Are Climate Emergency Actions by the United States Reasonable?
This article encourages readers to make a reasonable examination of facts, to form rational judgments based on these facts, and to take sensible actions grounded in rational judgments based on the facts.
Definition of Reasonable
reasonable - adjective - (of a person) having sound judgment; fair and sensible.
synonyms: rational, logical, intelligent, wise, levelheaded, practical, realistic, based on good sense, well thought out, well grounded, valid
Keeping this understanding of "reasonable" in mind, consider whether widespread worry about human-caused climate change is justified. Consider whether evidence supports the claim that climate is changing catastrophically. Consider whether current tools that provide future projections of catastrophic climate change really work. Consider whether theoretical ideas underlying worry and future projections are correct.
Do The Facts Provide Evidence of Catastrophic Climate Change?
People who worry about the future of planet Earth frequently cite unusually rising temperatures, accelerating sea level rise, abnormal extreme weather, increased frequency of wildfires or droughts, and dire climate model forecasts.
Real-world data and analyses, however, simply do not justify such claims.
This might come as a shock to those who feel solidly grounded in a greatly publicized popular viewpoint. I would suggest that an even greater shock should arise from realizing that this popular viewpoint rests on shoddy evidence, on shoddy science, and, most importantly, on shoddy journalism that ignores or misrepresents real knowledge, for the sake of feeding readers falsely sensationalized stories.
United States Acting Without Careful Consideration?
Despite real-world data and analyses showing that unusual or extreme changes are not happening, much of the United States has pledged time, money, and resources to combat perceived threats to humanity that simply do not stand up to any standard of correct assessment. Twenty-one states, 141 cities and counties, 1361 businesses and investors, 589 institutions of higher learning, and an unlisted number of faith-based organizations support the well-known Paris Agreement.
Based on what is really known, all these people and organizations appear to be gravely mistaken, and their mistakes could harm, rather than help, developed civilization.
What Is Really Known
Based on data gathered by various professional organizations dedicated to collecting it, and based on expert analyses carried out in the most logical way:
- temperatures around the world are not increasing unusually
- sea level is not rising at an accelerated rate
- extreme weather is not more frequent and not more severe
- wildfires and droughts are not more prevalent than in the past
- climate model projections are practically useless
- the Paris Agreement accomplishes nothing
- 100% renewable energy is not feasible.
In sum, there is no climate emergency. There is no climate catastrophe looming. There is no existential threat to the human race because of human-caused climate change. There is no need for policies and technology overhauls aimed at averting a problem that does not exist.
Why so many people think otherwise is a consequence of persuasive rhetoric, founded on exaggerated beliefs and mishandled information, transmitted over a vast communication network of shared experiences unlike any in the history of humanity.
More people are alive now than at any other time. More people are communicating openly with each other about the most poignant, private, personal troubles or fears of their lives. More people are experiencing hardships due to ordinary weather events. More news media than ever before are sensationalizing human struggle.
In other words, the number of people experiencing and communicating the impacts of natural forces has increased. The number (extent, severity) of natural forces themselves has not.
Temperatures Are Not Increasing Unusually
The above three graphs clearly indicate that modern temperatures are well within the range of variation occurring throughout Earth's geological prehistory. Whether we look back five hundred million years, four hundred thousand years, or eleven thousand years, we can see that modern temperatures are doing nothing catastrophically different from what they always have.
Sea Level Rise Is Not Accelerating
Similar to temperature, sea level has risen and fallen rhythmically, as long as seas on Earth have existed. In general, there is nothing unusual about sea level rise. Today's sea level rise specifically is not unusual either. More precisely, sea level has been rising at the same rate since, at least, the year 1890 (likely since 1850), well before the height of the industrial revolution popularly (and incorrectly) blamed for causing the modern rise.
The best evidence today shows that fear of accelerating sea level rise is unfounded.
Extreme Weather is Not More Frequent and Not More Severe
The above two graphs illustrate that an upward trend in tropical cyclones (e.g., hurricanes) does not exist.
There are numerous other graphs illustrating little or no trend in other categories, as well, including wildfires and droughts. Rather than trying to list them all, I will refer readers to a source that collects these graphs in one place.
An informative paper, Kelly MJ (2016), Trends in Extreme Weather Events since 1900 – An Enduring Conundrum for Wise Policy Advice, J Geogr Nat Disast
6: 155. doi:10.4172/2167-0587.1000155, concludes:
The disconnect between real-world historical data on the 100 years’ time scale and the current predictions provides a real conundrum when any engineer tries to make a professional assessment of the real future value of any infrastructure project which aims to mitigate or adapt to climate change.
The key phrase in that quote is "disconnect between real-world data ... and current predictions". In other words, real-world data does not agree with current dire predictions.
Wildfires and Droughts are Not More Prevalent than in the Past
Climate Model Projections Are Practically Useless
Some people will tirelessly defend climate model projections by crafting all manner of qualifying language to get around the fact that these models are not fit as forecasting tools for policy makers.
If a tool proves wrong in the most critical task where its users apply it, then the mindset of continuing to use the tool amounts to nothing less than self delusion. If self delusion leads to irrational spending of time, energy, and human resources, then it degrades, rather than upgrades, an existing system.
The Paris Agreement Accomplishes Nothing
Bjorn Lomborg has done an extensive analysis of the effect that the Paris Agreement would produce, if every nation on Earth honored it. His findings, which he has expertly and meticulously defended against critics, are these:
- If every nation were to fulfill every promise, by year 2030, of the Paris Agreement, then the total calculated global temperature reduction would be an extremely small 0.048 C or 0.086 F by year 2100.
- If every nation continued to fulfill these promises faithfully, from year 2030 to year 2100, then the entirety of the Paris Agreement would reduce calculated global temperature rise by merely 0.170 C or 0.306 F.
Think about this carefully -- with all dedicated efforts to the Paris Agreement in full force, humans could change the temperature of the entire Earth by only a fraction of a degree. This effect is indistinguishable from zero, which points to great flaws in the reasoning behind this agreement.
100% Renewable Energy Not Feasible
Anyone who believes that renewable-energy can completely replace fossil-fuel will gain greater practical insight by studying even a small part of a free online book-length analysis, titled Roadmap to Nowhere: The Myth of Powering the Nation With Renewable Energy, by Mike Conley and Tim Maloney.
Here are just a few of the issues that Conley and Maloney point out for the United States alone:
Wind and solar gear can last from 10–40 years: about 10 years for offshore wind turbines, 25 years for onshore turbines, and up to 40 years for solar panels. This means that nearly 500,000 giant wind turbines, both onshore and off-, will need a major overhaul before...buildout is even complete.
It also means that 5 years after completion, we'll have to start recycling and replacing the solar panels – all 18 billion square meters' worth. That's billion with a B. A 40-year solar refurbishment schedule would mean the recycling
and replacement of 1.23 million square meters of worn-out panels, every single day, rain or shine – forever.
That's close to China's total daily volume of PV [photovoltaic] panel production. And the only thing all of that mining, fabricating, installing and recycling would do is sustain the solar portion of the 2050 national grid, not expand it.
Sustaining our fleet of wind turbines won't be any easier. With 342,000 onshore and 156,000 offshore, we'll have to initiate a major overhaul on more than 80 giant wind turbines every single day. That's in addition to swapping out all those solar panels.
Now imagine every developed and developing nation on Earth confronting these same issues.
Another useful reference is the paper, Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems, by B.P. Heard, B.W. Brook, T.M.L. Wigley, and C.J.A. Bradshaw, in which the authors state:
We argue that the early exclusion of other forms of technology from plans to de-carbonize the global electricity supply is unsupportable, and arguably reckless.
Exclusion of other forms of technology means trying to use only renewable forms, to the exclusion of all other forms of technology, which include fossil fuel and nuclear. I would go so far as to suggest that the authors' use of the phrase, arguably reckless, could be strengthened to arguably reckless endangerment of civilization as we know it.
This article asks the question, Are climate emergency actions by the United States reasonable?
Given the information presented above, I have arrived at an emphatic "no" for the answer. Even more, I suspect that current actions by the various states border on negligence, founded on irresponsibility to research actual facts.
© 2019 Robert Kernodle