from the Congress Action newsletter
by: Kim Weissman
June 9, 2002
This week the New York Times reported on a new EPA climate change report submitted to the U.N., the U.S. Climate Action Report 2002. Or, as a New York Times editorialist ever-so-cleverly (at least he no doubt thought it was clever) called it, the "Inaction Report". Environmentalists and the media had a field day. The Boston Globe's Thomas Oliphant crowed that "…a large step was taken at the United Nations last week that could breathe legal life into a five-year-old [Kyoto] treaty designed to reduce the greenhouse gases that have produced global warming."
What global warming hysterics neglect to mention is that although the Kyoto Protocol may seem to be designed to reduce global warming, it would be virtually useless to that end, even despite its draconian, economy-killing mandates. Scientists have calculated that even if Kyoto is fully implemented according to its proponents' fondest dreams, the net reduction in global temperatures will be a mere 0.14 degrees C by the year 2100 — at a cost that will approach one trillion dollars annually by 2100.
Impoverishing the world, specifically the U.S., is, however, not merely an unfortunate side effect of Kyoto — it is the precisely intended goal of Kyoto proponents. Their objective is to stop human development in its tracks. If their goal were otherwise, they would advocate a major expansion of nuclear power. But do global warming hysterics or radical environmentalists demand an increased use of nuclear power? On the contrary, they continue to rail against it, demanding that even existing nuclear power plants be shut down.
The Climate Action Report states, "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing global mean surface air temperature and subsurface ocean temperature to rise." And therein — the "causing" part — lies the first problem for the theory of anthropogenic (ie: caused by human activity) global warming. And it is a huge problem for the theorists.
It seems clear that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is indeed increasing, and has been fluctuating over the measurable past several hundred thousand years (at least). Since carbon dioxide is one of the gasses that traps the sun's heat in the atmosphere (by no means the major one, that honor goes to water vapor, but that's another issue), it seems to make sense to conclude that when carbon dioxide increases, so do global temperatures, and that the former causes the latter. And fluctuations in carbon dioxide concentrations do seem to coincide with fluctuations in temperatures. But here is the problem — a study of carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures over the past 11,000 years, done by a team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, analyzed in the journal Science and the journal Nature in 1999 (and reported in the Washington Post) indicated that, to quote the Post,
Obviously, the effect (rising temperatures) cannot precede the cause (increasing carbon dioxide), and cannot possibly be caused by something that hasn't even happened yet. The World Climate Report commented, "the role reversal for climate chickens and eggs" has been further scrambled by data indicating
On this point it should be noted that the vast bulk of the (small) temperature rise in this century took place before 1940, while most of the carbon dioxide emissions took place after 1940, and coincided with a slight climate cooling (that's right, cooling) between 1940 and 1975, and no warming at all since 1979 — other than as measured by ground weather stations that are being rendered increasingly inaccurate by the urban heat island effect. Far more accurate and global satellites have actually measured a slight cooling over the last 20 years, not a warming, a trend which has been confirmed by weather balloons.
Earth's climate is changing, but this is nothing new. For as far back as can be measured (and no doubt much further back than that), temperatures, concentrations of various atmospheric gases, and many other factors, have fluctuated. The issue in the global warming debate (if ignoring evidence contrary to the conventional wisdom, and stifling and insulting the opposing voices, can be called "debate") is whether human activity is to blame. Mixed with this is the question of whether global temperatures are in fact rising at all; and if so, the previously noted cause-and-effect question. The secondary issue — largely ignored by conventional wisdom — is whether those climate changes, if they are indeed happening and regardless of the cause of those changes, are a good thing, a bad thing, or some mixture of good and bad.
The report's conclusion (that has the warming hysterics dancing in the streets) is that humans are the culprits causing climate changes. But the report is by no means as clear-cut as the hysterics portray: "While the changes observed over the last several decades are likely due mostly to human activities, we cannot rule out that some, significant part is also a reflection of natural variability." As a National Academy of Sciences report concluded, "climate has changed, is changing, and will continue to do so with or without anthropogenic influences." And Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies wrote, "fossil fuel burning may not be as important in the mechanics of climate change as previously thought." This new EPA report will continue to be analyzed (by scientists who the New York Times enjoys slandering — arrogantly claiming that the report stated "the obvious for most reputable scientists"), but here are some initial reactions:
But rarely do such voices, those that use scientific facts to challenge environmental fairy tales, make it into the mainstream media. Instead, the press prefers to showcase their own resident (non-scientist) harpies vilifying and insulting Bush, republicans, and the many thousands of scientists who dare to disagree with them. Recall that recently leaked Democrat Party memo cackling, "it is sooo fun to bash Republicans". Regardless of what the truth really is.
Will anyone even bother to consider the benefits that would accrue from a slightly warmer environment, even if warming is occurring? After all, as people get older and more susceptible to weather extremes, they don't move from Florida to Minnesota (no insult to Minnesota) for their retirement; and there are far more weather-related deaths every year in cold climates than in warm climates. Is a longer growing season for food crops a bad thing, given how often we are barraged with gloom-and-doom about starvation in the Third World? Experiments have also shown that atmospheric carbon dioxide is a fertilizer that promotes plant growth (more productive food crops again, and more efficient water usage by plants). But nobody will consider any of these benefits in the tidal wave of media-generated hysteria that paints even slight warming (regardless of what causes it) as the impending apocalypse of humanity.
President Bush's abandonment of conservative principles isn't limited to the new climate report. As James K. Glassman recently wrote, Bush's surrender of principles runs from anti-free market steel tariffs to signing the anti-Constitutional, free speech-gagging campaign finance so-called reform; from agreeing to the big government, big spending education bill and farm bill. The explanation has been offered that all this is a political strategy designed to undercut leftists and take away their issues for the November election, but this simply doesn't wash. Those who want to destroy free market capitalism and control people's lives in a putatively free society will find no shortage of other avenues by which to attack, no matter how much Bush caves in to the left. From increasing minimum wages and an out of control legal system in the economic realm; to the complex of issues from abortion and affirmative action to gun control and multiculturalism in the social realm; and in the political realm, the continuing destruction of the Constitution by ideological judges and politically motivated hearings so Congress can deflect attention from their own guilt for the events leading up to September 11.
The Climate Report, even if it was a purely political document intended to de-fang global warming as a campaign issue, in fact does precisely the opposite (and also shows the danger of Bush's attempt to appease the left by appointing left-wing bureaucrats to run his agencies). It gives a huge victory to those who demand control over every aspect of our lives, because with this report they can now claim the science to be settled, with the only remaining question being how much additional government regulation can be imposed.
If all this really is a political strategy, it could turn out to be about as successful as the strategy employed by George Armstrong Custer when he took off after the Indians at the Little Big Horn. Or perhaps George Bush is gearing up for a re-match with John McCain to be the 2004 presidential nominee — but it better be for the Democrat Party; because in the Republican Party, a lot of people are going to wonder where the conservatives are. Every day George W. Bush gives conservatives another reason to just stay home on election day.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Heidelberg Appeal (1992 — over 4000 distinguished
scientists issuing a "quiet call for reason and a recognition of scientific progress
as the solution to, not the cause of, the health and environmental problems that we
face", rejecting pseudo-science in the climate change debate):
The Leipzig Declaration On Global Climate Change (1997 —
over 100 distinguished scientists agreeing that "the drastic emission control
policies deriving from the Kyoto conference — lacking credible support from the
underlying science — to be ill-advised and premature"):
The Oregon Petition (1998 — over 17,000 distinguished
scientists agreeing that the Kyoto Treaty is "based upon flawed ideas"):
The above article is the property of
Kim Weissman, and is reprinted with his permission.
10 jun 2002