Sunday, March 20, 2016

Candidates Should Debate Energy, Not Rising Sea Levels

The presidential candidates haven’t spend much debate time discussing climate change, and that has the New Jersey Star-Ledger really really upset. It primarily blames the debate moderators, who are “Perhaps . . . afraid of what they might hear[!]” Rising sea levels don't interest debate moderators, laments the Star-Ledger.

But the Star-Ledger also has a few choice criticisms for the candidates. In reply to four questions in a recent debate, Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton “addressed the issue for exactly five of the 120 minutes. They spoke 600 words combined. A veritable yak-fest, it was.” As to the Republicans, the Star-Ledger ridiculed Marco Rubio for suggesting that Washington’s laws can’t change the weather, and that subsidized jobs producing unreliable, expensive solar energy at the expense of more remunerative jobs producing cheap, reliable coal energy is not good economic policy.

Climate catastrophists love to sensationalize routine climate events—and they all to often get away with it. People are quick to take things at face value. But you don’t have to be an expert to identify nonsense. As the editorial title indicates, the Star-Ledger’s focus this time is on sea level rise, with a nod to current weather patterns. You’d think what’s going on with these is all new and all the fault of man’s production of reliable energy, which should be shackled. I left these clarifying comments in reply to selected quotes, and edited for clarity:

“We have just had the hottest February on record, El Nino is expected to tear up parts of the continent, and new research showed that oceans haven't risen this quickly since before the start of the Roman Empire.”

It’s easy to trot out naturally recurring phenomenon and call it “climate change.” How can anyone refute such arbitrary assertions? Arbitrary, by definition, means without evidence. But hey, two can play that game. The Star-Ledger fails to mention that just this past Valentine's Day, NYC had its coldest February day since 1963, and Boston its coldest winter day since 1957; or that February 2015—just one year ago—was the third coldest for NJ statewide, with many Northeastern and Midwestern cities experiencing their absolute coldest Februarys on record. Where’s the global warming? Clearly, there is still plenty of cold air around. It’s just not getting here this year, as it did the last 2 winters. It’s the weather pattern, not climate change, stupid! El Nino? It’s a recurring phenomenon with recurring results—unusual warmth and disruptive weather around the globe—nothing more.

"If fossil fuels remain the core of our economy," Kopp asserts, "the sea level will rise two to four feet during the 21st century. And New Jersey is going to be higher than most places."

Notice how the catastrophists always use terms like “will,” or “could,” or “projected too,” or “expected too” in relation to climate catastrophe. The coming catastrophes are always, as Annie sang, “a day away”—and always will be, as decades of failed catastrophe predictions by the same people attest.

Sea levels have been rising since the last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago. In fact, according the the NASA website, sea levels rose most rapidly—way faster than the last 2800 years—between 5 and 15 thousand years ago. During that period, sea levels rose by 100 meters—about 3 feet a century. And we’re supposed to believe that we are in for the same rate of rise this century as during the period of the most dramatic meltdown of the great continental ice sheets? Maybe it’s this kind of hysteria that makes debate moderators focus more on real problems, where most people’s concerns lie.

Sea level rise slowed dramatically beginning about 5000 years ago. So, even if fossil fuels are causing a slightly faster rate of rise, they are only helping along the inevitable trend. And what kind of a trend is it? The Star-Ledger demands government “plans to keep Barnegat Bay from flowing into our living rooms,” as if it’s going to happen tomorrow. But sea level rise is a grindingly slow process, spread across centuries, affecting select coastal regions, not the impending catastrophe about to befall mankind portrayed by the hysterical climate catastrophists.

But yes, sea levels are rising, and man’s activities are likely contributing to it. So what? The benefits of fossil fuels dwarfs the risks as the size of an elephant dwarfs a flea. How much fossil fuels contribute to climate change is debatable. What’s not debatable is that without fossil fuels, we are doomed to being victims of climate extremes as people had been for all of the centuries before fossil fuels (and the freedom to develop them).

The Star-Ledger is half right: The debaters are missing a very important issue. Forget climate change. Energy is what we should be talking about—specifically, the vital necessity if plentiful, economic, reliable energy. The climate catastrophists are using long established natural phenomenon as rationalization to attack the industrial scale energy humans need to survive and thrive. Rubio is exactly correct. The climate catastrophists are willing to sell out human well-being on the altar of climate and weather. The candidates should be talking about how they will implement policies to make it easier for producers to create more reliable energy from hydro, nuclear, and especially fossil fuels. Human well-being depends on it, and people concerned about energy reliability rather than climate change have the moral high ground.

Related Reading:

The False Promise of ‘Clean Solar Powered Utility Scale Energy’

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