actually rising. We know the globe is cooling. Number one, we know that. So the idea that CO2 is somehow causing global warming is on its face fraudulent.”Listen:
In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The stolen emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (the Hadley Research Centre is a separate institution) do not provide support for Cramer’s libelous attacks on Dr. Jones. The global climate is continuing to warm, with every decade since the 1970s warmer than the last, and the impacts of global warming are accelerating faster than scientists projected.
Rep. Cramer is a member of the House Committee on Science.
On Thursday, July 18, Howard Shelanski, White House Office of Management Budget’s Administrator for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, will testify before a hearting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on OIRA’s “social cost of carbon” calculations. The social cost of carbon has been used in recent rulemakings by the Department of Energy and other agencies to estimate the economic damages from future carbon pollution. Below and attached is his prepared testimony:
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I was recently confirmed as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and I am honored to be serving in this role. I look forward to speaking with you about the social cost of carbon.
When I refer to the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) I mean the values used to calculate the monetary costs and benefits of incremental changes in the volume of carbon emissions in a given year. The social cost of carbon includes, for example, changes in net agricultural productivity and human health, property damage from increased flood risk, energy system costs, and the value of ecosystem services lost because of climate change.
Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to use the best available scientific, technical, economic, and other information to quantify the costs and benefits of rules. Rigorous evaluation of costs and benefits has been a core tenet of the rulemaking process for decades through Republican and Democratic Administrations. This fundamental principle of using the best available information underpins the Administration’s efforts to develop and update its estimates of the social cost of carbon. Indeed, cost benefit analysis better informs decision makers if it takes into account the current and future damages from carbon pollution.
Over 10,000 individuals have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Google’s July 11 fundraiser for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Since the selection of former Republican representative Susan Molinari to head its lobbying operations last year, Google has dramatically increased its support for anti-science politicians and front groups, from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to the Koch-founded Mercatus Center.
Forecast the Facts and Greenpeace activists will be delivering the petition signatures to Google Washington headquarters during the lunchtime fundraiser, and holding a protest livestreamed at 12:45 PM by We Act Radio.The Forecast the Facts petition, addressed to Google CEO Larry Page, makes a straightforward request:
Cancel your July 11 fundraiser for Sen. Jim Inhofe and pledge to never fund climate deniers again.
An anonymous Google spokesperson responded to media inquiries saying the fundraiser would go forward, because although Google and Inhofe “disagree on climate change policy,” they “share an interest” in Google’s 100-employee, $700 million data center in Pryor, Oklahoma. Last year, Google earned the top spot on Greenpeace’s Cool IT board for its commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency to power its massive computer farms.
With the admirable goal of creating a “better web that is better for the environment,” Google has cultivated a reputation for working to support scientific inquiry and pursuing environmental sustainability. Google’s co-founders, Page and Sergey Brin, continue to profess that Google operates by the corporate motto, “Don’t be evil.”
This reputation will be rendered meaningless if the fundraiser goes forward and large contributions continue to be made to anti-science defenders of unregulated carbon pollution such as Sen. Inhofe and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
President Barack Obama’s speech on climate change may augur a new era of liability for carbon polluters with respect to climate and weather damages. In his address at Georgetown University on Tuesday, the president laid out the logic that ties greenhouse emissions to economic costs being borne today:
Global warming influences all weather events: “in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet”
There are economic costs from extreme weather: “Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction in insurance premiums, state and local taxes, and the costs of rebuilding and disaster relief”
Global warming is caused by human activity: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists . . . have acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.”
Carbon pollution will continue to increase weather damages: “The hard truth is carbon pollution has built up in our atmosphere for decades now. And even if we Americans do our part, the planet will slowly keep warming for some time to come. The seas will slowly keep rising and storms will get more severe, based on the science.”
President Obama highlighted Superstorm Sandy as a specific example of a multi-billion-dollar disaster exacerbated by carbon pollution, noting “[t]he fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor, are now a foot higher than a century ago—that didn’t cause Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city dark and underwater.”
The $51 billion Sandy federal relief bill was an emergency spending bill that was limited by the sequestration cuts. A majority of Republicans called for pay-fors for the bill. No attempt was made to derive funding from greenhouse emitters or financiers—such as those who make up the wealthiest residents of the New York City region.
Currently, disaster relief and flood and drought insurance programs are treated as discretionary or emergency spending that goes against state and federal budgets. No civil or criminal liability is assumed by emitters of greenhouse gases. The president’s remarks may indicate a new effort to have carbon-producing and financing industries bear the responsibility for the societal costs of extreme weather, sea level rise, and climatic disruptions.
El Reno, OK EF5 multi-vortex tornado, May 31, 2013. At 2.6 miles wide, the widest ever recorded in the United States.
- “No evidence global warming spawned twister” — CNN’s Elizabeth Landau
- “No links to tornadoes” — Dr. Marshall Shepherd, American Meteorological Society president
- “Yet a link between climate change and tornado activity has not been established.” — New York Times’ John Schwartz
These claims range from misleading to false.
The link between climate change and tornado activity is atmospheric physics. Tornadic activity is governed by atmospheric and topographical conditions, such as vertical wind shear, humidity, temperature gradients, and geographic contours. The atmospheric conditions are determined by climatic forcings, including greenhouse gas concentrations. Scientists have not established how global warming changes tornado activity, but it is simply incorrect to state that there is no link between climate change and tornadoes. To make that claim requires the assumption that the laws of physics do not apply to tornadoes.There is strong science about climate change and large storms. In particular, there is both theoretical and observational evidence that intense precipitation events are increasing. For example:
- Trends in Intense Precipitation in the Climate Record (Groisman et al., 2005)
- Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes (Min et al., 2011)
- Climate Extremes: Observations, Modeling, and Impacts (Easterling et al., 2000)
- Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes (Allen & Snowden, 2008)
- Heavy precipitation processes in a warmer climate (Frei et al., 1998)
- Global surface temperatures and the atmospheric electrical circuit (Price, 1993)
- Possible implications of global climate change on global lightning distributions and frequencies (Price & Rind, 1994)
- Lightning activity as an indicator of climate change (Reeve & Toumi, 1999)
- Thunderstorms, Lightning and Climate Change (Price, 2009)
- Changes in severe thunderstorm environment frequency during the 21st century caused by anthropogenically enhanced global radiative forcing (Trapp et al., 2007)
- Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate? (Del Genio et al., 2007)
- Transient response of severe thunderstorm forcing to elevated greenhouse gas concentrations (Trapp et al., 2009)
There are many questions that are open areas of study, including how storm seasons and geography may be shifting, but that thunderstorms are powered by latent and thermal heat is something that has been understood since the 19th century (see Espy, 1841, Philosophy of Storms).
Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented the city’s long-term plan to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. “We haven’t waited for Washington to lead the climate change charge,” Bloomberg said at the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “If we did, we’d still be waiting.”The adaptation plan he presented, the work of the Special Initiative for Resilience and Rebuilding, which was established by the mayor in December of last year, is an important step for New York City in the right direction. Most impressively, the plan has a comprehensive approach for reducing the risk of catastrophic flooding through multiple initiatives from surge barriers to improved building codes from Staten Island to Far Rockaway, from Red Hook to lower Manhattan. The plan looks not just to the regions devastated by Superstorm Sandy but uses projections developed by top climate scientists for the rising threat of man-made global warming in the coming decades, Bloomberg said:
In fact, we expect that by mid-century up to one-quarter of all of New York City’s land area, where 800,000 residents live today, will be in the floodplain. If we do nothing, more than 40 miles of our waterfront could see flooding on a regular basis, just during normal high tides.
Unfortunately, there are major flaws.
The nearly $300 million climate-resiliency initiative established by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg using Sandy relief funds will not address climate pollution, according to a city official.
The New York City Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR), formed in November 2012, will release a report this month indicating how $294 million in federal funding from the Superstorm Sandy relief act should be spent to increase the city’s “climate resiliency.” The report “will present policy recommendations, infrastructure priorities, and community plans, and identify sources of long-term funding” in addition to the emergency federal funds — but it apparently will not include an accounting of the carbon footprint of that infrastructure development.In an email, SIRR spokesperson Daynan Crull told Hill Heat that because the initiative’s job is to “protect New York City against future climate threats,” it “does not directly address energy generation vis-à-vis fossil fuels”:
SIRR’s directive is rebuild and protect New York City against future climate threats, so it does not directly address energy generation vis-à-vis fossil fuels. However, New York City has been a global leader in environmental urban policy, pioneering PlaNYC—one of the most comprehensive sustainable and environmentally conscious policy programs ever established for a major city. It is upon this foundation that SIRR is built. Indeed PlaNYC established the New York City Panel on Climate Change, which is supporting SIRR’s work with the best climate science available.
Crull’s statement makes no sense—if SIRR’s plan is to “protect New York City against future climate threats,” it must necessarily “address energy generation vis-à-vis fossil fuels.” One cannot wall off energy use and infrastructure planning into separate boxes. This announcement is especially troubling because it is not clear that New York City is increasing any of its investments in renewable energy or carbon pollution reduction in response to Sandy. Instead, the city is moving forward with new fossil-fuel infrastructure, including a fracked-gas pipeline planned to cut through the Rockaways.
Former New York Army Corps of Engineers Commander Warns Sandy Survivors To Stop Ignoring Climate Change
At a May 16 televised forum on the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, a former top military infrastructure official called on Americans to “stop ignoring” climate change and “realize it’s the new reality.” At the Sandy town hall organized by public television stations NJTV and WNET, John Boulé, the former commander of the New York District, Army Corps of Engineers, warned New Yorkers to stop ignoring climate change and start preparing for higher sea level rise and more frequent and more powerful storms:
First of all, we’ve got to realize it’s the new reality. Climate change is real. It’s more than sea level rise that’s going to happen over the course of the next 100 years. It’s greater storm intensities, it’s greater storm frequencies. We’ve got to stop ignoring it and start planning and building to reduce the risk to the public. That’s where we are.
Like Boulé, other panelists, including PSE&G president Ralph LaRossa, recognized the “new reality” of rising seas and extreme weather. Although these words are welcome, the most important element of facing the reality of climate change is understanding that it’s caused by human activities — something no-one at the forum did. In fact, Richard Ravitch, the real-estate scion and former Democratic lieutenant governor of New York, blamed “forces of nature” on sea level rise.
At no point during the two-hour forum did any panelist or reporter discuss the manmade causes of climate change or recommend opposing the threat to civilization posed by the fossil-fuel industry. The words “fossil fuels,” “carbon”, “greenhouse,” “pollution,” and “oil” were never mentioned. Also not mentioned was David Koch, the carbon pollution billionaire and richest man in New York, who was on the board of WNET from 2006 until the day of the forum. At the WNET board meeting on the morning of May 16, Koch’s resignation was accepted.