Time to Stand Up for Carbon Dioxide

By: EPW Blog (from icecap.us)
By: EPW Blog (from icecap.us)


‘The increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind’. Children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science.

Award-winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer declared man-made global warming fears “mistaken” and noted that the Earth was currently in a “CO2 famine now.” Happer, who has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, made his remarks during the Feb. 25th's Environment and Public Works Full Committee Hearing entitled “Update on the Latest Global Warming Science.”

“Many people don’t realize that over geological time, we're really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as it has been in the Holocene (geologic epoch) - 280 (parts per million - ppm) - that’s unheard of. Most of the time [CO2 levels] have been at least 1000 (ppm) and it’s been quite higher than that,” Happer told the Senate Committee. To read Happer's complete opening statement, go to icecap.us [Also see: ’Four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress’ Number of Lobbyists Up 300% & The Year of the Man-made Global Warming Skeptic ]

“Earth was just fine in those times,” Happer added. “The oceans were fine, plants grew, animals grew fine. So it's baffling to me that we’re so frightened of getting nowhere close to where we started,” Happer explained. Happer also noted that “the number of [skeptical scientists] with the courage to speak out is growing” and he warned “children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science.” [In December, Happer requested to be added to the groundbreaking U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims ]

Happer was pressed by the Committee on whether rising CO2 fears are valid. “I don’t think the laws of nature or physics and chemistry has changed in 80 million years. 80 million years ago the Earth was a very prosperous palace and there is no reason to suddenly think it will become bad now,” Happer added. Happer is a professor in the Department of Physics at Princeton University and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993, has published over 200 scientific papers, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Sciences. Happer was reportedly fired by former Vice President Al Gore in 1993 for failing to adhere to Gore’s scientific views.

“I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind,” Happer told the Committee. “What about the frightening consequences of increasing levels of CO2 that we keep hearing about? In a word, they are wildly exaggerated, just as the purported benefits of prohibition were wildly exaggerated,” he explained. “At least 90% of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide is a bit player,” he added. “But the climate is warming and CO2 is increasing. Doesn’t this prove that CO2 is causing global warming through the greenhouse effect? No, the current warming period began about 1800 at the end of the little ice age, long before there was an appreciable increase of CO2. There have been similar and even larger warmings several times in the 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age. These earlier warmings clearly had nothing to do with the combustion of fossil fuels. The current warming also seems to be due mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Over the past ten years there has been no global warming, and in fact a slight cooling. This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC models,” Happer testified.

“The existence of climate variability in the past has long been an embarrassment to those who claim that all climate change is due to man and that man can control it. When I was a schoolboy, my textbooks on earth science showed a prominent ‘medieval warm period’ at the time the Vikings settled Greenland, followed by a vicious ‘little ice age’ that drove them out. So I was very surprised when I first saw the celebrated ‘hockey stick curve,’ in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC. I could hardly believe my eyes. Both the little ice age and the Medieval Warm Period were gone, and the newly revised temperature of the world since the year 1000 had suddenly become absolutely flat until the last hundred years when it shot up like the blade on a hockey stick. This was far from an obscure detail, and the hockey stick was trumpeted around the world as evidence that the end was near. We now know that the hockey stick has nothing to do with reality but was the result of incorrect handling of proxy temperature records and incorrect statistical analysis. There really was a little ice age and there really was a medieval warm period that was as warm or warmer than today,” Happer continued.

“The whole hockey-stick episode reminds me of the motto of Orwell’s Ministry of Information in the novel 1984: ‘He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.’ The IPCC has made no serious attempt to model the natural variations of the earth’s temperature in the past. Whatever caused these large past variations, it was not due to people burning coal and oil. If you can’t model the past, where you know the answer pretty well, how can you model the future?” he stated.

“I keep hearing about the ‘pollutant CO2,’ or about ‘poisoning the atmosphere’ with CO2, or about minimizing our ‘carbon footprint.’ This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: ‘But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.’ CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving ‘pollutant’ and ‘poison’ of their original meaning. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million, or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth. Commercial greenhouse operators often use CO2 as a fertilizer to improve the health and growth rate of their plants.

Plants, and our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of atmospheric CO2 were about 1000 ppm, a level that we will probably not reach by burning fossil fuels, and far above our current level of about 380 ppm. We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels.”

Like the temperance movement one hundred years ago the climate-catastrophe movement has enlisted the mass media, the leadership of scientific societies, the trustees of charitable foundations, and many other influential people to their cause. Just as editorials used to fulminate about the slippery path to hell behind the tavern door, hysterical op-ed's lecture us today about the impending end of the planet and the need to stop climate change with bold political action. Many distinguished scientific journals now have editors who further the agenda of climate-change alarmism. Research papers with scientific findings contrary to the dogma of climate calamity are rejected by reviewers, many of whom fear that their research funding will be cut if any doubt is cast on the coming climate catastrophe.


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