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The Washington Post: The Insiders: Inconvenient numbers for the global warming crowd

Nov 4, 2015
In The News

By Ed Rogers November 4 at 4:05 PM   

Some important numbers that will affect the global warming debate came out in the media this week and they are worth reviewing.  First — and most incredibly — the New York Times revealed that the amount of coal China burns has been underreported by about 1 billion tons a year, and has been underreported for the last 15 years. The Times states, “Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense … [and] the increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.”

Oops!  This revelation obviously raises questions about the overall accuracy and dependability of the sea of numbers that drive the policy decisions advocated by President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.  If the climate change activists were off by 1 billion tons of emissions just from coal use from one country and that’s data they used to contrive the models that “prove” the “settled science” of man-made global warming, what else are they wrong about? And what makes us think these numbers are accurate now?

And oh, by the way, I find it curious how liberals always seem to do things in increments of 1 billion: a billion tons missed here and there, a billion dollars for this and that. It doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that there is an actual equation supporting their numbers.

Anyway, a second piece this week, “The Next Climate Scandal” from Holman W. Jenkins Jr. in the Wall Street Journal, reminds us of how easy it is to manipulate the global temperature numbers. Jenkins writes, “By the count of researcher Marcia Wyatt in a widely circulated presentation, the U.S. government’s published temperature data for the years 1880-2010 has been tinkered with sixteen times in the past three years.”  This is politics at its worst: With 16 recounts, you can rig any outcome. 

Jenkins also highlights Rep/ Lamar Smith’s (R-Tex.) quest to determine how and why U.S. government employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took a second look at global warming data and subsequently determined there had been no cessation in global warming for the last 15 years, “eliminat[ing] the ‘pause’ in global warming seen in most temperature studies.” Remarkable. And even more remarkably — although I suppose not that surprising, since it fits nicely with the Democrats’ governing style these days — is how government agencies are hiding from congressional oversight. Specifically, they’re refusing to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas.

NOAA spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton, a federal government employee, actually said they did not need to comply because, “We have provided all of the information the Committee needs to understand this issue.” That sums up the Obama administration’s condescending view of legal compliance when it comes to its pet causes. Of course if you or I had that attitude about subpoenas, we would be in prison. Period.

And while we are at it and as the COP21 conference in Paris approaches, let’s keep in mind some other numbers. According to NOAA data, the amount of total CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is approximately three one-hundredths of 1 percent, or .0003 percent of the total atmosphere. And the man-made contribution to that total amount of CO2 is only .0004 of that number — bear with me; yes, they will be talking about only four one-hundredths of that three one-hundredths of a percent in Paris. Never has so much been spent on so little. And the Democrats are just getting started. What are we willing to sacrifice in terms of economy and the human quality of life to make a tiny fraction of a small number slightly smaller? Given what we know so far, it is fair to ask if it is possible to make an impact, or if it is even measurable.

The numbers associated with the global warming crusade aren’t settled, but the Democrats’ conclusions about global warming are settled. Bottom line: They want to dictate your lifestyle. They don’t really care what the numbers are or what inconvenient truths keep turning up.

This week’s news compels us to ask how, if the data is so suspect, the science can be so “settled.” The more we know, the more we realize how little we know. Republicans should not be shy about speaking up and keeping the liberals honest.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

114th Congress