A few weeks ago, President Barack Hussein Obama gave the commencement address at University of California at Irvine (UCI). His theme was climate change is man-made, it is real, it is a serious threat, and the young graduates from UCI should do something about it. [Update - 6/22/2014: Added lie number 13: President said solar in California reached 18 percent of total consumption in California -- see below for more -- end update ]
[Update - 6/28/2014 - added link to nuclear power articles; see point 11 below]
A friend and colleague, a UCI alumnus in chemical engineering, asked me to review the commencement speech and offer my comments on where the President is wrong. The speech is long, but I have excerpted a dozen whoppers (lies, false statements) and make some comments below.
How can the statements be labeled as false, as lies? The evidence shows the statements are false. A US President is expected to appoint the best people available to advisory positions, but modern Presidents such as Obama appoint those with his own political agenda. This is unfortunate for the progress of science and discovery. However, eventually, Nature wins. Or as we say in baseball terms, Nature bats last.
The twelve false statements, with Obama's statement in italics, my comments below:
1) "you already know the science. Burning fossil fuels release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide traps heat. Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are higher than they’ve been in 800,000 years."
BS (Bad Science) The change of CO2 since 1950 has been steadily upward while global temperature – as measured by the scientists themselves – shows ups, downs, and stagnant periods. Any competent engineer knows that CO2 cannot control temperature. The second part of that statement addresses current CO2 levels (400 ppm) as greater than the past 800,000 years. This is based on dubious ice-core samples. It is mere supposition that measured gas samples from bubbles trapped in the ice are representative of the atmosphere at that time.
[UPDATE 6/22/2014: . 13) "And this state, California, is so far ahead of the rest of the country in solar, that earlier this year solar power met 18 percent of your total power demand one day."
BS. Off by a factor of 3, roughly. Possibly just wrong information, though. The fact is that California has installed more and more solar-generated power, both PV and thermal. The highest amount generated thus far, appears to be from 6/19/2014 when combined solar (PV plus thermal) produced 44,500 MWh. That is barely 6.4 percent of the total power demand that day of 694,697 MWh. Note that June 19 is near the summer solstice where hours of sunshine are the greatest. June is also not the hottest month (that is typically August) so total demand is not at the peak. One could expect, then, that mid-June will usually have the greatest solar energy as a percent of total energy consumed.
However, total renewable power on that same day was 17.4 percent, where renewables are comprised of solar, wind, small hydroelectric, geothermal, biogas and biomass. Note that large hydroelectric does not count, at least not in California. see link for daily results of renewable energy in California. -- end update ]