This column by ACRU General Counsel and Senior Fellow for the Carleson Center for Welfare Reform (CCWR) Peter Ferrara was published July 8, 2013 on Forbes.com.
“A growing economy that creates good, middle class jobs—this must be the North Star that guides our efforts.”
That is what President Obama said in his State of the Union Address would be the overriding priority guiding his second term, to much fanfare. He has also frequently said he is “focused on jobs like a laser,” and that the central goal of his policies is to preserve and advance the middle class. He said that the 2012 elections were “a make or break moment for the middle class.”
But in this age of supposed “progressivism,” the American people seem happy with just pretty words, rather than results. In the 11 previous recessions since the Great Depression, the economy recovered all jobs lost during the recession after an average of 25 months from the point the recession began. But here we are today 67 months after the last recession began, and America under Obamanomics still has not recovered all the jobs lost during the last recession, which officially ended four years ago. By this point in the recovery under the pro-American President Reagan, jobs had grown 9% higher than when the recession started, representing an increase of more than 10 million jobs.
Moreover, real middle class incomes have declined continuously throughout Obama’s entire Presidency. The middle class has lost the equivalent under Obama of one month’s pay a year, with the decline continuing.
But on June 25, at Georgetown University, President Obama was focused like a laser not on good, middle class jobs, or reversing the slide in real middle class incomes, but on…”climate change,” which has prevailed since the dawn of the planet. President Obama misled the assembled Georgetown students, saying,
“[I]n the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable. And what they’ve found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically.”
I am quite certain that President Obama used the oxymoronic phrase “carbon pollution” in his speech that day alone many more times than the National Weather Service ever did, at least before President Obama came into office. Carbon is a natural element on Earth, and serves as the fundamental building block of all life on the planet, including humans. That is why humans, and all other life Earth, are called “carbon based” life forms. We are not pollution, despite what the crazies at the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council think.
There is nothing like watching a carbon based life form spouting about “carbon pollution,” and emitting 1000 parts per million of carbon dioxide gas in doing so, which is what Obama meant by “carbon pollution.” Carbon dioxide as well is a natural substance essential to all life on the planet. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes plants to grow faster, including the food that feeds us and all other animal life. Calling it pollution is nonsense as a matter of science, and should be disqualifying for public officials.
Moreover, I dispute that the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere in the 1950s “with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable.” Last month, the national media dutifully reported the PR spin of global warming hysterics that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide had reached the highest level in 3 million years at 400 parts per million. (That is 0.04% of the atmosphere). This claim is a continuation of the scandal of climategate.
From 1812 to 1961, there were 90,000 measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration published in 175 technical papers. Presenting the data as 5 year averages, those measurements show atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations exceeding 400 parts per million 29 times during the 19th century, and 3 more times in the 20th century. I believe the 19th and 20th centuries are within the last 3 million years. Proxy measurements also show atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations exceeding 400 parts per million in 1700 A.D., 200 A.D., and 10,000 years ago.
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations were several times current levels in the Earth’s geologic history, with no evidence of the resulting catastrophes promoted by global warming hysterics, like President Obama. William Happer, professor of physics at Princeton University, and a former director of the Office of Energy Research at the U.S. Department of Energy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on May 8, 2013, “The current levels of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, approaching 400 parts per million, are low by the standards of geological and plant evolutionary history. Levels were 3,000 ppm, or more, until the Paleogene period (beginning about 65 million years ago).” He concludes, “We know that carbon dioxide has been a much larger fraction of the earth’s atmosphere than it is today, and the geological record shows that life flourished on land and in the oceans during those times. The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science.”
Maybe that benign effect of much more CO2 in the atmosphere is because the temperature impact of increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 declines logarithmically. That means the temperature increasing effect of increased CO2 concentrations declines faster and faster as those concentrations increase, which means there is a natural limit to how much increased CO2 can effectively warm the planet.
Moreover, human emissions of CO2 are only 4 to 5% of total global emissions, counting natural causes. That is another reason why human activity does not remotely threaten any prospect of the catastrophes promoted by the scaremongers.
The only effects of increased carbon dioxide emissions so far have been beneficial to life on the planet. As Happer further explained in the Journal,
“Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That’s simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.”
The slight, negligible, contribution of human activity to the slight gain in global temperatures in the 20th century to today, well within natural variability, has been beneficial to life on the planet as well, because slightly increased warmth fosters both plant and animal life.
Maybe these are the reasons why, as President Obama lamented to the students at Georgetown,
“Right now, there are no federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution that those plants can pump into our air. None. Zero. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free.”
There are no limits because, for the reasons discussed above, power plant carbon dioxide emissions are not pollution, and are not harmful, but actually have been beneficial so far. To analogize carbon dioxide emissions to actually harmful substances such as mercury, sulfur and arsenic, is abusive disinformation, characteristic of third world authoritarianism, but not American politics, as low as the standard for honesty in our politics is. It is more of the abusive Obama rhetorical style I have called “calculated deception,” taking advantage of what he shrewdly calculates the average person will not know, and his media allies won’t tell them.
The pattern of temperature trends since the industrial revolution has followed natural causes, not rising CO2 concentrations. The height of the Little Ice Age is recorded in history as 1650 A.D. to 1850 A.D. No one has suggested that the Little Ice Age ended only because of increased carbon dioxide from the Industrial Revolution rising in the latter 19th century. That unusual period of cold in the 11,000 years since the last full Ice Age correlates in history with sharply declining sun spot activity beginning around 1300 A.D., falling to zero during the Maunder Minimum from 1645 A.D. to 1715 A.D., followed by another period of exceptionally low activity known as the Dalton Minimum from 1790 A.D. to 1830 A.D.
The global temperature trends since then have followed not rising CO2 trends but the ocean temperature cycles of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Every 20 to 30 years, the much colder water near the bottom of the oceans cycles up to the top, where it has a slight cooling effect on global temperatures until the sun warms that water. That warmed water then contributes to slightly warmer global temperatures, until the next churning cycle.
Those ocean temperature cycles, and the continued recovery from the Little Ice Age, are primarily why global temperatures rose from 1915 until 1945, when CO2 emissions were much lower than in recent years. The change to cold ocean temperature cycles is the main reason that global temperatures declined from 1945 until the late 1970s, despite the soaring CO2 emissions during that time from the postwar industrialization spreading across the globe.
The 20 to 30 year ocean temperature cycles turned back to warm from the late 1970s until the late 1990s, which is the primary reason that global temperatures warmed during this period. Warm ocean currents, particularly in the North Atlantic, have been the primary reasons for declining Arctic sea ice over recent years, while Antarctic ice has grown to record levels. That Arctic sea ice will be restored as the AMO turns back to a cold cycle, just as that Arctic ice has followed ocean temperature cycles for many years.
But that late 20th century warming ended 15 years ago, and global temperatures have stopped increasing since then, if not actually cooled, even though global CO2 emissions have soared over this period. We know that neither President Obama, nor anyone in his Administration, reads The Economist. But that mainstream publication shocked the global warming hysterics when it turned skeptical in March with a story that began,
“Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, ‘the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a d decade…'”
Happer noted the same disconnect between rising carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures, writing in the Journal in May, “As many scientists have pointed out, variations in global temperature correlate much better with solar activity and with complicated cycles of the oceans and atmosphere.”
Now those natural causes are telling us the globe is heading into a colder climate. Both the PDO and the AMO are turning to their cold cycles, portending 20 to 30 years of declining temperatures. Much more ominous, sunspot activity has plummeted recently, and is showing little signs of life, increasingly just like during the Little Ice Age.
Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta noted on June 14 in her much discussed climate blog that public interest is now increasingly turning from the flat global temperature trend over the last 15 years to the actual slight decline of global temperatures since 2002. She notes that this development is consistent with the work of University of Wisconsin Professor Anastasio Tonis, who published a peer reviewed study in 2009 identifying a fundamental shift around 2002 towards colder global climate. Curry writes, “This shift and the subsequent slight cooling trend provides a rationale for inferring a slight cooling trend over the next decade or so, rather than a flat trend from the 15 yr ‘pause.'” Tsonis discussed in his published work the long term pattern of alternating colder and warmer climate trends lasting about 30 years, which is consistent with the natural causes discussed above, further suggesting the current cooling could last 50 years.
Recognition of the developing colder climate trend is far more widespread overseas, where the global warming Lysenkoism that now dominates increasingly declining western science is not so pronounced. Danish solar scientist Henrik Svensmark declared in 2009 that the sun is “heading towards a grand minimum as we saw in the Little Ice Age.” Because of that “sleeping sun,” Svensmark warned, “global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning…enjoy global warming while it lasts.” Professor Eirek Solheim of Norway has reached similar conclusions. Leading solar physicist Dr. Pal Brekke, senior advisor to the Norwegian Space Centre in Oslo, foresees possibly 50 years of global cooling due to the emerging solar cycles. Brekke has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the sun and solar interaction with the Earth and served as a referee for scientific journals. He was the deputy project scientist for the international Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.
Australian scientist David Archibald predicted in 2012 on the basis of solar cycle trends that global temperatures will decline by nearly 5 degrees Centigrade over the next 20 years. In April of this year, Prof. Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth & Environmental Studies at the University of Western Australia presented a paper at a climate conference in Poland projecting “serious cooling” on the basis of the same solar cycles. As I have discussed in a previous column, Russian scientists are predicting global cooling for 200 to 250 years.
Here at home, Harvard’s Willie Soon has published path breaking, peer-reviewed studies regarding the sun’s impact on the Earth’s climate, which also indicate extended cooling for global temperatures. In 2012, famed hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray, Professor Emeritus, Dept of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, predicted 20 years of global cooling on the basis of churning ocean temperature cycles. But domestically, political scientists posing as climate scientists have responded to their scientific arguments with Saul Alinsky style rhetoric.
The above discussed science is reviewed in detail in the 1200 pages of Climate Change Reconsidered, including the Interim Report of the series. The Chinese National Academy of Sciences recently issued a Chinese translation of that work, not because they are endorsing it, but because they consider it a helpful contribution to the ongoing scientific debate. But domestically, the response is primarily socialist rhetorician Saul Alinsky, whose contribution was the 1960s style Rules for Radicals.
Climate Change Reconsidered is the comprehensive skeptical response to the global warming bibles produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations, on which the policies of President Obama and his Administration are based. The fundamental argument of the IPCC is grounded on dozens of climate models projecting future global temperatures a hundred years or more into the future, contending that these temperature trends cannot be explained except by the human contribution of so-called greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide. But the fundamental problem with the argument is that these climate models have not been validated! That means the models cannot predict the past, let alone the future. Such models are consequently at this point not science, but made up fantasy.
The projections of these models are diverging more and more from actual temperature trends, a point driven home in a highly illuminating graph produced by Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, which plays a central role in NASA’s satellite monitoring of global atmospheric temperatures. None of these models predicted the past 15 years of flat global temperatures, let alone the global cooling since 2002, or the further cooling in coming decades that is now increasingly predicted by scientists internationally. To drive these points home to the public past a politically activist domestic media, House Republicans should cut off all further U.S. funding for the IPCC except to validate the climate models at the foundation of the IPCC’s global warming argument.
But President Obama insisted in his global warming hysteric speech at Georgetown that 97% of scientists agree with him. That PR spin statistic comes from a survey of 77 arbitrarily selected scientists, asking them whether they believed that humans have contributed to global warming, a position embraced by the Heartland Institute and the contributors to Climate Change Reconsidered as well. So anyone who cites that meaningless statistic is actively trying to mislead you. It is effectively a brown shirt tactic attempting to cut off any further debate, which is profoundly anti-science, anti-democratic, and beneath the office of President of the United States. For the 31,487 American scientists, including 9,029 with PhDs, who have signed the petition disclaiming any belief in potentially catastrophic, human caused, global warming, the debate continues.
But belief in catastrophic, human-caused, global warming is not based on science any way. President Obama, the editorialists of the New York Times and the Washington Post, the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council, etc. do not believe in global warming because they have been reading the peer-reviewed scientific literature. None of them have read any of it.
People who believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming do so because psychologically they want to believe in it! There are two fundamental reasons for that desire, or need to believe: money and power.
So-called liberals, and their Marxist fellow travelers, believe in more government power because they believe that can be used for good in the world. If catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is true, that would justify a massive expansion of government power, over energy production, the economy, even over your personal consumption, in the privacy of your own home (see, e.g., “smart” thermostats, which are a thoroughly Orwellian concept extending government control over daily life in your private residence).
So QED, they believe in it. They don’t need no stinkin, peer-reviewed literature to reach that conclusion.
Governments the world over, including the world government wannabe United Nations, have a direct personal stake in global warming and the grossly expanded power that would bring to them. For that reason, there never was, and never is going to be, any conclusion from anything the UN does other than that global warming threatens to destroy all life on the planet unless the UN is granted globally dominant money and power.
Added to that is the money interest of crony capitalist, corporate welfare queens, who get to play like big business corporate moguls at taxpayer expense with “green” government money. For those literally invested in the ancient technology of windmills, the fantasy concept of solar power running the modern economy, electric cars, biofuels, etc., there never is going to be any consideration for any point of view other than their corporate gravy train must continue, or everyone is going to die. Too much of “climate science” today is based on essentially the same interest, money and personal glory for supporting the “politically correct” science. So don’t tell me about what the Big Science bureaucracies believe. They believe what they are paid to believe. Tell me about some science any where that shows there really is anything to CAGW. Rebut Climate Change Reconsidered (which you can’t do without reading it).
Can you see now why the whole catastrophic anthropogenic global warming fantasy really is just Lysenkoism all over again?
But for jobs, middle class wages and incomes, and the American economy, what is needed is low cost, reliable energy, stemming from the results of free market competition. Any regulation, renewable energy standard, corporate welfare, or other intervention that raises energy costs unnecessarily is a counterproductive tax on the economy, jobs, and middle class wages and incomes (and the wages and incomes of almost everyone else). Wind power and solar power that are more expensive than the conventional energy sources that free market competition has chosen, and that need conventional power besides as a back up for when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, is only going to further reduce jobs, middle class wages and incomes, and the American standard of living. Any green, corporate welfare subsidy to prop up such “alternative” energy sources is only a direct tax that is going to do the same thing.
But if you think that the traditional, American standard of living, and prosperity, is an excessive, “embarrassment of riches,” then the economic decline of America is a happy result for you, even while the rest of us may rightly consider that viewpoint to be treason.