Monday, 6 February 2017

Professor William Happer(Princeton University) on climate change

                                          Professor William Happer  Tribune News Service  2 February 2017.
Consulted by President Trump on climate change.

The media and hostile congressional interrogators have routinely asked nominees for high
positions in the new Trump administration some variant of the question, “Is climate change
a hoax?”
Nominees should answer forthrightly, “No!”
Climate has been changing since the Earth was formed — some 4.5 billion years ago.
Climate changes on every time scale — whether decades, centuries or millennia.
The climate of Greenland was warm enough for farming around the year 1100 A.D., but by
1500, the Little Ice Age drove Norse settlers out. There is no opportunity for a hoax, since
climate change is so well documented by historical and geophysical records.
But none of the climate change of the past was due to humans. The very minor warming in
the past few centuries is mostly from non-human causes as well.
What is really being asked is, “Do you agree with the party line of the previous
administration, that continued emissions of carbon dioxide will destroy the planet unless
the people of the world do exactly what they are told?”
The answer to this question should also be a resounding no; we should not bow to
religious dogma disguised as science.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word “hoax” as “to trick into believing or
accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous.”
So hoax is a pretty good description of the article of faith that nominees are being asked to
endorse: that carbon dioxide is supposedly dangerous “carbon pollution.”
All living creatures respire large amounts of carbon dioxide every day. Plants need it to survive.
                      --------------------------------------------------------------------- Satellites already show dramatic greening of the earth as carbon dioxide levels begin to
recover toward their historical norms. Those levels had been measured in thousands of
parts per million (ppm), not today’s puny 400 ppm.
Yes, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but much less important than the major
greenhouse gas, water vapor, H2O, and clouds.
Observations, including the extended “hiatus” in warming since about the year 2000 —
which is poised to continue now that the El Nino warming of 2015-2016 is behind us —
show that more atmospheric carbon dioxide will cause only modest warming of the Earth’s
This would benefit the world in many ways, extending growing seasons and lessening
human mortality, which increases in cold weather. And modest warming means that there
will also be no dangerous increase in sea levels. Climate alarmists are advancing a false
                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------- To limit increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide, smug elites demand that developing
countries not burn fossil fuels as inexpensive, reliable sources of energy.
It is immoral to deny much of the world’s population this opportunity to escape centuries of
poverty. Real pollutants from fossil fuel combustion, oxides of sulfur, nitrogen, fly ash, etc.,
do need rational control by cost-effective technology. But more carbon dioxide is a benefit
to humanity and the “social cost of carbon,” aka carbon dioxide, is negative.
Many sincere people, without the time or training to dig into the facts, have been misled by
the demonization of carbon dioxide.
This seems to be a recurrent feature of human history. In past centuries, some of the most
educated members of society wrote learned books on how to ferret out witches and
presided in trials where witches were condemned to death.
There never was a threat from witches, and there is no threat from increasing carbon
The great Baltimore iconoclast, H.L. Mencken got it right when he observed: “The whole
aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to
safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Climate
change is the latest hobgoblin.

William Happer is an emeritus Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University and a former Director of Energy Research of the U.S. Department of Energy. Readers may write him at 258 

Jadwin Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544.

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