This column by ACRU General Counsel and Senior Fellow for the Carleson Center for Public Policy (CCPP) Peter Ferrara was published February 22, 2013 on Forbes.com.
President Obama issued this threat to the American people in his 2013 State of the Union Address (SOTU): “But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change….Now, the good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth….But if Congress doesn’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”
Obama cited as support for his threatened global warming regulatory jihad, “Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15.” The fact is also, however, that years of decline from a peak in global temperatures, as occurred in 1998 due to the entirely natural El Nino effect that year, can also be among the warmest on record. (That global temperature record he is talking about only goes back about 125 years, most of which has been reflecting recovery of global temperatures from the “Little Ice Age” occurring roughly from 1350 to 1850.).
That global temperature record has been flat lining for 16 years now. As the website Climate Depot reported in response to Obama, “The halt in global temperatures has shown up in multiple data sets and peer-reviewed literature.” Even NASA’s James Hansen, the bureaucratic godfather of global warming hysterics, admits that the global temperature standstill is real, according to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade,” Hansen said on January 15.
Professor Werner Kirstein of the Institute for Geography at the University of Leipzig told MDR German Public Radio that sensational PR claims of the hottest year or hottest decade on record are just political spin, because they are based on year-to-year temperature data that differs by only a few hundredths of a degree. As Hansen told reporters on January 13, “2010 differed from 2005 by less than 2 hundredths of a degree F (that’s 0.018F).” And those are global averages reflecting a composite of hundreds of local weather station observations worldwide, a concoction that borders on alchemy.
Top Swedish climate scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, who has served on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the official global warming advocacy body, was also quoted publicly on February 3 as saying,
“We are creating great anxiety without it being justified…there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic. The warming we have had the last 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all. The Earth appears to have cooling properties that exceed the previously thought ones, and computer models are inadequate to try to foretell a chaotic object like the climate, where actual observations are the only way to go.”
The award winning Bengtsson, highly decorated by scientific bodies across the globe, also pointed out that the heating effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) is logarithmic, which means the higher the concentration is, the smaller the effect of a further increase. That is why historical proxy data going back millennia show much greater concentrations of CO2 — 10, 20 or 30 times today’s levels — with no associated catastrophic global temperatures. That lack of association between temperature trends and CO2 has continued over the last century, as the up and down pattern of global temperatures over the past 100 years does not follow the upward climb of CO2 as the industrial revolution has expanded globally. It follows instead the pattern of natural causes, such as sunspot cycles, and ocean temperature cycles.
Bengtsson reported as well, “The sea level has risen fairly evenly for a hundred years by 2-3 millimeters per year. The pitch has not accelerated.” That is because the sea level has been rising as the Earth has been recovering from the freezing period of the Little Ice Age. It is not due to man-caused global warming.
President Obama also told us in the SOTU, “Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense.” But that is a fairy tale. On the website of Obama’s own EPA is a chart of a U.S. Annual Heat Wave Index, 1895 to 2008, which supports this statement, indicating that heat waves were much worse in the 1930s: “Heat waves occurred with high frequency in the 1930s, and these remain the most severe heat waves in the U.S. historical record (see Figure 1). Many years of intense drought (the “Dust Bowl”) contributed to these heat waves by depleting soil moisture and reducing the moderating effects of evaporation.” The EPA also acknowledges that there is no trend in the historical record of heat waves becoming worse.
As Climate Depot also reports, the temperature records of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network show that “the 1930s holds a wide lead for all-time daily record maximums in the U.S. There is zero evidence that ‘climate change’ has increased the probability of setting temperature records.” That is why the 1930s is actually the hottest decade on record.
As reported on the website Real Science, forty percent of weather stations in the Historical Climatology Network set their all-time record maximum temperature during the 1930s. Only one percent of those stations set their all-time record maximum temperature in the current decade, allegedly the hottest on record. While NOAA (the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) has claimed that 2012 was the hottest year on record, only 3 weather stations (0.3%) set their all time record maximum that year, while 172 (21%) did in 1936. So much for Obama’s heat wave fantasies.
A 2012 study published in the journal Nature “suggests that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years…The major 2012 drought obscures the fact that U.S. has seen a decline in drought over the past century.” Since 1950, wildfires have decreased globally by 15%, and the National Academy of Sciences expects that declining trend to continue for another 40 years. A 2011 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that wildfires in the western United States are now at their lowest levels in 3,000 years. University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke, Jr. reports on another 2011 study, published in the Hydrological Sciences Journal showing that flooding has not increased in the United States over the last 85 to 127 years.
Steven Goddard summarizes at the website Real Science, “We know that hurricanes have declined, tornadoes have declined, floods have declined, and droughts have declined. That is why history has been redefined to start in the 1970s,” by the global warming alarmists.
But Obama persisted in error at the SOTU, adding, “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.”
But as Pielke explained in the Denver Post on October 12, 2012, “Remarkably, the U.S. is currently experiencing the longest-ever recorded period with no strikes of a Category 3 or stronger hurricane. The major 2012 drought obscures the fact that the U.S. has seen a decline in drought over the past century.” He added, “Sandy was terrible, but we’re currently in a relative hurricane drought.”
Steven Goddard again reported the facts on Real Science: “According to NOAA, hurricanes have been on the decline in the US since the beginning of records in the 19th century. The worst decade for major (category 3,4,5) hurricanes was the 1940s.”
Carrying out his threat, Obama’s EPA is already in the process of imposing restrictive regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the Clean Air Act. The impact of EPA’s CO2 regulation will be to sharply raise the cost of traditional energy sources — oil, natural gas, and coal — which will sharply raise the prices of electricity and gasoline. These are the energy sources that have powered the industrial revolution. Those price increases will effectively be yet another major tax increase on the economy of trillions over the years. That will only further destroy jobs, depress wages, increase poverty, and contract economic growth. Particularly devastated will be energy intensive manufacturing that Obama also touted in his 2013 SOTU.
Recent energy production breakthroughs have opened vast new vistas of booming, low cost energy prosperity for America. Such a vastly expanded energy industry would directly create hundreds of thousands of good paying additional jobs in the expanded energy industry itself. The Keystone pipeline would contribute the similarly booming resources of Canada to America, more than a million barrels a day, more than is imported from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. That would create still more jobs, another quarter of a million in the energy industry alone, and the potential for freeing America from the cost of energy imports from the Middle East, and other hostile sources. Moreover, the resulting dramatically increased supply of energy would also lower the cost of energy for the American economy, effectively constituting a major tax cut for the economy that would help fuel booming growth. But if President Obama and his EPA have their way, all of this will be lost to America.
The notion that foregoing the enormous effective tax cut and job creation involved in developing America’s enormous natural energy resources, and instead imposing an enormous effective tax increase on the economy through soaring traditional energy prices, can drive strong economic growth, as Obama said in the SOTU, cannot be taken seriously. No rational person could believe such a gross self-contradiction. That is just boob bait to seduce the most gullible and credulous.
All of the costs of Obama’s global warming regulation will be for zero benefits in any event. The formerly third world countries with rapidly emerging economies, such as China, India, Brazil, joined by Russia, and other growing countries, have made clear in power grabbing United Nations confabs that there is no way they are going to compromise their growth over the politically correct Lysenkoism of potentially catastrophic, man-caused, global warming. But even wild-eyed global warming hysterics admit that strict CO2 emission restrictions in America alone are not going to have any more than a negligible effect on future global temperatures. So Obama’s global warming regulatory crusade would suffer the most upside down cost benefit ratio in world history.
One more quarter of negative economic growth, and we will be in the 2013 double dip recession I predicted back in 2011 as a result of Obamanomics. (See: Obama and the Crash of 2013, published by Encounter books). With Obama persisting in his global warming delusion contributing to that, the double dip recession may provide the political foundation to impeach Obama for abuse of office.