Rep Lowey’s Ambivalent Global Warming Resolution

A resolution dated April 22, 2009 sponsored by Rep Nita Lowey (D-NY) and at the time of this writing co-sponsored by no one was presented at The Hill dot com’s Congress Blog by its author. Dismissing those who do not share her view on global warming as ‘deniers’ Lowey injects plenty of insulting rhetoric but appears to expect anyone reading her post (which is crossposted at HuffPo) to take her claim on faith. Lowey claims the evidence for global warming caused by humans is ‘conclusive’. But of course no details or links are provided to make her case.

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem (Rep. Nita Lowey)
April 22nd, 2009

In the past month, the House Minority Leader called the idea that carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas and known carcinogen – is dangerous “almost comical,” and members of his party suggested that the planet is actually cooling and “carbon-starved” and invited a global warming denier as a public witness to a Congressional hearing on the topic.

As anyone with experience with recovery knows, the first step in addressing a crisis is to admit that you have a problem. Unfortunately, these displays and others make it increasingly clear that, despite conclusive scientific evidence on the existence of global warming and the human role, some elected officials refuse to take Step 1.
As Congress begins the process of legislating to protect humans and ecosystems from the effects of global warming, I believe we need a “temperature check.”

It is interesting that Rep Nita Lowey makes the statements above with such conviction. Yet the resolution she authored and introduced in Congress April 22nd in stark contrast has no such confidence. She offers seven ‘whereas’ statements which list her arguments supporting that human activity causes global warming. But twice she is only mildly hinting that such is the case with two statements. ‘Recognizing that the climate system of the Earth is warming and that most of the increase in global average temperatures is very likely due to the observed increase in human greenhouse gas emissions.’ And ‘Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives– (1) recognizes that the climate system of the Earth is warming and that most of the increase in global average temperatures is very likely due to the observed increase in human greenhouse gas emissions; and (2) recognizes legislation is needed to mitigate risks humans and ecosystems face from a warming climate system.’

Seven details in an effort to support her claim that we are causing global warming followed by two statements in her conclusion that this is ‘very likely’ rather than something reflecting she is convinced by her own argument. Maybe she missed arguments to the contrary or in her zeal to support her political party dismissed everyone that disagrees as a ‘denier’. There was an article in the Politico which offered the following last November.

Scientists urge caution on global warming
By: Erika Lovley
November 25, 2008 04:48 AM EST

Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.

There are scientists on both sides of this issue. Another excerpt from the same article points out one example.

Armed with statistics from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Data Center, D’Aleo reported in the 2009 Old Farmer’s Almanac that the U.S. annual mean temperature has fluctuated for decades and has only risen 0.21 degrees since 1930 — which he says is caused by fluctuating solar activity levels and ocean temperatures, not carbon emissions.

The article also stated ‘most’ scientific bodies support the notion of global warming and our involvement in it. Organizations may not reflect the opinion of everyone connected to their organizations. But over 30,000 scientists who signed the Petition Project since 1998 make an even stronger case than global warming or cooling. They have objected to the idea that the debate is over and the science is done. That presents an intelligent and reasonable conclusion. Science has always been about continuing the pursuit and regularly challenging theories and discoveries. Galileo risked his life for that pursuit as did others. Some people take science seriously. Here’s a snapshot of what the project and the signers are ‘about’.

The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis.

In contrast to that and published in 1992 the Union of Concerned Scientists which boasts 250,000 members including scientists and ordinary citizens offered their National Call to Action on Global Warming which proposes essentially taking all sorts of steps to eliminate human causes of global warming. For an organization that gives at least some impression of being science related they have a troubling list of organizations supporting their position. That list may have a political agenda or at least be characterized as special interest. Or another way of putting it is lobbyists. Decide for yourself, here’s the list.

Organizations Endorsing the National Call to Action on Global Warming:

1Sky * ACORN * Alliance for Climate Protection * Audubon * Catholic Healthcare West * Center for International Environmental Law * Ceres * Clean Water Action * Climate Law and Policy Project * Climate Protection Campaign * Climate Solutions * Defenders of Wildlife * Democracia USA * Earthjustice * Eco-Equity * Ecology Center * Energize America * Energy Action Coalition * Environment America * Environment and Energy Study Institute * Environment Northeast * Environmental Law and Policy Center * Green for All * Greenpeace * Health Professionals for Clean Air * Hip Hop Caucus * ICLEI USA * Insitute for Agriculture and Trade Policy * Interfaith Power and Light * International Forum on Globalization * Kyoto USA * League of Conservation Voters * League of Women Voters * League of Young Voters * Massachusetts Climate Action Network * National Hispanic Environmental Council * National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions * National Wildlife Federation * Oceana * Oxfam * Physicians for Social Responsibility * Progressive Future * Public Citizen * Religious Witness for the Earth * Rock the Vote * SEED Coalition * Sierra Club * Southern Alliance for Clean Energy * Teleosis Institute * The Humane Society of the United States * The Student Public Interest Research Groups * The Wilderness Society * Union of Concerned Scientists

This post does not suggest global warming does or does not exist. It does not even suggest whether humans are or are not responsible in whole or in part. But this is what it does suggest. Those who dismiss opposing viewpoints are ignoring scientific method. Just because you may want the argument resolved or that it would be expedient does not gurantee the science will support it or be available now.

As stated earlier in this post, Lowey is not even convinced it is real. That is why pursuing legislation based on the SWAG method is ridiculous. Check your politics and special interest agendas at the door. Causing panic to rush to legislation is a very good sign the proposal is flawed. That is what the science should help you avoid. Listen to the more than 30,000 scientists telling you the answer is not here yet.

Stanford Matthews