Google goes off the climate change deep end

In a recent interview with National Public Radio host Diane Rehm, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said his company “has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. We should not be aligned with such people. They’re just literally lying.”

While he didn’t vilify us by name, Mr. Schmidt was certainly targeting us, the climate scientists who collect and summarize thousands of articles for the NIPCC’s Climate Change Reconsidered reports, the hundreds who participate in Heartland Institute climate conferences, and the 31,487 US scientists who have signed the Oregon Petition, attesting that there is no convincing scientific evidence that humans are causing catastrophic warming or climate disruption.

All of us are firm skeptics of claims that humans are causing catastrophic global warming and climate change. We are not climate change “deniers.” We know Earth’s climate and weather are constantly in flux, undergoing recurrent fluctuations that range from flood and drought cycles to periods of low or intense hurricane and tornado activity, to the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 AD) and Little Ice Age (1350-1850) – and even to Pleistocene glaciers that repeatedly buried continents under a mile of ice.

What we deny is the notion that humans can prevent these fluctuations, by ending fossil fuel use and emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, which plays only an insignificant role in climate change.

The real deniers are people who think our climate was and should remain static and unchanging, such as 1900-1970, supposedly – during which time Earth actually warmed and then cooled, endured the Dust Bowl, and experienced periods of devastating hurricanes and tornadoes.

The real deniers refuse to recognize that natural forces dictate weather and climate events. They deny that computerMiracule Molecule B&N cover model predictions are completely at odds with real world events, that there has been no warming since 1995, and that several recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, despite steadily rising CO2 levels. They refuse to acknowledge that, as of December 25, it’s been 3,347 days since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the US mainland; this is by far the longest such stretch since record-keeping began in 1900, if not since the American Civil War.

Worst of all, they deny that their “solutions” hurt our children and grandchildren, by driving up energy prices, threatening electricity reliability, thwarting job creation, and limiting economic growth in poor nations to what can be sustained via expensive wind, solar, biofuel and geothermal energy. Google’s corporate motto is “Don’t be evil.” From our perspective, perpetuating poverty, misery, disease and premature death in poor African and Asian countries – in the name or preventing climate change – is evil.

It is truly disturbing that Mr. Schmidt could make a statement so thoroughly flawed in its basic premise. He runs a multi-billion dollar company that uses vast quantities of electricity to disseminate information throughout the world. Perhaps he should speak out on issues he actually understands. Perhaps he would be willing to debate us or Roy Spencer, David Legates, Pat Michaels and other climate experts.

Setting aside the irrational loyalty of alarmists like Schmidt to a failed “dangerous manmade climate change” hypothesis, equally disturbing is the money wasted because of it. Consider an article written for the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers’ summit website by Google engineers Ross Koningstein and David Fork, who worked on Google’s “RE<C” renewable energy initiative.

Beginning in 2007, they say, “Google committed significant resources to tackle the world’s climate and energy problems. A few of these efforts proved very successful: Google deployed some of the most energy efficient data centers in the world, purchased large amounts of renewable energy, and offset what remained of its carbon footprint.”

It’s wonderful that the company improved the energy efficiency of its power-hungry data centers. But the project spent untold millions of dollars and countless man hours. To what actual benefits? To address precisely what climate and energy problems? And how exactly did Google offset its carbon footprint? By buying “carbon credits” from outfits like the New Forests Company, which drove impoverished Ugandan villagers out of their homes, set fire to their houses and burned a young boy to death?

What if, as skeptics like us posit and actual evidence reflects, man-made climate change is not in fact occurring? That would mean there is no threat to humans or our planet, and lowering Google’s CO2 footprint would bring no benefits. In fact, it would keep poor nations poverty stricken and deprived of modern technologies – and thus unable to adapt to climate change. Imagine what Google could have accomplished if its resources had been channeled to solving actual problems with actual solutions!

In 2011, the company decided its RE<C project would not meet its goals. Google shut it down. In their article, Koningstein and Fork admit that the real result of all of their costly research was to reach the following conclusion: “green energy is simply not economically, viable and resources that we as a society waste in trying to make it so would be better used to improve the efficiencies in established energy technologies like coal.”

Skeptics like us reached that conclusion long ago. It is the primary reason for our impassioned pleas that that the United States and other developed nations stop making energy policy decisions based on the flawed climate change hypothesis. However, the article’s most breathtaking statement was this:

“Climate scientists have definitively shown that the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere poses a looming danger…. A 2008 paper by James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies… showed the true gravity of the situation. In it, Hansen set out to determine what level of atmospheric CO2 society should aim for ‘if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted.’ His climate models showed that exceeding 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere would likely have catastrophic effects. We’ve already blown past that limit. Right now, environmental monitoring shows concentrations around 400 ppm.…”

We would never presume to question the sincerity, intellect, dedication or talent of these two authors. However, this statement presents a stunning failure in applying Aristotelian logic. Even a quick reading would make the following logical conclusions instantly obvious:

1. Hansen theorized that 350 ppm of atmospheric CO2 would have catastrophic results.

2. CO2 did indeed reach, and then exceed, this level by a significant amount.

3. There were no consequences, much less catastrophic results, as our earlier points make clear.

4. Therefore, real-world evidence clearly demonstrates that Hansen’s hypothesis is wrong.

This kind of reasoning (the scientific method) has served progress and civilization well since the Seventeenth Century. But the Google team has failed to apply it. Instead, they resorted to repeating the “slash fossil fuel use or Earth and humanity are doomed” tautology, without regard for logic or facts – while Mr. Schmidt impugned our intelligence, character and ethics as CAGW skeptics.

We enthusiastically support Eric Schmidt’s admonition that our nation base its policy decisions on facts, even when those facts do not support an apocalyptic environmental worldview. We also support President Obama’s advice that people should not “engage in self-censorship,” because of bullying or “because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of someone whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.”

In fact, we will keep speaking out, regardless of what Messsrs. Schmidt, Hansen and Obama might say.


About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

About the Author: Chris Skates

Chris Skates has 23 years experience in power plant chemistry and environmental. He is the author of multiple magazine articles, technical papers, two published novels, and multiple weekly columns.

  1. Anon Anon

    Maybe he should discuss the solar facility Google is a prime operator of? The one that is producing a fraction of the electricity promised. And wants a gubermint bailout.

    • alpha2actual

      Absolutely spot on. Google’s investment in the Ivanpah concentrated solar project is not only in the tank but the subject of much ridicule in the technical press. Chastened they have withdrawn the $138 million investment from the Cape Wind offshore wind boondoggle.

    • alpha2actual

      It is a misconception that the Modern Environmental mindset is benign, well intentioned, and monolithic — it is not. In reality the movement is extremely factionalized and schizophrenic. Unfortunately the legitimate players are the Rent Seekers (sucking income from the worker bees), Grant Chasers (Second and Third rate players who can’t play so they coach), and Low rent Politicans pandering to a constituency, the Green Lobby which is extremely well funded.

      The True Believers are the Transnational Progressives, Luddites, Malthusians, Narcissistic Xenophobes, Gaia cultists, Margaret Sanger Eugenics disciples, Eco Socialists, and Pathological Altruists to name but a few. Review your “Silent Spring” and the attending banning and restrictions on the use of DDT. The carnage visited on the inhabitants of the Sub Sahara, South America, and Asia by developed countries is unconscionable. Read Erlich’s “Population Bomb” and the Club of Rome literature “carrying capacity” is code for disdain of inhabitants of Third World countries.. Science is intended to drive policy not the other way around. Policy/Agenda driven Science misallocates capital but more importantly takes lives.

      Modern Environmentalists, and I’m including the Anthropogenic Climate Change Cultists, are immoral and inhuman and have racked up a body count that surpasses 80 million and counting, 80% children under five and pregnant women. The 40% US corn production diverted to the Ethanol boondoggle price increase effect on the global market has moved 20 to 30 million inhabitants of developing countries from food insecurity to starvation.

  2. Ed Norris

    It is not Google that is standing lonely on a melting glacier, isolated from the rest of civilized society, but CFACT and those unable to come to terms with the realities of global warming, deflationary renewables, and inflationary unconventional oil and gas.

    • alpha2actual

      According to the IPPC the Anthropogenic CO2 contribution to the atmosphere annually between 1990-1999 was 11.7 billion metric tons, or 1.048% of the total CO2 both naturally occurring and anthropogenic. The atmosphere weighs in at between 5.3 to 5.5 Quadrillion Metric Tons. The Troposphere, where most of the “global warming” is allegedly occurring, consists of 80% of the atmosphere’s total weight. Therefore it follows that 11.7 billion/4.32 quadrillion 2.70833333 x 10 -6 or .00027%. Now this is staggering certainly worth the almost $1 Billion a day invested in rent seeking, grant chasing, and pandering politician funded boondoggle CO2 abatement projects. Of course the Anthropogenic Climate Change parasites have found this $359 Billion (2012) figure to be deficient and following the IPCC guidelines feel that $700 Billion is more appropriate.

    • HarryWiggs

      Ah, Ed, you know that when you wrestle with pigs–or, in this case, climate science deniers–they only like getting dirty, and don’t give a fig for stuff like “facts,” and “reason.” DNFTT. After this post, It’s all I’m going to do.

      • alpha2actual

        “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” – Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace.

        Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO), then representing the Clinton-Gore administration as U.S Undersecretary of State for global issues, addressing the same Rio Climate Summit audience, agreed: “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” (Wirth now heads the UN Foundation which lobbies for hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to help underdeveloped countries fight climate change.)

  3. alpha2actual

    Here’s a synopsis of a typical Anthropogenic Climate Change abatement project, Cape Wind Nantucket. This will be the first offshore wind turbine installation in the United States if it gets built. Spoiler, it takes $24.6 BILLION Cape Wind projects to equal the power generation of a single $370 MILLION Combined Cycle Natural Gas Turbine plant.

    This 120 wind turbine project, cost $2.6 BILLION, is rated at 468 mw and will produce 143 mw after applying a capacity factor of 30.4 % (as computed the the University of Delaware) the time the wind actually blows, life cycle is 20 years therefore this project will produce 24.6 Terawatts life cycle. Insofar as this project located in an area which is enshrouded in fog 200, on average, days of the year a low wind velocity environment, a more realistic life cycle output would be 15 Terawatts. The turbines are of German manufacture built in Denmark, the concrete bases construction is contracted to a foreign firm as is the offshore ten story substation and the project will produce 50 full time jobs. The Green Economy in action.

    A combined cycle natural gas turbine plant studied by the DOE for three years completed in 2010 is rated at 570 mw and produces 470 mw, capacity factor 85%. cost $311 MILLION. life cycle 35 years therefore this plant will produce 133 Terawatts life cycle.

    The contracted cost of the Cape Wind energy will be 23 cents a kilowatt hour (excluding tax credits, which are unlikely to last the length of the project), which is more than 50% higher than current average electricity prices in Massachusetts. the bay state is already the 4th most expensive state for electricity in the nation. Even if the tax credits are preserved, $940 million of the $1.6 billion contract represents costs above projections for the likely market price of conventional power. moreover, these costs are just the initial costs they are scheduled to rise by 3.5 percent annually for 15 years. by year 15 the rate will be $.38 per Kilowatt. Classic, Federal and State tax dollars from Mass taxpayers for the privilege of having their electricity rates more than treble. The 200 days of fog is problematic for the high speed ferry boats which transit 3 million passengers annually. The three local airports which handle 400,000 flights a year are concerned about radar interference (flutter) caused by the turbines.

    • Scottar

      But the renewable sheeple will tell you after the renewables pay for themselves it’s all free from then on. Their math skills don’t exceed their reasoning either.

  4. alpha2actual

    Robert Proctor coined the term ‘agnotology’ the study of how ignorance, particularly in scientific, military and technical matters, can be manufactured, manipulated by strategies and campaigns dominated by vested interests. Another, less sophisticated definition is “induced ignorance”. This perfectly describes the current state of the Anthropogenic Climate Change junk science debate.

    So I decided to coin a synonym ‘agendaist’, but someone beat me to the punch, defines agendaist as individuals who unlike most of the rest of us can only focus on one thing and their agenda is the prism through which all things are viewed, it is the one true yardstick, and the alpha and omega of their existence. They do come in all flavors, although thanks the prodigious effort they put into focusing on their totem there is no room for any other neurological function. All their efforts are twisted to viewing the entire world into classifying everyone as either with us or against us. Example is “Denier”, a not so subtle pejorative referring to Holocaust Denial. Therefore I will posit that it is perfectly appropriate to refer to Anthropogenic Climate Change agendaists as climate change Nazis, as Dr Roy Spenser has suggested.

    This sort of obsessive, or more accurately, pathological behavior will cause an Agendaists to take a statement by a person they’ve probably never met or interacted with in anyway, and twist it to fit their agenda.

  5. alpha2actual

    Quote by Club of Rome: “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill….All these dangers are caused by human intervention….and thus the “real enemy, then, is humanity itself….believe humanity requires a common motivation, namely a common adversary in order to realize world government. It does not matter if this common enemy is “a real one or….one invented for the purpose.”

  6. alpha2actual

    Typical John Holdren.

    John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar, predicted that 1 billion people would die from a global cooling “eco-disaster” in Ehrlich’s 1986 book “The Machinery of Nature.” Holdren based his prediction on a theory that human emissions of carbon dioxide would produce a climate catastrophe in which global warming would cause global cooling with a consequent reduction in agricultural production resulting in widespread disaster.

    “ A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environ­ment in North America and to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation. Resources and energy must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdevel­oped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries. This effort must be largely political, especially with regard to our overexploitation of world resources, but the campaign should be strongly supplemented by legal and boycott action against polluters and others whose activities damage the environment. The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely necessary. “

    • Marlowe1

      Don’t waste your time on fools. A “True Believer in AGW” CANNOT be converted. Read Lyle Rossiters devastating opus, “The Liberal Mind” in which he states that Liberalism must of necessity force unwilling people into “indentured servitude” in order to produce a Utopian existence.
      Noble goals no doubt but ultimately impossible to achieve.

      • alpha2actual

        I can’t resist tormenting True Believers. Actually they are denizens of the Eco Socialist mindset. Their vision is a Post Capitalist Utopian conformist society. Their most pressing challenge, how to redistribute wealth from the producers to the parasites.The liberal billionaire who clamors about sustainability likes progress. What he dislikes is the middle class with its mass produced cars and homes, cheap restaurants full of fatty foods and television sets and daily deliveries of cardboard boxes full of stuff and shopping malls. He thinks, in all sincerity, that they would be happier and more spiritually fulfilled as peasants. Beneath all the empty chatter about social riches and sustainability is that need to impose progressive misery. Beneath the glossy surface of environmentalism is a vision of the American middle class learning to dig through bags of garbage, the detritus of their consumerism for which they must be punished, to become better people.

  7. Marlowe1

    AGW has been so thoroughly debunked as quackery, fraud and nothing more than a political ploy that I can’t believe any serious person would attempt to defend it. The ONLY people who attempt to defend the fraud are the ever willing syncophants of the press and the beguiled leftists.

  8. Nick Naylor

    Talk about intentional stupidity. Hansen’s comments about exceeding 350 ppm were made after we exceeded that level, and he knew it. He was clearly saying that remaining above 350 ppm would eventually lead to serious problems.

    The claim that there have been no consequences is unjustified, and shows an unscientific and frankly dishonest attitude. It is basic physics that exceeding 400 ppm will trap more heat than keeping concentrations below 350 ppm would have done, so the atmosphere and oceans are obviously warmer than they would otherwise be.

    If the author wishes to be taken seriously, he should stop obfuscating and distorting the statements of others.

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