Last month Apollo 17 astronaut and moonwalker Harrison Schmitt added his voice to the growing chorus of scientists speaking out against the anthropogenic [manmade] global warming (AGW) theory. In strongly worded comments he said the theory was a 'political tool.' Now, in a speech at the International Conference on Climate Change (Link) he outlined his argument in great detail saying, "the science of climate change and its causes is not settled."
Schmitt recalled as a child in Silver City, New Mexico helping his father, also a geologist, take rain measurements. Those early experiments spurred the former astronaut's interest in earth sciences at an early age. He recalled how later in life, while on the surface of the moon, he made weather forecasts for the southern hemisphere of the earth.
In wide ranging commentary, Dr. Schmitt made a point by point argument against many of the things that global warming advocates point to in support of the theory. In a similar vein to his comments last month, he continued to admonish scientists and politicians that have politicized the issue and said those that disagree do have a battle ahead of them.
Swimming against a tide, particularly a political tide, is never easy, but tides do reverse.Schmitt seemed to revel in his status as a doubter of manmade climate change believing that his experience and understanding of the science put him on the right side of the argument. He said, "Several indisputable facts appear evident in geological and climate science that make me a true, quote, denier, unquote of human caused global warming. The conclusion seems inescapable that nature produces the primary influences on climate."
- Dr. Harrison Schmitt on the difficulty facing those that disagree with the AGW theory
The gathering of climate change skeptics at which he was speaking would certainly provide evidence that he was not alone in his thoughts. Schmitt said, "Contrary to categorical statements by many politicians and unfortunately some scientists, including some colleagues of mine, the science of climate change and its causes is not settled - at least not to this geologist."
Citing evidence from the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, Dr. Schmitt used events such as those to point to the fact that large climate changes are not new and not always human induced. In the case of the Little Ice Age he pointed out that the globe has been gradually but steadily warming at a rate of approximately ½ a degree every century since the end of the event in approximately 1650.
The IPCC has an agenda other than science.He further pointed to other scientific evidence that cast doubt on the theory including the well documents CO2 / temperature lag and that water vapor plays a much larger role and is in much larger concentrations in the atmosphere than CO2. Schmitt had pointed criticism of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), its conclusions and its actions accusing the group of being more of a political entity than a scientific one. A fact which is hard to dispute since politicians write the final conclusions of the IPCC's reports.
- Dr. Harrison Schmitt
As for the IPCC's science, the geologist astronaut said, "Carbon dioxide cannot accumulate in the earth's prevailing atmosphere at levels and rates claimed by the IPCC and its supporters." He continued his argument saying, "The residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is only five years, 10 at most in some cases - not the 50 to 200 years claimed by the IPCC."
He further pointed to issues with the IPCC's climate models which have recently come to light. Dr. Schmitt feels that they are so error prone that they, "cannot hope to predict an exceedingly complex thing as the earth's climate." Among the issues with the models he pointed to the fact that they are continually modified, very subjective, makes assumptions beyond what is scientifically acceptable and cannot accurately predict historical trends. For these efforts he said the IPCC and its supporters, "intentionally mislead."
The recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that claimed climate change due to CO2 increases are 'largely irreversible for 1,000 years' was also called to task. In Schmitt's words, "There is no historical or scientific basis" for the claim.
Like other scientists that doubt the manmade climate change theory, Dr. Schmitt says the sun is the single largest factor and influence on Earth and climate change. He points to the obvious fact that the sun drives changes in weather and longer term climate variations and the globe's heating and cooling seems to correlate with solar activity.
However, he says that not enough study has been done on the sun as a driver of climate change and that while global warming alarmists acknowledge it, they in turn dismiss it without explanation. Schmitt said, "No definitive evidence therefore exists to support the hypothesis that the industrial revolution has driven carbon dioxide levels up more rapidly than otherwise expected as a response to long term temperature increases. No evidence likewise exists AGAINST the conclusion that variations in solar heating remain the overwhelming dominate driver of climate change and weather."
His final comments centered around the latest attempt by politicians to curb CO2 emissions - the cap and trade tax on industry. As proposed by President Obama, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the tax could raise as much as $300 billion a year. However, as Schmitt pointed out, the end result could very well be higher energy and product costs for every day Americans. Schmitt says the cap and trade tax "constitutes a tremendous transfer of wealth and liberty from the people to the government."
Acting on consensus and unfounded fear mongering to increase the size, intrusiveness and cost of government constitutes the last thing we should do to deal with climate change. Instead we must insist that our leaders objectively and selfishly consider the facts available - or we should get new leaders.In closing, Dr. Schmitt said simply, "Instead of being dumb or politically greedy we can start being wise and truly being concerned about the world our children and their children will live."
- Dr. Harrison Schmitt