John R. Christy, PhD
Alabama State Climatologist
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
Statement to: House Energy and Power Subcommittee - 20 September 2012
One Page Summary:
1. Extreme events, like the recent U.S. drought, will continue to occur, with or without
human causation. These recent U.S. “extremes” were exceeded in previous decades.
2. The average warming rate of 38 CMIP5 IPCC models is greater than observations,
suggesting models over-react to CO2. Policy based on observations will likely be far
more effective than if based on speculative models, no matter what the future climate
does. Regarding Arctic sea ice loss, the average model response to CO2 engenders little
confidence because the models’ output fails when applied to Antarctic sea ice conditions.
3. New discoveries explain part of the warming found in popular surface temperature
datasets which is unrelated to the accumulation of heat due to the extra greenhouse gases,
but related to human development around the stations. This means popular surface
datasets are limited as proxies for greenhouse warming.
4. Widely publicized consensus reports by “thousands” of scientists rarely represent the
range of scientific opinion that attends our murky field of climate research. Funding
resources are recommended for “Red Teams” of credentialed investigators, who study
low climate sensitivity and the role of natural variability. Policymakers need to be aware
of the full range of scientific views, especially when it appears that one-sided-science is
the basis for policies which, for example, lead to increased energy costs for citizens.
5. Atmospheric CO2 is food for plants which means it is food for people and animals.
More CO2 generally means more food for all. Today, affordable carbon-based energy is
a key component for lifting people out of crippling poverty. So, rising CO2 emissions
are one indication of poverty-reduction which gives hope for those now living in a
marginal existence without basic needs brought by electrification, transportation and
industry. Additionally, modern, carbon-based energy reduces the need for deforestation
and alleviates other environmental problems such as water and deadly indoor-air
pollution. Until affordable and reliable energy is developed from non-carbon sources, the
world will continue to use carbon as the main energy source.
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