California seeks lead in global warming sacrifice

Bob Tippee

California will show America the way on climate change.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 1 signed an executive order for big cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

"California is going to be the leader in the fight against global warming," he said at the United Nations World Environment Day in San Francisco.

He wants the state to cut GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, to below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80% below 1990 levels in 2050.

"I say the debate is over," Schwarzenegger said. "We know the science. We see the threat. And we know the time for action is now."

Every would-be leader in the fight against global warming declares that the debate is over. If allowed to continue openly and honestly, after all, the debate might question the wisdom of simplistic responses to complex phenomena.

Because for some the debate isn't over, for example, researchers recently reported that the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth's surface increased greatly during the past 2 decades while global average temperature increased. If so, the phenomenon might be more important than the atmospheric build-up of GHGs as a factor in observed warming.

Why might surface measurements of solar energy be increasing? One possibility is that energy emissions by the sun are increasing. Another is that reductions in air pollution are allowing growing amounts of incoming solar radiation to reach the surface.

Imagine that. Human activity warms the planet, after all. But rather than the widely suspected combustion of fossil fuels, it's progress in cleaning the air that does the most warming.

Leaders in the fight against global warming won't relish the irony. They won't listen to any science that contradicts their political agenda. They want to slash emissions of carbon dioxide. They want to do it now.

So California will lead whoever might follow into a costly and possibly futile response to poorly understood observations about the climate.

Is it worth the sacrifice? Might the possibility of warming causes more significant than greenhouse intensification suggest a different approach?

Don't ask. The debate is over.

Author's e-mail: bobt@ogjonline.com

Related Articles

Christie calls for N. American energy system improvements

09/05/2014 Mexico, Canada, and the US will need to significantly increase investments in energy systems if they expect to achieve the full benefits of a North...

Devon Canada files with AER for Walleye oil sands project

09/05/2014

Devon Canada Corp. has submitted applications with Canada’s Alberta Energy Regulator for its Walleye steam-assisted gravity drainage project.

Federal judge finds BP E&P negligent in Macondo crude oil spill

09/04/2014 A nearly 5 million bbl crude oil spill following the 2010 Macondo deepwater well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was the result of operator BP Explor...

Nova Scotia prohibits hydraulic fracturing

09/04/2014

The government of Nova Scotia has imposed an indefinite ban on hydraulic fracturing onshore.

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected