- Cato University Day Five: Foreign Policy and the Future of the Liberty Movement - July 31, 2015
- Cato University Day Four: The Constitution and U.S. History - July 31, 2015
- Cato University Day Three: Liberty and the American Experience - July 28, 2015
The debate over whether man-caused climate change exists and whether it poses a threat to Earth and its species has intensified in recent decades, extending from the laboratory to the political arena. Proponents insist dangerous anthropogenic climate change is an irrefutable fact, but scientists and climate experts at The Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10), held in Washington, DC from June 11–12, used solid science to prove manmade activity has minimal influence on the climate. The Heartland Institute publishes Environment & Climate News.
ICCC-10 offered attendees numerous expert panels that discussed important developments in the climate change debate. Panel 13, which was composed of physicist Walter Cunningham, Colderside.com owner Tom Wysmuller, and former NASA aerospace technologist Hal Doiron, examined multiple topics, including whether carbon dioxide (CO2) is a valid measure of energy and why there is a positive correlation between CO2 levels and global temperature.
Moderator H. Leighton Steward, the chairman of Plants Need CO2, set the stage by asserting high carbon dioxide levels help crop production and plants adapt to harsher environments, citing a 2013 study.
“We have the facts, folks,” said Steward. “We have to beat them over the head with the facts.”
The panelists clarified the role of carbon dioxide in the environment, building on Steward’s claim CO2 has many benefits and shouldn’t be mischaracterized as a pollutant.
Wysmuller said high CO2 levels have contributed to the recent reduction in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes and tornadoes, and he says there are compelling reasons to maintain current CO2 levels: Plants consume most man-produced carbon dioxide and struggle when there are lower CO2 levels.
The panelists all
agreed humans are not a significant cause of climate change. Cunningham said current CO2 levels, while increasing, are at near-historic lows, and mankind is now in the longest interglacial period in history, which means Earth is long overdue for an ice age. The panelists say recent global temperature increases are due to spikes in solar radiance, not carbon dioxide levels.
The panelists acknowledged global temperature and carbon dioxide levels are positively correlated, but Cunningham and Wysmuller say correlation does not equate to causation, pointing to the fact 97 percent of CO2 comes from natural factors like warming oceans.
They also say carcinogens and toxins are more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. Doiron introduced the transient climate sensitivity (TCS) measure, a metric intended to replace the equilibrium science sensitivity measure. TCS was formulated by The Right Climate Stuff (TRCS) research team, which created the measure because its researchers were concerned about the wide range in various models’ global temperature predictions. TRCS correctly predicted current temperatures using 125 years of data and forecast future temperatures based on the expected impact of greenhouse gases and aerosols on Earth’s surface.
The panelists say despite the dire situation espoused by climate alarmists, there is great hope for the future, attesting to Earth’s awesome ability to respond to environmental changes. With the facts on their side, the panelists believe the climate change movement, which Cunningham dubbed a “political movement disguised as science,” will soon fizzle out.