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Let the climate debate begin!

Monday, February 12, 2018 – 11:00am
By Tom Harris

Pruitt must launch public climate science debate soon


By Tom Harris


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is right to speak about the need for a full blown public debate between scientists about the causes and consequences of climate change. In his February 6th television interview on KSNV, an NBC affiliate in Las Vegas, the administration explained, “There are very important questions around the climate issue that folks really don’t get to. And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve talked about having an honest, open, transparent debate about what do we know, what don’t we know, so the American people can be informed and they can make decisions on their own with respect to these issues.”


Pruitt told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on January 30th that a “red team-blue team exercise,” an EPA-sponsored debate between climate scientists of differing view, is under consideration. It is crucially important that such a debate go ahead. The public needs to understand that even the most basic assumptions underlying climate concerns are in doubt.


Scientists taking part in a red team-blue team exercise would naturally address questions such as:


·        How much recent climate change is natural versus human-caused?

·        How good are the computer models for forecasting future climate?

·        Is extreme weather really increasing?


What they will probably not look at, but should, are the very basics underlying today’s climate change concerns. For example, the experts must:


·        properly re-examine whether the Earth really has warmed in the past century

·        determine if CO2 levels really have risen since the 1800s

·        if levels have actually risen, are human activities primarily responsible?


Contrary to popular belief, these sorts of questions are not at all settled. Former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball is an example of a well-qualified expert who does indeed question these fundamentals of the climate debate.


For example, Ball explains that, while it is claimed that there has been a 0.7 degree Celsius temperature rise in the past century, it is not actually possible to know this.