Photo Caption: Dr. Robert Wagner of the group Conservative Cavalry gives a presentation on why he doubts humans are causing global climate change. About 20 people showed up to the talk Thursday.
Robert M. Wagner of the group Conservative Cavalry, in an appearance at Ohio University Thursday evening, suggested the notion of human-caused global warming is mainly a cover for intrusive government regulation.
"If you really boil it down, [the climate change debate] is about control," Wagner said. "How can we maximize and centralize the power to make all your decisions for you?"
Wagner was invited to speak by the OU College Republicans as a part of their "Conservative Week" event series.
While Wagner has done these presentations multiple times before, often at Tea Party and Libertarian functions, he suggested he always faces criticism from the climate scientists whom he challenges.
An Ohio State climate scientist provided that service in the aftermath of Wagner's presentation. "He has absolutely no training as a climate scientist," said Lonnie Thompson, a distinguished professor in the School of Earth Sciences and a research scientist in the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University.
"Just last week I underwent serious cardiac surgery. I certainly would not have wanted a paleoclimatologist performing that operation," Thompson added. "Dr. Wagner has no publications in climate science, and peer review of our science by the community is the gold standard in separating truth from fiction."
Wagner, who has been described as an economist and investment banker, said his background in economics qualifies him to analyze the data surrounding the research done by climate scientists.
"I think we [climate change skeptics] are winning," he said. "I think the American people have enough common sense when they see this stuff to see that (scientists who warn of human-caused climate change) just keep repackaging the same nonsense over and over again."
Wagner said he believes the biggest threats of the climate change debate are the politicization of science and the wasting of taxpayer money on "green" energy.
Ryan Fogt, an assistant professor of meteorology at OU and director of the Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis, said he thinks Wagner is actually politicizing the issue himself.
"He appears to often be sponsored or endorsed by Republican or right-wing conservative groups," Fogt said. "I could be wrong, but even that his talk was sponsored by a political-affiliated organization last Thursday seems to say to me that he's politicizing the issue."
Wagner said he thinks the $14 million being spent to build wind farms will be a waste because they will be abandoned within 10 years due to the unreliable nature of the energy source.
"Coal, natural gas and nuclear are our only real solution," he said. "If we want to clean it up, we should clean it up but we shouldn't abandon it, and we certainly shouldn't be abandoning it for an energy source that we can almost guarantee is not going to work."
Fogt said the debate about climate change should not be about its existence.
"Based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of the top climate scientists worldwide, the Earth as a whole has warmed 1.33 Fahrenheit over the last century, and this warming rate is accelerating each decade," Fogt said. "The majority of scientists believe that man is the main cause."
Wagner used numerous charts throughout his presentation to show that "global warming" is a myth created to support green energy.
"At a level of 10 times the atmospheric CO2 we have today, we fell into an ice age," he stated. "And you're being warned that you need to shut down the oil industry and live a life of half the quality you're used to living."
Fogt refuted that glacial and interglacial cycles from the past have followed this pattern. "However, currently, we are seeing the sharp changes in CO2 lead the changes in temperature," he stated. "And these sharp CO2 changes are due mostly to man."
Wagner used the "nine lies" in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" to debunk the information the public has been told about global warming.
"There is no real connection between temperate and atmospheric CO2. Temperature increases first, then CO2; they get their variables mixed up," Wagner said.
Wagner cited political party affliliation as a leading correlate of belief in climate change. "We Republicans never bought the nonsense; the independents took a little bit of kicking and screaming, but they joined us," he said. "Only the Democrats went from being convinced to even more convinced."
Thompson suggested he does not see it as a partisan issue. He believes ignoring the science is a mistake humans cannot afford to make.
"At the end of the day when it comes to climate change, it really does not matter what any of us think, only what is," Thompson said. "I can assure nature does not care what happens to us as a species and we ignore her warning signals at our own risk."