Others question the desperate sense of urgency to transition to a carbon neutral economy.
John Christy, head of the Atmospheric Sciences Department of the University of Alabama, has long questioned the so-called 97 percent consensus among climate scientists. He notes the greatest scientific discoveries in history have often broken with consensus.
Astronomer Galileo Galilei was condemned to life under house arrest for embracing heliocentrism – the belief that the earth and planets revolve around the sun.
In 1931, the book “A Hundred Authors Against Einstein” was published questioning his theory of relativity. More recently Australian scientist Barry Marshall upended accepted treatment for ulcers by suggesting they were not caused by stress, but by bacterial infection. Today, the standard ulcer treatment is an antibiotic.
Christy agrees that CO2 levels are increasing and the planet has warmed slightly, but his research indicates computer models that predict catastrophic consequences of climate change are unrealistic.
“I take a real hard look at climate model output and can demonstrate that these models are just too sensitive to carbon dioxide,” he said. “The real world is not spiraling off into some dangerous territory of climate.”
For expressing that view and others (his research shows that rising CO2 levels have some beneficial effects – agricultural yields are higher than they’ve ever been, and the planet is greener than at any time in recorded history.) Yet, Christy has been alienated from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of which he used to be a part.
Christie measurements suggest they’re wrong.
“What distinguishes me from many of them,” he said, “is I actually build the data sets that can answer questions about climate change.”
As to Sen. Whitehouse’s claims of catastrophic weather extremes, Christie said his data did not back that up.
“I actually did a very detailed analysis of that for the United States,” he said. “What I found is that in the last 124 years, weather extremes and temperature extremes have actually declined, both record high temperatures and record low temperatures.”