Global warming vs. prosperity

By David Holcberg
web posted April 9, 2001

Emboldened by their recent success in causing California's blackouts, environmentalists now want to extend California's energy crisis to the whole country. Greens have managed to prevent the construction of nuclear plants in America for almost two decades, and are now set to prevent also the construction of plants powered by coal, oil, and eventually gas. They intend to do this by passing legislation to cut carbon dioxide emissions nationwide. The new bills, introduced in the Senate on March 15th [S.556.IS], and in the House on March 27th [HR.1256.IH]and April 4th [HRES 117 IH], if approved, will cause power plants to either slow down or close down.

For a long time Greens have been relentlessly promoting the idea that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming. They have been able to convince most Americans of it. In schools, universities, and especially in the media, global warming is taken for granted. The goal of the Greens' global warming campaign has been to make cuts in energy production gullible to the public.

Even President George W. Bush seemed to have swallowed global warming during his campaign, but reversed his position and decided not to regulate carbon emissions after all. Bush said "the nation has got a real problem when it comes to energy" and noted "the incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the causes of, and solutions to, global climate change." Bush got it right: there is no real evidence for claims of global warming. Quite to the contrary, experiments conducted during the last two decades indicate a slight cooling of the globe.

Radio measurements taken around the globe by 63 weather balloons, as well as microwave measurements taken by satellites orbiting the earth showed an average cooling of 0.16ºF in the lower atmosphere since 1979. The data determined a cooling trend of 0.09ºF per decade. The data is undisputed, though global warming advocates often ignore it.

The evidence debunking global warming is indeed so forceful that 17,000 U.S. scientists signed the 1998 "Oregon Petition," declaring that "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

The only measurements apparently supporting the global warming theory are surface temperature records from urban areas. This data, collected in cities that cover only a tiny fraction of the earth's surface, do not reflect global temperatures, but urban temperatures. Moreover, because cities are mostly covered by concrete and pavement, which absorb lots of heat, temperatures in cities rose through the years as they sprawled. But this is not global warming—it is merely urban warming.

The whole case for global warming actually rests on dubious results from computer models, not facts. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows it, and explicitly admits their lack of knowledge about climate factors used in their computations. Even so, they made the wild prediction that global temperature will rise by 10.4ºF in the next century. They weren't even bothered by their own recognition that they have only "low" or "very low" scientific understanding for nine of the twelve factors used in their models. The truth is that much research is still needed to establish the causes of global climate, which are poorly understood.

Also poorly understood are the consequences of an eventual global warming. All things considered, it would not be unreasonable to expect that a warmer climate may end up doing more good than harm. Scientists know as an experimentally demonstrated fact that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would boost global agriculture and all forms of plant life, which feed on the stuff.

In sum, there is no credible evidence supporting the theory of global warming, and the best evidence available shows the theory to be false. Thousands of scientists are convinced that global warming is not happening, and many among them say that even if it were, its effects might be beneficial. Should we cut down energy production and progress under these circumstances?

Carbon dioxide emission control is just another Green attempt to cut back energy production and to eventually shut down modern industry. Greens have already succeeded in choking power production in California. Will they succeed in choking it all over America?

If environmentalists get away with passing the new legislation, Americans will soon find themselves in darkness, suffering through a nationwide energy crisis that will make California's recent experience pale in comparison. The House and the Senate must support President Bush and reject the Green's legislation for the same reason that Americans must reject the Green's ideology: because America's progress and prosperity depend on that.

David Holcberg is a freelance writer and has appeared in Capitalism Magazine on a regular basis.

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