Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lundberg Says Ritter Climate Change Plan Based on "Junk Science," Human Effect on Atmosphere Unproven

Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said Monday that Gov. Bill Ritter's plan to combat global climate change is based on "junk science" and that scientists have not established that humans are impacting the atmosphere.

The remarks, delivered at a gathering of Republican lawmakers sponsored by the Independence Institute, provoked Department of Public Health & Environment Director Jim Martin to point out that there is scientific consensus on the question whether human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change.

In a comment published by the Denver Post, Martin said that "You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth."

A 2001 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear that the scientific community generally believes that humanity is causing the Earth's climate to change.

"Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations," the report says.

The IPCC's fourth report concludes concludes that it is at least 90% likely that humanity is causing global climate change. According to a summary of that report issued by IPCC in February 2007, such human impact on the atmosphere is "very likely."

The National Academy of Sciences agrees. In a 2001 report prepared by its Committee on the Science of Climate Change, the panel of scientists wrote that "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise."

The NAS report also said that "[t]he IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue."