We’ve all read the articles, and heard the voices of doom. The earth is going to get really hot, it’s all humans’ fault, and we must make drastic economic changes to fix our mistakes. Those who disagree with this viewpoint are termed “Climate Deniers,” an insult intended to bring about the specter of Holocaust denial.
The fact that this particular insult makes no sense (one cannot deny climate) doesn’t seem to matter.
What do climate alarmists and climate skeptics truly believe?
Climate Change Alarmists believe that over the past 30 to 60 years the world has warmed at historically unprecedented rates, that this warming is caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and, if left unchecked, that warming will become highly dangerous or even catastrophic. Therefore, the obvious answer to such a danger is for the global community to make drastic cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to slow, stop, and reverse climate change.
Climate Change Skeptics on the other hand (also a term that was intended to be insulting, but is really a badge of honor as skepticism is the hallmark of science) believe that global warming is real, as is global cooling. The climate changes, and proof of that is seen throughout history, and indicates a number of cycles. Skeptics affirm that human emissions of greenhouse gases may contribute to warming, but many think that their contribution is much smaller than alarmists claim, and think that further study of positive and negative feedbacks is required.
Climate models are one of the main sources of the belief that climate catastrophe is eminent, and most of those models have been proven wrong over and over. As Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman put it, if the hypothesis “disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.” More than “95 percent of the climate models have over-forecasted the warming trend since 1979.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), declared carbon dioxide (CO2) a pollutant along with other greenhouse gases in 2009. EPA often refers to carbon dioxide as “carbon pollution,” but carbon and carbon dioxide are not the same thing. This very intentional obfuscation leads to a mental picture of black soot covering towns as it did during the Industrial Revolution, and of course no one wants that.
Carbon dioxide is not black soot, it is a colorless, odorless gas — a gas that, as we all learned in elementary school, is also known as the gas of life. Without CO2, plants would die and the earth would become a barren wasteland; with increased CO2, crop yields have risen, forests and natural areas are growing at an accelerated rate, and deserts are even greening. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and should not be regulated as one.
Which brings us to the Clean Power Plan, the most recent big issue in the climate debates. The Supreme Court, in a five to four decision, placed a stay on the Clean Power Plan and its regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions (remember, not really a pollutant, despite the EPA’s calling it one) until all legal appeals have been exhausted. The Supreme Court issuing a stay in a case like this is extremely rare, but the justices recognized that the Clean Power Plan is a usurpation of power from the states to a bureaucratic agency (EPA), as well as a death knell for coal power. States should make energy choices that are best for local citizens, not be dictated to by unelected federal bureaucrats.
The impacts of regulations like the Clean Power Plan are extremely damaging to the economy, while doing absolutely nothing for the environment. It is estimated that should the plan go into effect, the U.S. will lose $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product; 500,000 manufacturing jobs and over 45 percent of coal mining jobs; 300,000 jobs in the average year, with a peak loss of 1 million; and $7,000 in lost income per person.
This type of negative impact can be utterly catastrophic for people struggling to make ends meet in current economic conditions — that includes poor people struggling to end the cycle of poverty, the elderly living on a fixed income, and millennials trying to get a start in the world.
It is absolutely imperative that we understand the basic facts of the environmental debate and the language being used. To learn more about the Clean Power Plan, energy policy, and impacts on millennials and the economy, watch the live streamed panel discussion entitled “Energy for a Rising Generation,” in which I will be participating on March 3 from CPAC or March 4 from Columbus, OH — click the links for information on how to watch and participate.