Friday, June 2, 2017

In Case of Panic, Breathe

Yesterday President Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, and the world is in turbulence today.

Panic, generally, does not lead to good results. So I thought I’d comment today in an effort to encourage calm.

Because the Spherical Model is about the interrelationships of the political, economic, and social spheres, I’ll try to cover all three aspects (which are somewhat mixed, because of their interrelationships).

Our beautiful world includes climates that change.
This was a normal Utah winter, 2013.

First, the political perspective—the freedom-related issues. The agreement was not your typical international treaty. In December 2015, when then-president Obama signed on, he did something that we Americans don’t give our presidents power to do: he signed onto an international treaty without passing it along to the legislative branch for agreement. It’s not that he signed a treaty, sent it to Congress, and they disagreed with him, so they voted it down. He never sent it—never intended to send it.

Another oddity of the agreement was that it was set up with a 4-year back-out period. Like a major purchase in which you have three days to cancel the contract. He did this a year and a month before a new president would be sworn in. In other words, the whole thing was a PR stunt, not law. He knew it would not stand. He was just posturing before the elites of the world that he wanted to impress.

If he had truly believed that we are in dire straits, and this accord would be the only way to save the world, wouldn’t he have simply made the case? Instead, he, along with other elites, tried to shut down the conversation. Anyone who questions the line we’re being given, or asks for data and evidence and convincing, has been labeled a “climate denier.”

Jeffrey A. Tucker, of the Foundation for Economic Education, offered this explanation:

Let me pause to protest this “denial” language. It attempts to appropriate the widely shared disgust toward “Holocaust denial,” a bizarre and bedraggled movement that belittles or even dismisses the actual history of one of the 20th century’s most egregious mass crimes against human rights and dignity. Using that language to silence questions about an attempt to centrally plan the energy sector is a moral low that debases the language of denial.
This rhetorical trick reveals all you need to know about the desperate manipulation the climate planners are willing to engage in to realize their plot regardless of popular and justified skepticism concerning their regulatory and redistributionist policies.
I’m not an expert, or a scientist. But I have a good enough mind that, if things are explained to me, I can understand them. Here’s what I think I know. Climate changes. All the time. The earth has not always been the way it is now. We’re in a warming cycle—that we’ve been in since the Little Ice Age, which we are still coming out of (it was from 1300-1850, following a warm period from 900-1300). In this rising trend, there are shorter warming and cooling periods, roughly 30 years each. We were in a cooling segment from about 1942 to 1977, and then temperatures rose from about 1977 to 2005. Overall, since then temperatures have been flat or slightly cooling.

Chart citation[i]

This trend has been happening since before the Industrial Revolution. And far before the predominance of gas-powered vehicles and fossil-fuel powered electricity and heating.

I remember being a young woman and hearing scientists convince us we were in a global cooling period—because of pollutants like carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. They were trying to get funding to put particulates into the atmosphere, to create a beneficial greenhouse effect. This was, I believe, before the end of the warming segment.

And then, almost as suddenly as it had started, that talk ended (coinciding, ironically, with the period of stasis or slight cooling that we’re still in); we were in a deadly warming period, because of greenhouse gases—mainly carbon dioxide. I did a double take the first time I heard that. “You mean carbon monoxide, don’t you? Because that’s a poison. But carbon dioxide is just what we breathe out and plants breathe in.” No, we need to disregard the science we thought we knew for this sudden new science.

So, when I ask for data and convincing, there’s good reason.

How much of the atmosphere is greenhouse gases? 1-2%. Mostly it’s nitrogen and oxygen.

How much of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is CO2? 19%. Greenhouse gases are 75% water vapor and clouds. In the atmosphere as a whole, C02 is a trace gas, only 4/10,000 molecules.

And the next question is, how much does the trace gas carbon dioxide affect the climate—and is that bad or good? In general, we’re in a lot more danger as humans from cold than we are from warm. A degree or two might mean greater land mass available for growing food, and better plant growth. (I was recently told cannabis growers know this, so they pump in C02 to improve crop yields.) So it’s not necessarily catastrophic, even if true.

But if, for the sake of questioning, we say that C02 has an effect, how much? Haven’t there been fluctuations that appear independent from C02 levels? So we’re not even sure of that cause-effect assumption.

The CO2 line is too thin to show up on the chart.
I developed the chart from information in a book.[ii]

Then, how much of the C02 is manmade? 3%. Nature put more C02 into the atmosphere every day than all of us.

Do humans play a role, then, in climate change? Yes, but only negligibly. Like how, when you jump up, not only are you exerting a force that moves you away from the earth, but you are exerting a force that moves the earth away from you. True. I learned it in a science class. When two bodies have nearly equal mass, you can see the effect better, but when they are very disparate, as between the mass of earth and you, your effect on the earth is so small as to be hard to measure.

There are other parts of the climate change crisis that I question.

Ice has been melting in the Arctic; it’s at a 30-year low. (Polar bear populations, incidentally, have grown from 22,000 in 1960 to 31,000 today, doing better with less ice.) Greenland is losing ice around the edges, but it’s getting thicker in the center, so it’s stable. Ice in Antarctica, which contains 90% of the earth’s ice, is at a 30-year high.

Every computer model has been wrong. Instead of assuming “but now they’re right,” maybe we should go back to find out why they deviated from reality and fix that before we trust them.
The Paris Climate Accord would require that US emissions be limited by 83%[iii]. That would be lowering emissions by 1.5 tons per person—a sacrifice that is countered by nature twenty-fold every day.

If we could return to pre-1870 technology levels, then, by the end of the century, using the most generous of computer models (which include much more severe cutbacks in emissions following 2030 than have yet been agreed to), then we might have a slight effect on only 1% of the assumed greenhouse effect. A century’s worth of worldwide technology dieting could be wiped out by a single major volcanic eruption. In dieting terms, that’s enough to send you to the freezer to drown your frustrations with your own personal gallon of ice cream.

The cutbacks required of the US are much greater than for other nations. Our economy would be drastically affected. Our energy sector would be emasculated. Anyone who thinks we could simply shift to other energy sources, like wind and solar, are mistaken. While I’m in favor of innovation, the cost to the environment for these alternatives is currently greater than that of fossil fuels.

Climatism (not climate-related science, but the thing you’re not allowed to question) looks to me like a pagan religion. The sacrifices being required of us in the essentially vain hope that such sacrifices will appease the climate gods look eerily similar to throwing people into the volcano. It might make people feel like they have some control over something out of their power, but it doesn’t actually affect an eruption—and it’s really bad for the ones who get thrown into the volcano.

So, if you were in favor of the Paris Climate Accord, you were in favor of ceding American sovereignty to foreign sources, allowing them to impose limitations on us that would in the short-term require us to limit ourselves to second-world status, and eventually to third-world conditions, and we would get out of in only the satisfaction that we had appeased the climate panickers.
Our president thought that was a bad deal.

As Tucker sums up:

A global agreement that somehow binds entire countries to centrally plan and regulate the whole of a crucial sector of economic life that supports all economic advances of our time—at the very time when the energy sector is innovating its own solutions to carbon emissions in the cheapest possible way—is certainly going to breed resentment, and for good reason. It is a bad and unworkable idea.
The Paris Climate Accord was bad for freedom, bad for the economy, and bad religion. So, let’s not panic. Let’s breathe—even though you’re going to exhale C02. And maybe do a better job of scientific conversation going forward.


[i] This chart was adapted from Climate4You, . I found it in The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism, by Steve Goreham, © 2012, p. 67.
[ii] Gorham, pp. 83-83.
[iii] Gorham, p. 18, which takes population data from N. C. Aizenman, “U.S. to Grow Grayer, More Diverse,” Washington Post, Aug. 14, 2008,

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