Thursday, November 8, 2007

Don't Look To The Government To Control Global Warming.....

So, it is becoming more and more clear that global warming is a non-problem, a man-made scam. The implications are enormously scandalous. Thank ABC, 20/20 and a courageous consumer advocate reporter John Stossel for helping unveil the truth. Let your politicians and voting friends also know the truth. We're tired of being deceived and having our tax dollars wasted.

Don't Look to Government to Cool Down the Planet
By John Stossel
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Recently on "20/20," I said "give me a break" to Al Gore for claiming that the global-warming debate is over and suggesting that all dissenters were in it for the money. I interviewed independent scientists who say Gore is wrong.

Some people were relieved to finally hear the other side: "Thank you, thank you, thank you for your report on climate change. … I'm sick of hearing 'the debate's over' and writing anyone who differs off as a nut. This report showed the true nature of the debate and true lack of consensus, something you can't get anywhere else."

Others were just mad: "Your 20/20 report on Global Warning made me sick. ... Your sarcastic ridiculing of Al Gore … I have lost all respect for you and your reporting."

Yes, the globe has warmed, but whether severe warming is imminent and whether human beings are causing it in large degree are empirical questions that can't be answered ideologically. The media may scream that "the science is in" and the "debate is over," but in fact it continues vigorously, with credentialed climate scientists on both side of the divide. (For example.) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may present a "consensus view of scientists," but the "consensus" is not without dissent.

"Consensus is the stuff of politics, not science," says Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute. The scientific process ought to be left to play itself out with as little political bias as possible. Politically influenced research is poison to science.

Part of the problem is the IPCC itself. Reiter points out, "It's the inter-governmental panel on climate change. It's governments who nominate people. It's inherently political. Many of the scientists are on the IPCC because they view global warming as a problem that needs to be fixed. They have a vested interest."

Phillip Stott, professor of biogeography at the University of London, says that the global warming debate has become the new "grand narrative" of the environmental movement. "It's something for people to get excited about and protest. It's more about emotion than science." While the scientists thrash things out, what are the rest of us to do?

There are good reasons to begin with a presumption against government action. As coercive monopolies that spend other people's money taken by force, governments are uniquely unqualified to solve problems. They are riddled by ignorance, perverse incentives, incompetence and self-serving.

The synthetic-fuels program during the Carter years consumed billions of dollars and was finally disbanded as a failure. The push for ethanol today is more driven by special interests than good sense -- it's boosting food prices while producing a fuel of dubious environmental quality.

Even if the climate really needs cooling down, government can't be counted on to accomplish that. Advocates of carbon taxes and emissions trading talk about reducing CO2, but they promise no more than a minuscule reduction in temperature. Temperature reduction is supposed to be the objective.

In fact, even drastic plans to cut the use of carbon-based energy would make only a negligible difference. As John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a member of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal:
"Suppose you are very serious about making a dent in carbon emissions and could replace about 10 percent of the world's energy sources with non-CO2-emitting nuclear power by 2020 -- roughly equivalent to halving U.S. emissions. Based on IPCC-like projections, the required 1,000 new nuclear power plants would slow the warming by about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit per century. It's a dent."

I agree with Stott, who says, "The right approach to climate change is adaptation -- and the way to do that is to have strong economies."
We will have a strong economy if we don't give up our freedom and our money to fulfill the grand schemes of big-government alarmists.

Next week: How the private sector could deal with a global-warming problem.
John Stossel is an award-winning news correspondent and author of Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong.
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RobC said...

I can agree with Mr. Stossel's main points, that Mr. Gore doesn't understand the science and that the world can only afford to solve environmental problems, including global warming, if it has a strong economy. But I'd like to comment on Dr. Christy's remark about the challenge of replacing fossil-fuel energy sources.

Dr. Christy says replacing 10% of the fossil fuels being consumed with non-fossil energy (or offsetting it with efficiency gains) would lower the warmup rate by 0.2°F per century, or 0.002°/year. I think he didn't intend for this to be understood so precisely, but an approximation will serve my purpose here. Suppose we replaced all fossil-fuel consumption instead of just 10%. We would expect something like 0.02°/year less warmup. The present warmup rate is about 0.027° (not a precise number: it depends on smoothing yearly rates). So he's saying what everyone else is saying, that eliminating all fossil-fuel use would reduce global warming by about three-fourths. The remaining fourth would have to come from changes in agriculture, deforestation, and industrial emissions such as concrete production.

Clearly, reductions like this are a major challenge. But fossil-fired powerplants and motor vehicles will all wear out in the next 30 or 40 years and have to be replaced. So the challenge is only to replace them with something else instead of with new fossil-fired equipment.

Granted, motor fuels are a big challenge. Still, we should expect to see a 10% reduction coming just from there. A clearly-defined program of renewable energy, nuclear energy, and conservation can eliminate all use of fossil fuels for electricity, and gain another 40%. Changes in agriculture and land-use can further reduce global warming. So we can cut the rate of global warming in half with present technology. Improvements after that will depend on innovations such as battery- or hydrogen-powered vehicles, sequestration, or biofuels.

There's enough talent in the human race that we can still preserve the habitat we're used to.

Peter said...

Replacing fossil fuels is a MAJOR challenge. The trick is to do so without destroying the world economy and starving 3/4 of the world's population in the process.

The shrill alarmism coming from those who believe man is causing global warming is helping no one but themselves.

It appears that carbon dioxide emissions have a miniscule effect on global warming and climate change. All money and effort to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions is a waste, a waste the world can not afford.

Thanks for your opinion.

RobC said...

Peter, you and I have covered this ground before. The data show that CO2 emissions account for all of the global warming since 1980 and no other factor can explain it. This data is shown at Global Warming: A Guide for the Perplexed. I think you looked at it before; it hasn't changed much.

The most important thing to do is replace fossil-fired electricity with non-fossil sources and efficiency improvements. The economic cost of that will be little to nil if the externalized costs of fossil fuels are considered.

Anonymous said...

You and many other AGW proponents grossly oversimplify the socioeconomic changes reqired to bring about (maybe) a very minor change in global temperature.
You also do not address the possibility that warmer temperatures are probably more benefical to life on earth than harmful. Along those lines, what happens when the climate cycle reverses and things begin cooling. Are we suddenly going to decide that we should reinvent society again, start burning fossil fuel in order to slow the cooling trend. The whole idea is preposterous,