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The spirited defense of Climate Science publication credibility (Chick Keller, Monitor Guest Column, July 13) requires reading the PNAS paper by Andregg et. al., creating a Black List of investigators not to be consulted on Anthropogenic Climate Change issues in order to ensure credible expert opinion. Bias? For purposes of the following, I’m not qualified in Climate Science but I do have a Toxicology ticket and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.
Rationally, man-made pollution consists of all the noxious materials arising from human activities that, released in varying amounts, exert harmful effects on living things. Acid rain, respiratory disease, and heavy metal poisoning are examples of consequences and all pollutants have a demonstrable injurious effect on the worldwide environment and its occupants.
In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled, five to four, that atmospheric pollutants need not be toxic. Justice Scalia chided in dissent that ‘frisbees and flatulence’ are pollutants based on that ruling.
The narrow, legal interpretation of the Clean Air Act, and the 53 to 47 vote in the Senate to uphold the EPA declaration of CO2 as an endangerment, ensure that unless regulation of CO2 emissions Cap-and-Trade is successfully legislated by the Senate, the EPA will regulate CO2 emissions by default.
Either way, the nation is destined to experience CO2 regulation and drastically curtailed use of fossil fuels despite growing evidence that natural causes account for most of the observed temperature increase since 1850. Manipulating US CO2 emissions will not appreciably alter the earth’s temperature, but according to the POTUS, energy costs will ‘skyrocket.’
The endangerment designation is based almost solely on the IPCC assertion that CO2, e.g. ‘carbon pollution,’ causes global warming and that human activity is to blame.
Policymakers have been led by the IPCC to believe that global warming is settled science and that the warming calamity can be averted only by drastic reduction of greenhouse gasses. Untrue! There is no cause and effect “smoking gun” evidence linking CO2 to devastating warming. Absent compelling evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), the justification for the CO2 endangerment declaration collapses.
The EPA goal of 83 (why?) percent reduction in CO2 emissions over the next century will result in a negligible effect on global mean temperature, an ineffective and staggeringly expensive attempt to reverse an hypothesis.
Several lines of evidence indicate that cloud cover, regulated by solar influenced cyclical Pacific and Atlantic ocean currents, accounts naturally for most of the global warming and cooling on a predictable basis and that the cooling trend that started 12 years ago will continue in spite of an unabated increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Satellite data agree with that view and we will know for sure in a few more years just how much or little CO2 contributes to global warming - so far it’s little.
Society must reject the pervasive and completely incorrect notion that CO2 is toxic. CO2 is critical for life, has no intrinsic toxicity but causes asphyxiation by oxygen deprivation at enormous concentrations compared to what ever could occur in the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion.
If it turns out that CO2 does not cause catastrophic global warming, it is completely innocuous. That said, a large number of toxic and polluting substances appear in stack gas and tailpipe emissions from coal and petroleum combustion-SOx, NOx, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, particulates, toxic heavy metals, etc.
Other than toxicity, the only difference between these substances and CO2, is quantity. The sheer amount of CO2 - gigatons - makes capture and sequestration impractical, but everything else is present in small enough quantities to expect that methods can be devised to prevent release.
Huge strides in that direction already have been made and the focus of future work should be aimed explicitly at quantitative containment of toxins and real pollutants, the Supreme Court notwithstanding.
Documented beneficial effects of increased atmospheric CO2 concentration on plant growth (commercial greenhouses normally operate at 1000 parts per million of CO2) and habitat expansion could blunt the next hysteria: the effect of CO2 on biodiversity. Furthermore, cold kills more people than warm, and a small warming trend might be welcomed by anyone paying a heating bill.
It is now abundantly clear from satellite and oceanographic trend data that CAGW is not in the offing. Why doesn’t it make sense to abandon the hysterical, economic, and politically ambitious aspects of CAGW, let the CO2 go, and live with the elevated CO2 levels since they are nontoxic, augment photosynthesis and O2 release, and the direct effect on temperature is small?
In short, admit that CO2 is not an endangerment and drop the misguided Cap-and-Trade legislation! Then concentrate on even more effective sequestration of the known stack gas and tailpipe toxins and detriments to air and water quality, and leave the energy economy relatively alone.
Energy consumption and GDP are closely coupled and a strong economy helps more people than a weak one.
Rather than limit CO2 emissions, we should systematically exploit fossil energy to develop cheap, reliable alternative energy sources as replacements for eventual depletion of fossil fuels.
LA Education Group