Energy. Environment. Economy.

DEP Secretary Michael Krancer Clarifies Views on Climate Change

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

DEP Secretary Michael Krancer speaks about transforming shuttered oil refineries to shale gas processing plants in Delaware County.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer went before the House and Senate appropriations committees this week to discuss his agency’s budget, but he soon found himself pressed on the issue of climate change.

At a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Greg Vitali (D- Delaware County) pointedly asked Krancer  whether or not he agreed with this statement from a National Academy of Sciences report:

Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems.

Krancer seemed reluctant to agree.

“It is a compound statement,” he said,  ”I’d have to study it and look at it myself.”

Later on in the hearing, Rep. Matt Bradford (D- Montgomery County) brought it up again.

“Climate change. Is it real?”

“Representative, I couldn’t be more clear,” Krancer replied, “the lowering of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions is a good thing.”

“You couldn’t be more opaque!” shouted Bradford.

After he spoke at Thursday’s Senate budget hearing, Krancer explained his position to StateImpact Pennsylvania.

“[Scientists have] concluded that the world is getting warmer,” he said, “They’ve also concluded that human activity contributes greenhouse gas and carbon emissions to the atmosphere. I agree with that.”

But he went on to express a sense of uncertainty.

“There is no uniformity within the scientific community on how much the warming is occurring,” said Krancer, “And there’s no agreement about how much is attributable to the human part of it and how much is attributable to other factors.”

But actually, there is wide agreement in the scientific community.

The most widely cited and broadest scientific consensus comes from a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which found:

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations

Bob Henson is a meteorologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who writes about climate change. He says the uncertainty in the scientific community comes from what the future holds.

But assuming a doubling of carbon emissions (which we are on track for) climate models predict the globe will warm somewhere between 3 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century.

“It’s not yet clear how quickly the climate will warm,” says Henson, “Both ends of the range are substantial warming by late century.”


  • Gary Gudalefsky

    And yet they still cannot explain the 17 years that temperatures have pretty much Flatlined, while CO2 continues to climb.

    • Camana

      Gary – are you looking at the updated HadAT radiosonde data or RSS or UAH?

    • tommyd

      Maybe because temperatures didn’t flatline, unless you ignore 15 of the 17 years you’re talking about.

    • Bucks Committe Sierrans

      Even if we ignore long-term trends and just look at the record-breakers, 1998 wasn’t the hottest year ever. Globally, 2010 and 2005 were tied for the hottest years on record.
      Though humans love record-breakers, they don’t, on their own, tell us much about trends — and it’s trends that matter when monitoring climate change. Trends only appear by looking at all the data, globally, and taking into account other variables — like the effects of El Niño or sunspot activity — not by cherry-picking single points.
      There’s also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators that can perhaps give us a better idea of how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans, for instance — due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called “thermal mass”) — tend to give a much more “steady” indication of the warming that is happening. When we look at ocean temperatures, records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there are no signs of it slowing anytime soon.

      • Camana

        Nice job plagiarizing Skeptical Science. Go check out the HadAT datajust updated with 2012 data for yourself. Several data sets now agree on 17 years without warming, where all the warming was supposed to be building up according to the IPCC physics. Get a clue.

  • Camana

    Are the models accurate? Mr. Henson’s case is built on climate models that are verified by whom? Didn’t we learn anything from believing financial models were infallible?
    The only statement from Mr. Henson that is not an assumption (read it closely) and is true with 100% certainty is, “It’s not yet clear how quickly the climate will warm,”. Isn’t that pretty much what Krancer said?

    • Bucks Committe Sierrans

      Michael E. Mann director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University has stated the following regarding models:

      Models have successfully reproduced global temperatures since 1900, by land, in the air and the oceans. “Models are simply a formalization of our best understanding of the processes that govern the atmosphere, the oceans, the ice sheets, etc.,” Mann said. He added that certain processes, such as how clouds will respond to changes in the atmosphere and the warming or cooling effect of clouds, are uncertain and different modeling groups make different assumptions about how to represent these processes.

      Even so, Mann said, certain predictions are based on physics and chemistry that are so fundamental, such as the atmospheric greenhouse effect, that the resulting predictions — that surface temperatures should warm, ice should melt and sea level should rise — are robust no matter the assumptions.

      • Camana

        ROTFLMAO What an amazing display of gish gallop and you plagiarized Richard H Hahn to boot. You are quite the piece of work.

  • Sean Indignado Kitchen

    Krancer is an idiot bought and paid for by the energy industry. This guy needs to resign or be forced out of office.

  • Liz Rosenbaum

    Agree to disagree! The real question: Is Pennsylvania’s rush to frack for natural gas increasing or decreasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere? It may be a cleaner fuel to burn (until it explodes) but it’s certainly not a clean fuel to frack from the ground. One glimpse at infrared video of a fracking site demonstrates how much gas is released, intentionally and otherwise. Are we really willing to bet it all on the drillers’ best practices, minimal air sampling and lousy DEP record-keeping? This seems ignorant and brash when we are so perilously close to a climate tipping point.

    • phunnyphilly

      Carbon is carbon. It was underground for millions of years and now we’re extracting and burning it and returning the combustion products (i.e. CO2) back to the atmosphere from whence they came 200+ million years ago. Guess what global temperatures were like back then? That’s right! MUCH warmer. Conservation of mass and energy — they’re LAWS not just theories. It doesn’t matter if one “believes it” or not, climate change is real.

      • Howagain

        It was warmer in the past. And it’s also been colder. Which LAW do you cite that brought us out of the last ice age? Was it humans burning coal or gas, or was it something else altogether? And what allowed the earth to go from your “MUCH warmer” ancient period into an ice age?

        Do you postulate that these periods of global cooling and global warming were the result of human activity?
        And how else do you leave an ice age except by global warming? So if you believe in a past ice age, then you also believe the earth has been warming on its own for some time to get us out of it. Why should anyone believe this isn’t a non-man-made cycle?

  • john moyer, M. Ed.

    Sounds just like the tobacco industry execs stating that cigarettes don’t cause cancer and are not addictive …

  • Josh First

    Once again, citing the UN IPCC as “evidence of uniform scientific support” is the only evidence used. Truth is, that was more politics than science, and key aspects of that science are now abandoned. Plenty of scientists disagree. Shame to see pollution politicized. Disagreeing with climate change proponents is like trying to convince the early church that the planet is round. It’s heresy.

    • Bucks Committe Sierrans

      A survey in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. has stated 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is caused mainly by human activity.

      The report is based on questions posed to 1,372 scientists. Nearly all the experts agreed that it is anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth’s average global temperature in the second half of the twentieth century

  • Liz Rosenbaum

    PA DEP Secretary ought to be an elected position.

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