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Posts Tagged ‘Senator James Inhofe’

C-SPAN Video: Sen. Bernie Sanders Quotes This Website in Debate with Sen. Inhofe

Mon ,06/08/2012

Some time ago, the author posted a review of Sen. Inhofe’s book,” The Greatest Hoax” and the Tulsa World published a shorter version of the review. Recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders used quotes from the book review in a Senate debate with Sen. Inhofe. You may find a C-SPAN clip of Bernie Sanders comments below:

Recent research has linked the heat waves, droughts and wildfires we have been experiencing to climate change. It is imperative that Congress take action to mitigate the damage we are doing to the environment. Please contact your representatives about this issue.

(c) 2012 J.C. Moore

Sen. Inhofe and the Three, Maybe Four, Polar Bears

Mon ,15/08/2011

Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Senator from Oklahoma who never met an oil company executive he didn’t like, often proclaims that “Global warming is a hoax.” He often uses his Senate position on the Environment and Public Works Committee to attack climate science and to promote the interests of oil companies. He is upset that the Polar bear was put on the threatened species list, which protects the Polar bear’s habitat. Recently, Senator Inhofe sent a letter to Mary Kendall, the acting inspector general at the U.S. Department of Interior, pushing for further investigation of Dr. Charles Monnett, who Sen. Inhofe blames for the Polar bear being put on the threatened species list, although that is not the case.  It is clear what Sen. Inhofe  was thinking when he proclaimed, “As a result, critical habitat for the Polar bear was designated, which added additional layers of onerous regulations to oil and gas development in 187,000 square miles of land in Alaska.”

The September 2004 issue of National Geographic has pictures of the Polar region taken in 1979 and 2003, which shows that over that period, the extent of the polar sea ice had declined 30%. Polar bears, whose hunting grounds are the sea ice, now have to swim many miles to reach the ice – when in the past they could simply walk onto it. Dr. Monnett, who is studying the Polar bear population, counted four Polar bears who had drowned because they were caught in a storm trying to swim to the sea ice to hunt. He reported that incident in a paper on the declining habitat of the Polar bear, which was published in a peer-reviewed journal. However his survey report only reported on the drowning of three bears, because only three were in the survey area. That is a reasonable explanation for the discrepancy, however, it led to a controversy about him inflating the number of bears in his research article.

Though that happened five years ago, the Interior Department has been put under political pressure to investigate the matter and they are doing so. As Sen. Inhofe wrote in his letter, “As ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), I am committed to ensuring that scientific integrity is upheld in the federal decision-making processes”. If he really means that, perhaps he should wait for the investigation, which is hopefully being done by unbiased scientists under proper procedures, to be completed before jumping to conclusions.

The Polar bear has become a symbol of all we may lose by failing to address our pollution problems adequately. The charges against Dr. Monnett are a politically motivated witch-hunt designed to punish scientists who disagree with Sen. Inhofe’s views on global warming. The polar bears were put on the threatened species list, not because of Dr. Monnett’s work, but because their habitat is clearly declining. As their habitat disappears, so will the Polar bear. It is something man should think about – as our habitat is deteriorating, also.

(c) 2011 J.C. Moore

Is Global Warming a Hoax?

Tue ,10/05/2011

Sen. James Inhofe (R –OK) is famous for his statement, “Global warming is a hoax”. The local Tulsa newspaper often carries letters giving the opposing viewpoint. For example, Corey Cohen, recently wrote, “Sen. Inhofe, please cease your effort to stop EPA’s ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The science of global warming and climate change is obvious and known. For example, excessive CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs heat reflected from the ground and traps that heat in the atmosphere, melting glaciers and ice and snow packs all around the planet. A given molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere has a life of approximately 100 years. The implications are fairly obvious: rising sea levels, loss of fresh water for humans and unpredictable growing seasons for Oklahoma farmers and their winter wheat crops due to atmospheric heating.” (1)

Mr. Jack Williams replied (2) by “pointing out a few facts”  to defend Senator Inhofe’s position:

“1. More than 31,000 scientists signed a petition opposing the concept of man-made global warming.

2. More than 100 top climate scientists have expressed their opposition.

3. A dozen recognized scientists from nine countries who initially were global-warming proponents have changed their opinion and now oppose it in light of recently published information.

4. Earth has undergone many cooling and warming periods during its history.

5. Carbon dioxide constitutes less than 0.1 percent of the atmosphere while water vapor, at least as effective a greenhouse gas as CO2, ranges from about 20 to 100 times its concentration, and is quite variable.

6. There has been no measurable increase in global temperatures during the past decade.

7. The polar bear population dramatically increased during the past decade, as has ice thickness on Antarctica.”

It’s always nice to get alleged facts in a numbered list, where it is possible to check them one by one.

Endorsements: Facts one, two and three, fall into  the category of endorsements, and as with many endorsement, it is not always clear how well qualified those who endorse the position are, or whether the numbers listed are significant. There are about 23 million graduates with degrees in science and engineering. If 31,000 scientists signed the Oregon Petition, that is about 0.13% of those – hardly significant. Even then, the petition appears to be a hoax. In 1989, the Petition was mailed to thousands of Bachelor of Science students. It was formatted to appear as if it came from the National Academy of Science, but the organization quickly responded that the information was misleading and “the petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.”  The mailing collected 17,000 signatures and 14,000 have been added since. Most anyone could sign it, many who signed were misled, and many were not scientists at all, as it is possible to get BS degrees in fields such as journalism, sociology, education, philosophy… (3)

Endorsements that matter: All the major scientific organizations in the world have endorsed a statement such as that of the American Chemical Society,  ”Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth’s climate system is changing rapidly in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosol particles. There is very little room for doubt that observed climate trends are due to human activities. The threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change.” (4) A recent CNN poll found that 97% of scientists who are actively engaged in research in climate science agree that global warming is caused by man. (5) There is clearly a consensus among scientists on the matter and those making policy would be wise to heed it.

Warming and Cooling: Point four is a fact, but it is not relevant to what is happening today. The Earth has in the past had many natural warming and cooling periods but the current warming trend is not part of those. In the  past, ice ages and warmer interglacial periods have occurred in roughly 100,000-year cycles. These are attributed to the Milankovitch cycles. These cycles are small variations in the eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth’s orbit that cause the amount of sunlight the Earth receives to increase and decrease in predictable cycles The cycles predict that a slow cooling trend, which began some 6,000 years ago, will continue for the next 23,000 years. The current warming trend is too rapid and in the wrong direction for the Milankovitch Cycles to be the cause. (6)

Greenhouse gases: Point five is also a fact, but it incorrectly downplays the role of  CO2  in determining the Earth’s temperature. In 1956, G.N. Plass calculated (7) that doubling the concentration of CO2 in the air would cause a 3 to 4 C increase in the Earth’s temperature. Many dismissed his work, as it seemed impossible that CO2, which made up only 0.03% of the air, could have such a large effect on temperature.   However, in 1997, J.T. Kiehl found (8) that, under clear sky conditions, CO2 accounted for 26% of the greenhouse effect – with water vapor accounting for most of the rest. More recent research (9) has confirmed their work, and CO2 has been labeled the “Control Knob” for the Earth’s temperature.  Recent research in the Journal of Climate, covering the last five ice ages, has experimentally confirmed Plass’ work. The Earth is warming because of the greenhouse gases we emit, and research finds the increase in CO2 is the main cause.

Temperature record: Fact six is based on the idea that 1998 was so hot, it couldn’t have been hotter since. However, NASA’s temperature record shows that 2005 and 2010 are tied for the warmest year on record and the last decade has been the hottest in recorded history – and the trend is yet upward (10). There have been attempts to discredit NASA’s temperature data by challenging the accuracy of the temperature recording stations, but a study of that issue by the American Geophysical Union found that claim to be false. (11) NASA has put men on the Moon and brought them home safely, and they certainly should be able to measure temperatures on the Earth correctly.

Polar Bears:  It’s true that the Polar bear population has increased, but not because the Polar ice is increasing. The bears were hunted nearly to extinction, and their population is increasing because restrictions were placed on hunting them from aircraft . Recently, Polar bears have been put on the threatened species list, not because of their numbers, but because their habitat is disappearing.  Satellite measurements of the Arctic sea ice have shown that both the volume and extent of the sea ice has decreased remarkably over the last 30 years. (12) Polar bears are uniquely adapted to live and hunt on the Arctic Sea ice. As it disappears, so will the Polar bears.

Claiming something as “fact” does not make it so. And, even facts can be misleading if the inferences drawn from them are in error.  If Senator Inhofe bases his position on facts such as those listed by Mr. Williams, it is easy to see why he incorrectly thinks global warming is a hoax.

(1)http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/article.aspx?subjectid=62&articleid=20110313_222_G2_CUTLIN933913

(2)http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/article.aspx?subjectid=62&articleid=20110403_62_G2_InhisM784632

(3) http://jcmooreonline.com/2010/01/29/the-oregon-petition-how-can-31000-scientists-be-wrong/

(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#General_science

(5) http://articles.cnn.com/2009-01-19/world/eco.globalwarmingsurvey_1_global-warming-climate-science-human-activity

(6) http://jcmooreonline.com/2010/12/31/science-global-warming-and-the-ice-age-mystery/

(7) http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm#M_25_

(8) http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0477%281997%29078%3C0197:EAGMEB%3E2.0.CO;2

(9) http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract

(10) http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2010november/fig2.gif

(11)http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2009JD013094.shtml

(12) http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/NSIDC-12-10.gif

(c) 2011 J.C. Moore

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