Last week, soon-to-be President Barack Obama met with former Vice President Al Gore to discuss global warming. In a brief presser following their closed-door rendezvous, Obama proclaimed, "the time for denial is over."
Ironically, as Obama yammered, Louisiana hurriedly prepared for a powerful cold front which would arrive the following night. The wintry storm ultimately dumped 6 inches of snow in Livingston Parish and dusted New Orleans with its earliest snowfall since records were accurately established in 1850. And the deep-south cold snap was not an isolated event.
For most of the United States and much of the world, this has been one of the colder autumns in well over a decade, with reports of unseasonable snowfalls and plummeting temperatures from the American Great Plains to the Alps of Europe and into the inner reaches of Asia. Even China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever" in October. In the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years. In fact, it's likely that 2008 will go down as the coldest year since in the United States since 1997.
So who's in denial?
Obama's inverted hyperbole hardly anomalous. Similar blunders splatter in the faces of the global whiners regularly. On February 13th of last year the Midwest was getting hammered with an unusual dose of bitter Arctic air. Minneapolis, Minnesota, woke up to -4°. Chicago had snow and a temperature of 19°. So ferocious was the weather that Maryville College in St. Louis was forced to cancel its screening of Al Gore's global warming manifesto, An Inconvenient Truth.
As the storm quickly raced east, Washington, D.C. braced for its biggest snowfall of the season. Coincidently both the House and Senate had planned major climate convocations for the following day. Alarmed by the weather forecast, a notice was fired off to BlackBerrys across Capital Hill:
"The [House] Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality hearing scheduled for Wednesday, February 14, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building has been postponed due to inclement weather."
The title of the scheduled hearing was, "Climate Change: Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Human Activities Contributing to a Warming of the Planet?"
Despite the House of Representatives' move to bag their global warming meeting because of non-global warming weather, undaunted, the Senate blindly went forward with theirs. Foreign bigwigs had been called to Washington for this summit and cancelling it would have created great inconvenience-and embarrassment for their Senate host, Senator John McCain. As the dignitaries cruised from their D.C. hotels through the snow-covered city in gas-guzzling 4-wheel drive Suburbans, they witnessed the fluffy white evidence of the biggest snowfall of the season. In addition, the temperature was a stunning 11° below normal. Acting oblivious to the reality outdoors, McCain foolishly addressed the assembled group and said, "The debate is over, my friends. The question is, what do we do?"
What you should do, Messer's Obama, Gore and McCain, is realize the debate is over -- there is no global warming. Yes, between 1970 and 1998 there was a minor warming of a mere .34°F, as verified by the NASA satellite records. However, there has been no notable increase in the global temperature since 1998, (humiliatingly confirmed even by the United Nations). Furthermore, your designer greenhouse gas-carbon dioxide-is neither a pollutant nor a problem.
However, the facts are not getting in the way of their agenda.
Obama's plan to "stop global warming" is the same one that's been touted by Gore, and identical to the plan rolled out last week by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Without a vote of the people or the state legislature, CARB approved a roadmap for how California would implement its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. It's a liberty-sucking roadmap complete with new taxes, economic inflation and a heavy dose of Big Brother.
The centerpiece of the plan in an elaborate cap and trade scheme which will punish businesses with increased costs -- costs that will be passed on to the consumer. Automobile CAFE standards will be increased and the production of plug-in vehicles mandated, thus forcing upon the struggling car dealers contraptions that will not be embraced by the consumer. Building codes, already a major pain for anyone doing any construction in the Golden State, will become more imposing in order to appear "green".
Worse yet, utility companies will have to provide 33% of their electricity from non-fossil sources. This extreme provision is unattainable for a number of reasons. First, environmentalists are privately opposed to wind farms because they require large swaths of land to house the mills and adjacent power lines. They believe such development will certainly threaten obscure species. Second, while solar is an efficient utility, especially residential rooftop applications, it requires a capital outlay that most consumers can't afford (for the standard house about $20-30,000 after government subsidies).
The environmentalists also dislike hydro-power. In fact, the eco-freaks are gaining significant traction to eventually tear down one of California's most strategic hydro-generation facilities at the O'Shaunnesy Dam near Yosemite. And nuclear power? Despite the fact that it's emission free, Obama and crew loathe nuclear because of its ancillary radioactive waste (even though all the waste, from all of the nuclear power plants ever operated in the U.S., could be easily stored in a building the size of an average high school gymnasium).
And then there is Big Brother. Buried within the 1,700 pages of the Federal 2005 Energy Policy Act is a clause that will surely be at the forefront of the new energy plan both in California and in Obama's America. Section 1252 of the Act mandates the use of the Smart Meter, a tool your utility provider has probably told you will eliminate the need for a human to read your gas/electric meter each month, and will allow the utility to adjust energy costs based on time of day usage. This is all true.
However, the Smart Meters are rigged to be remotely controlled. If it's deemed you are consuming too much energy, an unseen bureaucrat will have the ability to selectively decrease the amount of power flowing into your home. Along with this Orwellian scheme, the Feds are working with appliance manufacturers to roll out major appliances with similar remote sensing devices. During periods of peak demand your washer, dryer, furnace or air-conditioner will also be governed by an unseen bureaucrat and powered down. An obscure Federal government document procured for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory entitled, Smart Meters, Real-Time Pricing, And Demand Response Programs, in 2007, explained how these systems work:
Under certain predetermined peak periods, the utility interrupts or cycles the appliance [including air-conditioning, furnaces and water heaters] to achieve its system goal of reducing peak usage and thereby reduce the cost of electricity for all customers...In most cases customers do not "notice" or suffer adverse consequences for the interruption or cycling.
All of these insane moves by the government are being imposed upon us because of carbon dioxide -- which is not a problem. CO2 accounts for less than 4/10000ths* of our planet's atmosphere (.00036%). And what percentage of the miniscule amount of CO2 is produced by human activity, including the utilization of fossil fuels? According to a thorough analysis by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center -- a research wing of the U.S. Department of Energy -- only 3.207% -- all of this global whining over an atmospheric component so tiny, it is difficult to comprehend.
Allow me to repeat this critical fact:
Carbon dioxide comprises less than 4/10000ths of the earth atmosphere and of that amount, a mere 3% is generated by mankind.
And how much has CO2 increased in the atmosphere over the past 150 years? Approximately 35%. A 35% increase and still the gas comprises less than 4/10000ths of earth's atmosphere.
Are you still worried about the dangers of CO2?
Are you beginning to understand this is a manufactured crisis?
Good...because it only becomes more devious.
Let's talk about greenhouse gases. Water vapor is earth's most effective and abundant greenhouse gas, accounting for 95% of the greenhouse effect. In terms of weather, we refer to water vapor as humidity. Depending on where you reside, many of you know the effects of high humidity. On a warm, humid summer day, you can't move about outdoors without beads of perspiration breaking on your brow. On those same nights the water vapor laden air seems heavy and the temperature has a difficult time dropping to comfortable sleeping levels. This is because humid air tends to hold its temperature. What you are witnessing is the greenhouse effect doing what it's supposed to do -- retain heat. Without the greenhouse effect, the earth would be a ball of ice void of life. It's astounding how today this life-dependant atmospheric factor has become the environmental bad guy. "Greenhouse gases are killing us," we are constantly told.
Curiously, research I culled from the Department of Energy fails to list water vapor as a greenhouse gas. This is incredibly disingenuous, given that, in reality, water vapor is the 600 pound gorilla in the greenhouse. After water vapor, the remaining five percent of the greenhouse gases are, in order of concentration: CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and a variety of other minor gases, including ozone, carbon monoxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. However -- stay with me here -- it must be noted that methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 when it comes to retaining the sun's heat, and nitrous oxide is 310 times more effective than CO2. Carbon dioxide is actually a puny player in the greenhouse game.
Since the Department of Energy and other government climate gurus choose to ignore the mighty greenhouse effect of water vapor, for the sake of the following proposition so shall I. Let's eliminate water vapor from the equation for a moment and focus only on the remaining five percent of greenhouse gases. Human contribution to the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is realized primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, but also through important processes like manufacturing cement (the chemical reaction necessary to its production releases CO2) and even farming (plowing a field exposes microscopic organic matter in the soil, causing the carbon-laden organisms to die, thus releasing CO2 into the atmosphere). Accounting for the individual concentrations and potencies of the other greenhouse gases (sans water vapor), the contribution of carbon dioxide emissions created by human activity accounts for only 2.33% of the earth's greenhouse effect.
Now, when we reconsider water vapor into the math, humankind's carbon-dioxide footprint is reduced to .117% of the greenhouse effect (that reads one hundred seventeen thousandths of a percent).
To say we're being hoodwinked by these jamokes is an understatement. There is no planetary emergency caused by an abundance of carbon dioxide -- and even if the CO2 created by our activities was an issue, the earth has mechanisms in place to accommodate. Just like the water vapor that eventually returns to earth as precipitation, working its way into a deep ocean or subterranean aquifer, airborne carbon dioxide is absorbed by large repositories called "sinks" which include everything from the atmosphere itself to the oceans to the plants, rocks and dirt.
If anyone is in denial, it's those who still believe in global warming.
Brian Sussman is an award-winning former television meteorologist and current radio talk show host. His program, "Sussman's Revolution", can be heard each evening between 6 and 8 on KSFO, 560AM San Francisco (ksfo.com)
*Thanks to several readers for pointing out that we dropped two decimal points on this number.