Tuesday, September 27, 2011

McCracken Fisks Happer @ Climate Science Watch

Mike McCracken takes the full fisk to William Happer at Climate Science Watch (summary here, full response here). Motivation?

The paper is so misleading that, in my view, it merits a paragraph-by-paragraph response. Indeed, being an alumnus of Princeton University and having devoted my career to study of climate change science, preparing a response almost seemed an obligation.
However, allow Eli to provide shorter versions to some of Will's questions as Dr. McCracken does on a paragraph by paragraph basis with cites.

1. Is the climate change community really off on a “climate crusade”?

You appear to be confusing climate science with Marc Morano.

2. Is CO2 a pollutant or a vital molecule for life on Earth—or both?

Is poop a pollutant or a vital agricultural material?

3. On what basis is EPA moving to regulate CO2?

Law, see Court, Supreme: rulings of

4. Isn’t CO2 a nutrient for plants?


5. Don’t we really want to have a higher CO2 concentration?


6. Wasn’t the CO2 level actually nearly too low?


7. Won’t more CO2 be beneficial?


8. How high can the CO2 level be without impacting human health?

350, maybe 450, except for anorexics who will have a short, happy time.

Details at McCracken or Skeptical Science or Coby one or two at Rabett Run.


Jeffrey Davis said...

I suppose the first instance of political spin would be Cain asking if he were his brother's keeper, but I think the general debasement of public, political intellectuals reached its current, hypoxic levels with the muscled recantations of John J. DiIulio and Richard Clarke during the Bush years. Scientists have always written polemical stuff alongside their science, but I don't remember that it was as transparently bilge as it is these days.

Anonymous said...

I would pay the: "wasn't CO2 too low". I do not want to go back to the natural background CO2, or even pre industrial. My WAG optimal figure is about 310ppm. I suspect long term 350ppm is a little high.

If you read Dr Hansen's analysis 350 is not guaranteed to be safe, but the maximum that might be safe. Stay above 350 and we are guaranteed to get changes we do not like.

Rabid Doomsaying Little Mouse.

Hank Roberts said...

> Is poop a pollutant or a vital agricultural material?


John said...

Happer's "point" #27: "Will shifting to renewables enrich a few with political ties at the expense of the majority?"

THAT would certainly be a totally NOVEL and eminently reportable finding for submission to some peer reviewed political science journal !!!

John Puma

David B. Benson said...

350 ppm is too high for the long term. Something more like 300 ppm.

Hank Roberts said...

The last panel of this one:

Anonymous said...

A gish gallop of almost Moncktonian proportions. I just love how Mr Happer takes care to paint itself first as "eco-friendly" and then is booing EPA. But, Mr Happer, don't your friends want to shut down entirely EPA, including the pollutant regulations you claim to be concerned about ?
This is, in fact, what irks me the most. That people are short-sighted, well. That people are hypocrital to the point they claim they are ecofriendly while they are not, there should be a special place in Hell for them.


cRR Kampen said...

390 ppm implies the end of permanent Arctic Ice. It cannot exist at present global temperature as yearly volume decrease shows. Consequences for permafrost on the continents around, and ice sheets like the Greenland Inlandsis. For me 390 is about 40% too much.

Anonymous said...

Aside from wisecracks, does anyone know what is the matter with Happer?

Pete Dunkelberg

Anonymous said...

What's the matter with Happer?

This little story might help answer that question.

A traveling salesman gets a flat tire on the way to an important appointment. He pulls his car to the curb right in front of an insane asylum. He gets out of the car, opens the trunk, pulls out jack and spare, and jacks up the car.

As he removes the lug nuts, he carefully places them in the hubcap that he had just removed. He then walks around to grab the spare; while doing so, he steps on the hubcap and sends all the lug nuts skittering down a nearby storm-drain.

He immediately starts yelling and cursing, "Now what the @!&^ am I going to do? I'm going to miss my *#!@ appointment!".

As it turns out, one of the inmates in the asylum was watching him the whole time. The inmate calls out to the salesman, "Why don't you just take one lug nut off of each of the other wheels and use them on the spare? Then after your appointment, you can stop by a service station and buy some more lug nuts."

The salesman paused, and then replied, "That's a great idea. I would never have thought of that myself..... say, what's a sharp guy like you doing locked up in a place like that?"

The inmate replied, "I'm not here because I'm stupid; I'm here because I'm crazy".

Anonymous said...

Asylum comments reminds me of a great book I read:



As scientific blood sports go, Livermore- Jason dustups are more entertaining than most Congressional hearings, so Mike & Will should be encouraged to have at it.

I suspect the science editing at First Things may have been a bit thin, as the editors seem content with the intellectual climate of the medieval warm period.