Dr. Patrick Michaels, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). The EPA bureaucracy is trying to circumvent Congressional legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and regulate carbon dioxide and other GHGs under the Clean Air Act.

Heritage Foundations economists have covered the economic costs of the EPA’s ANPR:

• Cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses are nearly $7 trillion by 2029 (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars), according to The Heritage Foundation/Global Insight model (described in Appendix A).
• Single-year GDP losses exceed $600 billion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars).
• Annual job losses exceed 800,000 for several years.
• Some industries will see job losses that exceed 50 percent.

Dr. Michaels talked about the science in the actual ANPR document and refuted a number of misleading statements. For instance, the technical support document to the ANPR says that complete disintegration of the Greeland Ice Sheet would take “many hundreds of years” to complete. In reality, it takes thousands of years of unrealistically high assumptions for carbon dioxide to do such a thing.

The EPA’s ANPR argues that an increase in CO2 emissions will lead to flood damage but according to Dr. Michaels there is no correlation between flood damage and temperature increases. It also says global warming is the primary cause of the West Nile virus and there will be an increase in Lyme disease as a result of tick bites. Both are wrong, as Dr. Michaels explains, “Clearly, as is evident from the establishment of West Nile virus in every state in the contiguous U.S., climate has little, or nothing, to do with its spread. “ Furthermore, ticks primarily live in cold weather – mostly the northeast as well as Minnesota and Michigan.

Those are just two good examples of debunking ANPR scientific myths that Dr. Michaels ran through during his presentation. All of the examples and misleading statements can be found in his document, “Shaky Science: Inconvenient Truths Ignored by EPA in Its Proposal to Regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Dr. William Cotton, professor in atmospheric science presented on weather and climate engineering. He’s also, self-admitted, probably the greenest person presenting at the conferencing, noting that he drives two Priuses and bikes 13 miles to and from work each day.

Climate change engineering is broadly defined as inventing processes that will have a large, sustainable effect on changing the global temperature. Dr. Cotton explained how the Earth’s clouds create uncertainties in determining the effects and extent of weather patterns and climate change. For those with a science background his talk of climate engineering included the options of, “seeding in the stratosphere with sulfate-producing gases and aerosols, and carbonaceous aerosols. I also consider hygroscopic seeding of marine stratocumulus boundary layer clouds to enhance their albedo and cause a cooling effect. Also considered is seeding mid-level stratus clouds to enhance their albedo during the day and increasing outgoing longwave radiation during the night time. Cirrus clouds present a major obstacle to climate modification owing to their widespread global coverage and their tendency to warm the surface, thus reinforcing greenhouse warming.”

Two climate engineering ideas include manufacturing mirrors and injecting them into space to introduce a solar shield and a magnus-effect ship for see spray generation where “A spray of sea water drops would be produced either by high volume atomizers or blowing air through porous pipes that would produce air bubbles that would rise to the sea surface and burst much like natural wave action produces the bubbles.” Dr. Cotton elaborates on both ideas here.

He then warned of the unintended consequences including unexpected consequences such as ozone depletion or entering into periods of global cooling. Increasing these risks is the fact that we may not be able to reverse climate engineering decisions once they are made. Because researchers have yet to discover a way to accurately gather physical and statistical evidence of the cause and effects of weather modification, we just don’t know what could happen as a result of some proposals. And before implementing climate modification and weather engineering policies, it seems only be prudent to fully understand the consequences of our actions.

Interesting but potentially costly stuff.