Those Who Live in Straw Houses

Come the first of January 2015, we’ll all get to pay another 70 cents a gallon for gasoline, courtesy of the Democrat, global-warming crowd that control the State Legislature. It is the first of several large increases in the gas tax which some in Sacramento suddenly realized might have serious consequences for their long-term employment. Thus far, efforts to get their colleagues in safer, liberal-progressive districts to consider rolling back this tax have fallen on deaf ears. The news reports I read indicated that the gas tax will be increased up to an additional $1.82 over the next several years. This is to subsidize green technologies and to dissuade us ordinary mortals that we really can’t afford to drive cars, live in single-family homes or drive pick-up trucks with an engine larger than four cylinders. They’re right, we won’t be able to afford to live or work where we want or enjoy life if “extreme greens” have their way.

As a small example of the economic consequences, dropping off clothing at the dry cleaners will become more expensive as the local cleaners are required to meet new regulatory requirements on equipment. Since the dry-cleaning equipment currently in use cannot meet the new standards, they’re being forced to junk operational equipment and purchase new equipment by 2016 at a cost of $80,000. Staying in business requires generating revenue to pay for this sop to environmental perfection; we’ll be privileged to pay quite a bit more to offset the added expense incurred to comply with this new set of environmental regulations. It is only one regulation of many especially affecting small businesses, driving up the cost of virtually everything, except the wages needed to pay for them.

In a recent newspaper article of mine, my critic on all matters environmental accused me of using “straw man” arguments to challenge some of the assertions made about climate change. I would disagree and suggest that he bring his research up to date.

Opening the pages of the Wall Street Journal (Sat-Sun, Sept. 20-21, 2014) in the Review section on page C1, the lead headline read, “Climate Science is Not Settled.” The author is a computational physicist, Dr. Steven E. Koonin. He was Undersecretary for Science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. His career spanned 40 years of scientific research in academia and government. He states that the key questions aren’t whether climate is changing as it always changes, nor that whether humans have influence on climate; they do. Rather, Koonin states that the overriding question essentially boils down to “How will the climate change over the next century under both human and natural influences?” Koonin asserts that question is NOT settled and is in fact the hardest question to answer. In his article he takes grave exception to the promulgated gospel by climate alarmists that the science on this issue is anywhere near settled. He discusses the complexity and deficiencies of computer climate models (55 in use) that fail to provide necessary detail to accurately model past climate let alone make accurate future predictions. He describes the computer modeling involved as more art than science and relying upon more estimation than actual available data.

My objection to “settled science” dogma is based upon the unexplained fact that as of next month there has been no statistically significant warming of the earth for 18 years. When the ten-year mark was passed we were told that it was just a temporary pause; 15 years was supposed to be the breaking point by which time warming would resume. We’re well past the 15 year mark despite significant increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  We were told a decade ago that the world was in crisis, polar bears were drowning for lack of sea ice (they’re dying due to hunting; only four were reported drowned after a storm); polar ice was disappearing yet in both the Arctic and Antarctic ice levels were expanding to record levels according to satellite data. Sea ice fluctuates; for a time it was diminishing but it then returned. Some other mechanism was at work, not predicted by computer climate models. We’ve seen e-mails and admissions of exaggeration to generate alarm among legislatures to obtain consent for measures to impose job-killing environmental restrictions. Extremists knew full well they’d never be passed without a full dose of fear given the extremely adverse economic consequences for the nation.

But let’s cut to the chase; how about a debate? Let’s find funding and we can both find experts to debate the issue (2015?) as true science is never really settled. The loser buys dinner.

Al Fonzi
5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
President, SLO County Lincoln Club

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