- White Papers
- Book Reviews
Monday, May 17, 2021 : By Nathan Skates
“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade — this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis.”
President Joe Biden made this statement last month at a virtual event commemorating Earth Day, when he also insisted that extreme policies like drastically cutting U.S.-generated greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 were necessary to combat the “existential threat” posed by climate change.
However, at least one former Obama administration official is now questioning whether climate change is really settled — or even real.
Dr. Steven E. Koonin, an Obama administration scientist, says he is increasingly skeptical of the science and data informing such drastic policy measures. He recently penned an op-ed in which he explained,
“…both research literature and government reports state clearly that heat waves in the US are now no more common than they were in 1900, and that the warmest temperatures in the US have not risen in the past fifty years. When I tell people this, most are incredulous. Some gasp. And some get downright hostile.”
Dr. Koonin provided three more facts published by the U.S. government and the United Nations that might surprise most Americans:
He noted that most people get their climate information from the media rather than actual reports, which is understandable given the complexity of those reports, but that reliance leaves them with a skewed view of reality. Koonin used to believe that his efforts would “save the planet.” However, he has since changed his mind, explaining,
“…doubts began in late 2013 when I was asked by the American Physical Society to lead an update of its public statement on climate. As part of that effort, in January 2014 I convened a workshop with a specific objective: to ‘stress test’ the state of climate science. I came away from the APS workshop not only surprised, but shaken by the realization that climate science was far less mature than I had supposed.”
Koonin further found,
“Humans exert a growing, but physically small, warming influence on the climate. The results from many different climate models disagree with, or even contradict, each other and many kinds of observations. In short, the science is insufficient to make useful predictions about how the climate will change over the coming decades, much less what effect our actions will have on it.”
Koonin is right that U.S. lawmakers need to stop this headlong rush into implementing extreme policies that could not only destroy the U.S. economy but place U.S. citizens under austere and totalitarian regulations that will do nothing to change the earth’s climate — short-term or long-term.
Even Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., has pushed back against those wanting to impose harsh restrictions. A carbon tax, a favorite proposal of politicians, will tax the consumer, Manchin explained, and will not fix the problem. Referring to cap and trade, Manchin called it a “financial scheme that’s basically robbing Peter to pay Paul and then paying somebody else. It wasn’t even effective.”
Manchin also warned against the naivete of those who think abandoning coal will magically save the planet:
“If you want to know what’s going on in the world, there’s 667 coal-fired plants being constructed as we speak today, around the world — zero in the U.S. and 667 in the world. People need to know what’s going on so if you think you can stick your head in the sand and say, ‘I’m going to eliminate all fossil fuel, all coal-fired plants, shut them down, that will clean up the environment,’ you better start looking around at what’s happening in the world.”
He added, “We can use coal and continue to be cleaner than ever before. And we can clean up the environment around the world. But we can’t do it by sticking our head in the sand and eliminating it.”
Biden says that “right now” is the decisive decade to combat climate change, but when has America heard that before? Oh, that’s right, pretty much constantly for the last five-plus decades. Since 1967, scientists have routinely made doomsday announcements, many of them conflicting. The Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2019 compiled a list of predictions about future “eco-pocolyptic” events over the course of 50 years, all of them incorrect.
Among the predicted catastrophes breathlessly touted in U.S. and international newspapers over the past 50-plus years were:
Other scientists predicted that every living soul would disappear in a “cloud of blue steam” by 1989; the ozone layer was disappearing so quickly that the earth “was on the verge of a period of great peril to life on this globe”; and that the only way to avoid famine by 2012 would be if “the rich gave up meat, fish, and dairy.”
In 1970, when Earth Day was founded, the consensus among climate scientists was that we were facing a future of global cooling — a new Ice Age, if you will. That prediction took a 180-degree turn in the 1980s when global warming became the new existential threat.
In 2009, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared that the world’s nations had “fewer than 50 days” to save the planet. Former Vice President Al Gore in his 2006 apocalyptic documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” predicted that the earth would reach a “point of no return” within 10 years, with animations depicting sea levels rising 20 feet and Manhattan and other coastal cities completely underwater. Not only did his prophecies not come true, but Gore in 2010 purchased an $8 million beachfront home in Montecito, California.
President Obama infamously declared that he would stop the oceans from rising, and he must have succeeded because in 2017 he purchased a nearly $15 million home on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Then, of course, there is the self-righteous John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy who has referred to climate change as the “most fearsome” weapon of mass destruction. In 2017, he purchased a nearly $12 million beachfront property and now routinely flies around on a private jet to discuss climate change, all the while burning exponentially more fuel than the most defiant SUV driver.
The buzzword “climate change” came into the public consciousness largely through images of polar bears on melting ice. National Geographic ran a picture of a starving polar bear and said, “This is what climate change looks like.”
As it turns out, that claim was not accurate. Many scientists criticized the caption, saying there was no evidence climate change had anything to do with that particular bear’s condition or that one bear was indicative of the entire polar bear population. “I can’t say that this bear was starving because of climate change,” Cristina Mittermeier, one of the photographers, admitted. “Perhaps we made a mistake in not telling the full story — that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future and that we didn’t know what had happened to this particular bear.”
“The story of climate change has been told, in part, through pictures of polar bears,” Michele Moses wrote. “And no wonder: in their glittering icy habitat, they reflect the otherworldly beauty that rising temperatures threaten to destroy.”
The truth is, polar bear populations have grown over the last few decades. In the 1950s, polar bear numbers were estimated at about 5,000. By 1984 that number had risen to 25,000. Today, that number has grown to approximately 30,000. Far from going extinct, there are six times as many polar bears now as in 1950.
On hindsight, many of these failed predictions seem funny — except that they have served to make whole generations of children, including Greta Thunberg, anxious, depressed, despairing, or even suicidal.
There are a few things that Americans need to understand about the climate change debate. First, there is no “scientific consensus” on climate change. Not all scientists agree, and even if they did, climate scientists have a long and storied history of being completely wrong.
Secondly, the majority of politicians do not truly believe in climate change, or if they do, they don’t really care if it’s happening or not. As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s own chief of staff admitted, the Green New Deal the New York congresswoman is proposing is more about changing the American and world economies than somehow stopping climate change.
Affordable electricity should be drastically more important than fighting carbon emissions, especially in countries dealing with crushing poverty, a point that Vijay Jayaraj, a research associate for developing countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, made in an open letter to Kerry. Jayaraj, who lives in India, bluntly stated, “Sorry, We Can’t Sit in the Dark While You Fly Around in a Private Jet.”
Thirdly, and most importantly, the left doesn’t offer up doomsday predictions daily because they care about you. They do it to control you. As Stephen Schneider, a professor of biology at Stanford University, said in 1989, “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
Or as former Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., candidly said in 1988, “We’ve got to … try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong … we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
Leftist politicians don’t really believe in global cooling or global warming or climate change or especially in their latest buzzword, climate emergency. They never have. And yet they have somehow managed to convince the majority of Americans that the climate is a threat to global safety — that the sky is literally falling. The elites don’t care if their policies result in you sitting in the dark or sitting in gas lines or rationing your heat or your travel. They don’t care because they make sure that their rules don’t apply to them or their elitist friends.
So long as they can leverage the climate “crisis” to immerse themselves in political power and green dollars, they’re more than happy to keep the rest of America immersed in fear, despair, and misery.