Investigating Climate Alarmism

Prior to launching CIV FI, I edited EcoWorld, a website dedicated to “reporting on clean technology and the status of species and ecosystems.” My belief in the urgency of many environmental challenges; declining fisheries, deforestation, 3rd world development, depleting aquifers, endangered species, etc., is undiminished. But from 1995 until the spring of 2009, while writing or editing nearly 1,000 reports on these vast topics, I slowly changed from a person who believed in the urgency of reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, to someone who is a confirmed skeptic.

One reason I began to question the conventional wisdom on climate change was because whenever researching a particularly horrendous claim, I would inevitably discover the reality was far less significant than the headline. The alleged melting of the ice caps is a good example of this, because all you need is basic competence in high school algebra in order to realize the supposedly ominous quantities of ice-melt being parroted by alarmist journalists are utterly trivial. Here are some posts from several years ago where I ran the numbers and realized the amount of melting being reported in Antarctica and Greenland was actually so minute it was below the level of detectability:

The Real Facts on Increasing Antarctic Ice, 30 April 2009
Pessimistic Reporting, Optimistic Data
, 26 December 2008
Antarctica’s Ice Mass, 17 April 2008
Greenland’s Ice Melting Slowly
, 20 October 2006
Greenland’s Ice Cap
, 04 September 2006
Antarctic Ice, 01 September 2006

In related posts, I realized mainstream journalists are completely ignoring the well-documented fact that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a pattern of cold and warm current oscillations that affect ocean temperatures throughout the northern hemisphere and especially in the northern polar regions, will not return to a cooling trend until 2018. Attempting to document this, I posted these entries:

Arctic Cooling on Schedule, 18 October 2007
Hottest Year? 1934, 10 October 2007

At the same time as I was noticing inconsistencies and exaggerations of data, I realized many of the steps being taken in the name of mitigating climate change, were actually causing new environmental problems whose consequences truly were beyond dispute. In particular, the European Community’s carbon offset trading had subsidized massive deforestation in the tropics to grow Palm Oil and Cane Ethanol. I published several warnings about this, including:

Land for Biofuel, 28 December 2007
Reforesting vs. Biofuel
, 17 August 2007
Deforestation for Biofuels Causes Global Warming, 11 April 2007
Biofueled Deforestation, 01 April 2007
Biofuel is NOT “Carbon-Neutral”, 12 February 2007
Biofueled Global Warming, 23 January 2007
Biofuel Monocultures
, 24 October 2006

At this point as well I realized it would make sense to begin reading the material of the so-called “deniers,” especially coming from the climate scientists who were qualified to criticize the overall theory that catastrophic climate change is caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. I focused on two individuals, Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, and Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., of the University of Colorado. Dr. Lindzen was not only one of the most qualified atmospheric scientists in the world, but had attracted a great deal of personal attacks on his character and motives – because not only did he question global warming theories, but fought back, exposing the conflicts of interest that have corrupted the mainstream academic community. I published several of his papers, and had the privilege of talking with him on several occasions. Here are some of them by Dr. Richard Lindzen:

Global Warming & Greentech, 20 April 2009
Climate Science, 30 October 2008
A Case Against Climate Alarmism, 07 February 2008
Global Warming Facts, Data & Statistics, 07 October 2006
Is there a Basis for Global Warming Alarm?, 05 September 2006

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. has not incurred quite the same level of wrath from the alarmist community, because his approach to climate change issues is somewhat less confrontational than Dr. Lindzen’s. Both of them agree climate change is a reality – the notion that there isn’t any climate change is, after all, absurd. And both of them believe the role of anthropogenic CO2 in driving climate change is grossly overstated according to the alleged consensus. While both of them agree that changes in land-use by humans are indeed causing regional changes in climate, Dr. Pielke Sr. emphasizes this more than Lindzen. Here is material published that references Pielke’s work, including an interview with him:

Is the Earth Warming or Not?, 08 September 2008
Climate Trends: Debate vs. Demonization, 05 September 2008
Roger Pielke Sr. on Climate Change, 18 July 2008
Interview with Roger Pielke, Sr., 03 December 2007

In recent months on CIV FI I’ve continued to explore the science behind climate change theories. The more I dig into it, really studying the latest arguments as opposed to simply believing the tsunami of alarmist propaganda, the further convinced I become we are embracing a fraud. One new source of skeptical information I’ve recently uncovered is the website of Dr. Roy Spencer, a man who you would think is a demon if you read anything about him in the mainstream press. Spencer’s own reasoning, however, I find to be measured and compelling. His commentary, updated weekly, is online at the Science & Environment Policy Project.  Dr. Pielke Sr.’s commentary is on his blog Climate Science. Another good source of new information can be found at the website for a new book about to be released entitled “Slaying the Sky Dragon.” One may also review the material published on CIV FI in the Climate category, including Credible Climate Skeptics, The Hijacked Public Interest in California, Public Sector Deficits & Global Warming “Mitigation”, California’s Proposition 23, Who Are The Carbon Criminals?, Implementing California’s Global Warming Act, The Climate Money Trail, and The Climate Alarm Industry.

The emphasis on the topic of climate change in recent posts here on CIV FI is prompted by the failure of California’s Proposition 23 on November 2nd. That initiative would have delayed the implementation of California’s Global Warming Act, AB32, a 2006 piece of legislation, set to take effect in 2012, that will regulate virtually every aspect of California’s economy. California already has the strictest environmental laws in the U.S., if not the world, and AB32 ratchets them all up several notches, by applying the metric of CO2 emissions (or CO2 emissions equivalents and offsets) to laws affecting land use, transportation, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, timber – literally all economic activity. Ironically, climate change alarmists fail to realize that Prop. 23 was demolished because a handful of incredibly wealthy individuals who stand to make billions off of “clean energy” stepped up and donated over $30 million to fund a massive and thoroughly deceptive campaign against it.

One major problem with AB32, and CO2 mitigation laws in general, is they rest on the assumption that by making energy, water, transportation, and land use – all basic resources – cost more, we will stimulate economic growth. This is a ridiculously flawed premise. AB32 will redirect wealth into inefficient uses, redirecting discretionary wealth away from new innovations that would otherwise accelerate developments to raise our quality of life. It will make basic resources cost more, it will create artificial scarcity – this does not cause faster economic growth.

Climate alarmism based on flawed and distorted science. The alarm is promulgated because the policies being designed to supposedly mitigate climate change will result in a huge expansion of government power, corporate monopolies, and benefit other special interest groups such as big labor, big finance, academia, the legal profession, the accounting profession, the insurance industry, and all those once noble high-tech entrepreneurs who have been corrupted and seduced by the prospect of guaranteed profit, captive consumers, and trillions in subsidies. Any conscientious individual, whether they are liberal or conservative, should examine for themselves the premises that underlie the alleged science of climate change. Once they realize there is no environmental benefit that will accrue to climate change mitigation policies, they may start to see the economic and political trends attendant to climate change mitigation in an entirely different light.

4 comments to Investigating Climate Alarmism

  • Charles

    Environmentalists don’t want hydroelectric dams or nuclear power plants. Wind costs 4x and solar 6x other sources and is heavily subsidized. Electric cars use electrical power which comes mostly from the burning of fossil fuels. Burning hydrocarbons produces CO2. There is only so much energy in a gallon of gasoline or any other fossil source, we can only squeeze so much out. So the only way to meet the goals of the environmentalists is to cut energy production and raise the cost of energy hugely. This will bankrupt our nation or at least put it into a permanent recession.

  • oz

    Ed-

    I would very much like to hear your informed opinion on “peak oil”/sustainability.

    Can you post on this when you get a chance (or link to a former post)?

    Thanks,

    Oz

  • Editor

    Oz: The best summary of global fossil fuel reserves I’ve been able to compile so far is Fossil Fuel Reality, published on EcoWorld in May 2008. That summary indicates there is enough coal, oil and gas in the world to supply 1.0 quintillion BTUs per year (twice annual global consumption) for the next 300 years. But the report is already dated – in Sept. 2008, also on EcoWorld, I published “Natural Gas Nation,” where I discovered an early report on the shale gas breakthroughs, which have turned out to be even more promising than we thought at the time. While easily extracted light crude oil may be in finite supply, overall, global reserves of fossil fuel are, for all practical purposes, inexhaustible.

    A good compilation of EcoWorld writing can be found via the top-twenty links on the CIV FI post “Ruminations on Optimal Governance,” as well as the post “The Prosperity Choice,” which references, along with the report on fossil fuel, two other posts which together are probably those most representative of the editorial position taken with EcoWorld, and incorporated here, “The Abundance Choice,” and “Humanity’s Prosperous Destiny.” You may notice the links within EcoWorld posts are now disabled – it has gone through significant revisions since changing ownership. C’est la vie.

  • This is a very compelling analysis of the issue.

    We here at Americans for Prosperity are taking our Hot Air Tour to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico to remind Americans that energy regulations handed down by the UN would mean: Lost Jobs, Higher Taxes and Less Freedom. You can watch our live online broadcast of the Hot Air Tour Live from Cancun event on your computer at 7PM CST on December 2nd.

    Visit http://hotairtourcancun.com/ for more information.

    AFP Team