Physicist, meteorologist testify that the climate agenda is ‘disastrous’ for U.S.
by Kevin Stocklin
Reprinted from the Epoch Times
Two prominent climate scientists have taken on new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in electricity generation, arguing in testimony that the regulations “will be disastrous for the country, for no scientifically justifiable reason.”
Citing extensive data (pdf) to support their case, William Happer, professor emeritus in physics at Princeton University, and Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of atmospheric science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argued that the claims used by the EPA to justify the new regulations aren’t based on scientific facts but rather political opinions and speculative models that have consistently proven to be wrong.
“The unscientific method of analysis, relying on consensus, peer review, government opinion, models that do not work, cherry-picking data and omitting voluminous contradictory data, is commonly employed in these studies and by the EPA in the Proposed Rule,” Mr. Happer and Mr. Lindzen wrote. “None of the studies provides scientific knowledge, and thus none provides any scientific support for the Proposed Rule.”
“All of the models that predict catastrophic global warming fail the key test of the scientific method: they grossly overpredict the warming versus actual data. The scientific method proves there is no risk that fossil fuels and carbon dioxide will cause catastrophic warming and extreme weather.”
Climate models such as the ones that the EPA is using have been consistently wrong for decades in predicting actual outcomes, Mr. Happer told The Epoch Times. To illustrate his point, he presented the EPA with a table showing the difference between those models’ predictions and the observed data.
Modeled climate predictions (average shown by red line) versus actual observations (source: J.R. Christy, Univ. of Alabama; KNMI Climate Explorer)
“That was already an embarrassment in the ’90s, when I was director of energy research in the U.S. Department of Energy,” he said. “I was funding a lot of this work, and I knew very well then that the models were overpredicting the warming by a huge amount.”
He and his colleague argued that the EPA has grossly overstated the harm from CO2 emissions while ignoring the benefits of CO2 to life on Earth.
Many who have fought against EPA climate regulations have done so by arguing what’s called the “major questions doctrine,” that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to invent regulations that have such an enormous effect on Americans without clear direction from Congress. However, Mr. Happer and Mr. Lindzen have taken a different tack, arguing that because the EPA regulations are “arbitrary and capricious,” they fail a test laid out in Motor Vehicle Manufacturers v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.
“Time and again, courts have applied ‘State Farm’s’ principles to invalidate agency rules where the agency failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, or cherry-picked data to support a pre-ordained conclusion,” they wrote.
According to Mr. Happer and Mr. Lindzen’s testimony, “600 million years of CO2 and temperature data contradict the theory that high levels of CO2 will cause catastrophic global warming.”
They present CO2 and temperature data indicating much higher temperatures and levels of CO2 than are observed today, with little correlation between the two. They also argue that current CO2 levels are at a low point historically.
This chart shows CO2 levels (blue) and temperatures (red) over time, indicating little correlation and current levels of both at historic lows. (Source: Analysis of the Temperature Oscillations in Geological Eras by Dr. C. R. Scotese; Earth’s Climate: Past and Future by Mark Peganini; Marked Decline in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations During the Paleocene, Science magazine vol. 309.)
“The often highly emphasized 140 [parts per million] increase in CO2 since the beginning of the Industrial Age is trivial compared to CO2 changes over the geological history of life on Earth,” they wrote.
The scientists’ testimony to the EPA also stated that the agency’s emissions rules fail to consider that CO2 and fossil fuels are essential to life on earth, particularly human life.
“Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere create more food for people worldwide, including more food for people in drought-stricken areas,” they wrote. “Increases in carbon dioxide over the past two centuries since the Industrial Revolution, from about 280 parts per million to about 420 ppm, caused an approximate 20 percent increase in the food available to people worldwide, as well as increased greening of the planet and a benign warming in temperature.”
Synthetic fertilizers (dotted line) have increased crop yields dramatically since their introduction. (Source: crop yields from USDA; fertilizer usage from Food Agriculture Organization).
More CO2 in the atmosphere leads to more plant growth and higher farming yields, they said. Synthetic fertilizers, which are derivatives of natural gas, are responsible for nearly half the world’s food production today. “Net zero” goals would reduce CO2 emissions by more than 40 gigatons per year, reducing the food supply proportionally, according to the scientists.
In addition to disregarding the benefits of CO2, they stated, the EPA’s emission rules and the global warming narrative that has been used to justify them are based on flawed data.
In addition to teaching physics at Princeton, Mr. Happer’s decades of work in physics have focused on atmospheric radiation and atmospheric turbulence, and his inventions have been used by astronomers and in national defense.
“Radiation in the atmosphere is my specialty,” Mr. Happer said, “and I know more about it than, I would guess, any climate scientists.”
His expertise “involves much of the same physics that’s involved in climate, and none of it is very alarming,” he said.
The global warming narrative argues that as people burn fossil fuels, they emit higher concentrations of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, which creates a “greenhouse effect,” trapping the sun’s radiation and warming the earth.
But one aspect of CO2 emissions that global warming models fail to take into account, according to Mr. Happer, is a phenomenon called “saturation,” or the diminishing effect of CO2 in the atmosphere at higher concentrations.
“At the current concentrations of CO2, around 400 parts per million, it decreases the radiation to space by about 30 percent, compared to what you would have if you took it all away,” he said. “So that’s enough to cause quite a bit of warming of the earth, and thank God for that; it helps make the earth habitable, along with the effects of water vapor and clouds.
“But if you could double the amount of CO2 from 400 to 800, and that will take a long time, the amount that you decrease radiation to space is only 1 percent. Very few people realize how hard it is for additional carbon dioxide to make a difference to the radiation to space. That’s what’s called saturation, and it’s been well-known for a century.”
In addition to scientific arguments about why global warming is overblown, the scientists cite data showing large discrepancies between global warming models and actual observations. In some cases, Mr. Happer and Mr. Lindzen say, data has been disingenuously manipulated to fit the climate change narrative.
“The most striking example of that is the temperature record,” Mr. Happer said. “If you look at the temperature records that were published 20 years ago, they showed very clearly that in the United States by far the warmest years we had were during the mid-1930s.
“If you look at the data today, that is no longer true. People in charge of that data, or what the public sees, have gradually reduced the temperatures of the ’30s, then increased the temperature of more recent measurements.”
The scientists provided a graph created by the EPA titled “Record Warm Daily Temperatures Are Occurring More Often,” which they claim is an example of misleading data used by the agency to support the theory of global warming.
“This chart does not actually show ‘daily temperatures,’” they stated. “Instead it shows a ‘ratio’ of daily record highs to lows—a number that appears designed to create the impression that temperatures are steadily rising.”
By contrast, the scientists presented a table that indicates significantly higher temperatures in the 1930s than today.
These data indicate that heat waves were more severe in the 1930s than today. (Source: EPA).
The Scientific ‘Consensus’ for Climate Change
Proponents of the global warming narrative often state that it’s “settled science” and that nearly all scientists agree that global warming is real and the result of human activity.
An official NASA statement reads: “The vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists—97 percent—agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change. Most of the leading science organizations around the world have issued public statements expressing this, including international and U.S. science academies, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a whole host of reputable scientific bodies around the world.”
A report by Cornell University states that “more than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans, according to a new survey of 88,125 climate-related studies.”
But Mr. Happer argued that consensus isn’t science, citing a lecture on the scientific method by renowned physicist Richard Feynman, who said, “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.”
“Science has never been made by consensus,” Mr. Happer said. “The way you decide something is true in science is you compare it with experiment or observations.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s a consensus. It doesn’t matter if a Nobel Prize winner says it’s true; if it disagrees with observations, it’s wrong. And that’s the situation with climate models. They are clearly wrong because they don’t agree with observations.”
The National Library of Medicine cites a speech by physician and author Michael Crichton at the California Institute of Technology in 2003 in which he said, “Consensus is the business of politics.”
“Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world,” Mr. Crichton said. “In science, consensus is irrelevant. What are relevant are reproducible results.”
Mr. Happer said, “The initial predictions of climate disasters had New York flooded by now, no ice left at the North Pole, England would be like Siberia by now. Nothing that they predicted actually came true. You have to do something to keep the money coming in, so they changed ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change.’”
The Price of Dissent
Regarding the consensus in published literature cited by Cornell University, some experts counter that academic publications routinely reject any submissions that question the global warming narrative.
“I’m lucky because I didn’t really start pushing back on this until I was close to retirement,” Mr. Happer said.
He had already established himself at that point as a tenured professor at Princeton, a member of the Academy of Sciences, and director of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy.
“If I’d been much younger, they could have made sure I never got tenure, that my papers would never get published,” Mr. Happer said. “They can keep me from publishing papers now, but it doesn’t matter because I already have status. But it would matter a lot if I were younger and I had a career that I was trying to make.”
In an interview with John Stossel, climate scientist Judith Curry said she paid the price for contradicting the narrative and called the global warming consensus “a manufactured consensus.”
Ms. Curry, former chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, once published a study that claimed that hurricanes were increasing in intensity.
“I was adopted by the environmental advocacy groups and the alarmists, and I was treated like a rock star,” she said. “I was flown all over the place to meet with politicians and to give these talks, and lots of media attention.”
When several researchers questioned Ms. Curry’s findings, she investigated their claims and concluded that her critics were correct.
“Part of it was bad data; part of it was natural climate variability,” she said.
But when Ms. Curry went public with that fact, she was shunned and pushed out of academia, she said.
Mr. Lindzen tells a similar tale of his experience when he began to question the climate narrative.
“Funding and publication became almost impossible,” he said, “and I was holding the most distinguished chair in meteorology,” which was MIT’s Sloan Professorship of Meteorology.
Nobel Prize-winning physicist John Clauser told The Epoch Times that a speech on climate that he was supposed to give at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on July 25 was abruptly canceled.
Mr. Clauser had stated during a previous speech at Quantum Korea 2023 that “climate change is not a crisis.”
He said climate is a self-regulating process and that more clouds form when temperatures rise, resulting in a compensatory cooling effect. Although he agrees that atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing, he argued that the gas’s effect on global warming is swamped by the natural cloud cycle.
However, only days before his IMF discussion was to take place, Mr. Clauser received an email indicating that the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) director, Pablo Moreno, didn’t want the event to happen. An assistant who was coordinating the event wrote to Mr. Clauser, “When I arranged this the Director was very happy about it but things have evidently changed.”
The IMF’s current policy on climate change is that “large emitting countries need to introduce a carbon tax that rises quickly to $75 a ton in 2030, consistent with limiting global warming to 2 [degrees Celsius] or less.”
The Climate Money Machine
Asked why there would be a need to censor, alter, and cherry-pick data to support the global warming narrative, Mr. Lindzen said “Because it’s a hoax.”
Mr. Clauser said of the climate consensus, “We are totally awash in pseudoscience.”
Mr. Happer said, “There is this huge fraction of the population that has been brainwashed into thinking this is an existential threat to the planet. I don’t blame the people; they don’t have the background to know they are being deceived, but they are being deceived.”
The World Bank announced in September 2022 that it paid out a record $31.7 billion that fiscal year to help countries address climate change, a 19 percent increase from the $26.6 billion it paid out over the previous fiscal year. And according to Reuters, the United States is projected to spend about $500 billion to fight climate change over the next decade, including $362 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, $98 billion from the Infrastructure Act, and $54 billion from the CHIPS law.
“What would happen to sustainable energy, the worthless windmills and solar panels, if suddenly there were no climate change emergency?” Mr. Happer said. “They’re really not very good technology, and they’re doing a lot more harm than good, but nevertheless people are making lots of money.”
Many investors, most notably BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, have cited government regulations and subsidies as a key reason why investments in “green” energies would be profitable.
Research grants to study climate change are offered by many government agencies, including the EPA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as by nonprofits, including Bloomberg Philanthropies and the MacArthur Foundation, which have paid out $458 million since 2014.
“Going back to ’88 to ’90, funding went up by a factor of 15,” Mr. Lindzen said. “You created a whole new community.
“This was a small field in 1990; not a single member of the faculty at MIT called themselves a climate scientist. By 1996, everyone was a climate scientist, and that included impacts. If you’re studying cockroaches and you put in your grant, ‘cockroaches and climate,’ you are a climate scientist.”
Asked to respond to the professors’ comments, an EPA spokesperson said: “The Agency will review all comments we received as we work to finalize the proposed standards.”
Kevin Stocklin is a business reporter, film producer and former Wall Street banker. He wrote and produced “We All Fall Down: The American Mortgage Crisis,” a 2008 documentary on the collapse of the mortgage finance system. His most recent documentary is “The Shadow State,” an investigation of the ESG industry.