Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Confronting The True Costs Of Climate Change “Prevention”

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali now complete, we have some commentary for you as to what took place and its potential impact on your life. Consternation about catastrophic climate change was generated, along with demands and ultimately vague promises that we “do something” about “dangerous manmade climate change.” The conference was also characterized by intimidation and censorship of scientists who sought to present different views on these subjects.

This posting calls for careful reflection on the claims and tactics employed by those who insist we must take immediate action to avert a crisis that other experts say is rooted not in scientific evidence—but only in hypotheses and computer models. This is a perspective you are not likely to find in the mainstream media. Give it a look and tell us what you think.

Climate Change Rallies, Realities And Sacrifices

The mantra is repeated daily. There is consensus on climate change. Global warming is real. It will be a disaster. Humans are to blame. We have to do something—immediately.

However, the consensus of 100 scientists is undone by one fact, Albert Einstein noted. The United Nations and its Climate Cataclysm army of 15,000 in exotic Bali clearly understood that.

They were not about to let even one fact prevent them from promoting climate scares and a successor to the Kyoto treaty. Gloom-and-doom scientists and bureaucrats owned Bali’s podiums. Radical environmentalists fumed and staged stunts. Al Gore denounced President Bush, repeated myths that enthralled the Academy and Nobel committees, and demanded sacrifices—by others.

Meanwhile, respected climate scientists were barred from panel discussions, censored, silenced and threatened with physical removal by polizei, if they tried to hold a press conference to present peer-reviewed evidence that contradicts climate disaster claims, such as:

Climate change is natural and recurrent. The human factor is small compared to that of the sun and other natural forces. There has been no overall global warming since 1998, and most local and regional warming trends have been offset by nearby cooling. One degree F of net warming since 1900 (amid many temperature ups and downs) does not foreshadow a catastrophe. Recent glacial retreats, sea-level rise and migrations of temperature sensitive species are all within the bounds of known natural variability.

The best approach is to adapt, as our ancestors did. Money and resources devoted to futile climate prevention actions would be better spent on malaria, AIDS, poverty and other pressing problems. Most important, no country can progress or prosper without abundant, reliable, affordable energy that would be in short supply if draconian climate laws are implemented.

UN alarmists would not tolerate such heresies and inconvenient truths. They blamed every regional weather and climate blip on human emissions, and trotted out computer scenarios that they insist “prove” we must take drastic actions to avert Armageddon.

But computer models do a poor job of incorporating our still poor grasp of complex and turbulent oceanic, atmospheric and solar processes. They are based on conjecture about future technologies and emissions, and cannot predict climate shifts even one year in the future, much less 50 or 100. They simply produce “scenarios” and “projections” of what might happen under assorted assumptions—enabling alarmists to trumpet the most alarming outputs to support drastic action.

Those scenarios are evidence of climate chaos the way “Jurassic Park” proves dinosaurs can be cloned from DNA trapped in prehistoric amber.

However, Bali negotiators insisted that the world faces a climate crisis that can be averted only by slashing greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, they agreed only to “deep cuts” by 2050, with definitions to be written later by countries that are not about to commit economic suicide. Many environmentalists and members of Congress nonetheless continue to demand that CO2 be reduced up to 40% below current emission levels by 2020—and 80-95% by 2050.

It’ll be easy, they insist. Rubbish. Even a 25-40% reduction over the next twelve years would impose huge sacrifices on families, workers and communities, especially poor ones—while leaving no room for population or economic growth.

Fossil fuels provide 85% of the energy we use. Slashing emissions by even 25% means slashing the use of these fuels, paying vastly more to control and sequester emissions, and radically altering lifestyles and living standards. Families will do so voluntarily, or under mandatory rationing systems, enforced by EPA, courts, climate police and “patriotic” snitches. Getting beyond 25% would require a “radical transformation” of life as we know it.

Senator Joe Lieberman admits his “climate protection” bill would cost the United States “hundreds of billions” of dollars. Economist Arthur Laffer calculates that “cap-and-trade” schemes would reduce economic growth and penalize average American families $10,800 in lost income by 2020.

That’s on top of the $2000 in higher energy costs that US families have endured since 1998—and the 11% extra that USA Today says average households will pay this winter compared to a year ago. Higher energy costs will increase the price of everything we eat, drive, buy and do.

Reaching or exceeding 25% targets could require transformations like these:

Parking your car—and riding a bike. You’d get to work and the grocery in better shape—and guilt-free if you don’t exhale.

Disconnecting air conditioners and setting thermostats to 50 degrees all winter. Swim suits and UnderArmour are excellent substitutes.

Shutting down coal and gas power plants, and replacing them with new nuclear plants or forests of gargantuan wind turbines. Blanketing Connecticut with turbines could meet New York City’s electricity needs, and covering Texas and Louisiana could satisfy US needs, at least when the wind is blowing (about eight hours a day, on average), says Rockefeller University professor Jesse Ausubel.

Closing paper mills and factories. Perhaps newly unemployed workers could find jobs in China and other developing countries, where the tough emission standards won’t apply—or in the new carbon-free economy that politicians promise will magically arise once energy-killing climate bills are enacted.

Closing dairy and poultry farms. Producing meat accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions, so this would make both greens and PETA happy.

Eating all leftovers. Seattle has decreed that by 2009 single-family homes must recycle all table scraps—because their decomposition generates greenhouse gases—or have their garbage collection terminated.

Adopting “sustainable green technologies,” like the treadle-powered irrigation pumps environmentalists are sending to poor countries, to replace diesel pumps. An Indian villager toiling on his eco-bicycle for three years could offset the CO2 from one jetliner full of environmentalists heading to Bali.

Requiring that climate confabs be via video-conference—from Albania or Zambia, to discourage attendance by hordes of bureaucrats and activists. We might also insist that Al Gore and other politicians eschew private jets and take Smart Cars to campaign and global warming rallies.

Meanwhile, China is adding the equivalent of another Germany every year to global greenhouse emissions, says climatologist Roger Pielke. Thus, if CO2 really does cause climate change, all these sacrifices might prevent global temperatures from rising 0.2 degrees.

Adapting to whatever heat, cold, floods, droughts and storms nature (or mankind) might bring seems a much saner and less costly course of action.

Paul Driessen is author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power ∙ Black death ( and senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, whose new book (Freezing in the Dark) reveals how environmental pressure groups raise money and promote policies that restrict energy development and hurt poor families.

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