Last week, I highlighted the CDC Director’s admission that his agency “made up the science” on social distancing. He mistakenly believed decisive words demonstrated the government was acting quickly and effectively to protect the American people. Last week, I also highlighted several doctors who believed all government COVID policies lacked scientific backing, the science often directly opposed to policy. So, too it goes with “climate change”. Climate change supporters claim they are the ones following the science, but are they really? They say the scientific consensus is with them, but is it and is consensus how science is advanced?
Climate Change Premise
“Climate change”, previously “global warming”, starts with the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, CO2. Atmospheric CO2 levels have been increasing in recent years and the theory says ever-increasing levels will lead to ever-increasing warming. The theory predicts we reach a tipping point after which the train cannot be stopped; ever-increasing temperatures along with overwhelming rising sea levels will lead to countless deaths and destruction of our current way of life. Four years ago, Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, both one of the most feted and one of the most ridiculous politicians ever, said climate change would destroy us in twelve years:
“Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we’re like, ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’
CNN’s countdown clock to climate change’s destruction of the world now has fewer than eight years remaining.
Let’s start with a basic primer on C02, enough for an actual understanding of the current debate. First, CO2, is color-less (invisible, actually), odor-less, non-toxic, and essential to life on the planet. Without C02 plants die and life on Earth ceases. Furthermore, increased C02 today is proving a boon to agriculture: the planet has become greener–more land regions have become arable, and food production has increased–as carbon dioxide has risen. So far, C02 sounds very dangerous which I am sure is why the EPA labeled it a pollutant in 2012.
There is a very low level of the community scientific knowledge displayed when C02 is regarded as a pollutant rather than the key to photosynthesis. Dr. Ian Pilmer, The Science of Climate Change
Is labeling an atmospheric gas essential to life a political or a scientific calculation?
Nitrogen and oxygen comprise 99% of the air we breathe. Argon, the next most common atmospheric gas, is a little less than 1%. Carbon dioxide is measured in parts per million (ppm); current levels are slightly above 400 ppm, making C02 a whopping .04% of the atmosphere. This minimally present gas is essential to life, but how much does it impact climate? That is the essential question to be answered.
A greenhouse gas like CO2 is defined as one that traps heat in the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide and methane (often associated with cow flatulence and landfills) are other infamous greenhouse gases; these are even less prevalent than carbon dioxide. Water vapor is the most impactful greenhouse gas. Unlike CO2, its impact is readily apparent from day to day. We have all experienced the significant cooling clouds provide on a warm summer day and the significant warming they provide on a winter evening as they prevent temperatures from falling overnight.
CO2 impact is usually considered over a longer period. Current CO2 levels are in the low 400s, a relatively modest level when compared to all of history:
C02 levels were lowest during the last ice age which ended about 12,000 years ago. CO2 levels rose and temperatures warmed (and civilization emerged, by the way) as the ice age ended. During the last few millennia, CO2 levels remained relatively stable around 280-300 ppm. There was a very slight CO2 decrease during the “little ice age” which ended about 200 years ago. The belief today is that the little ice age was a result of the re-forestation of the Americas (that’s right re-forestation not de-forestation) brought on by a significant de-population following European colonization; re-forestation led to a slight decrease in C02 and slight temperature drops. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/31/european-colonization-of-americas-helped-cause-climate-change
Since the end of the little ice age and the start of the industrial revolution around 1850, atmospheric C02 has increased about 50%. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are driving this increase today. The true impact from the recent increases is what the whole debate is about. The science is not settled and many disagree disaster is headed our way.
The first 100 parts per million (ppm) of C02 have a significant effect on atmospheric temperature whereas any increase from the current 400 ppm will have an insignificant effect. Furthermore, because C02 has a short residence time in the atmosphere, it is naturally sequestered into the life of the oceans, life, or rocks in less than a decade.
The media, and politicians like Al Gore and John Kerry, not scientists, drive the debate today; they choose facts suiting their purposes while ignoring others that contradict. In my book, anyone who so frequently claims the discussion is “settled” is admitting it is not settled and looking for a means to win the argument.
research grants are given to support this ideology, naysayers are denied grants, ignored, or–more commonly–pilloried. This doesn’t happen in many other branches of science, where competing theories are supported . . . Matters of climate change have become politicized . . . scientifically illiterate journalists become champions of a cause rather than impartial journalists, and various media networks have taken a partisan political position.
When politics becomes a player, truth becomes a casualty. The same pattern has played out with COVID science: only one side is championed, the one which scores the most political points for those controlling the narrative.
The graph above projects Earth’s C02 level rising by a factor of five to around 2,000 ppm in few hundred years. What might happen if it actually rises that much?
On yet another scale, geology shows that all six of the great ice ages were initiated when atmospheric C02 was far higher than present . . . When atmospheric C02 was up to one thousand times higher than present, there were no tipping points, no carbon dioxide driven climate change, and no runaway global warming. Dr. Ian Pilmer, The Science of Climate Change
Maybe we shouldn’t run in circles, screaming and shouting, after all? There is a natural cycle not only of rising and falling carbon dioxide levels, but of rising and falling temperatures, rising and falling sea levels, rising and falling land masses, encroaching and declining periods of glaciation, all of which have occurred repeatedly throughout millions and billions of years of earth history–all without influence from humans, and all without human measures to restore the planet to its previous state. The Australian Great Barrier Reef, for example, has disappeared more than 60 times during glaciation periods the last three million years. It has re-appeared after each cycle. http://thegreatbarrierreeflibrary.org/history-great-barrier-reef/
Political solutions proposed by climate activists (carbon taxes, reductions in the use of fossil fuels, etc.) can dramatically alter life on the planet. Such measures often lead to the dreaded “unintended consequences”: a decline in the standard of living for the more affluent nations and a significant stunting of developing nations trying to lift their people out of poverty.
It is immoral for us in the West still enjoying the fruits of the capitalism and the industrial revolution to demand hundreds of millions around the world forgo the promises of modernization, all so that we can cool the earth by a minimal amount (minimal per the IPCC, the supposedly definitive source on climate change) while still mostly enjoying the comforts we have grown accustomed to. People in less developed countries would surely enjoy electric Tesla cars in their driveways and solar panels on their homes, but they won’t ever get there without starting with cheaper, more reliable fossil fuels first.
Ask this pipeline worker in America as well about the very good job he lost: https://www.newswars.com/black-lives-matter-keystone-pipeline-worker-destroys-biden-executive-order/. Is it okay to destroy his livelihood with a “stroke of a pen”? Perhaps pipelines will no longer be needed soon enough, but they are still relevant today. Where does the energy come from when we shutdown pipelines between Canada and the US? From friendly nations or not-so-friendly ones? Ask a European friend if you’re not sure.
The solution, of course, is to add more renewable fuel, fuels that should last us forever supposedly, but there are many problems here too.
If Australia were to generate 50% of its energy needs from wind, an area the size of Tasmania would have to be clear-felled and covered with wind turbines, because wind energy is low density. One large nuclear or coal-fired power station occupying a few hectares would generate the same amount of energy.
Denmark had been a very enthusiastic supporter of wind-energy, but in 2004, it decided to build no more wind farm because it was producing the most expensive energy in Europe.
Electricity from the wind is totally unreliable, uneconomic, and degrades the environment. . .. Wind farmers have been more successful in harvesting massive subsidies from taxpayers than in harvesting the wind.
Each January-February, the Northern Hemisphere has a cold snap and wind just does not blow. People die. Dr. Ian Pilmer, The Science of Climate Change
Climate activists admit it would take a millennia for CO2 levels to return to pre-industrial levels if we stopped all emissions today. At the same time, the harm to our culture from the loss of energy would be immediate and disastrous. China and India are not reducing their carbon emissions in any case (and the Kyoto protocol places fewer limits on them), so it makes little difference if other countries reduce theirs. Even if the Kyoto protocol limits are reached, the reduction in temperature is minimal.
The IPCC reports provide a range of predicted temperatures and media always reports the upper limit not the predicted range; the average, about 1.5C by 2100, is not that daunting for the next century. Still, the bigger question is are these predictions based primarily on global climate models even accurate? The IPCC is an agency within the United Nations and primarily a political entity lacking credibility. They have been described as: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert (https://www.amazon.de/Delinquent-Teenager-Mistaken-Worlds-Climate/dp/1466453486).
The solutions to the problem are often far worse than the problem itself, a problem which may not actually be the problem many think it is. See more below.
Plastic vs Arsenic
We should always refer to “climate change” as a theory, not as established fact. Theories are how science has always been advanced. The scientific method says proposed theories make predictions, predictions which are then validated or invalidated, and then theories are adjusted. Adjustments could be minor tweaks or they could mean abandoning your theory altogether. 500 years ago, Copernicus proposed the planets traveled around the sun in concentric circles; Galileo tweaked his theory by proposing they moved elliptically around the sun. Newton, Einstein and others continued to tweak and improve. Nobody today sees the planets as moving in the manner Copernicus proposed.
Climatologist Dr. Patrick J. Michaels showed that global climate (prediction) models have consistently over-estimated temperatures. Adjustments are needed based on such results, yet climate change theory seems to be one theory that is immune to failing predictions. One day we may decide the theory is no longer politically expedient. Most of the media, who generally know nothing about most topics, treat it as established fact instead of an evolving theory. This is their essential mistake. They never consider what the theory and its many advocates, predicted in the past. They simply move on to the next prediction which has not yet failed.
In its most basic form, science consists of statements of hypotheses that are retained by critical tests against observations. Without such testing, or without a testable hypothesis, Karl Popper stated that what may be called science is, in fact, ‘pseudo-science’. A corollary is that a theory which purports to explain everything in its universe of subject matter, is, in fact, untestable, and is pseudo-science. In climate, perhaps it is charitable to refer to untested (or untestable) climate model projections as ‘climate studies’ rather than ‘climate science’. Dr. Patrick J Michaels, The Science of Climate Change
The political scheme today is to obtain buy-in from millions by telling them they can do their part to diminish their “carbon footprint”. By “doing something”, we feel good about ourselves; we play our part in saving the planet from future catastrophe. All this is sold to us, so a bunch of silly politicians can obtain our votes.
Please explain how did President Obama save the planet from climate change? What has Al Gore accomplished the last forty years? What great, good thing is John Kerry, today’s special envoy for Climate, doing today? The crisis has always been and will continue indefinitely because it is needed to continue the vote-getting scheme.
The last few years climate change has actually become a more encompassing theory, not one simply regarding carbon dioxide levels. Anything which can be labeled pro-environment, especially promotion of natural solutions, is now also saving the planet from disaster. Plastic, for instance, is one of those un-natural annoyances that will certainly destroy the planet. Being anti-plastic means you are for saving the planet from global warming, and one of the good people. Arsenic, on the other hand, is a natural element. Does that make it essential to saving the planet? I prefer plastic to arsenic myself.
Stu Brugiere in the following Blaze TV episode describes the counter-productive effect of switching from plastic grocery store bags to those wonderful, earth-saving, re-usable grocery bags. Re-usable bags if not regularly washed and the leakage from meat and other products removed, will eventually make you sick. Further, washing re-usable bags wastes large amounts of water and require toxic cleaning substances to purify them. Cotton bags too, the gold standard of re-usable bags, also use large amounts of resources to grow the cotton itself as Stu points out.
The grocery bag segment starts around minute four. As the discussion proceeds, it becomes ever clearer the math doesn’t add up. In fact, Stu proves conclusively that re-usable bags themselves are less environmentally friendly than the use once, throw-away plastic bags our media loves to hate. You would need to use the cotton bag more than 7,100 times to offset the damage to the environment from a single plastic bag. Go figure.
I will delve more into the debate itself in the future, but let’s just start with problems not recognized by the green movement itself.
Last year, the Thames River froze for the first time in 60 years. Maybe that’s a one-time freak accident (God forbid we be deprived of such in the future!), but it does inform me that we have a bit more than eight years before climate change will do us all in.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans as a major hurricane. It was a terrible tragedy, but it was also used to stir up support for climate change theory. The predictions following Katrina came from all the usual suspects.
Now, the scientific community is warning us that the average hurricane will continue to get stronger because of global warming. A scientist at MIT has published a study well before this tragedy showing that since the 1970s, hurricanes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific have increased in duration, and in intensity, by about 50 % . . . Two thousand scientists, in a hundred countries, engaged in the most elaborate, well organized scientific collaboration in the history of humankind, have produced long-since a consensus that we will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming. Al Gore, September 9, 2005
For the next twelve years, no other major hurricane (category 3 or above) struck the U.S. It was the longest such stretch since we began tracking US hurricanes. The disaster predictions, especially from great weather experts like Whoopi Goldberg, Robert DeNiro, and Joy Behar, keep coming, however.
The focus is always on rising temperatures, yet cold kills far more than heat and heat related storms as noted by Bjorn Lomborg:
Cold deaths vastly outweigh heat deaths. This is common knowledge in the academic literature and for instance the Lancet finds that each year, almost 600,000 people die globally from heat but 4.5 million from cold.
The current administration’s goal is to have 50% of American vehicles be electric within seven years (one year before we all die from climate change, thankfully). Kentucky Representative Thomas Massey during a chat with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, highlights the infeasibility of this.
- The US electric grid does not have the capacity to allow for two electric cars per household.
- Over the course of a year, an American household would use 25 times more energy charging their cars versus refrigerators. It takes four times more to charge a car than to use air conditioning.
Per the Transportation Secretary himself, “if we have yesterday’s grid with tomorrow’s cars, it is not going to work.” Representative Massey ends with the following pronouncement: “if we blindly follow these goals as set out by the Biden Administration, it will mean pain and suffering for the middle class.” We should all agree on this because it is doubtful that we will “fix the grid” as Secretary Buttigieg predicts. Houston, it seems we have a problem.
Of course, there are wonderful government subsidies for buying electric cars, some of which can cost upward of $50,000.
Dr. Steven Koonin, a nuclear physicist who served as an under-secretary of science during the Obama administration talks very well about the lack of reliability of renewable fuels. This reliance led to an almost disastrous problem in Texas during winter of 2020. The difference between 99.99% reliability of fossil fuels and 95% reliability of the renewable fuels makes all the difference in the world. The cost of closing the gap and filling in that last 5% are totally impractical per Dr. Koonin. He talks about a bit nuclear power as well and offers a new solution regard to such power. Nuclear power will solve many of the climate activists concerns, but they want nothing of that solution.
Dr. Koonin’s book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, also disputes the claims that temperatures are rising and heat waves are increasing. In the interview below, he says the “science behind climate change is shaky”. He talks a bit about global climate models, the basis for much of climate change predictions, and the problems with relying so heavily on these. Dr. Koonin also notes that the economic impact of climate change during the next century is minimal. Again, this is the point of the whole debate.
unsettling-truth-behind-climate-science (Dr. Koonin interview with Andrew Klavan)