Editor, The Transcript:
I write in rebuttal to the Feb. 12 letter by Nancy Smart advising us to “listen” to climate scientists. According to Ms. Smart, climate science is “settled.” Instead of thinking for ourselves, she recommends we obsequiously follow the dictates of “our most respected and highest level scientific agencies.”
Whenever someone asserts that a scientific question is “settled,” they tell me immediately that they don’t understand the first thing about science. Science is never settled. Science is not a dogmatic body of doctrine. It is an open system of knowledge that establishes probable truths that are subject to continual revision. The entire history of science is one of established theories being overthrown.
Astronomers once believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. Naturalists maintained that species were immutable. Geologists thought continental drift was physically impossible. Physicians attempted to cure people by blood-letting. Are we to suppose that the process of history has stopped?
Ms. Smart claims that 2014 was the warmest year on record. But there is no such thing as a measured temperature for the entire Earth. Estimates of climate change are not data but interpretations produced by manipulating data of dubious quality.
Anthony Watts’ survey of meteorological stations in the U.S. has shown that more than 90 percent of temperature sensors may have systematic errors larger than 1 degree Celsius. Watts and his colleagues have found thermometers sitting in asphalt parking lots next to air conditioner vents blowing out hot air.
To verify their claim of the “hottest year on record,” climate researchers must reconstruct the temperature record of the entire planet since the year 1880. Pray tell. If our current system of temperature measurement in the United States is unreliable, how can you expect us to believe that you can accurately estimate what the temperature of the South Pacific Ocean was in the year 1890?
We are told that there is an increase in the “number and frequency” of “extreme weather events.” Ms. Smart is long on vague generalities but short on specifics. If the weather is deteriorating so badly, it’s strange that she can’t list even one of these alleged weather events.
In fact, weather is not climate and the climate is not changing. Global hurricane and cyclone activity is near a 43-year low. There has been no increase in tornadoes in the U.S. Neither droughts nor wildfires have increased. The poles are not melting. There has been no significant change in the global extent of sea ice since satellite monitoring began in 1979.
Scientific hypotheses are not proved; they are corroborated or falsified. But global warming is the hypothesis that can never be falsified. Several years ago, we were told that global warming meant the end of snow in winter. Then the East Coast of the U.S. suffered devastating blizzards in 2010 (”Snowmageddon”).
A few days later, the party line was retroactively modified with the preposterous claim that global warming would produce less snow but more blizzards. Hot weather, cold weather, it makes no difference. Every weather event is portrayed as being consistent with global warming. That’s because global warming is not a scientific hypothesis but a dogmatic ideology. It resembles nothing so much as Bible-based creation science.
Ms. Smart proposes a “solution” to global warming entailing something she describes as a “carbon fee and dividend program.” She claims this is a “market-based approach” that will “help the economy and create jobs.” Nonsense. If it were “market-based” it would not have to be imposed coercively through government.
Spending, labeled “investment,” in failed “green energy” programs and companies over the last few years has been an utter debacle. More than $500 million was lost on Solyndra alone. The reason these programs don’t work is that you can’t change the laws of physics and chemistry through wishful thinking and political action. Reality imposes constraints, even on people who are detached from it.
Neither is the “solution” a solution. You don’t have to be a climate scientist to understand arithmetic. The per-capita annual carbon generated in the U.S. from using fossil fuels is about 4.4 tons. Norman’s population is 120,000.
So, if carbon emissions for the entire city went to zero, we would prevent 528,000 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year. That sounds like an impressive number, but its only 0.000528 gigatons (GT). The Earth’s atmosphere contains 720 GT of carbon. The oceans contain 38,400 GT. Every year, the atmosphere and oceans exchange about 90 GT of carbon.
Nothing the city of Norman does is going to measurably change the composition of Earth’s atmosphere, and any claim to the contrary is utterly irrational.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and the Earth’s climate is not changing. So, please, give it a rest. We’re tired of the endless litany of hysterical doom-mongering.