Recently, a report—National Climate Assessment and dubbed “The most comprehensive climate science report in the world”—was released. The report, “involving 51 scientists and 13 federal agencies,” is “filled with omens and portents dire,” according to a New Jersey Star-Ledger interview with Robert Kopp, a Rutgers “climate policy scholar.”
Note the title “policy scholar”. This man is a climate expert, not a political, economics, energy, historical, or physics expert, all disciplines that must be consulted when deciding what government policies, if any, should be pursued.
I left these comments, edited and expanded for clarity:
To put it bluntly, the term that actually comes to mind as I read Kopp’s summary of the National Climate Assessment is; nonobjective.
What jumps out at me first is the question, if the climate is warming and human activity is a contributing factor, why does it follow that draconian restrictions on that activity—specifically, drastic curtailing of fossil fuels—must be instituted? That’s a huge non-sequitur. What about the monumentally greater benefits of reliable economical energy, and the massive hardship that would result in forcibly curtailing fossils? No consideration.
Kopp plugs highly unreliable wind and solar as a substitute for reliable fossil fuels, yet omits the only known [non-carbon] power source capable of replacing fossils for electricity generation—nuclear power.
Kopp makes the astounding statement that “every time carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, it causes the planet to warm a little bit,” and therefor “net carbon dioxide emissions [must] go to zero.” This ignores the theory that co2’s influence on warming is not linear, but logarithmic—increasing levels of co2 have a decreasing effect on warming, as much evidence shows. This statement also implies that human-emitted co2, a gas that comprises just 4 one hundredths (0.04) of a percent of the atmosphere, most of it “natural”—is the only cause of global warming; and that human beings must suffer to keep the atmosphere at pre-human levels. Why?!? Do humans not count as part of nature?
Oh. That’s right. It’s the storms and fires, etc., which Kopp disingenuously states are “visible to people”—making the leap that storms and fires of recent memory should be seen as evidence of catastrophe. Not mentioned; they’ve always been visible, and always plagued mankind, only now humans are safer than ever from these events, as measured in the rapid decline in climate-related deaths over the past century, indicating that reliable mass-scale energy is more important to human safety than a slightly more stable global average temperature.
There’s plenty more. But one more thing. It is implied that the scientists “paid by the fossil fuel industry” are suspect enough to ignore their findings. If scientists funded by fossil fuel companies cannot be trusted, then the same goes for government-funded scientists—that is, funded by politicians. Given the political influence of the “renewable energy” industry and the ideological Environmentalists, why should this report be trusted when it is entirely funded by politicians—unlike fossil fuel funding, which very often is indirect in the form of small donations out of many to think tanks with a broad mission? Exxon donating to the libertarian Reason Foundation whose scholars do pro-freedom work along a broad spectrum of issues is a far cry from Exxon directly paying a group of scientists to put out a report (such a report should still not be dismissed outright even though a healthy skepticism is warranted).
Climate catastrophists from the scientific community make reports like this one—one-sided that doesn’t address dissenting views—but lectures us that we should give up our vital life-enhancing energy, regardless of the effect on our well-being. By what moral right does a climate scientist dictate our lives? Maybe we humans would prefer being warm in winter rather than adjust outside temperatures to -9° from -11°, or move away from flood zones rather than give up economical reliable travel to the shore or access to plentiful food.
There is a hint of common sense, though. Kopp says it’s time to adapt to whatever problems climate change brings. That’s more like it. Anyway, I’ll wait for analysis from responsible, non-politically funded sources before drawing any conclusions [about this report]. There are plenty of those. There is another view, and there is a mountain of serious well-documented work from individuals and think tanks and scientists to back it up—which, understandably, climate catastrophists apparently need to ignore to sound semi-plausible. A good place to start looking for a more objective view is with two books, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein and The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the 21st Century by Ronald Bailey. Neither denies climate change; both confront the climate catastrophe case head on; both take human well-being as their standard—Epstein making the human case for reliable energy, and Bailey the case that human economic and environmental progress are corollaries—over some utopian “perfect climate” ideal that subordinates human needs.
I am obviously not buying into the notion that drastic energy-curtailing—and thus life-curtailing—policies automatically follow from an assessment that climate is changing due to human activity. I think the Left-statists sense this. Hence, climate change is peddled as an impending catastrophe worse than economic paralysis and collapse, rather than a manageable and natural by-product of human flourishing.
NOTE: I have not read the report the National Climate Assessment. However, given that the interviewee, Robert E. Kopp, is listed as a “lead author” of the report, I’ll take his comments as accurately portraying the essentials of the report.
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels—Alex Epstein