Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Paris climate conference focused on fear, not climate reality

The Paris climate conference is now over. The Christian Science Monitor reported on Saturday that the rap of the chairman’s gavel “signaled unanimous – if not unanimously enthusiastic – support from all parties engaged in this year's UN climate talks. It comes at the end of a year scientists say will likely be the hottest ever on record.”

After all the time involved and the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced getting the hundreds of representatives from 196 nations all in the same place, and then back home again, the agreement does not put the world on a path toward what scientists regard as a safe level of global warming, but the agreement sets forth a clear path for countries to identify their own targets for CO2 reduction. Ultimately, participants want a global carbon-free environment by 2060, at the latest, meaning that every car, building, plane, ship, train, and power plant would have to operate without burning any fossil fuels.

Days prior to the closing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the ministerial session, “The clock is ticking toward climate disaster,” and former Vice-President Al Gore compared the need to combat climate change to the abolition of slavery, giving women the right to vote and the civil rights battle. Gore said, “The right choice is to safeguard the future for the next generation and for the generations to come.”

There were scary stories of rising sea levels, causing residents of low-lying areas like the Marshall Islands to lobby strenuously for the agreement, while droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events were predicted to increase elsewhere on the planet if CO2 emissions aren’t reigned in. And to make sure to attract the attention of enough third world countries, billions of dollars in support for affected economies is on the table, supposedly to be paid by the rich countries, like the United States.

The whole world is concerned because of the idea that too much CO2 in the atmosphere will cause catastrophes sometime in the distant future. Carbon dioxide is what plants that produce oxygen for us to breath live on.

All of this scare mongering tended to overshadow the dismal record of climate predictions and data manipulations from the not-so-distant past that casts doubt on the need for turning the energy universe upside-down. Here are some of the scary predictions of global warming catastrophes that did not come true:

* By 1980 all of the important animal life in the sea will be extinct.
* By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.
* The world will be eleven degrees colder by the year 2000.
* By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by half.
* A general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.
* Within a few years children just aren't going to know what snow is.

Add to those failed prognostications a global warming hiatus for at least16 years, according to the British Met Office, and energetic disagreement about man-caused climate change among climate scientists, and the agreement looks like a gigantic global shakedown.

As an example, while Barack Obama is busy regulating America’s coal-fired electricity generating plants out of existence, China is constructing new plants. According to the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris, we should be wary of China’s commitment to reduce emissions. China is by far the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and is currently constructing 350 coal-fired power plants and has plans to build another 800.

The Wall Street Journal notes, “In 2013 China burned 3.9 billion tons of coal, almost as much as the rest of the world.” Obama seems to think that harming the U.S. economy by shutting down U.S. fossil fuel-burning facilities will negate China’s feverish coal-burning economy. Loris asks pointedly, “This is the country that we’re going to trust to peak emissions 15 years from now?” 

And trust is the operative word: all countries are on scouts honor to do what they have said they will do, without official oversight or penalties.

According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2013 “Historical Data Workbook,” 87 percent of the energy mankind uses every second comes from burning fossil fuels.

People who live in cold climates use them to warm their homes, and people who live in warm climates use them to cool their homes. Fossil fuels are used to plant and harvest crops that feed people, and are used to transport food from places where food is produced to places where it is needed and wanted. They are used to light the darkness, to entertain us, transport us, diagnose disease, communicate with each other, mass-produce products we need and want, and to provide security in our homes and for the nation.

Fossil fuel use has improved the lives of millions of people worldwide, and millions more can benefit from it. There are no replacement technologies that even approach filling the void Obama and the other climate change advocates are creating. We are on course for a disaster.

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