An Open Letter to U.S. Presidential Candidates

Date:  March 27, 2016

Subject:  Extreme Weather and Rising Sea Levels

From:  Bob Tisdale – Independent Researcher/Climate Change

To: United States Presidential Candidates

Dear Presidential Candidates:

While reading this letter, please put aside your beliefs about human-induced global warming and climate change.

Extreme weather events existed long before the industrial revolution and mankind’s emissions greenhouse gases.  That is, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, heat waves, cold spells, floods, droughts and so on are facts of life on this planet and in this country. Regardless of whether you believe our emissions of greenhouse gases are now contributing to or enhancing them, those extreme weather events exist now, and they are not going to disappear at any time in the future.

Another fact of life on this planet: sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age.  The estimates of sea level rise range from 300 to 400 feet so far during this interglacial.  Why have sea levels risen? Global temperatures have been above the threshold required to melt glaciers and ice sheets for many thousands of years. Sadly, the oceans will continue to invade our shores until global temperatures start to drop and we head toward another ice age. It’s not a matter of if sea levels will continue to rise, it’s how fast.  But even the climate model-predicted rates at which sea levels will rise in the future have tremendous uncertainties…with the rises due to best-case scenarios overlapping with worst case.  Windmills, solar panels, hybrid cars, climate models, etc. will not stop sea levels from rising.

We continue to pump moneys into climate research even though the summary for policymakers of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is basically the same as the first report.  That is, all IPCC reports, from the first report in 1991 to the fifth report in 2013, tell us same very basic things. If we continue to emit greenhouse gases:

  • global warming will occur…though the ranges (the uncertainties) of Earth’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide are basically unchanged from the first to the fifth reports,
  • droughts, floods and extreme weather events will occur…though they can’t tell us where and when,
  • global sea levels will rise…though that’s nothing new…sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age.

In those very basic terms, we’ve received nothing of value for the massive investments in climate change and global warming research over the past decades.  The U.S. government continues to throw taxpayer dollars at climate research, which suggests to some voters that the science is not settled.

The U.S. government last December entered into an international agreement to reduce emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases…to make the world a better place for future generations.   In fact, President Obama began his December 12, 2015 Statement by the President on the Paris Climate Agreement with (my boldface):

In my first inaugural address, I committed this country to the tireless task of combating climate change and protecting this planet for future generations.

Two weeks ago, in Paris, I said before the world that we needed a strong global agreement to accomplish this goal — an enduring agreement that reduces global carbon pollution and sets the world on a course to a low-carbon future.

But extreme weather events are happening now.  U.S. citizens (our children and our grandchildren) are losing their lives, their homes and their livelihoods now to extreme weather events and sea levels, just as they have in the past.  We may now have better tools to provide early warning of some catastrophic events, but…

Again, please put aside your beliefs that emissions of greenhouse gases are enhancing global warming and climate change.  How are you as the next President of the United States going to help U.S. citizens limit the losses of U.S. lives, property and livelihoods caused by catastrophic weather events and sea levels that are happening now?  Setting “…the world on a course to a low-carbon future…” does not address those problems nor do any additional funds spent on speculative research into past and future climate change help to combat those events.

Sincerely,

Bob Tisdale

Author of the ebook On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control – Part 1 (700+page, 25MB .pdf).

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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15 Responses to An Open Letter to U.S. Presidential Candidates

  1. skeohane says:

    Excellent Bob! As always, thank you for your sharing your investment of time and heart in this.

  2. Boulder Skeptic says:

    Dr Tisdale,

    Same question and comment as over on WUWT.

    Respectfully, can you tell me exactly which of the passages in Article II of the US Constitution (executive branch powers), or for that matter Article I, Section 8 (legislative branch powers), which gives the federal government the authority to help U.S. citizens limit the losses of U.S. lives, property and livelihoods by catastrophic weather events and sea levels?

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    I would argue that the US Constitution as it stands provides that this is a power reserved for the individual state governments. Personally, I believe calling on the US federal government to act as nursemaid for every aspect of our lives, and continuing to let this federal government yield power they have no authority to, is exactly how we got into this mess in the first place. My opinion, take it for what its worth.

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    Boulder Skeptic, same reply as at WUWT. First, there is no Dr. before my name.

    Second, President Obama’s actions to limit U.S. greenhouse gases emissions are intended to help us with hypothetical problems in the future. My question to the candidates are obviously related to how are they going to help us with problems now, not some possible problem in the future.

    Third, thank you for your argument.

  4. Your letter reminds me of the letter I wrote to President-Elect Obama right after the 2008 election, which I later put on my blog, here. Four months after I mailed it, I got a generic postcard saying “thank you for writing”.

    The change that is needed is bottom-up, not top-down. Everyone needs to relearn how to reason, by uncovering for themselves the definitive evidence for or against a given idea, rather than by falling back on the “authority” of one’s favorite learned dogma, or unrecognized prejudice.

  5. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks for the link, Harry.

    Cheers.

  6. Nate says:

    Bob and anyone else. if our scientists at NASA and other such organizations determine that a mid-sized asteroid will, with high probability, hit the earth in 40 y, should we ask that our govt do something about it? Should we spend money researching the likely outcomes of this impact? Maybe by modeling and by looking at records of past impacts? Should we spend money to avert this event? We’ve been hit by asteroids numerous times in the past and the Earth has survived-so why bother? Maybe we should just ask states to come up with plans to manage the potential problems to their state?

    Bob, you probably have seen the recent research that has shown that sea-level is rising much faster than at anytime in last 2 millenia. Do you have a serious critique of this work?

  7. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, didn’t that paper include some type of paleo proxy?

  8. Nate says:

    Not that Im aware of. It combined measurements in a new statistical analysis…

  9. Bob Tisdale says:

    Gotta link, Nate?

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, looks like paleo nonsense to me.

    Cheers.

  11. Nate says:

    I don’t understand how you can so confidently and casually dismiss the hard and careful work of this group of researchers who, unlike you or me, have have become expert at this particular type of data and analysis.

  12. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, proxies are not data from observations.

  13. Nate says:

    No, they are observations, of sediment records etc. which are calibrated just as other measurements are. All that we know about past Earth history is based on such records. You can casually toss it aside-but I see no good reason to do so. Plus they also used tidal records where available.

  14. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, you’re argument is that “sediment records etc.” are not proxies for actual measurements of sea level, which extent back only to the early-1800s. I no longer have any need to discuss this matter further. You may find proxies credible, I don’t.

    Cheers.

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