National Report on Climate Change

This past Earth Day I wrote an article on Global Warming, and now that the National Assessment Report on Climate Change was released on Tuesday, May 6th, I thought I’d write a follow-up.

The 840 page report is fairly predictable: fear-mongering mixed with science and politics.

Okay, that’s my first impression, but is there more to it than that? Well, the first thing I want to know is, “What do these global warming alarmists want?” What’s their agenda, what’s the problem, what do they get out of it, and what do they want to accomplish?

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(photo credit: CNaene)

In their “Letter to the American People”, the report makes a number of claims worth examining. They claim that climate change has moved from an issue for the distant future into the present; it concludes that the evidence for a changing climate has strengthened considerably since their last report. Impacts of human-caused climate change have been observed, and people are noticing changes in weather. They say it’s a fact that the world is warming, precipitation patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, and extreme weather events are increasing and impacting our economy. The report intends to show what is actually happening and what it means for people’s lives and future.

Well, if we believe everything this report says, then we’d better get the ball rolling, otherwise we’re doomed. At least that’s what they’d like us to think. But is it possible that there’s nothing to be alarmed about? Shouldn’t we proceed with caution rather than make some rash decisions based on fear? Or are the repercussions so severe that we must act immediately- even if the claims are wrong?

Let’s take a look at two of their goals: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation refers to actions designed to reduce greenhouse gases caused by humans. Such actions include policies and technologies meant to encourage the efficient production and use of energy, and an increased use of non-carbon energy sources. Adaptation is intended to help society cope with or avoid the harmful effects of climate change, and to take advantage of beneficial changes.

The report goes on to explain that they wish to “reduce future climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles, or increasing removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? At least they admit this happens naturally, but they qualify their admission by explaining that it’s only removed at a rate of about half the current rate of emissions from humans. Of course they conveniently ignore the fact that greenhouse gases block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays, which implies that removing it would allow an increase in harmful solar rays. Catch 22.

The also report acknowledges that it doesn’t evaluate mitigation technologies or policies (such as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade), or undertake an analysis of the effectiveness of various approaches. Very convenient. Such policies and actions will have a direct impact on all humans, so perhaps it would be wise to have an in-depth understanding of those technologies and policies that these people wish to impose on the rest of the world before imposing them.

One of the key messages in the report is that “global mitigation actions would need to limit global carbon dioxide emissions to a peak of around 44 billion tons per year within the next 25 years and decline thereafter.” These people are well aware that such a goal- in reality- is nearly impossible to achieve… not simply because it’s not feasible, but because we can’t control the rest of the world. China, for example, is one of the leaders in producing greenhouse gases, and other developing nations aren’t reducing their consumption of coal and other carbon products either.

Global warming alarmists would like to convince us that they’re only trying to help. They claim to have our best interest in mind and want to save the planet and mankind from impending doom and extinction. But I take a more cynical approach. It’s tempting to believe the best in people, and consider that they have good intentions. But one thing I know for sure is that humans aren’t perfect, and just because someone is in a trusted profession (such as a scientist), or someone seems sincere (like a politician), we need to exercise a healthy dose of caution.

At this point in the game we know a considerable amount of information about the science and politics behind global warming; we’re well aware of fraudulent studies (Climategate), outdated and unreliable computer models, failed predictions, faked photographs (Ursa Bogus), censorship, selfish motives, corruption and the opportunity for funding and wealth. Yet we’re supposed to look past all that just in case they’re right. In fact they tell us that we shouldn’t question them. And I think that makes their claims all the more suspect.

Could it be that the real agenda behind the report is to scare enough people so that they won’t resist government policies that will negatively impact us, the economy and our freedoms. The report implies that government policies will protect us from extreme weather conditions, yet it’s impossible for anyone to accurately predict the weather, let alone control it. The report indicates that we’d be more vulnerable to heat stress, but it ignores the fact that people would adapt to such weather conditions. Cities like Phoenix and Tampa, for example, have almost no heat-related deaths, so it’s unreasonable to live in fear over such projections that are probably wrong.

Even if the government gets its way and implements every policy it wants, there will always be climate change. None of the fearful predictions ever need to come to fruition for the government to impose its will upon us, for better or worse. They don’t have to prove that climate change is primarily caused by man (it’s enough to tell us that it is), that warming is detrimental to life on earth (it’s beneficial), or that their policies will prevent major catastrophes (it won’t); all they have to do is demand compliance and take advantage of human nature: permeate the culture with the language and propaganda until the culture stops resisting and jumps on board. Then in a few years they can celebrate the success of those programs, and if the weather is mild they’ll pat themselves on the back for preventing natural disasters and saving human lives. But if the weather is severe they’ll lament that they didn’t implement their policies sooner, while explaining that it will take a long time before we see any positive results due to the horrific damage we’ve done, and that it might already be too late.

So who are the winners and losers in this? If alarmist policies are imposed, then politicians and Washington D.C. stand to benefit more than anyone, while the poor and needy will be harmed most. The downtrodden won’t be able to afford the increased costs. Thus politicians will call for an ever increasing demand for wealth redistribution and income equality.

But what if we successfully block the government from making any rash and unnecessary policy changes? I’d expect life to continue as usual, and that there won’t be any major catastrophes unlike any we’ve experienced in the past. The global warming alarmists won’t relent, however, and they’ll continue to fudge the data in order to get their way.

There’s no solid evidence that any of the desired policies would make a difference in affecting the climate, or that government policies will be able to protect us from ourselves. Such policies would hypothetically reduce global temperatures by about two-tenths of a degree by the year 2100. Why, then, should we harm ourselves economically for some hypothetical scenario that shouldn’t be a concern? Besides, it would be impossible to determine whether or not a government policy contributed to climate change one way or another. But at least the alarmists would feel good about themselves.

Now that’s not to say that we shouldn’t seek alternatives that cause less pollution or limit health risks, but that’s not what this is about. If the argument were really about doing the most good for humanity, we could make tremendous progress. But the global warming movement is about government expansion and control, and this report paves the way for that.

The report is contradictory in several respects and ignores other relevant data. The Midwest drought of 2012 is blamed on global warming, but another government report states that “Neither ocean states nor human-induced climate change, factors that can provide long-lead predictability, appeared to play significant roles in causing severe rainfall deficits over the major corn producing regions of central Great Plains.” It also claims that climate change will intensify air pollution and increase tropical storms and tornados, but the data indicates that air quality in America has improved steadily since 1970, that there has been no increase in extreme storms, and that tornado losses have decreased. We’ve also learned that the South Pole isn’t melting, and that the coverage of Antarctic sea ice has set a record for April at 3.5 million square miles.

We should be exited that the data indicates just the opposite of doom-and-gloom, but the alarmists will have none of that. They’re calling for drastic action because efforts to lower greenhouse gases in the U.S have not succeeded in reducing the levels to pre-industrial levels. But in order to achieve such goals it would require major policies, advances in technology, a substantial reduction in emissions, huge investments, and ambitious mitigation without delay.

Again, where’s the caution? There’s no consideration for the economic impacts this would cause. Forcefully implementing these measures may give the alarmists what they want, but it won’t give us anything in return for the price we’ll pay. It would be impossible to prove the effectiveness of these policies, and even advocates understand that such policies would be negligible at best.

It doesn’t make sense to take drastic action when hasn’t even been any global warming for nearly 18 years. The report recognizes this, but only briefly mentions it as a short-term “pause.”

Another thing I find interesting is that scientists have been lamenting for years that it’s already too late to stop global warming. A study by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences back in January of 2009 told us that the damage is essentially irreversible; they say we may be able to lessen the consequences, but we’ll never be able to stop it. But now they’re telling us we’ve got to do something before it’s too late… again.

Fortunately I believe that God is in control, and that the earth isn’t going to be destroyed until the appointed time. Therefore I don’t have to live my life in fear, and that’s a great feeling to have.

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4 thoughts on “National Report on Climate Change

  1. I have three thoughts about this:

    1) In what ways do pro-climate change policies impact or restrict our freedom?

    2) I was under the impression that the ozone layer–which is not composed of greenhouse gases, but a form of oxygen (O3)–blocked about 97% of the UV rays that damage organic materials on the planet’s surface. I would be curious to know where you got the data purporting that greenhouse gases block 95% of the sun’s rays.

    3) Yes, I do agree that climate change will always occur, regardless of whether or not it is driven by the actions of human beings. In fact we know that over the history of the earth there have been ice ages and periods of heat, during periods where human beings definitely weren’t putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. So yes, obviously the climate can change without the actions of human beings. But does that mean that we can’t affect it? Would anyone really argue that another ice age would be beneficial to mankind? And if an ice age were to occur, and we did have the power to prevent or reverse it, why shouldn’t we? The same could be said with a period of warming or intense heat. If these trends occur, even if they’re natural, why wouldn’t it be in our interest to attempt to change them if they would have a negative impact on our societies and our very lives?

    • Fair questions. First, every single government policy or law (good or bad) will necessarily impact our freedoms. Such policies imply that we may no longer do something that we were previously allowed to do (for the most part), or we’re forced to do something we don’t want to do. And this includes any legislation that has to do with climate change.

      Some policies, such as recycling, may be beneficial. Sounds like a great idea, huh? But who wants to be fined for putting something in the wrong container? Other mandates such as higher taxes on gas will make it more expensive to drive, and that would limit the amount of driving we do, and that severely limits our freedoms. Mandates on car manufacturing makes cars more expensive. The Cash for Clunkers program caused the price of cars to increase, making it harder for poor people to afford vehicles. Some people are pushing us to become vegan and stop eating meat, and that’s another limit to our freedoms- we should be allowed to eat whatever we want, even if other people don’t like what we eat or how much we eat. Public transportation and riding bikes may be good ideas, but only if we’re free to make those choices. Others advocate using push mowers rather than gas powered mowers, and that’s fine if that makes you happy, but no one should be prohibited from using a gas powered mower. We should be able to use whatever light bulbs we desire, whether they contain mercury or not.

      When the government mandates we spend more, our freedoms become limited. Corporate mandates make it harder for companies to employ workers, harming the economy. Anti-development regulations force companies to relocate overseas, taking jobs away from Americans. The government takes choices away from us. Trade policies erode market freedoms, but do very little to effect climate. Reducing emissions will reduce economic growth, limit our freedoms and increase costs.

      California has mandated “transit villages” in some places. These are villages packed with 20 or more residences on one acre, and this has caused the cost of housing to soar and become unaffordable.

      Making energy more expensive would damage the rest of the developing world that needs affordable energy for economic growth. Climate policies are a greater threat to us than climate change is.

      Here’s an interesting story: The government would like us to use less paper, change our font size, and print on both sides so that we conserve trees. Sounds wonderful, right? Well, at my work I’ve done this, and I use very little paper compared to other departments. But now I’ve been assigned to a government contract and I’m using more paper now than ever before. We must print on one side and print unnecessary documents that will only be stored in huge boxes. So tell me, does the government really believe that global warming is a threat or not? I think it’s obvious that they’re not concerned at all. If you still think otherwise, try paying attention to the size of the government’s carbon footprint.

      Here’s a link to an article on NASA’s Langley Research Center, which indicates that CO2 cools the atmosphere, and sends up to 95% of the sun’s radiation back into space.

      http://www.omsj.org/issues/global-warming/nasaco2-cools

      I’m not saying man has zero effect on the climate, but that the effect we have is negligible and practically irrelevant. I believe God designed the earth to be man’s home, and he commanded humans to increase in number all over the face of the earth. He made the planet robust enough to support all the humans he ever created, and that’s why we don’t see the effect predicted by these scientists.

      And it’s not that an ice age would be beneficial to mankind, but that we’d be able to adapt to one and wouldn’t need to fear one.

      Lastly, we don’t even have the capabilities to change the earth’s temperature, even if we wanted to. If we wanted to melt the polar ice caps we’d have to calculate the volume of ice to find the weight (26.5-thousand-billion cubic meters of ice). It would take 51 trillion-trillion joules of energy to raise the temperature just one degree Celsius, and that wouldn’t be enough to melt it. And if we tried to nuke it, it would take 243,000 Tsar Bombs (50 megatons of energy each) and detonate them simultaneously, and we’d be able to raise the temperature in Antarctica one degree Celsius. It’s practically impossible to melt the polar ice caps.

      • I never claimed that our government was efficient at doing things 😛

        Although, my rebuttal to that is that it doesn’t have to be that way. If we keep electing inefficient people to office, we’ll keep getting an inefficient government. But that’s beside the point.

        After combing over the report by NASA, the only data we have is that 95% of the radiation from that one particular solar event was reflected. I think it’s a bit of a leap to therefore claim, as the OMSJ article does, that CO2 couldn’t possibly cause “global warming” or climate change. One data point does not a scientific conclusion make, I would say. The data is intriguing, though, I will grant you that.

        My suspicion is that the physics involved is much more complicated than the OMSJ article would make it sound. For example, since the industrial revolution, CO2 emissions have done nothing but increase. If atmospheric CO2 REALLY had a cooling effect, would we not then expect to see a corresponding decrease in average temperature as CO2 emissions increased? The data, however, points to the opposite occurring: average global temperature has only risen since the industrial revolution.

        And yes, I realize that correlation does not imply causation. However, the data would lead us away from the original supposition: that CO2 cools the planet. Of course that still doesn’t automatically make it a culprit in climate change, nor does it mean that it doesn’t have ANY protective effects. However, the picture that the OMSJ is painting doesn’t seem to align with the data we actually have.

      • In an ideal world we’d elect honest, competent people to office, and they’d be diligent and make government efficient. Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world; we live in one where government is naturally corrupt, and that means the best people will very rarely be elected. Some people can only get elected by lying and taking advantage of uninformed voters.

        Perhaps it’s a bit of a leap to claim that CO2 couldn’t possibly cause global warming, but then again it’s a bit of a leap to claim that CO2 does cause global warming and that man is to blame for any rise in temperature or any weather condition and that we must impose costly policies to limit the assumed damage.

        Nonetheless, the observable evidence and data are much more tangible and concrete than what the alarmists have to show. The data is consistent with the claim that carbon dioxide acts as a coolant in the earth’s atmosphere and blocks up to 95% of harmful solar rays.

        Sure, the physics involved is much more complicated than what the article makes it sound, but the same criticism applies to the alarmists who’ve utterly failed with their predictions. I haven’t looked closely at what predictions the skeptics have made, but I’d bet they’re much closer to reality than the alarmists. And one of the claims I’ve consistently maintained is that no one can predict the weather, so why would we predict warming or cooling? The only thing we can be sure of over the next 100 years is that the weather and climate will continue to change. How’s that for a prediction? 😉

        I’m also skeptical that we have all the necessary data to know what the average global temperature was is the past. Sure we have data since the industrial revolution, but do we really have a complete enough record to conclude that the temperature has risen a full degree since then? Surely we have more accurate and consistent temperature readings from around the world in our modern era than we did in the past, so it’s hard to compare the data and make any conclusive claims.

        What we do know is that there hasn’t been any global warming for nearly 18 years now, and the alarmists find that terribly inconvenient, but are willing to double-down on stupid.

        Who knows, maybe we will have global cooling again. Don’t forget that the alarmists did predict global cooling in the 1970’s.

        When you say that the data doesn’t align with the picture being painted by the OMSJ, I think you’re assuming that we can predict long-term weather patterns. However the data shows that we can’t predict future weather patterns. When the alarmists predicted cooling, it grew warmer, and when they predicted warming, the weather has stopped warming. Who knows what will happen next? And why should we predict cooling just because CO2 acts as a coolant? The earth and weather are very dynamic and complex.

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