Proposals to fight global warming are unavoidably expensive and freedom-suppressing. Requiring American households and the economy to operate on expensive, diffuse, unreliable energy sources like wind and solar can only harm—and cannot help—American productivity and living standards.
If we were truly facing an imminent climate catastrophe, dramatic action would be justified. In the absence of an imminent climate emergency, however, radical climate policies are not warranted.
Adhering to the scientific method requires objectively testing theories and predictions using real-world observations and evidence. Measurable scientific facts and evidence should trump speculative future climate predictions, agenda-driven climate activism, and deceptive claims about a supposed “scientific consensus.”
Make no mistake, measurable scientific evidence makes it clear that global warming is not going to cause the world to end in 10 years, 100 years, or 1,000 years. In fact, a warmer world has always been a better world for human health and welfare, and this is not going to change in the foreseeable future.
The notion of an imminent climate crisis is a carefully crafted delusion, plain and simple. The more that objective science has debunked alarmist climate claims, the more that climate activists and their media allies have ratcheted up their rhetoric and sought to deflect attention away from real scientific evidence. Here are a few important scientific facts:
During most of the period since the dawn of human civilization, global temperatures have been significantly higher than they are today. And even without modern technologies, humans survived and thrived in those warmer conditions.
Colder climate periods have typically been associated with more famines, plagues, and severe extreme weather events, as well as with reduced crop yields and declining human populations.
Warmer climate periods have typically resulted in comparatively fewer famines, plagues, and extreme weather events. They also usually have higher crop yields and are more likely to produce golden ages of higher human population numbers and living standards.
The benefits of a warmer planet have held true throughout the past century. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization documents that crop yields globally and in most nations are enjoying long-term, mid-term, and short-term growth, resulting in new records for crop yields being set on a near-annual basis.
NASA satellites have documented a dramatic greening of the earth in recent decades, as more atmospheric carbon dioxide substantially assists plant growth. NASA satellites have also documented that wildfires are burning fewer acres of land as the earth’s atmosphere modestly warms. Health experts report that 20 times more people die as a result of colder temperatures as those who die of warm or hot temperatures. The evidence shows, as a result, the global warming humans have been experiencing in recent decades is saving many thousands of lives.
The data show alarmists’ doomsday predictions have consistently failed to materialize. Even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization dedicated to spreading climate change alarmism, admits it has low confidence that climate change is having any measurable negative global impacts regarding hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters. More importantly, the actual scientific data similarly show little or no real-world negative impacts.
Predictions of future climate catastrophes are no more credible than past predictions that failed to materialize. Instead of being viewed as near certainties, doomsday predictions should be viewed as highly speculative and dubious. If the earth warms modestly over the next 50 or 100 years, that warming will be no more likely to create a climate catastrophe than it did during the past 100 years.
Members of Congress, media, teachers, students, and the general public should look at facts and evidence, not questionable predictions and agenda-driven propaganda, to form their opinions on climate change. To facilitate a factual and fair examination of the evidence, The Heartland Institute has launched two important websites containing concise and compelling facts regarding climate change.
Climate at a Glance (www.ClimateAtAGlance.com) provides one- and two-page summaries of climate topics from a scientifically realist perspective. A sampling of topics includes hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, tornadoes, and coral reefs. Each topical summary begins with a few bullet points summarizing key points, followed by a concise summary of the science and its meaning. Most summaries contain a visual graphic to illustrate one or more key points.
Climate Realism (www.ClimateRealism.com) is a website that examines each day’s media-promoted climate scares and provides a short summary of the scientific facts that debunk the scares. Now, when you see a media report hyping a global warming scare, you can go to Climate Realism and see what the scientific evidence truly says. New articles are added on a daily basis, with two or more articles often added in a given day.
Of course, global warming will not make all hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other natural catastrophes suddenly stop occurring. However, the objective scientific evidence shows they are not getting worse because of warming. In fact, many are becoming less severe.
After millennia of relatively lower temperatures harming human health and welfare, and warmer temperatures benefiting the human condition, there is no reason to believe the situation has suddenly changed.
Policymakers should resist the urge to fix a “problem” that doesn’t need fixing, especially when it involves government policies that will inevitably cause more harm than good.
• James Taylor (JTaylor@heartland.org) is president of The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank.