A Climate of Fear

The climate mavens at the United Nations have issued their latest ominous warning. They say we should expect "changes in the availability of food, fuel, medicine, and income." Actually, that quote comes from the first UN climate report, written 25 years ago, just around the time the World Wide Web was invented.

The latest UN missive, released last week, ups the ante, warning of melting ice, heat waves, storms, and food shortages, all due to man-made global warming. Meanwhile, Chicago just endured its coldest winter ever, beating the former record set during Roosevelt's first term. Teddy Roosevelt! 1903! Of course, any scientist will tell you that weather is not climate, but the fact is that the world's most sophisticated climate models have failed spectacularly, almost unanimously predicting much more warming than has actually occurred.

So what to do? Whether you think the climate scolds are latter-day Chicken Littles, or whether you believe the end is nigh, all of us should support initiatives that lead to cleaner air and less reliance on OPEC oil. That means more efficient gasoline engines as well as electric cars like Tesla, even though free market guys John Stossel and Eric Bolling say the government should not be helping a private company like Tesla with loan guarantees and tax credits.

Truth is, in the climate debate there is money under every glacier. Al Gore may have begun his proselytizing to do good, but he also did quite well, pocketing tens of millions of dollars. On the other hand, "green investing" didn't turn into green for T. Boone Pickens, who invested in wind farms and got blown right off the Forbes 400 list. "I lost my ass," is how the down-home Pickens put it.

The scandal involving British climate researchers burying facts that challenged the warming theory was disturbing, but to be expected when so much grant money is at stake. There is also an age-old human tendency to prophesize doom, which garners awards and book deals. Remember Paul Ehrlich, whose "The Population Bomb" predicted that "hundreds of millions of people will starve to death" because of overpopulation. He didn't account for scientific genius that increased crop yields and avoided catastrophe. Now 81, Ehrlich is still around, still prophesying doom, still cashing in on the lecture circuit.

Author Matt Ridley, who writes about scientific controversies, summed up the doom mentality in the Wall Street Journal: "Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated … In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different."

The right is wrong to reject man-induced climate change outright, but correct in being skeptical of the proposed solutions. And the left is wrong in calling for the massive transformation of our energy consumption, which could wreck the teetering economy.

Climate change is one of those issues that will never be settled beyond a reasonable doubt, no matter what Al Gore says. So the sane thing to do is for the world to develop cleaner energy options but not ruin economies doing so. We will all be better off if clean and cheap energy becomes the norm.

  • Bryan L

    Hey Bill, I love electric cars but fossil fueled power plants are 33% to 60% efficient which means we burn 1.67 to 3 times the carbon emitting fuel to provide the same power to an electric car. That being said, nuclear plants don’t emit any. If my power company utilized all nuclear stations, I’d buy that electric car! Otherwise, you can’t beat a clean diesel for mileage per unit of emission. Also, read Princeton’s Professor Bill Happer’s white paper if you want real perspective on climate change, it is excellent.

  • EdWalton

    Normal barometric pressure 14.7 psi

    Square inches per square mile 4,014,489,600

    Atmospheric mass per square mile 29.5 million tons

    Earth’s Total Surface Area 196,935,000 square miles

    Earth’s Total Atmospheric Mass 5,809,582,500,000,000 tons

    31 billion tons annual greenhouse gases = 0.000005336% of
    the total Earth’s Atmospheric Mass

    Resolved: man could not influence the climate if he had to.

    • Mike Strieker

      Ed, that is awesome! I always tell those I debate that math is the ultimate multicultureal tool. It does not care what color, age or sex you are, 2+2 is always 4. Your blog here is the ultimate example. I hope u dont mind if i quote you in my future global warming debates

      • EdWalton

        Thanks for the help, I can do the math, but getting out in public is something I need help on; you should see the oceans mass.

      • truthnothate

        Equating climate change to a 2+2 analogy? how smart..lfmao

    • truthnothate

      eat this for math…pathetic that you actually tried this approach…

      • EdWalton

        The 565 Giga tons list in your article is .00009725% of the earth’s atmosphere; not a terrifying number.

        • truthnothate

          That small amount is changing the composition of the atmosphere and just to clarify: nothing goes to space, everything stays here in this bubble.
          furthermore a change in temperature of 1 or 2 degrees causes that bacteria and virus that live at certain altitudes have to move to a more humid levels of the atmosphere.
          furthermore: the delicate balance of the sea alkalinity and temperature can affect not only the water saline condition but also how fish behave and where they migrate.
          We have seen already the effect on such delicate balances and several extinctions of different species, using math simply doesn’t work to assure that such balances in nature cannot be disrupted.
          your approach is fallacious since doesn’t take into account many variables that are proven and that science has already assessed.
          let’s do an analogy: one single drop of red tint can change the whole condition of a gallon of water to even change the color of it.
          to make a better example: why don’t you put a drop of your own pee on a gallon of water, then drink it and lets see if you don’t get sick. Or better why don’t you put a teaspoon of poo on your bread and eat it? let’s see if you don’t acquire a stomach sickness due to bacteria.
          the quantities you mention have nothing to do as consideration of climate change being real or not.
          But in the end, according to you the importance relies on current data and not the future of the planet, well too much love for your kids and their future generations.

          • EdWalton

            We’re talking about releasing insignificant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, not deadly toxins.

          • truthnothate

            We are talking that the releasing of any amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is changing the general composition of it.

            An amount of something in relation to the total mass of something else is not a determinant factor in the correlation and effect between the two.

            for example: if you take a single drop of cyanide that will be 0.000000001 per cent of your whole total body mass, but that doesn’t mean it will not kill you.

            additionally and to correct you: anything in excess is poisonous and some even in not excess are poisonous too. Furthermore: a balance on the atmosphere is a very delicate situation and it depends on too many factors not only carbon dioxide.

            additionally, this is not just carbon dioxide but more than 560k different types of chemicals that when in contact at certain temperatures and barometric pressures get converted into more harmful chemicals and eventually display carbon dioxide emissions.

            if this was as simple and easy as to go with math 101 all scientists in the world could have solved it long ago, but that is not the case, I am sorry you were born in a more complicated world than you can understand, perhaps the middle ages could have been more suitable for your arguments, but in this case we know that the interaction of chemicals in the atmosphere is way more complicated than to have a calculator at hand. winds, height of the atmosphere at any given time, molecular pressures, air components, temperature, solar rays affecting chemicals and creating chemical reactions, and a thousand more aspects that determine what is happening and that due to some people ignorance and some others that simply don’t care our planet and us will suffer the consequences.

            finally and not to live the fallacy you said not addressed:

            carbon dioxide is poisonous, oxygen is poisonous given the right amount.

            carbon dioxide is a deadly toxin to our bodies just with a silght change in the amount, and for some animals is way worse even in small imbalances .


            guys really get your ignorance addressed, is not like there is no google or sicientific research made already, I mean if we were living with no internet in the middle of Oklahoma or Idaho perhaps could be acceptable but in this time and age you come with lame claims? come on!!!

          • EdWalton

            In less than 100 years we’ve gone from 250 parts per million to 400 ppm, you’re correct at 30,000 ppm CO2 would become a deadly toxin. But as I’ve proven in my first post, man kinds 565 Giga-tons didn’t raise the atmosphere’s CO2 in any significant way.

  • Concernedmimi

    Sadly, common sense is not the norm these days; especially among the elites running our country. And, honest investing by T. Boone Pickens is also ignored because it doesn’t fit in with the DIS-honesty infestation of our country. PERIOD!!

  • Josh

    Typically, I find it safer to ignore what the UN says and to go the long way around to check other, more reliable sources. Not for nothing, but any organization that sees fit to adorn its human rights counsel with some of the world’s greatest human rights violators isn’t exactly reputable enough to be taken on its word.

    I’m sure the UN is pissed that they can’t sanction Israel and get rid of climate change that way. If only it were that easy.