The unwritten rule seems to be that each successive climate report and news release must be more scarifying than any predecessors, especially during the run-up to international conferences.
Thus Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report 15 claims governments worldwide must make “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” spend $40 trillion by 2035 on renewable energy, and impose carbon taxes that climb to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2030. Or temperatures could climb another 1-degree F (0.5 C) and bring utter cataclysm to human civilization and our planet.
Not to be outdone, the 1,700-page 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment wailed that failure to eliminate fossil fuels and roll back American industry and living standards would send global temperatures soaring 15 degrees F by 2100! Chaos and food shortages would ensue; U.S. economic growth would plummet.
The hyperbole continues in Katowice, Poland – where 30,000 activists and bureaucrats (and a few scientists) are meeting to finalize regulations to implement the 2015 Paris climate treaty and compel wealthy nations to give trillions of dollars in “adaptation, mitigation and compensation” money to poor countries that have been “victimized” by climate change, even as the rich nations de-industrialize.
All of this certainly plays well with those who orchestrated these reports and programs, are ideologically opposed to fossil fuels, or get paid to advance climate chaos and renewable energy narratives. However, a very different response among other audiences is increasingly evident around the world.
People look out their windows and realize the “unprecedented climate and weather chaos” isn’t actually happening, is little different from what they and previous generations experienced, and cannot possibly be attributed solely to fossil fuel use. They know the sun and other powerful natural forces have driven frequent climate changes throughout history, and play equally important roles today.
They understand that the scary headlines are the product of “scenarios” conjured up by computer models that blame climate change on greenhouse gases. They see the boy who cried “fifty 20-foot-tall wolves” far too often. They don’t buy the notion that today’s incredibly wealthy, high-tech, energy-rich societies are somehow less able to deal with climate change than those that lived through the Little Ice Age, for example. They typically put climate change at the bottom of any list of pressing concerns.
More and more people understand that fossil fuels provide 80 percent of U.S. and global energy – and are essential to lifting billions more people out of crushing poverty. They see Asian and African countries building thousands of new coal- and gas-fired electrical generating plants, and making and driving millions of new cars. They know even Germany and Japan are burning more coal, as they realize that wind and solar subsidies and facilities raise energy costs, kill jobs and hurt poor families the most.
People resent being scammed and get angry when they realize their taxes and energy payments often line the pockets of climate activists, scientists, bureaucrats, politicians, and wind, solar and biofuel cronies.
Above all, a growing number see the proposed solutions as far worse than the wildly exaggerated and even fabricated climate disasters. They won’t tolerate having their livelihoods and living standards disrupted or destroyed by carbon taxes, even higher energy prices or fossil fuel bans – especially when the antipathy toward those fuels is combined with plans to terminate nuclear and even hydroelectric power.
In recent weeks, millions of mostly poor, working class and rural French citizens have joined the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement, protesting and even rioting against President Macron’s proposed carbon tax hikes on their driving and living standards. Even a French police union has sided with the protesters. A shaken Macron finally postponed the tax for six months, then scrapped the plan entirely.
The protests are the first serious backlash against international eco-imperialism. They won’t be the last.
In Africa alone, twice as many people as live in the USA still do not have electricity, or have it only rarely and unpredictably. Can you imagine your life without electricity? And yet they are told by the EU, environmentalists, the World Bank and others that they must restrict their ambitions to what is possible with wind, solar and biofuel energy. Would you accept such carbon colonialism? Can actual, real-world climate risks possibly be worse than the horrid poverty, deprivation and disease that afflicts them now?
The World Bank recently said it would kindly give poor countries $200 billion during its FY2021-25 cycle, for “adaptation and resilience” in the face of manmade climate change. But still nothing for fossil fuel or nuclear power. The White House should read it the riot act, especially if U.S. money is involved.
Poor countries don’t need climate cash. They need to develop: energy, infrastructure, factories, jobs, health, living standards. They need to do what rich countries did to become rich – not what (some) rich countries are doing (or at least saying) now that they are rich. Thankfully, many are doing exactly that.
Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity, motor fuels and factory power creates its own prosperity; its own ability to improve roads, hospitals, schools, homes and so on; its own “drop dead money” to tell carbon colonialists to take a hike. “Green” energy is insufficient, unsustainable and ecologically harmful.
With America, likely being joined soon by Brazil, rejecting the Paris climate trap, poor nations are on firm ground. Ontario (Canada), Poland, Australia, China, India and other countries have also rejected carbon taxes and coal use restrictions. The Paris deal is fast becoming a climate Potemkin Village.
But what about that National Climate Assessment? Wasn’t that a Trump White House document? It certainly needed some adult supervision, to ride hard on the 1,000 Deep State scientists and bureaucrats who prepared it. However, the White House let them prove how loony climate alarmism has become.
Indeed, as Nick Loris, Roger Pielke, Jr. and other experts have pointed out, the NCA was based on absurd assumptions (e.g., vastly increased coal use and no energy technology advances over the next 70 years) and a ridiculous worst-case global temperature increase of 15 degrees F by 2100. That’s twice as high as even the IPCC’s worst-case projections, and far worse than Garbage In-Garbage Out climate models are predicting. It’s more than 15 times the total warming our Earth has experienced since 1820!
The NCA is also based on rampant cherry-picking of data, to wildly inflate climate risks; an almost total failure to factor in the incalculable benefits of fossil fuels; and a refusal to consider the plant-fertilizing benefits of more atmospheric carbon dioxide. It just depicts the CO2 we exhale solely as a dangerous climate-changing pollutant. The NCA also ignored the fact that actual observations show no increases in drought, no increases in the frequency or magnitude of floods, no trends in the frequency or intensity of hurricanes. It didn’t mention the 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes making U.S. landfall.
Just as egregious, the Deep State NCA claimed continued fossil fuel use would hit the United States with $500 billion in annual climate related costs by 2090. That’s more than twice the percentage lost during the Great Depression. It’s 10 percent of the U.S. economy in 1971. Even with modest economic growth, it’s likely to be a trivial 0.6 percent of America’s GDP in 2090. The NCA bogeyman is a little stuffed bear.
But based on IPCC and NCA fear mongering, America and the world are supposed to keep their fossil fuels in the ground – including what the U.S. Geological Survey says is the “largest continuous oil and gas resource potential ever assessed!!” Over 46 billion barrels of oil, 280 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in just part of the Texas-New Mexico Permian Basin.
No one denies that the climate changes, or even that human activities have some effects on climate and weather. But there is no real-world evidence that human CO2 emissions have replaced the sun and other natural forces; that another degree of warming would be cataclysmic; or that humans can control climate changes and weather events by tweaking the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and author of books, studies and articles on energy, climate change, the environment and human rights.