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Sunday, May 13,2012

Global warming claims all hot air, says speaker at OU

By Brenda Evans
Photo Credits: Photo by Dustin Franz.
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."


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I'm confused. As I understand it, Dr. Thompson and Dr. Fogt were not at the presentation. So why do they get equal coverage in an article on this gentleman's presentation? Do you offer equal time to conservatives (who didn't even bother to attend) in articles about liberal presentations at OU? 

And for me, the one thing that makes me the most skeptical about the global warming theory is the way it is used as a political club to make drastic changes liberals want. Yet this article implies conservatives are the folks politicizing the issue. Are you serious?

Also, who wrote this article? Was there a reporter at the presentation? If so, who?


Thanks for adding the reporter's name.



Where were Dr. Thompson and Dr. Vogt when their allies in climate science, Phil Jones and Michael Mann et al., were corrupting the peer review process in this field? Two years ago I was protesting that to a representative of the OU Sustainability Office; where were their protests?

(crickets chirp)

Furthermore, their statements are typical examples of classic conversation stoppers used by establishment figures when they feel threatened. They throttle any legitimate dissent via a distorted or corrupted peer review process, and then point to their journals cleansed of all impure thoughts, and say, "See, look, they don't have any peer-reviewed publications in this field."

And yes, you are right in observing that Athens News coverage presentations by liberals have fewer dissenters featured than do presentations by conservatives, especially when they challenge the establishment. It's a safety reflex, lest the Left should experience cognitive dissonance and stray out of their approved living and thinking areas.

Dean Bruckner, Ph.D., P.E.



"Warming Denial" - nice page 2 headline int he print edition, Terry.

Yep, conservatives skeptical of anthropogenic global warming are just like those who deny the murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. Those nasty conservatives, using politically charged language to inflame this issue. Bad conservatives, bad!

Another conversation stopper, brought to you by The Athens News.



Who does Dr. Wagner work for?  What's his day job? 

Went online, tried to find out... nothing. 

Conservative Cavalry seems to be a loosenit group of anti-Zero-Man peeps -  all the normal comparisons with Stalin and Hiter, etc...

Generally, I try to follow the money.  If he's bankrolled by the energy industry, then he's probably just a flack doing a misinformation job (like all of the Friends of Coal speakers and writers).

Find out who is paying his salary. 

Best bet is, if you want to be believed, get a well-known and respected expert in the field to flog your public POV and lobby for your "cause". 

Chances are, if you don't understend how the data was gathered and vaidated, you probably don't know how to accurately question either the statistics generated or the conclusion.



Dean Bruckner,

Mann and Jones objecting to the publication of flawed papers that contain errors that they'd flunk their undergraduate students for is not corrupting the peer-review process.  It's called doing their jobs.  And yes, I've looked at papers that they compained about -- there were obvious errors that would get undergraduate students dinged.  Google up Soon/Baliunas 2003 for an egregious example.  If you have an understanding of basic statistics and Earth science, you should be able to flag a couple of "show stopper" blunders in the S/B 2003 methodology.


BTW, last year I saw Dr. Thompson speak at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and talked with him afterward.  He has forgotten more than most of you will ever know about paleoclimatology.


And here's a particularly egregious blunder of Wagner's (enoung errors like this would get him flunked out of a freshman Earth science class):

""At a level of 10 times the atmospheric CO2 we have today, we fell into an ice age," he stated."

He's wrong about that -- the ice age (back in the Devonian) was triggered by a big *drop* in atmospheric CO2.  Back then, the Sun was a bit dimmer than it is now, so it took more atmospheric CO2 to keep the Earth out of an "ice age".  Now, here's something to think about -- what caused that Devonian ice-age to end?