MITCHELL: Joe Biden and the ‘settled science’ of man-made global warming

Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden listens to Miguel Cardona speak after introducing him as his nominee for Secretary of Education, at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

As part of Joe Biden’s far-reaching planned policy initiatives, the presumed president-elect has pledged to spend $2 trillion during his first term on a plan to combat man-made global warming. Separately, Biden’s designated Treasury secretary nominee, Janet Yellin, has proposed a substantial tax on carbon dioxide emissions. If implemented, these measures will have pervasive negative consequences for the U.S. economy and U.S. consumers for years to come.

The Brookings Institute has projected substantial increases in gasoline and electricity prices if Biden’s proposed policies are implemented. Higher energy costs would raise the costs of goods and services for households and production costs for industry. The resulting lower corporate profits, lower wages and lower consumption will mean higher unemployment and lower living standards.

Given the scope and magnitude of Biden’s proposed climate plan, the effect on the U.S. economy and the everyday lives of all Americans is potentially cataclysmic. Biden insists that such radical initiatives are required to confront a threat to our very existence posed by man-made global warming. But what is the proof of this claimed predicate?

This question takes me back to a 2017 dinner party hosted by friends at their home in the North Carolina mountains.

During the course of the conversation over dinner, I asked a friend who was a professor at a nearby university what the main challenges were in teaching the students of today. He stated, “Some just do not want to accept the truth about certain issues.” To which I replied, “What issues?” He responded in turn, “Well, like global warming for instance. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists believe that man has caused global warming.”

As I remained silent, all heads turned to hear what I might have to say. My friends expected that with my science and engineering background, I would have an intelligent opinion on this issue. The professor persisted: “Surely, Guy, you agree with 97% of the world’s scientists on this matter?” I had no ready answer.

That conversation, and my inability to provide any thoughtful response launched me on a three-year quest in search of an answer.

For the next three years I plunged into an intensive and extensive study of the fields of quantum mechanics, atmospheric physics and spectroscopy, as well as the thermodynamic interactions of the earth’s biosphere: land mass, oceans and atmosphere.

As I began this personal odyssey, I thought my strong science background would allow me to reach a conclusion in short order. After all, I had received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a major in thermodynamics and a minor in thermal fluids. I presumed that my education in mathematics, physics, thermodynamics and gas dynamics would permit me to understand the underlying scientific principles involved in the fields of climate science related to the issue of man-made global warming (in scientific terms, “anthropogenic global warming,” or “AGW” for short). But I was wrong. This is a very complex subject.

For the next three years I plunged into an intensive and extensive study of the fields of quantum mechanics, atmospheric physics and spectroscopy, as well as the thermodynamic interactions of the earth’s biosphere: land mass, oceans and atmosphere. I spent more than two years studying scientific research on the subject of AGW to understand the various theories and evidence put forward to “prove” its existence.

Three years later, I finally have an answer to the question put to me at the 2017 dinner party. I strongly believe that the supposed “science” behind the popular theory of AGW is far from “settled,” and the conclusion that AGW poses a threat to human existence is political rather than scientific. Moreover, I believe that this political conclusion is being used to stifle debate and research that would provide us with an accurate assessment of the theory of AGW.

Given the tremendous impact the Biden administration’s planned climate initiatives would have upon the lives of all Americans, I believe this is a subject that we should all understand as informed citizens. In a planned series of articles, I will share my journey to make sense of this complex subject, delving into the scientific evidence — and lack thereof — behind the competing hypotheses, exploring various associated issues.

I hope these articles might provide readers with the background necessary to understand the debate over man-made global warming and come to an informed personal opinion on the subject. You may even find yourself educating the self-certain “climate experts” at your next dinner party.

(This article, the first in a planned series, was written by Guy K. Mitchell Jr., the founder and chairman of Mitchell Industries, a diversified manufacturing company based in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Mr. Mitchell is a member of Pi Tau Sigma, the International Honor Society for Mechanical Engineers and was elected a Distinguished Engineering Fellow by the College of Engineering, University of Alabama, in 1995. He is working on a book about what he believes to be the flawed claims of global warming caused by human activity. This article and those intended to follow are drawn from the content of Mr. Mitchell’s book.)