September 19, 2010
Climatism: Redoubling Misguided Efforts
Undaunted by Climategate disclosures and the failure to pursue climate legislation in the Senate, the climate movement is stepping up the attack. At an August 10 virtual town hall held by Repower America, former Vice President Al Gore stated, "We are not defeated. We are redoubling our efforts ...We need to solve the climate crisis." Thousands of supporters listened to the call. Inspired by Mr. Gore, they intend to "roll up their sleeves" and "turn their attention to the future." Unfortunately, the climate movement is long on enthusiasm and ideology, but short on science and economic sense.
Climatism, the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is increasingly in doubt. It appears that the world jumped to conclusions in 1992 at the Rio de Janiero Earth Summit, when 41 nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For the last eighteen years, political leaders have been arguing about how much to reduce such emissions. But more and more science shows our climate to be dominated by natural cycles of Earth, driven by solar activity. Man-made carbon dioxide emissions play only an insignificant role in global warming.
On September 3, the BlueGreen Alliance completed a 17-state, 30-city bus tour, urging Senate action on comprehensive climate legislation. The BlueGreen Alliance was formed in 2006 by the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers as a national partnership to work for "expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean energy economy." Eight U.S. trade unions, comprising 8.5 million workers, have joined the Alliance and bought into the myth that Cap and Trade legislation will create a green jobs economy. Steel is an energy-intensive industry that would be harmed by legislation to restrict carbon emissions. It's a mystery why any steel worker would support Cap and Trade.
Economist Milton Friedman, as an advisor to a developing nation, reportedly visited a construction site and asked why laborers were using shovels instead of earth-moving equipment. When told that tractors would eliminate jobs, he said, "Why not give them spoons?" Real economic growth is achieved only by improving the productivity of the work force, not by artificial creation of jobs.
According to analysis from the Institute of Energy Research and the U.K. House of Lords, wind turbines and solar fields are less reliable and two to four times as expensive as traditional hydrocarbon fuels for producing electricity. An even greater deficiency is that wind and solar energy are intermittently generated. In 2009, the 33,000 U.S. wind turbine towers on average delivered only 23% of their rated power. Would you buy a car that starts only one-quarter of the time? Yet government subsidies and mandates are forcing substitution of these green "solutions." These policies are reducing the productivity of our energy industry, thereby hindering U.S. economic growth and resulting in net job losses. Expensive energy creates jobs only in the energy sector while resulting in greater job losses in the rest of the economy.
Sunday, October 10 will be a big day for the climate movement. The grassroots group 350.org is planning international demonstrations against man-made climate change. Tens of thousands of starry-eyed young people will take to the streets around the globe. Not one in ten will know that water vapor, not carbon dioxide, is Earth's primary greenhouse gas, but they'll be shouting for change just the same. These demonstrations are timed to call attention to the Cancun Climate Summit beginning at the end of November.
The United Nations 16th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change will convene in Cancun, Mexico on November 29. A year after the failed negotiations in Copenhagen, 193 nations and thousands of delegates will meet again to try to find a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save the environment. Yet such a meeting is ironic on a massive scale.
As pointed out by geologist Leighton Steward, carbon dioxide is green! Carbon dioxide is plant food. Hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies document that increased atmospheric CO2 causes plants and trees to grow faster and larger, increase their root systems, and improve their resistance to drought. Coincidentally, carbon dioxide emissions from our industries have probably done more for greening the Earth than every tree ever planted by a well-meaning environmentalist. Yet, it's damn the science and economics, full speed ahead.
Steve Goreham is Executive Director for the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century's Hottest Topic.