ICCC-12 Speakers Defend Use of Fossil Fuels

Published May 17, 2017

Chemist Rich Trzupek, principal consultant for Mostardi Platt Environmental, delivered a spirited defense of coal, oil, and natural gas in his presentation “Fossil Fuels and the Environment” at The Heartland Institute’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change.

‘Beyond Delusional’

Trzupek, the first speaker on the panel, mentioned a Sierra Club campaign calling on Americans to think “beyond coal.”

“After the success of the Beyond Coal campaign, they fell into the trap environmental [nongovernmental organizations] always fall into: They can’t be satisfied, so now, in addition to beyond coal, they are beyond oil and beyond natural gas,” said Trzupek. “For someone like me who has been doing environmental work for the best part of 30 years, that’s beyond delusional.”

Those who say fossil fuels are causing dangerous climate change fail to back up their claims with science, Trzupek said. The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the old Soviet Union posed a real risk, which science affirmed. Saying, as Al Gore does, that “glaciers will disappear in the next 10 years is not supported by science,” Trzupek said.

Trzupek dismissed claims transporting fossil fuels is inherently dangerous. He cited the example of an Alaska oil pipeline that endured a 7.8-size earthquake in 1979 and yet continued to operate without a spill or any kind of interruption. Data show transporting oil by pipeline throughout the United States and Canada is much safer than shipping it by rail, Trzupek pointed out.

Environmentalists’ claims “byproducts of combustion” inevitably lead to dirtier air fail under scrutiny, as well, Trzupek said, as air pollution has been declining in industrialized nations for decades.

Carbon Dioxide Benefits Nature

Meteorologist Thomas Wysmuller, formerly with the Royal Dutch Weather Service and NASA, says science does not support the claim greenhouse-gas emissions are driving temperature or climate change.

“Every [climate] model based on carbon dioxide driving climate changes is bound to fail,” said Wysmuller.

Although carbon-dioxide levels have risen since the Industrial Revolution, there has been no increase in hurricanes, tornadoes, or precipitation, showing the climate models are mistaken, Wysmuller said.

“There has been a drop in cyclonic energy even as carbon-dioxide levels continue to rise,” said Wysmuller.

Using a series of slides to demonstrate his point, Wysmuller said increasing carbon-dioxide levels are benefitting nature and humankind.

“Everybody should know that plants do better with more carbon dioxide,” Wysmuller said.

“Here’s the Sahel, a vast swath of Africa, you see the green earth, very, very little drought involved,” said Wysmuller, pointing to a slide showing a vast, verdant strip across many desert regions of North Africa. “This green part didn’t exist 20 years ago. It’s due to carbon dioxide’s increase and plants’ better ability to use water.”

Polar Bears Thriving

In her presentation, “Polar Bears: The Global Warming Icon that Refused to Die,” zoologist Susan Crockford, an adjunct professor at Victoria University in British Columbia, took the audience through evidence polar bear populations are thriving despite widespread predictions climate change would cause their extinction.

Crockford strongly criticized the 2008 decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to list the polar bear as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). DOI justified its decision by citing a projected loss of sea ice.

Those projections, Crockford said, were based solely on computer models used by the U.S. Geological Survey, which predicted polar bears would be threatened with extinction within three polar-bear generations because of warming-caused summer sea-ice loss.

“Using future threats based on climate models to declare a species threatened with extinction had never been done before,” said Crockford. “By 2007, the summer sea-ice extent was already lower than any of the five best sea-ice predictions for 2050. It was really worse than they expected.”

Rather than collapsing, estimates of global polar bear population have risen from 24,500 in 2005 to 28,500 in 2015, a 16 percent increase, Crockford said. Some polar bear populations are so healthy, mothers are giving birth to triplets.

“The dreaded mid-century sea-ice levels had arrived, and polar bears had no choice but to live through them.” Crockford said. “Disaster did not happen. The ESA listing is pointless.” 

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.