Why Climate-Change Skeptics Are Wrong
Why Climate-Change Skeptics Are Wrong
Abstract and Keywords
Chapter 1 begins by stressing the severity of climate change (CC) and showing how, contrary to popular belief, atomic energy is not a viable solution to CC. Many scientists and most market proponents agree that renewable energy and energy efficiencies are better options. The chapter also shows that government subsidies for oil and nuclear power are the result of flawed science, poor ethics, short-term thinking, and special-interest influence. The chapter has 7 sections, the first of which surveys four major components of the energy crisis. These are oil addiction, non-CC-related deaths from fossil-fuel pollution, nuclear-weapons proliferation, and catastrophic CC. The second section summarizes some of the powerful evidence for global CC. The third section uses historical, ahistorical, Rawlsian, and utilitarian ethical principles to show how developed nations, especially the US, are most responsible for human-caused CC. The fourth section shows why climate-change skeptics, such as “deniers” who doubt CC is real, and “delayers” who say that it should not yet be addressed, have no valid objections. Instead, they all err scientifically and ethically. The fifth section illustrates that all modern scientific methods—and scientific consensus since at least 1995—confirm the reality of global CC. Essentially all expert-scientific analyses published in refereed, scientific-professional journals confirm the reality of global CC. The sixth section of the chapter shows how fossil-fuel special interests have contributed to the continued CC debate largely by paying non-experts to deny or challenge CC. The seventh section of the chapter provides an outline of each chapter in the book, noting that this book makes use of both scientific and ethical analyses to show why nuclear proponents’ arguments err, why CC deniers are wrong, and how scientific-methodological understanding can advance sound energy policy—including conservation, renewable energy, and energy efficiencies.
Keywords: aerosols, agriculture, ahistorical ethical principles, air pollution, Amazon Rainforest, American Petroleum, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Enterprise Institute, American Meteorological Society, Amory Lovins, anthropogenic climate change, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, Arctic ice, asthma, atomic energy, Bangladesh, belief, Berkshire Hathaway, California, cancer, carbon dioxide, carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions, Carl Hempel, Cato Institute, Chicago, children, China, Chris Goodall, Chris Smith, Clean Air Act, climate refugees, climate scientists, climate change, climate-change catastrophe, CO2 emissions, coal, coal mining, commercial reactors, compensation, Congressional Budget Office, consilience of evidence, consumption, Cornell University, cost-effectiveness, data-trimming, David Ratcliffe, developed nations, Dick Gephardt, disparity, Don Blankenship, Doomsday Clock, droughts, E. O. Wilson, East Anglia, economics, ecosystem, efficiency, egalitarian principles, electricity, energy crisis, energy policy, England, environmental injustice, epidemic, equity, ethical principles, ethics, European Union, expensive, externalities, ExxonMobil, fallacy, falsification, flawed science, floods, Florida, forest burning, fossil-fuel industry, Fred Singer, Frederick Seitz, gasoline, GDP, genetic fallacy, George Bush, George Gaylord Simpson, George Marshall Institute, George Will, glaciers, global temperature, global warming, government subsidies, greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases, Greenpeace, Gulf War, Halliburton, halocarbons, Harvard, health, health costs, heart disease, Heartland Institute, historical ethical principles, Hugh Montefiore, Hurricane Katrina, hurricanes, hypothesis-deduction, inaction, induction, Industrial Revolution, inference to the best explanation, infrared radiation, insect infestation, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Iraq War, Jack Gerard, James Inhofe, James Lovelock, Japan, Joe Barton, John Locke, John McCain, John Morton, John Rawls, John Stuart Mill, Karl Popper, King Edward I, King Henry V, King Richard III, Koch Industries, Kyoto Protocol, Lancet, lobbyists, Marc Morano, market data, market system, Mary Landrieu, mass media, Massey Energy, medicine, mercury, methane, military, minorities, mortality, Morton's Fork, Naomi Oreskes, National Cancer Institute, natural climate variability, natural resources, natural-feedback mechanism, near-zero CO2 emissions, nitrogen oxides, nonfission nuclear technology, nonspecialist scientists, nuclear fission, nuclear industry, nuclear terrorism, nuclear proliferation, objection, oil, oil addiction, oil security, ozone, particulates, Patrick Michaels, Patrick Moore, Peabody Coal Company, per-capita energy usage, permafrost, Persian Gulf, petroleum-fueled vehicles, plutonium, politicians, pollution, pollution-related fatalities, poor, PR firms, Queen Eleanor, Queen Elizabeth, radiation, radioactive waste, reactive hydrocarbons, renewable energy, respiratory disease, responsibility, Rex Tillerson, Richard Lindzen, Richard Mellon Scaife, risk, Rupert Murdoch, safety, Science, scientific journals, sea-level rise, Sean Hannity, Shell Oil, smoke, social costs, solar-photovoltaic energy, Southern Company, special interests, Stephen Tindale, Stern Report, Stewart Brand, Suki Manabe, Svante Arrhenius, tax credits, thermodynamics, Three Mile Island, Time magazine, time-slice ethical principles, tobacco industry, Tom Donohue, UN Environment Program, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, unborn children, uncertainty, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States, University of California, San Diego, US Centers for Disease Control, US Chamber of Commerce, US Environmental Protection Agency, US NAS, utilitarian principles, victim, Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffett, weather, Web of Science of the Institute for Scientific Information, Willie Soon, wind energy, World Health Organization, World Meteorological Association, World News Corporation
On January 14, 2010, the board members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, including 19 Nobel Prize winners, voted to move the minute hand of their famous “Doomsday Clock” to 6 minutes before midnight. They say the clock indicates how close society is to midnight, to the 2 catastrophes that could destroy civilization – climate change or nuclear war.1 In 2007, Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, likewise warned that climate-change impacts could be equal to those of nuclear war.2 Yet increasing the use of atomic energy for electricity, as a way to address climate change, means increasing the risks of weapons proliferation, therefore the threats of nuclear war. Can society avoid both climate change and nuclear war? Or does society face a dilemma, either to expand atomic fission technology, or to endure global climate change?
A Tale of Two Threats: Commercial Nuclear Fission and Climate Change
This apparent dilemma has caused some people to re-think their opposition to atomic energy. During one week in 2009, 3 leading environmentalists claimed nuclear power is needed to help address climate change, in part because they claim reactors release few greenhouse gases. Stephen Tindale, a former Greenpeace director; Chris Smith, the chair of the UK Environment Agency; and Chris Goodall, a Green Party activist, all changed their positions to support fission.3 Physician James Lovelock, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, former Friends of the Earth board-member Hugh Montefiore, Whole Earth Catalogue founder Stewart Brand, and others say expanded nuclear power is necessary to avoid climate change.4
Physicist Amory Lovins and most environmentalists disagree. He claims that no major “green” groups have accepted atomic energy, that only industry “front groups” and a few self-proclaimed, individual “environmentalists” accept nuclear fission. (p.4) Besides, he says the reactor industry has been “stricken by a fatal attack of market forces”; because private investors will not touch it, the nuclear industry needs massive taxpayer subsidies; as of 2009, these subsidies cover 60–90 percent of the costs of nuclear-generated electricity.5 Yet because of economics, safety, and proliferation problems, Lovins warns that subsidizing fission is “like defibrillating a corpse: It’ll jump, but it won’t revive.”6 Instead, he says, “climate change can be prevented by taking markets seriously,” by pursuing the cheapest responses to global warming, namely, renewable energy (like wind) and energy efficiencies (“negawatts”).7 Market proponents seem to agree. The Economist observed that “nuclear power, once claimed to be too cheap to meter, is now too costly to matter.” And, like virtually all private investors, Warren Buffet claims fission energy “does not make economic sense.” This book argues that nuclear power also does not make “safety sense,” in part because scientists agree that health effects of any non-zero radiation dose are risky and cumulative, proportional to dose. (Effects are linear, with no threshold for increased risks). As a consequence, higher radiation doses near reactors cause higher nearby health harms. This book likewise argues that fission energy does not make “climate sense” because its full-fuel-cycle, greenhouse-gas emissions are high, roughly the same as natural gas. Nor does atomic power make “ethics sense,” because its heaviest, disproportionate health burdens fall on children, developing nations, minorities, and poor people.8
The upshot? These chapters show that there is no “devil's choice” between expanding nuclear fission or enduring climate change. Both are Faustian bargains. They are what logicians and Bridge players call a “Morton's Fork,” a forced choice between two equally undesirable, non-exhaustive alternatives. A false dilemma, Morton's Fork is named after John Morton, Chancellor of England under Henry VIII. In 1487, Morton used this fallacy as a way to collect more taxes. If subjects lived in luxury, Morton said they had sufficient income to pay large taxes. If they lived in poverty, Morton said they must have large savings, in which case they also could afford to give much of it to the King. Either way, Morton claimed the subjects could pay the King. Just as Morton used a false dilemma, this book shows there is a false dilemma between increasing nuclear fission, or enduring climate change (CC). There are better alternatives, including energy efficiencies and renewable energy, and people want them. After all, when university psychologists surveyed Britain in 2008, they found that 91 percent of people say CC is real, that 62 percent believe “every possible action should be taken against climate change,” that 68 percent think renewable energy should be expanded to address CC, and that only 14 percent say nuclear power should be used. In the same survey, roughly the same percentage of people who support using renewable energy, to stop CC, also want increased energy efficiencies.9
Energy efficiencies are especially needed in the United States. Each US citizen, per capita, uses about twice as much energy as a citizen in France, Germany, Italy, (p.5) Japan, or the UK. Each US citizen thus is responsible for about four times as much per-capita energy use, therefore four times as many greenhouse-gas emissions as a citizen in countries like Sweden or Switzerland. As this book shows, such energy-use patterns contribute to CC. In fact, governments encourage fossil-fuel use by keeping energy prices artificially low, through enormous subsidies to highly-polluting technologies, like coal, oil, and nuclear energy. The US government, in particular, has subsidized its citizens’ oil addictions by artificially lowering the price of gas. Taking into account government subsidies, tax credits, and externalities such as air-pollution costs, economists say the real cost of gas is roughly $12 per gallon, and $13 per gallon, considering inflation.10 Yet as of December 2009, average US gas prices were $2.68 per gallon; average UK prices were $6.66 per gallon; and average German prices were $7.19 per gallon.11 Just during 2002–2008, US fossil-fuel industries received taxpayer subsidies totaling $72 billion, while all renewable-energy subsidies, together, were $29 billion – the majority of which supported corn-based ethanol, not cleaner technologies like wind and solar.12 According to the US Energy Information Administration, one result of such misguided fossil-fuel subsidies is that the US annually uses about 335 million Btu of energy per person, whereas nations like Japan use 178.7, and the UK, 161.7 million Btu.13
As this chapter reveals, flawed government energy policies are a result of flawed science, poor ethics, short-term thinking, and special-interest influence. This book shows how and why addressing all four problems is necessary to avoid climate-related catastrophe. Introducing the problem of CC, this chapter has 7 main sections. The first shows that the energy crisis includes at least four components – oil addiction, non-CC-related deaths from fossil-fuel pollution (even from alleged “clean coal”), nuclear-weapons proliferation, and catastrophic CC. The second and third sections argue that the evidence for global CC is overwhelming, and that Western nations, especially the US, are most responsible for it. The fourth section shows why CC skeptics – “deniers” who doubt that CC is real, and “delayers” who say that CC should not be addressed yet – have no valid objections. They all err scientifically and ethically. The fifth section reveals that all current scientific methods confirm the reality of global CC, and virtually all expert-scientific analyses, published in refereed, scientific-professional journals, accept the reality of CC. Yet, as the sixth section shows, the CC debate continues largely because fossil-fuel special interests have paid non-experts to deny CC. The seventh section of the chapter provides an overview of the entire book, chapter by chapter, as well as some caveats about what it does and does not contain, in addressing various solutions to CC.
To understand alternative responses to CC, one first must understand the global-energy crisis. At least since the 1970s, this crisis has presented four distinct problems, each of which will be surveyed in subsequent paragraphs:
(1) oil addiction – massive demand for costly, insecure oil supplies, especially from the Persian Gulf;
(2) pollution-related deaths – hundreds of thousands of annual fatalities caused by using fossil fuels, including alleged “clean coal”;
(3) nuclear-weapons proliferation – resulting partly from using commercial-nuclear fission; and
(4) catastrophic CC – caused by greenhouse gases, mainly from fossil fuels.
All four energy problems are especially acute for the US. Regarding (1), because the US must import more than 60 percent of the oil it uses, it has spent billions of dollars, many lives, and military force (in places like Iraq) to try to secure its oil imports. Regarding (2), largely because the US provides half its electricity with coal – and supplies most of its vehicles with oil – it faces massive increases in cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, including a doubling of US childhood asthma rates in the last decade (see later paragraphs). Regarding (3), partly because the US has more atomic-energy plants than any other nation, it also faces greater risks of nuclear terrorism and proliferation. The more reactors a nation has, the more terrorist targets it has. Already the US has uncovered terrorist hideouts containing diagrams for attacks on US reactors. Regarding (4), the US has emitted the greatest volume of greenhouse gases to date, and it emits more gases, per capita, than other nations. Moreover, most Chinese greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to exports consumed in the West. For all 3 reasons, this book agrees with most scientists and ethicists, that the US ought to bear the greatest burden of GHG emissions reductions. Scientists say that to avert climate catastrophe, the West must move to a near-zero, carbon-dioxide-equivalent (CO2) emissions. Already by the year 2000, many official government and UN reports, like the UK government's Stern Report, showed weather-related CC effects (droughts, floods, hurricanes) were killing 150,000 people annually. Stern and climate ethicists say the West is responsible for most of these deaths. Why? Receiving many fossil-fuel benefits, each person in the developed world nevertheless causes about 11 tons per year of CO2, and each ton has a social cost (harm to others) of about $85. Although each person in the West enjoys many advantages because of fossil fuels, Stern says each such person causes about $935 in damages to global-CC victims, many of whom are both poor and innocent of causing CC. A 2009 report of the US National Academy of Sciences says something similar. Although the Academy was unable to count many fossil- (p.7) fuel, pollution-related deaths and CC harms, although many costs could not be monetized, and although its figure is an underestimate, the Academy says US fossil-fuel use causes more than $120 billion annual damages. These damages amount to more than 3.2 cents per kWhr, just for non-CC-related health costs that US coal plants impose on US citizens.14
Regarding problem (1), oil addiction and oil security, later chapters suggest that moving to near-zero CO2 emissions would help the economy over the long term, eliminate most foreign-oil imports, and reduce incentives for military actions. After all, the US admits that part of the reason for the Gulf War was to secure US oil supplies. Not counting the human lives that were lost or irrevocably damaged, the direct costs of the Iraq War are about $100 billion per year, equivalent to about $100 for each barrel of oil imported by the US from the Persian Gulf region. Yet as already mentioned, economists say the real price of gas is about $13 per gallon, although US consumers pay less than $3 per gallon. Because the US annually uses more than 100 billion gallons of gas, the disparity between real gas costs, and gas-station prices, takes a large toll on the US economy. This toll includes more than $1trillion annually in gasoline subsidies and health and environmental costs, for which consumers do not pay at the pump. Economists say that in 2006, the last year for which data are available, the total unpaid costs of US gasoline, including subsidies, health effects, and so on, were up to $1.49 trillion annually.15
One of the worst things about the high costs of the US oil addiction is that they are unnecessary. Later chapters provide market data to show that economic expansion can occur despite (and indeed because of) a transition to renewable energy and to per-capita declines in energy use. Moreover, since the 1950s, the amount of US energy–required to produce a dollar of GDP growth–has declined. Energy use, per dollar of GDP, is now about half of what it was 50 years ago. California provides an excellent example. Although per-capital electricity use has increased nationally, it has remained constant in California. The reason is not the state's milder climate but its greater energy efficiencies (motion detectors, photoelectric switches, efficient electric motors, compact fluorescent bulbs, energy-conserving appliances). For instance, despite superior features, the typical refrigerator now is larger, costs less, but consumes only about one-fifth of the per-foot energy that it consumed 25 years ago.16
No “Clean” Coal
Apart from the harmful effects of CC, the use of fossil fuels also threatens life and health, not just climate and pocketbooks. Energy problem (2) is that, apart from the (p.8) more than 104,000 Americans who have died in coal-mining accidents, fossil-fuel pollution – from sources like coal-fired plants and gas-powered vehicles – has caused massive air pollution. Even if carbon were removed from coal, later arguments show that “clean coal” is oxymoronic because there are numerous, seriously harmful coal pollutants, in addition to carbon. A ground-breaking 2010 report by a major physicians’ association warned that “coal contributes to four of the five top causes of mortality in the US” – and most of those deaths are not merely carbon-related; a 2009 US National Academy of Sciences report placed the annual health and climate costs, of US coal plants, at more than $120 billion annually, even before all costs were counted; a 2007 Cornell University study concluded that air, water, and soil pollution, together, prematurely cause at least 40 percent of all deaths worldwide, killing 3.7 billion people annually, many from fossil-fuel pollution.17 In 1999, the World Health Organization estimated that about 3 million people annually die prematurely because of air pollution – more than 8,000 deaths each day.18 One European-Union (EU) scientific study calculated that 25–40 percent of all UK deaths were “thought to be directly attributable to the effects of air pollution,” mostly from fossil fuels.19 Likewise, the American Public Health Association (APHA) notes that there is an “epidemic” of asthma among US “children and young adults under the age of 35,” and that ambient air pollution is the major culprit.20
Fossil fuels are the major air-pollution problem because together, vehicles and coal-fired plants are responsible for most of the particulates, nitrogen oxides, reactive hydrocarbons, and ozone that foul the air, yet there are no safe doses of either ozone or particulates.21 Scientists say that roughly half of US particulate pollution is from petroleum-fueled vehicles and half from fossil-fueled electricity; together this particulate pollution causes 30,000 to 100,000 premature US deaths each year, especially among children. In 2009, the US National Academy of Sciences said that burning fossil fuels costs the US at least $120 billion a year, just in health costs, not counting lost workdays, environmental harms, and other economic losses.22 Even US consultants, hired by the pro-fossil-fuel Bush administration in 2000, admit this problem. Although the administration weakened air-pollution regulations and enforcement, its own consultants admitted airborne-particulate pollution, alone, most from fossils fuels, causes at least 30,000 annual, preventable US deaths. A 2003 US National Cancer Institute (NCI) study drew even more disturbing conclusions. Studying more than half a million people over 16 years in 156 cities, it showed there is no safe level of air pollution, that exposure to fine-particulate pollution (mostly from fossil fuels) is as risky as being overweight or exposed to cigarette smoke. Even if one excludes cancer and effects of water pollution, pesticides, and other air pollutants – like volatile organic compounds – the NCI study says each 10 micrograms of fine-particulate pollution, alone, causes an 18-percent increase in heart-related deaths, an 8-percent increase in lung-related deaths, and a 4-percent increase in US overall deaths. These NCI results mean that in Chicago, for instance, particulates are responsible for roughly 10 percent of the city's deaths.23
(p.9) In fact, fossil-fuel pollution causes similar problems everywhere. Polluted air costs EU nations $161 billion annually in lost workdays, deaths, and economic damages because of heart attacks, cancer, asthma, and respiratory disease; EU scientists say the average European loses about one year of life because of air pollution.24 While one year may seem trivial, this figure really means that members of sensitive groups, like children, lose many years of life, while the most robust members of the population lose none. As the preceding APHA statement illustrates, air pollution harms the youngest, most vulnerable people first.
Scientists have long known the hazards of fossil-fuel air pollution, yet subsequent chapters show that government has done little about them, partly because of special interests. In the early 1960s, US studies showed air pollution increases mortality, lung cancer, and respiratory problems.25 More than 40 years ago, economists, writing in Science, showed that a 50-percent reduction in air pollution could cut annual US health costs by 5 percent – and cut costs of illness and death by at least $2 billion. Yet little was done. A 1980 study showed that about 50,000 people in the US died that year from air pollution alone, and the figures are even higher now.26 Scientists say the health costs of ignoring a half-century of scientific data on air pollution are massive. Globally, air pollution kills 3 million people annually.27 A World Health Organization assessment concluded that more than two-thirds of these premature, otherwise-avoidable, air-pollution-caused deaths – more than 2 million (of 3 million) premature deaths annually – are caused by fossil fuels, especially coal. Yet, as already explained, merely removing carbon from coal would not avoid most of these deaths, even if this removal could be done cost-effectively.28
An energy-related catastrophe whose magnitude is perhaps even greater than that of fossil-fuel-related pollution deaths is problem (3), nuclear-weapons proliferation. As chapter 2 explains in more detail, one theme of this book is that it makes little sense to address CC by building more reactors. Why? In attempting to use fission to reduce the probability of CC catastrophe, one increases the probability of a nuclear-proliferation catastrophe. Why would expanding atomic energy increase risks of nuclear proliferation? The main reason is that with increased fission technology, there will be more weapons-grade plutonium in circulation, able to be diverted to either terrorism or proliferation. Also, as chapters 2 and 7 discuss in more detail, the main motivation for most nations’ beginning commercial fission programs is that they want nuclear-weapons’ capabilities. Because the same, 14-stage, fuel cycle (see chapter 2) is used for both military and commercial nuclear production, commercial fission programs often are a convenient cover-up for military activities. Even if they are not, their very existence increases proliferation risks.
Of course, other non-fission nuclear technologies (such as proton-lithium reactions and fusion) might provide energy in the distant future and yet might have lower (p.10) proliferation risks. Because these other technologies have not yet been shown to work safely and cost-effectively, on an industrial scale, fission is the only nuclear option discussed here, and it is known to have proliferation problems. Given these problems, as well as concerns about GHG emissions, costs, safety, health harms, radioactive wastes, and environmental injustice (higher pollution impacts on vulnerable populations, like children), this volume argues that nuclear risks and costs far exceed those associated with renewable-energy sources like wind and solar photovoltaic (PV).
Energy problem (4), CC, presents a possible global catastrophe because GHG emissions have increased by more than one-third in the last 150 years. Although 2010 data are not yet available, mean CO2 emissions in 2009 were 387 ppm, and 386 ppm in 2008.29 As a consequence, glaciers are disappearing across the globe, Arctic ice is diminishing, Siberian permafrost is melting, species like the polar bear are endangered, many ecosystems (such as coral reefs) are being extensively damaged, and sea levels are rising, threatening low-lying populations. Extreme climatic events, like Hurricane Katrina, also are increasing and becoming more intense; millions of acres of northern forests are dying from insect infestations during longer, warmer summers; more people are dying of vector-borne diseases whose range is expanding with warmer temperatures; and poor people throughout the world are those harmed most by CC-induced floods, hurricanes, and droughts. The most recent findings of the international Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are that cumulative GHG emissions must remain within the range of 445–490 ppm in order to limit mean (or average) global-temperature rise to 2–2.4 degrees Celsius or 3.6–4.3 degrees Fahrenheit. (The range is needed because of future, unknown climate variables, such as water-vapor and cloud feedbacks.)30
If global-average-temperature increases reach 2–2.4 degrees Celsius, the IPCC, the 2009 US National Academy of Sciences, and the classic, UK-government analysis, the Stern Report, argue that 1 in 6 people will be without water, and tens-to-hundreds of millions of people will be climate refugees, made homeless by droughts, storms, flooding, and sea rise. Part or all of the Amazonian rainforest – the lungs of the planet – will collapse. Billions of people will suffer water shortages by 2080. Crop yields will fall in many developing countries, causing 20–60 percent increases in hunger by 2080, especially in Africa and west Asia. Small-mountain glaciers will disappear, further jeopardizing water supplies. Sea-level rise will threaten London, Shanghai, New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and other coastal cities. Coral-reef ecosystems will become irreversibly damaged. Many other ecosystems will become unable to maintain their current form, and 20–50 percent of species will face rapid extinction. Increases in hurricane intensity and frequency likewise will double current US-damage costs. The Atlantic thermohaline-circulation system will weaken; the Greenland ice sheet will irreversibly melt; and risks of abrupt, large-scale climate shifts, such as the collapse of (p.11) the West Antarctic ice sheet, will occur. As already noted, despite the many benefits of fossil fuels, the Stern Report warns that in addition to hundreds of thousands of annual deaths from fossil-fuel pollution, already by the year 2000, weather-related CC effects were causing 150,000 annual deaths from drought, floods, and other CC-related threats. Who causes most of this climate-related global death and destruction? Stern says each person in the developed world contributes about $935 in annual, CC social costs, most of which are imposed on the poorest people – results that are consistent with the 2009 US National Academy of Sciences’ report.31
To prevent further catastrophic climate effects, and to limit global-average-temperature increases to about 2 degrees Celsius, IPCC estimates that by 2040, global CO2 emissions must be reduced by 50–85 percent, relative to year-2000 levels. This 50–85-percent reduction is the EU climate goal. However, IPCC says a 50-percent reduction would give only a 15-percent chance of limiting global-temperature rise to 2 degrees, and that an 85-percent reduction is necessary to obtain an 85-percent chance of limiting global-temperature rise to this amount.32 As already noted (and as later paragraphs argue), because the West, especially the US, historically has caused most of the CC problem, any equitable solution requires the US to achieve almost-total elimination of fossil-fuel emissions.33 In the US, roughly 85 percent of GHG emissions are caused by burning fossil fuels, including 44 percent from oil. Globally, 55 percent of GHG emissions arise from fossil-fuel use. Methane emissions from landfills, pipelines, and agriculture cause 16 percent; nitrous-oxide emissions from fertilizer use cause 9 percent; forest burning and other land-use changes cause 19 percent; and emissions of halocarbons cause 1 percent of global GHG emissions.34
Given the economic, ethical, political, and military desirability of moving to near-zero, US GHG emissions, what is the best way to achieve this goal? This book argues that because employing the nuclear-fuel cycle is more carbon intensive, costly, unsafe, and inequitable than pursuing energy efficiencies and renewable power, fission cannot solve CC. To understand why not, consider first the evidence for CC, and thus what is necessary to solve it.
IPCC Evidence for Climate Change
CC first came to public attention in 1988, when the United Nations (the World Meteorological Association and the UN Environment Programme) created the IPCC. Its purpose has been to bring together climate scientists from throughout the world to assess possible global-warming or CC risks. The main IPCC work has been to evaluate peer-reviewed-scientific literature on CC, to publish special reports assessing it, and to inform and implement the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – which the US ratified in 1992. This UN convention is an international treaty designed to stabilize GHG emissions at levels that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-caused) CC. Implementing this UN convention led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which (p.12) established legally-binding obligations for developed nations to reduce GHG emissions. Underlying and guiding these UN agreements are the four reports of the IPCC – issued in 1990, 1995, 2001, and 2007. Each report scientifically assesses CC risks to date.35
By 1995, the IPCC concluded there was strong scientific evidence that human activities were affecting global climate, a position affirmed more strongly in subsequent IPCC reports. In 2000, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) warned that “the world is warming up. Average temperatures are a half a degree centigrade higher than a century ago …. Pollution from ‘greenhouse gases’ such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane is at least partly to blame.”36 In 2001, the IPCC stated unequivocally that human activities are having detectable effects on Earth's climate, on the atmosphere and water of Earth. It said “most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse-gas concentrations.”37 By 2003, all major scientific organizations (whose research expertise bears on CC) had ratified this 2001 IPCC conclusion. In 2001, the US National Academy of Sciences confirmed:
greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise …. The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to this increase in greenhouse-gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.38
The IPCC and other scientific groups also have emphasized the duty to take collective global action to address CC because of its potentially catastrophic consequences. They warn that 20th-century temperature increases were the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years.39 As already noted, largely because anthropogenic GHG emissions have increased by one-third over the last century and a half, harmful agricultural, biological, hydrological, medical, economic, and weather-related consequences already have occurred. Even a 1–2 foot sea rise would severely harm tens of millions of people living on lowland islands and in coastal areas like Florida and Bangladesh. As already noted, to limit such destruction, climate scientists say mean-global-temperature increases must be no greater than about 2 degrees Celsius or 4 degrees Fahrenheit.40 In February 2003, the American Meteorological Society again emphasized these warnings and echoed the duty of collective responsibility to address CC:
There is now clear evidence that the mean annual temperature at the Earth's surface, averaged over the entire globe, has been increasing in the past 200 years. There is also clear evidence that the abundance of greenhouse gases has increased over the same period …. Because human activities are contributing to climate change, we have a collective responsibility to develop and undertake carefully considered response actions.41
(p.13) Likewise, the UK's Stern Report says CC is the largest, most significant failure of the market system that has ever occurred. As already noted, apart from the many benefits of fossil fuels, the report (consistent with the US National Academy of Sciences’ 2009 report) says that because each person in the developed world annually causes about $935 in CC damages to global citizens – most of whom are poor – developed nations bear primary responsibility for addressing CC.42
Responsibility for Climate Change
What ethical reasons show that developed nations, especially the US, are most responsible for CC? Given the requirements of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, given the small US population (5 percent of the globe's people), and given that US GHG emissions are the largest of any nation, most climate ethicists say equity requires a near-total (96-percent) US elimination of fossil-fuel emissions by 2050. Moreover, the sooner this zero-emissions economy is achieved, scientists say the smaller will be the costs. There are at least four different ethical frameworks that clearly demonstrate this responsibility of developed nations. The first, or historical, principles of ethics are based on the maxim of “you broke it, you fix it,” or on fair access to a common resource. Following the views of John Locke on property rights, historical ethical principles require those – who appropriate or destroy common property (such as clean air) – to leave “as much and as good for others” to use. However, developed nations obviously have violated this principle because, if other nations emit the same per capita GHG emissions as the US, the planet will be destroyed. Thus, developed nations have caused the majority of harmful CC emissions and have not left “as much and as good” clean air for other countries to use. Such historical ethical principles are the Lockean basis of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Provided one accepts these principles, because the US has created roughly 30 percent of GHG emissions, the US is responsible for correcting about one-third of the problem.43
A second set of ethical principles, so-called time-slice or a-historical principles, likewise show that developed nations, especially the US, are mainly responsible for CC. These ethical principles ignore past causes of CC, mostly emissions from the West. Instead they presuppose GHG emissions should be stabilized at current levels, and that every currently-existing person should have an equal-emissions allotment. They presuppose each person should be permitted to cause the same amount of GHG emissions, up to the point that total emissions risk global catastrophe. However, using this second set of ethical principles, the US would have to reduce 80 percent of its current emissions, because it releases far more GHG emissions than allowed, given its relatively small population.44
A third set of ethical principles for assessing CC responsibility are those of the late Harvard philosopher John Rawls. For Rawls, the rich can have more goods or produce more pollution emissions, provided their goods and emissions benefit the (p.14) worst-off people of the world, rather than disproportionately benefit themselves. However, Rawlsian principles show that developed nations are mainly responsible for correcting CC because they use the lion's share of natural resources, like clean air, and their use does not benefit mainly the poor. For instance, 89 percent of the goods and services produced in the US are consumed there. More generally, most of the global poor cannot afford goods produced by developed nations. Besides, US GHG emissions are inefficient, producing less per-capita GDP than the average GHG emissions of the rest of the world. All these facts mean that US emissions are more likely, than other nations’ emissions, to harm others because each US pollution-unit produces less development. Hence, the US and developed nations must drastically reduce GHG emissions, because they are dangerous, disproportionate to their small populations, and do not significantly benefit the rest of world, especially poor people.45
A fourth, or utilitarian, set of principles also shows that developed nations, especially the US, are primarily responsible for CC and ought to remedy it. Utilitarian principles dictate that people should act so as to produce the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. Because developed nations are a minority of the world's people, yet have caused most GHG emissions, and because their fossil-fuel use primarily benefits them, not the majority (the poor), developed nations’ CC behavior fails to satisfy utilitarian principles. Also, because of the diminishing marginal utility of the benefits of fossil-fuel use by developed nations, these benefits do not outweigh CC harms to the majority of the world. Thus, on utilitarian grounds, developed nations are mainly responsible for correcting CC.46
If one ignores past harms from developed nations’ massive GHG emissions, even the most modest egalitarian ethical principles show that developed nations bear primary responsibility for CC. Such modest principles affirm that, because people finally know the harms of CC, the initial GHG emissions allocation rule should affirm equal, per-capita GHG emissions for each global inhabitant (given GHG emissions limits necessary to avoid global catastrophe). A subsequent rule might permit trading as a way to reduce emissions in developed nations. Even on this scheme, however, which is the most generous to developed nations and which ignores past responsibility, the US would be required to cut 75 percent of current emissions. Thus, all major ethical schemes – including historical, a-historical, Rawlsian, utilitarian, and egalitarian – show that developed nations, especially the US, are mainly responsible for correcting CC.47
What does this CC responsibility entail? In the US, it requires massively reducing fossil-fuel burning by automobiles, electric utilities, and manufacturers – because 84 percent of US GHG emissions come from fossil fuels.48
In response to overwhelming scientific evidence for anthropogenic CC, some claim CC is uncertain. These CC skeptics are either “deniers” or “delayers.” Either they (p.15) deny CC, or they admit it, but claim that action to avert CC can be delayed without causing catastrophe. A 2006 poll, reported in Time magazine, found that many Americans are deniers. Only about 56 percent believes average global temperatures have risen. The same article reported, “64 percent of Americans thinks scientists disagree with one another about global warming.”49 Many of these public doubts about CC have been orchestrated by fossil-fuel industries, as later paragraphs show. Oil, coal, and automobile industries,in turn, invoke these “public doubts” to justify US failure to join the rest of the world in addressing CC. CC skeptics also point to the fact that, just as scientists have been wrong in the past, they could be wrong about CC. Max Planck's advisors were wrong when they told him not to go into physics, because all the important questions had been answered. Copernican astronomers were wrong when they said the Sun revolved around the Earth. Medical doctors were wrong when they gave people arsenic for stomach ailments. Geophysicists were wrong when they said that continents could not drift. Gynecologists were wrong when they gave women hormones for menopause. Are those who assert anthropogenic CC also wrong?50
One way to answer this question is to examine all technical analyses of CC, published in refereed, expert-scientific journals, so as to compare the views of scientists who do technical CC research. University of California, San Diego, scientist Naomi Oreskes did just that. She examined one of the most important databases, the Web of Science of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). ISI indexes scientific articles published globally, in more than 8,500 different refereed-scientific journals. During 1993–2003, ISI indexed 928 articles that presented CC research. Oreskes evaluated these 928 articles and found surprising results. None of the articles advanced findings that explicitly refuted or challenged CC. Instead, 20 percent explicitly endorsed CC, and 50 percent implicitly endorsed CC by assessing various CC impacts. Another 15 percent evaluated various methods for analyzing climate; 10 percent discussed the historical record of climate, or paleo-climate change, and the remaining 5 percent of articles likewise implicitly endorsed CC by discussing scientific strategies for mitigating CC. Thus, of all papers published by climate researchers during this decade, and indexed in the classic ISI database, none – not one – challenged the existence of anthropogenic CC. The main reason more articles did not explicitly endorse anthropogenic CC is that scientists typically analyze only disputed or unanswered questions. They do not focus on areas on which everyone already agrees. In fact, scientific journals refuse to publish material that is not new. Moreover, because scientists typically do not take votes on their views, their technical papers (in refereed-scientific journals) reveal their beliefs. Thus, the Oreskes journal-survey shows there is virtually no expert-scientific disagreement about the existence of anthropogenic CC, at least among the scientists who do the basic research in the field, because none of the papers challenges the existence of anthropogenic CC. (However, as later paragraphs show, scientists do disagree about minor details regarding precisely how this admitted CC is taking place.) The Oreskes result (p.16) means that the record of scientific publications appears consistent with the consensus statements of all major scientific groups: CC is real and is mainly human-caused. Scholars say that, by 1995, the reality of anthropogenic CC was a matter of expert-scientific consensus among technical researchers in the field.51 “The basic reality of anthropogenic climate change is no longer a subject of scientific debate.”52
Common Objections to Taking Action on Anthropogenic Climate Change
But if the reality of anthropogenic CC is no longer a subject of expert-scientific debate, why do many Americans think CC is disputed? To answer this question, consider 8 fossil-fuel-industry objections to the existence of CC and why these objections mislead people.
Some spokespersons claim, first, that CC may be a result of natural climate variability.53 However, this objection errs because scientists have been able to separate CC “signals” from the “noise” of natural-climate variability. Indeed, scientists’ success in doing so, coupled with the magnitude of human-caused change, are the main reasons that virtually all climatologists agree about anthropogenic CC. Scientists know that, from roughly 10,000 BC until about 1750 AD, CO2 levels in the atmosphere were stable at about 280 parts per million (ppm). In the middle of the 18th century, however, people began to burn fossil fuels to power industry. As a result, average CO2 concentrations began increasing. Concentrations went from 316 parts per million (ppm) in 1959, to 387 ppm in 2009. By the end of this century, expert-scientific consensus (following the IPCC) says that anthropogenic CC will cause global-temperature increases of 1.1–6.4 degrees Celsius, depending on other climate variations that have not yet taken place. Of course, both CC and greater natural climate variability could be occurring, but anyone who rejects anthropogenic CC errs on at least three grounds. For one thing, she erroneously assumes that massive increases in atmospheric CO2 have had negligible effects, although laboratory experiments clearly show increased warming from increased GHG emissions. That is, laboratory measurements show how much infra-red radiation, at which wavelengths, CO2 molecules absorb. These measurements then enable one to calculate warming levels for each CO2 increment. A second problem with natural-variability objections is their erroneous assumption that repeatedly confirmed correlations, between increased CO2 and increased temperature, are either strange coincidences or inexplicable – contrary to what physicists have long accepted about the behavior of gas, pressure, and temperature. A third problem is that natural-variability objections reject all scientific theory behind long-ago predictions that burning fossil fuels would increase CC. A century ago, Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius made this prediction. By 1950, many other scientists agreed – on purely theoretical grounds – that fossil-fuel burning would cause global warming. Part of their rationale is (p.17) thermodynamics. It dictates that, if the planet is to remain at a constant temperature, amounts of energy (absorbed as sunlight) and amounts of energy (emitted back to space, in the longer wave lengths of the infra-red spectrum) must be the same. Thermodynamics also dictates that if this energy is trapped and cannot be emitted back to space, Earth temperatures will increase. Given thermodynamics, one does not need massive temperature measurements to recognize CC is predictable. When someone uses standard scientific theory (e.g., thermodynamics) to make predictions that later come true, one cannot reject the predictions without rejecting basic science. Thus, if CC objectors appeal to natural variability, they are fundamentally unscientific in rejecting thermodynamics, what scientists have confirmed for centuries. These objectors are like people who see someone shoot another person with a gun, but who nevertheless claim the victim could have died of natural causes. If objectors make such anti-scientific claims, contrary to the evidence, at a minimum they must explain why they believe much Western science is wrong.54
A second objection, according to some oil-industry claims, is that even if CC exists, it is not harmful because people prefer warmer climates, and the climate changes at the low end of the IPCC predictions may not be severe.55 However, this warming-is-good part of the objection errs because the problem is not merely global warming, but CC and the fact that increased CO2 concentrations make it more difficult for planetary energy, absorbed as sunlight, to be emitted back to space. As a consequence, this greenhouse effect increases average temperatures of the lower atmosphere – which disrupts normal energy flows from the planet's surface to the atmosphere, and from equator to poles. This energy-flow disruption, in turn, changes ocean, wind, rainfall, and weather patterns – causing increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, crop failures. These weather changes, in turn, annually cause millions of climate refugees and thousands of climate-related deaths. As noted earlier, already by the year 2000, the UK government's Stern Report showed that weather-related, climate-change effects (droughts, floods, hurricanes) were killing 150,000 people annually. Stern showed that despite many fossil-fuel benefits, each person in the developed world was causing about $935 in annual climate-related damages to others. Moreover, the Stern results are consistent with the 2009 US National Academy of Sciences’ conclusions. Such massive disruptions obviously are not beneficial. As later paragraphs reveal, the main groups who say CC is beneficial are either fossil-fuel industries that profit from CC – or those they pay to do PR. Of course, the second part of this objection is partly correct. Warming at the low end of the IPCC range would not be as catastrophic as high-end warming. However, the problem with this low-end objection is that no one can guarantee where, in the range of future climate effects, actual effects will occur, given various future climate events of unknown magnitude, such as water-vapor and cloud feedbacks. This low-end objection thus amounts to saying that given future variables, uncertainties about the precise nature of future CC argue for doing nothing to avert CC. This is the same as objection 7, which will be analyzed shortly.56
(p.18) A third objection is that scientists apparently disagree about CC.57 However, this objection misunderstands the precise nature of scientific disagreement. As anyone (who understands science) knows, scientists often agree about the existence of some reality, like CC, before they agree on the precise mechanisms and timing to explain it. For instance, people usually agree about the reality of someone's death, but without an autopsy, they may disagree on what caused the death. Similarly, people often recognize auto problems before they understand precisely what caused them. The same is true of CC. Virtually all scientists – who do expert research on climate – agree that anthropogenic CC is real. Nevertheless, some disagree about the precise timing (or tempo) and mechanisms (or mode) causing CC, such as the precise degrees to which clouds amplify water-vapor feedbacks at specific temperatures, and therefore CO2 warming. Yet CC skeptics claim that, because of such minor disagreements and uncertainties, CC is doubtful. They confuse disagreement on minor CC details with disagreement on CC itself.58 However, as noted, disagreement on precisely why someone died – does not entail disagreement that she is dead. Likewise, disagreement on precisely when a cancer patient will die – does not entail disagreement that she has cancer. The same is true in debates over evolution. By the middle of the 20th century, virtually all biologists accepted evolution. Nevertheless, disagreement continues on very precise details about it – on what paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson calls the “tempo and mode” of evolution. One reason for similar CC disagreements is that CO2 is not the only influence on global warming. Some aerosols and particles of air pollution cool the atmosphere, while others warm it. The precise effects of all these agents are difficult to precisely predict, partly because one cannot conduct experiments on entire climate systems, and partly because some future phenomena are unknown. Nevertheless scientists agree on the range of CC effects, even if they cannot always narrow that range precisely. Thus, although climate skeptics are correct that there are uncertainties in climate science, they err in thinking these uncertainties challenge the existence of anthropogenic CC. Belief in anthropogenic CC is therefore no less reliable than belief in evolution, DNA, HIV, or fractional-electrical charges. As scientists recognize, confirmed science is reliable, but it is neither certain nor perfect. Climate critics err in assuming climate science must be perfect. Yet no area of science is without minor disagreement.59
A fourth CC objection is that some people claim Earth has natural-feedback mechanisms, self-regulating processes, that protect it from catastrophic, anthropogenic CC.60 However, this objection errs on at least three grounds. First, it begs the question to say that humans cannot have damaging CC effects. Second, because no known scientific mechanism protects Earth from catastrophic CC, this objection has no empirical support. Third, the objection is inconsistent with thousands of scientific findings, confirming average-global-temperature rises, hurricane increases, and so on. Obviously this purely-hypothetical protective mechanism either does not exist, or has failed. Besides, no self-regulating mechanism protected Earth, centuries ago, from meteors that caused massive deaths and extinctions. No self- (p.19) regulating mechanism protects people from their massive pollution. Instead, scientists say roughly 90 percent of the 600,000 annual US cancer deaths are anthropogenic, “environmentally induced and theoretically preventable.”61 Likewise, no mechanism protects people from eating too much and getting fat. Few reasons thus suggest that a CC mechanism protects Earth. Of course, there are some negative-feedback mechanisms that help mitigate CC, as already mentioned, mechanisms like those associated with some aerosols and particular pollution. However, the magnitude of none of these mechanisms comes remotely close to being large enough to stop or prevent climate change.
A fifth possible objection is that some climate scientists “omit much contrary evidence,” are guilty of bias and “alarmism,” and are not reliable sources of CC information.62 For instance, in November 2009, emails among scientists, at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the UK's University of East Anglia, revealed these scientists apparently did not want to share information with climate critics, contrary to the UK's Freedom of Information Act. Critics said CRU researchers were overstating CC evidence, so as to support corrective action.63 Also, the latest IPCC report inadvertently made a false claim that Himalayan glaciers were going to disappear by 2035, instead of 2350.64 Do such problems give climate skeptics grounds for rejecting CC? Fossil-fuel-industry representatives say they do. Although they cite the work of climate scientists who affirm anthropogenic CC, many industry representatives misrepresent that research; they claim that minor uncertainties show the research “is inconsistent with or directly contradicts” anthropogenic CC.65 However, at least three reasons suggest climate skeptics err when they use scientific error, uncertainty, or disagreement as grounds for rejecting CC. First, rejecting CC, because of the Himalayan mistake, confuses the general scientific consensus about the existence of anthropogenic CC, with particular scientific misrepresentations about specific CC timing, mechanisms, or data points. Misrepresentations or uncertainties about specific data points do not negate the reality of CC itself, in part because CC is confirmed by much independent data. At least three different, independent records of land-surface-temperature readings exist, only one of which is compiled at East Anglia CRU. All accounts generally agree with each other and are accepted as reliable.66 Thus, even if CRU data were flawed, this would not jeopardize claims about the existence of CC. This objection also errs in presupposing no misbehavior or uncertainty in science. Yet every area of science (and life) includes some misbehavior and uncertainty. The possible errors of a few researchers are insufficient to jeopardize the results of a majority of CC scientists – provided the majority has independent data to show it is right. As already noted, scientific validity does not require perfect worlds or perfect people. To think otherwise confuses the reliability of people with the reliability of scientific claims. This confusion is like saying there is no God because some religious leaders are pedophiles, or that there is no good rock music because some musicians are drug addicts. All beliefs must be evaluated in their own right, not merely in terms of who professes them. Otherwise, one (p.20) commits the genetic fallacy – confusing the quality of a belief with the quality of those who accept it. Thus, the CRU errors have not changed climate science, or the reality of anthropogenic CC, but only people's perceptions of CC. Besides, if people do not want to rely on any climate scientists, because a few climate scientists apparently have behaved badly, they ought to practice what they preach. When they are sick, they ought to reject all medical opinions, simply because some physicians behave badly or give wrong diagnoses. Yet no reasonable people would reject all medical scientists. Instead they would seek the best medical scientists and listen to them. Listening to the best climate scientists amounts to following the best, refereed, scientific journals, as Oreskes did.
A sixth possible objection to the existence of anthropogenic global-warming is focused on recent, extremely cold, weather. Objectors might deny CC because the winter of 2010 was so cold.67 This objection, however, fails because it confuses average, with individual, temperatures. It also generalizes on the basis of only one case that occurred only in the Northern Hemisphere. As every logic student learns, it always is fallacious to generalize from one instance. Thus, one ought not infer that all whites are less intelligent than all blacks, merely because of one unintelligent white person. Likewise, one ought not deny CC because of some cold weather.
A seventh objection is that uncertainty about CC tempo and mode might argue for inaction, for not acting immediately to curb CC.68 However, when people face the possibility of catastrophic events, they do not wait to act, until they are certain about precisely when, where, and how catastrophe will occur. If they did, they could not avert catastrophe. People get medical check-ups, even when they feel fine. They do not wait until they are sick to see doctors. People buy home insurance. They do not wait until they have a fire, or smell smoke. Another, already-mentioned, problem with this objection is its presupposing that uncertainty about minor CC details is grounds for political inaction and doing only research. Yet uncertainty is precisely the reason, especially in cases of potential catastrophe, that people ought to take protective action. If people have repeated car trouble, they should not drive alone, in a dangerous neighborhood, late at night, because they are uncertain about how the car will perform. Instead they should take precautions. If doctors disagree on whether some patients have fatal cancers, the patients ought not “do nothing.” Possibly facing death, reasonable patients instead take precautions. They avoid the worst outcomes. Indeed, facing even trivial harms, people take precautions. They carry umbrellas if the sky is cloudy. They don’t wait for rain to do so. As scientists have recognized, at least since the 1980s, a better, more precautionary, CC approach is following no-regrets strategies – taking actions that would be beneficial, or at least minimally damaging, regardless of the precise nature of CC.69
Ethical tradition also argues against the seventh objection, that uncertainty demands inaction. According to this tradition, articulated by the late Harvard ethicist John Rawls and many moral theorists, when one faces both uncertainty and potentially catastrophic losses, one ought to take the “maximin” action that averts the worst (p.21) harm. Why? In potentially-catastrophic cases, magnitude of possible harm trumps concerns about minor uncertainties. Besides, when known groups (e.g., fossil-fuel users and sellers) cause potentially catastrophic harm, ethics doubly requires action. First, in order to take precaution, one must act to avert catastrophe. Second, those who put others at risk have duties to compensate their victims and avert further risks, not deny their risks. It is a common tactic of polluters, attempting to avoid responsibility for their harms, to deny them, to claim the relevant science is uncertain.70 Thus, even when CC science is uncertain in minor details, fossil-fuel industries and users who put innocent people at risk have duties to take action to avert that risk. Risk imposers never have rights to impose involuntary risks on innocent others, merely because of some uncertainties about those risks. If not, uncertainty about minor CC details does not justify inaction, especially when those who appeal to uncertainty are precisely those who profit most from inaction (see later paragraphs).71
An eighth objection arises from people who accept the existence of anthropogenic CC. Sometimes they say it would be too expensive to address CC.72 However, this objection errs ethically and scientifically. It begs the question, “too expensive for whom?” Addressing CC may be too expensive for profit-oriented, fossil-fuel industries and users, but not for CC victims. The objection also erroneously presupposes that, when one group harms others, offenders can simply claim restitution is too expensive. Yet, if offenders could simply claim it was too expensive to pay fines, or to go to jail, there would be no justice, especially no compensatory or retributive justice. Instead, companies could sell tainted food and then, instead of correcting the problem with a recall, claim it was too expensive to fix the problem. Virtually no one accepts such food-company objections, and the same is true for CC objections. People have no rights to harm others, simply to enhance profits.
On the scientific side, the “too-expensive” objection errs because addressing CC is not extraordinarily expensive. Even CC skeptics, like Bjorn Lomborg, admit that the total costs of addressing CC are equal merely to deferring global economic growth for one year.73 However, the total cost of doing nothing about CC is far greater, comparable to the hardships and expenses of World War II.74 Moreover, addressing CC is not extraordinarily economically detrimental for anyone except fossil-fuel-related industries. The objection thus errs in confusing costs to fossil-fuel interests with overall costs to everyone. Indeed, addressing CC immediately could give a nation a green-technology-development edge, not harm it. As chapter 6 argues in detail, using mainly energy efficiencies and sustainable technology to address CC would help the economy far more than either doing nothing or increasing nuclear fission. Chapter 6 shows that pro-nuclear, US government agencies have demonstrated that energy efficiencies, alone, could have enabled the US to cut GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, at no net economic cost. After all, during 1973–2004, US industrial-energy use was flat, while production doubled. This doubling showed that economic growth requires no energy growth, in part because of increased efficiencies. Chapter 6 also explains market assessments that show (p.22) global-energy demand can be cut by 50 percent over the next 15 years, at zero net economic cost. Likewise chapter 6 shows that renewable technologies, like wind and solar-PV, are more cost-effective than current energy sources, and that fossil-fuel “special interests” (neither high costs nor underdeveloped renewable-energy technologies) are mainly blocking the transition to clean, sustainable energy.75
The “expense” objection to CC-abatement also errs in ignoring the monumental health toll taken by fossil-fuel emissions, as well as the lives that could be saved by energy-efficient, renewable technologies. As already noted, particulate pollution alone, nearly all from fossil fuels, causes 30,000 to 100,000 premature US deaths each year, especially among children. Otherwise, these deaths would not have occurred. Lancet authors say that particulate-air pollution, alone, annually causes 6.4 percent of children's deaths, ages 0–4, in developed nations; particulates, alone, annually kill 14,000 EU toddlers, and double that number in the US; US Environmental Protection Agency data show that fossil-fuel pollutants annually kill about 400,000 people globally who otherwise would not have died.76 Government data likewise show that 1 in 5 women of child-bearing age has blood levels of mercury, mainly from coal-fired plants, that can cause neuro-developmental problems (like autism and ADHD) in her unborn children; mainly because of mercury from coal plants, waters in 48 US states have fish-consumption advisories.77 As noted earlier, fossil-fuel use causes ozone, the major cause of asthma, and asthma is now the leading cause of childhood school-absenteeism and the most common chronic-childhood disease. In the last decade, US asthma has increased by 40 percent – costing the nation about $6.2 billion in annual damage. This asthma epidemic is mostly from fossil fuels, from nitrogen oxides and reactive hydrocarbons that combine, in sunlight, to produce ozone, which has no safe dose. In 2005, Harvard, Yale, and NYU scientists showed that for every 10 parts-per-billion (10ppb) daily-ozone increase, deaths increase 10 percent over the subsequent three days, deaths that otherwise would not have occurred.78
As also noted earlier, children, poor people, and minorities bear the heaviest burdens of air pollution, mostly from gasoline vehicles and coal plants. The US Centers for Disease Control say that children are the largest and most vulnerable population subgroup that is harmed by such air pollution and that it causes up to half of all childhood cancers. Considering this health and environmental-injustice toll of fossil fuels, addressing CC would save both thousands of lives and billions of dollars annually, just in US health costs. The expense objection thus has CC costs exactly backwards.79
Scientific Methods Show Anthropogenic Climate Change
Apart from answering those who reject action on anthropogenic CC, one also can show that all scientific methods confirm anthropogenic CC. The most common scientific method is induction, as explained by logicians such as John Stuart Mill. It (p.23) generalizes from many particular cases to all cases, from claims that all observed swans are white to claims that all swans are white. Although inductive methods yield no absolute certainty, they are widely used in science, and they support the thesis of anthropogenic CC. Why? For over 150 years, global-temperature records have inductively shown warming of 0.6–0.7 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. Widespread inductive data from independent sources – tree rings, ice cores, coral reefs, instrumental water measurements, instrumental land measurements – agree on the fact of anthropogenic CC.80
Hypothesis-deduction (HD), a method discussed by Carl Hempel and others, likewise shows the reality of anthropogenic CC. In HD, scientists develop hypotheses, then set up situations in which they can test these hypotheses. They do so by determining whether or not predicted consequences, that follow logically from the hypotheses, are realized. The more these predicted consequences are confirmed, the more reliable is the hypothesis from which they follow. If predicted consequences do not occur, the hypothesis is rejected. As already noted, a century ago Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius used HD and thermodynamics to predict CC. By 1950, many other scientists (e.g., G. S. Callendar, Roger Revelle, Han Suess) also assessed fossil-fuel use, then predicted both warming and ocean-level rises. Inductive measurements of global warming and ocean rises clearly have already confirmed their predictions. Likewise scientists, such as Suki Manabe, predicted CC-warming effects would be strongest, first, in polar regions because of polar amplification – a deduction from theoretical principles of ice-albedo (reflectivity). Because ice has a high albedo, it reflects much sunlight back into space. As ice disappears, increased open water and bare ground decrease reflectivity. As a result, more heat energy is absorbed on Earth, not reflected into space. In 2004, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment confirmed Manabe's prediction. Many other HD predictions likewise confirm CC. Yet many people misunderstand the role of theory and prediction in science. They forget that the theory underlying why something happens is as important as practical measurements that it happened. Affirmation of anthropogenic CC thus is dependent not only on precise temperature measurements, but also on basic scientific theory, including thermodynamics, as already argued. Thermodynamics predicts increased, CO2-caused warming, which has occurred. Because HD has confirmed many different CC predictions, someone who rejects CC thereby rejects one of the most widely used scientific methods, HD.81
Besides induction and HD, Karl Popper's falsificationism is a third scientific method that likewise confirms the reality of CC. For a theory to be genuinely scientific, falsificationists recognize that it must be capable of being falsified. That is, the theory must produce testable hypotheses whose consequences could be falsified and thus cause rejection of the original hypothesis. The hypothesis of anthropogenic CC passes this test of falsificationism because, as seen in the HD case, CC theory has produced hypotheses whose predicted consequences (e.g., increased Arctic effects of CC will appear first) are capable of being falsified, but were not (p.24) falsified. Perhaps the best illustration that CC meets criteria for falsificationism is that many critics have tried to falsify it, but have failed to do so.82
A fourth scientific method, consilience of evidence, has been promoted by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, and it too confirms the reality of CC. To confirm a theory, proponents of consilience say one needs a variety of independent sources of evidence. Because different sources of independent CC data (sea temperature, land temperature, ice cores, tree rings, boreholes, coral reef-data) agree with each other, despite differences in measurement methodology, and because these data agree with thermodynamic theory and CC models, consilience also supports the thesis of anthropogenic CC.83
Inference to the best explanation is a fifth scientific method that might be used to assess CC. It consists of discovering a number of possible explanation for phenomena, such as Arctic ice melt, determining whether those explanations are consistent with all data, then supporting the scientific explanation which best explains the phenomena. The “best explanation” is determined by whether it is consistent with all known evidence, scientific laws, multiple independent lines of data, and whether some mechanism underlies operation of the phenomena. This method thus employs all the criteria of the previous four scientific methods. It assesses theories according to how well they meet these criteria. Because anthropogenic CC is consistent with all available evidence and scientific laws, is based on known mechanisms (e.g., thermodynamics), and is supported by many independent measurements, inference to the best explanation confirms it.84
Why People Sometimes Misunderstand Climate Change
But if 5 different scientific methods and expert-scientific consensus confirm anthropogenic CC, and if CC skeptics err, why do some laypeople think not all experts accept CC? Laypeople may be misled by the previous 8 objections, all of which are flawed. They also may be misled because experts often have poor scientific-communication skills. After all, advanced-scientific researchers are trained to do demanding technical work and make new discoveries, not to popularize science. They are trained to produce knowledge, not disseminate it. Indeed, if scientists become popularizers, they typically become suspect among other experts – who may think they cannot do technically-demanding work. Poor expert communication thus can leave science open to misrepresentation – a point to be discussed later. A third reason laypersons may be misled about CC is that they may be uncomfortable with uncertainty. Yet, there is no absolute certainty in science, only confirmation of claims. Laypeople may misunderstand this fact. Or they may prefer simple falsehoods to complicated truths.85
A fourth reason some people misunderstand CC is their misunderstanding science. As already noted, uncertainty about CC tempo and mode will continue for some (p.25) time, partly because large-scale CC experimentation is impossible. Consequently, as already explained, laypeople may erroneously believe good science should be certain. Yet science is reliable, not infallible. As The Economist put it, minor CC uncertainties and disagreements lead some scientifically-uninformed people to focus on the holes in theories, while others focus on the wholes. Some focus on missing CC evidence they think destroys (what they see as) a house of cards. Others focus on finding missing pieces of a partly-completed jigsaw puzzle. Yet scientific understanding is required to know whether CC is a house of cards (false claims of anthropogenic CC) or a jigsaw puzzle (correct claims of anthropogenic CC, with minor details missing), and many people do not have this understanding.86
A fifth reason laypeople may be misled about anthropogenic CC is that mass media have paid attention to a handful of CC dissenters, perhaps because controversy sells newspapers and gains TV watchers. Yet virtually no CC dissenters do peer-reviewed-expert climate research. Most of them are scientifically uninformed, and most are paid by special interests, like the oil lobby. For instance, on March 30, 2010, the New York Times ran a front-page story, “Scientists and Weathercasters at Odds over Climate Change.”87 The title and article were misleading because they suggested climate-change controversy. Yet climate scientists are Ph.D.s, mostly at universities, who do technical research, which they publish in peer-reviewed-scientific journals. Weathercasters, however, are TV personalities, not scientists. They do not publish in refereed-expert-scientific journals. Indeed, the article admitted that half of weathercasters have no undergraduate degree in meteorology, much less a Ph.D. Hence, non-expert TV personalities should not be viewed as “disagreeing” with expert climate scientists, but as being scientifically uninformed. Obviously, biology Ph.D.s typically have no authority from which to criticize advanced-physics research. However, media personalities may not realize that scientists like Frederick Seitz – who have never done climate research – have no authority from which to disagree with climate scientists who spend their lives doing advanced climate research. Other media-trumped CC critics, like Michael Crichton, are merely novelists who have inadequate CC expertise. Yet because media and the public may be unaware of what scientific expertise requires, they fail to understand that virtually all CC critics produce no new, peer-reviewed research and thus invalidly attack CC. While a few scientists (like Richard Lindzen of MIT) are in the minority, in thinking that CC effects are likely to be in the “low-end” range predicted by IPCC, those who deny all CC cannot publish their work in scientific journals because it fails basic tests of scientific method. These tests include being based on evidence, avoiding the genetic fallacy, not equivocating, and not confusing the existence of CC with its tempo and mode. Those who deny all CC are thus a bit like proponents of astrology. They criticize mainline scientific views, but they typically have no valid scientific evidence, argument, or theory to legitimately document their claims. As a result, mass media may give them an undeserved forum, partly because media people (p.26) often fail to realize (as later paragraphs document) that most CC deniers are paid by front groups funded by fossil-fuel interests.88
A sixth reason laypeople may be misled about CC is misrepresentation. Many CC critics are disingenuous, and they deliberately misrepresent CC science because they are paid to do so. As noted regarding CC objections, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), funded by chemical and fossil-fuel interests, repeatedly misrepresents CC research. AEI claims CC work is “inconsistent with or directly contradicts” the thesis of anthropogenic CC. Yet none of the scientific authors, cited by AEI, rejects anthropogenic CC. Instead they merely discuss alternative accounts of CC tempo and mode.89 When Harvard physicist Willie Soon published a paper outlining some predictive limitations of some CC models, CC critics erroneously and widely cited his work and claimed it discredited CC; yet, Soon himself explicitly said his work “does not disprove a significant anthropogenic influence on climate change.”90 In other words, as already noted, no CC experts – who actually do advanced climate research – challenge it. Instead they debate minor claims regarding CC tempo and mode. Often misrepresenting CC research, CC critics thus commit logical, scientific, and ethical errors, already criticized earlier.91
A seventh reason laypeople may be misled about CC is that special interests – like the oil, coal, and automobile industries – have paid lobbyists, PR firms, and non-specialist scientists to promote confusion about CC, to make CC appear unsettled. Because special interests’ profit motives make the public suspicious of their CC stance, these special interests create and fund artificial “front groups” to do their PR. The groups have scientific-sounding names, like “The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition,” and they produce CC-skeptic op-ed pieces, articles, advertisements, and PR. For decades, industry-funded think tanks, like AEI and the George Marshall Institute, have been actively communicating CC messages that contradict expert-scientific consensus.92 One well-known example of a special-interest campaign, designed to create uncertainty about CC, is that of ExxonMobil. It has run highly-visible advertisements in magazines and newspapers like the New York Times, so these ads look like news reports. The thrust of these ads has been that because CC is uncertain, scientists ought to do more CC research, but take no action against it.93
People Who Are Paid to Deny Climate Change
At least 5 groups of special interests profit from CC and thus challenge its existence. These are (1) carbon polluters, (2) politicians paid by carbon polluters, (3) lobbyists paid by carbon polluters, (4) media personalities paid by carbon polluters, and (5) scientists who do no climate research but are paid by carbon polluters.
Among group (1), carbon polluters, are Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth-largest US coal-mining operation, often using mountain-top (p.27) removal. Massey Energy was responsible for the April 2010 West-Virginia coal-mine accident that caused the deaths of 29 miners, because of repeated safety violations. Blankenship, the nation's highest-paid coal executive and a union-buster, says CC is “a hoax and a Ponzi scheme,” yet he admits climate legislation “would probably cut our business in half.” Other carbon polluters and CC denouncers include Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BH). BH has massive fossil-fuel holdings, and in 2009, for instance,spent $26 billion to buy the top US coal hauler, Burlington Northern Santa Fe RR. The same year, BH also bought 1.3 million shares of the biggest US climate polluter, ExxonMobil. A BH subsidiary, MidAmerican Energy, also has the worst CO2-intensity of any US utility, 65 million tons in 2008. Yet, BH is the largest US firm not to disclose its CC pollution. Another carbon polluter and CC denouncer is Jack Gerard, President of American Petroleum (AP). AP represents ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Halliburton, and 400 other member oil companies. Gerard created a fake industry “front group,” the “Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan” – to fund non-experts to dispute climate change. Tea Partiers Charles and David Koch do something similar. They run Koch, the nation's largest private-energy company, and they pay non-experts to dispute CC. Charles Koch also founded the Cato Institute, which is largely funded by CC polluters. Interestingly, of any corporate groups anywhere, the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil give the most dollars to anti-climate front groups, like the Cato Institute, AEI, and Heritage Foundation. In 2009 alone, Koch Industries spent $8.5 million on anti-CC lobbying before the US Congress. David Ratcliffe, CEO of the Southern Company (SC), is another major CC polluter and funder of CC critics. Because SC is the second-dirtiest of all US utilities, Ratcliffe has financial reasons to avoid CC-controls. SC's largest coal plant is so dirty that it produces more CC pollution than all Brazilian power plants combined. Ratcliffe, however, claims Earth will “adapt” to CC, and he employs 63 anti-CC lobbyists in Washington, DC. Another typical carbon polluter is Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company. ExxonMobil is also the largest CC polluter in the US. It annually causes 397 million tons of CO2, more than double the GHG emissions of the dirtiest US coal utility. Alone, ExxonMobil causes 7 percent of all US CC pollution. To continue its business as usual, ExxonMobil spent $29 million in 2008 alone, lobbying against CC legislation in the US Congress. Although ExxonMobil funds the Heritage Foundation (an industry front group) to challenge CC, it presents itself as “green.” In 2007, ExxonMobil spent $100 million on ads, to boast about its renewable-energy investments. However, the total renewable-energy investments of ExxonMobil have been only $10 million (only one-tenth of its renewable-energy-advertising, or “greenwash” costs for one year).94
A second group of CC-deniers are hundreds of US politicians who accept donations from fossil-fuel companies. Joe Barton, Republican Representative from Texas, has accepted $1.4 million from oil-and-gas companies. In return, he has opposed CC, severely harassed climate scientists, and argued in Congress for (p.28) letting private oil-and-gas companies drill on US public lands. US Senator James Inhofe, from Oklahoma, claims CC is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” perhaps because he has received $1.1 million in gifts from the oil-and-gas industry. Claiming CO2 is “not a real pollutant,” Inhofe forced all US Senate Republican committee members to boycott Congressional debate on CC legislation. He promised that Republicans would block all curbs on carbon pollution. US Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, from Louisiana, likewise has blocked curbs on GHG emissions, perhaps because she too receives oil-industry money. In 2008, alone, she received $272,000 from the oil industry and voted to give big oil $12 billion in tax breaks. Although her coastal state likely will be ravaged by CC, she has worked in the US Senate to kill climate legislation. The League of Conservation Voters calls her one of the “Dirty Dozen” of pro-pollution US politicians. Other politicians, like Republican Senator John McCain, change their stances after receiving oily money. After he lost the year-2008 race for the US Presidency, and no longer had to appeal to all voters, McCain rejected his earlier, anti-pollution stance. Campaigning for president, McCain supported carbon-cap legislation. After receiving large donations from polluters, however, his views changed. In June 2008 alone, from the state of Texas alone, McCain received $1.214 million in donations from the oil-and-gas industry. McCain now says he opposes CC legislation because it imposes a “corporate tax” on US fossil-fuel companies. He also erroneously claimed the US House 2010 CC bill would impose a $630 billion tax on CC-polluting corporations. However, the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office and other “fact-checkers” show the legislation actually provides $690 billion in CC-pollution subsidies.95
A third group of CC deniers are lobbyists paid by fossil-fuel polluters. Lobbyist Tom Donohue is President of the US Chamber of Commerce (COC), the largest US-Congressional-lobby group. It represents many carbon polluters. In the first 9 months of 2009 alone, COC (dominated by 3 major coal companies) spent $65 million to lobby Congress against limits on GHG emissions. Donohue's CC claims are so extreme that COC members, such as Apple, Exelon, Nike, and the California utility PG and E, accuse him of “disingenuous attempts to distort” CC dangers. Dick Gephardt, former US House of Representatives Democratic Majority Leader, also apparently does some distorting, at the behest of his polluter clients. Gephardt heads the Gephardt Group – lobbyists representing many large coal utilities that deny CC, such as Peabody Coal, the world's largest, private-sector coal company. Gephardt also lobbies for the COC, the second-largest-US-lobby group that opposes CC legislation, and for Ameren, the fourth-dirtiest US utility. From Peabody alone, Gephardt received $1.7 million in the last several years. He is paid to deny CC and to oppose CC legislation. Another typical fossil-fuel lobbyist is Marc Morano. Paid by oil-industry heir Richard Mellon Scaife, Morano runs a CC-denying website (“Climate Depot”). His former paid positions include promoting “Swift-boat” lies about Senator John Kerry's military service, being producer of Rush (p.29) Limbaugh's radio show, and working for climate-change denier (and oil-industry “gifts” recipient) Senator James Inhofe.96
Media owners are a fourth group that is paid to deny CC, through advertising by CC polluters. Rupert Murdoch, recipient of massive, CC-polluter-advertising money, is CEO of World News Corporation. It owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and other media. Given Murdoch's polluter-advertising dollars, his Wall Street Journal has condemned CC legislation. His New York Post condemned the Copenhagen CC meetings as only a meet-up for “shamsters, scam artists, and assorted global-warming opportunists” who wanted to “transfer a trillion bucks from the economies of the world's developed nations to Third World Kleptocrats … with cash sticking to the fingers of well-connected UN bureaucrats.” Murdoch media personalities, like Sean Hannity of Fox News, also deny CC and misreport it. For instance, Hannity said 2009 was “one of the coldest years on record,” yet it was the fifth-hottest year in the last 130 years. Similarly, in 2009 Fox News featured an extended “news” show called “The Carbon Myth.” In it, Fox used carbon-polluter-paid spokesmen, who do no CC research, to claim more CO2 is “good for the environment.” Similarly, ABC-TV receives millions of advertising dollars annually from CC polluters, and ABC's George Will (of “This Week”) denies CC. Will criticizes “environmental Cassandras” who “indoctrinate” the public about “hypothetical” CC. Will also was funded by oil-industry representative George Bush, to try to help prepare Bush for the US-presidential-election-campaign TV debates. Despite his public prominence, Will has repeatedly misled the public about CC. In the Washington Post, he claimed, “there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade.” However, IPCC says 11 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the last 13 years. Will also claimed in the Post that “global-sea-ice levels now equal those of 1979.” However, IPCC says researchers have documented massive decreases in global-sea-ice since 1979, a decrease bigger than the states of Texas and California combined. Although both the Washington Post ombudsman and the World Meteorological Association rebuked Will for repeated CC factual errors, he has neither run corrections nor admitted these errors. Nevertheless, Will accuses climate scientists (but not corporate polluters) of “perpetuating [CC] lies out of self-interest.”97
A fifth group of CC deniers are non-expert scientists like Fred Singer, who publish no advanced climate research. An 85-year-old retired physicist, Singer denies CC but says global warming would be good, promoting plant growth. Most of Singer's CC criticisms are paid for by the Heartland Institute – which is funded by ExxonMobil, oil-baron Richard Scaife, and Koch (the nation's largest private-energy company). Earlier, the tobacco industry paid Singer to deny cigarette hazards, and CFC manufacturers paid him to deny ozone-hole hazards. Another CC-denier is Patrick Michaels, a biologist paid by the Cato Institute (an industry front group). Cato is largely funded by coal companies, and Michaels is typical of climate critics; he has never published climate research.98
(p.30) The upshot? Scientific consensus, among experts who do CC research, is that anthropogenic CC is real. Because of special-interest funding, however, many members of the public have been misled about CC.
Overview of the Book
The public also has been misled about CC solutions. Would atomic energy provide an economical, effective, ethical – albeit partial – response to CC? This book uses market data, scientific studies, and ethical analyses to argue that it would not. It likewise shows that nuclear proponents employ flawed science in trying to make their case, and that increasing fission would worsen already-existing, nuclear-related environmental injustices and proliferation risks.
To provide a context for the later discussions in the book, chapter 2 outlines the origins and history of nuclear technology. Next it shows that, once one counts GHG emissions from all nuclear-fuel-cycle stages, fission has roughly the same GHG emissions as natural gas – far more than electricity produced by wind or solar-PV. Chapter 2 also shows that atomic energy is routinely misrepresented as “green” and “carbon free” because its proponents make fundamental scientific errors. They rely on many counterfactual assumptions in calculating greenhouse emissions. By misleadingly ignoring energy-input needs, and by counting GHG emissions only at point of electricity use, nuclear proponents ignore the fact that reactors produce only 25 percent more electricity that that needed, as input, to their 14-stage-fuel cycle. In fact, the chapter shows that most nuclear-emissions studies ignore the GHG emissions from the full, nuclear, 14-stage-fuel cycle. They count only a small fraction of these emissions, then erroneously claim atomic energy is a CC solution.
Chapter 3 reveals that atomic energy is also extremely costly. Even if one ignores taxpayer subsidies, fission is at least 3 times costlier than wind, and nearly twice the cost of solar-PV. Atomic energy likewise imposes many harms on the public, including government-mandated liability limits that make nuclear-accident victims, not industry, responsible for more than 98 percent of worst-case, nuclear-accident damages, even those caused by industry's intentional safety violations. The chapter also shows that fission proponents erroneously trim data on fission costs by making many counterfactual assumptions about nuclear-construction-interest rates, load factors, construction times, and so on. Indeed, the chapter shows that market proponents agree: atomic energy is uneconomical. Consequently, all credit-rating firms downgrade the credit of utilities with a nuclear plant. This costliness is one reason the nuclear industry cannot build any reactors without massive taxpayer subsidies, including covering half the costs of each $12–20-billion plant. Thus the chapter shows that atomic energy only appears economical – because most nuclear-cost studies (nearly all done by the reactor industry) ignore costs from the full, nuclear, (p.31) 14-stage-fuel cycle. Instead they count only a small fraction of these costs, then erroneously claim atomic energy is an inexpensive CC solution.
Chapter 4 argues that nuclear power likewise is costly in terms of human health and scientific reliability. Because of industry cover-ups, scientific misrepresentation, and violating conflict-of-interest guidelines, the chapter shows that industry's atomic-energy-accident data are seriously flawed. Consequently, these data grossly undercount harmful nuclear consequences. As a result, the chapter shows the public has been seriously misled about atomic energy, as medical journals confirm. In particular, the Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania) nuclear accident and core melt caused a documented, 64-percent-cancer increase, especially childhood cancers. Yet because of industry PR, many people erroneously believe this was a minor accident that killed no one.
Chapter 5 shows that, even without any accidents, fission nevertheless causes many serious, pollution-induced health effects that are disproportionately imposed on children, radiation workers, and future generations. These environmental injustices, inequitable pollution impacts, include the facts that children living near normally-operating nuclear plants show statistically-significant increases in cancer, especially radiation-related cancers like leukemia. Moreover, these cancers decrease in proportion to distance away from the reactor. Likewise, because US regulations allow nuclear workers to receive 50 times the annual-radiation dose of the public, they are at especially high risk. Using US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) data, the chapter shows that allowable, annual, occupational-radiation doses can annually cause one fatal, otherwise-avoidable, premature cancer in every 80 workers who receives this dose. If nuclear workers receive the maximum-annual dose for 40 years, workplace-radiation exposures will cause nearly half of them to have premature, otherwise-avoidable, fatal cancers. Moreover, the chapter shows that, because contemporary US radiation-protection regulations do not satisfy risk-disclosure and voluntariness requirements, nuclear workers cannot give informed consent to these much-higher occupational risks. Finally, the chapter reveals that, because US radiation standards, for permanent, future, nuclear-waste management, are more than 4 times less protective than for current people, they subject future people to massive environmental injustices.
Chapter 6 discusses many CC solutions that avoid nuclear fission and alleged “clean” coal. These solutions include conservation, energy efficiencies, wind, and solar-PV. The chapter also explains at least 4 reasons that “clean coal” is an oxymoron – and thus not a viable solution to problems of CC. Using classic scientific studies from Harvard, Princeton, and the US Department of Energy, the chapter shows that renewables and energy efficiencies can supply all energy needs – and do so more cheaply than either fossil fuels or fission. Market proponents agree. Renewable-energy installations are doubling annually, while nuclear fission is declining.
Chapter 7 responds to numerous objections. These include the apparent success of the French nuclear-energy program, the intermittency of some renewable-energy (p.32) technologies, and the alleged costs of renewable energy. The chapter shows that all these objections err, that the public has been grossly misled by nuclear-industry PR, and that efficiencies and renewable energy are cheaper, safer, more ethical, and less GHG emissions intensive than atomic power. Chapter 8 concludes with suggestions about how to promote cheaper, safer, more ethical, less carbon-intensive renewables, conservation, and energy efficiencies.
Because no book can appeal to everyone, at least 5 caveats help explain the scope of this volume. First, because this book includes both scientific analyses (in every chapter) and ethical analyses (especially in chapters 3–5), ethicists may want more ethics, and scientists may want more science. However, the book does only the science and the ethics that are necessary to make its arguments about CC, atomic power, and renewable energy. To do anything else would require more than one book. A second caveat is that because the issues of CC, nuclear fission, and renewable energy are so broad, not all topics related to them can be treated here. Instead, the book focuses on nuclear, and other proposed, solutions to CC. Third, because the book seeks both a lay and scholarly readership, for the sake of clarity it includes some repetition, such as quick outlines at each chapter beginning, quick summaries at each chapter end, and listings of main points and arguments.
A fourth caveat is that, because the book aims to illuminate other cases of flawed science leading to flawed policy, it has several short methodological analyses that lay readers can skip. These analyses provide the technical underpinnings for 3 key themes. These themes include how conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy – not nuclear fission – can solve climate problems, why nuclear proponents’ arguments about climate err, and how scientific-methodological understanding can advance energy policy. Because these scientific and ethical methods for analyzing faulty arguments can be applied elsewhere, in many different scientific-ethical cases, one goal of the book is thus pedagogical, to illustrate and document these methods carefully, so that others can use them elsewhere. Without missing the main points of the book, those less interested in scientific methodology can skip the short, chapter 1 section that shows how alternative scientific methods confirm the existence of anthropogenic climate change, the short, chapter 4 sections on how different causal accounts (mechanist, unificationist) all show that ionizing radiation from the Three Mile Island nuclear accident caused serious cancer increases nearby, and perhaps the short section in chapter 4 on “inference to the best explanation.”
A fifth caveat is that readers may be misled unless they examine the sources for the scientific and technical claims being made or criticized throughout this volume. In general, the sources for the claims that are criticized in this book, e.g., scientists employed by the fossil-fuel or nuclear industries, appear to have financial (p.33) conflicts of interest. However, the sources for claims that are praised in this book, e.g., university scientists, appear to have no financial conflicts of interest. That is, the analysis shows that those who are criticized in this book – who deny CC, who want to delay CC action, who support increased nuclear energy – are typically either funded by special interests and often guilty of doing flawed science, or misled by this flawed science. This flawed science includes collecting nonrepresentative data and samples, making implausible assumptions, using biased models, drawing invalid inferences, or performing incomplete analyses. Later chapters explain such scientific errors and show how they generate false conclusions. They also reveal four typical hallmarks of these questionable studies, especially their biased sources. Obviously, not all industry-funded research is questionable. However, the flawed research, criticized in this book, typically (i) is not peer-reviewed, (ii) does not appear in refereed scientific journals or peer-reviewed government documents, (iii) is funded and controlled by the nuclear or fossil-fuel industries, and (iv) has conclusions that are tainted by conflicts of interest because they serve the financial goals of their funders or authors. However, the scientific research, used by this book to criticize flawed studies, typically (1) is peer-reviewed, (2) appears in refereed scientific journals or peer-reviewed government documents, (3) is not funded or controlled by any special interests (instead typically is done by university or government researchers), and (4) has conclusions devoid of conflicts of interest because they serve no apparent financial goals of the funders or authors. As a result, readers need to heed both the sources of all information discussed here (see the notes), as well as their different methodological characteristics. As subsequent chapters show, the invalidity or validity of scientific studies is revealed in their biased or unbiased methods– which in turn often are revealed by their funders.
Time for Change
Although this book argues for greater conservation, efficiencies, and renewable-energy solutions to CC – and against nuclear fission – not all the problems it addresses are new. Energy-based pollution has plagued the human race for centuries. Since Roman times, for instance, inhabitants of the British Isles have faced fossil-fuel pollution from using coal for heating. For thousands of years, they scavenged soft, bituminous “sea coal” from veins exposed when the ocean eroded land near northeastern-coastal England. Even now, veins of coal are visible near beaches at places like Blackhall. By 1200, because available firewood was depleted and too expensive for most people, English sea-coal use skyrocketed, mostly for heat. Although Queen Eleanor tried to ban its burning, virtually everyone disobeyed, and air quality rapidly worsened. In 1247, coal fumes became so severe that they drove Queen Eleanor from Nottingham Castle.99
(p.34) By 1271, coal smoke was killing so many people that Edward I banned selling or burning sea-coal, under penalty of torture or death.100 Yet even executions did little to stop use of this cheap resource. Because people had no alternative fuel, they disregarded the ban. Because officials could not enforce a ban—that nearly everyone disobeyed – coal use increased, and London air quality worsened.101 In Shakespeare's time, coal-induced air pollution forced people to sleep sitting up, in short beds. (Shakespeare's home has such short beds.) Otherwise, people found it difficult to breathe. Yet King Richard III (in the 1300s), King Henry V (in the 1400s), and Queen Elizabeth (in the 1500s) complained about filthy, coal-polluted air, even in Westminster Palace. All tried to ban coal. None was successful, given widespread coal use and near-universal violations of their bans.102
By the time of the Industrial Revolution, the coal ban was stopped in the name of economic progress. In 1800, more than a million Londoners were burning coal, and the city became even more notorious for its thick smog. Its 19th and early-20th-century air was so heavily laden with coal toxins that pollution-induced deaths increased massively during the winter, coal-burning months.103 In 1873, a coal-smoke fog hovered over the city for days and killed nearly 300 people from ailments like bronchitis. In 1879, a coal-smoke fog lasted from November to March, blotted out the sun, and killed hundreds of people. Still things did not change. Indeed, the smog became permanent. In 1900, from the summit of St Paul's Cathedral, winter visibility was typically a half-mile. On the streets, visibility was often as little as 30 feet. Deaths mounted every winter. People tried to justify these pollution-induced fatalities, in the name of economic benefits. Progress came only in response to a dramatic number of short-term deaths. In only one week, a December 1952 London-coal-smoke fog killed more than 3,000 people. Largely as a result, in 1956 the British Parliament enacted the Clean Air Act.104
Similar coal-smoke problems faced other cities. In the 19th-and-early-20th centuries, in cold weather, most US cities were coated with thick, black, coal soot. Windows could not be opened because home furnishings would be covered with coal dust. Millions of people suffered from heart failure, cancer, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung ailments. One of the most dramatic events occurred in 1948, when 18 people died within several weeks in the small town of Donora, Pennsylvania. An air inversion had trapped coal-polluted air in their town. Today, nearly 800 years after King Edward's warning, society is still killing people with coal pollution. It is time to stop the deaths. This book tells how to do so – and how to stop climate change at the same time.
(1.) “Doomsday Clock Moves One Minute,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Washington, DC: 2010); accessed April 14, 2010, at http://www.thebulletin.org/content/media-center/announcements/2010/01/14/doomsday-clock-moves-one-minute-away-midnight.
(2.) Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, “Impact of Climate Change Equal to Nuclear War,” Terra Daily (Moscow: June 29, 2007); accessed April 14, 2010, at http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Impact_Of_Climate_Change_Equal_To_Nuclear_War_999.html.
(3.) Nyla Sarwar, Green Movement Acknowledges Nuclear Power as a Feasible Option (Climatico, 2009); accessed April 14, 2010, at http://www.climaticoanalysis.org/post/nuclear-power-accepted-as-a-feasible-option-by-the-green-movement/.
(4.) Quoted in Gwyneth Cravens, Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy (New York: Knopf, 2008), pp. 259–60; hereafter cited as Cravens, Power. Patrick Moore, “Going Nuclear,” Washington Post (2006): B01; accessed February 5, 2009, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401209.html. Hugh Montefiore, “Why the Planet Needs Nuclear Energy,” The Tablet (October 23 2004); accessed November 1, 2008, at http://www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/register.cgi/tablet-00946. Gerald Holton, “Power Surge,” Environmental Health Perspectives 113, no. 11 (2005): 742–50. Declan Butler, “Energy: Nuclear Power's New Dawn,” Nature 429, no. 6989 (2004): 238–40. Richard Meserve, “Global Warming and Nuclear Power,” Science 303, no. 5657 (2004): 433. Steward Brand, “Environmental Heresies,” Technology Review (May 2005); accessed November 1, 2008, at http://www.technologyreview.com/read_articles.aspx?id=14406&ch=biztech.
(5.) The 60–90 percent figure is from Travis Madsen, Johanna Neumann, and Emily Rusch, The High Cost of Nuclear Power (Baltimore: Maryland Public Interest Research Group, 2009), p. 17; hereafter cited as Madsen et al., High Cost. Amory Lovins, Profitable Solutions for Oil, Climate, and Proliferation (Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute, 2007), p. 3; hereafter cited as Lovins, Profitable.
(6.) Amory Lovins, “Nuclear Is Uneconomic”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Roundtable on Nuclear Power and Climate Change, 2007); accessed February 9, 2008, at http://www.thebulletin.org/roundtable/nuclear-power-climate-change/.
(7.) Lovins, Profitable, p. 3.
(8.) Amory Lovins, Forget Nuclear (Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute, 2008), pp. 2, 6.
(9.) Quote is from Nick F. Pidgeon, Irene Lorenzoni, and Wouter Poortinga, “Climate Change or Nuclear Power—No Thanks,” Global Environmental Climate Change 18 (2008): 69–85. Classic citation for no safe dose of ionizing radiation is National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences (NRC/NAS), Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing (p.250) Radiation: BEIR VII, Phase 2 (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2006), p. 6; hereafter cited as NRC/NAS, Health Risks BEIR VII; see also later notes, esp. in ch. 4.
(10.) For the $11.92/gallon calculation, see Earth Policy Institute, “The Real Price of Gasoline, 2007 Update,” in Lester Brown, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton, 2009); accessed April 5, 2010, at http://www.earthpolicy.org/index.php?/books/pb4/pb4_data. For the $12.75/gallon calculation, see Benjamin Bombard, “Pay at the Pump: Uncovering the True Price of Gasoline,” Catalyst 29, no. 1 (2010); accessed April 5, 2010, at http://www.catalystmagazine.net/component/content/article/45/1128.
(11.) German Technical Cooperation, International Fuel Prices 2009, 6th ed. (Eschborn, Germany: German Technical Cooperation, December 2009); accessed April 5, 2010, at http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/gtz2009-en-ifp-full-version.pdf.
(12.) Environmental Law Institute, Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002–2008 (Washington, DC: Environmental Law Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, September 2009); accessed April 5, 2010, at http://www.elistore.org/Data/products/d19_07.pdf.
(13.) U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “World Per Capita Total Primary Energy Consumption, 1980–2006,” International Energy Annual 2006 (Washington, DC: US EIA, 2008); accessed February 11, 2010, at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/energyconsumption.html.
(14.) US National Research Council, Hidden Costs of Energy (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2009); hereafter cited as NAS, Energy, 2009. Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007); hereafter cited as Stern, Economics. Arun Makhijani, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free (Takoma Park, MD: IEER, 2007), pp. xvi, xx, 1–2; hereafter cited as Makhijani, Carbon-Free. Health statistics are from Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action, Saving Lives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), ch. 1; hereafter cited as Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action. Climate arguments are from Peter Singer, One World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002), and Stern, Economics.
(15.) Earth Policy Institute, “The Real Price of Gasoline, 2007 Update,” in Lester Brown, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton, 2009); accessed April 5, 2010, at http://www.earthpolicy.org/index.php?/books/pb4/pb4_data).
(16.) Makhijani, Carbon-Free, pp. xx, 4–12.
(17.) NAS, Energy, 2009. Physicians for Social Responsibility, Coal's Assault on Human Health (Washington, DC: PSR, 2010). D. Pimentel, S. Cooperstein, H. Randell, D. Filiberto, S. Sorrentino, B. Kaye, C. Nicklin, J. Yagi, J. Brian, J. O’Hern, A. Habas, and C. Weinstein, “Ecology of Increasing Diseases: Population Growth and Environmental Degradation,” Human Ecology 35, no. 6 (December 2007): 653–68.
(18.) World Health Organization, Indoor Air Pollution and Health (Bonn: WHO, 2005); accessed at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Air Pollution (Aspendale, Australia: CSIRO, 1999); accessed at http://www.csiro.au/index.asp?id=AirPollution&type=mediaRelease.
(20.) APHA, “Policy Statements … 2000,” American Journal of Public Health 91, no. 3 (2001): 21.
(22.) The same study estimated that at least 20,000 Americans die prematurely each year from burning fossil fuels (National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2009).
(23.) Arden Pope, “Cardiovascular Mortality and Long-Term Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution,” Circulation 109, no. 6 (January 2003): 71–77. C. A. Pope, R. T. Burnett, M. J. Thun, E. E. Calle, D. Krewski, K. Ito, and G. D. Thurston, “Lung Cancer, Cardiopulmonary Mortality, and Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Air Pollution,” Journal of American (p.251) Medical Association 287, no. 9 (2002): 1132–41. ABT Associates, Particulate-Related Health Benefits of Reducing Power Emissions (Bethesda, MD: ABT Associates, 2000) is the Bush study. M. L. Bell, D. L. Davis, N. Gouveia, L. Cifuentes, and V. H. Borja-Aburto, “Mortality, Morbidity, and Economic Consequences of Fossil Fuel-Related Air Pollution in Three Latin American Cities,” Epidemiology 15, no. 4 (July 2004): S44–45. M. L. Bell and D. I. Davis, “Reassessment of the Lethal London Fog of 1952,” Environmental Health Perspectives 109 (June 2001): 389–94. D. L. Davis, L. Deck, P. Saldiva, and J. Correia, “The Selected Survivor Effect in Developed and Developing Countries Studies of Air Pollution,” Epidemiology 10, no. 4 (July 1999): S107. L. Cifuentes, V. H. Borja-Aburto, N. Gouveia, G. Thurston, and D. L. Davis, “Assessing the Health Benefits of Urban Air Pollution Reductions Associated with Climate Change Mitigation (2000–2020),” Environmental Health Perspectives 109 (June 2001): S419–25. D. L. Davis, T. Kjellstrom, R. Slooff, A. McGartland, D. Atkinson, W. Barbour, W. Hohenstein, P. Nagelhout, T. Woodruff, F. Divita, J. Wilson, and J. Schwartz, “Short-Term Improvements in Public Health from Global-Climate Policies on Fossil-Fuel Combustion,” Lancet 350, no. 9088 (November 1997). M. L. Bell, D. L. Davis, and G. Sun, “Analysis of the Health Effects of Severe Air Pollution in Developing Countries,” Epidemiology 13, no. 4 (July 2002): 298. A. D. Kyle, T. J. Woodruff, P. A. Buffler, and D. L. Davis, “Use of an Index to Reflect the Aggregate Burden of Long-Term Exposure to Criteria Air Pollutants in the United States,” Environmental Health Perspectives 110 (February 2002): S95–102. L. Cifuentes, V. H. Borja-Aburto, N. l. Gouveia, G. Thurson, and D. L. Davis, “Climate Change: Hidden Health Benefits of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation,” Science 293, no. 5533 (August 2001): 1257–59. See also US Congress, Implementation of the New Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter and Ozone, S. HRG. (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2004), pp. 108–502. Calculations for Chicago application are in Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action, Saving Lives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), ch. 1; hereafter cited as Taking Action.
(25.) William Haenzel, David B. Loveland, and Martin G. Sirken, “Lung Cancer Mortality as Related to Residence and Smoking Histories,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 28 (1962): 947. Warren Winkelstein, Edward Davis, Charles Maneri, and William Mosher, “The Relationship of Air Pollution and Economic Status to Total Mortality and Selected Respiratory System Morality,” Archives of Environmental Health 16 (1967): 162.
(26.) Lester Lave and Eugene O. Seskin, “Air Pollution and Human Health,” Science 169. no. 3947 (1970): 723–33. Jack Spengler, Richard Wilson, et al., Health Effects of Fossil Fuel Burning (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1980). Devra Davis, When Smoke Ran Like Water (New York: Basic, 2002), pp. 103, 121; hereafter cited as Davis, Smoke. Regarding poor enforcement, see Michael Janofsky, “Study Ranks Bush Plan to Cut Air Pollution as Weakest of 3,” The New York Times (June 10, 2004); accessed at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/10/politics/10air.html?ex=1402200000&en=6d3a4a45d1e13015&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND. Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action.
(27.) D. Pimentel, S. Cooperstein, H. Randell, D. Filiberto, S. Sorrentino, B. Kaye, C. Nicklin, J. Yagi, J. Brian, J. O’Hern, A. Habas, and C. Weinstein, “Ecology of Increasing Diseases: Population Growth and Environmental Degradation,” Human Ecology 35, no. 6 (December 2007): 653–68.
(28.) World Health Organization, WHO Air Quality Guidelines for Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide: Global Update 2005 (Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, 2005), p. 5; accessed February 10, 2010, at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2006/WHO_SDE_PHE_OEH_06.02_eng.pdf.
(30.) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group III Contribution to the IPCC: Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change: (p.252) Summary for Policymakers (Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC Secretariat and UNEP, 2007); accessed October 10, 2007, at http://www.mnp.n./ipcc/doccs/FAR/SPM_%20WGIII_rev5.pdf. Makhijani, Carbon-Free, p. xvi.
(31.) Stern, Economics, figure 2. US NAS, Energy, 2009. See next note.
(32.) IPCC: Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change (Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC Secretariat and UNEP, 2007); hereafter cited as IPCC 2007.
(33.) IPCC 2007. Makhijani, Carbon-Free, pp. xvii, 1–3. United Nations, Framework Convention on Climate Change (New York: UN, 1992), pp. 1, 4. See Simon Caney, Stephen Gardiner, Dale Jamieson, and Henry Shue (eds.), Climate Ethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); hereafter cited as CE. Stephen Gardiner, A Perfect Moral Storm (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); hereafter cited as PS. E. Crist and H. B. Rinker, Gaia in Turmoil (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009); Paul Harris, World Ethics and Climate Change (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). James Garvey, The Ethics of Climate Change (New York: Continuum, 2008); hereafter cited as ECC. Peter Singer, One World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002); hereafter cited as Singer, World. Richard C. J. Somerville, “The Ethics of Climate Change,” in Environment 360, Roger Cohn (ed.) (New Haven, CT: Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 2008); accessed May 12, 2009, at http://e360.yale.edu/contentfeature.msp?id=1365.
(34.) US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Greenhouse-Gas Data (Washington, DC: EPA, 2006); accessed October 19, 2006, at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/globalghg.html. Makhijani, Carbon-Free, pp. xvi, xx, 1.
(36.) Paul Harrison and Fred Pearce, AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
(37.) James J. McCarthy, O. F. Canziani, N. A. Leary, D. J. Dokken, and K. S. White (eds.), Climate Change 2001, IPCC (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 21; hereafter cited as McCarthy, et al.
(38.) National Research Council, Climate Change Science (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001), pp.1, 3.
(39.) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007); hereafter cited as IPCC 2007 and Fourth Assessment, available at http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg2.htm. IPCC, Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001 (Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC, 2001), p. 152; hereafter cited as IPCC 2001.
(40.) IPCC 2007, pp. 23, 93–94. Arjun Makhijani, Carbon Free and Nuclear Free (Tacoma Park, MD: Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, 2007), pp. xvi–vii, 2–5; hereafter cited as Makhijani 2007.
(41.) American Meteorological Society, “Climate Change Research,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 84 (2003); accessed May 1, 2006, at http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/climatechangeresearch_2003.html. See Oreskes 2007.
(42.) Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. i–vff.; available at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/ stern_review_economics_climate_change/sternreview_index.cfm and hereafter cited as Stern 2007.
(43.) For the 96 percent claim, see Peter Singer, One World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002), ch. 2, hereafter cited as Singer, OW; Makhijani 2007, pp. 2ff.; previous 10 endnotes, and later citations to Oreskes, Weart, and The Economist. For ethicists’ responsibility argument, see, for instance, Singer, OW; Caney, et al., CE; Gardiner, PS; and Garvey, ECC.
(48.) IPCC 2007. Makhijani 2007, p. xv, 1.
(49.) “Americans See a Climate Problem,” Time.com, March 26, 2006; accessed May 1, 2006, at http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1176967,00.html. Naomi Oreskes, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” in Joseph F. Dimento and Pamela Doughman (eds.), Climate Change (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007), pp. 65, 94, of 65–99; hereafter cited as Oreskes 2007.
(50.) Oreskes 2007, pp. 65–66.
(51.) Spencer R. Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).
(52.) Oreskes 2007, p. 73. Naomi Oreskes, “Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” Science 306, no. 5702 (2004): 1686.
(53.) See David Michaels, Doubt Is Their Product (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); hereafter cited as Michaels, Doubt.
(54.) “The Clouds of Unknowing,” Economist 394, no. 8674 (March 26, 2010): 84 of pp. 83–86; hereafter cited as Economist, “Clouds.” Oreskes 2007, p. 92. “Spin, Science, and Climate Change,” Economist 394, no. 8674 (March 26, 2010): 13; hereafter cited as Economist, “Spin.”
(55.) For this argument, see Fred Singer, The Scientific Case Against the Global Climate Treaty (Science and Environmental Policy Project, 1997). For a critique of Singer's position, see http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=1, which reveals how ExxonMobil funds Singer's work.
(56.) Stern 2007. Daniel McDougall, “Stemming the Tide,” Ecologist 37, no. 10 (December–January 2008): 26–30. Economist, “Clouds,” p. 84. Arctic Council, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (Oslo, Norway: Arctic Council, 2004); hereafter cited as Arctic. Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe (New York: Bloomsbury, 2006). Tim Flannery, The Weather Makers (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006). Oreskes 2007, p. 71.
(57.) Steven Hayward and Kenneth Green, Politics Posing as Science (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, 2007); accessed March 29, 2010, at http://www.aei.org/print?pub=outlook&pubId=27185&authors=〈a href=scholar/28Steve… and hereafter cited as Hayward and Green, AEI. The American Enterprise Institute is funded, in large part, by the fossil-fuel industry; see later paragraphs in this chapter. See Michaels, Doubt, for a critique of this objection.
(58.) Hayward and Green, AEI.
(59.) Oreskes 2007, p. 74. Economist, “Clouds,” pp. 85–86.
(60.) See, for instance, James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia (London: Penguin, 2003).
(61.) J. C. Lashof, et al., Health and Life Sciences Division of the US Office of Technology Assessment, Assessment of Technologies for Determining Cancer Risks from the Environment (Washington, DC: Office of Technology Assessment, 1981), pp. 3, 6ff. P. J. Landrigan, “Commentary: Environmental Disease – A Preventable Epidemic,” The American Journal of Public Health 82, no. 7 (1992): 941–43. See also UNICEF, State of the World's Children, 2005 (New York: UNICEF, 2005); World Health Organization (WHO), Effects of Air Pollution on Children's Health (Bonn: WHO, 2005); and Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action.
(62.) Hayward and Green, AEI, are two of the many fossil-fuel-industry-funded writers who make these claims.
(63.) See Janet Raloff, “Climate-Gate,” Science News (December 12, 2009); accessed March 30, 2010, at http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/50707/title/Science_%2B_the_Public__Climate-gate_Beyond_the_embarrassment. For information on this scandal, and how people misuse it to attack climate change, see Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), (p.254) Hacked Emails Are Part of Disinformation Campaign (Washington, DC: UCS, 2009); accessed March 29, 2010 at http://www.ucsusa.org/news/ucs-fact-checker.html.
(64.) Economist, “Spin,” p. 13.
(65.) American Enterprise Institute, Climate Change (Washington, DC: AEI, 2008); accessed March 29, 2010, at http://www.aei.org/basicPages/20071211104715244 and hereafter cited as AEI. See also P. Michaels and Robert Balling, Jr., The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming (Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2000).
(66.) Economist, “Clouds,” p. 84.
(67.) For a CC-denier who makes the cold-winter argument against CC, see Michael Fumento, Cold, Bitter Winter Is “Proof” of Global Warming (Washington, DC: Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2010); accessed March 30, 2010, at http://www.globalwarming.org/2010/01/28/cold-bitter-winter-is-%E2%80%9Cproof%E2%80%9D-of-global-warming/
(68.) See Michaels, Doubt. See also Thomas McGarity and Wendy Wagner, Bending Science (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); hereafter cited as McGarity and Wagner.
(69.) Stephen Schneider, Global Warming: Are We Entering the Greenhouse Century? (Washington, DC: Sierra Club Books, 1989). For work on precaution, see Davis, CC; Davis, Smoke; Michaels, Doubt; McGarity and Wagner; and Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Risk and Rationality (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), hereafter cited as RR.
(70.) Michaels, Doubt. McGarity and Wagner
(71.) For a discussion of uncertainty and maximin, see Shrader-Frechette, RR, pp. 100–30. For a discussion of this ethical stance on CC, see also Singer, OW.
(72.) For instance, this argument is made by AEI; by Hayward and Green, AEI. See also M. Hopkin, “Climate Change 2007: Climate Skeptics Switch Focus to Economics,” Nature 445: 582–83.
(73.) Bjorn Lomborg, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming (New York: Knopf, 2007); hereafter cited as Lomborg.
(74.) Stern 2007.
(75.) Makhijani 2007, p. 6.
(76.) F. Valent, D. A. Little, R. Bertollini, L. E. Nemer, G. Barbonc, and G. Tamburlini, “Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Environmental Factors and Injury among Children and Adolescents in Europe,” Lancet 363 (2004): 2032–39. Arden Pope, “Cardiovascular Mortality and Long-Term Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution,” Circulation 109, no. 6 (January 2003): 71–77. See Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action, ch. 1.
(77.) EPA, National Water Quality Inventory (Washington, DC: EPA, 1998), p. ES-3; accessed July 13, 2005, at http://www.epa.gov/305b/98report/. CDC, Blood Mercury Levels in Young Children and Childbearing-Aged Women (Washington, DC: CDC, 2004), p. 7; available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5343a5.htm. OMB Watch, “One in Five Women Carries Too Much Mercury,” OMB Watch 7, no. 4 (February 22, 2006); accessed March 10, 2006, at http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/3296/1/429.
(78.) WHO, Effects of Air Pollution on Children's Health (Bonn: WHO, 2005), pp. 20–23. M. Weitzman, et al., “Recent Trends in the Prevalence and Severity of Childhood Asthma,” Journal of the American Medical Association 268, no. 19 (November 18, 1992): 2673–77. E. Friebele, Weitzman, et al., “The Attack of Asthma,” Environmental. Health Perspectives 104, no. 1 (January 1996): 22–25. K. Weiss, et al., “An Economic Evaluation of Asthma in the United States,” New England Journal of Medicine 326, no. 13 (March 26, 1992): 862–66.
(79.) Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action, ch. 1. European Public Health Alliance, Air, Water Pollution and Health Effects (Brussels: EPHA, 2006); available at http://www.epha.org/r/54. Centers for Disease Control, “Populations at Risk from Air Pollution,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 42, no. 16 (April 30, 1993). D. R. Wennette, and L. A. Nieves, “Breathing Polluted Air,” EPA Journal (March/April 1992): 16–17.
(80.) J. T. Houghton, G. J. Jenkins, and J. J. Ephraums (eds.), Scientific Assessment of Climate Change, IPCC (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990). J. P. Bruce, Hoesung Lee, and (p.255) E. F. Haites (eds.), Climate Change 1995 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996). R. T. Watson, M. C. Zinyowera, and Richard H. Moss (eds.), Climate Change 1995, IPCC (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996). J.J. MacCarthy, J. T. Houghton, Y. Ding, D. J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P. J. Van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C. A. Johnson (eds.), Climate Change 2001, IPCC (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Bert Metz, Ogunlade Davidson, Rob Stewart, and Jiahua Pan (eds.), Climate Change 2001, IPCC (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Robert T. Watson, Climate Change 2001, IPCC (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Spencer R. Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). Oreskes 2007, p. 81.
(81.) Carl Hempel, Aspects of Scientific Explanation (New York: Free Press, 1965). Arctic; Oreskes 2007, pp. 83–84; Economist, “Clouds,” pp. 83–84.
(82.) D. Stainforth, T. Aina, C. Christensen, M. Collins, N. Faull, D. J. Frame, J. A. Kettleborough, S. Knight, A. Martin, J. M. Murphy, C. Piani, D. Sexton, L. A. Smith, R. A. Spicert, A. J. Thorpe, and M. R. Allen, “Uncertainty in the Predictions of Climate Response to Rising Levels of Greenhouse Gases,” Nature 433 (2005): 403-406. Oreskes 2007, pp. 86–89.
(83.) K. R. Briffa and T. J. Osborn, “Blowing Hot and Cold,” Science 295 (2002):2227–28. E. O. Wilson, Consilience (New York: Knopf, 1998). Economist, “Clouds,” pp. 83–84.
(84.) Lipton 1991; Oreskes 2007, p. 91.
(85.) Economist, “Spin.”
(86.) Economist, “Clouds,” p. 83.
(87.) Leslie Kaufman, “Scientists and Weathercasters at Odds over Climate Change,” The New York Times CLIX, No. 54,995 (Tuesday, March 30, 2010): A1, A16.
(88.) Oreskes 2007, pp. 74–75. See Source Watch, Front Group (Madison, WI: Center for Media and Democracy, 2009); available at http://www.sourcewatch.org. Sharon Beder, Global Spin (Glasgow: Green Books, 2002); hereafter cited as Beder. James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore, Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming (Petersburg, VA: Greystone Publishers, 2009); hereafter cited as Hoggan and Littlemore.
(90.) Willie Soon, S. Baliunas, S. B. Idso, K. Y. Kondratyev, and E. S. Posmentier, “Modeling Climate Effects of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” Climate Research 22 (2001):187–88 esp. p. 250. Oreskes 2007, pp. 75–76. For a discussion of CC misrepresentations, typically by special interests, see Steve Schneider, Science as a Contact Sport (Margate, FL: National Geographic Books, 2009).
(91.) Hoggan and Littlemore. Beder. See next two endnotes.
(92.) Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997). Ross Gelbspan, Boiling Point (New York: Basic Books, 2004).
(93.) For analysis of the ExxonMobil ad, see Environmental Defense Fund, Too Slick, 2005; accessed March 14, 2005, at http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/exxonmobil?source=edac2. Oreskes 2007, p. 78. See Sheldon Krimsky, Science in the Private Interest (Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); hereafter cited as KIrimsky.
(94.) Tim Dickinson, “The Climate Killers,” Rolling Stone (January 21, 2010): 35–41; hereafter cited as Dickinson. See Beder, and also the various non-governmental organizations that police corporate-polluter misrepresentations, such as the website of Corporate Accountability International at http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org, the website of Corporate Ethics and Governance Watchdog at http://www.corp-ethics.com/, the website of Corporate Watch at http://www.corpwatch.org/, and the website of Multinational Monitor at http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/. See also Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Trust Us, We’re Experts (New York: Penguin, 2002).
(95.) Dickinson. See also Shrader-Frechette, Taking Action, pp. 39–112, and Krimsky. For groups that check the facts cited by politicians and other groups, see the next note.
(96.) Dickinson. For sources that enable readers to check the facts of lobbyists who are paid by special interests, see PR Watch, sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy at the (p.256) University of Wisconsin at http://www.prwatch.org, and also the website of Public Citizen at http://www.citizen.org, and the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists at http://www.ucsusa.org/news/ucs-fact-checker.html.
(97.) Dickinson. See Bill Goodell, “As the World Burns,” Rolling Stone (January 21, 2010): 31–34, 62; hereafter cited as Goodell. For sources that police media, see the journalistic society Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and its website at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=100. To check any media misrepresentation of CC, see also the website of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at http://www.ipcc.ch/; the website of the Physicians for Social Responsibility at http://www.psr.org/; the website of national academies of science throughout the world, especially their statement on climate change at http://www.nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005; and the website of the US National Academy of Sciences, esp. its work on climate, at http://dels.nas.edu/climatechange/. The US National Academy has many volumes confirming CC. See, e.g., National Research Council, Hidden Costs of Energy (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2009).
(98.) Dickinson. For accurate scientific representations of CC, see the last 5 references in the previous endnote, as well as the website of climate scientist Dr. James Hansen at US NASA at http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/authors/jhansen.html; the website of climate scientist Dr. Steve Schneider at Stanford University at http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/; the website of practicing climate scientists (Ph.D.s from NASA, Penn State, NCAR, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, etc.), from around the world; a website for ordinary citizens at http://www.realclimate.org/. For revelations of how scientists (who do not do CC research) are funded by special interests, see Greenpeace, How Exxon Funds Global Warming Denial (Washington, DC: Greenpeace Research Unit, 2010); accessed March 30, 2010, at http://www.exxonsecrets.org. For accurate scientific information, see the preceding note, as well as the CC book written by US NASA CC-scientist James Hansen, Storms of My Grandchildren (London: Bloomsbury, 2009), and the CC book written by academic CC-scientists Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe, Climate Change (New York: W.W. Norton, 2009).
(99.) Jonathan Gilligan, The Age of Fossil Fuels Part I: The Middle Ages through 1973 (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, 2005), pp. 3–4; hereafter cited as Gilligan, Age. Barbara Freese, Coal: A Human History (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2003), pp. 1–2; hereafter cited as Freese, Coal. Davis, Smoke, p. 34. David Urbinato, London's Historic ‘Pea-Soupers’ (Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency, 1994); accessed January 20, 2010, at http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/perspect/london.htm and hereafter cited as Urbinato, “Pea-Soupers.”
(100.) Philip K. Hopke, “Contemporary Threats and Air Pollution,” Atmospheric Environment 43, no. 1 (January 2009): 87–93. Gilligan, Age. Freese, Coal.
(101.) Kimberly K. Smith, Powering Our Future: An Energy Sourcebook for Sustainable Living (Lincoln, NE: Alternative Energy Institute, 2005), pp. 68–69; hereafter cited as Smith, Powering.
(102.) Urbinato, ”Pea-Soupers.”
(103.) Smith, Powering.
(104.) Gilligan, Age. Urbinato, ”Pea-Soupers.”