On Wednesday, WOOD TV 8 meteorologist Craig James spoke at the Kent Garden Club’s April meeting at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids on his views on global warming. While the public appearances of local media celebrities–in this case the chief meteorologist at WOOD TV 8, the most highly watched channel in West Michigan–aren’t typically that interesting to Mediamouse.org, we eagerly attended James’ talk.
Readers may remember that in the past we have written about Craig James and his views on global warming. James is a “skeptic” on global warming. He doesn’t deny that warming is happening–as many skeptics do–rather he admits that the earth is warming. In his blog, which is hosted at Woodtv.com, it is not uncommon to see him posting entries pointing to “errors” in the science, raising questions about the accuracy of temperature measurements, and questioning the effectiveness of computer models. With that background, it is pretty clear what James’ speech would be–a sort of “global warming skepticism 101.” Indeed, that’s what it was. James titled his presentation “Global Warming: A Brief Overview.” However, from the start he made it clear that he was there to show that a view that people “haven’t seen” due to the “bias” of the media on global warming. He presented an entirely one-sided presentation designed to convince people that global warming is far less of a problem than what it actually is.
As James moved through his presentation, he presented a number of arguments commonly made by global warming skeptics. Debunking each of his arguments would take more space than can be allotted to this article, so for the sake of brevity, we have linked each claim to resources debunking them. He argued that water vapor is more important than CO2 and that proponents of global warming ignore it. He questioned the accuracy of temperature measurements and said that urbanization has had a significant relationship to rising temperatures –but not in the context of increased CO2 emissions. He claimed that CO2 does not cause temperatures to rise. He also said that computer models are not accurate. Overall, in his “conclusions” slide, James said that there has been no detectable change in the number or intensity of hurricanes, that models are way over forecasting the effect of doubling of CO2 due to poor handling of water vapor, models do not include El Nino, La Nina, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and Atlantic Decadal Oscillation, and finally, temperature changes are very hard to measure.
While many of his graphs and charts were not footnoted, he did cite two scientists–Roy Spencer and Roger Pielke, Jr.–who are prominent skeptics that have promoted inaction or delayed action on global warming.
On the question of whether temperature change would matter–which he admitted has happened from 1990 to 2000–he argued that a degree and a half is not much of a change. Moreover, for the hosts of the event–gardeners living here in West Michigan–James said that warmer temperatures are better for plant biodiversity. He said that while some may go extinct, others will not. Several other entities–such as the National Wildlife Federation–have said that global warming will have a negative impact on Michigan’s ecosystems.
At numerous times during his presentation, he said that he did not want to get into politics. For example, in response to a question about meteorological organizations taking positions on global warming, James said that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) has taken a position that global warming is human-induced and is happening because of CO2. While he disagreed with how the statement was made, he admitted that “CO2 has some role, but is it worth bankrupting… I won’t get into politics.” At another point in his presentation, he said that there should not be any “taxes” relating to global warming mitigation efforts since they would be based on models. While James said he supports conservation and alternative energy for reasons such as national security, he criticized efforts aimed at reducing CO2 emission by half saying that they couldn’t be done without going back to living in caves and horse and buggies.