Facts are awfully stubborn things. And global-warming alarmists - who generally don’t let facts get in the way of a good, agenda-driven argument - recently lost a key ally in the run-up to the U.N. global-warming pep rally opening today in Copenhagen. They lost actual data supporting their claims.
In defiant acts of desperation, many out-of-the mainstream environmental alarmists quickly moved to plan B. Some cite the current El Nino - a natural climate variation - warning of “record” high temperatures just on the horizon.
Others continue to trumpet “studies” that paint terrifying environmental fairy tales if world governments do not immediately criminalize carbon, ban fossil fuels and ration energy.
But these tactics are not new. Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” of the 1960s predicted food riots in the United States and around the world. Today, obesity is bigger problem.
Remember the Club of Rome’s 1972 prediction of resource exhaustion? Fifty-seven predictions were made regarding 19 minerals, and all either have been proved false or will be.
Perhaps most hypocritical is the global-cooling scare promoted by, among others, Mr. Obama’s science czar, John Holdren. Today, Mr. Holdren says a billion people may perish from global warming by 2020.
It’s understandable why public opinion continues to squarely reject the apocalyptic vision of climate change. In Washington, pragmatic politicians of both parties balk at even watered-down proposals to cap greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that will bring higher energy costs and more government control.
There simply is not an appetite for this social-engineering project. And despite the dire warnings of an intellectual cadre, the public is getting it right. The Earth’s average temperature is virtually unchanged from a dozen years ago - a result not predicted by climate modelers or activists.
The rate of sea-level rise has slowed to a crawl, throwing cold water on ice-melting scares. Global hurricane activity is near a 30-year low. Fatalities from tornadoes across the United States this year are on course to be the lowest in more than a decade. (Yes, some scientists link global warming to tornadoes.) In 2009, much of the Midwest and Northeast shivered through the coldest summer in recent memory.
While climate models are supposed to be snapshots of the Earth’s real climate, the mismatch between observed and modeled climate behavior shows that even the best models are not accurate and are likely overestimating outcomes. Gerald North, a Texas A&M atmospheric sciences and oceanography professor, estimates climate models overestimate warming by roughly 50 percent.
Though climate models have proved to be an obvious inconvenient truth, alarmists continue to ignore this elephant in the room.
In fact, this is buried on Page 805 of the latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): “The set of available models may share fundamental inadequacies, the effects of which cannot be quantified.”
It’s telling why this was not stated forthrightly in the assessment’s summary. Science, after all, should trump politics, social engineering and agendas.
Public opinion continues increasingly to reflect this, as the case against climate alarmism continues to grow.
But there is a crisis that international leaders need to address at Copenhagen. The real planetary emergency is that 1.5 billion people do not have access to modern affordable and reliable forms of energy or the electricity they produce.
The poorest and most underprivileged in the world would benefit most from coal furnaces, natural gas plants and other modern resources that our carbon-based economy and infrastructure help generate.
Some environmental elitists may say: “Let them use solar panels.” But the moral imperative of the 21st century is to liberate the master resource of energy from the politics of these reactionary enemies of democratizing progress, prosperity and quality of life.
Robert L. Bradley is the chief executive officer and founder of the Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit, market-oriented energy think tank. He is author of “Climate Alarmism Reconsidered” (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2003).