November 25, 2010


Letters to the Editor and other People Speak

FROM-Napa Valley Register

Answering scientists’ criticism
Joseph Sabella

The Union of Concerned Scientists has criticized Mr. Gifford’s excellent summary of voting for or against failed Proposition 23, which would have delayed implementation of the legislative mandate (Assembly Bill 32) for Draconian reductions in carbon emissions (“Prop. 23 letter contained misinformation,” Nov. 1). The mandate is unattainable, but merely attempting to comply will skyrocket the cost of energy, and therefore everything.

Businesses are fleeing the state in alarming numbers. Choking our energy supply will convert the exodus to a stampede. Up to an estimated 200,000 high earners (including many small businesses) are leaving annually. Small wonder: the top 1 percent of taxpayers pays 50 percent of the state income tax. AB 32 will drive the final nail into California’s coffin.

First, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a radical environmental organization commanding millions of dollars. Its lobbying expenditures were $500,000 in 2008 and 2009, and $480,000 this year to date. UCS has never met an anti-capitalist, anti-everything issue it has not embraced. These include, among many: green energy (preposterous), nuclear and fossil fuel generation, the horrors of methane from cattle dung, opposition to the Missile Defense Initiative, decreasing carbon emission from your garden, and on and on and on.

Its president, Kevin Knobloch, is not a scientist. He is a former director of CERES, which works with industry on green issues (translation: science-ignorant politicians giving ridiculous taxpayer subsidies to corporations). He was also legislative director for former Sen. Tim Wirth (D-Colo.), who became Under Secretary of State for (environmental) Global Affairs. He worked closely with St. Albert of Gore (him again), chief alarmist and devotee of massages.

In short, Knobloch is a political hack.

Human CO2 emissions have nothing to do with climate change. The following are facts. The sun controls our climate (surprise!). The earth has been warming since the end of the “little ice age” in 1850. In 1998, a cooling trend began, and continues to the present — 12 years! It was warmer than now in the medieval and Roman warm periods. Arctic ice has increased, according a Jan. 10 article in the Washington Times, and polar bear populations have grown since Canada restricted hunting. Sea level rise was 1.8 cm per year from 1900 to 1980 (slightly over 1/2 inch), with no acceleration in the 20th century. The Greenland and Antarctic ice caps have grown (satellite measurements), and ice core drillings (57,000 ft.) show unequivocally that CO2 rises after temperatures rise, according to scientist Ian Plimer.

The oceans are the major sink for CO2; its solubility is inverse. Cooler water absorbs more CO2 and warming water releases CO2 (think of uncorking a bottle of warm club soda). Marine, unicellular, surface microorganisms (enormous mass) absorb CO2 to make shells, in a continuous cycle of reproduction, growth, death and settling to the bottom eventually to become limestone.

There are many ocean circulations such as EI Nino, La Nina, the northeastern Pacific decadal, the Arctic nine decadal, the Gulf Stream, and many others, in both the northern and southern hemispheres. These slowly oscillate ocean surface temperatures over long time periods.

Tectonic plate activity releases CO2, and continental drift has created worldwide sub-oceanic rifts with vents and volcanoes which release enormous (unmeasured) amounts of CO2 into the oceans. Surface volcano eruptions belch CO2, but their ash cools us. Corals are not about to become extinct. Warming temperatures increase evaporation (water vapor contributes 98 percent of the greenhouse effect), and water vapor condenses into clouds, most of which (the low ones) cool the earth. Ubiquitous cosmic rays from exploding stars create chemical nuclei in the atmosphere around which water vapor condenses to form clouds (more cooling), proven experimentally and summarized in the book “The Chilling Stars,” by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder.

None of the above factors are in the computer climate models on which the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change bases its ridiculous, hundred-year climate forecast. The models are useless. Nature does not play computer games.

The study of climate (or anything else in nature) is very complex. There is much and growing real science showing that man is not altering climate, but this forum precludes a deeper discussion. The media are not reporting the other side of this debate. Not scary enough. Despite the alarmists’ wailings, there is no scientific consensus that man-made CO2 has any effect on climate. Besides, scientific knowledge is not attained by voting. Discoveries require observations, measurements, experimentation, objectivity, reasoning and review of findings by peers.

Take heart, fellow Californians, you won’t perish by incineration. You’ll suffocate under the growing ooze of dung emanating from Sacramento. I recommend a book, “Heaven and Earth,” by Ian Plimer, a renowned Australian geologist. It is the most comprehensive summary I have read to date, and suitable for lay readers.

(Sabella, an M.D., lives in Napa.)

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