This commentary originally appeared in The Hill on December 13th, 2016
Last week there was an event in the nation’s capital where a merry band of warriors gathered to bring a dose of sanity to the too often hyperbolic discussion of climate change. While the discussion was thoroughly reasonable, the media had a hard time digesting it. Why? Because this contingent dared to counter decades of fake news often reported on climate and energy.
The event, “At the Crossroads: Energy and Climate Summit,” was the third annual meeting sponsored by the Austin-based Texas Public Policy Foundation, and this year co-hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation. It included the voices of U.S. Congressional leaders, climate scientists, think tank scholars, and top industry leaders.
Speakers included Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, chairman, U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. From the House of Representatives there was Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Rep. Pete Olson, chairman, Energy & Power Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Rep. Gary Palmer, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Seven of the world’s top climate scientists also spoke. These included Dr. Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, MIT, Dr. Willie Soon, Astrophysicist, Independent Scientist, Dr. Will Happer, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Princeton University, Dr. Craig Idso, Chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville and a former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Dr. David Legates, University of Delaware, and Dr. Patrick Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science at the CATO Institute.
Speaking truth to power, these experts had a common message in response to the age-old questions: Is climate change real? Yes, it has happened in the past and will happen in the future. Is man making an impact on the climate? Perhaps but in very small ways. But the overarching consensus remains the climate change we are experiencing is by no means catastrophic.
Climate models are like political polling. Models are projections based, presumably, on some scientific data. All models are fact checked based on real observed data. When this is done, checking the climate models with observed temperature data, the 102 climate models of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, fail the test of reliability. We all learned of the limits of political polling during the last election cycle.
During his presentation, MIT professor Dr. Richard Lindzen, said, “the only meaningful question would be whether we are seeing anything sufficiently unusual to warrant concern and the answer to this is unambiguously no.” He ended his presentation by quoting Eric Hoffer who said, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. And those who benefit in the racket will defend it with passion.”
Keeping fossil fuels in the ground is a ridiculous construct and even Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says is “naïve.” At the Summit Corbin Robertson of Quintana Resources said, “I'm gonna start out with a confession, I'm guilty. I'm guilty of providing goods and services and clean affordable energy to the world's growing population and now the environmentalists and the media want to convict me for my services to humanity.”
I would say, thank you for your service.
The Honorable Doug Domenech is the Director of the Fueling Freedom Project at TPPF.