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How to Argue Climate Change

January 28, 2019

Climate Change (aka Global Warming) is becoming an even bigger issue with the new Democratic congress and its calls for a “Green New Deal.”

Climate Change (aka Global Warming) is becoming an even bigger issue with the new Democratic congress and its calls for a “Green New Deal.” The very name should be a reminder that statist controls were always an integral part of the extremist environmentalists who now use global warming as justification for central planning after the collapse of the Soviet model discredited centrally planned economies. The recent United Nations Climate report equally stressed socialist economic planning while the Paris Accord, from which President Trump withdrew, included $100 billion per year of aid from wealthy nations to Third World ones in compensation for past environmental damage to the world. That’s why most of them voted for the accord.

Climate change is happening in parts of the globe. It has been warmer in the Arctic, oceans are rising at the rate of about one foot per century, and there’s been record cold in central Asia and in the Southern hemisphere, e.g . Argentina and Australia. Also indeed some record cold weather in the U.S.

What the Warmers (climate changers) need to prove are three major points.

  • That humans can control or modify climate change.
  • That such changes are necessary for human survival or at least prosperity.
  • That the cost of such modifications will not wreck economic well being in the developed world nor stop growing prosperity in the less developed.

Unfortunately, events are not being properly analyzed but rather have triggered a cascade of billions of Washington dollars to certain industries with effective lobbies. Global warming became climate change but the supposed remedies for the latter (limiting C02 gas) are claimed to be the same as for the former.

The movement’s overwhelming control of Big Media leaves those calling for rational debate and plain common sense overwhelmed. Every excessive weather event is blamed on global warming and met with demands for new subsidies for some and obstructive regulations for traditional energy producers, i.e. more centralized planning from Washington. Typical of the scare stories which defy common sense was a recent scary front page report in the New York Times was “Ocean Temperatures Rising Faster –new analysis suggests dire effect on food and weather.” The article reports that “oceans are heating up 40% faster than a United Nations panel estimate five years ago.” Yet typical of almost all the stories The Times almost never reports a word about the actual number of temperature degrees involved. Obviously, the reason is because it is infinitesimal. It turns out to be about one tenth of one degree centigrade (0.09 to 0.13 degrees) per decade over the past 40 years. That equals less than two tenths of one degree Fahrenheit. Similarly An EPA report shows in a graph 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in ocean surface temperature since 1980 and 1.5% increase since 1880. All these reports are also within the margin of error.

Scaring us about oceans rising is vital for the warmers because they can’t really scare people with just two or three degrees of warmer air temperatures. Oceans are a vast temperature equalizer. They also absorb C02 gas from the air. Oceans can absorb incredible amounts of atmospheric heat and the deep ocean has not had temperature increases.

The Washington Post in a typical report to stoke up fear, headlined, Melting Arctic Ice now pouring 14,000 tons of melting ice into the oceans. The report states that this “now adds well over a millimeter to the level of the ocean every year.” It no doubt assumes that most Americans don’t know how long a millimeter is and the Post does not clarify that this equals about one foot per century, a recognized measure.

Then there’s the Antarctic. For years there was little media reporting that it was gaining more ice. Then some media discovered that much of the ice was on top of an ice shelf partly floating on the ocean. So then it reported that the seas were “warming” (see below) and that the ice shelf might break off, melt and raise ocean levels several feet.

The most brazen assaults on common sense are typified by another NY Times article, “Why half a degree of warming is a big deal,” with totally unproven or unprovable assumptions. I am reminded of an old joke from Soviet times about a commissar visiting a peasant village with a truck load of new shoes. He told the villagers about the glories of socialism and how all Russians would soon have new shoes compared to the torn, worn and ragged ones they wore. Then an old peasant woman dares to tell him that none of the shoes fit her or her friends’ feet. The commissar looks down scowling, “These are the latest, newest wonderful socialist shoes, it is your foot that is the wrong size!” I often think of this story when scare mongers tell us “facts” which are contrary to all observations, reason and logic, that they just can’t be true, and yet most people finally believe the constant propaganda.

The importance of media concentration on ocean warming and rising seas is because it is a way to get Americans’ agreement to spend hundreds of billions of dollars upon it. Most of us can’t be overwhelmed with fear because the atmosphere is warming by some 2 degrees. But we can be terrorized with fear of rising oceans inundating our great cities. It is preposterous to argue about 1.5 vs. 2 degrees centigrade difference in atmospheric warming; one is reminded of medieval scholars arguing about how many angels could stand on the head of a pin. Yet even The Economist reports that an extra half degrees would kill all coral reefs and “wash away the livelihoods of millions more people.” (10/13/2018)
Carbon dioxide (C02) in the air is only one of the factors affecting weather. Most particularly is simple water vapor which is a much more potent “greenhouse gas” that C02. Weather is also affected by sun spots, volcanic activity, ocean currents, atmospheric reflectivity, and even the alignment of planets and their gravity. C02 is much less than one tenth of 1% of the atmosphere, actually .04% meaning 400 parts per million. All the global warming fuss is because it went up from .03% to .04%. If decreasing carbon dioxide is the cure for global warming, why do they promote the same solution for climate change when parts of the world are getting record cold weather?

Below are several arguments to stress if arguing with a global warmer. Remember though that for many leftists climate change has become almost a religion and so is little subject to rational argument. Most of us can’t know all the details of each new lie or exaggeration. The only way to fight this is just to concentrate on a few arguments. Most global warmers can’t explain or justify much of what they claim so they just smear those who question them or repeat the canard that “97% of climate scientists agree than human beings are responsible for warming or climate change.” The 97% figure has been effective rebutted. All the early models forecasts about weather and warming have been proved vastly exaggerated or even totally wrong. Why trust them now?

  • If decreasing carbon dioxide is the cure for global warming, why is it the same for climate change when parts of the world are getting record cold.
  • All the early models forecasts about weather and warming have been proved vastly exaggerated or even totally wrong. Why trust them now?
  • Oceans are rising at the rate of one foot every hundred years. The atmosphere temperature has increased about 2 degrees. Cold oceans absorb most of any increase in world temperatures. Is this a reason to panic and agree to hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies and taxes, shutting down low cost electricity plants, and slowing or stopping our economic growth?
  • And the incredible waste. For example, we are shutting down pollution and carbon free nuclear plants because they are excluded from the subsidies available to wind and solar and so can’t compete in price. Heartland Institute reports on Indiana’s plan to shut down coal electricity generating plants which are already paid for and replace their output with solar and wind power. Local consumers will pay higher electricity rates to pay for it.

“Follow the climate money” is the way to track much of the distorted science. Fear of climate change has generated tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars for some commercial interests. Think of tens of billions of subsidies for windmills and solar energy and even for selling expensive cars; in the case of Tesla $7,500 each for the first 200,000 buyers of electric automobiles equals over a billion dollars for one company. Billions more will soon be paid to other companies now starting to make electric cars.

For continuing information on this subject see the sites of Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute and CFact. They’re all loaded with information to rebut and explain media scare stories. Their source of funding does include independent oil companies, a very few foundations and many individuals concerned with the overwhelming billions being spent by our government to respond to “human made” climate change.

Author
Jon Basil Utley is publisher of The American Conservative and Policy Advisor with the Heartland Institute