Monday, October 6, 2014

Existential Angst

I have always been fascinated by Cosmology, the origin and nature of the Universe. To me these are the most significant questions in science (please to pardon me, my fellow Parasitologists!). Every time I looked at the night sky and saw the multitudes of stars and even our Milky Way galaxy, if I was lucky and could get out of Los Angeles for a while,  I was awe struck. And then when I realized that what I was looking at was a panorama of ancient history of the Universe where the light from each star began its journey from a few years to millions of years ago, my level of awe got even higher. This fascination led directly to Amateur Astronomy. However, being a professional scientist in another field I realize that it is really presumptuous of   me to try to do Astronomy at this time in my life in the absence of any formal training, but I have never led not being presumptuous run my life. And it is only money, so I bought a 10 inch Meade telescope with all the goodies - CCD camera, rotator, adaptive optics, etc. And I dug a hole in my back yard and embedded a concrete pier to hold the scope and then built a shed with a sliding roof to hold the scope et al. And finally after several years of learning my way around the sky and learning to use the software for imaging and processing the images, I finally was able to create a plan and tell the scope to automatically find the star, galaxy or nebula and  image it, and then to close the roof and park the scope.

Then came the Cobe and WMap satellite experiments and arose my existential angst. I learned that most of the Universe is a mysterious anti-gravity stuff called dark energy and that a large chunk is also a still mysterious dark matter, and finally only around 5% is what I like to look at and image. I almost went into a deep depression realizing that what I do is a total waste of time and energy. And then I read some current cosmology books (written for parasitologists of course) and learned that there may be a multitude of other Universes out there in addition to our Universe. Wow!!! and double wow!!!  I actually stopped imaging for a while until I could think of a rationale to do it at all. The angst was truly existential.

Finally I retired this year from UCLA and stopped doing  research and teaching, and I decided that even though it was meaningless and climate change was certainly more important and meaningful, I enjoyed it , so I would once again take up imaging the heavens for a few years. So here I am back in my back yard with my new dome and the old telescope imaging my old friends. Life is like that sometimes.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Supreme Court judge is a priest in disguise

I copy below a really interesting article in a series from the people currently making "Citizens United,the Movie".

We have already discussed at modest length why the Hobby Lobby decision is so wrong, just in terms of the reading of previous legal precedents and their definitional terms. So if Alito has no real supporting authority in the the history of legal jurisprudence, from where exactly is he deriving his authority?

The sad answer is found in footnote 34 of the Hobby Lobby opinion, where he cites as a reference a religious tract from 1935, "Moral and Pastoral Theology," for the proposition that when one person helps another to commit a sin in any way, even by a non-sinful act, even if no approval of the sin is implied, is comprises "cooperation" in that sinning. Indeed, Alito unquestionably believes that any ruling contrary to his would be precisely such a sin enabling act.

And this, standing alone, is Alito's sole and naked support for the whole basis for the ruling, that if a corporation provides comprehensive health care, and if some aspect of that health care offends the moral precepts of the owners of the corporation, that those precepts can be imposed on employees of the corporation who do NOT share those precepts.

Leaving aside the fact that a corporation is not a real person in the first place (itself a perverted reading of the constitution), capable of committing a sin in a theological sense, what is a secular law judge doing founding his legal opinion on a religious reference?

And the sad answer to that is that Alito is no justice. He is a religious ringer, put on the bench to impose his moral precepts on the rest of us, just exactly as he would have the corporate board of Hobby Lobby impose their dogma on their helpless employees.

Alito ought to show up for work, not in a judge's robe, but in the ecclesiastical garments of a priest. Because that is what he is, handing down his rulings by divine revelation, immaculate of any actual sensible legal precedent.

And what makes this all so transparently clear is that when challenged by the dissent of Justice Ginsberg as to why other religious objections could not be made as to vaccines, blood transfusions, etc, Alito confesses that his decision "is concerned SOLELY with the contraceptive mandate." (His actual words, opinion p. 46, emphasis supplied.) ONLY when it offends HIS religious beliefs, then secular law must fall that way also, otherwise he'll find some equally ad hoc pretext to rule the other way.

If you happen to agree with his religious result on this one moral issue, you may applaud this decision on that basis as much as you like. Just clearly understand and acknowledge the stark fact that it is NOT a legal decision. It is one strictly from one particular clergy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ORIGINS



I copy below a lecture I gave this year in my undergraduate course on Molecular Parasitology. Of course this has nothing to do with Parasitology, but I like to think about these things and I thought that the students might also. I told the students that this was not going to be on the exam and to close their notebooks but to open their minds.

ORIGINS

Origin of the Universe































Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Several degrees of warming

I just read a truly alarming essay in a Dutch web site, which was without attribution but most likely taken from the book by Mark Lynas: Six Degrees of Warming: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. This essay deserves to be read by everyone and especially by the "climate deniers",  so I will take the bull by the horns and copy it below. Let me emphasize that I did not write this and I beg Mark Lynas's remission to reprint this; it is that important.

A degree by degree explanation of what will happen when the earth warms

Even if greenhouse emissions stopped overnight the concentrations already in the atmosphere would still mean a global rise of between 0.5 and 1 degree C. A shift of a single degree is barely perceptible to human skin, but it’s not human skin we’re talking about. It’s the planet; and an average increase of one degree across its entire surface means huge changes in climatic extremes.

Six thousand years ago, when the world was one degree warmer than it is now, the American agricultural heartland around Nebraska was desert. It suffered a short reprise during the dust- bowl years of the 1930s, when the topsoil blew away and hundreds of thousands of refugees trailed through the dust to an uncertain welcome further west. The effect of one-degree warming, therefore, requires no great feat of imagination.

“The western United States once again could suffer perennial droughts, far worse than the 1930s. Deserts will reappear particularly in Nebraska, but also in eastern Montana, Wyoming and Arizona, northern Texas and Oklahoma. As dust and sandstorms turn day into night across thousands of miles of former prairie, farmsteads, roads and even entire towns will be engulfed by sand.”

What’s bad for America will be worse for poorer countries closer to the equator. It has beencalculated that a one-degree increase would eliminate fresh water from a third of the world’s land surface by 2100. Again we have seen what this means. There was an incident in the summer of 2005: One tributary fell so low that miles of exposed riverbank dried out into sand dunes, with winds whipping up thick sandstorms. As desperate villagers looked out onto baking mud instead of flowing water, the army was drafted in to ferry precious drinking water up the river – by helicopter, since most of the river was too low to be navigable by boat. The river in question was not some small, insignificant trickle in Sussex. It was the Amazon.

While tropical lands teeter on the brink, the Arctic already may have passed the point of no return. Warming near the pole is much faster than the global average, with the result that Arctic icecaps and glaciers have lost 400 cubic kilometres of ice in 40 years. Permafrost – ground that has lain frozen for thousands of years – is dissolving into mud and lakes, destabilising whole areas as the ground collapses beneath buildings, roads and pipelines. As polar bears and Inuits are being pushed off the top of the planet, previous predictions are starting to look optimistic. Earlier snowmelt means more summer heat goes into the air and ground rather than into melting snow, raising temperatures in a positive feedback effect. More dark shrubs and forest on formerly bleak tundra means still more heat is absorbed by vegetation.

Out at sea the pace is even faster. Whilst snow-covered ice reflects more than 80% of the sun’s heat, the darker ocean absorbs up to 95% of solar radiation. Once sea ice begins to melt, in other words, the process becomes self-reinforcing. More ocean surface is revealed, absorbing solar heat, raising temperatures and making it unlikelier that ice will re-form next winter. The disappearance of 720,000 square kilometres of supposedly permanent ice in a single year testifies to the rapidity of planetary change. If you have ever wondered what it will feel like when the Earth crosses a tipping point, savour the moment.

Mountains, too, are starting to come apart. In the Alps, most ground above 3,000 metres is stabilised by permafrost. In the summer of 2003, however, the melt zone climbed right up to 4,600 metres, higher than the summit of the Matterhorn and nearly as high as Mont Blanc. With the glue of millennia melting away, rocks showered down and 50 climbers died. As temperatures go on edging upwards, it won’t just be mountaineers who flee. Whole towns and villages will be at risk. Some towns, like Pontresina in eastern Switzerland, have already begun building bulwarks against landslides.

At the opposite end of the scale, low-lying atoll countries such as the Maldives will be preparing for extinction as sea levels rise, and mainland coasts – in particular the eastern US and Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Pacific islands and the Bay of Bengal – will be hit by stronger and stronger hurricanes as the water warms. Hurricane Katrina, which in 2005 hit New Orleans with the combined impacts of earthquake and flood, was a nightmare precursor of what the future holds.

Most striking of all was seeing how people behaved once the veneer of civilisation had been torn away. Most victims were poor and black, left to fend for themselves as the police either joined in the looting or deserted the area. Four days into the crisis, survivors were packed into the city’s Superdome, living next to overflowing toilets and rotting bodies as gangs of young men with guns seized the only food and water available. Perhaps the most memorable scene was a single military helicopter landing for just a few minutes, its crew flinging food parcels and water bottles out onto the ground before hurriedly taking off again as if from a war zone. In scenes more like a Third World refugee camp than an American urban centre, young men fought for the water as pregnant women and the elderly looked on with nothing. Don’t blame them for behaving like this, I thought. It’s what happens when people are desperate.

Chance of avoiding one degree of global warming: zero.

BETWEEN ONE AND TWO DEGREES OF WARMING

At this level, expected within 40 years, the hot European summer of 2003 will be the annual norm. Anything that could be called a heatwave thereafter will be of Saharan intensity. Even in average years, people will die of heat stress.

The first symptoms may be minor. A person will feel slightly nauseous, dizzy and irritable. It needn’t be an emergency: an hour or so lying down in a cooler area, sipping water, will cure it. But in Paris, August 2003, there were no cooler areas, especially for elderly people.

Once body temperature reaches 41C (104F) its thermoregulatory system begins to break down. Sweating ceases and breathing becomes shallow and rapid. The pulse quickens, and the victim may lapse into a coma. Unless drastic measures are taken to reduce the body’s core temperature, the brain is starved of oxygen and vital organs begin to fail. Death will be only minutes away unless the emergency services can quickly get the victim into intensive care.

These emergency services failed to save more than 10,000 French in the summer of 2003. Mortuaries ran out of space as hundreds of dead bodies were brought in each night. Across Europe as a whole, the heatwave is believed to have cost between 22,000 and 35,000 lives. Agriculture, too, was devastated. Farmers lost $12 billion worth of crops, and Portugal alone suffered $12 billion of forest-fire damage. The flows of the River Po in Italy, Rhine in Germany and Loire in France all shrank to historic lows. Barges ran aground, and there was not enough water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. Melt rates in the Alps, where some glaciers lost 10% of their mass, were not just a record – they doubled the previous record of 1998. According to the Hadley centre, more than half the European summers by 2040 will be hotter than this. Extreme summers will take a much heavier toll of human life, with body counts likely to reach hundreds of thousands. Crops will bake in the fields, and forests will die off and burn. Even so, the short-term effects may not be the worst:

From the beech forests of northern Europe to the evergreen oaks of the Mediterranean, plant growth across the whole landmass in 2003 slowed and then stopped. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, the stressed plants began to emit it. Around half a billion tonnes of carbon was added to the atmosphere from European plants, equivalent to a twelfth of global emissions from fossil fuels. This is a positive feedback of critical importance, because it suggests that, as temperatures rise, carbon emissions from forests and soils will also rise. If these land-based emissions are sustained over long periods, global warming could spiral out of control.

In the two-degree world, nobody will think of taking Mediterranean holidays. The movement of people from northern Europe to the Mediterranean is likely to reverse, switching eventually into a mass scramble as Saharan heatwaves sweep across the Med. People everywhere will think twice about moving to the coast. When temperatures were last between 1 and 2C higher than they are now, 125,000 years ago, sea levels were five or six metres higher too. All this “lost” water is in the polar ice that is now melting. Forecasters predict that the “tipping point” for Greenland won’t arrive until average temperatures have risen by 2.7C. The snag is that Greenland is warming much faster than the rest of the world – 2.2 times the global average. “Divide one figure by the other,” says Lynas, “and the result should ring alarm bells across the world. Greenland will tip into irreversible melt once global temperatures rise past a mere 1.2C. The ensuing sea-level ?rise will be far more than the half-metre that ?the IPCC has predicted for the end of the century. Scientists point out that sea levels at the end of the last ice age shot up by a metre every 20 years for four centuries, and that Greenland’s ice, in the words of one glaciologist, is now thinning like mad and flowing much faster than it ought to. Its biggest outflow glacier, Jakobshavn Isbrae, has thinned by 15 metres every year since 1997, and its speed of flow has doubled. At this rate the whole Greenland ice sheet would vanish within 140 years. Miami would disappear, as would most of Manhattan. Central London would be flooded. Bangkok, Bombay and Shanghai would lose most of their area. In all, half of humanity would have to move to higher ground.

Not only coastal communities will suffer. As mountains lose their glaciers, so people will lose their water supplies. The entire Indian subcontinent will be fighting for survival. As the glaciers disappear from all but the highest peaks, their runoff will cease to power the massive rivers that deliver vital freshwater to hundreds of millions. Water shortages and famine will be the result, destabilising the entire region. And this time the epicentre of the disaster won’t be India, Nepal or Bangladesh, but nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Everywhere, ecosystems will unravel as species either migrate or fall out of synch with each other. By the time global temperatures reach two degrees of warming in 2050, more than a third of all living species will face extinction.

Chance of avoiding two degrees of global warming: 93%, but only if emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced by 60% over the next 10 years.

BETWEEN TWO AND THREE DEGREES OF WARMING

Up to this point, assuming that governments have planned carefully and farmers have converted to more appropriate crops, not too many people outside subtropical Africa need have starved. Beyond two degrees, however, preventing mass starvation will be as easy as halting the cycles of the moon. First millions, then billions, of people will face an increasingly tough battle to survive.

To find anything comparable we have to go back to the Pliocene – last epoch of the Tertiary period, 3m years ago. There were no continental glaciers in the northern hemisphere (trees grew in the Arctic), and sea levels were 25 metres higher than today’s. In this kind of heat, the death of the Amazon is as inevitable as the melting of Greenland. The paper spelling it out is the very one whose apocalyptic message so shocked in 2000. Scientists at the Hadley centre feared that earlier climate models, which showed global warming as a straightforward linear progression, were too simplistic in their assumption that land and the oceans would remain inert as their temperatures rose. Correctly as it would turn out, they predicted positive feedback.

Warmer seas absorb less carbon dioxide, leaving more to accumulate in the atmosphere and intensify global warming. On land, matters would be even worse. Huge amounts of carbon are stored in the soil, the half-rotted remains of dead vegetation. The generally accepted estimate is that the soil carbon reservoir contains some 1600 gigatonnes, more than double the entire carbon content of the atmosphere. As soil warms, bacteria accelerate the breakdown of this stored carbon, releasing it into the atmosphere.

The end of the world is nigh. A three-degree increase in global temperature – possible as early as 2050 – would throw the carbon cycle into reverse. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, vegetation and soils start to release it. So much carbon pours into the atmosphere that it pumps up atmospheric concentrations by 250 parts per million by 2100, boosting global warming by another 1.5C. In other words, the Hadley team had discovered that carbon-cycle feedbacks could tip the planet into runaway global warming by the middle of this century – much earlier than anyone had expected.

Confirmation came from the land itself. Climate models are routinely tested against historical data. In this case, scientists checked 25 years’ worth of soil samples from 6,000 sites across the UK. The result was another black joke. As temperatures gradually rose the scientists found that huge amounts of carbon had been released naturally from the soils. They totted it all up and discovered – irony of ironies – that the 13m tonnes of carbon British soils were emitting annually was enough to wipe out all the country’s efforts to comply with the Kyoto Protocol.” All soils will be affected by the rising heat, but none as badly as the Amazon’s. “Catastrophe” is almost too small a word for the loss of the rainforest. Its 7m square kilometres produce 10% of the world’s entire photosynthetic output from plants. Drought and heat will cripple it; fire will finish it off. In human terms, the effect on the planet will be like cutting off oxygen during an asthma attack.

In the US and Australia, people will curse the climate-denying governments of Bush and Howard. No matter what later administrations may do, it will not be enough to keep the mercury down. With new “super-hurricanes” growing from the warming sea, Houston could be destroyed by 2045, and Australia will be a death trap. “Farming and food production will tip into irreversible decline. Salt water will creep up the stricken rivers, poisoning ground water. Higher temperatures mean greater evaporation, further drying out vegetation and soils, and causing huge losses from reservoirs. In state capitals, heat every year is likely to kill between 8,000 and 15,000 mainly elderly people.

It is all too easy to visualise what will happen in Africa. In Central America, too, tens of millions will have little to put on their tables. Even a moderate drought there in 2001 meant hundreds of thousands had to rely on food aid. This won’t be an option when world supplies are stretched to breaking point (grain yields decline by 10% for every degree of heat above 30C, and at 40C they are zero). Nobody need look to the US, which will have problems of its own. As the mountains lose their snow, so cities and farms in the west will lose their water and dried-out forests and grasslands will perish at the first spark.

The Indian subcontinent meanwhile will be choking on dust. All of human history shows that, given the choice between starving in situ and moving, people move. In the latter part of the century tens of millions of Pakistani citizens may be facing this choice. Pakistan may find itself joining the growing list of failed states, as civil administration collapses and armed gangs seize what little food is left.

As the land burns, so the sea will go on rising. Even by the most optimistic calculation, 80% of Arctic sea ice by now will be gone, and the rest will soon follow. New York will flood; the catastrophe that struck eastern England in 1953 will become an unremarkable regular event; and the map of the Netherlands will be torn up by the North Sea. Everywhere, starving people will be on the move – from Central America into Mexico and the US, and from Africa into Europe, where resurgent fascist parties will win votes by promising to keep them out.

Chance of avoiding three degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches two degrees and triggers carbon-cycle feedbacks from soils and plants.

BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR DEGREES OF WARMING

The stream of refugees will now include those fleeing from coasts to safer interiors – millions at a time when storms hit. Where they persist, coastal cities will become fortified islands. The world economy, too, will be threadbare. As direct losses, social instability and insurance payouts cascade through the system, the funds to support displaced people will be increasingly scarce. Sea levels will be rampaging upwards – in this temperature range, both poles are certain to melt, causing an eventual rise of 50 metres. “I am not suggesting it would be instantaneous. In fact it would take centuries, and probably millennia, to melt all of the Antarctic’s ice. But it could yield sea-level rises of a metre or so every 20 years – far beyond our capacity to adapt.Oxford would sit on one of many coastlines in a UK reduced to an archipelago of tiny islands.

More immediately, China is on a collision course with the planet. By 2030, if its people are consuming at the same rate as Americans, they will eat two-thirds of the entire global harvest and burn 100m barrels of oil a day, or 125% of current world output. That prospect alone contains all the ingredients of catastrophe. But it’s worse than that: “By the latter third of the 21st century, if global temperatures are more than three degrees higher than now, China’s agricultural production will crash. It will face the task of feeding 1.5bn much richer people – 200m more than now – on two thirds of current supplies.” For people throughout much of the world, starvation will be a regular threat; but it will not be the only one.

The summer will get longer still, as soaring temperatures reduce forests to tinderwood and cities to boiling morgues. Temperatures in the Home Counties could reach 45C – the sort of climate experienced today in Marrakech. Droughts will put the south-east of England on the global list of water-stressed areas, with farmers competing against cities for dwindling supplies from rivers and reservoirs.

Air-conditioning will be mandatory for anyone wanting to stay cool. This in turn will put ever more stress on energy systems, which could pour more greenhouse gases into the air if coal and gas-fired power stations ramp up their output, hydroelectric sources dwindle and renewables fail to take up the slack. The abandonment of the Mediterranean will send even more people north to “overcrowded refuges in the Baltic, Scandinavia and the British Isles.

Britain will have problems of its own. As flood plains are more regularly inundated, a general retreat out of high risk areas is likely. Millions of people will lose their lifetime investments in houses that become uninsurable and therefore unsaleable? The Lancashire/Humber corridor is expected to be among the worst affected regions, as are the Thames Valley, eastern Devon and towns around the already flood-prone Severn estuary like Monmouth and Bristol. The entire English coast from the Isle of Wight to Middlesbrough is classified as at ‘very high’ or ‘extreme’ risk, as is the whole of Cardigan Bay in Wales.

One of the most dangerous of all feedbacks will now be kicking in – the runaway thaw of permafrost. Scientists believe at least 500 billion tonnes of carbon are waiting to be released from the Arctic ice, though none yet has put a figure on what it will add to global warming. One degree? Two? Three? The pointers are ominous.

As with Amazon collapse and the carbon-cycle feedback in the three-degree worldstabilising global temperatures at four degrees above current levels may not be possible. If we reach three degrees, therefore, that leads inexorably to four degrees, which leads inexorably to five?

Chance of avoiding four degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches three degrees and triggers a runaway thaw of permafrost.

BETWEEN FOUR AND FIVE DEGREES OF WARMING

We are looking now at an entirely different planet. Ice sheets have vanished from both poles; rainforests have burnt up and turned to desert; the dry and lifeless Alps resemble the High Atlas; rising seas are scouring deep into continental interiors. One temptation may be to shift populations from dry areas to the newly thawed regions of the far north, in Canada and Siberia. Even here, though, summers may be too hot for crops to be grown away from the coasts; and there is no guarantee that northern governments will admit southern refugees. Lynas recalls James Lovelock’s suspicion that Siberia and Canada would be invaded by China and the US, each hammering another nail into humanity’s coffin. Any armed conflict, particularly involving nuclear weapons, would of course further increase the planetary surface area uninhabitable for humans.

When temperatures were at a similar level 55m years ago, following a very sudden burst of global warming in the early Eocene, alligators and other subtropical species were living high in the Arctic. What had caused the climate to flip? Suspicion rests on methane hydrate – “an ice-like combination of methane and water that forms under the intense cold and pressure of the deep sea”, and which escapes with explosive force when tapped. Evidence of a submarine landslide off Florida, and of huge volcanic eruptions under the North Atlantic, raises the possibility of trapped methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – being released in a giant belch that pushed global temperatures through the roof.

Summer heatwaves scorched the vegetation out of continental Spain, leaving a desert terrain which was heavily eroded by winter rainstorms. Palm mangroves grew as far north as England and Belgium, and the Arctic Ocean was so warm that Mediterranean algae thrived. In short, it was a world much like the one we are heading into this century. Although the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, as scientists call it, was more than today’s, the rate of increase in the 21st century may be 30 times faster. It may well be the fastest increase the world has ever seen – faster even than the episodes that caused catastrophic mass extinctions.

Globalism in the five-degree world will break down into something more like parochialism. Customers will have nothing to buy because producers will have nothing to sell. With no possibility of international aid, migrants will have to force their way into the few remaining habitable enclaves and fight for survival.

Where no refuge is available, civil war and a collapse into racial or communal conflict seems the likely outcome. Isolated survivalism, however, may be as impracticable as dialling for room service. How many of us could really trap or kill enough game to feed a family? Even if large numbers of people did successfully manage to fan out into the countryside, wildlife populations would quickly dwindle under the pressure. Supporting a hunter-gatherer lifestyle takes 10 to 100 times the land per person that a settled agricultural community needs. A large-scale resort to survivalism would turn into a further disaster for biodiversity as hungry humans killed and ate anything that moved. Including, perhaps, each other. Invaders do not take kindly to residents denying them food. History suggests that if a stockpile is discovered, the householder and his family may be tortured and killed. Look for comparison to the experience of present-day Somalia, Sudan or Burundi, where conflicts over scarce land and food are at the root of lingering tribal wars and state collapse.

Chance of avoiding five degrees of global warming: negligible if the rise reaches four degrees and releases trapped methane from the sea bed.

BETWEEN FIVE AND SIX DEGREES OF WARMING

Although warming on this scale lies within the IPCC’s officially endorsed range of 21st-century possibilities, climate models have little to say about what Lynas, echoing Dante, describes as “the Sixth Circle of Hell”. To see the most recent climatic lookalike, we have to turn the geological clock back between 144m and 65m years, to the Cretaceous, which ended with the extinction of the dinosaurs. There was an even closer fit at the end of the Permian, 251m years ago, when global temperatures rose by – yes – six degrees, and 95% of species were wiped out.

That episode was the worst ever endured by life on Earth, the closest the planet has come to ending up a dead and desolate rock in space.” On land, the only winners were fungi that flourished on dying trees and shrubs. At sea there were only losers. Warm water is a killer. Less oxygen can dissolve, so conditions become stagnant and anoxic. Oxygen-breathing water-dwellers – all the higher forms of life from plankton to sharks – face suffocation. Warm water also expands, and sea levels rose by 20 metres.” The resulting “super-hurricanes” hitting the coasts would have triggered flash floods that no living thing could have survived.

There are aspects of the so-called “end-Permian extinction” that are unlikely to recur – most importantly, the vast volcanic eruption in Siberia that spread magma hundreds of metres thick over an area bigger than western Europe and shot billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. That is small comfort, however, for beneath the oceans, another monster stirred – the same that would bring a devastating end to the Palaeocene nearly 200m years later, and that still lies in wait today. Methane hydrate.

What happens when warming water releases pent-up gas from the sea bed: First, a small disturbance drives a gas-saturated parcel of water upwards. As it rises, bubbles begin to appear, as dissolved gas fizzles out with reducing pressure – just as a bottle of lemonade overflows if the top is taken off too quickly. These bubbles make the parcel of water still more buoyant, accelerating its rise through the water. As it surges upwards, reaching explosive force, it drags surrounding water up with it. At the surface, water is shot hundreds of metres into the air as the released gas blasts into the atmosphere. Shockwaves propagate outwards in all directions, triggering more eruptions nearby.

The eruption is more than just another positive feedback in the quickening process of global warming. Unlike CO2, methane is flammable. Even in air-methane concentrations as low as 5%, the mixture could ignite from lightning or some other spark and send fireballs tearing across the sky. The effect would be much like that of the fuel-air explosives used by the US and Russian armies – so-called “vacuum bombs” that ignite fuel droplets above a target. According to the CIA, those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringes are likely to suffer many internal injuries, including burst eardrums, severe concussion, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.” Such tactical weapons, however, are squibs when set against methane-air clouds from oceanic eruptions. Scientists calculate that they could “destroy terrestrial life almost entirely (251m years ago, only one large land animal, the pig-like lystrosaurus, survived). It has been estimated that a large eruption in future could release energy equivalent to 108 megatonnes of TNT – 100,000 times more than the world’s entire stockpile of nuclear weapons. Not even Lynas, for all his scientific propriety, can avoid the Hollywood ending. “It is not too difficult to imagine the ultimate nightmare, with oceanic methane eruptions near large population centres wiping out billions of people – perhaps in days. Imagine a ‘fuel-air explosive’ fireball racing towards a city – London, say, or Tokyo – the blast wave spreading out from the explosive centre with the speed and force of an atomic bomb. Buildings are flattened, people are incinerated where they stand, or left blind and deaf by the force of the explosion. Mix Hiroshima with post-Katrina New Orleans to get some idea of what such a catastrophe might look like: burnt survivors battling over food, wandering far and wide from empty cities.

Then would come hydrogen sulphide from the stagnant oceans. “It would be a silent killer: imagine the scene at Bhopal following the Union Carbide gas release in 1984, replayed first at coastal settlements, then continental interiors across the world. At the same time, as the ozone layer came under assault, we would feel the sun’s rays burning into our skin, and the first cell mutations would be triggering outbreaks of cancer among anyone who survived. Dante’s hell was a place of judgment, where humanity was for ever punished for its sins. With all the remaining forests burning, and the corpses of people, livestock and wildlife piling up in every continent, the six-degree world would be a harsh penalty indeed for the mundane crime of burning fossil energy.


 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Affordable Healthcare - a Modest Proposal

 As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am a great fan of President Obama and think his Affordable Care Healthcare program is long overdue for this country. I would have preferred a single payer system rather than continuing to finance insurance companies making profits off sick people, but this is better than the way it was. The rollout however of the online registration was embarrassingly full of glitches. On researching this, I learned that the companies they contracted for this project (Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH) (Edward Snowden’s company!), CGI Federal Inc (NYSE:GIB), the Mitre Corporation, Quality Software Service Inc., Genova Technology and Experian plc (LON:EXPN)) may have used the wrong approaches for such a web site intended to serve perhaps millions of people and to interface with Medicare, Medicaid, etc. And of course the companies have either not responded to requests for information or pointed fingers and complained that they had done what was requested and it was the fault of the other partners. One major problem with all government contract work is that the software is always proprietary information and not open source, and I would be blown over if this were not also the case for this project.
   It is well known that making  software “open source” has been a real revolution in the software industry which has led to the amazing platforms of e.g. Amazon, Google, Twitter and Facebook, where the code is immediately available for the thousands of open source developers to work on.  Unfortunately Federal government software will probably never be open source, even in this case, and this means that the Healthcare site problems may persist much longer than necessary. 
   In lieu of an open source solution to this problem, let me make a modest proposal. Where is the best concentration of software developers perhaps in the entire world? Of course it is in the U.S. National Security Agency. Why does not the administration simply have the NSA immediately put its best web developers to work on repairing and making the healthcare web services run better in order to truly well serve the American population. I feel this is as  important a task as gathering and searching through everyone’s telephone calls, emails and Google searches, and would take just a small fraction of the immense resources already present in this Agency. 

Just a thought.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:
Germany, a northern European country not known for sunny days, has decided to get 80% of its power from decentralized renewable sources, such as roof top solar, by the year 2050.  This July Germany produced  3% of its total energy from solar power, more than it received from wind power. A simple feed in tariff policy of giving contracts for payments to solar energy producers was mainly responsible for this. Since Germany has not yet developed sufficient storage facilities and a smart grid, they export excess power to other countries. In 2012, Germany produced 22 gigawatts of solar electricity per hour which is equivalent to 20 nuclear power plants at full capacity. 


The Bad:
A recent NOAA report has shown an almost linear inverse correlation between the productivity of outdoor workers and ambient temperature, beginning at around 79oF. This correlation was not included previously in any of the economic climate models. This is relevant since at the current path of carbon emissions, the Tropics and much of the Northern hemisphere will experience a rise in summer temperatures such that “...large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years..” In fact the authors predict that “…by century’s end, extreme temperatures of up to 122°F would threaten most of the central, southern, and western U.S. Even worse, Houston and Washington, DC could experience temperatures exceeding 98°F for some 60 days a year.” The renowned climatologist, James Hanson, has even predicted that his predictions to Congress in 1988 were too optimistic and that much of the earth will become uninhabitable due to climate warming. In fact, a recent model of habitable zones around exoplanets has led to the startling conclusion that, with a ten fold increase in CO2 from pre-industrial levels,  the entire earth itself will become an uninhabitable wet greenhouse planet. 
  I would call all of this “Bad” and we have not even scratched the surface of the worst projections from the climatologists. 

The Ugly:
President Obama’s “Organizing for Action” has delivered “Unicorn Trophies” to 135 Climate deniers in Congress which honored these people for "exceptional extremism and ignoring the overwhelming  judgment of science." The Congress people include, among many other highly qualified  deniers, the dinosaur flatulence theorizer, Rep. Dana  Rohrabacher and the inimitable (enough said!) Rep. Michelle Bachman. The League of Conservation Voters has honored Rep. Darrell Issa with a “Climate Denier Award” due to his extreme anti-science views. And believe it or not, the famous denier, Rep. Lamar Smith, is Chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. 
 A very recent proposal to name hurricanes after Congressional Climate Deniers is inventive and  noteworthy and the accompanying video really makes the point dramatically. And finally, for those of you who have already digested your meal, I copy  below some of the very words from this so-called “Zombie Congress” which led to all these awards from an article in Think Progress. I have highlighted some of the most interesting comments. 
Enjoy!:



ALABAMA

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL-04): “I fall into the second group of people who believe, as do many very credible scientists, that the earth is currently in a natural warming cycle rather than a man-made climate change. Many scientists believe that natural cycles of warming and cooling have existed since the beginning of Earth. If we take the current models of climate prediction and apply those same models to what actually happened in the last thirty years, the models are shown to be very flawed. In addition, what knowledge we do have of a warming period in the Middle Ages cannot be explained by current models which are focused on greenhouse gas reductions.” [Daily Mountain Eagle Op-Ed, 12/13/10]
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL-06): Co-sponsored H.Res.954, a resolution that stated: “Whereas recent events have uncovered extensive evidence from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England (in this resolution referred to as the ‘CRU’) which involved many researchers across the globe discussing the destruction, altering, and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims.” [H.Res.954, GovTrack, 12/8/09]
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL-05): “I’m also old enough to remember when the same left-wing part of our society was creating a global cooling scare in order to generate funds for their pet projects. So 30-some years ago the big scare was global cooling, and once they drained that [topic], they shifted to global warming. So I’m approaching the issue with a healthy degree of skepticism. If the evidence is there to prove it, then so be it.” [Science Insider, 2/9/11]
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): Senator Jeff Sessions was more than surprised when informed by Senator Barbara Boxer that roughly 98 percent of climate scientists accepted that anthropogenic warming was real and serious — he was outraged:
SESSIONS: Madam Chairman, I am offended by that, I’m offended by that — I didn’t say anything about the scientists. I said the data shows [sic] it is not warming to the degree that a lot of people predicted, not close to that much…
BOXER: The conclusion that you’re coming to is shared by 1-2 percent of the scientists. You shouldn’t be offended by that. That’s the fact.
SESSIONS: I don’t believe that’s correct.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): “Global warming continues to be an issue of significant debate in Congress and throughout the scientific community. In addition, important scientific research is ongoing as there are still many questions that must be answered before we take steps to address this issue. For example, is the climate change phenomenon cyclical or is it a function of manmade pollutants, or both? I believe the science must be firmly grounded before we take any actions that could seriously cripple many sectors of our economy.” [Shelby Letter, 12/14/07]


ALASKA

Rep. Don Young (R-AK-At Large): “I think this is the biggest scam since the Teapot Dome.” [KTVA Interview, 2/18/10]

ARIZONA

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ-08): “While I am concerned about the potential effects of global warming, I have yet to see clear and convincing evidence that it exists beyond historical fluctuations.” [AZ Central Candidate Survey, 2008]
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04): “Further, “global warming” now known as “climate change” is likely not in our control in any event. Historical records clearly demonstrate vast temperature swings long before Man arrived, from temperate zones in Alaska to ice ages in New York.” [AZ Central Candidate Survey, 2012]
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): Sen. John McCain, up for re-election, for years during the Bush presidency argued that global warming pollution was an existential threat that required a strict cap-and-trade carbon market. Now that Obama is president and climate policy is a real possibility, McCain sounds and acts like a global warming denier: “I do not support the cap-and-trade energy reform legislation under consideration in Congress. There are dramatic environmental changes happening in the arctic region – whether one believes they are man-made or natural.” McCain now opposes the cap-and-trade policy he once championed, and opposes the EPA finding that greenhouse gases are pollution. [ThinkProgress, 9/13/10]

ARKANSAS

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-01): He also fielded a question regarding climate change and President Obama’s environmental agenda. “There’s not sound science to support some of the initiatives that the President, I think, is committed to. We know that some of the research was faulty and it drove a lot of the agenda for a long time. and then it turned out there were some questions about the validity of that research.” “I don’t see a lot of the green initiatives that are being talked about being supported by scientific data, but more supported by political agendas.” [Talk Business Arkansas, 1/27/13]
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-02): “I am not convinced that the problem of global warming is what the scientists say it is. Particularly in light of the recent research, that demonstrates that there are a lot of shenanigans going on with the data.” [THV 11, 4/12/10]
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR): “Well I think that we’ve got perhaps climate change going on. The question is what’s causing it. Is man causing it, or, you know, is this a cycle that happens throughout the years, throughout the ages. And you can look back some of the previous times when there was no industrialization, you had these different ages, ice ages, and things warming and things. That’s the question.” [ThinkProgress, 9/13/10]


CALIFORNIA

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA-42): Co-sponsored H.Res.954, a resolution that stated: “Whereas recent events have uncovered extensive evidence from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England (in this resolution referred to as the ‘CRU’) which involved many researchers across the globe discussing the destruction, altering, and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims.” [H.Res.954, GovTrack, 12/8/09]
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA-10): One of the opponents, Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, said he wants guarantees that the views of global warming skeptics will be taught. “Some wouldn’t view them as skeptics. Some would view them as the right side of the issue. We don’t have complete factual information yet. From what I have seen the Earth has heated and cooled on its own for centuries. I don’t know that there’s anything that is a direct cause of that right now, but we can do a better job of cleaning up our planet.” [Mercury News, 1/1/09]
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA-50): Hunter ridiculed the notion that climate change needs to be addressed by Congress. “Nobody really knows the cause,” he said. “The earth cools, the earth warms…It could be caused by carbon dioxide or methane. Maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2… Thousands of people die every year of cold, so if we had global warming it would save lives…We ought to look out for people. The earth can take care of itself.” [East Coast Magazine, 8/25/09]
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49): “One of the difficulties in examining the issue of the climate change and greenhouse gases is that there is a wide range of scientific opinion on this issue and the science community does not agree to the extent of the problem or the critical threshold of when this problem is truly catastrophic.” [Project Vote Smart Issue Position, 1/1/12]
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01): It’s “bad science.” It’s “Al Gore.” It’s a “naturally occurring cycle.” You should “look at the numbers.” [Grist, 11/5/12]
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA-04): “We’re all told of course the debate is over and that all the scientists agree… and as all of you know, that is succinctly not the case.” [International Conference on Climate Change, 5/9/09]
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-22): “However, scientists admit that they cannot be sure whether the Earth’s temperature is rising due to cyclical warming and cooling processes, or whether and how much humans are influencing it.” [Project Vote Smart Issue Position, 1/1/12]
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48): “Too often, when congress is asked to pass environmental legislation, the legislation is based on emotional junk science rather than data based on reproducable, rigorous, tested, peer-reviewed results. In no area has this been more obvious than climate change. Because the Kyoto Treaty and much of the suggested environmental legislation would decimate jobs in southern California, constituents may be interested to learn of the growing scientific consensus that global warming is not manmade, if it is in fact even occurring.” [Rohrabacher Website]

COLORADO

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-06): “Climate change is naturally occurring. What influence do we have over that, we certainly need to look into, but that’s subject to debate.” [The Atlantic, 6/15/12]
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO-04): “I think the climate is changing, but I don’t believe humans are causing that change to the extent that’s been in the news.” [ThinkProgress, 9/21/10]
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-05): Lamborn said there are “a lot of contentious facts and claims about global warming and whether it is man made.” However, he said there is “not much unanimity” about it. At that statement many audience members commented that 98 percent was “pretty unanimous.” Lamborn said he spoke to a scientist who believes that global warming is man-made and “should materialize” 50-100 years from now. He said there are issues that need dealing with now. Eckler asked again if he would listen to the evidence claiming global warming is here and now. After more back-and-forth on the issue, Lamborn said, “I think we’ve beaten this horse to a pulp. I’m listening to all sides.” [The Mountain Mail, 6/3/13]
Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO-03): Scott Tipton (R-CO) conceded that climate change exists, but argued that it’s caused by natural climate cycles rather than humans. “Here in the state of Colorado as our tree rings demonstrate, we’ve had droughts long before there were very many people here,” the Tea Party freshman argued. Acknowledging that humans can affect the climate is futile because it would “divide America,” said Tipton. [ThinkProgress, 8/23/12]

FLORIDA

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25): “I know there’s a lot of money to be made on the bandwagon of global warming, you can make movies, documentaries, get a lot of research money – and that’s okay, I love capitalism.” “My fear is using the bandwagon of global warming to have Congress act on some knee-jerk reaction which will please some editorialists, will hurt our economy, will not do anything to help us in the future.” [Mario Diaz-Balart Video, 9/25/07]
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL-08): Co-sponsored H.Res.954, a resolution that stated: “Whereas recent events have uncovered extensive evidence from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England (in this resolution referred to as the ‘CRU’) which involved many researchers across the globe discussing the destruction, altering, and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims.” [H.Res.954, GovTrack, 12/8/09]
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): “I don’t think there’s the scientific evidence to justify it,” Rubio said. Asked whether he accepts the scientific evidence that the global climate is undergoing change, he responded, “The climate is always changing. The climate is never static. The question is whether it’s caused by man-made activity and whether it justifies economically destructive government regulation.” [Tampa Tribune, 2/13/10]




GEORGIA

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10): In June 2009, Broun received a standing ovation when he said that global warming is a “hoax”. He said “Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA-09): When asked if he believes human activity is contributing to climate change, Representative Collins answered “no.” [Project Vote Smart Political Courage Test, 2012]
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11): Co-filed a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the endangerment find that said: “Climategate reveals a serious lack of integrity in the underlying data and models, such that it is doubtful that any process can be trusted until the data and models are validated and their integrity assured.” [Petition to EPA, 12/23/09]
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-01): “We have a moral duty to be good stewards of the environment but growing the government’s coffers and killing jobs based on questionable science is a bridge too far.” [Kingston Website, 6/30/10]
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA-06): “This decision goes against all common sense, especially considering the many recent revelations of errors and obfuscation in the allegedly ‘settled science’ of global warming.” [Republican Study Committee]
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-03): Co-filed a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the endangerment find that said: “Climategate reveals a serious lack of integrity in the underlying data and models, such that it is doubtful that any process can be trusted until the data and models are validated and their integrity assured.” [Petition to EPA, 12/23/09]
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “Science has shown us that there has been a gradual warming of the earth over the last 50 years. What is not as clear is whether the cause for this warming is man-made emissions, a cyclical warming of the planet, or a combination of both. Given the uncertainty in the science behind climate change, I believe that we should take proactive steps, both personally and as a nation, to reduce our emissions footprint.” [Project Vote Smart Issue Position, 1/1/11]

IDAHO

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID): “While there is no dispute over the fact that the Earthís climate has changed many times over the planet’s history, the underlying cause of these climactic shifts is ultimately not well-understood and is a matter of vigorous debate.” [Crapo Website]

ILLINOIS

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13): During an interview with Illinois Public Media radio, a constituent asked Representative Rodney Davis what he planned to do to combat climate change, and he responded that “global warming has stopped 16 years ago.” He then went on the say that climate change is real but the debate is over whether or not it is manmade or natural. [Illinois Public Media, 10/16/12]
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14): “The greatest impact on our climate clearly is the sun, and we have very little impact on the sun and how much energy and temperature the sun is sending to the earth. We have seen clearly over thousands of years that at different times more energy has come through and different times less energy has come through, and that variation has impacted climate change. Over the thousands of years that’s been recorded we’ve had both colder times and warmer times. It happens to be that we’ve recently come out of a warmer time and now actually we’re headed in to a little bit of a colder time, the impact of the sun is much different than impact that we could have had.” [Illinois Review, 12/2/09]
Peter Roskam (R-IL-06): Roskam drew the ire of the crowd by calling global warming junk science. [College of DuPage Courier, 10/20/06]
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-15): During his introductory remarks at a House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing, Representative Shimkus read from the bible to prove that global warming will not destroy the earth because only God can decide when the earth will end: “The earth will end only when God declares it is time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” [House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Hearing, 3/25/2009]

INDIANA

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN-08): “The data does not support the premise that carbon dioxide emissions are playing a significant role in the world temperature variations. The temperature of the Earth has been changing over centuries with warmer and colder periods throughout history.” [Campaign Website, 10/28/2010]
Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN-04): “The link between manmade carbon emissions and measureable harm to the environment is a topic currently under debate. While there may exist a link, the current debate continues.” [Project Vote Smart Issue Position]
Rep. Todd Young (R-IN-09): Mr. Young, the Indiana Republican nominee trying to unseat Mr. Hill for the Ninth Congressional District seat, strongly opposes cap and trade and other unilateral measures to combat global warming. He says he is uncertain what is causing the observed heating of the planet, adding that it could be caused by sunspots or the normal cycles of nature. “The science is not settled,” he said in an interview in his headquarters in Bloomington, Ind. And he said that given the scientific uncertainty, it was not wise to make major changes in the nation’s energy economy to reduce carbon emissions. [New York Times, 10/20/10]
Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN): At a candidate forum Saturday, the Republicans running for the U.S. Senate dismissed the threat of global warming, as well. Former U.S. Rep. John Hostettler called it “junk science.” State Sen. Marlin Stutzman called it a “manufactured controversy.” Former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats discussed this year’s snowstorm in Washington, D.C., ignoring scientists who say global warming causes intensified weather consistent with such a snowstorm. [Evansville Courier & Press, 4/18/10]

IOWA

Rep. Steve King (R-IA-04): “There are a couple of German engineers that took that theory apart and proved it wrong in a lab. I’ve read through that, but I’d have to go back to school for a half a year or a year to tell you I followed every bit of their rationale. But the presumption of the Greenhouse Effect is at least, from what I saw, was pretty convincingly rebutted.” [ThinkProgress, 8/18/10]
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “But the scientific aspect that I’m still reserving judgment on is the extent to which it’s manmade or natural. And it’s reasonable, considering that there’s at least a natural factor in it, because historically, and you can go to the core drillings in the glaciers to get proof of this, that we’ve had decades and decades, and maybe even centuries of periods of time when there’s been a tremendous rise in temperature, and then a tremendous fall in temperature. And all you’ve got to do is look at the little ice age of the mid-last millennia as an example. And so we’ve got to single out what’s natural and what’s manmade before you can make policy.” [Grist, 8/26/09]

KANSAS

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-02): “I cosponsored a res. overturning an EPA rule that says man-made greenhouse gas emissions are a danger to public health.” [Twitter, 3/3/10]
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-04): “Carbon dioxide is a basic building block of our existence. Regulating that is the height of arrogance.” [ThinkProgress, 3/15/11]
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS): “There’s no question there’s some global warming, but I’m not sure what it means. A lot of this is condescending elitism.” [Topeka Capital-Journal, 8/24/10]

KENTUCKY

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04): Rep. Thomas Massie challenged President Obama to roll out the proof that humans have played a hand in climate change. Mr. Massie, a Kentucky Republican, said he was “disappointed” that the president in his second inaugural address blamed droughts on “human activity” and accused some of “denying the evidence of scientists.” “As somebody with a science-type background, I took offense at that,” Mr. Massie said during a panel meeting billed as “Conversations With Conservatives.” “I would challenge him to show us the linkage — the undeniable linkage — between droughts and the change of weather, and some kind of human activity.” [Washington Times Inside Politics Blog, 1/22/13]
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY-01): “Misrepresenting scientific research to support one’s own personal beliefs, particularly on an international stage, is dangerous, disingenuous and simply unacceptable. I call on Mr. Gore to come clean about the real science surrounding climate change and let the American people come to their own conclusions on global warming.” [Whitfield Website, 12/15/09]
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “As recently as 30-35 years ago we were worried about the globe getting too cold,” McConnell said. “I suppose over decades and maybe centuries weíll figure this out,” he said. [Courier Journal, 7/6/12]
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “[Scientists] are making up their facts to fit their conclusions. They’ve already caught them doing this.” [Rally for the Republicans, 1/30/10]

LOUISIANA

Re3p. Rodney Alexander (R-LA-05): Introduced H.Res.954, a resolution that stated: “Whereas recent events have uncovered extensive evidence from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England (in this resolution referred to as the ‘CRU’) which involved many researchers across the globe discussing the destruction, altering, and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims.” [H.Res.954, GovTrack, 12/8/09]
Rep. William Cassidy (R-LA-06): Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) suggested that the cause of climate change “could just be a shift on the axis,” rather the increase in carbon dioxide pollution linked to climate change. [ThinkProgress, 12/16/11]
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA-04): “Quietly released scientific report without fanfare. Global warming, to the the extent that it ever existed, halted 16 years ago. So, what is Washington controlled by the radical environmental agenda?” [Fleming Facebook Post, 10/14/12]
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA-01): Asked whether he worries that he could be wrong, Scalise cited an “increasing number of scientists who are raising major questions about the global warming theories.” Those doubts, he said, were only accelerated by the release of leaked e-mail messages last month from a leading climate scientist who suggested theories running counter to the view that human pollutants are causing global warming be eliminated or downplayed. [Times Picayune, 12/15/09]
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA): “I do not think the science clearly supports global warming theory.” [KLFY, 10/28/10]

MARYLAND

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-01): Harris said there is a recent warming trend, but “I don’t understand or know, or I don’t believe anybody really knows, how to place that in historic perspective.” He also said human contribution to climate change “is also a complex question,” and that even if humans are contributing, “can you change that contribution given that we burn a lot of carbon-based products to create the energy we need to run the economy of the world?” [Politico, 11/30/12]

MICHIGAN

Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI-01): Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are contributing to climate change, Rep. Benishek has said that climate change is “all baloney” and “just some scheme.” Pointing to his background as a general surgeon, Benishek claims he’s “a scientist” who has the expertise to know that climate change is “unproven science stuff.” [LCV Dirty Dozen, 7/24/12]
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI-04): “What is the science of climate change? What can it definitively tell us? Can it say who is responsible for it? Can it tell us what impact we can have on it, and if we can, what are the results—both positive and negative? From what I have read, there remains a great deal of uncertainty with regard to the scientific evidence about climate change.” [Opening Statement of Ranking Member Dave Camp, Hearing on Scientific Objectives for Climate Change Legislation]
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02): “Today’s global warming doomsayers simply lack the scientific evidence to support their claims. A host of leaders in the scientific community have recognized that the argument for drastic anthropogenic global warming is no longer based on science, but is being driven by irrational fanaticism.” [VoteMI. Org]
Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI-10): “There is little doubt that the world’s climate is changing, because the climate has always changed. Just ask the dinosaurs or remember the ice age and how huge glaciers melting and moving formed our Great Lakes. The question is whether the current climate change is human-induced.” [Miller, 12/14/09]
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-08): “Now, the disturbing disclosure that climate-science researchers may have altered temperature data to justify their desired results creates a new set of concerns about this job-killing legislation. Our committee has a responsibility to fully investigate these alarming reports of altered data and to determine if the results are completely accurate and based on true science.” [Project Vote Smart, Rogers Statement, 12/3/09]
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-06): “Are any of those incurred costs actually going to impact the rising temperature under debate? The answer was no. No matter what we did between now and 2050 it, it, there was no real science to verify that it would reduce the temperature rise that some predicted. And that’s why we do need hearings [on the Climategate emails].” [ThinkProgress, 11/20/10]
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI-07): “I read scientists, editors…an equal number at the very least that say just the opposite that this is something that’s gone on for eons, that we go through these cycles.” [Town Hall, 7/25/08]

MINNESOTA

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN-06): “Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that — that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth.” [Floor Speech, 4/22/09]
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03): When asked if human beings are contributing to global warming, Paulsen said he wasn’t smart enough to know whether that’s true or not. [Minnesota Public Radio, 8/16/08]

MISSISSIPPI

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS-03): “I don’t believe that the science is at all settled on man-made global warming.” [Mississippi State University Event, 11/2/12]
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS): “Science shows that there is an increase of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. But it has not been compellingly proven that mankind is responsible for the rise in atmospheric CO2, nor is it clear what impact CO2 has on Earth’s temperatures.” [Wicker Website, 12/14/09]

MISSOURI

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-03): Luetkemeyer’s legislation would prohibit U.S. contributions to the IPCC, which is nothing more than a group of U.N. bureaucrats that supports man-made claims on global warming that many scientists disagree with. Meanwhile, our very own Environmental Protection Agency recently reported that we are undergoing a period of worldwide cooling. [Luetkemeyer Website]
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04): “Enjoying another beautiful global warming day in Missouri! Rep. Skelton and the UN Summit need to quit their dist. of wealth for a hoax.” [Twitter, 12/15/09]
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO-02): “The field of climate science is in its relative infancy and it appears that some within the public policy world have made dubious assessments of scientific information in order to further their own political agenda. Our policy response to this dilemma should not be based on inconsistent and unsound science or driven by the fear of a supposed catastrophe.” [Riverfront Times, 5/29/13]
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): “There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.” [Human Events, 4/29/09]

MONTANA

Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-At Large): In a radio interview with Montana Public Radio, Daines admits the climate is changing but questions the impacts by man, that there is “significant debate here,” the “jury is still out,” and brings up the debate of sun/solar cycles versus greenhouse gases. [Montana Public Radio, 12/2/12]

NEBRASKA

Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE-02): “There’s an argument here on the true impact of man… Is it really 97 to 3? I don’t think so.” [Esquire, 8/7/12]
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE): Asked about man-made climate change, Fischer immediately said, ‘I certainly don’t support cap-and-trade.’ She said she believes in weather change, but she said she does not believe man has a huge impact on the climate. [The Independent, 8/25/12]
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE): “There is a significant debate as to what role man plays in warming of the climate.” [Nebraska Senate Debate, 8/23/08]
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE-03): In an interview with Nebraska Citizen, Rep. Smith was asked if he believes in global warming, to which he responded “No!” The reporter said that Rep. Smith believes many of the “facts” about global warming are in dispute. [Nebraska Citizen, 11/22/05]

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): Asked if she believed in climate change, she said, “there is scientific evidence that demonstrates there is some impact from human activities. However I don’t think the evidence is conclusive.” [Sea Coast Online, 9/30/10]

NEW JERSEY

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ-05): “The real question that still exists in a lot of people’s minds, experts and non-experts alike, on the area of global warming and what role the government should have in this realm… I’ve heard a number of experts on both sides of the equation on this issue and to me the evidence, the question is still out there.” [North Jersey Q&A, 9/30/10]
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ-07): “The disclosure of emails from the CRU is very troubling and merits a thorough and transparent investigation. Clearly there is a strong appearance that important scientific research may have been tainted by politics.” [Lance Website, 12/3/09]
Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ-03): Many of Runyan’s views align with those of the national Republican Party, such as “getting government out of the way,” being hesitant about the science of global warming and prohibiting gay marriage. He also said he is against cap-and-trade, a system that would put limits on the amount of carbon companies can produce, which he believes would be disastrous by raising energy prices. [Press of Atlantic City, 3/17/10]

NEW MEXICO

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM-02): “I think we ought to take a look at whatever the group is that measures all this, the IPCC, they don’t even believe the crap… why should the rest of be penalized in our standard of living for something that can’t be validated?” [Politico, 8/18/10]

NEW YORK

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY-11): “I have been one of the guys who have been skeptical of global warming from the beginning. The jury is obviously still out on it. We see nothing but conflicting reports from across the globe. I’m not sure, I’m not a scientist.” [Molinari Republican Club Debate, 3/13/10]

NORTH CAROLINA

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05): North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx referenced books by climate-change skeptics and lamented that some environmentalists “think that we, human beings, have more impact on the climate and the world than God does.” [Huffington Post, 4/7/11]
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC-08): When asked if human activity is contributing to climate change, he responded no. [Project Vote Smart Political Courage Survey]
Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC-03): “However, there is substantial disagreement regarding the extent of this warming, whether it’s caused by human activity or simply nature taking its course, and what solutions, if any, should be implemented. The bottom line is that the scientific community does not speak with one voice on this issue.” [Crystal Coast Tea Party, Jones Letter, 12/17/09]
Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC-09): While the Earth is currently warming, the real question that should be asked is, “Can we do anything about it?” The answer is very little, since this cycle was occurring prior to the first human civilizations.” [Charlotte Observer, 2/7/06]
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said he is skeptical of recent reports showing a threat of rising sea levels in his home state. [ThinkProgress, 9/13/10]

NORTH DAKOTA

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND-At Large): When asked if he believed that human activity is contributing to climate change, Mr. Cramer answered “no” and went on to say: “The manipulation of free markets by economic policy disguised as environmental policy based on inconclusive science should not be tolerated. Free people producing energy other free people want and are willing to pay for should be the core of U.S. energy policy.” [Project Vote Smart Political Courage Survey]
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND): “Well, the science shows that there’s warming. There’s different opinions of exactly what’s causing it.” [Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing]

OHIO

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH-08): “George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.” [ABC News Transcript, 4/19/09]
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-01): Climategate is “just another example of many in the press, and many in the academic/scientific community having bought into the whole global warming/climate change ‘religion,’ no matter what the facts are.” [Chabot, 12/16/09]
Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07): “It is clear that science has not been able to document what is happening and if human activity is causing a problem or not. Many scientists are on both sides of this issue and the proponents of climate change have not substantiated their findings based on sound science.” [League of Women Voters 2010 Voters Guide]
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH-06): In another, more accurate, sense, Johnson is a man with a degree in computer science who is awash in oil and gas money and denies climate science, asserting in 2011, “I am not an alarmist that believes that greenhouse gas emissions coming from the coal industry are causing major problems.” [ThinkProgress, 6/6/13]
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15): Disagrees with the statement: “Man-made global warming is a scientific fact.” [NRDC Action Fund, 8/30/10]
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12): GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi of Genoa Township doesn’t think there is a consensus among scientists about whether global warming is proven. [Columbus Dispatch, 12/20/09]
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): “When you analyze all the data, there is a warming trend according to science. But the jury is out on the degree of how much is manmade.” [Columbus Dispatch, 7/25/10]

OKLAHOMA

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK-01): He downplayed the need for more climate research by noting that atmospheric temperatures have not risen over the last decade, and said temperatures coincide more with solar activity than with man-made factors. “Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago,” he said. “Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles.” He noted the Medieval Warm Period that happened “long before cars, power plants and the industrial revolution.” And he noted the Little Ice Age, which also happened irrespective of human activity.” Even climate change alarmists admit that the number of hurricanes hitting the U.S. and the number of tornado touchdowns have been on a slow decline for over 100 years,” he said. [The Hill, 6/11/13]
Rep. James Lankford (R-OK-05): “This whole global warming myth will be exposed as what it really is — a way of control more than anything else. And that generation will be ticked.” [Edmond Sun, 2/16/10]
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-02): “I haven’t seen the reports that would get me to believe that anything’s different [with regards to climate change] than the patterns that we had that we’ve gone through through the time of records.” [ThinkProgress, 8/9/13]
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): “I’ve read the basic scientific studies, and a lot of it doesn’t add up for me.” [Norman Transcript, 8/21/12]
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): “I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation’s top climate scientists.” [Inhofe, 7/9/03]

PENNSYLVANIA

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA-11): “You know there’s arguments on both sides. I’m not convinced that there’s scientific evidence that proves that. I believe there’s some that can also argue the opposite,” he said. [Citizens Voice, 10/17/10]
Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA-15): “I am concerned that world leaders and scientists are gathering in Copenhagen this week to potentially develop global climate treaties at a time when the international community is questioning the legitimacy of leading climate scientists.” “Unfortunately, the revelation of these deceitful emails has tarnished the credibility of significant scientific research.” [Dent Website, 12/7/09]
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA-18): “I think it is dangerous science for Congress to declare climate theory a fact.” [ThinkProgress, 3/15/11]
Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA-12): Keith Rothfus responded: “I do not believe it’s man-made and I am not convinced that it is a fact. I think the science is still out. I think for the last 15 years we haven’t had any warming.” to the question: “Do you believe that global warming which is now referred to as climate change is a fact, and if so do you believe that it is man-made? [Roundtable Interview, 9/8/10]
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA-09): Today, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) offered a new reason not to take action on global warming: it’s cold in Copenhagen, where the UN Climate Change Conference is currently taking place. [Media Matters, 12/15/09]
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA-05): “In the debate and most of the debate of the majority party here, it’s not so much based on real science as political science or even, to some degree, science fiction. And so, to look at why this–and I looked at every piece of legislation in terms of cost benefits. And when we look at the benefits of this, I think human activity, it’s acknowledged, does contribute towards carbon dioxide emissions. But it’s less than 4 percent. To put that into perspective, forest fires, wildfires contribute 10 percent of CO2 emissions. And so not even with the debate of, you know, are we warming the Earth or not warming the Earth, there’s a lot of smart folks out there that are publishing research or earning their dissertations based on debating that science. But what the experts agree upon, the researchers agree is, human activity is less than 4 percent contributes towards CO2 emissions.” [Congressional Record, 6/2/09]
Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA): “My view is: I think the data is pretty clear. There has been an increase in the surface temperature of the planet over the course of the last 100 years or so. I think it’s clear that that has happened. The extent to which that has been caused by human activity I think is not as clear. I think that is still very much disputed and has been debated.” [ThinkProgress Video, 10/8/10]

SOUTH CAROLINA

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-03): “The problem with the agency’s finding is that it relies on questionable science and ignores vigorous dissention among the scientific community. Even if we set aside the abundance of scientific dissention when it comes to the EPA’s endangerment findings or the supposed effects of CO2 on climate, the EPA’s regulations will not reduce CO2 enough to have any meaningful effect.” [Duncan, 2012]
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC-04): “Global warming has not been proven to the satisfaction of the constituents I seek to serve.” [Go Upstate, 5/23/10]
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC-05): “Energy independence, green technology, and innovation is something we should pursue as a nation. However, we shouldn’t seek to accomplish that by taxing people based on questionable science. Neither should we ignore domestic energy resources — coal, natural gas, oil — because of baseless claims regarding global warming.” [Mulvaney Website]
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC-02): When asked if he believes that human activity is contributing to climate change, Rep. Wilson answered “no.” [Project Vote Smart Political Courage Survey]



SOUTH DAKOTA

Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “I guess the answer to the question is I’m not sure,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told Politico when asked his views on climate science. “I think there’s a real mix of data on that. “Obviously, I think the question you have to ask yourself, one, is it occurring?” Thune added. “And even if you say ‘yes’ to that, two, is human activity contributing to it? And even if you say ‘yes’ to that, then three is what are we going to do about it and at what cost?” [Politico, 10/25/10]

TENNESSEE

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06): “The far left-wing elements of this administration foresee a near future with carbon regulated as a pollutant and heavily taxed to discourage consumption and generate revenue. We must resist all of these radical approaches all geared to raise energy prices on American families and businesses.” [Project Vote Smart Issue Position]
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07): “Also absent from the discussion in Copenhagen is the climate-gate scandal. Recently leaked e-mails reveal climate scientists have a long track record of manipulating data to hide scientific evidence that contradicts the global warming establishment. And why? To bully citizens and lawmakers into supporting job-killing energy tax schemes. This scandal raises serious questions about the Democrat’s climate control plans, questions that deserve a transparent investigation, not a rush to judgment by the bureaucrats in Copenhagen.” [Weekly Republican Address, 12/11/09]
Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-TN-02): On his website, he lists 5 scientists that claim global warming is not real, including how global warming is “the greatest scam in history.” [Duncan Website]
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03): When asked his opinion about global warming in a candidate debate Thursday night, 3rd District Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, said this: “I think we ought to take Al Gore, put him on an iceberg, and put him way out there.” [Times Free Press, 7/5/12]
Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN-01): “Many believe greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the gradual warming of our planet and changing of our climate. While there are many questions surrounding the science of the issue, it seems to me like we could develop a solution that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions without inflicting catastrophic damage on our economy.” [Project Vote Smart Issue Position, 1/1/11]

TEXAS

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX-06): “You’re not just off a little, you’re totally wrong,” said Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the leading Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as he challenged Gore’s conclusion that carbon dioxide emissions cause rising global temperatures. Barton and Gore’s exchange grew testy at one point — Barton demanding that Gore get to the point and Gore responding that he would like time to answer without being interrupted. “Global warming science is uneven and evolving,” Barton said. [MSNBC, 3/21/07]
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26): “My opinion, for what it is worth, is that the science behind global temperature changes is not settled.” [Subcommittee on Energy and Power Hearing, 3/8/11]
Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31): “Global warming is simply a chicken-little scheme to use mass media and government propaganda to convince the world that destruction of individual liberties and national sovereignty is necessary to save mankind, and that the unwashed masses would destroy themselves without the enlightened global dictatorship of these frauds.” [Carter Website]
Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX-11): “Science is never settled… they changed the phraseology because the climate isn’t warming.” [House Floor, 6/29/09]
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX-07): “This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided that the air we exhale, carbon dioxide, is toxic and poses a danger to our well-being… While this blatant power grab is disappointing, the truly alarming part is that the scientific evidence the EPA used to support its conclusion comes directly from United Nations (U.N.) climate data — the same data that were recently found to have been deliberately manipulated to support the global warming movement. When EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the proposed endangerment finding in April, she readily admitted that the agency “relied heavily upon the major findings and conclusions from recent assessments of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” Emails recently made public offer definitive proof of a collective effort among some U.N. scientists to misrepresent climate data in order to foist their political agenda onto the public.” [Culberson, 12/9/09]
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX-27): “Global warming is scare tactic used by groups with a political agenda. While I support protecting the environment, the green agenda pushes it way beyond common sense, with ideas like cap and trade which would destroy American industry.” [Farenthold Website]
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX-17): It is time we stopped putting petty politics based on dubious “agenda-driven, scientific” research ahead of creating more American energy.” [Flores Campaign Website, 12/18/11]
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01): “We’re finding out the world is staying the same or actually cooling.” [Washington News Observer Interview, 12/17/09]
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX-04): “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they’re not basing it on real scientific facts.” [Science Insider, 12/14/11]
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10): Co-sponsored H.Res.954, a resolution that stated: “Whereas recent events have uncovered extensive evidence from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England (in this resolution referred to as the ‘CRU’) which involved many researchers across the globe discussing the destruction, altering, and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims.” [H.Res.954, GovTrack, 12/8/09]
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX-19): “What we have here is a case of formulating scientific findings that back up policy, instead of creating policy that is backed up by legitimate science. Proponents of man-made global warming in Congress will use every opportunity they have to invite witnesses to testify before Congress who only share their point of view. We now have clear evidence of what we knew all along, that there are perhaps thousands of scientists who don’t share these views, and sadly have been the subject of concerted efforts to discourage and suppress their findings from publication.” [Neugebauer, 12/1/09]
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX-22): “The emails that emerge from the University of East Anglia call into question the accuracy of the IPCC data.” [C-SPAN Video, 12/8/09]
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX-02): The consensus has been for some time that global warming, climate change, continues because man is the perpetrator. Now we are beginning to learn that may not be true, that there is not a consensus that there is global warming or climate change. We now have heard about Climategate, where the expert scientists hid emails in England that disagreed with the so-called consensus that there is global warming and global climate change. We have heard now new evidence that even NASA is involved in not revealing evidence that contradicts climate change. [Congressional Record, 12/15/09]
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX-21): “Contrary to the claims of those who want to strictly regulate carbon dioxide emissions and increase the cost of energy for all Americans, there is a great amount of uncertainty associated with climate science. These uncertainties undermine our ability to accurately determine how carbon dioxide has affected the climate in the past. They also limit our understanding of how anthropogenic emissions will affect future warming trends. Further confusing the policy debate, the models that scientists have come to rely on to make climate predictions have greatly overestimated warming. Contrary to model predictions, data released in October from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit show that global temperatures have held steady over the past 15 years, despite rising greenhouse gas emissions. Among the facts that are clear, however, are that U.S. emissions contribute very little to global concentrations of greenhouse gas, and that even substantial cuts in these emissions are likely to have no effect on temperature.” [Smith Op-Ed, 5/19/13]
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX-36): “The new fad thing that’s going through America and around the world. It’s called global warming.” [Stockman Video, 12/3/09]
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13): “Global Warming: Politics or Science? Some scientists believe that the temperature of the Earth is increasing rapidly. Others, such as those at the United Kingdom’s Hadley Center for Climate Studies, say that the Earth’s temperature is not much different now than it was 50 or 100 years ago. The case that man is causing any change in temperature is even more hotly contested.” [Thornberry, 5/14/09]
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “Taxpayer funded research by NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) concerning the warmest years on record has been the subject of dispute and after challenges, has been changed and re-released. What is less known is why the changes were made and what inherent flaws existed in the original data, if any. It is important to understand the reasons behind these alterations and further to avoid suspicion that data was massaged to fit the prescribed theory that global warming is attributable to man-made greenhouse gas emissions.” [Cornyn, 12/16/09]
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “There remains considerable uncertainty about the effect of the many factors that influence climate: the sun, the oceans, clouds, the behavior of water vapor (the main greenhouse gas), volcanic activity, and human activity. Nonetheless, climate-change proponents based their models on assumptions about those factors, and now we know that many of those assumptions were wrong.” [Dallas News Voter Guide]

UTAH

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT-01): “Despite the fact that scientific data underlying the studies of global warming appear to have been manipulated to produce an intended outcome, EPA officials disregarded the contaminated science, calling it little more than a ‘blip on the history of this process.’” [Bishop, 12/8/09]
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-03): Chaffetz lambasts global warming (calling it “a farce”). [Daily Herald, 6/14/08]
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT-02): “The science regarding climate change is anything but settled.” [St. Louis Tribune, 4/13/13]
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “There is also some disagreement among scientists as to whether global warming — regardless of its cause — would result in a net benefit or detriment to life on earth. Scientific studies demonstrate overwhelmingly that humans tend to fare better during warming spells than periods of cooling.” [Hatch Website]

VIRGINIA

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA-07): “If there’s been any constant in human history, it’s been climate change. The real question is the severity of that and the involvement of human causes in all of that.” [ThinkProgress Video, 12/7/09]
Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA-04): “Elected officials need to depend on experts in the field to make determinations on the degree to which our planet is warming, and there is evidence among scientists and researchers pointing in both directions.” [Times Dispatch, 7/4/10]
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-06): “There is no doubt that the earth’s climate is changing. The earth and its climate are dynamic, and have changed throughout history even without human activity. We have reached a point where some experts concur that the earth is once again warming. Regardless of the reason, the debate over climate change should remind us that we should be good stewards of our planet.” [Times Dispatch, 7/4/10]
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09): “[Climate Change] led to the Vikings dominating Europe for several hundred years.” [Climate Change Hearing, 3/8/11]
Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA-05): Hurt said Climategate is “scientists who have given us something that is not true. It is faulty information and it has real consequences in the 5th District, in the loss of jobs and in power bills from Appalachian Power Co.” [Daily Progress, 2/28/10]
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA-02): Does not believe that climate change is caused by human actions. [Hampton Roads, 6/3/10]
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-01): “We must recognize that these climactic cycles of heating and cooling have been going on well before man appeared on earth.” [Times Dispatch, 7/4/10]

WASHINGTON

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA-04): Hastings told the Columbia Basin Herald he understands global warming exists. He said the cause of global warming is the concern. Hastings said he is not convinced people and their actions are the cause of global warming and questions if it is a natural process because the earth has warmed and cooled many times throughout history. [Daily Kos, 2/27/08]
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05): “We believe Al Gore deserves an ‘F’ in science and an ‘A’ in creative writing.” [Whitman Pioneer, 4/9/09]

WEST VIRGINIA

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-02): Despite a widespread scientific consensus, the West Virginia Republican said she’s “not convinced” that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide are leading to global warming that will alter the planet’s climate in ways that could be dangerous. “I’m looking at the studies, and trying to understand it,” Capito said in a phone interview. “But I’m not convinced that the urgencies or the doomsday predictions are factual.” [Charleston Gazette, 4/17/09]
Rep. David McKinley (R-WV-01): Many scientists have disavowed past climate change research, McKinley said, and he’s waiting for valid science to convince him there’s a problem and whether man is to blame. [Charleston Gazette, 10/20/10]

WISCONSIN

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-01): In a December 2009 op-ed during international climate talks, Ryan made reference to the hacked University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit emails. He accused climatologists of a “perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion,” in order to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” Because of spurious claims of conspiracy like these, several governmental and academic inquiries were launched, all of which found the accusations to be without merit. [Ryan Website, 12/11/09]
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI-05): “I think that the science is inconclusive on this… I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do and our lunar, our rovers on Mars have indicated that there has been a slight warming in the atmosphere of Mars and that certainly was not caused by the internal combustion engine.” [Sensenbrenner Website]
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): “I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change,” Johnson said. “It’s not proven by any stretch of the imagination. It’s far more likely that it’s sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time.” [Journal Sentinel]

WYOMING

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY-At Large): “We’re just beginning to explore what mankind’s role is in climate change, so I’d argue that the jury’s still out.” [WyoFile, 11/5/12]
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): When Barrasso was in college and medical school, he said, the “best science at the time said that the Ice Age is coming.” He referred to articles from Newsweek, the New York Times and Time magazine from 1974 and 1975 about the “global cooling” phenomenon. One of the articles said a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable. “It’s fascinating to see the changes in the science,” Barrasso said. “Not that long ago, all the science was pointing in another direction. So all I’m saying is, how much of the wealth of this nation are we going to put at risk for something that may be poorly spent money?” [E&E Daily, 7/16/09]

Tiffany Germain is the Senior Climate/Energy Researcher for CAP Action War Room. Thanks to Ryan Koronowski and Jeff Spross for additional assistance.