“Over the past 15 years, the U.S. has spent $150 billion on global warming, and this year’s budget calls for another $18 billion. What do we have to show for all this spending – numerical models that can’t make accurate forecasts for 17 years and numerous failed green energy projects (i.e. bankrupt Solyndra that cost U.S. taxpayers a half-billion dollars)?”
– Neil Frank (Ph.D), Letter to the Editor, Houston Chronicle, October 3, 2014.
The mainstream media, including the Houston Chronicle in my hometown, has neglected to expose the falsified, exaggerated claims of climate alarmism. For example, no Chronicle reporter bothered to cover the expert-laden energy/climate conference hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation last month here in Houston, At The Crossroads: Energy & Climate Policy Summit.
Eric Berger, the paper’s science reporter, and yesteryear’s straight shooter on the skeptic-versus-alarmist climate debate, has largely disengaged (his last climate piece, at least according to his blog, was last Spring). But disengaging today means giving a pass to the serial neo-Malthusian exaggerators.
So it was good to see Houstonian Neil Frank, a scientist and educator of the first order, weigh in against the regular hum of climate alarmism published at the Chronicle. Some years ago, in the wake of Climategate, Frank penned this view that would need little revision now.
January 2010 Op-Ed
He stated in Climategate: You Should be Steamed (Houston Chronicle, January 10, 2010):
What do the skeptics believe? First, they concur with the believers that the Earth has been warming since the end of a Little Ice Age around 1850. The cause of this warming is the question. Believers think the warming is man-made, while the skeptics believe the warming is natural and contributions from man are minimal and certainly not potentially catastrophic à la Al Gore.
Second, skeptics argue that CO2 is not a pollutant but vital for plant life. Numerous field experiments have confirmed that higher levels of CO2 are positive for agricultural productivity. Furthermore, carbon dioxide is a very minor greenhouse gas. More than 90 percent of the warming from greenhouse gases is caused by water vapor. If you are going to change the temperature of the globe, it must involve water vapor.
Third, and most important, skeptics believe that climate models are grossly overpredicting future warming from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. We are being told that numerical models that cannot make accurate 5- to 10-day forecasts can be simplified and run forward for 100 years with results so reliable you can impose an economic disaster on the U.S. and the world.
And with the pause continuing for another four-to-five years, Frank’s words are stronger today.
Letter-to-the-Editor: October 2014
Here is Dr. Frank’s Chronicle letter-to-the-editor (October 3, 2014):
Regarding “Parker vows city action against climate change” (Page A1, Sept. 23) and “Climate change debate belongs in textbooks” (Page B7, Wednesday), if global warming will be as catastrophic as some suggest, I have one question: Why has there been no warming of the globe for the last 17 years? Carbon dioxide has continued to increase and current carbon dioxide levels are the highest they have been in the last 150 years – yet no warming for the past 17 years!
All of the alarmist statements about global warming are based on numerical models. Numerical models are merely a hypothesis expressed in mathematical terms. For a hypothesis to be validated, it must be tested. Several recent tests show that none of nearly 100 different climate models currently in use duplicated the 17 year pause in warming – not one! If models can’t produce accurate forecasts for 17 years, why should they be believed for projections out to 100 years? Perhaps the relationship between carbon dioxide and the global temperature that has been built into the models is not valid. If this is true, then the importance of carbon dioxide in determining the Earth’s temperature is not nearly as important as we have been lead to believe.
Over the past 15 years, the U.S. has spent $150 billion on global warming, and this year’s budget calls for another $18 billion. What do we have to show for all this spending – numerical models that can’t make accurate forecasts for 17 years and numerous failed green energy projects (i.e. bankrupt Solyndra that cost U.S. taxpayers a half-billion dollars)?
The petrochemical industry is the cornerstone of the U.S. economy, and it would be seriously impacted by suggestions that are being considered. This is particularly true for Houston. Future policy decisions pertaining to global warming should be based on data and facts rather than flawed numerical models.