I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, UCLA allowed the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department to have Professor William Happer speak skeptically about Climate Change at a Physical Chemistry Seminar, until I learned two Conservative Chenistry professors had to do it under the radar. Nevertheless, in a room that could hold under 100 there were at least 50 standing with many in the hall outside. I’m told there has never been such an overflow attendance for any previous seminar in the past.
William “Will” Happer is an American physicist who has specialized in the study of atomic physics, optics and spectroscopy. He is the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, and a long-term member of the JASON advisory group, where he pioneered the development of adaptive optics. From 1991 to 1993, Happer served as director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science as part of the George HW Bush administration. Happer invented the Sodium Guide Star that most telescopes now have.
Dr. Happer was invited because of his accomplishments in atomic physics which would be acceptable to the other very Liberal professors in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department. What wasn’t known to them was that Happer was allowed to pick the subject of his talk and he chose Climate Change.
Happer started by saying we all agree that climate changes. It has since the beginning of time and will continue to change until the end of time. He also mentioned that no one can tell you what the “average temperature” should be because there isn’t no average world temperature. The temperature at sea level is very different than the temperature 3000 feet up a mountain just a few miles away.
Happer admitted he, himself, had grossly over predicted the effect of increased levels of CO2. He said the hysteria over climate change is caused by computer models not observation. He pointed out the model predictions don’t come close to the observations. They predicted an increase of 0.2 degrees Celsius over the last decade but the temperature has only increased 0.05 degrees. He put up a slide that showed what the computer models predicted and what has actually been observed. The models show dramatically higher levels than have been observed. (see slide #1)
The Professor believes carbon dioxide is a minor contributor to climate change. In fact, the earth has had a CO2 famine for millions of years. CO2 was 1000 to 2000 parts per million during prehistoric times. We have a little more than 400 parts per million now. We could double that amount and little would happen. Happer pointed out the classroom we were in would have at least 2000 parts per million. The CO2 we exhale is 40,000 PPM. Each of us exhales two pounds of CO2 daily. The only effect increased CO2 has is more greening of the planet. (see slide #2)
Happer explained that water vapor is what greenhouse gases mostly consist of and he explained how the molecules of the various greenhouse gases react. That part was a bit over my head but it wasn’t for the students in the room. He went on to explain how atmospheric circulation transports heat from the equator to the poles.
We’ve heard a lot about the acidification of the ocean caused by increased CO2, however, as Happer explained (as well as Willie Soon at the IMPROV debate) if CO2 was the cause of acidification warming would be happening on the surface, but it isn’t. The warming and acidification occurs deep in the ocean. The claim is that if acidity increases 1pH it’s a disaster but Happer pointed out that the ocean surface varies 2 to 4 pH every day. (see slide #3 and #4)
Happer then addressed rising seas. He showed several slides that show sea levels rising no faster than in the past. (see slides #5)
During Q&A a student thanked the Professor saying he gave a compelling argument with data to back it up. He then asked why so many scientists disagree. Happer gave several examples of a consensus of scientists who disagreed with scientists who were later proven right. (see slide #6)
One student said Happer neglected to include the effects of increased water vapor in the atmosphere. Happer said the data didn’t reflect any increase. Another student didn’t think Happer’s presentation was scientifically rigorous. He said Happer was ignoring mountains of data that contradicted him. I wondered what mountain of data the student was talking about. Since the claim is that increased CO2 is causing warming and there hasn’t been any significant warming in 20 years what data contradicts that? Many students, however, appreciated the presentation and believed it was scientifically valid, one mentioning he appreciated the data from satellites in the presentation.
A man who identified himself as a science teacher said he would be out in the hall to discuss the fallacies of Professor’s position. I went into the hall and listened for a while. All they said was that Happer was offering opinion that disregarded data but offered no examples.
Several months ago when American Freedom Alliance brought Dr. Willie Soon to Los Angeles to speak, Dr. Soon, Dr. James Enstrom and I spent the day at UCLA trying to get any of the Professors in the fields that study climate to speak to him and none would. (see DR. WILLIE SOON AT THE IMPROV 10/2/2017; see REMEMBER THE DEBATE? NEITHER DO I. 2/12/2017)
Apparently, since Dr, Happer’s seminar and the overwhelming interest in it, the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department, as well as several other departments, are up in arms. They want to know how this happened. Who is responsible for allowing a skeptic to speak? They can’t have students questioning the Climate Change narrative. I’ve always believed when you are told not to listen to opposing opinions that’s exactly when you should. The truth can stand scrutiny.
It’s difficult not to be skeptical of the claims made by climate Alarmists when they are unwilling to even enter into a discussion with a colleague who might question their conclusions.