The core premise of Senate Democrats’ fulminations this week against the “web of climate denial” is that there is no real debate about how dangerous anthropogenic warming is and what should be done about it.
That message is, of course, very convenient for politicians, like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who seek to expand government’s control over the master resource, energy, and coercively transfer trillions of dollars from the fossil-energy sector to their clients and donors in the renewable-energy sector.
Here’s how one of the 19 web-of-denial bashers, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), explained the big picture: “There are not two sides to every issue. Sometimes there are just facts on one side and bull on the other” (CR July 12, 2016, S4982). True enough, but when there are two sides, and one side claims there is no dispute, it is slinging bull.
The web-of-denial gang is in denial about two major facts. One is that although rising greenhouse gas concentrations undoubtedly warm the planet to some extent, the alleged climate crisis is a construct of speculation and errant climate models.
Figure 1: Observed warming is about half what the IPCC predicted in 1990 when it put climate change on the world’s political map. Figure source: Christopher Monckton
Although there is some correlation between carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and global temperatures since 1950, there is a much stronger correlation over the past 250 years between CO2 emissions and the best overall indicators of human health and welfare—population growth, per capita income, and life expectancy.
Figure 2 source: Indur Goklany
Second, the grand objective of the global warming movement, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly enough by 2050 to prevent a 2°C warming by 2100, poses an existential threat to the world’s poorest people. According to those same errant models, limiting global warming to under 2°C will require developing countries to make deep cuts in their current consumption of fossil fuels. That would be a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, because more than 1 billion people in those countries have no access to electricity and billions more have too little energy to sustain development.
Figure 3: The European Union 2°C climate “stabilization” plan calls for reducing global CO2 emissions 60 percent below 2010 levels by 2050—the so-called 60-by-50 plan. Suppose industrial countries miraculously reduce their emissions to zero by 2050. To meet the 60-by-50 target, developing countries would still have to reduce their emissions 35 percent below current levels. If, less unrealistically, industrial countries reduce their emissions 80 percent by 2050, developing countries would have to cut their current emissions almost in half. Figure source: Stephen Eule
In his floor statement, Schatz dismisses the work of one of my favorite skeptic organizations, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, with a flip comment. He states: “The center does not disclose funding information because they believe doing so would bias the way people perceive their purpose and publications, and that may be the only thing they say that is true.”
Stunning. In the past two weeks alone, the Center has posted reviews of 11 peer-reviewed scientific studies and three updates to its plant growth database, each update based on a peer-reviewed study. The Center’s website, CO2Science.Org, archives thousands of such reviews, posts detailed literature summaries on hundreds of climate-related topics, and maintains a frequently updated ocean acidification database. The Center also produces major reports on topics such as climate models and extreme weather, as well as phone-book-sized assessment reports summarizing thousands of peer-reviewed studies.
So I would ask Sen. Schatz: How do you know there’s not one word of truth in all that material? Based on what evidence do you dismiss all of that research as false? Are you as uncritical in your embrace of “consensus” science as you are in your rejection of “contrarian” science? If you don’t really know whereof you speak, aren’t you just slinging bull?