What Can We Lose Fighting Climate Change?

In Climate Change, Development, Divestment, Economics, Energy, Environment, Politics by James Wanliss0 Comments

What do we have to lose?

This is a frequent response when someone questions the idea that human caused runaway global warming should be addressed. At the 2015 Paris Climate Conference President Obama offered a terrifying vision of the future if global warming is not addressed. He presented “a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it. Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow. Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own.”

So what have we to lose? If the worst case scenarios do not come to fruition Obama has said, we would still be taking positive and morally correct action. Two decades ago U.S. Senator Tim Wirth adopted the same attitude saying, “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing anyway, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

The correct social and political response, according to Obama, Wirth, and other global warming alarmists, is to redirect ever larger portions of the world economy into the control of bureaucrats who will enforce policies to reduce human carbon dioxide emissions.

One way to do so, said Barack Obama, will be to “bankrupt” conventional coal fired power plants. Given that coal is the fuel that produces over fifty percent of American energy, the little people will have to sacrifice and feel pain—a fact Obama was honest enough to admit. “Under my plan of a cap and trade system,” said he, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

This is why a Time Magazine report challenged politicians to do all they can to “raise the price of gas. We already know that higher gas prices discourage driving and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.” In recent years the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been used as a tool to achieve these goals with standards and red tape that are more and more difficult for the energy industry to achieve. At the United Nations conference in Copenhagen in 2009 Tim Wirth, mentioned a moment ago, hinted his approval of this strategy,citing the “enormous regulatory authorities at the EPA.”

Other departments of the government are also used as blunt instruments to enforce global warming dogma. It’s been a long time coming and now there are reports the Department of Justice has been in talks with the FBI about possible civil action against those who don’t believe in climate change and oppose it for economic reasons.

I can see at least two prominent reasons for not acting as Obama, Wirth, and others insist vis a vis CO2.

First, the current hiatus in global warming of over 19 years is not merely a pause in the midst of a long term trend of rapid and dangerous manmade warming. It is rather more embarrassing than that to global warming alarmists. The primary hypothesis of global warming theory is that rapidly increasing concentrations of CO2 gas, due to increased energy use and the ensuing human improvements in quality of life, must inevitably be followed by rapid rises in global temperature.

We did, indeed, see rises in global average temperature from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s. When one plots CO2 concentrations together with the temperature rise they correlate fairly well. However, since 1997 to the present while CO2 increases have escalated, temperatures have refused to follow suit.

Not one of the expensive computer models forecasted the present lack of warming (which is not set aside by the short-term warming this year caused by El Niño). On average they simulate global average temperature rising at a rate of about 0.214C per decade, i.e., about 2.14C per century.

As a scientist I am appalled by continued insistence that the crisis is intensifying. What crisis? The only place temperatures are escalating due to CO2 is in computer models. The only crisis is the credibility of the computer models which are failing spectacularly at forecasting CO2 driven global warming.

It is helpful to know the models are invalidated. It means we need to go back to the drawing board; the politics driving the conversation is based on a false premise. Rather than being the central driver of climate change, the model failure suggests that CO2 is a minor player in the overall energy budget of the atmosphere.

But the politicians don’t want to hear it because, as I quoted above, in terms of political actions we are doing the “right” thing anyway.

Not at all. Society loses a great deal when the gravitas of science is falsely deployed as a tool of policy.

A second reason for ignoring the siren calls of global warming alarmists is more pragmatic. Last year’s Paris climate agreement called for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. How to do this is unclear for, as explained above, we lack credible models to make reasonable future forecasts.

A recent report estimates that, based on the failed computer models, serious efforts to limit the worst effects of global warming will require wrenching costs of $12.1 trillion over the next quarter century. This works out to be about $484 billion a year.

Forcibly wrenching the global economy in service of reducing CO2 emissions is a fool’s errand. It will require unprecedented centralization of power in countries that have made gains in human freedom.

We have everything to lose.

This article was originally published on CNSNEWS.

James Wanliss, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC. He is a Senior Fellow and Contributing Writer for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and author of Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed physics articles, has held the NSF CAREER award, and does research in space science and nonlinear dynamical systems under grants from NASA and NSF. He regularly blogs at www.wanliss.com.

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