Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Kevin Lundberg Makes Anti-Science Comment


They never stop do they? I’m talking about fringe right-wingers’ constant attacks on anything to do with global warming. One of the easiest and most used attacks is the scientific underpinnings behind policy initiatives. Rep. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud, H.D.49) said yesterday that the research underlying Gov. Bill Ritter’s Climate Action Plan is … flawed.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s predicated on junk science,” [he] said.

‘Lundberg said it has not been settled scientifically that man-made carbon-dioxide emissions contribute to global warming.’

Wrong. A key finding of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment was that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Another key conclusion was that most of the increase in world temperatures was due to the corresponding increase in human greenhouse gas concentrations. Thousands of scientists worldwide were involved in the research leading up to the latest IPCC report. The IPCC is made up of representatives sent by governments and organizations across the world.

But let’s entertain for one moment the fantasy that Lundberg is correct. What would that mean? That a global, intergovernmental conspiracy exists with the goal of fooling everyone else about what’s going on in our climate system. Is Rep. Lundberg a conspiracist? Or is he parroting talking points developed by the fossil fuel industry to forestall a change in our energy policy?

Maybe Rep. Lundberg has outstanding qualifications to be able to evaluate the integrity of the science underpinning Gov. Ritter’s plan. He holds a B.A. from Rockmont College (formerly the Denver Bible College) in history and social science. Wait, he has a Bachelor of Arts in history and social science? Not a B.S. or an M.S. or a Ph.D. in atmospheric science or climate science? What science classes has Rep. Lundberg completed? No, Rep. Lundberg is not qualified to objectively determine the validity of science involved in Gov. Ritter’s plan. He’s another fringe rightist looking for some attention and now he’s got some.

By the way, Lilias Jarding has said she’s running against Lundberg in this fall’s election. “When people do not have healthy food, a safe place to live, quality education and an adequate income, they cannot enjoy the blessings of liberty and their rights as Americans,” she said to a group last month. Sounds like a much better representative for H.D.49.

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7 thoughts on “Kevin Lundberg Makes Anti-Science Comment

  1. Don’t take Rep. Lundberg’s word for it, nor mine. More than 19,000 scientists have signed the following online petition:

    “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

    “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

    A lot of “fringe rightists” being subsidized by “Big Oil”?

  2. The ‘project’ is being pushed by the Discovery Institute, which advocates teaching creationism in public schools. The Institute is funded by fundamentalist conservatives.

    So yes, it’s a group of fringe rightists. The junk science they peddle is largely subsidized by major oil corporations.

  3. So, dismissing something because of the point of view of its funders is a credible argument on one side but not the other? These 19,000 scientists are what: stupid? brainwashed? ideologues? conspirators? Please enlighten everyone.

    So this disclaimer is false?: “Note: The Petition Project has no funding from energy industries or other parties with special financial interests in the ‘global warming’ debate. Funding for the project comes entirely from private non-tax deductible donations by interested individuals.” And you have proof of that, rather than a casual slur about unidentified “fundamentalist conservatives.”

    Even so, if my sole argument against catastrophic, man-made greenhouse global warming was that you can’t believe in it because all the funding comes from Left-wing enviro-socialists, you wouldn’t discredit that?

    Relying on arguments ad hominem doesn’t help your case. It may just be disturbing to you that people find out there is nowhere near the scientific consensus you claim on this issue, which would make it harder to vilify certain figures as “anti-science.”

  4. Dismissing something because of the point of view of its funders is credible, especially if the funders request papers be written to support their policy position. The funding of physical sciences by the government is always accompanied by disclaimers. The difference however is important: citizens can track the funding of research done by sponsored scientists. Can you share a verifiable history of persons and entities that have funded the Project? Details about backers are withheld. For what purpose? The lack of transparency is problematic. Are they ideologues? Only they know. In their attempt to influence public perception of policy, that’s dangerous.

    The Petition Project may or may not directly, as that entity, receive funding directly from energy industries. If the DI receives funding from philanthropic grants and corporate and individual contributions, and then makes monies available to the project, then their disclaimer reads true, doesn’t it? But again, we have no way of verifying this claim one way or the other.

    Thus, we could easily discredit the claim that left-wing enviro-socialists fund climate research because there is a process in place to do check that claim. The lack of such a process by climate change denyers is telling.

    Furthermore, is there an independent method of verification of these signatures? Is there a method provided by the project to contact the signatories and speak with them directly? Once again, this process is available to the public with regard to publicly-funded research projects.

    What disturbs me is organizations like DI and countless others are taking money from, at a minimum, unknown sources, and are working hard to generate controversy where none exists. If you want to know the state of the science, examine the peer-reviewed journals. Unfortunately, the state of the policy is far from the recognized (even by our Republican-led government!) scientific position. The fact that such a small percentage of the population can have such a large effect on the public discourse on this subject is what disturbs me.

    When people like Rep. Lundberg make comments such as, “it has not been settled scientifically that man-made carbon-dioxide emissions contribute to global warming,” he is perpetuating anti-scientific commentary. He’s expressing an opinion, not a fact. Rep. Lundberg is doing a disservice to his district and by extension of his public stature, the state and country, with his comments.

  5. Pingback: ScienceDebate 2008 Update « Weatherdem’s Weblog

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