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Climate Questions for Politicians (That No One Seems to Want to Ask)

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The Democrats running for their party’s presidential nomination are focusing more on climate change. Here are five questions reporters should ask to test whether the candidates’ climate policies deserve the support of the American people. In fact, these are questions that should be asked of all politicians who advocate climate policies, regardless of their party affiliation.

1. Would your climate policies trigger a recession?

With 10-year Treasury bond yields continuing to fall relative to two-year bond yields, and 30-year bond yields hitting an all-time low, many market analysts worry the economy is heading towards a recession.

However, a recent Bloomberg News article notes that consumer confidence in August hit an all-time high, and a major reason is low oil prices. As the story explains: “Few things get consumers to pull back like rising gasoline prices.”

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Indeed, “every downturn since 1970 has been preceded by a doubling of oil prices the prior 12 months that has pressured consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the economy.”

Oil prices are low because the U.S. energy companies are producing at record levels. Climate policies such as the Green New Deal aim to ban offshore drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and fossil fuel exports and imports, plus “massively raise taxes” on oil industry investors.

Such policies would quickly bankrupt industries that keep consumer confidence high by keeping energy prices low.

What is the risk that the energy price shocks from your plan to suppress oil and gas production would push the economy into a recession?

2. Would your climate policies put U.S. households in economic peril? 

Several recent reports find that the Green New Deal would impose massive costs on U.S. households. For example, a Competitive Enterprise Institute/Power the Future studyestimates that Green New Deal energy policies would cost an average household in Pennsylvania $72,000 in the first year of the program, $45,000 annually in the second through fifth years, and $38,000 in year six and later.

Would the Green New Deal put millions of American households in the poorhouse?

3. Do the benefits of your climate policy justify the costs?

Assuming mainstream climate science modeling, eliminating all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions tomorrow would avert only 0.034°C—0.062°C of global warming in 2050. Such a tiny change, which is too small to be reliably detected, would have no discernible effect on weather patterns, crop yields, or polar bear populations.

The Green New Deal would have even less impact on global temperatures. How do such vanishingly small climate benefits justify the enormous costs?

4. Will you acknowledge the serious methodology and transparency problems in the U.S. National Climate Assessment and fix them?

The recent National Climate Assessment generated headlines when it claimed global warming could reach 8°C (14°F) and lop 10 percent off U.S. GDP by century’s end. However, to get that alarming result, the assessment ran an ensemble of models that on average project twice as much warming over the past 40 years as actually occurred.

Worse, the modelers used an inflated emissions scenario in which coal scales up rapidly to provide nearly half of all global energy by 2100 – a percentage not seen since 1940.

Even with that biased combo, warming hits 8°C in only 1 percent of model projections – a detail the assessment failed to mention.

If elected, will you fix the National Climate Assessment so that it informs rather than propagandizes the public about climate change?

5. Is there really a climate crisis?

In the United States, there has been no increase in flood magnitudes in any region since the 1920s, and no nationwide increase in drought since 1900 as measured by the Palmer Drought Severity Index.

There has been no trend since 1900 in the strength or frequency of U.S. land-falling hurricanes, and none in hurricane-related damages once losses are adjusted for increases in population, wealth, and the consumer price index.

Globally, the total area burned by wildfires has decreased every decade since the 1940s, and NASA reports that the number of square kilometers burned fell by about 25 percent between 2003 and 2019.

In addition, all major indicators of human health and well-being such as life expectancyper capita income, and crop yields have improved dramatically during the era of global warming.

Finally, whatever effects global warming may be having on the weather since the 1920s, the individual risk of dying from extreme weather globally has decreased by 99 percent, and since 1990, the relative economic impact of extreme weather (measured as a percent of global GDP) has declined.

What is your real-world evidence that climate change is a crisis?

Politicians proposing multitrillion-dollar climate plans owe it to the American people to answer tough questions, rather than relying on claims of “consensus” and smearing those who disagree in an attempt to dodge them.

Originally published at Fox News.