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

EPA delays proposal to regulate methane emissions until 2015

12/19/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency is delaying plans to issue proposals to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations until 2015, O...

BLM starts process to consider new Nevada lease nominations

12/19/2014 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Battle Mountain, Nev., field office is seeking public comment on 197 parcels of public land, totaling 415,921 ac...

California Bay Area advances plan for enhanced refinery regulations

12/19/2014 California’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the public agency responsible for regulating stationary sources of air pollution in...

IEA finds US energy policy improved in latest in-depth review

12/19/2014 US energy policies have come into sharper focus in the last six years, the International Energy Agency said in its latest periodic review. It speci...

Jewell names Maryland energy administrator BOEM’s new director

12/18/2014 US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell appointed Abigail Ross Hopper, who currently directs the Maryland Energy Administration, as the new director of the U...

Moody’s: Mid-term elections dim federal fracing regulation prospects

12/18/2014 Results of 2014’s congressional elections have reduced the prospect of the federal government enacting its own hydraulic fracturing regulations, Mo...

Thirty-one House Democrats ask Jewell to bar leasing in Arctic Ocean

12/18/2014 US Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and 30 other House Democrats urged US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell to reject the second supplemental environmental i...

Obama makes Alaska’s Bristol Bay off-limits for oil, gas activity

12/17/2014 US President Barack Obama placed Bristol Bay off-limits for future oil and gas leasing, extending a temporary withdrawal he imposed in 2010 that wa...

New York state moves to ban hydraulic fracturing

12/17/2014 High-volume hydraulic fracturing will be banned in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced Dec. 17, citing health risks...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


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