The 7th annual International Climate Change Conference ended on Wednesday with growing signs that skeptics are making steady progress in their efforts to turn back the tide of the alarmists.
I covered the conference for PJ Media and pointed out that while progress is real, much remains to be done:
Dodging the Waxman-Markey bullet may have been a high point, but, as many speakers at the conference pointed out, the failure to pass cap and tax gave Americans only temporary respite. The EPA's war on coal will result in the closure of 319 coal-fueled generating units totaling 42,895 megawatts, about 13 percent of the nation's coal fleet, according to the Sierra Club. This will result in consumers being hit with a 10-15% increase in their electric bills by 2015. That's an extra $150-$330 per year.
So while much has been accomplished, much remains to be done. Former Apollo astronaut and senator from New Mexico Harrison Schmitt believes the number one priority for the skeptical community is to "recapture" youngsters in the K-12 grades. It's too late for this generation, he says, because they have become so thoroughly indoctrinated. But Schmitt believes it is critical for the future that young people be given the opportunity to be taught both sides of the climate change debate rather than brainwashed to accept the AGW religion.
Beyond that, there is a real problem with trying to get the media to report the position of climate realists accurately. This was brought home by protestors at the conference, many of whom carried signs saying "Climate Change is Real." As president and CEO of the Heartland Institute Joseph Bast made note of on several occasions, the vast majority of skeptical scientists believe that the climate is indeed getting warmer. That is not now (nor has it ever been) the issue. What climate realists are "denying" (if that's even the right word) is: 1) that man is primarily, or solely, responsible for the increase in temperature and 2) that the effects of climate change will be catastrophic for humanity.
NASA's climate hysteric Dr. James Hansen believes that sea levels will rise 75 meters (236 feet) by 2500 if we don't do something to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. That claim, when repeated during the breakfast session on Tuesday, elicited gales of laughter from the audience. How is it possible to predict anything with any accuracy 500 years into the future? But Hansen is taken seriously by the scientific community and climate realists are smeared as tools of the oil and gas industry.
The forces arrayed against climate realists are well financed and very organized. Sometimes it appears to be a hopeless task:
Next month in Rio de Janeiro, the Rio+20 conference on "sustainability" will be held. Twenty years ago at the first Rio conference - the first "Earth Summit" - nations adopted "Agenda 21″ - a blueprint for disaster. As the conference website states:
Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, where countries adopted Agenda 21 - a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection - the UN is again bringing together governments, international institutions and major groups to agree on a range of smart measures that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources.
Rio+20 is a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future.
Reading the reports and research papers on that website is extremely illuminating - and not a little frightening. This is not just a question of redistributing wealth on a worldwide scale. Resource sharing, technology transfers, no intellectual property rights, world taxes, transfer payments - it's all there in black and white if anyone cares to read about it. You couldn't help but feel a little dismayed looking around at the 300 climate realists who attended the conference and realize how small and disorganized the opposition to this juggernaut really is.
But fewer people have accomplished far more in the past. A handful of colonists challenged the mightiest empire of the 18th century and came out winners. Perhaps if we keep that example in mind, it will embolden and inspire the rest of us to keep fighting the good fight.
There simply isn't an alternative.