The Unwisdom of Solomon, Bad Logic, Bad Science and Bad Policies

By | March 16, 2009

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[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version] 


Early in 2009, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published “Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions,” by Susan Solomon of NOAA and three colleagues. This lurid paper said that “the severity of damaging, human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility,” and that “the climate change that takes place due to increases in CO2 concentration is largely irreversible for 1000 years after emissions stop.”

The Solomon paper talks of “irreversible impacts,” such as dry-season reductions in rainfall leading to “dustbowl” conditions in several regions, and “inexorable sea-level rise” of “several meters.” However, the paper is entirely predicated on two implicit but false assumptions: that the computer modeling on which all of its conclusions are based is competent to predict the state of the climate a millennium or more in the future; and that the effect of atmospheric carbon-dioxide enrichment on global mean surface temperatures will be substantial.


This collection of essays is in direct response to, and sound refutation of, the Susan Solomon paper. It is intended for state and federal policy makers and the public which elects them. No public policy, reardless of how small or large in scope, could wisely be based on the Solomon paper, or any similary speculative claims.