Is there anyone in the global warming debate less well-informed on the subject than Gregg Easterbrook? He has a mistake-filled article in the latest issue of the Atlantic (subs. req’d) and a mistake-filled interview on line.
Consider this whopper from the interview:
In the current federal budget there’s almost five billion dollars for energy conservation research–I wish there was zero in the current federal budget. Progress would be faster.
Wrong by a factor of more than 10. I ran the energy conservation office. The entire research budget is well under $500 million — and much of that is hydrogen research that is probably pointless and in any case not real conservation. Easterbrook is completely unaware of the $30 billion in savings the energy conservation program has been documented to provide Americans by the National Academy of Sciences.
Or consider this whopper from the second sentence in the article:
If Earth’s climate changes meaningfully–and the National Academy of Sciences, previously skeptical, said in 2005 that signs of climate change have become significant–there could be broad-based disruption of the global economy unparalleled by any event other than World War II.
The National Academy warned that uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions might raise global temperatures a staggering 10°F and raise sea levels 20 feet back in 1977! The Academy has published numerous unskeptical reports since then. It is Easterbrook that was previously skeptical. But he hasn’t become terribly informed. He says in the interview:
[T]here’s still a huge range of doubt about exactly why climate change is happening. We have no idea what component is natural and what part is artificial and no one has even the slightest clue about exactly what’s going to happen, what the degree of change will be. And you can’t even be sure it’s going to be bad–it may be that change on balance will be good.
This is a standard argument by the disinformation squad — scientists really don’t understand what’s going on and maybe global warming will be good for us. Yet in the same issue, as Climate Progress has noted, a strong case is made that the climate change we have had to date is responsible for Darfur. If so, that probably single-handedly kills the notion that global warming will be good for us on net — especially when you consider that we are faced with five times as much warming this century as the warming last century that may have given us Darfur. By 2080, “water shortages could threaten 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion people” and “between 200 million and 600 million people could be hungry because of global warming’s effects.”
No, Easterbrook doesn’t get global warming — and neither do the editors of the Atlantic for running his uninformed article.