Many of the claims of climate activists are so obviously true that they are, in fact, trivial, and so useless to public policy formulation.
“Climate change is real,” they say. Of course. Climate has been changing since the origin of the atmosphere billions of years ago and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
But, “manmade climate change is a fact,” they respond. Yes, it is obviously warmer in urban areas than in the countryside because of manmade impacts. But the only place where carbon dioxide (CO2) increase causes a temperature increase is in computer models preprogrammed to show exactly that. Records show that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase.
Next they tell us, “2014 was the hottest year on record, until 2015 surpassed even that. The last two decades include the 19 hottest years on record.”
Fortunately, the world has been gradually warming since the depths of the Little Ice Age in the late 1600s. One would naturally expect the warmest years to be at the top of a warming record.
Regardless, 2014 set the record by seven hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit; 2015 by 29 hundredths of a degree. These amounts are too small to even notice and one is even less than the government’s uncertainty estimates of 14 hundredths of a degree.
But “observations of extreme weather events are increasing. Insurance claims are skyrocketing,” we are told.
Again, this is to be expected. As human habitation increases in areas that were previously sparsely populated, there will naturally be more reports of extreme weather and more related insurance claims. The database of the State Climate Extremes Committee (see http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/scec/records) clearly shows that the incidence of state-wide extreme weather records has been decreasing in recent years.
“Sea levels rose 7 inches in the last century,” is the next warning.
In fact, sea level has been rising since the end of the last glacial period, 15,000 years ago. There has been no recent acceleration, and the current rate of rise is less than one tenth that of 8,000 years ago.
Climate campaigners say that fossil fuel companies support some of the groups who question political correctness on climate change. Undoubtedly this is true as well. But the amounts being funneled to entities which support the climate scare is enormously greater. The latest Foundation Center report (2010) shows that the California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation alone donated over one half billion dollars to climate change programs in 2008, over one hundred times as much as the average annual donation activists complain that the Koch brothers have given to skeptics.
The ramifications of these misunderstandings are worrisome. In the hope of stopping what are in fact trivial changes in climate, activists and compliant politicians are working hard to force us to switch from fossil fuels, America’s least expensive and most abundant power sources, to unreliable and expensive alternatives such as wind and solar power. The public need to ask, “Why are you doing this? Who are you trying to please?”
Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition. Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba.