Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rep Kopp chooses interesting climate "experts"

This afternoon we heard again from Hon. Donald Kopp:

On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 3:36 PM, wrote:
Of course I don't stand by the word "astrological" as a cause for climate change. Nor did I put that word in the original bill I crafted. That was a drafting error made by the LRC, not me Mr. Price and I had it changed (amended) while in the Senate. Since you want "real scientists" who oppose the myth of global warming or climate change as it's now called I have attached just a small sampling of some of the most qualified scientists in the world. And you are right, I am not qualified to establish scientific precedent of myself, but I am qualified on testimony of experts to vote accordingly.

rep don kopp

My answer:

You can believe what want -- but I say again that I believe this legislation was ill advised and makes our state a less inviting place for a national science lab.

Your selected quotes from "experts" and non-peer-reviewed scientific opinions (many of them dating from long before the current scientific consensus was reached) carry very little weight among scientists.

For example. in the mid 1990s there was no scientific consensus that warming was anthropogenic. There totally is now, and you would know this if you read peer reviewed literature instead surfed anti-AGW websites. Using any quotes before the late 1990s -- and there are a lot of them in your collection -- pretty much weakens your argument to ignore current scientific thought on the issue.

Many of the people quoted are quite eminent, but their opinion on this issue is not backed up by enough evidence to move the consensus view. Some of them are real characters; for example, you quote Dr Robert Jastrow, who I was a contemporary of mine at Dartmouth back in the 1980s. Jastrow was an iconoclast who would pick the less tenable side of a scientific discussion just to have the conversation-- and he was quite exasperating to his colleagues. And honestly, he was more of a administrator and publicizer of science than a scientist himself for most of his life. But even Jastrow (NOT a climate scientist) eventually was forced to admit toward the end of his life (2008) that anthropogenic climate change is happening.

By the way, here are a couple more of Kopp's "experts" that he is so willing to believe. Hmm most of them are kind of, well, old:

Roy Spencer PhD - Creationist (that says it all there, talk about denial of science) -- Famously screwed up his analysis of surface temperature satellite data, giving AGW deniers fodder for a generation. Here's another example of the sort of "science" Spencer specializes in.

As for another professor emeritus skeptic, Dr William Gray, (NOT a climate specialist), I think this quote says it all:

He [Gray] gave his standard stump speech in which he claims that the water vapor feedback is negative. I followed up on this with him and it became quite clear to me that he is unfamiliar with all of the peer-reviewed literature on this subject that has been published in the last five years. This makes sense. Reading the literature is a difficult and full-time job, and emeritus faculty simply don't need to do that.

I really don't need to go on. Jastrow, Spencer, and Gray - leading thinkers among the skeptics - are either dead or out of touch with the current research, which has been moving forward at a breakneck pace in the last twenty years.

Unlike South Dakota -- and, apparently, Rep. Kopp wants to keep it that way.


  1. CP, yet another reason... I think I'll just email your blog link to some of
    my new friends. That there is even a question about the reality of climate change is preposterous.

  2. Kopp is appearing on SDPB Dakota midday today to defend his resolution. It should be hilarious... but I wonder if that means Kopp will vote to cut SDPB's budget.

  3. I just heard this on the radio coming back from dropping off the kid at school and I almost peed my pants.

    SDSMT's Pat Zimmerman is no dummy. God bless him for doing this!

    This will be quite enjoyable.