Jon Huntsman gave a relatively brief interview to Time, but it’s likely to create longer term problems for his rumored presidential run in the GOP. Huntsman says he opposes cap-and-trade proposals because “this isn’t the moment,” but he buys the climate change argument because “90% of the scientists” say it’s happening. If 90% of oncologists identified a carcinogen, Huntsman says, he’d believe them too (via Taegan Goddard):
You also believe in climate change, right?
This is an issue that ought to be answered by the scientific community; I’m not a meteorologist. All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring. If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we’d listen to them. I respect science and the professionals behind the science so I tend to think it’s better left to the science community – though we can debate what that means for the energy and transportation sectors.
Matt [David, Huntsman’s communications director,] says you’ve changed your mind about cap-and-trade.
Cap-and-trade ideas aren’t working; it hasn’t worked, and our economy’s in a different place than five years ago. Much of this discussion happened before the bottom fell out of the economy, and until it comes back, this isn’t the moment.
Will it ever be the moment, though? The environment never takes priority because it never seems like something has to be addressed this quarter or else, but if you look at what’s happening to our planet…
If anyone knows about the need to clean up the planet, we do; we’ve been living somewhere [Beijing] where you feel like you’re killing your kids sending them out to school every day. But putting additional burdens on the pillars of growth right now is counter-productive. If we have a lost decade, then nothing else matters. Ask Japan about that.
Do “90% of the scientists” believe in anthropogenic global warming? “Climate change” is a meaningless term; the climate is always changing. “Global warming” is also meaningless in a policy sense, as warming due to natural changes can’t be reversed by political policy. I have seen plenty of claims of “consensus” on AGW, but I’ve never seen anyone claim that agreement on AGW totals to 90% of all scientists, or even all climate scientists.
The better evaluation is whether the modeling for the claims of AGW bear out in terms of data. On that score, the answer is an emphatic no, as one former AGW theorist discovered. Bruce McQuain wrote about David Evans last weekend and his conversion to AGW skepticism:
This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three — so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.
That’s the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.
What did they find when they tried to prove this theory?
Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.
This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.
And when should people like Huntsman stop buying what scientists claim? When they cease being scientists:
At this point, official “climate science” stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory — that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.
At least Huntsman says he opposes cap-and-trade … for now. When the economy recovers, will Huntsman decide to support government intervention in energy production and consumption in response to bad science? Do we want to find out the hard way?
Update: The 90% claim is a canard, says The American Pundit, and was exposed as such years ago.