Climate Radicalism

Next month, nations of the world will gather in Paris for the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to continue the pursuit of a binding agreement to solve what they term as the climate change threat. Each year, the scenario is the same. There is always great uncertainty about what will be agreed to, on what time schedule, and about who pays. In the end an agreement is reached which is more rhetoric than substance. That is a good thing because the climate problem that the COP seeks to solve is not real. It is an image that does not conform with the real world or the climate that we actually experience.

The failure to negotiate a binding agreement to compel massive reductions in fossil fuel use has caused some environmental groups to become even more radical in their agenda. And, they no doubt have been emboldened by the regulatory agenda that has been pursued by the Obama Administration that will impose enormous costs on economy.

The environmental news site Common Dreams has just published an article that claims the world faces “Armageddon” unless we abandon fossil fuels in the next five to six years. The article claims that we already have the mechanisms to achieve that goal. Really? It doesn’t say what they are and ends without answering the question of how the objective would be accomplished so quickly or at what cost.

Over eighty percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels and the Energy Information Administration projects that energy consumption will increase by 56% by 2040, Despite projected growth in renewables and nuclear, fossil energy still is projected to provide 80% of the world’s energy over the next several decades. A moments thought should make it obvious that there is no way that the world can replace its fleet of cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes in five or six years even if there was an alternative fuel for them to use. The same holds true for homes, buildings and factories. Further more, any attempt to implement such a radical agenda would produce a global depression greater than anything that has ever been experienced.

Even President Obama’s radical agenda doesn’t call for abandoning fossil energy on such an accelerated time schedule. Just as a frame of reference take a look at what the President’s agenda implies. In 2012, US CO2 emissions were 5.2 billion tons or almost 17 tons per person. By 2050, our population is projected to be about 440 million. An 80% reduction would from the 2012 emission level translates into a little over 2 tons per person, the per-capita level in 1900. The world has been going through a natural reduction in carbon intensity for well over 100 years and technology, not government or global mandates, will continue us on that path.

Ironically, the Common Dreams article claims, “in a clash between physics and politics, physics always wins.” Since the beginning of the climate change catastrophe campaign, that has not been the case. Politics has politicized physics and science in general. If physics does prevail, it will show that climate alarmism has been a hobgoblin and like all hobgoblins a false one.

A look at our climate history going back to the end of the Little Ice Age or hundreds of thousands of years prior to that clearly shows that CO2 levels and temperature are not related. And, even though it is an established scientific fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, its warming effect is not linear. That also is a well established physics fact and explains why climate models grossly over predict temperature increases. Empirical evidence has demonstrated that climate sensitivity—the temperature effect of doubling CO2– is nowhere as large as alarmists claim. So, there is no way that further increases in atmospheric levels can produce run away temperature increases and extreme weather events.

CO2 is a nutrient and as such is neither a necessary evil nor an unnecessary one. It is an essential nutrient for plant and crop growth, which are essential for life.

If we can stop judging reality by the climate catastrophe image and instead judge that image by reality, we will stoop wasting billions of dollars and be better able to solve real environmental and economic problems.

 

This article appeared on the FuellFix website at http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/10/05/climate-radicalism/

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