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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Climate alarmists continue regrettable history

How is climate change related to acid rain?  Bert Bolin.

This article is shocking.  Because the WSJ is difficult to access, this article needs to be discussed.

The practice of science starts with the application of the scientific method. A hypothesis (guess, theory) is posited and then tested.  Tests must be replicated by others to validate the theory and proof.  Overwhelming evidence is still conjecture and does not reach the level of proof.  Climate change theorists and activists rely on the concensus (general agreement, but still not proof) that global warming is taking place and that carbon emissions are the major cause.

Climate realists (skeptics, doubters) have been demanding proof for the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  This article reveals the history behind the big lies.  Propaganda masquerading as science has degraded science to something less honest than the truth, and certainly nothing to be relied upon.  Not if government policies pushing for major and costly changes in our way of life are based on mere theories, and when the theories are disproved, government continues to cover up and expand the big lie.  Skeptical scientists are all we have to keep the scientific community and government agencies honest.  Praise and thanks goes to these brave souls.

Wall Street Journal,  October 26, 2017. By Rupert Darwall
Climate Alarmists Use the Acid-Rain Playbook
The parallels between the two environmental frenzies are many, but the stakes are much higher now.

A ma­jor­ity of sci­en­tists might say a sci­en­tific the­ory is true, but that doesn’t mean the con­sensus is    reli­able. The sci­ence un­der­pin­ning en­vi­ron­mental claims can be fun­da­men-tally wrong—as it was in one of the big­gest en­vi­ron-men­tal scares in re­cent decades.

The acid-rain alarm of the 1970s and ’80s was a dry run for the cur­rent panic about cli­mate change. Both be­gan in Swe­den as part of a war on coal meant to bol­ster sup­port for nu­clear power. In 1971 me­te­o­rol­o­gist Bert Bolin wrote the Swedish gov­ern­ment’s re­port on acid rain to the United Na­tions. Sev­en­teen years later he be­came the first chair­man of the In­ter­govern­men­tal Panel on Climate Change.

There are many par­al-lels be­tween acid rain and global warm­ing. Each phe­nomenon pro­duced a U.N. con­ven­tion—the 1979 Geneva Con­ven­tion on Long-Range Trans­boundary Air Pol­lu­tion in the case of acid rain, and the 1988 Frame­work Con­vention on Cli­mate Change. And each con­ven­tion led to a new pro­to­col—the 1985 Hel­sinki Pro­to­col and the 1997 Ky­oto Pro­to­col.

Pub­lic alarm sur­round­ing acid rain was far more in­tense, es­pe­cially in Ger­many, where pop­u­lar reaction to me­dia sto­ries about acid rain reached a pitch of hys­te­ria not yet seen with global warm­ing. A 1981 Der Speigel cover story fea­tured an im­age of smoke­stacks loom­ing over a copse of trees with the ti­tle “The For­est Is Dy­ing.”

The most strik­ing par­al­lels are the role of sci­en­tific con­sen­sus in un­der­pin­ning en­vi­ron­mental alarm and the way sci­ence is used to jus­tify cuts in emis­sions. The emis­sion of sul­fur diox­ide into the atmosphere “has proved to be a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lem,” Bolin wrote in his 1971 re­port. National sci­en­tific acad­emies across North Amer­ica and Eu­rope were in com­plete agree­ment. “We have a much more com­plete knowl­edge of the causes and con­sequences of acid de­po­sition than we have for other pol­lu­tants,” a re­port by the Na­tional Acad­emy of Sci­ences’ Na­tional Re­search Council said in 1981. Ac­cord­ing to the NRC, the cir­cum­stantial ev­i­dence was “overwhelm­ing.” Many thousands of lakes had been af­fected, rivers were los­ing salmon, fish­eries in the Adiron­dacks were in a bad way, red spruce were dy­ing, and pro­duc­tion from Cana­dian sugar maple trees had been affected. Acid rain was a sci­en­tific slam dunk.

Politi­cians duly parroted what the sci­en­tists told them. “Acid rain has caused se­ri­ous en­vi­ron­mental dam­age in many parts of the world,” Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carterwrote in his 1979 en­vi­ron­men­tal message to Con­gress. He signed an agree­ment with Canada to es­tab­lish five acid-rain work­ing groups, and Con­gress set up a 10-year Na­tional Acid Pre­cip­ita­tion As­sess­ment Program, which went by the catchy acro­nym Na­pap.

To Cana­dian anger, Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan was more skep­ti­cal than his pre­de­ces­sor. The head of Cana­da’s Fed­eral As­sessment and Re­view Of­fice ac­cused Mr. Rea­gan of “bla­tant ef­forts to manipulate” the sci­ence be­ing done by the work­ing groups. A for­mal note of protest from Ot­tawa pointed to the more than 3,000 sci­en­tific stud­ies on acid rain yield­ing “suf­ficient sci­en­tific ev­i­dence” for policies to cut emissions.

Vice Pres­i­dent George Bush promised Canada that if elected pres­i­dent, he would act on the prob­lem. But as acid-rain cap-and-trade leg­is­la­tion was mak­ing its way through Con­gress, the En­vi­ron­mental Pro­tec­tion Agency en­coun­tered a ma­jor prob­lem. Na­pap’s draft re­port con­cluded that the sci­ence was wrong. Yes, powersta­tion emis­sions make rain more acidic—rain is nat­u­rally acidic, and more so dur­ing thun­derstorms—but changes to ecosys­tems, the re­port said, were mainly caused by changes in land use. The felling of trees and the burn­ing of stumps in the Adiron­dacks had re­duced the acid­ity of the for­est floor. Af­ter con­ser­va­tionists put a stop to it, the soil grad­u­ally re­turned to its pre­vi­ous acidity.

Rather than ad­mit it had the sci­ence wrong, the EPA set about sup­press­ing the in­con­ve­nient find­ings. The Na­pap re­port was de­layed un­til af­ter key pro­vi­sions of cap-and-trade leg­is­la­tion had been agreed to in Con­gress. As out­lined in a 1992 ar­ti­cle in Rea­son, the EPA then waged a dirty-tricks campaign to dis­credit Ed­ward C. Krug, a soil ex­pert and the lead­ing dis­si­dent Na­pap sci­en­tist. It as­sembled a group of com­pli­ant sci­en­tists to con­duct a sham peer re­view and con­clude that Mr. Krug was a bad sci­en­tist. The episode ended with an as­sistant ad­min­is­tra­tor of the EPA, William Rosen-berg, apol­ogiz­ing to Mr. Krug to avoid a threat­ened li­bel ac­tion.

To this day, the zom­bie sci­ence of acid rain lives on at the EPA’s web­site, which falsely states that acid­i­fi­cation of soil, streams and lakes is caused by emissions from power sta­tions. The EPA reck­ons the an­nual cost of anti-acid-rain mea­sures in the U.S. will reach $65 bil­lion in 2020, but it no longer claims that the money will pre­vent ecosys­tem dam­age. Now it just claims to be im­prov­ing pub­lic health.

In its ap­proach to the sci­ence of global warm­ing, the EPA un­der cur­rent Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt couldn't of­fer a greater con­trast with the acid-rain coverup per­pe­trated by the EPA dur­ing the late ’80s and early ’90s. In­stead of at­tack­ing dis­si­dent sci­entists, Mr. Pruitt’s pro­posal to hold red-team/blue-team ap­praisals would put dis­senters on the same foot­ing as con­sen­sus-sup­port­ing sci­en­tists. This will en­able proper de­bate be­tween both camps to re­veal the strengths and weak­nesses of the sci­en­tific con­sen­sus on global warming.

Open de­bate is as cru­cial to sci­ence as it is to democ­racy. Cap­ping sul­fur-diox­ide emis­sions is an eco­nomic pin­prick com-pared with the mul­ti­tril-lion-dol­lar cost of cut­ting emis­sions of car­bon dioxide. If peo­ple’s way of life is to be forcibly changed in an ex­pen­sive at­tempt to de­car­bonize so­ci­ety, at the very least it should be done with their in­formed consent.

Mr. Dar­wall is au­thor of “Green Tyranny: Ex­pos­ing the To­tal­i­tar­ian Roots of the Cli­mate In­dus­trial Com­plex” (En­counter, 2017).    

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