Testimony of global warming skeptic irks some senators

OLYMPIA — A few weeks ago, Gov. Jay Inslee testified before lawmakers in strong support of a bill that he said will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state.

While that plan did pass both houses of the Legislature, there has been fallout from it. Some conservative lawmakers believe the governor got too much time and attention and that a contrary point of view on climate change was in order.

On Tuesday, in front of the Senate Energy & Environment Committee, a global warming “skeptic” was invited to present a perspective very different from that of the governor’s.

“There has been no global warming in 15 years,” said Don Easterbrook, a retired Western Washington University geology professor.

climateEasterbrook raised eyebrows with unorthodox views about climate change.

“The 1930s were warmer than they are right now,” Easterbrook said. “We had more heat records broken, we had higher temperatures. It was a hotter decade.”

Easterbrook argued that the planet’s temperature has fluctuated up and down over several hundred years and that for the last decade the Earth has actually been cooling.

“There’s no correlation between CO2 going up and global warming,” he said.

State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Island County, who helped sponsor the recent climate bill, was clearly frustrated by Easterbrook’s testimony.

“Ninety-five percent of the peer-reviewed data very clearly states climate change is real, it’s happening, it’s human caused,” Ranker said. “To have a bold discussion about the facts is ridiculous.”

State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, chairman of the committee who had invited Easterbrook to appear, said the testimony was needed.

“It’s important for the people of Washington state and for the committee to hear some of the other viewpoints that are out there with regards to climate change,” he said.

Ericksen said he believes that the state’s current goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 is misguided.

“If CO2 is the only thing you are talking about, that is not always synonymous with improving our environment,” he said. “There are lots of things we could be doing to help out citizens directly without having a massive negative impact upon job creation, manufacturing and the cost of power.”

Ranker, however, is fully supportive of the state’s current goals.  Indeed, he would go ever further.

“We should be in the lead in taking on this issue,” he said. “We should be out in front saying what needs to happen and being an example, frankly, for the county.”

He argued that Easterbrook’s appearance was counterproductive.

“We should not be in this skeptical ‘the world is flat’ mentality,” he said.  “It’s unacceptable for us as Washingtonians.”

While Easterbrook’s testimony certainly generated a lot of chatter in Olympia, it was probably too late to affect much legislation. Inslee’s climate change bill has already passed and will soon be signed into law.

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24 comments

  • Urm0m

    Lol typical. Get mad when some one provides a counter argument with facts. I’m sorry but is Rep. Ranker a professor? No? Exactly. Professor Easterbrook merely provided lawmakers with the very basics taught in a college level geology class.

    Personally, I do believe climate change is real but to say its entirely man-made is rather egotistical of ourselves. This planet has weathered many a storm and I doubt a few millennia of Homo sapiens is going to wreak catastropic harm.

  • StuartHawkinson

    As a graduate of Washington State University in Chemistry, University of Chicago in Chemical Physics and ten years as a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, I find this testimony to the Washington State legislature to be beyond the bounds of good scientific discourse and sensibility. How are the legislators to be informed by such statements that contradict the known science and well established physics of the natural world?

  • CTC

    So I have two identical green houses. One I supplement with CO2, the other has no CO2 supplement. Something really weird happens. The one with CO2 gets hotter when the sun is shining. Weird, huh?!

    And while generally speaking, we are on a cooling trend, moving happily to our next ice age at some time in the future, it would be nice if we did not grossly encourage the Earth to cool itself off too quickly as a result of our bad gas.

    Have a nice day!

    P.S. – pull my finger??

    • David Appell

      Your green house analogy is meaningless. Green houses trap heat via their roof — hot air cannot leave via convection. There is not enough CO2 in it to have much of a "greenhouse effect" in the climatological sense.

  • Denis Campbell

    The effects off man-made CO2 emissions are grossly exaggerated and are computer predictions based on very slim data, which is often cherry-picked (see Michael Mann). Almost all the 'experts have lucrative jobs which depend on spreading the myth of Global Warming. 'The peer review process means nothing when peers all think with one mind.

    • dalke

      It's called 'the herd mentality'. A lot of what is being blamed on humankind is actually nature doing her 'thing' in spite of us.

    • thanes

      You have got to be kidding me. Every single book published denying global warming has been funded by a conservative think tank, paying a non-scientist piles of blood money to lie. The scientists who hold a 97% consensus about the reality and danger of global warming have incomes just like every other research scientist. Nothing lucrative, anything like what scumbag oil companies pay themselves and liars. Plus, climate scientists have to deal with the harrassment of idiots like Ken Cuccinelli, Inhofe, and you.

  • jan

    “There has been no global warming in 15 years,” said Don Easterbrook, a retired Western Washington University geology professor.

    Shall we gamble our fate on his assertions? He merely provides cover for the fossil tools of Congress, the do-nothings. They are beneath contempt and complicit with the deaths of hundreds of thousands per year.

    But…their man is a geologist.

    He is not a climate scientist. Would you agree to a triple bypass performed by a eye doctor?

    He never was a climate scientist
    He is retired. Has he published his assertions in a major science journal? Bet, he hasn't.
    We don't know his source of income
    What he asserts is deceptive.
    See : How to Abuse Statistics: Claim Global Warming Stopped in 1998
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/arti

    Anyone using his testimony as justification for bringing more profit to the Kochs are criminally negligent.

  • Kris

    Spend a little time reading the postings from WUTT which are heavily researched by scientists of scientists. Dr. Westerbrook is a geologist who has mad extensive studies of the earth from the perspective of changing geographic trends, whether it was glacial movement, ocean currents, volcanic activity and a lot of scientific study having to do with the things that "actually did happen in the history of the earth.
    How anyone can deny that the information Mann published wasn't falsified by omitting an extremely relevant and necessary time period, you know that pesky bountiful mideval warm period, is beyond me. But I'm listening to all sides and making my judgement based on scientific research, plus my own common sense. Two commodities sorely lacking in politics these days.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/02/12/uv-shift-in

  • greenman3610

    Easterbrook is a typical geriatric right wing ideologue who gets trotted out when political hackswant to burnish their anti science cred with fossil fuel donors. Spend some time with scientists who have actually been out on the ice in the last 30 years, and been actively publishing in the area. There is no controversy among the active, working pros about man caused climate change.
    This is equivalent to bringing a creationist or AIDS conspiracy theorist before the legislature – malpractice.

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