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State of California June 8, 2010 Election
Smart Voter


By Tom Campbell

Candidate for United States Senator; Republican Party

This information is provided by the candidate
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fourth Assessment Report (Climate Change 2007) has recently been the subject of considerable criticism. For example.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fourth Assessment Report (Climate Change 2007) has recently been the subject of considerable criticism. For example:

"Faced with criticism of a widely quoted piece of analysis from its 2007 climate assessment that warned that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035, the [IPCC] was forced to admit to relying on dubious scientific sources, apologized and retracted its earlier estimate."[1] "[H]acked emails include discussions of apparent efforts to make sure that reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that monitors climate science, include their own views and exclude others. In addition, emails show that climate scientists declined to make their data available to scientists whose views they disagreed with."[2] "Take sophisticated and sometimes inconclusive science, and boil it down to usable advice for lawmakers. To meet that goal, scientists working with the IPCC say they sometimes faced institutional bias toward oversimplification, a Wall Street Journal examination shows."[3]

The IPCC itself recognizes that Climate Change 2007 is flawed and is seeking an independent assessment of how the errors occurred and how it can prevent future mistakes.[4] These and other criticisms show that there is still a lot to be learned about the subject of climate change, especially as it relates to its rate and possible solutions. Predicting climate change over the next 10, 50, or 100 years would indeed be a tall task even if all the mechanisms were well understood.

Most scientists who study climate change, even those critical of the IPCC, believe that global climate is changing. It is generally acknowledged that after a period of warming early in the 20th Century followed by cooling from 1940 to the mid 1970s, the globe warmed to its highest levels in the last century by 1998; changes since then have been subject to debate.[5] Most of these scientists also believe that human activities, especially the production of greenhouse gases, including CO2, contribute to climate change. There is, however, a wide range of views regarding the extent to which human conduct is a major contributing factor and the pace at which the climate will change given the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.[6]

The issue of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions can also be approached from another perspective - the need, for national security reasons, to withdraw the United States from dependency on imported oil and the need to base our country's energy supply on renewable sources. From that perspective, it is propitious that policies that are consistent with reducing the use of fuels that produce CO2 could also lead to reducing oil dependence and improving energy usage efficiency.

Energy consumption can be divided into two major sectors + electricity generation to power our homes, offices, factories and, in the future, our automobiles and transportation energy for our cars, trucks, airplanes and most ships. Oil dominates the transportation energy sector; over the last decade, oil imports have peaked (in 2005) as biofuels now account for over 8% of gasoline consumption and some part of diesel usage. As a U.S. Senator, I will support programs that continue investment in the science of increasing our biofuel output and increasing the transition of our transportation fleet to biofuel and, ultimately, electricity powered vehicles where energy efficiency is optimized. (Just touch an automobile engine and then an electric motor to realize how much wasted heat energy is consumed in internal combustion engines!) In electricity generation, there are many options to improve our generation infrastructure. Nuclear energy is an obvious, safe alternative, which the United States needs to develop much more fully; previously, we led the world in nuclear generation; now, while our contingent of 104 reactors in use remains static, there are 331 reactors supplying power in 29 other countries around the world. New generations of reactors are being phased in elsewhere; we must avail ourselves of this safe and low cost energy technology. As a U.S. Senator, I will fight to eliminate unnecessary litigation and regulations that block development of nuclear energy facilities and drive up their cost. American power companies have submitted applications to build some 26 new reactors in the United States; I will support policies to see these projects to completion. There is more good news on the electricity generation front. Wind systems are now close to providing electricity at near grid parity in pricing. Solar systems for both concentrated applications in desert regions and roof top usage in urban areas are also becoming more competitive as entrepreneurs and investors develop ever more cost effective solutions. Projections that wind, solar, geothermal and even wave/tidal solutions will vie with power generation from coal are encouraging. I believe we should better support R&D efforts to support these "transformational" technologies not only to reduce greenhouse gas generation but also to provide a more competitive environment in the electricity generation market.

Whether for climate change or national security reasons, good public policy suggests that we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we generate while containing the cost of electricity to consumers + particularly those in the high usage agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Much of the focus in this regard has been on reducing the production of CO2. One proposal to reduce CO2 generation is imposition of a "cap and trade" system such as the one advocated by Sen. Barbara Boxer. I have NEVER supported cap and trade, and the reasons are clear. Cap and trade would create the greatest degree of intrusion by government into the management of US farms and factories that we have ever seen if a comprehensive program were instituted. The government would have to monitor every source of CO2 in the US in perpetuity. Only in that manner, can the government be sure that no producer is exceeding its quota, including those that have sold their "excess" rights to others. In light of these complexities, some have called for a "cap and trade" system for only select industries. Also, the Copenhagen meetings demonstrated the desire of those advancing "cap and trade" to implement ways in which the Third World would collect money from the developed world by promising not to cut down the rain forest. There is absolutely no way to ascertain, however, first that the rain forest in question would, in fact, otherwise have been cut down, and second, that the same acreage will not be sold for carbon credits multiple times. The size of international inspections and monitoring required for this task is simply monumental.

There is another way. Government should become an early adopter of the new renewable generation technologies now being brought to market. Governmental purchasing power would stimulate demand in these fledgling American industries and help reduce their cost as manufacturing volume increases. As the science develops, if governmental intrusion into energy usage becomes necessary, a far better approach to containing greenhouse gas emissions would be to lower business taxes, and then tax the generation of CO2, i.e., impose a tax based on the carbon content of the fuel the business used. This carbon tax would be offset by a reduction in other business taxes so that the result would be revenue neutral. Repeating, it must be revenue neutral since industry and the American people should not be taxed any more, especially in these difficult economic times; however, this market driven approach will lower the cost of doing business for those firms that substitute away from heavily carbon based fuels.

[1] Time, Himalayan Melting: How a Climate Panel Got It Wrong, January 21, 2010 [2] Wall Street Journal, Climate Emails Stoke Debate, November 23, 2009 [3] Wall Street Journal, Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel, February 25, 2010 [4] Wall Street Journal, Climate Group Plans Review, March 1, 2010 [5] Dr. John H. Marburger III, Science Advisor to President George W. Bush; Dr. Roger A. Pielke, Sr., Senior Research Scientist at CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science) and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; Dr. John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. [6] Dr. John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

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