Yes, I know that it is a little early to think about my Christmas Wish List, but I certainly could use a Time Machine of the sort envisioned by H.G. Wells in his science fiction novel and in the 1960 movie adaptation starring Rod Taylor. I’m a big fan of good science fiction that takes us on fantastic journeys into the unknown without menacing us with hobgoblins like Global Warming. Hence, I like writers from H. G. Wells to Michael Crichton but not Al Gore and similar pretenders with purely political motives.
With the deadline for finishing this Op-Ed approaching faster than the Oregon Senate’s final decision on the far reaching HB2020 (Carbon Tax), I face a dilemma. Should I go with “Republican Herman Baertschiger defeats Democrat Peter Courtney” and risk a “Dewey defeats Truman” fiasco? As a scientist, I prefer sure bets to substantial speculation. Hence, a time machine that could carry me just a few days into the future would be very helpful.
And by the time you read this, you will know whether or not we will face the draconian consequences of HB2020 or greatly thankful that the Republicans stood up for our interests by leaving the state and denying Democrats the necessary quorum in the Oregon Senate to pass any legislation. Or perhaps three Senate Democrats saw the “Frankenstein’s Monster” in HB2020 and voted it down. That is how one political activist on the Far Left correctly characterized the Carbon Tax.
HB2020 claims to fix our climate. Yet it is a bill that will have far reaching consequences without fixing anything about our climate. Welcome to the world of make-believe where some Democrats continuously menace us with all sorts of ‘existential threats’ that turn out to be completely imaginary. Before the unsuspecting electorate figures out that they have been swindled, Democrats have imposed ever more burdens on Oregonians.
In this case they want to raise the gas/diesel tax from thirty cents per gallon to as much as $5.64/gallon and eventually the price of natural gas, propane, and electricity by huge amounts. We will one day wake up to the ‘energy poverty’ that Europeans already experience. And the prices of just about everything else that we consume will also skyrocket, because it takes substantial energy to grow our food and manufacture everything we use, as well as additional energy to transport it to market. Democrats want the Carbon Tax in addition to the Gross Receipts (Sales) Tax that they already passed.
The whole idea with a Carbon Tax is to raise the cost of fossil fuel to heights that ordinary people cannot afford, forcing them to give up their cars for public transportation. But that begins a series of new problems, because public transportation is unavailable or highly impractical for many, especially in rural areas. And the cost of public transportation will also go up, as TriMet and others face rising fuel costs.
Some may try to avoid expensive fossil fuels, by purchasing an electric car or riding electric trains. But our power plants run largely on coal, that Democrats will have made exorbitantly expensive too. That you may think will change over time as we switch to wind power. But the wind blows very erratically, forcing companies like Portland General Electric to build rapid start but inefficient natural-gas fired thermal power plants to back up the wind. Since these will have to be used about 60% of the time to keep our lights on, they will actually require more natural gas than would natural gas turbine plants that are twice as efficient and designed to run all the time. Hence, attempts to use less natural gas, end up using more. Hydroelectric power is already fully utilized to backup the existing power grid.
And if we further crunch the numbers, we see that wind power has no hope of ever replacing fossil fuels. In the decades since we have been constructing wind and solar power sources with generous subsidies, we have only reached about one percent of total worldwide energy demand, and demand is growing at 2% per year. If we tried to keep up with demand, we would have to completely cover an area the size of the British Isles with windmills, every year. That would be an economic and environmental disaster.
What about nuclear power as the ultimate solution for a carbon free economy? That is what the Great Global Warming Guru James Hansen advocates but few echo. Many are still afraid of nuclear power, even though it is both clean and relatively safe. The Pacific Northwest continues to enjoy the benefits of one nuclear power plant at Hanford, Washington. It produces 1,200 megawatts of rock-solid power.
The good news is that none of the politically correct nonsense, from carbon taxes to a carbon-free economy to the Green New Deal is necessary, because carbon dioxide is vastly beneficial NOT diabolical. We have observed a greening of the Earth due to rising atmospheric CO2. And any slight theoretical warming has been lost in the large natural variations in global temperature. Mother Nature is clearly still in control.
She is also largely in control of atmospheric CO2 levels, where the human contribution to the total carbon cycle is less than 5%. That means you can only take a bow for 5% of the greening of the Earth. Sorry!
2019 was to be the Year of New Taxes, until Oregon Republicans (who are in the minority) left town, and Governor Brown sent the State Police after them. State Senator Brian Boquist, a retired US Army Special Forces (Green Beret) lieutenant colonel warned State troopers to send bachelors and come heavily-armed if they hoped to bring him back as a political prisoner. Now Republicans have promised to return for the final two days of this session to work on passing the many bills that are less controversial.
So HB2020 should have a happy ending on the trash heap of history. But it could come back in another form in the future, unless Republicans and sensible Democrats learn enough of the underlying science to realize that “We don’t have that kind of evidence [of an apocalypse]” to quote the former President of the US National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone. Politicized science is Junk Science.
If I am able to ride my new Time Machine further into the future, I will check to see if the great scientists of our time fulfill their wish to live long enough to see the demise of this egregious politicized science.
In a letter to Professor Dan Nebert, congratulating him on the Op-Ed he wrote recently for the Northwest Connection, Princeton Professor of Physics Will Happer said:
We are witnessing the results of a patient and successful “long march through the institutions.” Academia, the media, charitable foundations, government agencies and many other organizations have been taken over by apparatchiks of the climate cult, many disguised as scientists.
The brainwashing of our children is one of the uglier aspects of this latest totalitarian movement. The testimony of impressionable children was used to condemn and hang witches in Salem. The Hitlerjugend, the Soviet Pioneers and Oktyabrjata, and now Greta Thunberg and the Oregon plaintiffs have carried on this loathsome tradition.
I am sure that the eco-fascists will also be defeated in the end. I hope I live long enough to see the day. Too bad your son is not with us to carry on the fight for scientific integrity.
Professor Will Happer is President Trump’s science advisor on the National Security Council.
Continuing into the future on my Time Machine, I will want to see which scientists had the greatest insight into our climate. It will surely be those who stayed true to objective science.
Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research and has no conflicts of interest on this subject.