If Prof. Frank had done his science homework by researching the totality of the climatological data rather than regurgitating the cherry-picked, fear mongering hysteria of environmental lobbyists, he would have realized that a carbon tax will have no effect either on atmospheric CO2 or the weather.
His "hottest 12 month period of record" in the US was accompanied by average global temperatures that were quite normal. Blocking high pressures are quite common during the warmer months. They give cloudless skies when the Sun is nearest to Zenith, descending air which is adiabatically heated and dried, giving heat waves and droughts. They are quite common and have nothing to do with atmospheric CO2. The recent one in the U S was rather mild compared to the ones in the mid 1930's that gave us the "dust bowl" at a time when human CO2 emission was much lower than it is today.
So in case the Times is really interested in presenting an accurate analysis rather than aiding and abetting one of the greatest frauds in the history of science, I have attached an article for your consideration, in the hope that you will at least begin to set the record straight on this issue.
The Lynching of Carbon Dioxide by Dr. Martin Hertzberg
I served as a forecasting and research meteorologist while on active duty with the U. S. Navy. It was then that I first learned what climatologists and meteorologists have known for centuries and what the current crop of so-called “climate scientists” and EPA administrators apparently never learned: that weather and climate are controlled by natural laws on an enormous scale that dwarfs human activity. Those laws engender forces and motions in our atmosphere and oceans that are beyond human control. Weather and climate existed long before humans appeared on Earth, and will continue to exist in the same way long after we are gone.
Those forces and motions are driven by the following: First, the motions of the Earth relative to the Sun: the periodic changes in its elliptical orbit, its rotation about its polar axis, changes in the tilt of that axis, and the precession of that axis. Second, the variation in solar activity that influences the radiant energy reaching the Earth and modulates cosmic ray activity which controls cloudiness. Third, the distribution of land and water on the Earth’s surface; which controls its temperature distribution, moisture availability, monsoon effects, hurricanes, and other storm tracks. Fourth, the topography of the Earth’s surface which causes copious precipitation on the windward side of mountains and aridity on the leeward side. Fifth, the fluid motions within the Earth’s oceans that determine moisture availability and ocean surface temperatures (El Nino and La Nina cycles).
Water in all of its forms is the main agent through which those forces operate. It provides vapor in the atmosphere, heat transport by evaporation and condensation, and the enormous, circulating mass of the ocean whose heat capacity dominates. And finally it provides the cloud, snow, and ice cover that control the radiative balance between the Sun, the Earth, and free space.
While the presence of 0.04 % of CO2 in our atmosphere is essential for life in the biosphere, the notion that such a minor constituent of the atmosphere can control the above forces and motions, is absurd. There is not one iota of reliable evidence that it does. Furthermore, human emission of CO2 is but a trivial fraction of all natural sources and sinks of CO2. Human emission dissolves rapidly into the ocean and re-circulates within it. The ocean contains 50 times more dissolved CO2 than is contained in the atmosphere. The current small measured increase in CO2 is coming from the oceans: the same place CO2 changes came from during the 400,000 years shown in the Vostok ice-core data. That data show four glacial coolings each followed by an interglacial warming with atmospheric CO2 concentrations near their highest during the warmings and near their lowest during the coolings. In all cases, however, the temperature changes precede the CO2 changes by about 500 - 1,000 years. Each glacial cooling and interglacial warming cycle has a period of about 100,000 years, which corresponds to the periodic changes in the Earth’s elliptical orbit about the sun. Those increases and decreases in atmospheric CO2 occurred long before any significant human emission of CO2. And furthermore, the fact that they were preceded by the temperature changes means that the temperature changes are causing the CO2 changes and not the reverse. As oceans warm, they emit CO2, and as they cool they absorb it. Bubbles of CO2 are emitted from cold soda as it is poured into a warm glass, and soda is produced by dissolving CO2 into cold water.
When initially formulated by the Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates, their theory argued that greenhouse gases kept the Earth’s surface warm by absorbing its infrared energy and then radiating it back down to the Earth below. Greenhouse gases were thus “heat trapping” gases. Originally, that was supposed to cause “global warming”. But there has been no global warming for the last 10 years despite the increase in atmospheric CO2. So global warming morphed into “climate change”, but climate is always changing. So it then morphed into “extreme weather events” which really catches people’s attention. The latest projected catastrophe is “ocean acidification”, although the ocean is about 100 times more basic than it is acidic, and that even a doubling of the CO2 concentration will have a trivial effect on its basicity.
The latest modification to the theory argues that by its infrared absorption, CO2 “blocks the Earth’s natural cooling”. The proponents of that theory seem to have forgotten Kirchhoff’s fundamental law of radiation. A strong absorber of radiation is also a strong emitter of that radiation. Hence atmospheric CO2 emits as strongly as it absorbs. None of that emission from the colder CO2 in the atmosphere can go back to the warmer Earth’s surface below (2nd law of thermodynamics). The only place where it can go is to the void of free space above the atmosphere. Thus atmospheric CO2 blocks nothing but simply continues that natural cooling.
All of the believers in human caused “global warming” seem to see something “unprecedented” in the recent changes in temperature. But all recent changes are well within the normal range of variability, and recent small temperature excursions have been matched or exceeded many times in the past: the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period, the Holocene Warming, and all the major interglacial warmings that preceded them as shown in the Vostok data. They all occurred without any significant human emission of CO2.
The catastrophe that the global warming advocates project may indeed be realized, but only if we are stupid enough to implement draconian measures of “carbon control” based on the fraudulent theory that they espouse.
Dr. Martin Hertzberg
Copper Mountain, CO 970-968-2091
Coauthor: Slaying the Sky Dragon, Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, Stairway Press, 2011
Carbon Tax Silence, Overtaken by Events by Robert H. Frank
Published: August 25, 2012 - nytimes.com
DON’T expect to hear much about climate change at the Republican and Democratic conventions.
Yes, there will be plenty of speeches about unemployment, budget deficits and other immediate problems. But the threats posed by global warming are decades away — or so we have been told repeatedly in recent years.
Many climate scientists, however, are now pointing to evidence linking rising global temperatures to the extreme weather we’re seeing around the planet. The United States has just endured its hottest 12-month period on record. The worst drought in a generation has parched the nation’s crop belt. Floods that happened once a century now occur every few years.
With distressing images of weather-related disasters saturating the news media, climate change no longer seems such a distant and abstract worry — except, perhaps, in Washington. In 2009, President Obama persuaded House Democrats, then in the majority, to pass a bill aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Facing a Republican filibuster in the Senate, however, the legislation died. And its prospects dimmed further when Republicans took control of the House in 2010. Mr. Obama has remained relatively silent on the issue since then.
Mitt Romney, for his part, has been equivocal about whether rising temperatures are caused by human action. But he has been adamant that uncertainty about climate change rules out policy intervention. “What I’m not willing to do,” he told an audience in New Hampshire last summer, “is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to.”
Climatologists are the first to acknowledge that theirs is a highly uncertain science. The future might be better than they think. Then again, it might be much worse. Given that risk, policy makers must weigh the potential cost of action against the potential cost of inaction. And even a cursory look at the numbers makes a compelling case for action.
According to the respected M.I.T. global climate simulation model, there is a 10 percent chance that average surface temperatures will rise by more than 12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Warming on that scale could end life as we know it. Smaller increases would be less catastrophic, but even the most optimistic projections imply enormous costs.
The good news is that we could insulate ourselves from catastrophic risk at relatively modest cost by enacting a steep carbon tax. Early studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that a carbon tax of up to $80 per metric ton of emissions — a tax that might raise gasoline prices by 70 cents a gallon — would eventually result in climate stability. But because recent estimates about global warming have become more pessimistic, stabilization may require a much higher tax. How hard would it be to live with a tax of, say, $300 a ton?
If such a tax were phased in, the prices of goods would rise gradually in proportion to the amount of carbon dioxide their production or use entailed. The price of gasoline, for example, would slowly rise by somewhat less than $3 a gallon. Motorists in many countries already pay that much more than Americans do, and they seem to have adapted by driving substantially more efficient vehicles.
A carbon tax would also serve two other goals. First, it would help balance future budgets. Tens of millions of Americans are set to retire in the next decades, and, as a result, many budget experts agree that federal budgets simply can’t be balanced with spending cuts alone. We’ll also need substantial additional revenue, most of which could be generated by a carbon tax.
If new taxes are unavoidable, why not adopt ones that not only help balance the budget but also help make the economy more efficient? By reducing harmful emissions, a carbon tax fits that description.
A second benefit would occur if a carbon tax were approved today but phased in gradually, only after the economy had returned to full employment. High unemployment persists in part because businesses, sitting on mountains of cash, aren’t investing it because their current capacity already lets them produce more than people want to buy. News that a carbon tax was coming would create a stampede to develop energy-saving technologies. Hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment might be unleashed without adding a cent to the budget deficit.
SOME people argue that a carbon tax would do little good unless it were also adopted by China and other big polluters. It’s a fair point. But access to the American market is a potent bargaining chip. The United States could seek approval to tax imported goods in proportion to their carbon dioxide emissions if exporting countries failed to enact carbon taxes at home.
In short, global warming has a fairly simple and cheap technical solution. Extreme weather is already creating enormous human suffering. If it continues, politicians will have a hard time ignoring the problem when the 2016 conventions roll around. If the recent meteorological chaos drives home the threat of climate change and prompts action, it may ultimately be a blessing in disguise.
Robert H. Frank is an economics professor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
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