By Princeton Alumni Weekly –
At the other end of the climate change conversation, a panel titled “Climate Change is NOT an Emergency,” sponsored by the Conservative Princeton Association, featured speakers arguing that the media and policymakers are pushing a narrative laden with misinformation and fear.
Moderator Alex Zarechnak ’68, formerly of the engineering group MPR Associates, said demands are rising for climate solutions that would overhaul infrastructure and society in a way that will harm the world’s poorest people. “There is a different perspective that you don’t hear very much about,” he said.
Patrick Moore, former president of Greenpeace Canada, said climate activists such as Al Gore say carbon dioxide is causing the Earth to warm, but it’s the other way around — higher temperatures cause carbon dioxide to come out of the ocean, because water holds less gas when it’s warm.“We are at one of the coldest periods in Earth’s history now,” Moore said, and while the Earth is indeed warming, we don’t know why.
William Happer *64, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton, said you can’t “dial” the Earth’s temperature up and down using carbon dioxide levels. And Bruce Everett ’69, a former ExxonMobil executive, listed myths about climate economics, including that renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels and that research and development will inevitably improve solar and wind power.
If natural gas plants keep getting shut down, Everett said, “what we’re going to end up with is an unstable, unreliable, and more expensive power system.”
A few people in the standing-room-only audience tensely questioned the three panelists, all of whom work with the nonprofit CO2 Coalition. Princeton professor Forrest Meggers, who is working on Princeton’s efforts to go zero-carbon, challenged their understanding of the climate discussion, noting “it’s easy to pick and choose the science.”
While Happer was speaking, the panel was Zoom-bombed: The N-word and a doodle of male genitalia suddenly appeared on the screen over his slides. The technical staff immediately shut down the event on Zoom, and it continued in person only.