OPINION: Hysteria over CO2 levels in the climate debate

OPINION: Hysteria over CO2 levels in the climate debate

By Len Suzio

In the past month there have been several op-eds about global warming and climate change authored by Mike Brodinsky and me. About the only thing we appear to agree on is that anthropogenic global warming is a serious matter. Mr. Brodinsky appears to unquestioningly accept the prevailing orthodoxy that not only is manmade climate change real, it also represents what some alarmists like Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez describe as a climate Armageddon of a sort, or as one wag described it, “Climategeddon”. Civilization is threatened with impending doom and it is all due to a natural trace gas that accounts for four hundredths of one percent of the molecules in the atmosphere. More precisely, impending “catastrophe” is due to mankind’s augmentation of CO2 levels which amounts to only about 100 parts per million, or one one-hundredth of one percent (0.01%) of the molecules in the atmosphere. Even more amazingly, this trace gas is absolutely essential to life on earth. Without CO2 plant life could not exist and without plants, there goes not only human civilization but most of life on earth. At preindustrial levels plants were near to CO2 asphyxiation.

The hysteria over CO2 levels in the environment (we’ve got only 12 more years according to “expert” Ocasio-Cortez) should generate a thoughtful and robust debate, especially with the alarmists advocating immediate adoption of radical energy policies which would drastically increase the cost of the current standard of living while simultaneously reducing the quality of life for modern civilization. The people most hurt by substituting expensive and unreliable (is the wind blowing and the sun shining today?) “renewable” energy for today’s energy sources would be the poor and the developing nations.

But a thoughtful debate is the last thing “alarmists” want. Mr. Brodinsky keeps shouting the mantra, “the majority of the experts say the sky is falling. Don’t question or challenge the orthodoxy of the scientific establishment”. Hence Mr. Brodinsky in his last op-ed went to great lengths to debunk one website with a petition challenging the radical views on climate change and which has more than 31,000 scientists who have signed the petition.

In my previous op-ed I had not only cited the petition, I named leading scientists who are actively challenging the radical view of dire anthropogenic-induced climate change. Dr. Patrick Moore, with a PhD in ecology and a cofounder of Greenpeace, is one such leading critic. Others include Professor William Happer of Princeton and Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT (atmospheric physicist known for his work in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere with over 200 published scientific papers), Dr. Wei-Hock Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Dr. Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, and Elliott D. Bloom PhD at Stanford University. Even the professor who taught Al Gore about CO2 and global warming, Roger Revelle, before his death in 1991 cautioned about the magnitude of the impact of CO2 on climate and global temperatures.

Physicist Harold Lewis wrote a book (Technological Risk) warning about greenhouse gases like CO2 and global warming back in 1992. In 2010 he totally recanted and publicly criticized the prevailing view that CO2 is the primary cause of global warming, in fact calling it “the global warming scam” — a 180 degrees turn.

In response to my op-eds I received comments from local science teachers including one earth science teacher who wrote, “Finally someone else has done the reading on climate alarmism. Nice job, Len.”

I do not cite these scientists to debunk anthropogenic global warming. My intention is to point out that there is some serious questioning going on in the scientific community regarding the magnitude of the impact of CO2 on global temperatures and climate change. The famed British Royal Society has a motto, “Nullius in Verba” — “Take nobody’s word for it” — verify all things. The American version was best expressed by President Ronald Regan with respect to negotiations with the Soviets: “Trust, but verify.”

A story on the Scientific American website, “How to Determine the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming,” is very interesting. It quotes a climate change study that found that 97.2 percent of the scientific abstracts that expressed an opinion about global warming “ASSUMED (emphasis added) humans play a role” which the article states, “quickly in popular media got boiled down to … 97 percent of scientists ‘BELIEVE climate change is caused by humans”. THAT IS A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE.

The article proceeds to quote Yale Psychology Professor Dan Kahan, who explains that people who believe in anthropogenic global warming use the “97 percent consensus” message to “imply that anyone who disagrees must be very stupid” — effectively polarizing the issue and discouraging thoughtful discussion. Let’s not let that happen in Meriden!

Len Suzio is a former state senator.