Credibility claim shows low quality of climate debate

Bob Tippee
Editor

Everything wrong about debate over climate change congealed in a single sentence at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Nov. 10.

The words came from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in response to warnings about costs of the cap-and-trade legislation he has sponsored with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

“Your studies aren’t credible because you haven’t considered the impacts of inaction,” Kerry said (OGJ Online, Nov. 11, 2009).

In other words, the senator isn’t listening.

He and his allies promote an apocalyptic view of planetary warming in response to which they hope to seize control of energy markets.

With the help of a dazzled popular media, they have succeeded in polarizing discourse into two camps: believers and nonbelievers. As Kerry’s flippant dismissal of serious warnings by serious adults makes clear, nonbelievers aren’t welcome in the debate.

Before he’ll take seriously the possibility that cap-and-trade legislation might idle 8 million b/d of US refining capacity and raise the price of oil products by $1/gal, he wants those highlighting the threat also to present the “impacts of inaction.”

Yet all the senator needs to do is look around. If his dangerous bill doesn’t pass, things won’t change much.

Yes, carbon dioxide will further accumulate in the atmosphere. Depending on climate mechanics no one yet knows how to predict accurately, the accumulation might enhance global warming that was going to happen anyway but seems lately to have stalled.

Or it might not. Global average temperature responds to many influences beyond human emissions of CO2, some of them much stronger. People can’t affect it much.

In fact, Kerry should confess to the temperature impacts of action on his bill: nothing. A cap-and-trade scheme won’t influence temperature. It will just raise energy costs and make the US more popular than it is now among the ruling elite of Europe.

Still, moderating CO2 emissions—like the companion tactic of moderating energy use—makes sense. It can be done, however, without nationalizing energy consumption and destabilizing the economy.

Toward such sensible aims the first step should be to shed comic-book panic about climate catastrophe.

But don’t expect Kerry to listen.

(Online Nov. 13, 2009; author’s e-mail: bobt@ogjonline.com)

Related Articles

Senators’ bill aims to curb flaring by expediting permit process

02/09/2015 North Dakota and Wyoming’s US senators introduced legislation that aims to capture methane and reduce flaring by expediting procedures for obtainin...

USW union workers add two BP refineries to strike list

02/09/2015 Union workers at two BP PLC-owned refineries in Indiana and Ohio have joined the United Steelworkers union’s (USW) unfair labor practice (ULP) stri...

Association presidents want more access in next 5-year OCS plan

02/09/2015 The presidents of three major US oil and gas trade associations urged the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to keep more of the US Outer Contine...

Watching Government: EPA's ozone proposal

02/09/2015 Witnesses from the US oil and gas industry and other businesses strongly spoke out on Jan. 29 against the US Environmental Protection Agency's prop...

BOEM schedules public meetings about draft proposed 5-year OCS plan

02/06/2015 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold the first of 20 public meetings in Washington on Feb. 9 to receive public comments on potential ...

Union strike ongoing at US refineries as negotiations continue

02/06/2015 A strike by union workers at nine US refining and petrochemical production plants remains under way as the United Steelworkers Union (USW) continue...

The budget vision

02/06/2015 Just because the budget proposed for fiscal 2016 by President Barack Obama mimics six predecessors in its treatment of oil and gas and again has no...

AOPL releases 2015 safety performance and strategic planning report

02/06/2015 The Association of Oil Pipe Lines is committed to further improvements despite a 99.99% safe petroleum liquids delivery rate, AOPL Pres. and Chief ...

Congressional Republicans renew bid to halt sue-and-settle maneuvers

02/05/2015 Calling it an affront to regulatory accountability that results in unchecked compliance burdens, US Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and US Rep. D...
White Papers

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

When Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

When Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

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