Rep. McKinley brings the climate deniers to town

May 24, 2013 by Ken Ward Jr.

Rep. David McKinley has been pretty clear about where he stands on climate change and the need to do anything about it. The West Virginia Republican most recently said, in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this year:

The President’s focus on climate change is just code to justify his war on coal and other fossil fuels. While I agree that climate change is taking place, the question is what causes it. Is it man-made or natural? Despite the inconclusive science, the President made it clear he will take action that would cause considerable damage to our already weak economy.

On the other hand, as I wrote after those remarks, that might have been progress toward accepting reality:

It’s possible this is a minor shift in Rep. McKinley’s position. He’s previously appeared to question whether the climate is changing, but now appears to have backed off that (see here and here).

So, ever optimistic and hopeful, I was pleasantly surprised at first glance when I saw that Rep. McKinley had announced “a panel of distinguished experts in the field of climate science” to discuss the “Origins and Response to Climate Change” during a forum next week in Fairmont.

Here you had Rep. McKinley inviting Colorado State University climatologist Scott Denning and Jim Hurrell, a senior atmospheric scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), to the event. The list of speakers also includes someone from the World Resources Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund.

But then I looked more closely at the press release from Rep. McKinley. The other speakers included well-known climate change deniers like Marc Morano, Myron Ebell, and John Christy, as well as someone from the Heritage Foundation and Dennis Avery, author of “Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years”.

Keep in mind that a recent analysis of nearly 12,000 scientific papers found a 97 percent consensus that humans are causing global warming. President Obama’s new energy secretary,  Ernest Moniz, said this week:

Let me make it very clear that there is no ambiguity in terms of the scientific basis calling for a prudent response on climate change. I am not interested in debating what is not debatable. There is plenty to debate as we try and move forward on our climate agenda.

Remember what Sen. Robert C. Byrd said back in December 2009:

To be part of any solution, one must first acknowledge a problem. To deny the mounting science of climate change is to stick our heads in the sand and say “deal me out.” West Virginia would be much smarter to stay at the table.

And what Sen. Jay Rockefeller said just last year:

… The shift to a lower carbon economy is not going away and it’s a disservice to coal miners and their families to pretend that it is. Coal company operators deny that we need to do anything to address climate change despite the established scientific consensus and mounting national desire for a cleaner, healthier environment.

13 Responses to “Rep. McKinley brings the climate deniers to town”

  1. Steve says:

    Ken your post implies that of the 12000 papers examined 97 percent blame humans. According to the Abstract of the approximate 12000 papers examined, 66 percent expressed no opinion on AGW. 34 percent did. The abstract then states that of the 34 percent that did express an opinion on AGW, 97 percent do blame humans. Thus it’s 97 percent of 34 percent of 12000 papers. Or roughly 4000 papers. The second part of the study, deals with only 2142 self rated papers. Even assuming 100 percent of those 2142 endorsed AGW and human causation (which the link clearly shows is not the case) it’s not 97 percent of 12000 papers but 97 percent of somewhere between 2142 and approximately 4000 papers. In fact, all one can say with undeniable certainty is that the study on its face clearly shows that of those 12000 papers the large majority expressed no opinion on AGW and per force no opinion on human causation. See paragraph 4 of the study, first sentence.

  2. drh says:

    Steve, you might have a point if that were the only study to find a similar result. But in fact every reputable survey of the peer reviewed literature has found more than 90% agreement that humans are causing global climate change. It’s a result that has been repeated, well, repeatedly.

  3. Ned says:

    As someone said a year or so ago, if there are 9,999,999 million people who agree that the earth is round and one person who believes it is flat, the headline in the paper would read: The United States is split on the shape of the Earth. The deniers sound like the tobacco companies of yesteryear. When someone expresses an opinion, follow the money.

  4. Paul Hormick says:

    Steve, Scientific papers and even their abstracts can be confusing. Click the video that accompanies the online publication of the paper. The author does a very good job of explaining the finding of overwhelming scientific consensus about global warming.

  5. Steve says:

    My point is that a recent analysis of nearly 12000 scientific papers showed that 66 percent of them took no position on anthropogenic global warming much less the cause thereof. Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. Charles Bayless says:

    As many of the authors of the papers which did not take a position said, “You don’t need to endorse the theory of gravity each time you write a paper, it is settled.”

    To understand climate change you only need to understand freshman physics, it is simple and undeniable.

    Charles E. Bayless
    Retired, President
    WVU Tech

  7. Bo Webb says:

    Steve, You fail to mention that the analysis of 12,000 scientific papers are papers from 1991- 2011. More recent papers overwhelmingly endorse AGW. In other words the analysis may be recent, but the papers date back 20 years.

    Last sentence from the abstract:

    For both abstract ratings and authors’ self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

  8. Bo Webb says:

    Steve, point is that in 1991 there was not a majority consensus on human related cause of global warming but as much more data has been gathered over the years, that 34 percent you refer is not a realistic argument.

  9. Steve says:

    I am concerned about no other study than the one cited in this blog. .

  10. Bo Webb says:

    That’s what we’re discussing Steve. Again; from this study.
    Last sentence from the abstract:

    For both abstract ratings and authors’ self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

  11. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments … I guess I would only add that I’m glad Steve finally read an actual scientific paper that was mentioned on this blog … that’s progress.

  12. unbiased2 says:

    I suggest you poll your readers to see how much, if any, additional taxes they would pay to reduce CO2 emissions, reminding them the U.S. emits only about 18% of the world total.

  13. Bo Webb says:

    unbiased, I think maybe your post is a bit drifting from the subject of the article but, if we are going to stake the existence of the future of a liveable planet on polling approval for increased taxes then we are doomed. Are you saying we should allow future generations to be the victims of our comfort?

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