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Parsing the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Aug 21, 2018 at 6:58 AM
Climate Change

The Wall Street Journal recently published an opinion piece by Fred Krupp, the President of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The piece was not accompanied by a disclaimer that the piece was the opinion of Mr. Krupp and did not necessarily represent the opinions of the EDF, so it is reasonable to assume that the piece is an EDF position.

The Krupp / EDF piece is both self-serving and misleading. It was written to advance the cause of imposition of a carbon tax in the US. It asserts that: “Climate change is a byproduct of the prosperity created by the market economy, …”. However, climate change predates the existence of any market economy anywhere on the globe. The earth’s climate has been changing, both warming and cooling, for the entirety of the history we have been able to study. It would have been accurate to assert that any anthropogenic component of climate change was, in part, a byproduct of the prosperity facilitated by the market economy.

The Krupp / EDF piece asserts that: “Public policy that puts a price on carbon emissions would speed adoption of clean energy by exposing the market to the costs this pollution puts on society.” The selection of the expression “carbon emissions” is intended to conjure an image of “dirty black stuff” polluting the atmosphere, rather than an image of an invisible gas which is known to absorb and reradiate infrared energy in the atmosphere. The piece suggests that sources of energy which emit carbon dioxide are not “clean-energy” because they emit carbon dioxide. The piece makes no reference to the positive impacts of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations on global greening.

The Krupp / EDF piece asserts that: “Working with accurate scientific facts and the right incentives, the market will find winning solutions. So let’s follow the data and get this done.” However, the piece does not identify what it considers to be “accurate scientific facts”. Regrettably, the term “fact” is often used loosely in climate discussions. It is not likely that Krupp has ever seen the data he encourages us to follow. Rather, he has likely only seen “adjusted” data, which are merely estimates of what the data might have been had they been collected timely from properly selected, calibrated, sited, installed and maintained instruments. It is also unclear which version of the “accurate scientific facts” Krupp might have seen.

The Krupp / EDF piece asserts that: “Leading scientists’ predictions of temperature rise have been largely accurate.” While the predictions that temperatures would rise might have been accurate, the predicted magnitude of the rise was clearly not. Hansen’s “predictions” were high by a factor of approximately two. The “predictions” of the CMIP5 models have also been high by a factor of approximately two.

Prominent members of the consensed climate science community have recently acknowledged that the models are “running hot” and advocated for the establishment of a global temperature measurement network modeled after the USCRN (US Climate Reference Network), though Krupp fails to mention these facts.

Interestingly, while members of the consensed climate science community are referred to as “leading scientists”, scientists who question the consensus are merely referred to as “skeptics”.