One day, hopefully sooner than later, America will wake up and see that the “settled science” of climate change is specious.
Ginned up by environmental activists, promoted by that great scientist Al Gore, enshrined as dogma by the courts and regulators, climate change has very little to do with science.
I myself have no qualifications in the field, so I rely, as nearly all of us do, on the opinions of the scientific community.
At the very least, there is a division of opinion on the matter of climate change.
Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal sixteen distinguished scientists signed an open letter to politicians.
A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about "global warming." Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
The scientists move on to present us with some inconvenient facts. The first is that for the past ten years there has been no global warming:
Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 "Climategate" email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.
The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.
And then there’s the matter of carbon dioxide. Ever since carbon dioxide was declared a pollutant, environmentalists and regulators have been doing their best to shut down industry and the energy grid.
What is the truth about carbon dioxide? The scientists explain it so that even I can understand:
The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere.
Later on the scientists consider the policy implications that derive from the fact that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.
A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.
Greenhouse gas controls stifle economic growth and make it more difficult for underdeveloped countries to emerge from poverty. They damage developing economies and produce more joblessness and poverty.
These are more things for environmentalists to feel proud of.