An Expensive Solution To A Non-Problem

Written by Karl Bohnak


May 20, 2009
By Karl Bohnak

You know that "Global Warming" (warming of the earth caused primarily by mankind's emission of carbon from the burning of fossil fuels) is one of my pet peeves.  The evidence shows we have warmed-about 0.7 degrees C the last century.  This is significant, but not cause for alarm.  In the past, long before humans were burning large amounts of fossil fuels, there were even more dramatic rises in temperature.  The main point I want to get across is that just because the earth has warmed, doesn't mean humans were the primary cause of that warming.  Don't be duped.  Melting ice caps, milder winters and polar bears swimming in open water are not evidence of human-induced global warming. 

For me, this issue has gone beyond a background irritation.  There is legislation before the U.S. Congress that would fight "climate change (the term used to cover any effect that doesn't appear to be due to warming)" that would impose a "cap and trade" scheme on industries and businesses that emit carbon dioxide (CO2).  This means virtually every business and industry would have to participate-they all use energy and most energy in this country is carbon-based.  Businesses would have to buy these credits for the right to emit CO2.  Guess who will pay for it?  Me and you-the consumer, and that's why this has gone beyond annoyance for me. 

I have written Congressman Bart Stupak about my concerns on this proposed legislation: 

Congressman Stupak: 

I would like to commend you on your efforts to protect Lake Superior.  You are a champion of one of the nation's most precious resources.  That being said, I urge you to reject a bill that's being touted as a piece of legislation that will help protect our environment for future generations--the Waxman-Markey Energy and Climate Bill. 

For years as a broadcast meteorologist, I kept silent about the issue of "global warming."  Declaring skepticism labeled you (and still does) as an anti-environmentalist. After former VP Gore's movie hit the big screen, I could remain silent no more.  "An Inconvenient Truth" was filled with so many gross distortions and outright scientific misrepresentations; I felt it was my obligation to speak out. 

My school presentations now center on global warming and climate change.  In them, I first state a fact--that CO2 is NOT a pollutant, but a life-giving, naturally occurring element in our atmosphere.  I then show how small the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 really is compared to ocean out-gassing, etc.  On the theme of small contribution, I then explain how water vapor is by far (>95%) the most dominant greenhouse gas.  The bottom line is that the burning of fossil fuels contributes around 4% to a gas that is just 3% of the total volume of greenhouse gases. 

I also show how the modest warming we've experienced over the past century is NOT alarming or out of the ordinary and how the cycles of warming and cooling oceans (which are relatively recent discoveries) correlate quite well with the ups and downs of global temperature over the last century.  Another element I focus on is the sun.  The IPCC report states that solar fluctuations in the climate system are not as important as rising levels of the trace gas CO2.  The graphs and charts I show, prepared by eminent meteorologists and astrophysicists, call that assertion into question. 

The fact is these natural fluctuations are all pointing toward global cooling over the next few decades.  The Pacific Ocean has entered its cool phase (and global temperatures have leveled off and even declined some), while the Atlantic is beginning to cool after reaching its warm-cycle peak around 2005.  The sun is in a deep slumber that has confounded most astronomers. These big atmospheric players are all pointing toward sustained cooling despite rising CO2 levels. 

CO2 is not a pollutant and it's not a problem.  The problem is rent-seeking corporations looking to cash in on cap and trade and low-output, high-cost alternative energy.  As your Michigan House colleague Congressman Dingell says "cap and trade is a tax, and it's a great big one."  This is not the time to raise energy prices, which is what this bill will surely do.  I believe the majority of your constituents will suffer adversely if this legislation is passed. 

There are serious environmental problems that we can do something about.  From what I understand, there are hundreds of Super Fund toxic dumps that are not being cleaned up.  These dumps represent a real threat to human well-being.  Carbon Dioxide is an environmental "boogey man." 

Please do the right thing and vote "no" on this bill. 

Karl Bohnak
Chief Meteorologist,  WLUC-TV

I wrote the above over this past weekend and received a response on Monday

May 4, 2009 
Mr Karl Bohnak
Negaunee, Michigan 49866 

Dear Mr Bohnak: 

Thank you for contacting me regarding the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), a discussion draft of energy and climate change legislation proposed by Chairman Henry Waxman and Chairman Ed Markey. ACES is the basis for discussions amongst the House Energy and Commerce Committee members.  I sit on the Energy and Commerce Committee and have been an active participant in the discussions.  I appreciate hearing from you concerning this important issue. 

Let me be clear, I believe we need legislation to combat global warming caused by human activities.  According to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the five hottest years on record have all occurred in the past 10 years, with 2005 breaking the record for the hottest year since 1895.  An overwhelming majority of scientists agree that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing this unusual warming of our planet. 

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finalized its most comprehensive report yet.  The report concluded that global warming is caused by human actions, and if nothing is done to curb our greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures could increase, causing the melting of polar ice caps, significant rise in sea levels, untold impacts on global water supplies, agriculture production, and more intense natural disasters.  Since that report, the evidence has become more apparent and the predictions more dire. 

Congress needs to move beyond the debate over whether global warming exists.  With that said, Chairman Waxman and Chairman Markey's draft legislation needs significant improvement.  As I work on this proposed legislation, my priority is to protect existing Northern Michigan jobs from being lost due to higher energy prices, create new jobs through developing alternative energy technologies in Northern Michigan, and make sure that unreasonable costs are not passed on to consumers. 

One change I am working to include is defining "renewable biomass" to incorporate timber resources currently off limits in the Waxman/Markey draft.  We have a large forest industry that could play a vital role in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, while benefiting the economy of Northern Michigan.  As written in the Waxman/Markey draft, timber from federal lands is excluded from the bill as an eligible fuel source for renewable energy projects.  Fuel stock eligibility should be based on proper sustainability and healthy forest practices, not excluded for arbitrary reason. 

I am also working to include a "cash for clunkers" program that allows individuals to turn in their older, inefficient vehicles and receive a federal rebate toward purchasing a new, fuel-efficient vehicle.  This will reduce our country's oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as give a boost to our domestic auto industry. 

I believe we can responsibly reduce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause global warming and grow our economy.  Congress has previously provided tax credits and other incentives to promote the production and use of clean coal technology, as well as wind, solar, geothermal, ethanol, and other biofuels.  In addition, Congress has also worked to promote energy efficient businesses and homes. The increased use of cleaner burning fuels and improved efficiency will help energy users reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  There are many provisions within the draft legislation that support these areas.  There are other areas, such as nuclear power, that must be addressed more thoroughly.  I will work in Congress to further promote alternative fuels and programs, help improve energy efficiency, and protect our global climate. 

The Waxman/Markey draft establishes a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system, but leaves out how the carbon credits, on which the system is based, will be allocated.  The impact of cap-and-trade on utilities, businesses and households will depend on whether allocations are distributed by the EPA, or are sold in an auction.  My priority is to create a system that doesn't put energy intensive domestic industries, such as iron ore mining, steel, concrete and paper production, at a competitive disadvantage to their foreign counterparts and ensure you are protected from unreasonable energy price increases. 

The current draft proposed by Chairman Waxman and Chairman Markey will serve as a starting point for what is expected to be a thorough legislative process.  The Energy and Commerce Committee will consider climate change legislation this May, and I will offer amendments and suggest changes to the bill throughout this process.  In addition, because this is a global problem, I believe that Congress and the Administration must engage the international community to promote greenhouse gas reduction in the United States and abroad. 

Thank you again for sharing your concerns.  Please feel free to contact me again with issues that concern you in the future.  

Member of Congress

I then responded to the congressman with this:

Dear Congressman Stupak: 

I applaud your promotion of timber biomass and especially clean coal.  We can now burn coal while releasing only water and carbon dioxide, gases which are harmless, naturally occurring elements in our atmosphere. 

It is true we have warmed, but it has NOT been proven that the warming is primarily because of anthropogenic activity. 

Also, the statistics you are given on the warmest years is from GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies).  It has been shown by independent statisticians http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1878 that 1934 was the warmest year, followed by 1998.  It has also been shown that most of the data that goes into the GISS record is from thermometers that have citing problems http://www.surfacestations.org/.  The thermometers are located in areas that have become heavily urbanized.  This urbanization has resulted in a warm bias across the board both here and in foreign countries. 

Also, the IPCC is a political organization whose main report is written by bureaucrats and NOT scientists.  The summary for policy makers is written with a pre-conceived notion (man's activities are causing warming) and then data from IPCC-supported scientists' work is probed to find data supporting the summary's conclusion.  Climate science has been politicized and dissenting views are being suppressed http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220.  

I have posted a few graphics that clearly show data that is not supportive of extreme measures to control the release of CO2. 

1) CO2 vs lower atmospheric temperatures:  This shows how poor the correlation is over the last decade between CO2 and temperatures.  The global temperature reached a peak in 1998 during the Super El Nino and has since leveled off and fallen a bit while CO2 continues to rise. 
2) There are claims made about how warm it's getting.  This is the record-high temperature chart for the U.S.  Note the huge number of record highs that occurred in the 1930s through 50s and how comparatively few there have been since.  The warming we have experienced the last 30 years is not unusual. 

3) This is a graphic prepared by Harvard astrophysicist Dr. Soon.  Note how well the temperature correlates with the sun's activity (left) and how poorly the over-all record correlates with CO2 (right). 

4) This is the smoking gun that leads me to ask those who say CO2 is the primary driver of global temperatures, "Where is the evidence?".  The computer models used by the IPCC predict a "hot spot" six to ten kilometers or so above the tropics (top).  Yet, repeated observations via satellite and weather balloon measurements show no hot spot (below). 

I am suggesting that you break from the party line and look at opposing data with an open mind.  Please continue to be a steward of our natural resources, but please do not vote to raise the price of energy for your constituents. 

Most respectfully, 
Karl Bohnak
Weather Broadcaster, Author

I posted the four graphics I sent to Congressman Stupak above.  Note Congressman Stupak's response on the issue of higher energy costs.  He states that he wants to make sure "unreasonable costs" are not passed on to consumers.  I ask, "What are unreasonable costs?"  I do not want to pay ANY higher costs (reasonable or unreasonable) for a problem that just isn't there. 

I ask you to look at the data.  Don't fall for the line that "An overwhelming majority of scientists agree that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing this unusual warming of our planet."  Majority rule is not how science is conducted.  If one wants to play that game, there's a growing segment of scientists that have declared themselves "global warming skeptics." Get as much information as you can, but you will NOT get it from the mainstream media (MSM).  The MSM is in the business of whipping up fear (look at the recent swine flu story).  Stories that the world is heading toward a precipice are right up its alley.  Also, there is at least one corporate media owner that has a high stake in seeing this bill passed.  Also don't be fooled by slick advertising campaigns from organizations that have a vested interest in seeing this bill passed.  Cap and trade and new "alternative energy jobs" proposals have been job killers across the Atlantic.

If you really believe humans are causing catastrophic warming and you don't mind paying extra (at least one study demonstrates that cap and trade will push the overall cost of energy in the U.S. up by 86%)  for energy to drive you car, heat your home and turn on the lights, then send the Congressman a letter of support.  However, if you feel like I do, I would make him aware of your opinion.  You can contact him here.

Re-published with the gracious permission of Karl Bohnak, Chief Meteorologist,  WLUC-TV, UpperMichigansSource.com

Mr. Bohnak took the time to contact his Congressman, we have no indication of political party or which side of the political aisle Mr.Bohnak supports, and quite frankly, it does not matter.  This is an issue that will effect every person in this country and likely around the world, regardless of political affilliation or ideology.  It does not matter what YOUR political party is, or which political party YOUR Congressman(woman) is listed under.  Once they take office, they are sworn to represent ALL the people in their state and or district.  You have the right and the obligation to contact them and let them know how you feel about this issue. 

If you do nothing, then you have no right to complain about what you get.

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