You’ve heard that climate change is going to put an end to all life on Earth; that it puts civilization in existential peril.
That if we don’t take drastic action, hundreds of millions — perhaps even billions — of human beings are going to die.
These are lies.
Let’s begin with what climate change is. According to William Nordhaus, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, “The ultimate source of global warming is the burning of fossil or carbon-based fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, which leads to emissions of carbon dioxide, CO2.”
These greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, where they result in feedback loops that increase global temperatures. Increased global temperatures have a variety of follow-on effects, ranging from rising sea levels, to storm frequency, to ocean acidification.
Possible impact? Well, there’s serious debate over how much the world will warm over the course of the next century.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the global climate will warm somewhere between 2°C and 4°C above the mean temperature during the 1850 to 1900 period. That’s a pretty large range.
There’s also significant uncertainty about sensitivity of the climate to carbon emissions. As NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies director Gavin Schmidt explains, climate sensitivity has “quite a wide uncertain range, and that has big implications for how serious human-made climate change will be.”
There’s wide uncertainty about the impact with regard to climate change. Will human beings be able to adapt? How many “shock events” will occur? It’s impossible to predict shock events, of course, but we can at the very least attempt to quantify the probabilities. This allows us to quantify the sacrifices we should make in the here and now to prevent significant possibility of future damage.
So, what exactly should we do? Uncertainties about the impact of climate change lie at the heart of climate change policy. How much should we sacrifice current economic wellbeing and future economic growth for the sake of stabilizing the environment?
In essence, there are two possible pathways towards dealing with climate change: mitigation and adaptation. Human beings are really good at adaptation. The costs of mitigation are extremely high.
Nordhaus, for example, has suggested that people ought to accept that a certain amount of global warming is baked into the cake, and that we’re going to be able to adapt to it, and that we ought to work on curbing global warming outside of that range. Nordhaus suggests that the cost of mitigating global warming to less than 2.0°C over the course of the next 100 years far exceeds the future damages that would occur from such a climate change.
So, you shouldn’t bother to try and mitigate below that level. Nordhaus suggests that we have to try measures to contain climate change to 3.5°C over the course of the next century.
Experts in politicized science have no problem proposing radical solutions to climate change, which just coincidentally happen to align perfectly with left-wing political recommendations. Those who disagree are quickly slandered as climate deniers, no matter their acceptance of IPCC climate change estimates.
Thus the media trot out Greta Thunberg, a scientifically unqualified teenage climate activist who travels the world obnoxiously lecturing adults about their lack of commitment to curbing climate change.
They trot her out as an expert, and they ignore actual scientific voices on climate change.
In truth, very little can be done about climate change in terms of regulation without seriously harming the economy. To abide by the Paris Agreement guidelines, for example, would cost — by Heritage Foundation estimates — at least a $20,000 income loss per family by 2035, and a total aggregate GDP loss of $2.5 trillion. And as even the UN Environment Programme found in 2017, if every major country kept to its pledges under the much-ballyhooed Paris Agreement, the Earth will still warm at least 3°C by 2100.
In fact, even if the United States were to cut its carbon emissions 100%, the world would be 0.2°C cooler by 2100. To reach net zero carbon emissions worldwide by 2050 via Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s infamous Green New Deal would cost the typical family of four $8,000 every single year.
Proposals for global carbon taxes are also highly unlikely to become reality. There are simply too many developing countries reliant on carbon-based forms of energy.
So, what exactly should we do?
I’m not suggesting that nothing can be done about climate change; we should be pushing for research and development into better energy storage. One of the problems with solar and wind energy is that energy must essentially be used as soon as it’s generated. We should also be cheering on America’s fracking industry, which has redirected energy use from more carbon-intensive industries. That’s the reason for America’s carbon emissions reduction over the past few years.
We should be pushing for the use of nuclear energy, and for research and development into how to make it cheaper. As Bjorn Lomborg, former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute, writes, “Nuclear energy doesn’t make carbon dioxide. Perhaps surprisingly, nuclear energy is also very safe.”
We could also invest R&D dollars into carbon-sucking technologies — machines capable of sucking carbon emissions from the air.
Then there’s adaptation. First, we should be promoting capitalism, which increases living standards around the world, thus making people in poverty less vulnerable to the ravages of climate change. You aren’t all that worried about climate change personally because you probably live in a globally wealthy area with access to resources. Making everybody more wealthy means more ability to withstand the risks of climate change.
We should also be investing in adaptive measures like sea walls and artificial nourishment, essentially adding sandy beaches, and we should be looking at new technologies like geoengineering, which can actually change the climate itself.
Yet those who promote these policies are treated as deniers. Those who shout that the world is ending and the only solution is massive economic redistributionism are treated as truth speakers.
This should alert you to the real agenda for many who promote climate change hysteria: remaking the global economy, not preventing or mitigating the effects of climate change.
If you want to take climate change seriously, you have to look at real solutions. And, if you want to solve the problem of climate change, you have to view it as an actual problem, not merely as some sort of horrible dystopia that we must embrace socialism in order to avoid.
The reason the Left has to put focus on climate change is because you need a crisis in order to incentivize people to engage in strategies that really affect their lives in nasty ways.
A mistake that many on the Right make is to simply say that they don’t believe global warming is happening at all. The truth is that global warming is happening. We’re not sure exactly to what extent and, because of that uncertainty, it makes zero sense to spend trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars mitigating a problem that may not be nearly as severe as the Left suggests it is — especially when those trillions of dollars are spent in pursuit of actual policies that may not mitigate climate change in the first place.
Pretty much everybody in the know on the Left agrees with every single thing that I’m saying in this video. I have been to high-level conferences with climate scientists from top universities, all of whom behind closed doors will tell you exactly the same thing that I’m telling you right now. But then, as soon as the doors open, they’ll walk out front and explain that if we don’t embrace AOC’s Green New Deal, then you must be some sort of climate denier.
You keep hearing over and over and over that climate change is going to kill us all. It’s absolute nonsense.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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