Koonin and Dessler: Climate Science Debate: Campus Liberty Tour 2022 (Oklahoma State University)

Steamboat Institute

A debate at Oklahoma State University featuring: Steven Koonin, Ph.D, author of Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, Andrew Dessler, Ph.D, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Texas A&M University; Director, Texas Center for Climate Studies and moderator Philip Wegmann, White House Reporter for Real Clear Politics and Tony Blankley Senior Fellow with Steamboat Institute

Debating the resolution:
“Climate science compels us to make large and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

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March 23, 2023 7:26 pm

Dressler…. ”Climate change turns a severe event into a catastrophe”

So what turned severe events into catastrophes before co2 increase? Answer – not co2
Where is the evidence that we are having more ”severe catastrophes” now? Answer – there is none.
Verdict – Dressler has no argument. Oh dear.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mike
March 23, 2023 7:34 pm


Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 23, 2023 7:55 pm

Thanks. Need new glasses…..

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Mike
March 23, 2023 8:45 pm

Oh. I thought “Dessler” was the answer to “So what turned severe events into catastrophes before co2 increase?”.

Oh wait, it is! 🙂

Reply to  Mike
March 23, 2023 7:54 pm

I’d prefer he wear a mask.

Jeff Alberts
March 23, 2023 7:36 pm

Well, obviously this is all racist. I mean, where are the People of Color?

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 23, 2023 7:56 pm

How dare you?

Reply to  Scissor
March 23, 2023 9:19 pm

… you’ve stolen my childhood … i should be in school !

Reply to  Streetcred
March 24, 2023 5:50 am
Chris Hanley
March 23, 2023 9:32 pm

Dessler’s Holocene graph (Clark Shakun Marcott) at 17:58 is ludicrous.
Not only is it using the usual alarmist trick of splicing the modern temperature record onto the end of a very highly smoothed paleo-temperature record, even the supposed Holocene temperature record as shown is contradicted by ample material evidence like tree-line studies of much warmer temperatures for instance:
“Radiocarbon-dated macrofossils are used to document Holocene treeline history across northern Russia (including Siberia). Boreal forest development in this region commenced by 10,000 yr B.P. Over most of Russia, forest advanced to or near the current arctic coastline between 9000 and 7000 yr B.P. and retreated to its present position by between 4000 and 3000 yr B.P. Forest ……. During the period of maximum forest extension, the mean July temperatures along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5° to 7.0°C warmer than modern” (MacDonald Velichko et al. 2000).
It is interesting that the above mentioned paper dates from before the Climate Change hysteria got going.

Last edited 2 months ago by Chris Hanley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 24, 2023 5:43 am

Yes, but some of the Russians hit back after Climategate and got better airing of the Russian tree line shifts. They seemed to prefer scientific shifts to backstabbing shafts.
Never forget the disgust of Climategate. Geoff S

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 25, 2023 8:50 am

Not to mention the extremely coarse temporal resolution of most proxies, Marcott in particular. They’re so bad they wouldn’t even have registered the last 150 years. Which means they could easily have missed similar temp variations over the span of all the proxies. Not much better than useless.

March 23, 2023 9:41 pm

Greg Gutfeld goes off on “Climate Change”. Though most of you might enjoy this. Much more entertaining than listening to that idiot Dessler.

Fox News Host Greg Gutfeld Ridicules Hypocritical Climate Change Activism | Newsbusters

Dave Burton
March 23, 2023 9:42 pm

I’m surprised that Dessler came back for a 2nd dose at Oklahoma State U, after the thrashing he got from Koonin in August, at Texas A&M:

Reply to  Dave Burton
March 23, 2023 10:41 pm

Dessler probably thinks he won.
It is a feature of the alarmist personality that they ignore the facts, be it in their science or in their debates.

Reply to  Dave Burton
March 24, 2023 11:56 am

I don’t know what the payout was for the debaters. But if you find out, your surprise may dissipate.

(true whores don’t care about the outcome or consequences … they just want the money)

March 23, 2023 11:30 pm

“Climate science compels us to make large and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Nick Stokes tells us there are no tipping points in “the science”, so there can be no need for “large and rapid reductions in GHGs

Peta of Newark
March 24, 2023 1:26 am

Dessler is a reincarnation of King Henry 8th in soooooo many ways.
Look at the damage he did.

So there is hope.
Because already we have an entire generation that are equivalents to Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth 1st
It’s well documented how paranoid and desperately indecisive she was.
Also chronically bankrupt – hence the perfect debacle (but really very sad actually) that the Spanish Armada became.
(you could not have made it up)

Queen Bess was those things because, like her father she was completely addicted to refined sugar. A very rare and expensive commodity at the time.
(Sugared Almonds were her favourite)

The hope come in that Queen Bess was The End of the Tudor Family Dynasty – in part because the sugar had made them utterly incapable of logical thought, also procreation (sounds familiar) but that The People grew sick of relentless taxation, petty rules and constant, endlessly invasive surveillance and threw them out.
Sounds familiar again.
Dessler: Take heed

To find out more, visit Blackadder Series 2
Where’s my pressie
(complete with a recipe for Soylent Green in a potato casserole. Yummy)

Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 24, 2023 5:57 am

In Henry VIII times, Sir William Sherrington was keeper of the Royal Mint at Bristol, having fun stripping silver from certain churches, clipping coins, doing currency frauds with the French. He and friend Seymour were taken to the Tower, whereafter the former was pardoned and praised by the chief cleric Latimer and the latter was removed from his head.
Some eras in history are most unkind to famous surnames. Check it out for Lacock Abbey, once his home that later hosted the start of the development of photography in Britain. It is all a hoot of a read. Geoff S

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 25, 2023 8:53 am

Everything is sugar, eh?

March 24, 2023 5:36 am

Thank you, Steamboat.
My take. Koonin argues scientifically, giving citations and references as with Lomborg. People can follow up. Dessler peppers his talk with unsupported absurdities, like cost of nuclear being 8 times the cost of wind electricity. People who believe incredible stuff tend to vote one way, people educated enough to enquire go another.
For example, the Dessler quip above does not compare like with like for environment protection costs. If the windmill industry is one day required to pay the costs of not killing birds and bats with similar enforcement that nuclear pays to avoid harm to almost everything that breathes, then nuclear could well be the less costly of the two.
Koonin 8.5, Dessler 1.5.
Geoff S

Dave Yaussy
Reply to  sherro01
March 24, 2023 5:52 am

Even if the 8:1 ratio is correct, it fails to take into account the power from other sources that must be kept running in the background, or maintained on standby, when the wind isn’t blowing. The capital costs of those back up systems have to be paid for whether they run 100 hours a year, or 2000, and they are an expense that should be considered when Desser talks about the cost advantages of renewables.

We need someone to come up with a rule of thumb that we can apply to any intermittent renewable nameplate rating, based on average capacity factor and the corresponding cost of back up. That would allow more of an apples to apples comparison between renewables/backup and nuclear. I’m sure someone has done it, but I don’t recall seeing it.

Dave Burton
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
March 24, 2023 8:27 am

Dessler makes the mistake of conflating price with total cost.

What matters is the cost of energy, and wind & solar drastically increase the cost of electricity. That’s why electricity prices are soaring, and why energy poverty is killing thousands of Europeans, in countries with large amounts of wind and solar.

The reason wind and solar average energy prices are falling is not that they are becoming more affordable. The reason is that they have a nasty tendency to produce power when it is not needed, and power produced when it isn’t needed fetches low prices.

When power is most needed it fetches high prices, but that’s when wind and solar often go AWOL. So increasing the amount of intermittent wind and solar generation on the grid increases the cost of energy.

The bottom line is that depending completely on wind and solar energy would mean freezing in the dark on chilly winter nights, and the more we try to depend on them, the more unaffordable energy will become.

The total cost of wind and solar electricity per unit of energy produced is rising, not falling, because their intermittency means that the more wind and solar that’s connected to the grid, the more extreme and expensive are the measures required to stabilize it.

March 24, 2023 5:42 am

The resolution is poorly worded.

Climate science does not compel anything.

One question could have been about the need for large CO2 emission reductions, but large should be specified, because it could be misinterpreted

Another question could be whether those CO2 emissions should be rapid, and rapid should be specified, because it could be misinterpreted.

What about people who believe large CO2 reductions are necessary but there is no rush?

What about people who want small CO2 emissions reductions because large reductions would disrupt economies?

The resolution is an all or none resolution, with no middle ground
And that is stupid.

The actual resolution should have been on whether scientists can predict the future climate.

A second debate could be on whether the future climate has to be bad news.

A recent poll of scientists found that 59% believe in CAGW
I wonder if a good debate would change that percentage.
But I doubt it.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 24, 2023 7:30 am

“A recent poll of scientists found that 59% believe in CAGW”

Were they all “climate scientists”? Any who are not- really have no bearing on the issue unless their science work has a direct bearing climate research. Many scientists know no more about the climate than my auto mechanic or plumber- probably less. 🙂

Lindzen is a physist who has worked on climate along with some chemists, some geologists, etc. But sociologists? Computer scientists? Most scientists have no expertise on the subject.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 24, 2023 10:09 am

I would go further and argue that mainstream climate scientists have no expertise on the subject either. They are essentially all professional liars (or incompetent, take your pick), and as far as I can tell, none of them (with the possible exception of Lindzen) are physicists. That is why they keep making nonsensical statements about radiated power in violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and atmospheres that somehow don’t naturally exhibit thermal gradients in a gravitational field.

March 24, 2023 9:49 am

Both Drs. Koonin and Dessler seem to agree that wind and solar are the cheapest of all energy sources. From what I have read, both seem wrong. Wind and solar receive large subsidies for construction and operation, their operating product is required to be accepted by grids before all other sources of electricity which impose increased cost on their essential backup systems, and their operating lifetimes are short before machine maintenance costs become too high, about 20 years for land and as little as 10 years for ocean systems largely because of the corrosion caused by salt air. When considering these adverse effects of wind and solar I believe their true cost is much higher than other forms of electricity production. This seems substantiated by the clearly evident higher cost of electricity in networks that use more wind and solar than others.

Reply to  Denis
March 24, 2023 9:30 pm

Economic studies give different outcomes for first, a largely hydrocarbon system with niche support from W&S or second, a largely W&S system with niche support from hydrocarbon fuels.
During a transition, the balance changes and the economics change.
Has anyone seen a study of costs during the present transition?
Geoff S

March 27, 2023 10:06 am

If anyone thought there was science supporting the alarmist’s claims, this video debunks that claim. Many times “uncertainty” is stressed, and the economic models are described as jokes. Settled sciences have no uncertainty, and there is nothing but uncertainty highlighted in this video. Also, 100% of economic models show climate change harming economic growth. That is absurd based upon the case study of the past 100 years. Increasing CO2 correlates 100% with (+) Economic Growth. Dressler relies almost 100% on the attached graphic. If anything his graphic debunks all his claims. 1) SImply look at the sea level increase for the early part of the Holocene compared to today. If the globe was truly warming like they claim, sea level increase would be very similar to the early Holocene. It isn’t, not even close. 2) He is using global temperatures, which are a joke. I’ve posted that NOAA’s data shows the US has not warmed in over 100 years. 3) If we are warming as we did earlier in the Holocene, sites like Thermopylae would be underwater, they are not, they are well inland, proving sea levels have fallen since 480 B.C. 4) Dressler claims that the recent warming is 6/10 the amount of the entire Holocene. That is a joke, and clearly, the sea level rise data totally debunks it Just look at Battery Park Tidal Gauge. This debate proves beyond any doubt that the science behind climate science is a complete joke, and their own data proves it.

Climate Science is a Joke 2.jpg
Reply to  CO2isLife
March 27, 2023 10:10 am

Additionally, the dot represents the present. Note how we are simply near the top of the temperature range of the Holocene, yet CO2 was much lower at the previous peak in temperatures. This “science” is a joke, highlighting the damage that can be caused by activists holding positions of authority.

Reply to  CO2isLife
March 27, 2023 10:13 am

This graphic also implies a linear relationship between CO2 and temperature. That is a joke and is totally refuted by the quantum mechanics of the CO2 molecule. These “scientists” don’t even know the basics, or how to read and interpret a chart or create a valid forecast model.

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