Believe It or Not

By Montecito Journal   |   November 30, 2017

Climate change is happening whether one “believes” in it or not, and 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activity is the cause. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have dug up past living things and burned them, something that has thrown off the balance under which life as we know it has evolved. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is necessary for life and held steady at 350 parts per million (or thereabouts) for millions of years. During the past 200 years of human activity, CO2 levels have increased to over 400 parts per million. This excess CO2 traps heat and creates the warming conditions we are now seeing. Our oceans have served as a heat “sink” and have also warmed, creating the warm water and warm air double-whammy that intensifies storm systems.

Just last week, 15,000 scientists from the world over signed a letter saying that we must act quickly to reduce emissions before the world as we know it changes forever. Two years ago, nearly every country in the world signed a pact to reduce emissions in order to avoid catastrophic warming before the end of this century.

Switching to renewable energy is the solution, and this is not a threat to our economy. California has decoupled from fossil fuels in the past decade and has seen economic growth continue. China is investing billions in solar and wind energy and has pledged a speedy transition to electric vehicles while continuing to be the world’s second-most prosperous nation.

Many other countries are moving forward with the transition to renewable energy and an electrified transportation system while seeing economic growth. Clinging to the fossil fuel economy is setting the U.S. back and positioning us as buyers rather than sellers of future renewable energy advancements. 

Denying human-caused climate change is the same as denying gravity or photosynthesis. Clean, renewable energy is the pathway to both economic prosperity and a healthier planet for all living things.

Kathi King

P.S. Before taking Mr. Ray Winn up on his offer for a free copy of the non-peer-reviewed climate-denying Heaven and Earth, I suggest reading the reviews.

(Editor’s note: Mr. Winn is out of town but will surely respond when he returns. – J.B.)

Let’s Have Color

Quite some years ago, when Coast Village Road was created, the right things were done, like the various medians, et cetera, and each has excellent beautiful trees and bushes.

Coast Village Road, in the old days, was a “fill-up” turn-off for gasoline/oil. There were 13 to 14 stations along the one-mile stretch. Between San Francisco and Los Angeles, they were easy to reach.

Later, the designers and makers of the medians did create a water sprinkling system therein… underground.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to plant the drought-resistant, beautiful, bright high-color bougainvillea between the now mature trees?

G. Hebert

(Editor’s note: Now there is an excellent idea, Mrs. Hebert. Bougainvillea’s water needs are slight and the flowers bloom for a good part of the year, so they would make perfect mid-median flora. – J.B.)

Hockey Stick Rebuttal

Dr. Harold Lewis was a UCSB emeritus professor of physics, former chairman; former member of the Defense Science Board, chairman of a technology panel; chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; former member of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; former member of the President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; chairman of the APS (American Physical Society) study on Nuclear Reactor Safety, chairman of the Risk Assessment Review Group; co-founder and former chairman of JASON; former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; served in the U.S. Navy in World War II; wrote Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin? (about decision making). He was also my next-door neighbor and head of the UCSB physics department, as well as a NASA consultant.

I thought you and Mr. Ray Winn might enjoy the following letter that the late Dr. Lewis sent to Curtis G. Gallan, Jr., Princeton University, president of the American Physical Society (APS), dated 6 October, 2010:

“Dear Curt,

“When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago, it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence – it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social-scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside, there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides.

“What greater tribute could there be?

“How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear, my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

“It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it that has corrupted so many scientists and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Andrew Montford’s book, The Hockey Stick Illusion, organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

“So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1) About a year ago, a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then president immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate.

“2) The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So, a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word ‘incontrovertible,’ which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response, APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word ‘incontrovertible’ to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.)

“In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer ‘explanatory’ screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

“3) In the interim, the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

“4) So, a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind – simply to bring the subject into the open.

“5) To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex, you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was, of course, no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

“6) As of now, you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

“APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

“I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club.

“Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global-warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

“I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends. – Hal”

Paul O’Keeffe
Santa Barbara

JFK’s 1961 Texas Visit 

Most Americans are not aware that JFK had visited Dallas before the tragic event of 1963. I am a witness of his first visit there, and I will explain. I was in my second year of residency in internal medicine at Baylor University Hospital, and my attending physician was Dr. H. Kimmerling. One of my duties was to participate in the care of his private patients who were assigned to the teaching program.

One such patient was the Honorable Sam Rayburn, who had returned to his native Texas for cancer treatment. A portion of the hospital top floor became a special suite, as vice president LBJ was a frequent visitor also.

In the afternoon of October 1961, I was in the hospital elevator when three men with raincoats pushed me toward the back, while a smiling sun-tanned gentleman advanced toward me. “Jack Kennedy,” he said, shaking my hand and reading my name tag; he asked, “Pierre? French?” “No, Belgian,” I replied simply.

By then, the elevator had reached the seventh floor and the presidential party exited. Thirty minutes later, JFK had left the hospital for the airport.

Later that evening on my routine rounds, I reviewed Mr. Rayburn’s hospital chart. In the section reserved for the nurses’ notes, I read three entries on separate lines: Pt had a BM; President Kennedy in; Pt had a BM.

The local press was silent about this short presidential visit and the only written memento was on a hospital chart, sandwiched between two bodily function notes. Later that month, the patient lapsed into a coma and was transferred to a private clinic in his hometown of Bonham, where he expired a month later.

Pierre Nizet
Santa Barbara

Weed Tax “Illegal”

We’re only a few days away from 2018, and the State of California has shown no evidence that it has a special relationship with the federal government where it can launder cannabis tax monies into the nation’s banking grid. California treasurer John Chiang has said something about armored trucks to transport all the cash from pot outlet to “special banks,” but no DEA letter saying it’s all legal. Just based on that account should be enough for in-state pot distributors to tell Chiang to take a hike and not collect the weed tax. 

Under federal law, you cannot monitor an illegal substance. Why enable John Chiang to do so?

Matt McLaughlin
Santa Barbara


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