Climate change scientists, deniers clash in W.Va.
By VICKI SMITH, Associated Press
Updated 2:27 pm, Thursday, May 30, 2013
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A Republican congressman sought common ground in the climate change debate Thursday but found the same clash of science and ideology that paralyzes Washington had followed him to West Virginia, a state long built on fossil fuel production.
For more than three hours, U.S. Rep. David McKinley quizzed a panel of national experts about the causes of global warming and what to do about it. McKinley acknowledges climate change is occurring but is unconvinced human activity is to blame.
What is clear, he said, is that a state rich in coal, oil, natural gas and timber will be affected by any federal policies that attempt to curb greenhouse gases. Equally clear is that carbon dioxide limits in the U.S. won’t prevent growing air pollution from developing nations like China and India.
“We tried to get an answer: What is the end game?” McKinley said. “And we couldn’t get an end game.”
There were plenty of opinions and recommendations, though, from taxation strategies and carbon-capture technology investment to the blunt prescription from climate science denier Marc Morano: Do nothing.
Morano, a former aide to climate skeptic and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, calls global warming debates a “silly display of politics” built on “sub-prime science.” The suggestion that carbon dioxide in particular is fueling climate change “is absolutely not holding up,” he argued.
“We must have the courage to do nothing when it comes to regulating CO2 emissions,” Morano declared, calling carbon-based energy like coal “one of the greatest liberators in the history of mankind.”
But doing nothing isn’t the right answer, McKinley said later. Something will have to be done, perhaps tariffs or fees on countries that don’t meet U.S. standards. Whatever Congress considers, he said, “we have to move in a very cautious manner.”
But Annie Petsonk, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, said government must lead, and the time for change is long overdue. The late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., first called for action in 1997.
“To hear that global warming is happening — or if it is happening, we shouldn’t do anything about it — is not leadership,” Petsonk said, adding that forests, farms, watersheds and human health are at risk.
“A rate of warming of roughly a tenth of a degree Celsius per decade … is the rate at which trees can’t run fast enough to get away from higher stress,” she said. “We’ve got to start reducing emissions globally. We’ve got to start in the United States, and we’ve got to start globally.”
That drew an immediate retort from Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute, who said things need not remain unchanged for trees, plants and animals to survive.
“Every organism on the planet is proving they can withstand a 16-degree change,” he said, “because they’ve done it.”
“Including the dinosaurs?” Petsonk shot back.
Richard Thomas, biology professor at West Virginia University, has been studying the impact of carbon emissions on forests for years and said the damage is clear.
When the scientific community found consensus that sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants were creating acid rain, Thomas said, they helped get Congress to pass the 1970 Clean Air Act.
“It shows that Congress can work together with the president,” he said, and it paid off big for the Eastern U.S.
“And it’s time we recognize there is consensus on climate change as well,” Thomas said.
But Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says consensus is limited to this: Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, more is going into the atmosphere, and it will affect climate.
“Everything else beyond that consensus is politics,” he said, including how much it will warm the planet and whether that warming is harmful or even significant.
Limiting energy production and use are tactics for solving what he calls “a very speculative problem.”
“The policies being promoted are insane,” Ebell said. “If you believe energy poverty is a good thing, you should support controls on carbon emissions. But most of the world disagrees with that.”
Like-minded professor John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, called affordable energy “the basis of our standard of living today.”
While reducing CO2 emissions may or may not affect climate change, Christy said he’s certain it would raise energy costs.
“I’ve lived in Africa, and I can assure you that without energy, life is brutal and short,” Christy said. “…We are not bad people because we produce carbon dioxide.”
But Scott Denning, a professor at Colorado State University’s department of atmospheric science, said the anti-regulation camp should stop telling “scary stories.” Our ancestors once used candles and horses but adopted new technologies like oil and electricity even when they were more expensive.
“I think when people tell scary stories about how our society can’t adapt to a changing environment, they do a disservice to the power of the free market,” he said. “I have faith in our descendants being as ingenious, as creative, as hardworking, as industrious as our ancestors were.
“I believe they can solve this problem,” Denning said, “and it won’t bankrupt our society.”
Wheeling Intelligencer: McKinley in Climate Change Debate A congressman sought common ground in the climate change debate Thursday but found the same clash of science and ideology that paralyzes Washington had followed him to West Virginia, a state long built on fossil fuel production.
WCHS TV: McKinley Seeks Answers to Climate Change U.S. Rep. David McKinley is hosting a forum in Fairmont that will focus not only on what causes global warming, but also on how America should respond to it.
Exponent-Telegram: McKinley Discusses Results of Climate Change Panel Although Rep. David McKinley may not have gotten the answers he hoped for from the panel of experts addressing climate change Thursday, he said he noticed one thing he could take back to Washington.
Times-WV: Diverse Views on Climate Change Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., and the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation brought a diverse group of scientific minds together for a panel discussion at the 5000 NASA Boulevard facility in Fairmont’s I-79 Technology Park. Community members also gathered for the roundtable, which focused on the origins and response to climate change.
WBOY TV: Climate Change Discussion Hosted in Fairmont Congressman David McKinley hosted a panel discussion focusing on climate change Thursday in Fairmont. Some things that were discussed included the factors behind climate change, responses to it, and the science behind it.
Exponent-Telegram: McKinley Seeks Answers to Climate Change Although Rep. David McKinley may not have gotten the answers he hoped for from the panel of experts addressing climate change Thursday, he said he noticed one thing he could take back to Washington.
WDTV TV: Panel Discusses Climate With all this talk of mining and oil drilling this week, no one asked the question of what its doing to our environment. But that was the focus of a panel discussion Thursday afternoon in Fairmont.
Associated Press features Climate Depot: ‘Climate change scientists, deniers clash in W.Va.’ at Congressional hearing — Morano in debate: Congress needs the courage to do nothing to regulate carbon dioxide emissions — ‘FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A Republican congressman is trying to find common ground on climate change because fossil fuel-producing West Virginia will be affected by federal policies trying to address it. But the conflict between science and ideology that Rep. David McKinley says freezes debate in Washington also came to Fairmont. Marc Morano of the Climate Depot says Congress needs the courage to do nothing to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Like-minded panelists agree, saying that could increase energy prices and lower standards of living’ – ’But University of Colorado professor Scott Denning says people embrace new technology even if it’s more expensive, just as they moved from candles and horses to coal and electricity. Annie Petsonk of the Environmental Defense Fund says action is long overdue. She says forests, watersheds and lives are at risk.’
Submitted Written Testimony of Climate Depot’s Marc Morano at Congressional Hearing on Climate Change: ‘The Origins and Response to Climate Change’ — Morano to the U.S. Congress: ‘The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim — from A-Z — the claims of the promoters of man-made climate fears are failing, and in many instances the claims are moving in the opposite direction. The global warming movement is suffering the scientific death of a thousand cuts.’
Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! Sparks Set to Fly at Congressionally Sponsored Rare 3 Hour Climate Debate — Pits Skeptical Scientists vs. Man-Made Global Warming Promoters — Climate Depot’s Morano one of Featured Speakers – Washington, D.C.—Today, Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) announced a panel of distinguished experts in the field of climate science will conduct a panel discussion in Fairmont.
What: Discussion on the Origins and Response to Climate Change – Who: The Office of Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) and the West Virginia High Tech Consortium Foundation – Where: W.Va. High Tech Consortium Foundation, 5000 NASA Boulevard, I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont, WV – When: Thursday, May 30th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – This event is open to the media and the public. Please call 202-225-4172 for more information or to R.S.V.P.
More Media Coverage of Congressional Climate Hearing: Experts: Diverse views on climate change — ‘Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who joined the summit via video conferencing, told the audience that high-temperature records are not becoming more numerous in the United States. He said current climate models can be very wrong statistically.’
Climate Change Panel Discussion Hosted in Fairmont
Watch Now: TV News Segment on Congressional Climate Debate in West VA: ‘Panel Discusses Origins and Response to Climate Change’
Associated Press on Climate Hearing: Warmists Clash With Skeptics in 3-Hour Congressional Global Warming Debate: AGW Called ‘Sub-prime science’ — Carbon-based energy like coal is ‘one of the greatest liberators in the history of mankind’ — ‘Morano, a former aide to climate skeptic and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, calls global warming debates a “silly display of politics” built on “sub-prime science.” The suggestion that carbon dioxide in particular is fueling climate change “is absolutely not holding up,” he argued. ”We must have the courage to do nothing when it comes to regulating CO2 emissions,” Morano declared, calling carbon-based energy like coal “one of the greatest liberators in the history of mankind.”
Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute: ”The policies being promoted are insane,” Ebell said. “If you believe energy poverty is a good thing, you should support controls on carbon emissions. But most of the world disagrees with that.”
Like-minded professor John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, called affordable energy “the basis of our standard of living today.” While reducing CO2 emissions may or may not affect climate change, Christy said he’s certain it would raise energy costs. ”I’ve lived in Africa, and I can assure you that without energy, life is brutal and short,” Christy said. “…We are not bad people because we produce carbon dioxide.”
Following Climate Hearing, Rep. David B McKinley declares ‘the science is not settled’: Don’t Hurt U.S. Economy Based on Ideological Agenda — Rep. McKinley: ‘The discussion yesterday reinforced that the science is not settled on the role of humans in climate change. There is no reason to put our economy at risk for the sake of an ideological agenda. Congress cannot let President Obama do this by acting unilaterally on climate change.’
Climatologist Dr. John Christy’s testimony at Congressional Global Warming Hearing: ‘Climate Change Overview in Six Slides’
The main takeaway points: — Popular scare stories that weather extremes – hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods — are getting worse are not based on fact. In the U.S., high temperature records are not becoming more numerous. Climate models significantly overestimated warming during the past 15 years. Even if climate models were correct, a 50% reduction in U.S. CO2 emissions by 2050 would avert only 0.07°C of warming by 2100. If a policy is not economically sustainable, it’s not politically sustainable. The climate change impact of enhancing CO2 concentrations has so far been small compared to the public health and biospheric benefits provided by affordable, carbon-based energy.
Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry praises climate debate: ‘A growing number of scientists and advocates that support the consensus are now engaging with skeptics in the scientific and public debate; this is a good thing’ — Curry: ‘For a long time, those that supported the AGW consensus would not debate skeptics or otherwise engage with them, because they felt that such engagement would legitimize the skeptics. It seems that a growing number of scientists and advocates that support the consensus are now engaging with skeptics in the scientific and public debate; this is a good thing. Rep. Lamar Smith and Rep. David McKinley are making efforts to engage in the public debate on climate change in a productive way, which should be encouraged by Democrats and other supporters of climate/energy policy’
Climate Depot’s Marc Morano Routs Warming Movement at Congressional Hearing…’Suffering The Scientific Death Of A Thousand Cuts’ — Analysis: ‘Expert communicator Marc Morano routs the warmists’: ‘In his testimony, Morano sticks to the science, citing almost 2 dozen renowned international scientists, e.g.: Bengtsson, de Freitas, Plimer, Svensmark, Happer, Schmitt, Levitin, Curry, Christy, Pielke Jr., to name some. In the testimony, we do not see Morano using the diversionary tactic of questioning the billions in funding behind warmists scientists and activist groups. Keep the focus on the science and data!’ ‘The effective communication of skeptical science got a major boost when Marc Morano stepped onto the stage. Although Morano had already been active in debunking the AGW scare and the notion of consensus as Communications Director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under Senator James Inhofe in the 2000s, it wasn’t until he published his award-winning Climate Depot climate science/news clearinghouse site in 2009 that the message began to be heard in earnest. With Morano, the science debunking the AGW claim had now found a powerful and talented PR expert who effectively communicated the inconvenient climate science findings to the media and public. Often we find Morano on television, radio and in the print media, nationally and internationally. Since Morano helped fire up the climate science communication machinery, the debate for the skeptics has turned into a virtual rout of the warmists.’
Congressional global warming hearing features warmist scientist vs. warmist scientist on key point of whether current Earth’s temps and weather are unprecedented — Excerpt: Climate Depot’s Morano called the event ‘refreshing.’ ‘When actual debate occurs like we saw at the hearing, we see just how much of man-made climate fears are based on ‘projections,’ ‘predictions’ and ‘maybes,” Morano said. He pointed out that scientists on the panel did not agree on several key points. ‘Team global warming had a scientific civil war going on during the debate about whether there was a current global warming signal in our global average [temperatures] or even weather,’ he said.’