On Climate Change Fearmongering

As the United Nations COP26 climate summit among of world leaders proceeded, China continued to pledge coal-reducing actions that it has no apparent intention of actually doing, Joe Biden’s Energy Secretary laughed at the idea that the administration would even try to lower gas prices, and both the mainstream media and Big Tech moved closer to censoring anyone who dared to question climate change chic. Climate change hustlers and doomsayers were, as usual, predicting disaster. We are “quite literally” in the “last chance saloon,” said Prince Charles, though why anyone would pay attention to him is a fascinating question. Even Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, condemned leaders for not addressing climate change by accusing them of “a genocide on an infinitely greater scale.” Greta Thunberg accused politicians of not taking “our future seriously.”

Here, climate wackos confronted Sen. Joe Manchin as he stepped off his yacht with cries of “We want to live!” because Manchin has blocked pointless and expensive anti-climate change measures in the trillion dollar infrastructure bill. “Business as usual” will lead to a catastrophic collapse of Himalayan glaciers; and devastating heatwaves in the southern United States, sayeth the New York Times.

Facts Don’t Matter in the Age of The Great Stupid. I’m betting neither the idiots who harassed Manchin, nor “Green New Deal” guru Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Al Gore, Greta Thunberg or Nancy Pelosi know that the extreme and apocalyptic predictions they are relying on is the IPCC’s RCP 8.5 scenario often described as “business as usual.” “Business as usual” in that scenario literally means no action by any nations whatsoever, so it is already useless—except to cause alarm and panic among those foolish enough to trust the hysterics.

RCP 8.5 was unlikely when it was proposed, and has become more unlikely since. So why are the news media and policy-makers still using it to scream that the sky is falling? It is because their business as usual is acting without sufficient understanding of what they are doing, and unethically misinforming the public.

In 2007, climate scientists wanted to create new emissions scenarios, imagining how conditions might change in the coming decades and what impact they would have on the climate. Four “representative concentration pathways” or RCPs—if nothing else, climate science has lots of jargon—were developed: RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5. They were, respectively, an optimistic scenario regarding emissions, two moderate scenarios, and a pessimistic one, RCP 8.5. Even when it was devised, this scenario was considered as extreme and unlikely by the scientists who modeled it. Its authors described it as “a high-emission business as usual scenario,” meaning that it was at the high end of emissions resulting from no climate policy….you know, like China. The use of that label, however, was taken to mean, by those wanting to create climate change panic, that high emissions were “business as usual,” and what was an unlikely worst case scenario became the basis for most advocacy reporting.

Brilliant!

There are dozens of studies published every year using the outdated worst case as the baseline thanks to this deliberate or careless confusion. One says that “Business-as-usual will lead to super and ultra-extreme heatwaves in the Middle East and North Africa.” Yet business is NOT “as usual” as it was envisioned more than ten years ago. Current solar prices are below what the model predicted they would be in 2050, Coal use has dropped in recent years. The emissions levels RCP 8.5 was based on would require the world to increase coal use per capita by about 700% from today’s levels. That’s obviously not going to happen.

How much money that the U.S. doesn’t have will be spent on speculative policies based on hyping a model that is no longer valid? How many businesses will be harmed, jobs lost, and family assets diminished? Why don’t journalists ask House and Senate members, or the loudest climate change policy advocates, to explain what RCP 8.5 and why it is being used as the basis for such measures as cancelling the Keystone pipeline?

They don’t ask because they don’t know what the RCP 8.5 is either.

Meanwhile, one of the few climate scientists who hasn’t lost his head and maintains a rational perspective, Bjorn Lomborg, has a new book, “False Alarm: how climate change panic costs us trillions, hurts the poor, and fails to fix the planet.” He isn’t a climate change denier—he just thinks panic-based policymaking is irresponsible. He also likes debunking climate change propaganda like…

  • “Small islands are doomed by rising sea levels”

Lomborg: “We constantly hear Micronesia, the Maldives or Seychelles or something is going to be flooded and they’re only like a metre or two metres above sea level…What happens is most of these islands are coral islands, so they have actually occurred because they break off dead coral when there’s storms and wash it ashore. That accretes to the island and makes the island higher. At the same time, of course, a sea level rise makes the island lower. But it turns out that at least for now, and probably in the foreseeable future, the accretion is higher than the sea level rise.”

  • “Extreme weather events are killing more people”

Lomborg: “If you take a graph of how many people die from climate related disasters, we have good data for that for the last 100 years. In the 1920s, about half a million people died each and every year from climate disasters. A lot of them were floods and droughts, especially in China and India that you’ve never heard of. What’s happened since then is that it’s declined dramatically. So in the 2010s, we were down to 18,000 deaths, so about 96% reduction in deaths. And last year, it was down to 14,000 or so in 2020. And in 2021, we don’t obviously have the whole year yet, but it looks like 2021 is set to be even lower at about 6000.”

  • “Wildfires are getting worse, and proof of climate change”

Lomborg: “We’ve actually seen that wildfire has been declining in amount of burnt area pretty much every year since 1900…Overall, Australia for instance had one of its lowest burns ever. It used to burn in the early 1900s about 12% of the area of Australia every year. It went down to about 6-8%, typically in the early 2000s. In 2019/20 it burned a little less than 4%.”

No, facts don’t matter during The Great Stupid…unless we make them matter.

27 thoughts on “On Climate Change Fearmongering

    • Make a full on conversion to nuclear energy. Refuse to make any symbolic sacrifices that will have no appreciable effect absent changed conduct by China, India, and developing nations. Place national economy, productivity, growth and jobs first in any trade-offs. Have ongoing research developing plans a-z to address climate change effects in the future, if necessary. Educate the public about the speculative nature of the entire area.

      • From what I’ve read, there are a lot more options for nuclear power than we had back in the 70s, including what sounds like almost assembly line type production of smaller nukes.

        The Navy has been running ships on nuclear power since the 1950s. As far as I know, they’ve not had any problems.

        Nuclear power has a fraction of the emissions of any other power source — including wind and solar, if you take everything into account. If we’re serious about CO2 emissions, nuclear really has to play a part.

        Then there’s the ultimate power source, nuclear fusion. A sun in a magnetic bottle.

    • For starters:

      1. I would open the discussion to more than just side of the argument. Regardless of what one side has stated ad nauseum, the science of this matter is anything but settled, there is not consensus on the matter, and 97% of scientists do not believe in man-caused climate change.

      2. “Climate scientists” (I realize the quotes highlight my own biases, but so be it) have in many instances proven themselves mostly incapable of debating (or unwilling to debate) topics using any kind of legitimate scientific method, so that would be a requirement.

      3. Climate-based research that is published would have to be peer-reviewed and critiqued by scientists on both sides of the issue.

      4. All temperature data gathered and disseminated (particularly data from NASA & NOAA) should be studied and confirmed by scholars on both sides of the ACGW spectrum to confirm its accuracy.

      5. Government agencies should forbidden from hiding, deleting, or in any other way tampering with historical data. In this case, I’m specifically referring to the USFS, which is currently playing hide-and-seek with US burn acreage it has going back to the turn of the 20th century. That data tells a completely different story than the propaganda we are seeing now.

      I’m sure there are plenty more things that can be done, but that’s a small beginning.

      • I have an important #6 for you.

        6. Stop cancelling scientists, researchers, and research that even remotely comes down on the contrary side. This has been occuring en masse at least since 2008, when Obama was elected. Before then, it was a frowned upon branch of research, but uoon Obama’s election, it got ugly. “That’s a nice graduate program you have there” encourages weenie administrators to cancel entire departmental funding if anyone works on fixing the real problems that come from energy “solutions” of the Anthropogenic Climate Change crowd.

      • I would like to have “climate scientists” admit that their predictions are purely speculative. Without a control planet devoid of humans to compare to the planet that “climate scientists” say is headed towards human extinction, it’s all theory. A geologist should also be required to explain what caused ice ages and thawing long before humans discovered fire. There’s a more tangible theory in looking into climate changes that happened tens/hundreds of thousands of years ago, rather than limiting the scope to the last two centuries.

    • Jack,

      I have attempted a response here a bunch of times without success. If you are able to locate and post the most recent, I would be most grateful. If that’s not possible, no worries…it wasn’t going to cause the earth to suddenly spin backwards anyway. Thanks!

  1. There are a lot of well healed investors in green energy who are promoting these doomsday scenarios.
    Historically massive wealth was accumulated through extraction and mining operations. These green investors want to displace those whose financial interests lie in fossil fuels. In short, the doomsday proponents just want to be the new American oligarchs.

  2. The WSJ has had a weekly column by Lundborg this fall covering many of those topics
    However I wasn’t aware of RCP 8.5 until now. Pretty disgusting.

  3. The climate change alarmists are looking at only the exaggerated harms of the continued use of fossil fuels. I’ve yet to see an analysis of the cost in terms of reduced life expectancy and quality of life of the targeted “net zero” carbon emission goals committed to be reached over the next several decades (relative to more modest carbon emission reduction targets).

    It’s easy enough for a relatively wealthy Westerner to buy a Tesla, install solar panels, pay a bit extra for carbon offsets for their vacation to Bora Bora, and only eat their grass fed beef once a week, but someone in an emerging economy needs cheap and reliable energy today (which often means coal).

    I’ve visited Vietnam six times (yes, I have my own giant “carbon footprint” to be ashamed of) over the years and have seen first-hand the incredible improvement in living standards. This would not have been possible without coal-generated electricity.

  4. Like the pandemic, concerns over the climate are being used to justify significant lifestyle changes in the United States that are intended to better control the population and its ability to fight back. The models don’t have to make sense when that’s not your real goal, especially when you can use your allies to suppress informed discussion of it.

  5. Has anyone read the amount of “toxic” output emitted by volcanoes. One volcano erupting emits more such stuff in a day than mankind produces in years. There are estimated to be 1350 active volcanoes worldwide. Perhaps the cry should be “Ban the Volcanoes”

  6. There is a massive problem with climate change solutions proposed by this summit and many others, and they all come down to an attitude that electricity is as magic. All solutions to climate change seem to ride on the attitude that if we can just get everyone on perfect electricity and have them drive a Tesla, that we can get rid of nasty coal, natural gas, and oil. There are better options (nuclear) and worse options (wind and solar) for that approach, and while I could point out why replacing all fossil fuel electric production with nuclear, wind, or solar would fail to provide adequate electricity at all times from a technical standpoint, that is really unimportant to the discussion, as they all have one existential problem. Electricity cannot replace fossil fuels.

    When it comes to replacing fossil fuels as the energy source of transportation, there are several obstacles that have to be overcome, and currently we don’t have any ideas of how to overcome them. Climate change activists are depending on revolutions that may or may not materialize. But something would have to dramatically change to address the fuel needs of heavy machinery, supply chain vehicles, and long-distance travel.

    First, we can look at farming equipment. Tractors and combines cannot run long enough or far enough on battery capacity. Batteries just do not have the adequate power to mass ratio to allow these big machines to do their job.

    Next, we can look at semis. A group ran a test by driving an unloaded electric semi truck across 1-80 in Wyoming in the summer. That stretch of road is known for three major troublesome spots: the Summit between Cheyenne and Laramie, the greater Elk Mountain Area, and the Three Sisters close to Evanston. These sections are especially difficult for traditional semis in the winter, so a summer trial without a load is somewhat of a joke. However, the report exuberantly exclaimed how well the semi did on the Summit (going down that steep grade, not up it) and the Elk Mountain area was handled with ease (coincidentally without the 60+ mph winds that make that region well known in energy circles for its wind farms on the day in question as they are found mostly in the winter time), but the desperation of the authors was clear when they discussed how the semi completely failed going up and down the mountains referred to as the Three Sisters. The truck struggled up the hills at a maximum of 5 miles an hour, draining the battery and blocking traffic as it dropped an entire lane out of service from a supply chain artery of our nation.

    As for long-distance travel, there are two major issues. The first is the actual range of batteries, which are typically rated for pleasant ambient conditions and no peripheral electrical use. Current batteries suffer a dramatic hit in the cold. Without turning on the heat in the car, the range of the battery drops by around half or more when the ambient temperatures drop below freezing. With the best (and most expensive) battery of last year, that is a 300 mile range dropping to 150. Add in heat to the car, and no rural traveler can get to the next town.

    The second issue is effective charging. The ultra fast chargers take 30 minutes to charge the car to 80% (80 to 100% is very time-taking to achieve even on these and is not considered in any large scale calculation due to the impracticality of the functional charging). 80% of 300 is 240, so that means on a standard trip, there are 60 miles of range that are effectively removed from consideration. What this amounts to is more frequent need to charge, placing higher demand on charging stations. If we suppose that a normal refuel at a gas station takes 10 minutes, that means an electric charging station would have to have 3 times as many chargers as a gas station has pumps to achieve the same throughput. This becomes exponentially worse if a station installs the slower, but less-expensive chargers.

    None of these obstacles are per se completely intractable. However, the retooling required is extensive, both from an engineering/infrastructure standpoint as well as a personal activity standpoint. Moreover, the aggravating problem is that the general focus is on solutions that only have meaning in a dense urban environment. Extended charging stations, such as in parking garages, charging at home, and many other solutions are focused on the short range commuter-style needs of urban and suburban populations. Few of these solutions have any practical application in the rural areas, especially the remote West where a great many towns are a hundred miles or more from a large town, and often even farther from a town with, for example, a major hospital with a NICU. Of course, it makes sense to focus energy on the problems that are easier to solve and then see if the more resilient problems can be tackled later. But when the push is to ban all ICE vehicles without having these issues addressed, this is a serious problem.

    The penultimate issue is resourcing. Batteries require cobalt and lithium, which are expensive to mine. Currently the mining rates are utterly inadequate to produce the batteries needed to replace ICE vehicles. Lithium is not a horribly available material, and even modest increase in the number of electric cars would require increasing lithium strip mining (using diesel powered equipment) by 2000%.
    Add into the picture cobalt, which is used as a stabilizing agent. We already have cobalt shortages as is, and the increased demand from additional electric vehicles would only exacerbate that problem. Worse, there is the human cost of cobalt. Cobalt is mainly mined in third world countries without child labor laws. The most cost-efficient way to mine cobalt is to send a four-year-old or equivalently small child, like perhaps a malnourished six year old, into a small crack and have them carry out a semi-toxic form of the mineral in their bare hands. This is extremely harmful, even ignoring that the unstable nature of cobalt mines gives way to huge numbers of small cave-ins. To procure cobalt in a humane, ethical manner would dramatically increase the cost. The question really becomes how many more cost increases we can afford.

    Finally there is problem of battery reclamation. There is no viable way, at this time, for us to recycle these batteries very well, and the vast majority of these batteries end up landfilled. We all recall that you shouldn’t landfill batteries, especially lithium ones, right? Well, these batteries are so hard to handle that they almost always end up there, except for some small reclaimers who still end up putting most of the dangerous minerals in the landfill.

    I won’t even cover the issues with airplane travel. It cannot be done with only electricity, at least if you like staying in the sky.

    One last point in getting rid of fossil fuels: up until now we’ve only discussed replacing fossil fuels in transportation. But fossil fuels are used in many other products. To eliminate all fossil fuels, there will be no more cheap carpet, varnish for tables, or plastic of any kind. Semi conductors practically cannot be processed without petrochemicals, which removes all of our computers. Carbon steel (the most prevalent stuff) is out, which rids us of concrete structures and most houses have steel in them too. Wood and paper products will become significantly more rare, as may logging areas are in areas with no electricity access for miles around, so the equipment uses gasoline. How about lubricants? Any time you have moving parts, you need lubrication and lubricants are all massively petroleum based. Food and farming are in need of petrochemicals. Fertilizers that allow for farming significantly above subsistence level require petrochemical fuel byproducts. The N and P in your NPK fertilizer come from petrochemicals, even though some of them take a rather indirect route. Since most of our refrigerants are petrochemical in nature we can bring back the chlorofluorocarbons that have major negative impacts on the environment and the ozone layer to keep our refrigerators running, though they have been working to eliminate those. Most medicines use petrochemicals in their formation. On the plus side, this will rid us of the vaccine mandates as Moderna and Pfizer used petrochemicals in their designs, such as polyethylene glycol. Ammonia, the cleaner, as well as acetone, are fossil fuel based. Those all require petrochemical processing to make in sufficient quantities to make them affordable. Synthetic fabrics are made with or processed by petrochemicals. Many makeups and perfumes, even the organic ones, require petrochemical derivatives to process. And this is just a short list. Most of our entire chemical industry uses petrochemicals. If you want a chemical, in most cases it has been touched by the petrochemicals.

    • Your post is excellent. I would two dimensions to it, though. One is religious and the other is power.

      It is religious because proponents/advocates of climate change accept as a matter of faith that humans broke the climate and humans can save the climate. They are zealots on whom mo amount of logic, fact or reason will move them from their beliefs. This is Thunberg.

      The other is power: these adherents know what is best for you and, believe you me, you better get in line. This is Ocasio-Cortez.

    • Sarah,

      Outstanding! We could also tell the kids that their cell phones, iPads, XBoxes, Playstations, watches, and VR goggles will all be ten times more expensive – so expensive, in fact, that neither they nor their parents will be able to afford them, given the radical price increases in everything else.

      That would put a huge dent in attendance at “man-made climate change” church.

      • I don’t think they will be ten times more expensive. I’m frankly wondering how they will manufacture them at all. These items are mainly computers, all of which require plastic (petrochemical in nature and thus completely gone) and semi-conductors (need stuff from the petrochemical industry to manufacture semiconductor products effectively).

        I keep hearing from the climate change true believers that they are ok without plastic. Most of them are in denial about iron, which was only produced in large quantities after we discovered that the “flammable black rocks” made hot enough fires to melt the ore. Maybe they really are fine with losing their phones, TV’s, computers, etc. But there is something more important and this is where the true believers of my generation and older perplex me. Either they have never had medical procedures done, didn’t pay attention to what most sterile medical stuff is made of and wrapped in, or are completely fine with dropping the level of sterile equipment to Lister levels. I love the idea of having my tongue held down with a device used by 200 people before me, dipped in carbolic acid between patients. How about you? Oops, no carbolic acid, the benzene and propylene reagents used for cheap and effective manufacture of this substance are usually derived as petrochemicals. I suppose we can go back to whiskey and fire on bronze materials…

        My attitude on these people causes me to really struggle with the Razors at this point. How ignorant/stupid/oblivious can you get before the simplest explanation IS malice? Therefore my only problem with johnburger2013’s comment is that I don’t think the Thunbergs and the AOCs are quite so far apart.

        • I totally agree – they are two sides of the same coin. Thunberg is a maniac and her parents should be incarcerated for child abuse. She has been taught that her anger is morally justifiable so everything she says and does is morally justifiable. Ocasio-Cortez is a maniac and her constituents should be investigated to see if they are sentient beings. Ocasio-Cortez lives in self-righteous indignation. She doesn’t care how crazy she sounds. While not overly bright, she is astute enough to know that her masterful use of social media puts her one step ahead of her opponents. Republican should learn from her.

          They are members of the new “The End is Nigh” cult, wholly driven by religious zeal.

          jvb

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