Last November at my publisher’s annual Authors’ Summit a total stranger approached and called me by name. “Greg, I was hoping you would be here. I’ve read Just the Fracks.” he offered. Milo, I quickly learned is in the food industry. He wanted to know how much oil and natural gas we really have in the United States and could we be depended on to deliver.
The conversation turned to global warming. Milo said, “Knowledge of weather and climate is critical to make good buying and operational decisions in my industry. I have an entire team of meteorologists and climatologists. They don’t do speeches or write papers. They keep their jobs because they are accurate.” Milo continued, “My entire team is telling me that due to solar activity the earth is going into a 30 year cooling cycle that has already started.” I was stunned. If Milo’s team of experts is right, not only is the earth not getting warmer as is the popular belief, it is getting cooler fast. I still remember the last two cold winters we had.
Most Americans don’t care about climate change. I saw a recent State Journal article that talked about climate change being an issue of least concern since the 1980s. This shouldn’t be a big surprise. Coal miners are far more concerned with feeding their families and making the house payment than the possible increase of sea levels 30- 50 or more years into the future. Remember Y2K and all of the bad things that were supposed to happen that never did. I love making long term predictions. No one ever remembers what I predicted 5 years ago, unless I remind them if I am right. We still have young people starting to smoke after all of the evidence that it is dangerous to their health. They are more concerned with the “pleasure” of smoking at 17 than they are with the pain of lung cancer at 50 years old.
Milo stated that the sun is far more powerful than supposed CO2 increases caused by man. The two items of greatest concern as the earth gets cooler are energy and food production. Hopefully the oil and natural gas industry can handle increased energy demand. He pointed out that global cooling will impact food production in northern China, Canada and the United States. One of Milo’s biggest concerns is that we are using corn to make methanol to fuel vehicles at a greater cost than oil. “We should be using corn for human or animal consumption.” This makes sense especially since gasoline prices have fallen since last fall.
We are starting to see more scientists coming forward to question the global warming theory. An article in the most recent West Virginia Executive Magazine talks about the case against climate change where a noted climatologist challenges the EPA’s “flawed climate model”. Even an experienced weatherman in Orlando, Florida thinks cooler ocean waters are the reason we are having less hurricanes in recent years with lower severity. A Nobel Prize winning scientist, Dr. Ivar Giaever who supported President Obama said in a recent speech that, “Global Warming is a non-problem.” He said that, “Global warming has become a new religion. Because you cannot discuss it.” Giaever was one of more than 100 co-signers in a letter to the President in March of 2009 that was critical of the President’s stance on global warming.
One might wonder, “How can we possibly have global cooling when most of the world’s scientists believe in global warming?” A few years ago I was at a public informational meeting about drilling and hydraulic fracturing the Marcellus. At the question and answer period a small number of the anti-frack crowd took over the meeting when they were handed the microphone to ask a question. The media might assume that the majority of attendees were anti-frack unless they noticed how many people were leaving once the antis took over because they could see they weren’t going to get their questions answered. The media may not have stayed to see how many people approached us on the panel after the meeting ended to find out how to get jobs or how their business could become part of the Marcellus revolution. A vocal minority can bully or intimidate the majority into silence. How many scientists have been intimidated or bullied into silence by the global warming crowd?
In February my wife and I were at the Professional Speakers Winter meeting in Las Vegas. On Saturday morning we happened to sit next to a dentist who is a very respected member of the organization. His wife is a past National President. When this gentleman found out that I am in the energy industry he said, “You need to read Dark Winter by John Casey.” Casey is a former White House national space policy advisor, NASA headquarters consultant and space shuttle engineer. Casey’s research into the Sun’s activity led to the discovery of a 30 year solar cycle that is the beginning of a “solar hibernation”, a reduction of the energy output of the sun resulting in a decades long climate change. This climate change according to his research will result in dangerously cold weather and a long term drop in the Earth’s temperatures. He discusses this in Dark Winter but Casey being a good engineer backs his research up with plenty of supporting evidence from other scientists that global warming has already ended and a new climate change has begun.
So who is right? Is it John Casey and the scientists who believe the earth is getting colder? Is it the scientists and many of the politicians in Washington like The President and of course Al Gore who not only believe in global warming but are doing all they can to change how we live, trying to get a carbon tax in place, restricting the use of coal and increasing regulation on the oil and natural gas industry. Or maybe the climate isn’t changing at all. I’m not sure who is right but based on our last two winters I’m leaning toward Casey. Mr. Casey makes the point that his climate change prediction has already started and we won’t need to wait 50 years for results.
So what is the big deal? Most Americans don’t care about climate change anyway. What, if anything, does this mean to us and our families? Here are some thoughts;
· This is a reminder that we should always do what we learned in high school science class, that is to constantly test our beliefs. Science evolves. People used to believe the world was flat. When I was in college at WVU in the 1970s we were told we had only a 9 year supply of natural gas. I told my Dad to sell his gas dryer and gas stove and buy electric. He never did. Forty years later we have a natural gas supply of over 100 years. I’m convinced that the climate change question is NOT settled. We need to keep an open mind and make sure that our elected representatives do the same.
· We need coal. Renewables are incapable of replacing it. We need natural gas and nuclear power too. With the cold weather last winter we were fortunate that all of the planned coal plant closures forced by the EPA had not happened or a lot of us would have been in the cold and dark. If coal, oil and natural gas do go away like the anti-fossil fuel crowd would like, we will be using renewables (wood and animal manure) to heat and cook. Wind and solar can dry our clothes hanging outside. Life will look much like it did before 1850. I like my car, air conditioner and cell phone. My wife likes her washer and dryer. We could not support 300 million people living in this country without fossil fuels. We simply couldn’t feed everyone.
· Electricity and energy use is continuing to increase in spite of conservation. Most households have multiple automobiles, cell phones, computers and other energy consuming devices. We use computers in schools now instead of chalk boards, #2 lead pencils, paper and real books. This also makes schools huge consumers of energy. Unless government regulations change, coal and nuclear power can’t expand to meet this overall increased energy demand. Wind and solar have a place but can’t be depended on when we really need them like on very hot or very cold days. Natural gas is the only fuel that can meet this new demand and we need more pipelines for that to happen. When the power goes off bad things can happen to a lot of good people.
· If my friend, Milo’s Team and John Casey are indeed correct, we can expect to see increased demand for food and energy if winters become longer and colder as they predict. Corn will need to be used strictly for human and animal consumption and will cease being used as a transportation fuel. Global demand for energy will increase requiring more of our coal, natural gas and even crude oil if we are allowed to export it. Could we meet this new demand?
· Freedom of speech is an American Right guaranteed in the Constitution. We need to protect that right and not allow others who disagree to bully or intimidate us or anyone else into silence. Our strength as a country comes from open, civil discussions where we can learn from others and then make decisions that are best for everyone. These types of discussions gave us our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
The history of our country is shows that we are capable of great things. We built the greatest and freest nation on earth. We put men on the moon. We have become the energy gorilla of the planet in 7 short years. I’m not promoting one theory over another but the traditional media only tells one side of the climate story. We need to be aware that there are other opposing views that have data to back up their theory. What if they are right? The “experts” and numerous government leaders are preparing for a warmer future. They are already costing us jobs, raising our electric bills and they aren’t finished. Maybe just the opposite is happening and a lot quicker than 50 years from now that the global warming crowd predicts. We need to know the truth.
My wife and I are planning to vacation in south Florida next winter just in case. Human beings have gotten a lot smarter but we still have trouble predicting weather and the future.
Thoughts to ponder.
Greg Kozera of Elkview, WV is a father and grandfather with 40 years of experience in the energy industry and is an expert in leadership. He has a Masters in Environmental Engineering from Marshall. Greg is a high school coach, professional engineer and author of three books and numerous published articles. He can be reached at www.gregkozera.com