It used to be called “man-made global warming,” when we were told that our greenhouse gas emissions were causing the ice caps and glaciers to melt, the seas to rise, our summers to get hotter, and our winters less snowy.(Before that, of course, it was the coming global ice age. And before that it was the coming population bomb when the number of people in the world would be greater than the amount of food the world could produce.)
Then when skepticism of “global warming” rose in the face of evidence that the world had experienced other cyclical warm periods in pre-industrial times; that in fact the world was just coming out of a period of unusual cooling in the 19th century; that some warming-alarmist climatologists were in fact falsifying their data; and that we were experiencing unusually cold and snowy winters in many places, they changed the term to “human-caused climate change.” The alarmists retorted that “weather isn’t climate” against the obvious evidence of harsher winter storms (never mind that every time a summer heat wave hits we’re treated to cries of “See? Global warming!”). They also said that on average globally and year-round, climate temperatures are on the rise, which causes all storms to become more intense, including winter storms. Thus, they claim, unusually cold and snowy winters are evidence of rising temperatures.
However, research using new supercomputer models of global climate since 1871 reveal that in fact, the weather is not getting harsher and more extreme. In fact, the weather, on average, is about the same since 1871 even though atmospheric CO2 has doubled in the past 100 years.
That’s right, no one is denying increased so-called “greenhouse gases”. The real question is whether those greenhouse gases actually cause the climate to change in any significant way, and whether other natural causes—such as cyclical changes in Sun activity, for example—are the real drivers of climate change.
So what?, some may ask. Shouldn’t we take draconian steps to decrease our carbon emissions just in case? Not so fast. All of the proposals for reducing emissions to the levels that the global warmists demand would have catastrophic effects on our economy and on the lives of billions of people around the world whose carbon emissions are part of their steep climb out of abject poverty. In addition, the global warming mindset—the belief that we’re in a period of higher temperatures all around—is having public policy effects that are already causing drastic problems.
Witness the thousands stranded when Heathrow skimped on de-icing supplies and let five inches of snow ground flights for two days before Christmas. Britain’s GDP shrank by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, for which the Office of National Statistics mostly blames “the bad weather.”
Arguably, global warming was a factor in that case. Or at least the idea of global warming was. The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation charges that British authorities are so committed to the notion that Britain’s future will be warmer that they have failed to plan for winter storms that have hit the country three years running.
On the other hand, it is the very prosperity of economically powerful countries that ensure that no matter the weather, lives and property will survive much better. When Cyclone Yasi hit Australia, it was their very prosperity that allowed them to have just one confirmed death from the storm. Compare that to every single cyclone that hits Bangladesh, which is quickly followed by news reports of thousands killed. Likewise, when an unusual ice storm hit Dallas last week, the city was inconvenienced certainly, but its economic prosperity allowed it to continue relatively unscathed. But compare to the dozens who died in Bangladesh and Nepal last winter when temperatures fell to as low as just above freezing.
The sad reality is that for some global warmists, the result is regrettable, but necessary, because for many of them it is the very overpopulation of the economically depressed nations that is the greatest threat. They don’t see human life as special and worthy of dignity and human beings as made in the image and likeness of God. Instead, they see us as pests on back of Mother Earth and competitors for the scarce resources that the relatively wealthy First-World alarmists want for themselves. (I would say “and their progeny”, but many of them view children as parasites as well.)
The bottom line is that no one really knows whether the climate is really worse today than at any time in human history; if it is worse, whether it was caused by human activity; and if it is caused by human activity, whether there’s anything we can or should do to reverse it. What we do know is that attempts to flail at the problem have been ineffectual at best, and have done more harm than good at worst.
Photo by YiowMade – http://flic.kr/p/9gNm1o