Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

MinnPost logo Year-end member drive

Be the one who makes it our best year ever!
Only 56 more members needed to set a record and secure a $5,000 challenge grant.

Background claims by state Senate's global-warming skeptic fail to check out

Note: This is a corrected version of an article that was originally published June 15, 2011.

The Minnesota Senate's most notable authority on global warming comes from East Bethel. Michael Jungbauer was once its mayor. He is in his third term at the state Legislature and he has fashioned himself into a force of nature when it comes to the environment.

But Jungbauer doesn't believe the planet is warming. In fact, he told me, "I think the earth is going to cool." From his position on the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, he has the power to change the way Minnesota approaches the issue. And his influence is apparent. The Minnesota Legislature has been busy undoing much of Minnesota's nation-leading policies enacted to deal with global warming.

He is also a television star, of sorts. He makes little videos on his pet theories and puts them on his webpage and on YouTube.com. You can see a few of his lectures here.

Sen. Jungbauer is fond of making pronouncements from on high regarding the scientific weakness of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He takes positions in direct opposition to 98 percent of published and peer-reviewed climate, atmospheric scientists and glaciologists. But the water and sewer treatment specialist by day is, apparently, quite knowledgeable on all manner of science. It certainly appears to be. He uses big words and cites studies in his lectures.

No scientist
The problem is, he is not a scientist. Even though his published biography lists his higher education credits from Moody Bible Institute, Anoka Ramsey Community College and Metropolitan State University and that he is working on his master's degree in environmental policy and that he has a background in biochemistry, it turns out he has never graduated from college. He doesn't have a bachelor's degree.

He is an ordained minister, of sorts. But, although his official biography says he has a degree from Moody, he does not. In direct answer to my question, Jungbauer responded: "No I did not graduate. But I have a certificate."

The truth is that Jungbauer was ordained by Christian Motor Sports International out of Gilbert, Ariz. His Senate biography says the organization provides "chapel services, pastoral care, outreach and Christian fellowship at car races, car shows, cruise-ins and tractor pulls."

Now, if you are going to take on the most noted scientists in the world working on CO₂ and its effects on a warming planet, you would need a background in science. And he is ready to tell the members of his committee and witnesses who come to testify that they are dealing with a man not to be toyed with. A sample of his officious, talking-down-to-the-rest-of-us approach can be seen here.

He has said he has a major in biochemistry. That suggests he received a degree with enough credit hours to give him a major in that important science. But he does not have a degree in biochemistry. He told me that he is getting a master's degree in environmental policy at Metropolitan State University, but that school doesn't have a master's program in environmental policy. When I asked him about that, he said: "Well, that's what they told me."

He tells people from his committee perch "in my tropospherical chemistry class they said there is no scientific evidence that would link CO₂ to higher temperatures." I don't doubt someone said that to Sen. Jungbauer, but whoever said it would be the only scientist in the world who thinks that.

But that is not the important point. What's important is that there is no evidence Jungbauer ever took a "tropospherical chemistry" class. When I confronted him with that inconsistency, he said: "Well, it was part of a discussion in another class I took."

By way of explanation, Jungbauer told me that he has attended lots of classes in other parts of the country, and had gone to lots of conferences. One of the conferences he attended was the fourth International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by The Heartland Institute. He has been a featured speaker for Heartland. Heartland is a conservative think-tank. You can see the scope of Heartland’s interests at heartland.org. Jungbauer told me he gets no contributions from Heartland, but he has been paid to speak at conferences and on Heartland-sponsored radio programs.

Mike Jungbauer
Mike Jungbauer

'Studied all 13 disciplines of science'
Jungbauer says he has "studied all 13 disciplines of science" contained in the IPCC reports. It is a ludicrous statement. The very authors of the IPCC reports haven't studied every discipline represented, nor would they ever say they have.

I asked the senator for the source of some of his theories. He mentioned S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, the authors of "Unstoppable Global Warming – Every 1500 Years." It is a denialist handbook. It came as a surprise to Jungbauer when I told him that Avery wasn't a scientist, but an economist (though it doesn't stop Avery from trying to sound like a scientist) or that S. Fred Singer not only thinks global warming a fraud, but that he also testified that smoking didn't cause cancer and argued that concerns over acid rain were overblown and generally believes that environmentalism will be the death of America.

(It turns out I was wrong about Singer’s statement about smoking and cancer. Singer wrote that research didn’t support the conclusion that second-hand smoke resulted in an increased cancer risk.)

I asked Jungbauer to give me another name. He gave me Dr. Roy Spencer, a noted skeptic at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. He and Spencer had appeared at the same Heartland Conference. Jungbauer's fondness for Spencer's science is a problem. As I reported, Jungbauer believes the increased CO₂ will actually cause the planet to cool; it is important to note the Spencer doesn't believe that for a minute.

Here's a short paragraph from Spencer's own website: "Mankind's burning of fossil fuels creates more atmospheric carbon dioxide. As we add more CO₂, more infrared energy is trapped, strengthening the earth's greenhouse effect. This causes a warming tendency in the lower atmosphere and at the surface."

Spencer made a similar statement at the very Heartland Conference he and Jungbauer attended together.

Spencer is a darling of the skeptics because even though he concedes the planet will warm, he thinks most scientists are alarmists. He's not convinced global warming is any big deal.

But then again, you can't wish away known science. Unless, you are Sen. Michael Jungbauer, who has studied all 13 disciplines of global warming science, you know, but has apparently wished it all away. The scariest part is that he is one of our state's most outspoken leaders on environmental policy.

Jungbauer says that for eight years he's been trying to get someone to present evidence that CO₂ causes warming. He told the committee that if anyone does, he will climb to the top of the capitol and shout, "I was wrong."

'Ignorance of the science'
I consulted Professor John Abraham, thermal scientist at the University of St. Thomas and a member of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team. Abraham said the senator's comment "displays a complete ignorance of the science. Even contrarians would know that CO₂ can increase global temperature and no reputable scientist would disagree. The skeptics only wonder how much the earth will warm. There is no dispute that it will happen."

Then Abraham gave me several lines of science to prove the point, including an article with a title that would scare most people to death: "Increases in Greenhouse Forcing Inferred from the Outgoing Longwave Radiation Spectra of Earth in 1970 and 1997." I quote from it for Sen. Jungbauer's benefit: "Our results provide direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth's greenhouse effect that is consistent with concerns over radiative forcing of climate."

I asked Jungbauer if he'd be willing to debate Professor Abraham in public. Jungbauer said: "Anytime, anywhere, I'll just need some time to do some reading." Abraham has agreed. I'd like to see such a debate and invite the public and the press.

Sen. Jungbauer, an avid cross-trainer, may wish to start stair-climbing exercises. His next stop might be the top of the Capitol.

Correction
The original version of this article contained information about The Heartland Institute’s funding and background that Heartland disputes. Heartland says it has not received funding from Exxon Mobil since 2006, and has not received funding from organizations affiliated with the Koch brothers or the Scaife Foundation since 1998. Heartland says it was established to find free-market solutions for an array of public policy matters. The original version of this article misstated what S. Fred Singer wrote about smoking and cancer. Singer said that research didn’t support the conclusion that second-hand smoke resulted in an increased cancer risk.

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Comments (73)

Don:

Great timing for a global-warming story, and not because we are having another mid-June day with the high temperature in the 60s, but because of this story:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/14/ice_age/

An excerpt:

"What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age."

What a treat to see Don Shelby the Reporter doing a fine story.

Before he did his anchor gig at WCCO-TV, Shelby was a hellacious reporter for that station.

The pay's not great, Don, but I imagine the satisfaction is priceless. Great to see you back in the saddle.

Steve Rose sidesteps the actual point of this article, which is that Jungbauer has built a significant part of his career on the pretense of expertise in matters related to climate change - expertise that he does not have and never attained. Not only that, but Jungbauer's claims about his own education are demonstrably false. He says he's in a Masters program that doesn't even exist. I don't think I'm stretching at all to say that Jungbauer, a three-term state legislator, is a liar and a fraud.

Thanks to Don Shelby for investigating this man's background. It seems like it should have been done long ago.

#1, for the umpteenth time, don't confuse "weather" with "climate." It gets really tiring when you guys do that. Yeah, it's in the 60s today. But by your illogic, then I guess the fact it got up to 103 the other day proves global warming, right?

Weather. Climate. There's a difference.

A refreshingly deft scientific analysis of Sen Jungbauer's claims, his education and his committee scope. My thanks to Senate TV for making it available at no cost to taxpayers, and MinnPost for publishing it, and Don for asking the tough questions.

Sen Jungbauer's Oscar-worthy performance as a hubris-filled scientist should be lauded for what it is. AND what it is not: he's got the hubris but is missing the science &
a capacity for good governance.

I now see him new light -- in NASCAR-type uniform with shiny bright patches sewn on the lapels "Brought to you by the Koch Brothers" "Exxon-Mobil"

Great reporting, Don! Part of the task for citizens now is to recognize who is representing us in the Legislature, hold them up for examination, and do our best at election time next year to ensure a great state has great legislators.

My first thought was "who elects these idiots". Then I realized it's the people who want to hear what they want to hear. It's like going to a dentist that promises to tell you you're cavity free - regardless of the condition of your teeth.

RE: #1. Great example of taking isolated information from a less that authoritative source. What the study authors said is that the next 11 year cycle of sunspots may be delayed or even possibly not occur. NO comment on long term impact. Further, no one knows the relationship between lack of sunspots and global cooling anywhere near the understanding of CO2 and warming.

"We have some interesting hints that solar activity is associated with climate, but we don't understand the association," said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

Also, even if there is a climate link, Pesnell doesn't think another grand minimum is likely to trigger a cold snap.

"With what's happening in current times—we've added considerable amounts of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," said Pesnell, who wasn't involved in the suite of new sun studies.

"I don't think you'd see the same cooling effects today if the sun went into another Maunder Minimum-type behavior."

Elsa (#3):

Sidestep I did indeed; I confess that I only read the first paragraph of Don's story. Don's warm-mongering has become predictable, and I could tell that he was teeing up another heretic.

David (#4): Reread my comment, including the word "not".

What of the news regarding a mini ice Age from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory?

Education seems to be in America the only commodity of which the customer tries to get as little he can for his money.
Max Leon Forman (1909-1990) Jewish-American writer.

Mr. Shelby, I think you have lent great credence to this quotation.

Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

This story should be required reading for every member of the Senate Republican caucus, posted on the door of every hearing Senator Jungbauer chairs, and mailed to every household in his district.

whew! Skewered.
Resume-padders beware.

#10 That would require the R's to be able to read and comprehend scientific fact, not likely.

Greg (#11):

I expect that one could interpret Genesis depicting a flat earth, just as one could interpret the U.S. Constitution to be harmonious with Obamacare. Or, not.

To #1. Your point on the Maunder Minimum is timely. The news is all over the place and we journalists typically jump on the new thing. However, this is an old subject. in 1994 the National Academy of Sciences panel estimated that if a new solar minimum approached the level of 17th century low, the effect would be offset by two decades of CO2 loading in the atmosphere. A 2010 study showed by the late 21st century the Maunder Minimum would be offset by just one decade of continued CO2 loading.
National Research Council, Board on Global Change, Solar Influences on Global Climate: National Academy Press
Feulner, George and Rahmstorf (2010) "On the Effect of a New Grand Minimum in Solar Activity on the Future Climate of Earth.
Geophysical Research Letters #37

@#8
Yes, what of it? The supposed "mini ice age" is a mere prediction, whereas global warming is a measurable phenomenon. I will note the obvious lack of specifics, let alone evidence, provided in your post regarding the "mini ice age." A cold winter does not indicate a trend. Sun spot cycles have unknown consequences, and even if they do, there's little we can do to affect those consequences. We DO know, however, that increased atmospheric CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere, and we CAN affect that.

Yes, we do know that mini ice ages have happened, even as recently as medievel times. While it's hard to know exactly the cause and the depth of the mini ice age during that time, it is generally thought to be a minor cooling, and may not have been a global phenomenon. If you look at the calculated temperatures, the cooling trend (and the warming trend immediately afterward) was not very sharp at all. Especially if you compare it to the modern warming trend.
A general reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age
(Disclaimer: Wikipedia is a convenient source of information, but all cited sources within an article should be vetted before swallowing whole.)

Great reporting! It's nice to see one of these fake scientists exposed. The really sad part is that it's taken this long for anyone to expose his education credentials for what they are, fake. It's things like this that make me love MinnPost.

...water and sewer treatment specialist..

Even that is being generous. He seems to be more of a salesman than anything else. You need a professional engineers license to design, operate or modify water and sewage treatment systems.

A good report. We need more reporting on the background from which out legislators opine.

His bio: http://www.votesmart.org/bio.php?can_id=38489

In taking the estimable Senator to task, the commentors here make the mistake of assuming that the words someone speaks should correspond to some underlying reality. There is no underlying reality, as you would know if you have read the works of Derrida, Foucault and Bachmann. And Mr. Shelby, next thing you will be telling me that the guy who does my heart bypass should have taken some college biology classes or some radical leftist conspiracy thing like that. Sheesh.

Jungbauer and his ilk are bad enough. They are, however, part of a growing trend, exemplified primarily by the right wing of the Republican party (redundant?) to deny science as a basis for any decisions. I fear for the future of my two year old grandson.

I rode by MIT on a tour bus once. Guess that I could be an astro-physicist!

Regarding this mini ice-age thing. "Mini" is the operative word, it means small and limited. By definition it doesn't reverse or alter long term trends. Furthermore, as an element of instability it's actually predicted by the climate change models. Increasing intensity and wild fluctuation were predicted. If anything a mini-ice age would confirm rather than refute the predominant climate models. The over-all global trend would still be warming.

I'd like to be invited to the debate between Jungbauer and Dr Abraham. Talk about a lamb to the slaughter.

I'd like to see Steve Rose there, too.

@#16:

"A cold winter does not indicate a trend"

True, anecdotal data should never be relied upon, unless it supports your position.

I have provided a link to data and charted data from 1820 to present, for anyone interested to look.

Climate Stations:

http://www.climatestations.com/minneapolis/

@15: The 1994 Maunder Minimum discussion may be old news, but the fact that it appears to be occurring presently is not.

NASA:

http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml

To what extent this may inhibit food production, due to a shortened growing season, is unclear.

Why doesn't the man-made global warming fanatics question their leaders' (Al Gore) technical expertise on climate? Last I heard he is a lawyer! Very flimsy to only question the skeptics' technical backgrounds. Read "Climategate" by an actual, real life, veteran climatologist - Brian Sussman.

Can't wait to watch that debate!! It's about time Science confronted Charlatanism — and got TV coverage.

Don, thanks for your deep research on this, and especially for having to spend time with Jungbauer. Must have been painful. Your sacrifice is appreciated.

#24, who the heck quoted Al Gore here? Nobody. But plenty of peer-reviewed science was cited.

And Gore's background is in journalism, not law.

Facts.

Don;
It's great to see someone put an ersatz soothsayer like Jungbauer to task on his global climatology pronouncements. If it isn't budget politics or new stadium diatribes I wonder when the Legislature will seriously consider looking at climate changes or global warming issues as they relate to Minnesota? I hope Jungbauer's ignorant snake-oil musings get their just derision.

I also wonder what the astute meteorologist, Paul Douglas, &/or the legendary [Ohio] broadcast meteorologist, Dick Goddard, have to say about global warming or climate changes?

Goddard made some climate change prognostications as early as the 1960's! Goddard, incidentally, was a TV weather pioneer with his frequent[daily] use of infant weather satellite technology. {IE Tiros series satellites pictures etc. along manually cine-photo production [looping] of sat photos for broadcast viewing.]

Douglas, the next generation broadcast meteorologist, went out of his way to accurately, objectively, and scientifically address the global climatological discourse and issues. His on-air approach was in a fair, straight-forward intelligent manner so that average listener could understand the science and subsequent ongoing debates that were globally taking place.

These two meteorologists were ahead of their times and in their science when looking uniquely and intelligently at the Earth's meteorological and environmental future.

It's unfortunate that mankind has gone recklessly hell-bent-for-leather and unheeding when it comes to climate issues and our changing global environments. Empirical climate change discourse can not be limited to 140 characters of a tweet text; neither can "sky is falling" Chicken Little mentality rule constructive debate.

Don, it's good to see you help setting us intelligently on the proverbial straight-&-narrow road to looking at what could be an environmental future headache. Now in view of recent scientific observations of solar flare cycle aberrations we all must intelligently look even more intensely at our fragile global meteorology and mankind's changing environmental future related to such.

@(#21):

"If anything a mini-ice age would confirm rather than refute the predominant climate models". Right, whether warmer or colder, everything that occurs in weather and climate is proof of global-warming. That is a bullet proof argument. Actually, the predominant climate models are not affirmed by the occurrence of a mini ice Age. An Age is a long time, and mini is a fraction of a long time.

The main purpose of pointing out the mini-Age is to illuminate the fact that humans are not the responsible for everything that occurs on Earth. It is the apogee of human arrogance to think that we have the power to dial down the thermostat.

We are a pretty big deal, but we might need to get over ourselves.

Thanks for outing Jungbauer, Don. The anti-intellectual, anti-science stance of so many on the right is maddening. I recall the official anti-science policies of the Bush-2 administration, which went so far as to send political "handlers" along when NASA scientists gave talks on global warming, as well as actively killing, censoring or burying government reports on the subject.

Clearly, our education system is failing us, at least with regard to early, basic science education. Human corruption, though, is in full flower, as is clearly seen in the oil industry sponsorship of denialist spokespersons such as Jungbauer.

I no longer waste time arguing with Denialists in comment pages such as this one, but there is humor value in showing them before & after photos of glacial and arctic areas from, say, 1900 vs. the present, and asking why all the ice is melting if the world is in fact cooling. The gymnastics involved in their answers make me laugh.

Science aside, it seems to me the denialists must also be too young to have much personal history to go on. Having lived in Minnesota for 5.5 decades, the winters of today are no match for the winters of the 60's and 70's.

As an aside, what is it with districts north of the Metro, anyway? Jungbauer is from East Bethel. Isn't Hackbarth from up that way too? The voters up there are sending some real prize specimens to St. Paul.

@#23
I'm not sure what Minnesota's climate has to do with global climate, except as a tiny piece. I think most Minnesotans aren't so vain as to believe that we set the trend for the rest of the world. That being said, while I had not been to that particular website, I had been to other websites that provide Minnesota climatological data. The data on both the site you provided and the ones I'd seen before support an upward temperature trend, particularly in the more northerly parts of the state. The reason I had looked was to see whether the data would support a claim that native wild rice stands may be receding due to a warming trend. And, in fact, they do. But, I hold no belief that Minnesota's trends are indicative of a global trend. Rather, the global trend speaks for itself; Minnesota is just part of it. Even if Minnesota's trend was downward, that would not support a position of global cooling in light of the big picture. It is expected that different localities will be affected differently.

I'm consistently amazed by those who believe humanity lacks the power to affect global climate. We are, after all, the species which put an end to the passenger pigeon in a matter of decades, almost eliminated the bald eagle and California condor, polluted our rivers to the point that one famously caught fire, and accomplished too many other environmental disasters to mention here. (Does anyone else remember milk having to be destroyed in the mid-20th century due to pollution caused by a single nuclear test halfway around the world?)

If you've got science to support the belief that global warming (a) is not occurring and (b) is not related to human activity, have at it. But if your sole argument is that it's too big a job for mankind to have accomplished, you'll have to explain why. History suggests otherwise.

"What of the news regarding a mini ice Age from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory?"

Besides the fact that they never said anything about a mini ice age?

"We are NOT predicting a mini-ice age. We are predicting the behavior of the solar cycle. In my opinion, it is a huge leap from that to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood. My understanding is that current calculations suggest only a 0.3 degree C decrease from a Maunder-like minimum, too small for an ice age."-Frank Hill

Steve #29, nice try, but no one is claiming that humans are responsible for everything that happens on earth. However, many of us listen carefully when the vast majority of learned climatologists state that (1) the earth is warming, (2) the cause is increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, (3) humans seem to be largely responsible for the increase, and (4) the dynamic is a positive feedback cycle that will compound the problem in a short time.

I don't know about dialing the thermostat down, but I'm persuaded, as are the climatologists, that it is eminently possible for humans to dial it up. Humans are responsible for acid rain, the huge increase in mercury in the atmosphere, the holes in the ozone layer, and the sudden and major increase in lead in the environment that led to its phase out in gasoline. Humans can and do cause major dislocations on our planet. You don't have to agree. It's still true.

Still hoping to see you at the debate. I hope you ask Dr. Abraham lots of questions. Trust me, he'll engage you, as long as you can avoid repeating yourself.

Don, I hope you intend to push Jungbauer on the debate. He doesn't need to take any time for "reading" if he's such an expert now that he can lecture people in his committee meetings and go on YouTube with his blatherings.

They want their own 'facts' and their own 'science'.

And people wonder why the legislature cannot find common ground.

How can they when they live on different planets?

//The main purpose of pointing out the mini-Age is to illuminate the fact that humans are not the responsible for everything that occurs on Earth.

Steve, please, surely you see the difference between a climate model which exists, and a claim that humans are responsible for EVERYTHING that occurs on earth which does not exist. Just because we note that humans caused the nuclear explosion over Hiroshima doesn't mean that someone is claiming humans caused the explosion of Krakatoa. Argue with the real climate model, not the one in your imagination.

by the way Steve, maybe you explain this: what's so great about pollution? The worse case scenario here is that global warming turns out to be "man made" to a lesser extent than the models indicate. In that scenario we end up with a more efficient energy grid, more reliable and sustainable energy sources, and cleaner air, water, and food. Regardless of global warming, why do you want to preserve a disfunctional, polluted, and unsustainable statu quo?

Don,

Great article - seems like you have identified a "paper tiger" in that what is stated on paper cannot be substantiated in real life. Has Jungbauer responded to any of your comments, and if so, will you be providing the response in a follow-up article? While I hope his constituents are reading this and they are proud of what they have accomplished by placing him in office, its scary that he is in a position to influence ongoing opinion and policy.

Mr. Shelby,

I sent you an email about this, but perhaps you've missed it. Your piece includes several outright falsehoods about The Heartland Institute. You can read our rebuttal here: http://blog.heartland.org/2011/06/minnpost-coms-don-shelby-needs-to-issu...

But, in short:

The Heartland Institute is not "fossil-fuel funded." Heartland was founded 27 years ago, before “global warming” was even an issue — and even that issue is but one of a dozen we address. Heartland has not received money from Koch or Scaife in more than a decade, and none from ExxonMobil since 2006 — all of which predates any association we've had with Sen. Jungbauer.

And S. Fred Singer has NEVER stated that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. He has stated that current epidemiological research does not prove that exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke increases cancer risks. Big difference.

One more thing: It's the INTERGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change, not "international." For someone ripping others for not having their facts straight, that's embarrassing.

Jim Lakely
Director of Communications
The Heartland Institute

#27 The point of the article was that a leading skeptic in MN is not a "scientist". The godfather of this hoax is a journalist (I stand corrected), but somehow it's just fine he's not a "scientist". Huh?

Will (#30):

Yes, I understand that you are aligned with the majority opinion global-warming dogma. And, the majority is always right; just ask the minority or anyone daring to doubt the dogma. They have been told.

BTW, the role of carbon dioxide is a theory. Real scientist admit to gaps in knowledge, and try to fill those gaps.

Perhaps you are familiar with the conclusions of UN COP15 climate summit (Copenhagen): limit any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times. It seems that at least some of us humans think we control the thermostat.

Paul (#32):

What is so great about pollution? Paul, you must be reading between the lines, or more likely outside the margins and off the page.

It is the wrong-headed policies with which I disagree, like sham carbon policies and $7500 tax credits for people buying $40,000 electric cars. Dwelling in debt and deficit, the USA is borrowing money to hand out, and getting little or nothing in return.

A study recently published found that electric vehicles could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than gasoline/diesel equivalents because of the energy consumed in making their batteries.

An excerpt from a June 10, 2011 report regarding the study:

"The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed."

The link:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/electric-cars-may-no...

Steve #41, see you at the debate, yo!

yo (#42):

Some suggested reading for your debate preparation:

http://www.suite101.com/content/greenhouse-gas-theory-discredited-by-coo...

An excerpt:

"Science professor, a former global warming believer now denier, publishes groundbreaking paper to prove carbon dioxide cools, not warms, our atmosphere.

"Professor Nasif Nahle found something deeply troubling about the man-made global warming theory (AGW). He explains, “I started out wanting to debunk those deniers of science.”

Nahle had originally believed that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) were warming the atmosphere until he found an incorrect assumption within the greenhouse effect hypothesis.

Invited to attend a televised debate on the Indonesian Tsunami that addressed whether global warming was a factor in that catastrophe, Nahle checked the validity of calculations relating to the combined reactions of certain atmospheric gases to solar radiation in the so-called greenhouse effect. “That was when I saw it was junk science.”

Michael Jungbauer is just a minor, mini version, of Al Gore. Both are mere politicians that will use any available information that can be easily twisted to support their pet causes.

Mr. Shelby,

Have you ever read anything from Steve McIntrye?

http://climateaudit.org/

Show me how that "skeptic" is as full of "hot air" as Jungbaur and Gore and I'll believe you have a balanced opinion.

Wasn't there a unofficial journalism school adage that went something like
"Why is this ....... lying to me and what do they have to gain from doing it?"

I don't see you applying that to both sides.

Regarding The Heartland Institute's funding sources (contested in Comment #39), it looks like Wikipedia has a well cited round up of funders:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heartland_Institute#Funding

#45. You're going with Wikipedia as your source? Good idea. It's never wrong. (/sarcasm)

What are Don's climate credentials? i see that he is a member of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team roundtable. Peculiar sounding name, considering that one can respond rapidly to weather, but perhaps less rapidity is required for climate.

I came across this interesting article regarding the American Geophysical Union, "AGU backs away from “climate rapid response team” citing faulty reporting".

An excerpt:

“In contrast to what has been reported in the LA Times and elsewhere, there is no campaign by AGU against climate skeptics or congressional conservatives,” says Christine McEntee, Executive Director and CEO of the American Geophysical Union. “AGU will continue to provide accurate scientific information on Earth and space topics to inform the general public and to support sound public policy development.”

The link:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/08/agu-backs-away-from-climate-rapid-...

It seems that the AGU is interested in science and the rapid response team is interested in political science, which includes "faulty reporting" as a key element.

My SD 48 Senator.

Don't blame me, I voted last election for Peter Perovich, before that for Mike Starr; each time the DFL challenger.

This guy had a campaign treasurer who does have credentials, Harry Niska, who now is SD 48 admin head. How Harry could put that role on his resume is a puzzle to me.

Jungbauer in the past cosponsored with Michele Bachmann [while she was in the Minnesota Senate] a bill to teach the "Intelligent Design" hoked up flavor of creattionism in the Minnesota Schools as if it were science.

That bogus! And then some. He and Bachmann are fruit from the same tree.

I say, root it out yesterday. It produces divisive idiocy.

More on Jungbauer and Bachmann on wanting to propogate the intelligent design hoax under the guise of it being science - 83d session, SF 1714.

This legislative link:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/revisor/pages/search_status/status_detail.php...

It was based on the "Santorum language," see these Wikipedia entries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Santorum#Intelligent_design

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorum_Amendment

Shelby, ask Jungbauer about that. Ask him whether global thermal change and atmospheric carbon dioxide loading are human error, "unintelligently designed."

I cannot forgive any of the four bill sponsors for that attempted abuse of student minds.

@#46
I'll note that the letter to Mr. Shelby DOES NOT DENY that the Heartland Institute was sponsored by those listed in Mr. Shelby's article. Rather, it states that the HI has not received funds from those entities since at least 2005, prior to HI's association with Jungbauer. However, that HI has been associated with the likes of the Koch Bros., Exxon/Mobile, and Scaife, and later Jungbauer, lays out a pattern of funding and association of HI with those that would deny global warming on the basis of 1. politics, and/or 2. economics/profit. Note that none of those are based on science or fact. This makes HI a dubious source of global warming support AT BEST. So, yes, the points Mr. Shelby makes regarding Jungbauer's association/reliance on HI are valid and concerning.

As for S. Fred Singer's claims regarding second hand smoke...what a crock and a completely ridiculous distinction for HI to make. We DO KNOW (and have for a LONG time) that first hand smoke--even "filtered"--causes cancer. We do know that second hand smoke is unfiltered. We do know that some people, for example children of smokers and people who work at jobs where there are a lot of smokers, inhale levels of smoke that are near those that smokers inhale (maybe more in some cases). Even if we can't ethically stick non-smokers in a box to test the hypothesis, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that second-hand smoke has at least the same potential to cause cancer as first-hand smoke. And even if we were to deny the reasoned approach just laid out, there ARE epidemiological studies that DO show that second-hand smoke increases the risk of various cancers in at least some situations. (I could easily post many, many links to scholarly articles...but I'll leave you with search terms and an easy search site:
"cancer epidemiological second-hand smoke" on http://scholar.google.com )

Finally, I'll state that I fully hope that Mr. Shelby corrects some minor inaccuracies. However, I don't think those inaccuracies equate to lies or require some sort of apology.

On the global warming debate, calling out both sides is merited.

On global warming and a carbon emissions quota system, I think there can be intelligent debate.

Not, however, from the perspective of denying that peak oil and carbon dioxide trending since the start of the industrial revolution are worries. That is simply shortsighted.

However, on imposing global constraints on carbon emissions, and having a carbon emissions trading market, taxing emissions, etc., being honest with the US public is required. By imposing lower energy quotas upon our nation the global system is consigning the next generations in the nation to a lesser standard of living than the Baby Boomers had, and the WW II generation before them had.

And running around Chicken Little fashion, "The carbon is loading, the carbon is loading, is beyond counterprodutive. It is pure folly without being honest in facing policy options, infrastructure costs of renewable energy, the entire nuclear fuel cycle including long-lived isotope disposal and plutonium proliferation and weapons implications, integrating solar and wind into the grid including transmission line expansion from where the sun is most intense and the wind strongest to the population centers; all that, in minute detail.

Politicians on both sides disingenuously duck the hard questions. And blow smoke.

The deniers are the worse. The "hide the hard truths" folks on the other side are a step less bad, but not a big step.

The yes-it-is vs. no-it-isn't debate is stupid and all the while unreplenishible petroleum is being pumped and it has better use than being burned, such as structural plastics for infrastructure, and other chemical uses. Look at plumbing in homes now, it is all mostly resin, not metal.

If concrete and steel, both requiring much energy to get to market, are to be aims to allow infrastructure to upgrade planet-wide, then energy put into the internal combustion joy-ride needs to be curbed.

An entire revaluation of what we are doing is needed worldwide, and the economic implications of moving from a petroleum - natural gas high-consumption economy need attention.

The Republicans are all too ready to focus on the deniers as favorites, because big oil owns the party. Witness the Koch brothers and their obscene intent and reach.

We need to get it together before the earth punishes us.

Anyone who knows anything at all about dynamical systems knows that attractors can have an overlap region which if crossed will fit the system into a largely different equilibrium well, and if we move wrongly to where we abandon a known equilibrium region into an unknown alternative; the repercussions, economically and ecologically, can be staggering - world wide, affecting everyone who breaths, eats and needs drinking water.

This man has misrepresented himself and lied about his qualifications while in public service. Is there no recourse for those who need honest and objective working representation in their Legislature?

Do the lies have to be about sex to ask for resignation? Could we expect at least an apology to the citizens who elected him?

Global cooling was all the rage in the Seventies and guys sold a lot of books. Now there's more money to be made than ever, Algore has become a billionaire and we have schoolchildren thinking the world will end. Way to go Progs! It's a Prog Prog Prog Prog world. *Ribbit*

The man has two separate LinkedIn pages online, one looking scaled back from the other:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-jungbauer/a/640/106

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-jungbauer/a/b56/910

I am not a LinkedIn member, so I cannot see full pages. That latter link says:

"Education
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Metropolitan State University
Anoka Ramsey Community College"

I took screenshots today.

The article says nothing about the U, Twin Cities campus. What's that about? Is it legit or puffed or tainted?

//"Mr. Shelby,

Have you ever read anything from Steve McIntrye?"//

A simple yes or no will do.

Most frightening to me is that "we" elected this guy! Most of us would do some research before hiring a contractor, a day care provider, or surgeon. We would look at licences, education, ratings, experience. But when it comes to politics we do not do a very good job of screening and evaluating applicants for these very important jobs. We vote for the guy with charisma, the one we'd want "to have a beer with." It is embarrassing.

Senator Jungbauer seems to go out of his way to give himself credentials and the air of authority that comes with them. He unfortunately fails to recognize the research done by those that have earned actual academic honors. Its a confusing message: Don't listen to the experts, they don't know what they're talking about but listen to me, I'm an expert... There is some interesting psychology going on there.

The anti-scientific, anti-intellectual (in the thinking sense) movement of which Jungbauer seems to be a standard bearer is frightening. If the supporters of his views here and elsewhere were concerned with the facts of the matter they would be appalled by his fakery and by his being a representative of their views. The mechanisms of the scientific method weed out fake science from real science, over time producing the facts on which our modern world depends (what geology favors finding oil, what structural loading steel can take, what the real causes of disease are, etc.) That science knows not borders or politics. Should the deniers win out here while the rest of the world enhances the study of science by their citizens we shall slip further behind in future discoveries. Ideology has shown itself unable to compete directly with science. (Nuclear weapons being one example, like it or not they work). But science is not policy. The medical determination that smoking cigarettes is a cause of cancer does not directly tell us what to do about it as a society. The first step is to inform our policy debates with solid science. There was plenty of fake science at the start of the tobacco/cancer discussions, all funded by Tobacco. The delay caused by that fake science enabled big Tobacco to make billions and kill millions.

Likewise the first step in managing our pollution is to accept the scientific understanding such as it exists, and to sort out what is bogus. Only then can we proceed to policy. Jungbauer is a roadblock to that process, to the detriment of all of us, just as the pro-smoking "scientists" were a couple of generations ago.

It is hard for the layman to assess global warming as the time frame is slow and the evidence scattered. For those uncertain, I would say look at the glaciers of the world. Where they were 50 years ago, and where they are now. Go to Glacier Park, Montana. Before they have to change the name.

Perhaps I miss the point but the article seems to be more about Mr. Jungbauer’s claims regarding his training and profession than about the existence or not of global warming.

I find the examination like this of a political figure to be refreshing and informative.

For those who think it’s a liberal plot to pants ‘the other side’ consider that Mr. Shelby could easily be sharpening his pencil on the hide of someone on the other side of the isle.

Mr. Jungbauer isn’t the first charlatan to serve in the Minnesota Legislature, nor is it likely that he is the only one currently serving. Won’t be the last either is suspect.

(#56):

An inept contractor can burn down your house, and a dishonest one can leave town with your money. Legislators are not nearly as frightening. Each legislator is 1 in 201, and the work of the legislative bodies can be vetoed by the governor. Since Jungbauer was last elected in a year ending in 0, he is serving a two year term. You can vote him out of office in 2012.

Democracy is not a lot like hiring a contractor, and not nearly as frightening.

Fact: Warming and cooling cycles have always occurred on Earth long before mankind existed and added any green house gas to the atmosphere. These same natural forces are as active in our time as they were in antiquity. No one argues about the fact that the Earth has been in a warming cycle since the decline of the glacial age about 12,000 years ago. Nobody can prove that mankind is causing the current warming period, which began thousands of years before man’s industrial activity started. The facts about confirmed climate warming does not prove that mankind is the cause. Over-the-top emotions by doomsayers does not change the facts about natural cycles that always occurred with or without mankind’s presence. These doomsayers don’t understand the geological history of our planet, and the highly complex intertwined forces that are not well understood by science even today. There has never been just one overriding factor driving Earth’s historical warming and cooling periods. It is ludicrous to single out CO2 as the overriding factor. During the primary period of the dinosaurs, the Earth’s climate was much warmer than it is now, and I don’t think these beasts were driving cars and burning fossil fuels for energy. The doomsayers of man-caused global warming seem to want more taxation, more government, more regulations in the name of their “cause.” What frightens me is not the warming or cooling climate, but these socialists, that want regulations to control every aspect of our lives with bigger government, and taxation so high the golden goose of our free enterprise system dies forever. It’s the socialists that frighten me, not the climate change. I earned an environmental science degree from our Univ. of MN, and I do not agree with the climate doomsayers. Glacial ages have occurred about 4 times in the last 60,000 years. It’s been about 12,000 years since the last one, and a little longer in some parts of the Earth. In a few thousand years, we might understand Earth’s climate cycles better when the next glacial age begins again. Don Shelby’s article about Senator Jungbauer added nothing to the body of knowledge about climate change. Even the Star Tribune tries to report both sides of most issues. Some call it fair and balanced. Sadly, Shelby only reports one side of the story. Senator Jungbauer is fully entitled to share his ideas and learning journey with others. It is a good that Senator Jungbauer is balancing the over charged emotional doomsayers.

//What is so great about pollution? Paul, you must be reading between the lines, or more likely outside the margins and off the page.

No Steve, I'm reading your statement: "The main purpose of pointing out the mini-Age is to illuminate the fact that humans are not the responsible for everything that occurs on Earth."

Since the climate change model is not predicated on the premise that everything that occurs on earth is caused by human behavior you entire argument appears to mute. This high school debate stuff get tedious quickly. Good luck Mr. Shelby.

Once again, for all those here who are likewise enthralled with their own high school debate skills- the scientific consensus since something like 1995 has been that global warming is in fact occurring, and that human activity is causing it. The recent climate report only confirms that conclusion. Could that conclusion be wrong? Sure. But when you make public policy, and given the fact that we only have one planet here, you have to go with the best evidence you have. All these denials are simply apologies for a dysfunctional economic and environmental model. Again, what's so great about pollution? Why would argue that policies that create pollution are somehow more "reasonable" than policies that control it? Regardless of global warming our current policies are not sustainable, so why argue for the status quo?

Paul (#62):

I know that you won't take it from me, so I will offer you some assistance from languagerules:

http://languagerules.wordpress.com/2006/09/25/moot-point-not-mute-point/

An excerpt, "I haven’t heard this myself, but my friend Celeste has and it’s so hilarious it deserves a blog entry.

Apparently Celeste has heard people say, “It’s a mute point.”

That’s “mute” pronounced “mee-yoot” as in remaining silent.

The correct term is “moot point” and the correct first word, its spelling, and pronunciation is “moot.” Like adding T to the end of what a cow would say."

Irregardless of the topic Paul, those with whom you disagree are engaging in high school debate. I don't find that to be the effective counter that you think it to be.

I have never made a statement in support of pollution. The whole climate change agenda is predicated on human cause. Why else would we be told to stop or reduce that which we do?

"Good luck Mr. Shelby."

//Since the climate change model is not predicated on the premise that everything that occurs on earth is caused by human behavior you entire argument appears to mute.//

Yet in his last post Mr. Shelby wrote this...

"When reporters like me ask the question, "Was the flood, or the drought or the tornadoes caused by global warming?" The scientists now respond, "No single event can be attributed to global warming, but we told you this was going to happen."

Nice to have it both ways. Makes it a lot easier to keep the money flowing!

Steve #63,

If you wanted do know what a "moot' point is, you could've asked, I'da told ya. Beyond that you're entire argument is a denial of human climate effects, and is therefore a de facto defense of the status quo- which is a heavily polluted environment. So yes, you are defending pollution by arguing that it is irrelevant and or too expensive to reduce. If you were actually arguing for sensible public policy you would acknowledge the preponderance of evidence and the scientific consensus instead of pretending to be a climate scientist in your spare time.

Another think about the "mini-ice age" of the 70s. The important thing is to note that despite that little cooling period, here we are 40 years later 2 degrees warmer than we were then, and the we've just had the warmest decade on record. The long term trend is clear.

Tim #64,

Again with the high school debate stuff- grabbing a quote and de-contextualizing it. Climate scientist have been predicting more extreme weather as result of global warming for decades. They do not claim to have predicted any particular weather event like a tornado, food, or hurricane, merely that the incidence and severity will increase, as they have. Climate scientists routinely point out that they cannot attribute any particular event to global warming, but are describing trends, real trends. This is what the quote you cite is referring to.

If you step back from a tit for tat debate mentality for five minutes you may be able to understand the information at your disposal.

Just to clarify-

The quote in question is from a farcical IT website, which also posted the following satirical articles:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/08/farting_carbon_camels/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/21/man_bird_death/

Preponderance of evidence and consensus? Are we talking about science, or is this a conversation about law and politics. Same regarding the idea of a debate; is science decided by debate; is science operated like a democracy?

Paul, I made no reference to the 70's mini-ice Age, but I think a look farther back to the 50's is instructive regarding this idea of weather-weirding. What year had the most major Atlantic hurricanes? 1950. Here we are 60 years later, and we think the weather is getting weird.

"The failure of temperatures to rise above 1998 levels while emissions of carbon dioxide have gone up is an indication the gas is just “one factor out of hundreds” that determine the Earth’s temperature, according to former U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staff member Marc Morano." (Dec. 2009)

//Preponderance of evidence and consensus? Are we talking about science, or is this a conversation about law and politics. Same regarding the idea of a debate; is science decided by debate; is science operated like a democracy?

See, this is the problem Steve, you guys don't understand that climate change is NOT a political phenomena. And you clearly don't understand what science is, or how it functions. I don't have the space here to explain it to you, you should could read a book that will explain the basics of scientific investigation and the nature and function of scientific consensus.

To answer a part of your question, no, it's not about arguments, it's about making observations and either confirming or disconfirming those observations. Sometimes there's disagreement but scientific consensus is evidence based, science is not an adversarial process, hence the futility of a high school debate approach to scientific evidence.

//"The failure of temperatures to rise above 1998 levels...

Again, your looking at one year average instead of the trend. Marc Morano's an idiot. The climate model PREDICTS fluctuations the one seen in 1998.

The warming trend is obvious, and it coincides with rise of CO2. This have been clearly charted by NASA:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png

Paul:

Thanks for the wikipedia link; you argue science like a liberal arts major.

Don is very fond of the coined phrase "weather weirding". There is no limit to the anecdotal data that can be used to make the case for weather weirding, especially in Minnesota. Wouldn't it be weird if everyday this summer was average? That's never happened before; that would be weird. The high temperature in Minneapolis yesterday (June 23) was 57; that's weird.

I think a better term is "whether weirding", because whether it is hot or cold, wet or dry, windy, or calm, any day that is not average can be considered to be weird. Weird is the perfect non-specific term, which warm mongers can invoke as they spread their gospel, working to convert to deniers to true believers.

As Chicken Little would say, the sky is falling!

#70 Steve,
I'm thinking high school grad looking at a liberal arts major.

#65 Paul,
If you knew anything about statistical analysis you would know that "real trends" for a 5 billion year old planet cannot be derived from a couple hundred years of good data. Remember the old saying... "Lies, damn lies, and statistics."

#68
Perhaps it's you, that needs to read a book. Try something from Mario Perez Wilson. Pay particular attention to the gauge R&R part.

Nice Job, Mr. Shelby. This article was so inspiring I wrote a whole blog post on it. I hope Don's perspective gets a wide audience. http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/07/minnesota_agw_denialist_jungba...

Steve @#62--Do you recognize how silly it is to make a point out of the use of the term "mute" instead of "moot," when you yourself use the term "irregardless," which is a double negative? We all know what each of you meant, and in terms of the overall argument, it's a pretty juvenile point to make.

The point of the article is that, at best, Jungbauer is simply waving his hands at a problem that he probably knows nothing about, and at worst, he's an outright charlatan. I, personally, am pretty sure it's closer to the latter.

Mike @60--Your environmental science degree is closer to expertise than Mr. Jungbauer's education, but it's still pretty far from a degree, let alone an understanding, of climatology. Regardless of whether we are the sole cause of global warming, we are at least partially responsible for the RATE of global warming. That RATE is the issue. I don't claim to be an expert at all, but I am as close to an expert in these matters as you are. If I was to ignore the plethora of EXPERTS and formed my own opinion based solely on the data and my own training as a scientist, I'd still come to the conclusion that we are affecting the RATE of warming, a rate that we CAN slow, and if we don't, we will affect the survivability of many species, including, ultimately, our own. Of course, I would also come to the conclusion that we'd be the last to go, but that simply means we'd suffer the longest. You may be looking forward to a world filled with extreme famine and uninhabitability, but I'd like to imagine that there is also some sort of future that includes trees and birds and such.

Rachel:

Meriam-Webster sees it differently. An excerpt:

"Usage Discussion of IRREGARDLESS
Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose."

Meanwhile, "mute point' is hilarious. A point that is silent is not a point.