Former undersecretary for the Department of Energy under President Obama, Steven Koonin is dissenting from the Biden administration’s stance on the global “climate crisis,” saying the data do not support the “hysteria.”
“What I realized, is that, although you hear people talking about ‘we’re going to believe in the science, the science is settled, we’ve got an existential crisis’ – when you actually read the science, it doesn’t support that kind of hysteria at all,” he said in an interview with Fox News Thursday.
Koonin, a physicist and professor at New York University, said he began extensively researching climate trends in 2014, prompting him to write his latest book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.
The veteran scientist explained that the data in the assessment reports provided by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S.’s National Climate Assessment do not support drastic calls for countering climate change, as outlined in President Biden’s latest climate plan.
Koonin said that temperatures are rising globally and have risen by roughly 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. But he argued that even as the earth was warming and continues to warm, mankind has been able to make immense advances, expanding food sources and access to electricity.
“Eventually we will probably need to do something about this, but the scope and scale of what the Biden administration proposed for the U.S., I think is just not there in the data,” he said. Adding, “It’s not there in the science.”
“I prefer to see us take a much more measured and thoughtful approach to doing this,” Koonin said.
Biden announced Thursday he plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, by relying on greener technologies and rethinking U.S. infrastructure.
He plans to invest in union jobs and the middle class by expanding job opportunities while advancing “environmental justice.”
But Koonin argues this is not necessarily feasible.
“The ambition to have a high percent of weather-dependent renewables on the electrical grid is something I would question,” he said. “The wind doesn’t blow all the time, the sun doesn’t shine all the time. And you’ve got to have backup systems for when that happens.”
Koonin explained that ensuring backups to the renewable energy providers increases the cost of the energy grids as a whole – something he said will also make the change harder for developing countries to achieve.
The NYU professor explained that the fight for clean energy is a “secondary priority” in countries throughout Africa and the Middle East.
“40 percent of the world’s population, don’t have adequate energy,” he said, adding that projections show that as underdevelopment nations progress, energy use globally is going to go up by 50 percent come the middle of the century.
“Eighty percent of the world’s energy come from fossil fuels,” Koonin said, noting to the massive number of jobs created by the fossil fuel industry.
“That’s the nub of the problem — because those developing countries account for half of the emissions now — who’s going to pay the developing countries not to emit?” he questioned.
Koonin said the U.S. needs to start exploring geoengineering options that could help cool the earth — a topic he devotes a chapter to in his book.
One option is to make the planet more reflective by releasing aerosols into the atmosphere.
The second option he thinks the science community needs to better understand, is how to pull carbon dioxide out of the air.
“I think we need to understand them better,” Koonin said, adding it would be good to “have the tool in your arsenal.”