Monday, May 8, 2017

Guest Post: On Climate Change, Environmental Left Hates Common Sense Solutions, by SABR_Matt

In which my brother, a credentialed meteorologist, shares his thoughts on climate change. 

I recently read a tweet by Bernie Sanders suggesting that if we cut carbon emissions by "just" 32% by 2030, we'd save 3600 premature babies from death each year.

Without going into the dark corner of his colon from which Bernie extracted that number or deliberating for too long as to whether there is any link at all between climate change and premature birth/death rates, this tweet reveals everything that is wrong with the way the environmental left thinks in three easy steps.

Before we get to the meat, I just want to have a little fun with a link. Here is a listing of the bizarre things that the greenies have linked to global warming:


Alright, back to the meat of this post. The three phases of stupid liberal logic on climate change are:

1) Find a problem in society and concoct a clever-sounding but unproven pseudo-logical link between that problem and climate change. No evidence is needed to make your claim, only a false tautology. IF (a) might be occasionally caused by (b) and (b) might be influenced by climate change in some way, then all of (a) is caused by climate change!

2) Depict your carbon emission cutting idea as a simple matter. (Only 32% cut by 2030, hmm? How much money will that cost, Bernie? How many countries will play along with your game or could even afford to? Will China cooperate? India? How many lives will be lost due to lost economic progress in places that need cheap energy to escape the third world?)

3) When someone disagrees, claim that they hate premature babies, poor people, and puppies and want all of them to die in a world set on fire by climate change, conveniently ignoring the dozens of far less costly alternatives to your emission curbing regulatory uber-state, even if you believe that AGW is a serious threat.

So, Bernie, let me ask you and your cotton-headed socialist pals why you are only focusing on the idea that is the most difficult to implement, requires total global cooperation, is projected to make little to no difference even if all goes according to plan, costs trillions of dollars to enact, and requires a massive international regulatory state? Oh: I just answered my question, didn't I?

But in seriousness, here are four other ways to combat climate change if you really care about the issue and want to see us meet it head on because you think it's a threat to our survival.

1) Widespread adoption of nuclear energy.

The left rejects this in North America because it feels less safe and dirtier than solar panels, but the reality is quite different. Solar farms murder hundreds of thousands of birds every year, wind farms are creating the greatest animal holocaust mankind has ever mustered if you go by the death count, and the resources and industrial power needed to build, maintain, and replace turbines and solar panels is enormous and creates a lot of pollution on its own. Meanwhile, nuclear technologies now exist that would reduce radioactive byproducts down to absolutely minuscule quantities and potency.

2) Reforestation

I remember, growing up in the 80s, when the left was very excited about saving the rain forests. Don't you? Ironically, though their proposed method for doing so was completely impractical and though we make fun of them for backing efforts to save rain forests only to make themselves look good, they were right. It turns out that the rain forests are a far more important climate driver than CO2 emissions ever could be. The conversion of evapotranspiring, moderate-albedo old-growth rain forests into low albedo, brown grazing lands that release little moisture back to the atmosphere has contributed to the "great dimmening" we've observed by satellite - a phenomenon where the planet is reflecting less and less solar radiation back to space and, thus, heating up. It also turns out that kneecapping the rain forests has reduced nature's capacity for draining CO2 out of the air.

If they want to fight climate change, environmentalists should fight for reforestation efforts. You wouldn't need one world government to do it; you'd need several international corporations and some minimal government investment, and you'd have broad international nonpartisan support for your aims. If the biosphere were 10% greener, at a cost many MANY orders of magnitude lower than emission curbing regulations, the climate would cool significantly -- much more significantly than the IPCC projections for CO2 emission curbing.

3) CO2 reuptake mechanisms

There are multiple competing ideas for pulling CO2 out of the air and converting it to usable forms of carbon and O2 or water vapor. The only reason such ideas haven't progressed enough to become profitable, one might argue, is that they are getting absolutely no research support. Why is the environmental left so reluctant to let our technological genius solve this problem rather than our governments?

4) Adaptation

If you can't beat climate change (and there are some on the left who think we waited too long and now can't), then why are you still trying to beat climate change? Why not work on ways to make the staple animal and food crops and natural biomes of our planet heartier and more prepared for climate shifts in any direction? Or are you saying that the species that, time after time after time, defeated the population/food shortage problem by getting smarter about how to grow food can't keep innovating?

Now I don't think that climate change is any real threat to imperil humanity or even to catastrophically alter Earth's biosphere, but I would not stand in the way of *common sense* risk mitigation strategies like the above, nor would most conservatives. The "precautionary principle" argument the left uses to defend drastic policy action w/r/t climate change only makes sense if your solution carries less risk than doing nothing. For me to buy in, you have to either convince me that the alternative really is totally catastrophic (You have a long road there. I'm a climate scientist, and I have studied the problem and don't see it as something that is likely to be a bigger priority than a productive economy), or you need to make your recommended action low-risk. Breaking the economy and reducing global populations isn't low-risk; it's ridiculously high-risk. But I'll gladly take precautions against potential climate-related problems if the precautions are rational. Reforestation is cheap and has other guaranteed benefits. Nuclear power is a long term solution to MANY energy related issues and geopolitical tensions. Making us more adaptive to changing climates is a good thing to do anyway!  So -- why aren't we doing any of that?

In short, there is only one true answer.  None of those alternatives give the left the power to control and regulate the global economy and population.

And that -- is why you'll never have buy-in from me and why none of their chest-thumping about the issue phases me at all.

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