Here’s the way it works. The science is not breaking your way. Scientists doing research into the planet’s atmosphere are coming to ominous conclusions, and an apparent consequence is this. Unless corrective action is taken there are going to be bad consequences.
And that’s the problem. People will need to do something. In a democratic society that means the government will need to do something. Actually, in an authoritarian society it will still be required for the government to do something.
But having the government do something is what you do not want. There are two flavors of this:
- You’re the kind of person who wants government to do as little as possible to satisfy your personal needs.
- What the government will need to do has a detrimental impact on your personal fortunes.
You have two choices.
- You can go along and take your lumps.
- You can demonstrate the science is invalid, therefore it will not be necessary for the government to do anything.
I forgot. There is a third alternative.
- You can invest heavily in persuading people the science is invalid, so nothing needs to be done, and you get back your investment multiple times over.
And that’s what’s being done. The Heritage Foundation is a politically conservative think tank mounting a vigorous challenge to the science behind global warming. I get one of their newsletters, titled The Daily Signal. Here is a recent offering:
Instead of anti-science doomsday predictions, this is what children should know about the environment.
It comes with a video. Watch the video. It opens with Greta Thunberg making her impassioned plea for adults to take action. From there it launches into an impassioned plea against taking action. The video is short, and I watched it through, capturing screen shots of each scene carrying the Heritage message. Here is what you will see.
People taking action to mold public opinion are termed “activists,” and they are recruiting naive children to man the front lines. This is obviously done to elicit undue sympathy for their mistaken cause.
Greta is like so many other young people, innocent of the real world. She does not have her facts straight. Interestingly the video dwells very little on the facts related to global warming.
It is true. Many global warming activists make claims unsupported by the data, and that undermines the entire case for global warming.
No, it does not. What would undermine the case for global warming would be facts that demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not cause warming by absorbing infra red radiation.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not increasing, or else is not increasing dangerously.
- The oceans and the atmosphere are not warming, or at least they are not warming sufficiently to produce harmful results.
- Human activity is not increasing the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, or at least it is not a significant cause of the increase.
Disproving any one of these five points would refute the science behind global warming concerns. None of these has ever been successfully disputed, and by no means has the Heritage Foundation done so, nor has it made a serious effort to.
Heritage will like for us to examine some recent history, not any history of the science, but history of the controversy.
Gloriosky, Zero! They bring up predictions of global cooling. Flash news. There will be a new ice age. It’s coming, providing this planet repeats the cycle it has experience the past few million years. But the onset is at least 1000 years in the future, and the consequences of anthropogenic global warming will impact us well before then.
“That didn’t happen.” No shit, Sherlock. The next ice age is not due anytime soon. “Mass flooding?” The video depicts a raging river. The mass flooding, expected to be a consequence of global warming, will be due to a rise of several feet by the planet’s oceans. This rise will be principally due to the melting of land ice, and a consequential rise is already being charted. Increased melting of glacier ice and the Greenland and Antarctic ice is being observed.
Heritage is likely correct on this point. What is more probably true is the time has past for us to forestall onerous consequences of global warming. In the past decades the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has nearly doubled, and the rise in atmospheric temperature is being charted. There is no action we can take to prevent dire consequences coming 50 to 100 years from now.
Heritage is going to warn us the proposed solutions will not be to our liking.
Yes! Free enterprise is going in the toilet. In this case, the term “free enterprise” is not defined, but for sure it’s not going to be so easy in the future to make money selling fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels as a means for producing electric power will feel an enormous pinch.
Yes, that dreadful ogre, the government, is going to take over your life. Here is a point where Heritage goes completely off the deep end. These guys are going to need to explain what they mean by “Washington would control everything from energy to food production.”
“And the type of cars we can drive.” To be sure, that is already happening. To decrease reliance on fossil fuels the government has mandated better fuel efficiency for automobiles. First hand knowledge. I spent a few weeks this summer touring Europe, and gasoline prices there are out of sight. A quick check shows the lowest price for unleaded in Germany is 1.189 euros per liter, which I work out to be $4.24 a gallon. As a consequence I notice most everybody who drives, drives a small and fuel efficient car, for those who drive. Trains and other forms of public transportation are a big part of life in Europe.
“But even if we believed their catastrophic predictions… Would their proposals work?” I don’t think so either. We are decades too late to forestall some serious damage, but that has nothing to do with whether AGW is real. The science is the science, and the consequences be damned.
“Not according to climate scientists own models.” Likely true. Again, no attempt to refute the science.
“They predict that even if the United States cut its carbon dioxide emissions to zero it would stall global warming by less than a degree Celsius… Over 80 years.” True again. The United States alone cannot fix the problem. Besides, if carbon dioxide emissions due to human activity were to cease completely by the end of this day, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will take in the order of 200 years to return to pre-industrial levels. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will continue to keep temperatures high enough during that time to have catastrophic results.
“So does that men we’re doomed? Not according to experts.” Heritage is going to need more than a slick video to get this message out. Unfortunately, in their posting no explanation is provided.
“Their [the experts] research shows economic freedom strongly correlates with clean environments.” Again, no explanation given, but two points.
- It is not clean environments we are talking back. Other than its warming effects, the rise in carbon dioxide levels we have seen so far are not a serious pollutant.
- My own observation is that when industries operate without environmental controls they bolster their profits by caring less about releasing harmful byproducts of their industrial processes.
“And the best way to create sustainable environment policies is to increase economic growth.” I would dearly like to see Heritage’s number on this.
Heritage announces we are “leading the world in reducing CO2 emissions.” Again no numbers given.
“So while climate activists spread doomsday predictions the only meltdown on our hands appears to be an emotional one.”
That last statement from the video is soaked in irony. All through Heritage has made mostly emotional appeals. Washington will run everything. You will not be able to drive the car of your choice. Dismantle our free enterprise system.
Guys, give it a rest. Come back when you are ready to argue real science.