Climate change: the wolf that is not there
The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by human activity into the Earth’s atmosphere is roughly the equivalent of a grain of rice in a bag.
3% of the 0.04% of the atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide.
If this undisputed fact were widely known, would children still cry in fear of the dreaded climate change monster? Would this inconvenient little fact have led to different policies with different electoral results?
You get up, get dressed, go to work (or school). Things look and feel like every day before. You’re only reminded to fear man-made global warming by a pesky poster, a mundane TV ad, or a how-to-vote card handed out by volunteers to climate-influenced election candidates. (I got three mini climate rants as I went to vote last weekend.)
Constant reinforcement is the only way to keep people in fear of the impending dangers of man-made “climate change”. They must turn up the volume of hysteria because the population does not experience such a dangerous change in their observed experience.
It is a situation where we are constantly told that this is happening, but nothing is happening. Activists and restless politicians seeking our vote are stuck in the wake of climate change, every political ad clinging to it like a mantra to ward off evil spirits that threaten orthodoxy.
While schoolchildren, teenage activists and their immature elders insist that something be done, there is little more to do in a political framework that has been pushed to the limit with Net Zero by the whole of the political class. This is why climate change advocates are stuck in Groundhog Day, repeating the scary scenarios, urging action NOW! and writing new placards.
Like the boy who cries wolf that no one sees, his cries get louder and louder but the wolf is not there…
The invisibility of carbon dioxide, the invisibility of the bushfire emergency that climate alarmists allege, the invisibility of day-to-day climate change, is seen by warmists as proof of inaction – and as a proof of the futility of action by the rest of us. The conflict is intense – but unnecessary.
Falling into this volcanic miasma are policy makers. They don’t do well.
One of the most important and useful essays on this subject is a editorial by Dr. Judith Curry written for an article from Madrid coinciding with COP25, the December 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Here is a selection of points raised by this respected scientist:
- Over the past three decades, the “cart” of climate policy has taken precedence over the “horse” of science. The 1992 climate change treaty was signed by 190 countries before the balance of scientific evidence even suggested a perceptible observed human influence on global climate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol has been implemented before we were convinced that most of the recent warming was man-made. There has been enormous political pressure on scientists to present findings that would support these treaties, resulting in a desire to manufacture scientific consensus on the dangers of human-induced climate change.
- Fossil fuel emissions as a climate “control knob” is a simple and appealing idea. We have no idea how natural climate variability (solar, volcanoes, ocean circulations) will evolve in the 21st century, and whether or not natural variability will dominate man-made warming.
- We do not fully understand how warming will influence extreme weather events. Human land use and exploitation is a far bigger issue than climate change for species extinction and ecosystem health. Local sea level rise has many causes and is dominated by land use subsidence in many of the most vulnerable locations.
- We’ve been told that the science of climate change is ‘settled’. However, in the field of climate science, there has been a tension between the search for scientific “consensus” to support policy-making, and exploratory research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge. Climate science is characterized by a rapidly changing knowledge base and disagreements among experts. Predictions of 21st century climate change are characterized by deep uncertainty.
- We have been told that climate change is an “existential crisis”. However, based on our current assessment of the science, the climate threat is not existential even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations. However, the perception of human-caused climate change as a near-term apocalypse has narrowed the policy options we are willing to consider.
- There is disagreement among experts about whether a rapid acceleration in the shift away from fossil fuels is the appropriate policy response. In any case, rapidly reducing fossil fuel emissions and mitigating the adverse effects of short-term extreme weather events is increasingly like wishful thinking.
- The extreme rhetoric of Extinction Rebellion and other activists is making political agreement on climate change policies more difficult. Overstating the dangers beyond credibility makes it hard to take climate change seriously.
- The single-minded focus on eliminating fossil fuel emissions diverts our attention from the root causes of many of our problems and the effective solutions. Common-sense strategies to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events, improve environmental quality, develop better energy technologies, improve agricultural and land-use practices, and better manage water resources can pave the way for a more prosperous and secure future. Each of these solutions is “no regrets” – supporting climate change mitigation while improving human well-being. These strategies avoid the political gridlock surrounding current policies and avoid costly policies that will have minimal short-term climate impacts. And finally, these strategies do not require an agreement on the risks of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.
Had the mainstream media served their consumers with undisputed facts about man-made carbon dioxide emissions, we might well have been saved from scare campaigns and destructive energy policies. And regrettable election results last Saturday.
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