Congress had some follow-up questions:
1. President Obama has warned that, “for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.” He said we must “choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it is too late.”
A. Is there an overwhelming judgment of science or any science, showing that the President’s regulatory actions will prevent the threat that he is so concerned about?
If you believe the climate models, then President Obama’s INDC commitment (total of 80% emissions reduction by 2015), then warming would be reduced by 0.011 degrees Centigrade, a number that was provided to me by Chip Knappenberger of CATO using the MAGICC model with an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3.0oC http://www.cato.org/blog/002degc-temperature-rise-averted-vital-number-missing-epas-numbers-fact-sheet. If the climate models are indeed running too hot, then the warming would be reduced by an even smaller number.
2. We have heard a lot of doomsday scenarios about what will happen if we do nothing on climate change. However, there has been less attention to what the results of any actions we take to combat climate might be.
A. Suppose we cut all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Would this avert the supposed catastrophic impacts?
Eliminating all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 would reduce the warming by 0.014oC (as per the EPA MAGICC model). This is an amount of warming that is much smaller than the uncertainty in even measuring the global average temperature.
3. Dr. Curry, what happens to academics who step out of line on climate change?
A. Why would experts be afraid to question climate change orthodoxy?
The censure of scientists disagreeing with the IPCC consensus was particularly acute during the period 2005-2010. As revealed by the Climategate emails, there was a cadre of leading climate scientists that were working to sabotage the reviews of skeptical research papers (and presumably proposals for research funding). Further, scientists challenging climate change orthodoxy are subjected to vitriolic treatment in news articles, op-eds and blogs, damaging the public reputation of these scientists. I have heard from numerous scientists who are sympathetic to my efforts in challenging climate change orthodoxy, but are afraid to speak out or even publish skeptical research since they are fearful of losing their job.
Since 2010, things have improved somewhat especially in Europe; I think this has largely been due to reflections following Climategate and the fact that disagreement about climate change is not as starkly divided along the lines of political parties (i.e. the issue is somewhat less politicized). In the U.S., with President Obama’s recent pronouncements about climate denial and climate deniers (as anyone who does not agree with the consensus) has increased the toxicity of the environment (both academic and public) for scientists that question the IPCC consensus on climate change.
There’s a lot more.