Climate change v. common sense

May 31, 2014

President Obama, sounding the clarion on climate change, plans to take action against this heinous enemy:

President Barack Obama said the curbs on carbon emissions to combat climate change that his administration plans to unveil next week will also help address a growing threat to the nation’s health. . . .

The Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to announce a plan to limit carbon emissions from U.S. power plants on June 2. The two-tired regulation will seek reductions in greenhouse gases of as much as 25 percent over 15 years, according to people familiar with the proposal.

Here’s my question: What good does unilateral action by the U.S. do if the rest of the developed and developing world doesn’t also act? A key word in anthropogenic global warming is global, so our carbon reduction alone will do squat unless China, India, etc., join in; and of course, they won’t, because they want to catch up to our standard of living.

But then, call me a skeptic—nay, a denier. I don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change or global warming or whatever today’s proper term is. Why? Well, as a rational human I would believe in it, I promise, if there were actually a good reason to believe—exactly what agnostics say about the existence of a deity: “Show me.”

I would believe in it if the people who preach loudest about it didn’t have the largest carbon footprints in the form of multiple giant homes and frequent private jet travel.

I would believe in it if even one of the major predictions about the coming climate apocalypse that have been made over the last quarter century had come true. Not one has.

I would believe in it if the “science” that determines these predictions was actually reproducible and verifiable rather than built on computer models constructed by humans who enter the data according to what may well be their own expectation bias.

I would believe in it if the “scientists” themselves behaved more like actual scientists eager to share their data with the world instead of like Vatican cardinals in the age of Galileo, insisting that they’re above reproach and questioning by heretics. If you don’t agree that that’s going on, you haven’t been paying attention to Dr. Michael Mann’s defamation lawsuit against columnist Mark Steyn, which should long ago have been thrown out of court on First Amendment grounds.

I would believe in it if many of those who do believe in it wouldn’t insist that the “science is settled” beyond discussion and that those of us who remain unconvinced are foolish “deniers” deserving of being jailed. Appeals to authority rather than rationality reek of fascism at the cost of persuasion. Besides, what science is settled? Certainly not forensic science, nor the science of nutrition; examples abound.

I would believe in it if that widely touted dictum “97 percent of all climate scientists agree that AGW is happening” weren’t so self evidently stupid. Put aside, for the moment, that this has been thoroughly debunked and focus instead on how credulous one has to be in order to consider the statement as fact—credulous enough to believe that there’s a roster kept somewhere of all climate scientists; that some governing body sent each of the scientists on it a questionnaire; and that the term climate scientist has a specific meaning.

I would believe in it if there wasn’t far more money, in the form of grants and research (particularly from the U.S. government) for science that confirms AGW than for science that finds the globe hasn’t warmed for the last 18 years. No wonder data incongruous with the prevailing notion must be hidden. What seems true is that 97 percent of climate scientists are 97 percent sure that 97 percent of their funding will dry up if there’s no climate warming.

I would believe in it if, given all of the above, I hadn’t therefore concluded that AGW is a crony capitalist racket intended to redistribute money from the masses to the favored elite. Labeling CO2, which we all exhale and without which greenery can’t grow, to be a pollutant allows a president who’s so inclined to impose carbon costs that raise everyone’s energy prices. Then those additional monies can be diverted to green-energy startups started up by cronies who aren’t even on the hook personally for those public funds when their companies that wouldn’t have existed without such colossal subsidies sink into the tar pits of marketplace reality. Solyndra is one of too many cautionary tales.

Now, all that said, even if I did believe that climate change/global warming was real and happening, I would wonder why all of these same scientists were so concerned about potential devastation. The history of man on this planet has been, if nothing else—literally nothing else—one of adaptation to the environment. In the beginning he had nothing: no clothes, no fire, no weapons, no tools. Somehow, though, he adapted, and today he has an iPhone.

A species who can do that can certainly find a way to cope with the changes a warming planet might bring and even turn those changes into an advantage, especially if we can recruit all those falling-sky scientists. Or at least 97 percent of them.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

LukeHandCool June 2, 2014 at 9:49 am

Dear Mr. Denier,

I hope you have that stationary bike hooked up to the toaster so you aren’t spewing inordinate amounts of CO2 into the air for nothing.

True story: Years ago I was teaching a summer intensive ESL class to Japanese high school students at a school in Studio City.

The students were living there on campus for the summer, so the first week we held a competition between the classes with the aim of familiarizing the students with the businesses in the area for shopping, dining, entertainment, etc. We had maps drawn up and the classes went on a kind of scavenger hunt to answer questions and complete the map.

During this activity, my students and I stood on a corner of Ventura Boulevard waiting for the light to change. A man in t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, carrying a bag of groceries, was also waiting at the light and asked me what we were doing.

He looked very familiar and I wondered if we had been classmates or something years before. After I told him about our activity, as we crossed Ventura, he told me he lived across the street from the school and invited us to come over and observe his solar panels and other green technologies he had going on at home.

He looked a little sheepish as we parted ways, most likely because my “Umm, yeah, sure, maybe when we have some free time” was obviously insincere.

At the end of the day, I told the principal about our meeting with the creepy stranger who invited us to his house.

“Oh, that’s Ed Begley, Jr. He lives across the street.”

One day Dennis Miller was talking on his radio show about Al Gore and other environmental extremists. I called up the show to tell him about my experience with Ed Begley and I got threw the screener.

As I nervously told the story to Dennis, he said to me, “Slow down, slow down. I’m digging this story.”

After I finished and hung up the phone, I turned up the radio. Dennis was talking about my call and said to his sidekick, “Now, unlike Al Gore, Ed Begley walks the walk. If he ran for president some day, I’d have to give his candidacy some serious thought.”

I think Dennis has a soft spot for Ed. He was serious when he said that, but I found it to be hilarious. Not one of his better thoughts!

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Fred Savage June 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm

That would be Ed Begley, Jr. That Project Veritable recently fooled into believing a Saudi oil prince was going to fund their anti – fracking movie si he could keep America energy dependent on the middle east? Yeah, he’s a saint and candidate for office.

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Shoeless Joe June 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I agree 100% with Joel’s take on the Great Global Warming Scam, but I’m not sure I get the point of the Ed Begley Jr. story. So he was in flip flops wearing a t-shirt, carrying a bag of groceries like any other schlub. So what? I kind of like the fact that he apparently doesn’t put on airs, and his offer to show off his green tech to the students appeared sincere. I want people trying out new technologies and new ideas on a small scale to see what works and what doesn’t. Those of us who consider ourselves proud AGW deniers shouldn’t instinctively view “green” as synonymous with fraudulent, or else we are falling into the same arrogant trap as Mann and his ilk.

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Shoeless Joe June 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm

PS — welcome back Joel! Missed you big time over the last ten months.

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LukeHandCool June 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm

@Shoeless Joe

It was just a little anecdote I thought Joel would like. To tell you the truth, I was kind of touched by Begley’s sincerity myself. Seemed like an earnest, nice guy with a passion. I’m fine with that, and I’ve thought of him somewhat fondly since that encounter. But, then O’Keefe’s recent sting video shows him looking bad. I’ve only watched the first couple of minutes, though.

I agree it’s good to have Joel back! Spread the word!

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