Letter: Wrongheaded sources
January 9, 2018
Over the past few years, the browser on my laptop has accumulated over 30 bookmarks on the subject of climate change. Under that heading, there's also a folder labeled "Wrongheaded Sources." One of the bookmarks in that folder is labeled "CFACT."
The PI printed an opinion piece on Jan. 6 written by the president and the executive director of CFACT, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. The column contains enough jargon to make it seem plausible, and enough mumbo jumbo to obfuscate the facts.
Rothbard and Rucker write that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that CO2 loses the ability to absorb more heat as its concentration increases. However, the authors fail to mention that there's already so much of the stuff in the atmosphere that the world will continue to heat up for decades even after humans stop burning fossil carbon. Actual scientists write that 350 parts per million is the maximum safe concentration of CO2, which would stabilize the global temperature at 1°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid runaway climate destabilization. The concentration is now over 400.
The CFACT authors also write that the recorded increase in earth temperatures may result from increased solar activity. However, solar variability does not correlate to global warming. Atmospheric carbon does.
Recent sources of CFACT's funding are not readily available, but in the past, CFACT has received over $1 million from two foundations initiated by the late right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, and has benefited from large sums of money contributed by Exxon and Chevron.
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