Conservative think tanks remain oblivious and impervious to the facts. They cling to global warming denial and delay even in the face of the remarkable advances both in scientific understanding about global warming and in clean technology solutions.
We have seen that the Cato Institute remains intellectually bankrupt on both the urgency of the climate problem and the availability of cost-effective solutions. The Competitive Enterprise Institute actually runs ad campaigns aimed at destroying the climate for centuries.
Now Kenneth Green, resident scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, has weighed in with a speech Monday to the International Oxygen Manufacturers Association (!) betraying a willful ignorance of science and technology.
On the technology front, he simply asserts with no evidence whatsoever:
No matter what you’ve been told, the technology to significantly reduce emissions is decades away and extremely costly.
Gristmill readers know that statement is utterly false. As do all those who believe in science. The latest multi-year synthesis of the peer-reviewed literature by the world’s top scientists and technologists — signed off by every major government including the Bush Administration — says that we have the needed technology today or are in the process of commercializing it and that the economic cost of strong action will be at most 0.1 percent of GDP per year, far less than the cost of inaction.
But Green asserts, “My science is value-neutral — I just try to figure out what the science really says, and look past the hype.” Actually, it is very easy to figure out what the science really says — just read the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But that, of course, would shatter his carefully crafted ideologically-driven worldview.
Instead, Green — how’s that for an ironic name? — distorts climate science with these amazing anti-scientific assertions about “the state of the science”:
- For the last decade, warming peaked, and has recently declined: we’re back to the average temperatures that prevailed in 1978.
That will come as a big shock to the real climate scientists. You can see the NASA dataset at the right (click to enlarge). You can get Hadley’s here. See also my post here. We aren’t even close to 1978 average temperatures. But this is what deniers like AEI do — they just make stuff up.
When they aren’t making stuff up, deniers like Green simply omit the relevant science:
- Theory suggests that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, without feedbacks, would raise temperature by about 1 °C. Humanity has raised CO2 levels thus far by about 35 percent percent from pre-industrial levels …
- Simple forward extrapolation suggests we’ll cause an additional seven-tenths of a °C of heat retention if we reach twice the pre-industrial concentration of GHGs.
You gotta give the boy props for that whopper. Yes, if there were no feedbacks then the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 emissions would be much lower. And if eating too much didn’t cause me to gain weight I could eat all I want. And if my grandmother had wheels …
In fact, the latest observation confirms the actual state of the science that Green can’t stomach — the water-vapor feedback is “strong and positive,” so we face “warming of several degrees Celsius.”
It is a complete waste of time to go through a point by point debunking of Green’s disinformation. But from time to time it is useful to check in on the latest “thinking” by the leading conservative think tanks.
And you can always count on them for some (unintentional) laughs. In this case, it comes from Green’s bio, wherein he lists under “Professional Experience”:
- Executive director, Environmental Literacy Council, 2005-2006
- Expert reviewer, United Nations IPCC, Climate Change 2001, Working Group 1
Wow. If he ran the Environmental Literacy Council, I wonder who they got to run the Environmental Illiteracy Council. Sarah Palin?
And yes as you can see, there is no entrance examination for becoming an expert reviewer for the IPCC, and so as credentials go, it’s right up there with being a member of AARP. Heck even TVMOB (aka The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley”) has a “Nobel prize pin,” because he commented on the IPCC Fourth assessment report, which “earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate. His Nobel prize pin, made of gold recovered from a physics experiment, was presented to him by the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York.”
Take that Kenneth “it isn’t easy being” Green!
This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.