Opinion: Why I write about Global Warming on a construction equipment site

Updated Jul 18, 2013

emissions smogA reader from Europe recently asked why I spend a lot of time blogging about global warming and other such environmental topics, as this is a website primarily dedicated to heavy equipment and construction.

Since his was a reasonable and well written letter, I did not immediately trash it as one has to with most of the spittle-flecked rants that come over the transom on these topics.

So my reply is this: the topic of global warming, air pollution and the environment in general is closely tied to the fate of the diesel engine and the business of earthmoving, mining, demolition and all the heavy industries. Point of fact is that if the global warming zealots have their way, about 90 percent of you are going to be out of a job. More succinctly: environmental activists are waging a war against you—and they’re winning.

If I believed beyond a doubt that carbon dioxide emissions from heavy trucks and equipment were a significant factor in warming the planet to the point of catastrophe, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to quit this job and go to war against you either. No honest person, if they really believed in catastrophic global warming, should be working in heavy construction…or writing about it for that matter.

But the truth is that what the layperson reads about global warming is about 90 percent hype, and the 10 percent that remains is far from established science. Read my blog post from earlier about the German climate scientist Hans Von Storch and what he has to say about the deception and missionary zeal among climate scientists.

My most recent example of this is an article now making the rounds in the press that global warming will extinguish as many as a third of all species on the planet. No doubt this “science” will be shouted from the rooftops by hundreds of newspapers, blogs, television commentators and websites.

Just one question: how many species are there? Answer: nobody knows. Biologists estimate that there are between 100 and 300 million species on the planet today, but in all of science since Darwin’s time have more than 10 percent of these been observed and catalogued. So your fudge factor is 3X and within that extremely imprecise number you can only account for 10 percent of the subjects, which means that nobody can truthfully claim that global warming or any other event is going to cut that number by a third. We don’t even know what the number is. And the alarmist in this original report failed to note that a great many species are dying off all the time and being replaced with hardier critters—something any amateur biologist knows.

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Another of my favorites is the threat that global warming will lead to the sea levels rising. Really? Is Waikiki underwater?  It’s a very narrow slice of beach, but it looks just like it did when I first saw it in 1967, as do all the beaches I know of in Hawaii, Florida and California.

These are just another example of junk science being propagated by junk journalists—but if enough of them do it long enough we’ll all be sitting in the unemployment line. The fact of the matter is the earth’s atmosphere has not warmed by so much as one degree Centigrade in the last 15 years—this is now an established fact. The other fact is that global warming scientists have been unethical and dishonest in trying to hide this fact. Google “hide the decline” sometime to see what I mean.

What I am not saying is that global warming is a myth. I think there is ample cause for concern, if not for global warming then perhaps climate and weather pattern disruptions. But the actual, specific and measurable effects of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are at this point simply not known. And as any honest scientist would tell you, if you base a theory on bad information, you’ll get a bad result. And that’s where we are today. The bad science is drowning out the good science thanks to this junk journalism and unethical, grant seeking scientists who play to the public’s and the government’s worst and most ignorant fears.

Three years ago, the California Air Resources Board decided to impose a harsh set of penalties to any earthmoving contractor who didn’t scrap the  majority of their fleets orretrofit them with new, advanced admissions technology. Many of them did, spending millions of dollars. And some sold their equipment at a deep loss and got out of the business.

As we reported in April of 2010, just before the deadlines were to go into effect and group of independent researchers confronted CARB with the fact that they had overestimated the emissions from heavy equipment in California by a factor of 3X to 4X. That fact so stunned CARB and its board that they were forced to retreat on their deadlines, but not before the construction industry in that state was dealt a serious and painful blow.

Junk science is expensive—and it may someday cost you your job. That’s why I discuss these issues.