The interview starts with Happer saying:
I would like history to remember me as an honest scientist.
Given what he says in the rest of the interview, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be remembered as a competent scientist, so maybe going for “honest scientist” is wise. On the other hand, if these emails are genuine, he might want to go for “I would like to not be remembered at all”.
He goes on to say
Since the year 1800, the Earth has warmed by about 1 degree Celsius. Some fraction of the warming is due to more atmospheric CO2 from burning fossil fuels, but most of the warming is probably due to the same natural forces that have always controlled the Earth’s changeable climate.
Really? What are these natural forces that have always controlled the Earth’s changeable climate? As a physicist you’d like to think that he would understand that long-term warming requires some kind of radiative response; you can’t simply heat the atmosphere and surface and hope it won’t then cool back down again. So if there are natural forces that produce long-term warming, what are they and how do thet operate, and why do they operate when the underlying warming is natural, but not when it’s anthropogenic?
Rather bizarrely, he then says
And it would take a century or two to double CO2 concentrations at the current rate of burning fossil fuels.
We’re currently increasing atmospheric CO2 at more than 2ppm/year. Hence at current rates it will take no more than a further 80 years to have doubled CO2 relative to pre-industrial levels. However, we expect the airborne fraction to increase as we continue to emit CO2. Hence it could take considerably less than 80 years. It will also depend on how much we emit in the coming years; it’s certainly quite possible that we could double atmospheric CO2 (relative to pre-industry) in the next few decades.
He then discusses how much warming we’d expect from a doubling of CO2, saying
From the point of view of the alarmist establishment, that increase of 1 C is disappointingly small, so, they have invented many scenarios that supposedly give more warming. The present party line is that the increase would land between 1.5 C and 4 C.
Does he really think there will be no feedbacks to anthropogenically-driven warming, or that there is a good chance of them being negative? Does he genuinely think it is simply some kind of “party line” that has established that the likely warming due to a doubling of CO2 will be between 1.5C and 4C, rather than actual scientific research? Has he actually considered water vapour, lapse rate, clouds, and the other feedbacks that are expected to operate.
It then goes from the bizarre to the ridiculous
We have no more ability to prevent climate change than King Canute had to stop the tide from rising.
Ummm, no, we could stop emitting 10s of billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmophere. It might be very difficult to do so, but it’s certainly not impossible.
All the observational evidence is that CO2 has a relatively small effect on temperature.
Umm, no, this is very obviously not true.
Actually, so much of what he says is so bizarre and wrong that I probably don’t need to waste any more time highlighting more of it. To get back to the basic theme of the post, his final question is about why so many people feel differently to him; Are they just all wrong?, to which he responds
Yes, they are wrong, …
Physicists; well, some of them, at least!