Friday, April 22, 2005

The Costs of Fighting Global Warming

On the 35th anniversary of Earth Day, environmentalists agree that their focus must be on global warming. While warming is the current bugbear of the day, several things must be kept in mind:

  • There is considerable proof that the Earth is warming as part of a natural cycle.
  • There is considerable skepticism that global warming can be stopped, even if it is human-induced.
  • The Kyoto protocols will not affect global warming in any meaningful way. Only cutbacks in the 60%-80% range could possibly have any effect.
  • The Earth has been warmer than now as recently as the 12th century and the effects were positive.

Kyoto is considered the first step. It's goals are minor - a small reduction of emissions based on 1990 levels. Even that has huge costs. Consider the following:

Canada will not meet its goals and will have to buy carbon credits from elsewhere at a cost of billions. This is a legal slight of hand allowing countries like Russia which is in an economic slump to sell credits for the emissions that they were not making anyway. This does nothing to reduce emissions.

Poland has been told that it's carbon allowance is about 80% of what it projected it needs to run its factories.

In Japan and elsewhere people are burning wood pellets. These are considered a renewable resource and therefore carbon neutral. This will cause increased pollution of particulate matter - the stuff that caused 1960s-style smog. This is known to cause lung problems.

The building of new electrical plants is being discouraged world-wide because of carbon reduction. This means that millions of people will continue to live without electricity. It is estimated that 1,500,000 people die annually due to cooking over open fires.

London is running out of water. A plan to provide water through desalination is being blocked by London's mayor. The mayor, known as Red Ken because of his political affiliations, says that the plant will use too much energy to be in line with carbon reductions.
"With increasing concerns over the damage we do to our environment and climate change, it's important that we reduce rather than increase the levels of energy we use in London."
Would you rather be warm or thirsty? Or possibly both?

When global warming was a new concept, the US government did a study. They concluded that the effect on the US would be about the same as moving 500 miles south. Native species would adapt or migrate. Farmers might need to plant different crops but longer growing seasons would mean increased yield. Some stressed forests might die out but that was the only negative that they could find.

Environmentalists went ballistic. This was the last thing they wanted to hear - that the world, or at least our portion of it, might come out ahead. A conscious effort was made to emphasize the negatives. New theories were put out that more heat means more and worse storms and every bad weather event was attributed to global warming. Bugs would become pestilential, bring with them tropical disease.

Just look at the opening paragraph of the introduction to the popular essay The Death of Environmentalism:

As I write this, the fourth in a series of violent hurricanes has just bombarded the Caribbean and Florida. In Florida, more than 30 are dead and thousands are homeless. More than 2,000 Haitians are dead. And ninety percent of the homes in Grenada are destroyed.
Yet no prominent national leader -- environmental or otherwise -- has come out publicly to suggest that the recent spate of hurricanes was the result of global warming. That's in part due to the fact that the conventional wisdom among environmentalists is that we mustn't frighten the public but rather must focus its gaze on technical solutions, like hybrid cars and fluorescent light bulbs.
2004 had a typical number of hurricanes but a stagnant mass of air in the mid-Atlantic directed them further south than usual. These were not even particularly strong storms when they hit land but they caused a great deal of destruction because they hit some major population centers, especially Orlando.

No responsible meterologist suggested that global warming was involved. To do otherwise is to cross from science into scare-mongering, which is right where the essay wants to go.

Surveys show that the majority of reporters in the MSM feel that global warming is too important to approach critically. Consider stories like this one
A new study of glaciers in a portion of the Antarctic finds that 84 percent of them have retreated over the past 50 years in response to a warmer climate.
The article studiously avoids mentioning that this is only a portion of Antarctica and that the majority of the continent is getting colder. It slants the news making flooding caused by global warming seem like an inevitability.

This story was not covered as widely:
But in a new study led by University of Washington researchers, an ice core of 1,000 meters was used as a sort of dipstick to show that a key section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet probably never contained as much ice as scientists originally thought it did. That means it couldn't have contributed as much to the higher sea level
Environmentalists want us to cripple ourselves. They don't really care what the real results of global warming will be - if it isn't natural it cannot be good. They don't want to consider that it might not be happening or, if it is, it is minor. They certainly don't want to hear that anything good can come from it.

What they want is an end to the use of fossil fuels. What will we use instead? Hydroelectric? No- dams are bad for rivers. Wind farms? These are being protested by environmentalists in the US and UK. Solar power? Does any environmentalists really advocate covering an area the size of Nevada in solar cells? Biofuels (alcohol)? These require as much energy to distill as they deliver. Nuclear? Please.

Forgotten in all the hyperbole about the effects of global warming is the very real human cost of implementing any of these reforms. It is no exaggeration to say that this would cost millions of lives. With 75,000,000 killed by cooking fires alone over the next fifty years, the human cost of withholding electricity becomes astronomical.

We need to back off from the hysterical claims of the global warming environmentalists. They are no different from any prophet of doom, claiming that the world will end soon.

If I sound angry to you, read this column writen a year ago.

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