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New NIPCC Report Highlights Benefits of Fossil Fuels

October 12, 2018

Climate Change Weekly #301

Climate Change Weekly 300 discussed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) new report claiming the world is headed toward disaster because governments are failing to force their citizens to forego the use of fossil fuels to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrial levels. Consider this a continuation of that discussion.

The IPCC report is a fairy tale concerning the dangers of human-caused climate change, and a wish fulfillment fantasy concerning the world’s ability to reduce the use of fossil fuels while simultaneously eliminating poverty.

The IPCC claims nations must invest $2.4 trillion in clean energy every year through 2035 in order to prevent average global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius or more above pre-industrial levels by 2100—and thus avoid all manner of purported climate catastrophes. The IPCC’s estimated investment is nearly seven hundred percent more than the $333.5 billion Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated was invested in renewable energy in 2017. The IPCC report also warns carbon dioxide emissions must be cut 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reduced to zero by 2050 to avert disaster. The report acknowledges meeting these goals would require “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

The facts indicate such an energy transformation, if not logically impossible, is at least unrealistic, undesirable in the extreme, and, thankfully, unnecessary.

The IPCC’s fears of climate change are even more overblown than their estimates of the sensitivity of the Earth’s atmosphere to additional concentrations of greenhouse gases. Based on actual measured temperatures in relation to the past century’s increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, it is evident climate models grossly overestimate the impact of carbon dioxide and other hothouse chemicals on temperature. Based on geologic history, we can see there is no correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the Earth’s temperature.

Additionally, claims of increasingly extreme weather or other catastrophes supposedly related to anthropogenic climate change are verifiably false as neither the amount or duration of extreme rainfall or drought events, nor the speed or amount of sea level rise, nor the number or power of hurricanes, nor the number or rate of species extinctions, have demonstrably increased due to climate change over the past half century.

Several reports by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) confirm these facts. NIPCC is an independent organization founded in 2003 to fact-check the IPCC’s work. Rather than rehash the science, in the remainder of this essay, I want to focus on the tremendous benefits the growing use of fossil fuels has bestowed upon the world, and the harm that would result from ending their use.

NIPCC’s most recent report, the Summary for Policymakers of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels, is a summary of a 1,000-page report scheduled for release on December 4. More than 100 leading scholars from 12 countries worked on the report, which demonstrates, “the global war on fossil fuels … was never founded on sound science or economics.” Furthermore, it urges the world’s policymakers to “acknowledge this truth and end that war.”

According to Watts Up With That, the Summary for Policymakers shows:

Fossil fuels deliver affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy that is closely associated with key measures of human development and human welfare. There is a strong positive relationship between low energy prices and economic prosperity. Economic prosperity in turn is crucial to human health and welfare. Wind and solar power are incapable of delivering the affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy that is delivered by fossil fuels

Indeed, fossil fuels are the lifeblood of modern civilization.

Fossil fuels are the foundation of modern agriculture. These energy sources power the tractors and trucks used to plant and harvest crops and deliver them to market; they serve as the feed stock for the chemical pesticides and fertilizers used to grow ever greater amounts of food on increasingly less land; and they power the refrigeration and dry storage units that allow crops to be safely stored for long periods of time. Ultimately, fossil fuels allow the world’s farmers to feed the planet’s growing population.

Fossil fuels are also the bedrock of modern medicine, which has reduced infant mortality and lengthened lifespans. Modern medicine depends on sterile plastics made from fossil fuels: IV drip bags, medical machinery and electronics casings, syringes, and the furniture in waiting, examination, and operating rooms in medical facilities across the world.

You can’t run hospitals, ambulances, operating rooms, emergency rooms, and clinics 24 hours per day, seven days per week if you don’t burn coal, natural gas, and oil. Medicine refrigeration units, CT scanning machines, MRIs, X-rays, laser scalpels, ventilators, incubators, and even lights require reliable electric power, which fossil fuels provide better and cheaper than alternative sources.

And when the electric power grid is knocked out in the aftermath of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados, it is diesel generators, not damaged solar panels or wind turbines, that keep hospitals operating. Additionally, diesel and gasoline powered vehicles take people to hospitals or emergency shelters and deliver relief supplies to disaster areas.

Moreover, modern trade relies on the use of fossil fuel-powered transportation systems. Trains, big rigs, cargo ships, and airplanes operate on diesel, jet fuel, and marine bunker fuel, not wind and solar power.

NIPCC’s new report also shows fossil fuels are good for the environment, having a less intrusive, disruptive foot print on land, wildlife, and wildlife habitat than renewable power sources like hydropower, solar, and wind. “The power density of fossil fuels enables humanity to meet its need for energy, food, and natural resources while using less surface space, rescuing precious wildlife habitat from development. In 2010, fossil fuels utilized roughly the same surface area as devoted to renewable energy sources yet delivered 110 times as much power,” summarizes Watts Up With That.

More than one billion people worldwide lack access to regular supplies of electricity today, and millions die each year from preventable cardiopulmonary diseases caused by indoor air pollution resulting from their use of wood, charcoal, dung, and other materials to light and heat their homes and cook over. Millions more die prematurely from a lack of access to modern transportation and there being too few hospitals with working electric lights, medical equipment, and refrigeration. In the West, we take these necessities, all made possible through the use of fossil fuels, for granted. Using coal, gasoline, natural gas, and oil makes modern life possible. Where fossil fuels are in regular use, people are wealthy, and where their use is absent, poverty, disease, and hunger are rife.

However, if it were up to the IPCC, the world would stop using these lifesaving, welfare-enhancing fuel sources. NIPCC’s report shows reducing greenhouse gases to 90 percent below 1990 levels by 2050—which is less severe than the zero carbon emission future demanded by the IPCC’s report—would reduce the world’s GDP by 96 percent. This would decrease per-capita global income to the level it was in the United States and Western Europe in about 1820 or 1830.

As reported in several CCWs, despite IPCC’s dire warnings, countries are increasing their use of fossil fuels. From Japan to Europe, and across Africa and Asia, countries are building and maintaining coal fired power plants—huge capital investments that will continue to operate well beyond 2035 if not 2050—and developing new oil and natural gas reserves and infrastructure. New investment in fossil fuels continues to dwarf countries’ substantial subsidies for wind and solar power.

Thankfully, fossil fuels are plentiful and, as the NIPCC report shows, their use is beneficial. As a result, the continued development and use of coal, natural gas, and oil, will, as in the past, continue to make people wealthier and thus the world more habitable and safer. In short, fossil fuels allow people to live longer, more productive, and less penurious lives.

-H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; American Thinker; Watts Up With That; Climate Change Weekly


IN THIS ISSUE …

EU commission abandons new climate targetHurricanes’ strength 80 year declineClimate changes independent of atmospheric carbon dioxide


EU COMMISSION ABANDONS NEW CLIMATE TARGET

The European Union (EU) Commission, the executive branch of the EU, has rejected a call by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee to dramatically increase EU’s 2030 carbon dioxide reduction goals for the transportation sector. The EU Commission plan calls for reducing vehicle fleet carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030, compared to Environment Committee proposal to cut fleet emissions by 45 percent or more by 2030.

Germany and many Eastern European countries objected to the steeper cuts, after the EU Commission reported Europe could lose as many as 59,000 jobs in the automobile industry alone by 2030 should the Environment Committee goals prevail.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed the EU Commissions lower goals saying “Anything beyond that carries the risk of driving the car industry out of Europe.”

SOURCES: Frankfurter Allgemeine; Handelsblatt


HURRICANES’ STRENGTH 80 YEAR DECLINE

On his science blog, award-winning meteorologist Roy Spencer, Ph.D., a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, writes, although the damage from Hurricane Florence, was severe, “major landfalling hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) were more frequent in past decades. [M]ajor hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. has dropped by an average of more than 50% since the 1930s.”

In contrast to hurricane strength, all of the most costly hurricanes in U.S. history, not counting lives lost, have occurred since the 1930s. However, that’s not due to hurricanes being more powerful, but rather due entirely to the huge increase in the number of people living near and infrastructure built up along coastlines prone to hurricanes. As more and more people live near coasts, and an increasing number of luxury homes, and high rise hotels, condos, and apartments replace small bait shacks, small single family dwellings and relatively inexpensive low rise motels and hotels, the cost from damage when hurricanes do make landfall has increased sharply.

SOURCE: Dr. Roy Spencer Blog


CLIMATE CHANGES INDEPENDENT OF ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE

The researchers at CO2 Science recently summarized a 2017 study in the journal Climate that indicates across geologic history, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide has had no relation to temperature or climate conditions.

The study’s author, W. Jackson Davis, Ph.D., executive director of the Environmental Studies Institute, analyzed a comprehensive assemblage of empirical databases consisting of 6,680 proxy temperature and 831 proxy carbon dioxide measurements to examine the relationship between historic temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide from 522 million years before present (Mybp) to now. Davis says his data assemblage is “the most accurate quantitative empirical evaluation to date of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature.”

Davis found neither a causal association nor a correlation between carbon dioxide levels temperatures over millions of years.

“For example, Davis reports, (1) ‘a carbon dioxide concentration peak near 415 My[bp] occurs near a temperature trough at 445 Mybp,’ (2) ‘similarly, carbon dioxide concentration peaks around 285 Mybp coincide with a temperature trough at about 280 My[bp] ....’” Ultimately, Davis concludes “more than 95 percent of the variance in temperature [across millions of years] is explained by unidentified variables other than the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide,” which Davis writes, “corroborate the earlier conclusion based on study of the Paleozoic climate that ‘global climate may be independent of variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration,’” the summary reports.

Davis concludes although “correlation does not imply causality, but the absence of correlation proves conclusively the absence of causality.”

SOURCES: CO2 Science; Climate

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org

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