What if CARB is Wrong and Reality Does Not Support AGW?

Russ Steele

Californian’s are locked in an economic struggle with their own government, specifically bureaucratic agencies like CARB that are busy implementing AB-32 to reduce the emissions of CO2. Lets assume for a moment that CO2 reduction is the true mission of CARB and they truly believe that AB-32 will produce hundreds of green companies and more than a hundred thousand private sector jobs as forecast by TechNet, a bipartisan policy and political network of CEOs who promotes innovation in the economy.  TechNet CEO’s have become true believers in the theory anthropogenic global warming, according to statement they made in 2010.

“In an increasingly competitive global economy in which countries are vying for preeminence on clean energy, California’s leadership in implementing AB 32 has positioned our state for job growth and long-term competitiveness,” said Jim Hawley, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of TechNet.

“After Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 into law, venture investment in clean energy surged throughout the Golden State, creating hundreds of exciting new companies and more than one hundred thousand private-sector jobs. The development of clean energy is a capital-intensive enterprise, requiring a stable long-term investment climate. Changing course would jeopardize California’s economic leadership in emerging clean technology industries, costing the state not only thousands of existing jobs but also the opportunity to create many more in the future.

“Quite simply, if California suspends implementation of this historic measure, investment will go elsewhere. To build a strong economic future, California must continue to lead,” added Hawley.

I am still looking for the hundreds of new companies and the over one hundred thousand new jobs. The private sector employment in 2006, when AB-32 was signed, was 16,821,300 and the unemployment rate was 4.9% In 2010 when this TechNet statement was issues the private works force was 15,916,300, and unemployment rate was 12.4%  Where are all those jobs that AB-32 was to create go?  Many of those early AB-32 spawned companies are now bankrupt and going out of business. Not much of an employment legacy!

But what if both CARB and TechNet are wrong and CO2 has no proven link to climate  change, specifically global warming.  Mike Stopa writing at his blog asks the question What If They Are Wrong?

Because the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) depends on a feedback mechanism between increase in CO2 and an increase in atmospheric water – a mechanism about which there is considerable, scientifically justified doubt – it is possible that CO2 has effectively no influence on global climate.

There is now considerable data collected, and being collected, that gives a fairly accurate view of the global temperature, insofar as such a thing can be defined. And the temperature record shows reasonably clearly that a heating took place from around the beginning of the industrial age in the early 20th century until around 1940, followed by 30-40 years of cooling, followed again by 20 years of warming until ~1998. In an interesting admission the (British) Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit have now admitted that the global temperature has ceased rising for the last 15 years. Don Surber has done a nice little riff on this report here.

The main point is that there are other potential mechanism to account for the warming trend of 1980-1998 than CO2. Notably, ocean climates and interactions between solar wind and cosmic rays relating to earth’s cloud formation are scientifically established mechanisms for the change.

Here I ask this. Suppose it turns out that CO2 has essentially nothing to do with the earth’s climate. How will the history of this colossal mistake be written?


They will say the theory was seemingly invalidated by the evidence that the atmosphere was already nearly opaque in the wavelengths that are absorbed by CO2 and so the additional CO2 could have, on its own, little effect, but that the theory was patched up by positing a feedback mechanism between the small temperature increases directly due to CO2 and the production of water vapor which is the main greenhouse gas.

They will note that the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) proceeded much like any scientific theory (cf. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) in that it was modified and patched up and adjusted to fit empirical challenges until it finally collapsed altogether under the weight of incontrovertible evidence. But, the scientific historians will have a new phenomenon to consider, and that is the social and political context of this particular scientific theory.

Kuhn describes very well the build-up of evidence that ultimately leads to the over-turning of accepted orthodoxy within the scientific community, of some particular theory. But AGW is intrinsically wrapped up with political ideology and, increasingly, with economics and government (cf. “Solyndra”). The only apt comparison I can think of is Lysenkoism, the anti-genetics theory of Trofim Lysenko that was bought wholesale by Stalin and ultimately hobbled the entire Soviet biological establishment for generations (to say nothing of its role in leading to the starvation of people who followed its tenets in regard to things like agriculture).

Scientific revolutions are difficult and traumatic enough without the added inertia of government sponsorship. To put it more bluntly, scientists have difficulty enough admitting that they have egg on their faces. Throw in the Solyndras of the world and the United Nations and the entire anti-capitalist Global Left and the backing out of this theory will be nothing short of a fiasco.

If someone were, for instance, to come up with indisputable evidence tomorrow that CO2 has essentially no impact on earth’s climate, could the world accept it? With the development of frakking and the concomitant extension of carbon based energy resources hundreds of years into the future, what would they do with all the windmills?

Well, the truth of this issue should be apparent within about 15 years…at which point we may be allowed to buy incandescent light bulbs again.

In my estimation in 15 years California will be bankrupt, having squandered billions to solve a problem that does not exist, when that money could have been spent to create real jobs. The cost of being wrong in this case can be extremely high.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

5 Responses to What if CARB is Wrong and Reality Does Not Support AGW?

  1. Russ says:

    Dan Walters in the Sac Bee on Sunday

    Those cap-and-trade fees will add tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars in costs to California business. There’s a feeding frenzy beginning in the Capitol over how to spend the windfall, although the Legislature’s budget analyst warns that the legal options are limited.

    The state’s three largest utilities recently filed policy papers with the state Energy Commission about the impact of green conversion on consumers’ power rates that are already among the nation’s highest.

    Pacific Gas and Electric said it has “overarching concerns” about conversion because it “contains very little information on the actual cost impact on customers and numerous – and sometimes overlapping – public policies regarding power supply and whether customers actually need the volume of power that utilities would be required to procure under these numerous mandates. We should ensure that our efforts to transition to an ever-cleaner energy supply do not saddle customers with ever-higher costs for decades to come.”

    Another, San Diego Gas and Electric, is going further. Its new general rate filing would impose a “network use charge” on those with solar systems to maintain the distribution grid.

    Or to put it briefly, the utility wants those who use less of its power to pay more for system upkeep, which seems counterintuitive, but is one of the financial consequences of going green, and not the only one.

    And how about all of those battery- and hybrid-powered cars? Automotive fuel consumption has been declining in California for decades, vis-à-vis vehicular mileage, as cars have become more fuel-efficient – and that trend would accelerate under the state’s new clean car rules.

    But high-mileage cars have just as much impact on pavement and congestion as gas-guzzlers, and fuel tax revenues have flattened, leaving California with the nation’s most congested and second roughest roads.

    Going green may sound good, but like all other public policies, has unintended consequences that we ignore at our peril.

    [Emphasis added]

  2. D. King says:

    “Or to put it briefly, the utility wants those who use less of its power to pay more for system upkeep, which seems counterintuitive, but is one of the financial consequences of going green, and not the only one.”

    So, it cost you more to use less?
    All those rich people with solar systems should pay their fair share, yeah, that’s the ticket!

    To boil this down, we should pay a minimum fee to have access to power whether we use it or not.

    Exit question: When is the left going to wake up and see what’s happening?

  3. sean2829 says:

    Let’s face it. In California, citizens serve the government. CARB regulations intrude into any thing where energy is generated or consumed which is most of life in a modern economy. You keep casting CARB and its regulations as its PR does to make new opportunities for the citizens of your state and that part of it is likely to be a total failure. However, with CARB regulations, citizens will be required to ask for state permission before almost anything can be done. It will help clarify the complete servitude California’s citizens have toward their governement. It that respect, it will be a huge success.

  4. gjrebane says:

    For anyone looking for an overarching raison d’etre for all such nonsense, look no further than Agenda21 to which the US is a signatory. Through sheer economics implemented by draconian, propagandized, and misrepresented legislation like AB32, we will allow ourselves to be herded into ever-narrower, politically correct, environmental ghettos constructed under that state mandated banners of smart growth. Remember, being a socialist is never having to say you are sorry.

  5. Dixon Cruickshank says:

    Good post GR, but so many unintended consequences that always follow the the left objectives that always have to be rectified somehow.

    Use less fuel, the massive fuel tax revenue declines, need more money from other taxes

    If its a business – its flush with cash from ripping off employee’s and consumers – tax and fee those bastads

    Good god if everyone actually quit smoking and taxes stopped they would be broke in 3 weeks

    que the Mary Nichols vs Russ email LOL

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