Krugman Fails Climate Science 101

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Ironically, while leftists like Krugman rave on and on because conservatives like Rick Perry have the courage to question the supposed “consensus,” they appear to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that the United States has been and will continue to do exactly what they want: make massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s assume for a moment that Krugman is right and that I and the thousands – and there are thousands – of other scientists that disagree with the alarmists are wrong. Let’s say that it is indeed vitally important for the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What else do you want us to do? The fact is – and I am shocked that as clever a fellow as Krugman couldn’t be bothered to do a little research to figure this out – the United States has made massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to do so because of all of the programs that are already in place.

A simple check of EPA data shows that greenhouse gas emissions in America have dropped fourteen percent over the course of the last decade. China and India have more than made up for that reduction with increased emissions of course, but to perpetuate the myth that the United States isn’t doing its part is ludicrous. Is some of our reduction due to the great recession? Sure. But the fact is that regulatory initiatives already in place guarantee that greenhouse gas emissions in the United States will continue to drop for decades to come. Before they trot out the tired old idea that Republicans are “anti-science,” it would be nice if mainstream journalists spent some time understanding and reporting on what’s in place. For example:

• Thirty-three states have Renewable Portfolio Standards in place. These programs massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by forcing states to use less and less fossil fuel each year.

• Northeastern states banded together to put a regional cap and trade program in place that has been up and running since 2009, and consortia of Midwest and western states are working on their own cap and trade programs.

• The USEPA is going to start regulating all large greenhouse gas emissions sources under the Clean Air Act, and its permit program starting on July 1, 2011.

• By passing new, incredibly draconian ambient air standards and new regulations affecting power plants, Obama’s EPA has ensured that no new large coal-fired power plants will be built in the United States again, and that a significant portion of the existing fleet will shut down in the next decade or two.

New CAFE standards will continue to drive down oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

In spite of this, in spite of the massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that we have seen over the course of a decade, and in spite of the incredible reductions in air pollution emissions we have accomplished over the last forty years, it’s never enough for the environmental crowd.  Of course it’s not. They have to keep moving the goal posts farther and farther back to keep themselves relevant. It’s the same old Sierra Clubs “the sky is falling” rhetoric. The fact is that Republicans like Perry are not anti-environment, they are rather sensible enough to recognize that the American people are sick and tired of signing off on every crackpot initiative that liberals expect us to accept just because they wrap a green bow around it.

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  • tarleton

    The modus operandus of Eco twits is hysteria and wild exageration …..first it was global cooling , then acid rain , then the ozone layer and now it's the seudo scientific cult of global warming , sorry ''climate change ''
    It's bogus ,….. here in England it was warm enough to grow grapes in the 14th century , but not now …I really wish it was getting warmer as the summers here are always miserable and cold , but who are you going to believe , the ''experts '' or your own lying eyes ?
    I'ts all politically inspired junk science promoted by Leftist ''climatetologists'' a k a EDUCATED IDIOTS

    • Jack

      Actually, the change is beyond debate. The cause of the change is debated to the extent that humans are contributing to it, and to what extent. The history that you cite is simply not supported by facts. For instance, although some media publications did report global cooling, this in no way was endorsed by the scientific community at large. In fact, the same climatologists that now cite human-caused GW made the same claims then too. Other things you cite, acid rain and ozone depletion, where very real and only show that humans can and do influence their environment. So perhaps if you get your facts right, in time your reasoning will change too. I am willing to accept that humans have greatly amplified the natural warming cycle that we are in. What I am less sure of is whether we can, or should, do anything about it. If you want to apply your "left is bad" "right is good" thinking skills to this question, you would at least have a more tenable position. Good luck bashing people who have spent decades of training and testing!

      • tarleton

        Thank you for your articulate and well written response , unfortunately you manage to tip toe around the main issues …..GLOBAL WARMING HYSTERIA

        ''Decades of training and testing ''? HA HA ….you folks cannot predict the path of a hurricane , nor the weather in three weeks time , nor the climate in 5 years , so how on earth are you going to predict the climate in 25-30 ?

        Why was it warmer in England in medieval times than now ?
        Most of the folk promoting GW are on the Left and anti capitalst

        • Tonydunc

          I cannot predict whether Tom brady will complete an individual pass on any attempt, but I can pretty much guarantee that he will ocmplete more than are missed.
          And while i do think there are alarmists who go way beyond what the science actually says, you manage to tip toe around the issues of ….GLOBAL SOCIALISM HYSTERIA.
          And yes it was warmer in England during the MWP. England is not the entire world, and it is not clear the the global temp was higher then. Even if it was it was so by a very small amount and we are just beginning the effects of global warming from CO2. If the temp increases by another 2°c in the next hundred years it will be hotter than anytime over the last 10 million years. But as a good capitalist I am sure you just say screw my great grandchildren.

  • The Infidel

    Or as to put it another way, they are "overeducated brain dead gits". they make out the only thing that imputs co2 is us, they make out that the only thing damaging to the environment is co2. What a crock of crap, we have a name for these types here in Australia, but its too rude to repeat in polite blogsphere.

    • Guest

      I don't think that climatologists only blame the US for releasing CO2 into the atmosphere or think that CO2 is the only thing that is damaging the environment. For example there have been studies showing that water vapor may have an even greater impact on the environment than CO2. I think they also understand that there are other environmental hazards that does not involve global warming.

  • guest

    If an epic loser like Algore says it's true , then that alone should set off your alarm bells
    That green dork and windbag should start his own windfarm

  • DWRice


    Once again I must point out that the above article contains an important factual inaccuracy. The claim that "10,257 Earth scientists responded" to the survey in question is factually wrong.

    While this number were canvassed, only 3,146 responded. Of these, 82% agreed that humans had contributed strongly to global warming. Of those who responded that were climate specialists, 77 out of 79 agreed that humans had contributed strongly to global warming.

    The surveyors were careful to ensure that the views of dissenting scientists were represented.

    I note you did not post my previous correction re the above. If this one fails to appear also, then I will assume that it is your editorial policy is to preclude views critical of your contributors.

    • Guest

      I hope the author is going to fix this. The article is very misleading in this aspect.

    • trickyblain

      Facts don't matter to this publication. At all.

  • Luke Scientiae

    “But where does that amazing number come from? It arises from a 2009 survey that two University of Illinois researchers conducted.”

    That is ONE of the studies. Another one, which agrees with the 98% figure, is here. No comment about that study. Why?

    Anderegg, et al: Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 2010:

    Secondly, you didn’t actually reference the 2009 study to which you refer:….

    • Steeloak

      No reason to mention a study with such obviously biased methodology. Let's cherry pick 1372 climate researchers, then rank them by output of papers & see how many are sceptics – hmmm only 2%, imagine that! Duh – you start with a group who are pre-selected to be climate change boosters then claim they represent the majority – nonsense.

    • Don E

      Krugman was citing the Academy of Science publication not the survey Solomon commented on.

  • Jaysonrex

    It is a real pity that once competent people, like Paul Krugman, start following the terrible example of moral and professional failures like Al Gore. Is it because their 'stars' are slowly dipping over the horizon or because their income is suffering due to the current crisis of confidence in economists and other similarly failed professions? Regardless of the true reason, Krugman's posture is profoundly embarrassing. 

    • gidmeister

      When was Krugman competent? His Keynesian economics is a disaster

  • JustTheFactsMaam

    Actually, if you open the EPA data link, it seems to show a net increase in CO2 over the past decade, even with dramatic falloffs in 2008 and 2009 because of the recession. There was a +405 MMT increase in CO2 over the last decade, and a +297 MMT increase in overall emissions. How does that equate to a 14% drop?

  • JustTheFactsMaam

    Oh I see. That table goes back more than a decade. So over the last 19 years it's an increase, and the massive falloff makes the last 10 years a decrease. I guess we get to see if it keeps going down as you suggest, or goes back up once the economy recovers. I look forward to finding out.

  • theleastthreat

    Does anyone know how cap and trade will slow AGW? Or by how much? Or how much this will cost an economy? Or what impact it will have on people? What media stories have covered any of this?
    If large corporations can afford to trade offsets, then what happens to the less financially capable companies? What happens to countries like Haiti? How do offsets reduce even one molecule of CO2? How does anyone do the accounting for offsets? Isn't this approach left wide open to fraud?

  • BS77

    Krugman…leftist robot

  • StephenD

    My wife years ago started a recycling program for the town we lived in. We continue to recycle today. We turn out lights not needed. We're careful not to use Styrofoam products. We really do care for the earth as we should as good stewards. But…if the Earth is as delicate as these “Green Jeans” folks make it out to be, what is the sense in even trying? It seems like if you fire up the charcoal grill you put the Earth in its death throws. ENOUGH!
    We should all contribute to the health of the Earth without loosing our minds. The Earth is a big old girl and will heal itself from the limited impact mankind has upon it. Time for us to get a grip.

    • trickyblain

      Like the great George Carlin said, "The Earth isn't going anywhere. WE are.

  • Stephen_Brady

    Of course, "it's" never enough for the AGW crowd. That's because their science is slave to the real master, their politics.

  • TK Heekin

    climate warfare is Marxism 101: "control the means of production." Nothing controls the means of production like energy.

  • tagalog

    Suppose it were true that human beings can alter the climate so as to make the earth cooler or warmer. Suppose further, that it's agreed by all that we have made the earth warmer by some known amount, say, 1 degree C, and that such an increase bodes ill for the earth, since such a heating-up right now means more heating up later. Let us further suppose that we all agree on that too. So now let's hypothesize that we take steps to cool the earth by, say, 2 degrees C so as to neutralize the present and future increase in human-caused warming.

    Suppose the change in temperature we make happen then, in its turn, takes the world to the tipping point where a new, hundred-thousand-year-long Ice Age is triggered due to our manipulating the climate. It won't do just to say "Oops!" as will sooner or later happen with the useless government "stimuli" to the economy; we can eventually recover from the economic hit. A thousand centuries of cold will take a sizeable toll on the earth.

    • Guest

      Suppose we don't pay attention to the possibility that human actions are causing an increase in the temperature and we allow the temperature to increase decade after decade. Slowly we realize that negative side effects such as increasing sea levels and an increasing number of animals going extinct. Soon the effects are uncontrollable and the temperatures of Earth rise faster and faster; unstoppable . It won't do to just say "Oops!" when the Earth becomes uninhabitable.

      • tagalog

        Yes, the problem is WE JUST DON'T KNOW, and the price for fooling around with the environment, as every conscientious environmentalist knows and understands, is a very high one to pay.

        What if human involvement is not enough to make a signficant difference in the climate, and we start f**king with the climate? If it is, we know the earth has been a great deal warmer than it is now during the existence of the human species, so if we leave nature alone, there's much less chance of the world ending with that "Oops!"

        For some insight on how humans can f**k up an environment on a micro- scale, particularly where politics rears its ugly head, read Alston Chase's "Playing God In Yellowstone."

      • intrcptr2

        Look at it this way, a great number of people (Paradoxically in the enlightened, developed world) believe that there are too many people already. I might suggest that the zero-growth crowd do in fact dislike humans. The image they present is that they believe that humans are the only evil on the planet, and that the fewer, the better.

        Here's the rub; if we evolved, it would not be possible for us to "outgrow" nature. In other words, we are incapable of destroying the planet, or rendering it uninhabitable. Ultimately, no matter how much damage we may inflict on Gaia can be replenished, through evolutionary means.
        If we envision Earth as a greenhouse, than we ought to look to the sun, as we do for real greehouses, as the source of the heat.

        I frankly think evolution is hogwash. Darwin flunked out of two different degree programs, and nothing we've dug out of the ground since has demonstrated the least little bit of his theory.

        • tagalog

          Your post raises a very compelling point, Assuming humans have the ability to change the environment so drastically that they kill off the human race, along with other species, such activity will NOT destroy the earth, or even do very much harm to it. New life will spring up to occupy the niches that have been emptied. Nature, like God, is not mocked.

          This concern of environmentalists have over the delicate and risky condition of humanity with regard to the climate is a bit incongruous; at other times, when the human cost of making environmental change is brought up, enviros seem to think whatever the cost, it's little enough and humans should be expect to be inconvenienced for the sake of Bambi and the spotted owl.

          You mentioned Darwin. I don't know what the latest is on evolution, but has anyone discovered any species that display any of the changes one would be expected to be looking for, in determining the progress species make as they evolve from one form to another? I say this as one who believes that the theory of evolution makes a lot of sense. It's still a theory, not a rule or principle.

          • intrcptr2

            I thoroughly recommend this book;

            although I will confess that I find their thesis flatly denied by their own observations. I need to re-read it myself, but the section on hybrids speaks volumes to perhaps the strangest flaw in evolutionary biology; Linnaean taxonomy, a good bit of the science is built on semantics (Or rather just how it is that species is defined). But the science, as they say, is settled; despite our not yet finding any true transitional species, or actually turning fruit flies into yellow perch, much less mosquitos.

            To answer your question, as near as I can tell, most scientists with a horse in the race consider evolution a fact about which we have a few theories which attempt to explain the process.
            I bumped into another philosophical problem talking with a friend the other day, I think. Most theories, like gravity or germ-based disease, are capable of generating observable predictions (We found the outer planets based solely on orbital irregularities of Saturn which were due to Neptune's gravity). Evolution simply generates more theories. Richard Dawkins' first book was terrible, I just could not finish it, because of all the "if we imagine" arguing.

  • Guest

    I think there are more reasons to reduce fossil fuel usage than just global warming. You say that 5 questions about global warming must be answered with a "yes" to justify the need to decrease our use of fossil fuels but I think we need to decrease our dependence n fossil fuels because fossil fuels are non-renewable resources, and eventually, they will run out. With a sudden shortage of fossil fuels, there will be many negative effects on the economy. Another reason to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is that we are too reliant on other nations to supply us with fossil fuels.

    • tagalog

      Yeah, but what YOU think, in the general run of things, is not very significant. Neither, just for the record, is what I think.

    • intrcptr2

      I should think with all the blathering about how limited our stocks of fossil fuesl are, claiming the end will be sudden is a bit dramatic, no?

      Besides, the whole idea of a free market economy is allowing individuals the liberty to conjure solutions to such problems. This is why so many are so opposed to government subsidizing alternative fuels; unless the product survives the marketplace, we are all paying for a product we do not want.
      When the oil runs out, man will figure out a solution. That search will generate an economy itself.

      The following page is particularly noteworthy;

      • tagalog

        If humanity runs out of oil suddenly, it won't be the end of the world, or of humanity. It will be an unpleasant eventuality (assuming we haven't come up with some substitute for it), but humanity won't die out. Honest. We just won't have oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products. Bad, not fatal.

        Two hundred years ago we didn't have oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products. Humans got along well enough.

  • BigT

    Krugman is as clueless about Econ as he is about science. He recently said that preparing for an alien invasion that does not happen would cure the recession. And like many he believes WW2 fixed the Depression, when in fact it was the severe deprivation caused by rationing, followed by a huge jump in production when the troops returned that solved the problem.

    Nobel Prizes ain’t worth spit.

    • tagalog

      Well, there IS the analysis that suggests World War II ended the Great Depression by putting all the unemployed in government service at very low rates of pay, and producing lots and lots of materiel that got blown up, shot down, and sunk.

      • intrcptr2

        Let's not forget shrinking the labor force…

      • BigT

        Putting people to work at low rates of pay certainly helped and it brought many women into the work force. But think about it – how can making things and blowing them up boost the economy? Is that sustainable? Where does the money come from to build those things? It's all nonsense.

        The economy improves when 'wealth' is created. Wealth is not money,it is product that is desired by others and purchased. If you blow it up you don't have any wealth.

        the irrational explanation supported by Krugman has been repeated so many times people have taken it as fact. But simple analysis shows it is pure crap.

        • tagalog

          In most markets, "wealth" is what is left over after the costs of production are paid, the product is sold, all social costs such as wages, salaries, and taxes are paid, and the producer has the remainder as his profit, to pay his bills, pays his bills, and there is something left over. That leftover bit is wealth. In World War II, government contracting to produce war materiel that was destroyed or became obsolete very quickly created lots of wealth. For everyone, I might add.

  • Mike Hill

    I would suggest you go to You will find a petition signed by over 19,000 scientists who are required to have a degree in physical science, either BS, MS, or PHD. The petition was submitted to the US Government to reject the 1997 Kyoto Treaty. The petition is entitled Global Warming Petition and signed by Dr. Frederick Seitz past President National Academy of Sciences USA. The signors came to the conclusion that man made global warming was false. I would submit that man made GW is not consensus. More and more scientists are discounting man made GW.

    • trickyblain

      1) The group now claims to have 30,000 signees. This amounts to 0.3 percent of science grads from 1970-present..

      2) The "qualifications" include undergrad degrees in medicine, general engineering, physics and math. How exactly are they relevant to this?

      3) OISM claims that of this 30,000, only 39 are claimed as climate specialists.

      4) The list is not in any way verifiable or published, we must rely on OISM's word that even a single signature exists. Or that they check signees' qualifications. Not verifiable = not scientific.

  • 080

    Freeman Dyson the reknowned physicist has stated his skepticism about global warming. He cited the fact that the issue has become politicized and that the whole argument is based on mathematical modeling which is frequently wrong. So who are you going to believe? Freeman Dyson or Paul Krugman.

  • Houyhnhnm

    Krugman's basic error is applying the methods of 'social' science to an empirical physical science. Meteorology and Climatology are physical sciences e.g.,dealing with substances, but empirical in the sense of the scope and complexity of the factors involved. Social sciences such as economics deal with the action of persons. Since thoughts and motivations are not substances so that the laws of physics don't apply, social scientists use statistics about human behavior to formulate their results.

    Thus Krugman's reasoning is akin to speculating on the stock market, but definitely not hard science.

  • ebonystone

    Supposing for the sake of argument that there is such a thing as AGW — Anthropogenic Global Warming — then why are all the counter-measures proposed at the conferences at Kyoto et al confined only to the West (and Japan)? Why is it only the West that has to make sacrifices and reductions, while China (the world's 2nd largest economy), India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico etc. get passes? Why is the U.S. supposed to shut down coal-fired electrical plants, while Brazil and Indonesia are allowed to continue clear-cutting and burning tropical forests by the thousands of square miles?
    The answer has a lot less to do with pollution and climate change than it does with a bunch of deadbeat 3rd World countries seeing a chance to extort more subsidies from the West.

    • IvoryBone

      It's about social justice. You wouldn't know about that. :)

      • ebonystone

        I know a lot more about it than the Chinese, Mexicans, and Indonesians do. Or for that matter just about anywhere in the "3rd world". Justice is pretty thin on the ground in: Burma, N. Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Yemen, the Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Congo (Kinshasa), Bahrain, Syria, Somalia, etc, etc.

  • Jim

    Actually the real crisis is too much oxygen going on out there. Don't you see all the forest fires going on out there . Yes um ,they are caused by too much oxygen. It's the fires caused by too much oxygen that makes all that carbon dioxide. Yes um that's right .

    What can you do. Let your car rust. That will take that bad old oxygen away.

    Do it now before it's too late.

  • tarleton

    Global warming hysteria has psycho sematic origins…it has alot to do with the death of traditional religion and the need to believe in something to give meaning and purpose to an increasingly secular and meaningless universe …it's the religious impulse in secular form .. a vision of the apocalypse ?

    • BigT

      Interesting point of view. there are many parallels between AGW and religions, including blind faith, a messianic leader (ManBearPig), apocalyptic visions, requirement of absolutre faith or one is labelled a heretic (denier), etc. They are both 'feel good' programs. At least most religions promote good behavior in most cases. But both are used to coerce people to behave in ways of benefit to the 'rulers'.

      • tarleton

        GW seems to appeal to young people whose belief in christianity has been undermined by science …it has it's holy prophets , holy book and movie , crusade against the heretics and now all that's needed is a ''holy symbol'' ?…..a green windturbine

    • ebonystone

      G. K. Chesterton (1874-1935) once said: "The danger when men lose their Christian faith is not that they will believe in nothing, but that they will believe in anything."
      He certainly got that right! Just look at all the claptrap that supposedly educated Westerners have fallen for since his time: fascism and Marxism; scientology, wiccanism, ashrams and perfect masters; Gaia, ancient astronauts, and Black Athena; the adoration of such perverts and criminals as Michael Jackson and Che Guevara; anthropogenic global warming; etc. In P.T. Barnum's day, there was a sucker born every minute; nowadays it's more like one every second.

  • pva

    You completely misrepresent the methods and findings of the survey.

    They started with the most complete list of scientists they could (the ~10K number). Of that, 34% responded, which is a good response rate as far as surveys go. THey DID NOT throw out responses they did not like. They just analyzed the responses by subgroups, as any pollers would do (you know like looking at what Republican voters say vs Democrat voters). Of the people who responded who are active in climate research, 97% of them thought humans were causing climate change.

    You accuse these surveyors of distorting of distorting the numbers for their own gain. BUt you just did the same thing.

    • tarleton

      The issue is not whether the climate is changing (it always is ) but how much impact mankind is having …it's the usual hysteria and exageration from the ecotwits

  • Alan D McIntire

    So the story should have read, "Only 31% of scientists considered a biased questionnnaire to be worthy of response. Of those climate scientists who actually bothered to respond to this leading questionnaire, only 77 out of 79 thought humans had contributed strongly to global warming"

    The questions were:

    1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

    2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

    If I were answering truthfully, I'd answer "yes" to bothof those obvlously loaded questions. It's pretty evident that the earth has warmed since the little ice age.
    Obviously building cities, and replacing forests with cropland has affected climate, regardless of any CO2 factor. Evidenty 70% of scientists saw the questionnaire as a biased load of crap forcing the implied replies, and threw the survey away.