Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Badly needed: A more balanced approach for environmental policy

A few months ago, a new proposal to save the world from environmental catastrophe burst forth. The plan was designed to eliminate the threat, or at least reset the End of the World Clock that is counting down the final 10, or maybe 12, remaining years of life on Earth.

Called the Green New Deal (GND), it would turn life in the United States upside down by eliminating some things that we want and need, like fossil fuels and nuclear energy, 99 percent of motor vehicles, air travel, meat, and some other equally radical things.

In addition to all the inconvenience and misery the GND would cause, its price tag is trillions of dollars we don’t have. 

The GND’s narrative of impending doom, burdened with weaknesses and dangers, is just the latest of dozens of prior such predictions. One list contains 42 of them, 27 for which the Competitive Enterprise Institute provided sources, such as The New York TimesThe Boston Globe, the Washington PostThe Guardian, Brown University, Time magazine, and the Associated Press.

Here are some select excerpts of predictions issued between 1967 and 2014, categorized, and each preceded by the year of the prediction:
* Ice Age: 1971 - New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030; 1972 - New Ice Age By 2070; 1974 - Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
* Flooding: 1988 - Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018; 1989 - Rising Sea Levels Will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000; 2005 - Manhattan Underwater by 2015
* Warming: 2008 - Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018; 2013 - Arctic Ice-Free by 2015; 2000 - Children Won’t Know What Snow Is
* Famine: 1967 - Dire Famine Forecast By 1975; 2002 - Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
* Diverse problems: 1969 - Everyone Will Disappear in a Cloud of Blue Steam By 1989; 1970 - Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985; 2004 - Britain will Be Siberia by 2024; 2014 - Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’

If you do not buy into the catastrophe warnings, you are deemed a “science denier” by the climate alarmists. However, you have evidence on your side. The history of predictive catastrophic environmental science is poor.

Despite this horrid record, however, we are told that in 12 years it’s all over. And even though hundreds of scientists dispute the doomsday scenario, we are told it is the unquestionable truth.

Attempting to persuade the powers that be at the United Nations of its erroneous outlook, a group of 500 prominent scientists and professionals from around the globe has produced the European Climate Declaration, and submitted it to officials at the UN. 

The group is led by CLINTEL (Climate Intelligence Foundation) co-founder Guus Berkhout of The Netherlands, and includes America’s noted Richard Lindzen, Ph.D., a professor of meteorology and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Both men are among the Declaration’s “ambassadors” from 14 different countries who signed the communication to the UN.

The September 2019 document makes seven major points: 1. There is no climate emergency; 2. Natural as well as anthropogenic factors cause warming; 3. Warming is far slower than predicted; 4. Climate policy relies on inadequate models; 5. CO2 is plant food, the basis of all life on Earth; 6. Global warming has not increased natural disasters; and 7. Policy must respect scientific and economic realities.

Two major fallacies exist in the “science” behind climate catastrophe predictions these scientists say: First, political considerations infect the scientific process, and second, the climate models that predict catastrophe are biased.

Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the important drivers of climate, including atmosphere, oceans, land surface and ice. The results of a climate model are a product of the data provided. 

The Declaration offers the following comment on climate models: “Climate models have many shortcomings and are not remotely plausible as policy tools. Moreover, they most likely exaggerate the effect of greenhouse gases such as CO2. In addition, they ignore the fact that enriching the atmosphere with CO2 is beneficial.”

Further, it notes: “CO2 is not a pollutant. It is essential to all life on Earth. Photosynthesis is a blessing. More CO2 is beneficial for nature, greening the Earth: additional CO2 in the air has promoted growth in global plant biomass. It is also good for agriculture, increasing the yields of crop worldwide.”

And the seventh and final point: “There is no climate emergency. Therefore, there is no cause for panic and alarm. We strongly oppose the harmful and unrealistic net-zero CO2 policy proposed for 2050. If better approaches emerge, and they certainly will, we have ample time to reflect and adapt. The aim of international policy should be to provide reliable and affordable energy at all times, and throughout the world.”

The introductory letter written by the ambassadors suggests that the UN “organize with us a constructive high-level meeting between world-class scientists on both sides of the climate debate early in 2020,” and recommends a full and fair discussion of the issue. 

That seems to be a sensible plan.

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