The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rep. Kopp was on Public Radio today, and I think he told a fib.

This is the text of House Concurrent Resolution 1009 as Rep. Kopp introduced it.

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota.

WHEREAS, the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite small increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide; and

WHEREAS, there is no evidence of atmospheric warming in the troposphere where the majority of warming would be taking place; and

WHEREAS, historical climatological data shows without question the earth has gone through trends where the climate was much warmer than in our present age. The Climatic Optimum and Little Climatic Optimum are two examples. During the Little Climatic Optimum, Erik the Red settled Greenland where they farmed and raised dairy cattle. Today, ninety percent of Greenland is covered by massive ice sheets, in many places more than two miles thick; and
WHEREAS, the polar ice cap is subject to shifting warm water currents and the break-up of ice by high wind events. Many oceanographers believe this to be the major cause of melting polar ice, not atmospheric warming; and

WHEREAS, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth. Many scientists refer to carbon dioxide as "the gas of life"; and

WHEREAS, more than 31,000 American scientists collectively signed a petition to President Obama stating: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, or methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will produce many beneficial effects on the natural plant and animal environments of the earth":

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-fifth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature urges that instruction in the public schools relating to global warming include the following:

(1) That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;

(2) That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative; and

(3) That the debate on global warming has subsumed political and philosophical viewpoints which have complicated and prejudiced the scientific investigation of global warming phenomena; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature urges that all instruction on the theory of global warming be appropriate to the age and academic development of the student and to the prevailing classroom circumstances.

Note that point (2) above (in larger, brown letters), is the sentence that made the Rachel Maddow show.

Today in an interview with SDPB's Paul Guggenheimer, Kopp said, apparently suggesting that he did not intend that part to be included with the resolution, said that the Legislative Research Council added it gratuitously. He said that he neglected to read it before submitting it to the House, but when he was made aware of it, he went over to the Senate and fixed it.

Here is what came out of the Senate, and is the language adopted by both chambers:

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Calling for a balanced approach for instruction in the public schools relating to global climatic change.
WHEREAS, evidence relating to global climatic change is complex and subject to varying scientific interpretations; and
WHEREAS, there are a variety of climatological and meteorological dynamics that can affect world weather phenomena, and the significance and interrelativity of these factors remain unresolved; and
WHEREAS, the debate on global warming has subsumed political and philosophical viewpoints, which has complicated and prejudiced the scientific investigation of global climatic change phenomena:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-fifth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature urges that all instruction in the public schools relating to global climatic change be presented in a balanced and objective manner and be appropriate to the age and academic development of the student and to the prevailing classroom circumstances.

I don't think Kopp was telling the truth. First, the LRC suggests style and grammar changes, but does not insert language unless it is told to. Second, the grammar, syntax and general logic of the first edition is much closer to what Kopp would come up with, based on his interview today. Third, obviously much more was changed than that sentence, but that sentence was all Kopp referred to in the interview.

Personally, I'm offended that the reference to Eric the Red was removed.

Incidentally, Pat Zimmerman of the School of Mines didn't do so well in the interview either.


caheidelberger said...

Agreed: I highly doubt anyone on the LRC staff would dare add any language to any bill brought to them for style and form review. If anything, the LRC appears not to have given the resolution sufficient attention—the use of effect instead of affect is questionable.

If someone in the LRC did tamper with any piece of legislation, I suspect (and expect!) there would be a firing on the spot. I would want to have names named and heads rolled at any bureaucrat who attempted to subvert the legislative process.

But calling Kopp's claim into even greater question is his assertion that he didn't reread his own resolution when it came back from LRC, and that he didn't notice the astrology line until after the vote. Didn't Kopp and his ilk make a big deal about Congresspeople not reading the entire health care bill? His resolution was one page, and he couldn't review it? Give me a break!

Bill Fleming said...

I agree that Zimmerman's contribution was a little lackluster. He seemed to be too cautious by half. I wish he'd been somewhat more assertive. But this is frequently the way with science guys. Maybe they should have had "denature" on there.

Bill Fleming said...

Good layperson's overview and recap of global warming issue here:

Contrast it with Bob Ellis's hysterically goofball take on the issue and today's radio program here:

larry kurtz said...

Omg, the whole concept sails right over Don's head. You'd think it would yield outcry or recall petitions.

Felt sorry for Guggenheimer; thought I heard giggling once.

Wayne Gilbert said...

It's not a fib.
It's a lie.

Bob Ellis said...

It must really stink, having to rely on "fudged" computer models and flimsy theories to support your socialist agenda.

If you're interested in actually learning something and putting an end to embarrassing yourself, you might want to open your mind a little, read some of that "hysterically goofball take" and learn something.

But if your mind is too closed, you can just remain in the flat-earth and geocentrist club. Because that's where those who believe in this silly theory are quickly headed. :-)

Bob Newland said...

Thanks for clearing those issues up for us, Bob.

larry kurtz said...

There's Bill's 6000 year wall to consider.

denature said...

Things Don Kopp said on Dakota Midday that you wouldn't want to bring into a science class.

The science used to say that industry was causing a coming ice age.

If I were taking a class I would appreciate a published assessment of what the science was actually saying back then rather than an anecdote.

Kopp cites a National Geographic circa 1987. Why we should base our teachings on a popular press article rather than what was in the science journals, I'm not sure. I think he also means 1976 rather than 1987. If you examine the issue of the magazine, it is clear there is no prediction of cooling (see the big question marks; note also the graph is only for the Northern hemisphere). In fact, it cites the National Academy of Sciences urging more basic research. Today the National Academy accepts global warming is real and is largely due to anthropogenic forcing. If you wanted to get some pull quotes from a rather non-committal article, why not "Now, he notes, [CO2] pollution may be contributing to an opposite, or warming, tendency?"

If you can make out the text in the picture, note how many times the phrase 'climatic change' is used. That's odd considering Kopp's next contention.

"Now we have what they call global warming, and since that's no longer occurring or hasn't been for about 10 years now, they've changed it to climate change."

Not sure who that they is. But here Kopp is asking us to ignore basic tenets of climate science. Climatologists accept that multiple factors affect climate. It's doubtful that 10 years could remove a long-term signal from the noise. It's not statistically tenable to find warming or cooling with this small isolated sample size. But the long-term trend is clear. And how does Kopp balance a supposed cooling trend with the top ten warmest years ever recorded by the instrument record?

denature said...

There's a correlation with the sun.

That's not what published research science says. There is not a correlation to what we observe now. (watch the video I posted on the previous topic). We shouldn't ignore current published research to provide faux balance.

"There is no indication that carbon dioxide is a global warming gas because it's not there in sufficient amount."

Wait, I see we have a question.
Does this mean that that 150 microgram of botulism toxin couldn't kill a 150 lb man?
For purposes of balance, I guess it does . . . But don't try that at home.

As you are tiring of me, I refer you to the aforementioned video again.

denature said...

Carbon dioxide is good for plant production.

As Dr. Zimmerman pointed out, CO2 is seldom the limiting nutrient in plant growth, and in empirical studies with forests there are winners and losers. Claiming CO2 is the gas of life is too simplistic. Other actual published research studies support that more CO2 may not mean better plant growth. This is particularly true for crop plants grown in South Dakota.

And how do I answer Suzie's question about how carbon dioxide can be the gas of life and insignificant at the same time?

denature said...

A petition.

Why would a resolution that bemoans politics getting into science want us to use for evidence of the weakness of the case for warming, a petition from a political organization? Why a petition if we are interested in what most scientists accept as the evidence? A more rational assessment would involve a scientific poll of scientists. More than 97% of publishing climatologists accept the consensus. Given this, should we present a 50/50 split as to whether the climate of the past century is completely natural or due to man's activities?

denature said...

And to close before I get banned for over-commenting.

Hockey stick we know is fudged.

And how do we know that? The graph in the paper is clearly labeled. The methods are described. An independent assessment from the NAS by volunteer scientists that signed conflict of interest forms found the approach valid. But in order for balance, let's present our students with some blogger musings who supply out of context quotes?

Additionally an investigation by Penn State concluded no manipulation occurred with the original research. And attacks against the original data were largely political rather than scientific (note the cited refs to more recent confirming data).

Bill Fleming said...

Interesting analysis here on how political moves like this pave the way to bootlegging mandatory "intelligent design" curricula into public schools.