Greenpeace Cofounder Testimony Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Feb 25, 2014

http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&am...

Testimony of Patrick Moore, Ph.D.

Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight

February 25, 2014

 

“Natural Resource Adaptation: Protecting ecosystems and economies”

 

Chairman Whitehouse, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s hearing.

 

In 1971, as a PhD student in ecology I joined an activist group in a church basement in

Vancouver Canada and sailed on a small boat across the Pacific to protest US

Hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We became Greenpeace.

 

After 15 years in the top committee I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to

the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific

perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it

certainly is now.

 

There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the

dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100

years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual

proof, as it is understood in science, exists.

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: “It is extremely likely

that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since

the mid-20th century.” (My emphasis)

 

 “Extremely likely” is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law.

The IPCC defines “extremely likely” as a “95-100% probability”. But upon further

examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical

calculation or statistical analysis. They have been “invented” as a construct within the

IPCC report to express “expert judgment”, as determined by the IPCC contributors.

 

These judgments are based, almost entirely, on the results of sophisticated computer

models designed to predict the future of global climate. As noted by many observers,

including Dr. Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, a

computer model is not a crystal ball. We may think it sophisticated, but we cannot

predict the future with a computer model any more than we can make predictions

with crystal balls, throwing bones, or by appealing to the Gods.

 

Perhaps the simplest way to expose the fallacy of “extreme certainty” is to look at the

historical record. With the historical record, we do have some degree of certainty

compared to predictions of the future. When modern life evolved over 500 million

years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this

time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higherthan today. There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal

relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that

we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were

10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that

human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.

 

Today we remain locked in what is essentially still the Pleistocene Ice Age, with an

average global temperature of 14.5oC. This compares with a low of about 12oC during

the periods of maximum glaciation in this Ice Age to an average of 22oC during the

Greenhouse Ages, which occurred over longer time periods prior to the most recent

Ice Age. During the Greenhouse Ages, there was no ice on either pole and all the land

was tropical and sub-tropical, from pole to pole. As recently as 5 million years ago the

Canadian Arctic islands were completely forested. Today, we live in an unusually cold

period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer

climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other

species. There is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would

bring disastrous results for human civilization.

 

Moving closer to the present day, it is instructive to study the record of average global

temperature during the past 130 years. The IPCC states that humans are the dominant

cause of warming “since the mid-20th century”, which is 1950. From 1910 to 1940

there was an increase in global average temperature of 0.5oC over that 30-year period.

Then there was a 30-year “pause” until 1970. This was followed by an increase of

0.57oC during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no

increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature. This in itself tends

to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to

accelerate during this time.

 

The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the

increase between 1970-2000. Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-

1940 to “human influence.” They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact

only the increase “since the mid-20th century”. Why does the IPCC believe that a

virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by “human

influence”, when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-

1940?

 

It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a 2oC rise in global

average temperature, that humans are a tropical species. We evolved at the equator in

a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these

cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing. It could be said that frost and ice are the

enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to

freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age. It is “extremely likely” that a

warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.

 

I realize that my comments are contrary to much of the speculation about our climate

that is bandied about today. However, I am confident that history will bear me out,

both in terms of the futility of relying on computer models to predict the future, and the fact that warmer temperatures are better than colder temperatures for most

species.

 

If we wish to preserve natural biodiversity, wildlife, and human well being, we should

simultaneously plan for both warming and cooling, recognizing that cooling would be

the most damaging of the two trends. We do not know whether the present pause in

temperature will remain for some time, or whether it will go up or down at some time

in the near future. What we do know with “extreme certainty” is that the climate is

always changing, between pauses, and that we are not capable, with our limited

knowledge, of predicting which way it will go next.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to present my views on this important subject.

 

Attached please find the chapter on climate change from my book, “Confessions of a

Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist”. I would request it

be made part of the record. 

Click below for:

PDF with additional written statements

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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