“Only by expanding our research to include careful and honest studies of natural factors will science be able to discern and separate significant human influences from the powerful natural forces responsible for minor-to-profound climate fluctuations throughout history. Only then will we begin to improve our ability to predict why, when, how and where Earth’s climate is likely to change in the future.”
Bad climate knowledge, quantified as multi-decadal predictions, tell impoverished countries that they can develop only with “green” wind and solar energy. The World Bank, U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and other financial institutions increasingly refuse to provide grants or loans for electricity generation projects fueled by coal or natural gas, for example. (Whether or not these agencies should exist is another question.)
In the face of domestic statism institutionalizing poverty, millions continue to die every year because they do not have electricity to operate water purification facilities; refrigerators to keep food and medicine from spoiling; or stoves and heaters to replace wood and dung fires that cause rampant lung diseases. As Alex Epstein observes in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:
If you’re living off the grid and can afford it, an installation with a battery that can power a few appliances might be better than the alternative (no energy or frequently returning to civilization for diesel fuel), but [such installations] are essentially useless in providing cheap, plentiful energy for 7 billion people – and to rely on them would be deadly.
And yet, says Epstein, our leaders discriminate against fossil fuels with the promise that radically inferior and heavily subsidized renewable technologies can somehow replace the hydrocarbons that power modern civilization. “This attitude reflects an ignorance of, or indifference to, the need for efficient energy and the value of cheap, plentiful, reliable energy” that wind, solar and biofuel sources cannot provide, he notes.
In the under-developed and developing world, the need for energy is great. More than 80% of the developed and developing world’s energy production comes from fossil fuels. But even in Europe, the risk of blackouts will necessarily increase, due to an over-reliance on “renewable” energy and an intentional reduction of energy from fossil and nuclear fuels.
A reduction in traditional, reliable power-generating capacity, coupled with the ongoing economic slump, will tax the grid’s ability to meet peak demand on cold, dark, windless that has now lasted 18 years, and counting days. The same thing could happen in the United States.
Demands in Europe that reliable, affordable fossil fuel (and even nuclear) energy be replaced by expensive, unreliable wind and solar power have also meant inexorable increases in electricity costs. That has resulted in electricity becoming increasingly unaffordable for hundreds of businesses and millions of poor, working class, unemployed and elderly families in Britain and all across Europe. It has cost millions of jobs and lead to thousands of needless deaths from hypothermia every winter.
These policies reflect the absurd view that depriving hundreds of millions of people of electricity through the reduction of fossil fuel use will magically protect them from manmade climate change disasters that are premised on an ideological fixation on carbon dioxide. The IPCC argues that to keep warming to just 2°C (3.6° F), greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 70% by 2050, and completely eliminated by 2100.
It may be that a new, inexpensive, ubiquitous source of energy will be found by then, or that some new form of renewables will become cost effective. But what if that doesn’t happen? (Fossil fuels, after all, have become more sustainable, not less, over the decades.) Is the world to revert to a standard of living commensurate with the pre-industrial age, in a vain effort to prevent disasters that are not likely to occur?
Such attitudes and policies are immoral, inhumane, intolerable, despicable – and homicidal.
A New Path
Governments – such as the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, and Canada – that finance the IPCC and EPA-like agencies must reexamine their policies and priorities. Dumping money into still more studies of the alleged evils of CO2 will only result in more CO2-dependent computer models, far-fetched research papers with closed-circle peer reviews, headline-grabbing pseudo-science, and anti-hydrocarbon policies.
Funding should be more broadly available for research into all mechanisms of climate change. A preponderance of the money should no longer be given to research that reinforces a CO2-dependent worldview, where greenhouse gases are the only agent of century-long climate change and renewable energy is the only source that should be pursued.
More research is needed into the effect of powerful natural forces, like the sun’s energy output or Atlantic and Pacific Ocean decadal oscillations. Research using climate models must focus on developing other aspects of the Earth’s climate, not just the effect of greenhouse gases. Studies must be pursued that gain a better understanding of the decadal- and century-scale changes in the deep oceans, not just their ability to ‘hide’ surface heating or sequester carbon dioxide. “Alarmist” research must be abandoned in favor of a more comprehensive study of our climate. In short, we must return to a pursuit of “climate research” – not the CO2-based “climate change research” that has co-opted our thinking.
This change in research priorities is essential because their ramifications affect every citizen of the planet, even the most diseased and destitute people who desperately need help now. Science never advances by myopic or narrowly-focused thinking; that kind of “analysis:” usually causes science to stagnate and entrenches erroneous views.
Our climate has changed throughout Earth and human history. The weather “extremes” and “disruptions” we see today are no different from, and no worse than, what people and society have dealt with and adapted to for many millennia. Indeed, human influences on the global climate are not even detectable amidst the observed, almost constant natural variability. To suggest otherwise is delusional or dishonest.
A solid foundation for the needed climate research already exists in books like Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery; research by respected scientists like Judith Curry, Bill Gray, Nicholas Lewis, Roy Spencer and Henrik Svensmark; and the extensive compilations of studies and papers by the Nongovernmental Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).
Only by expanding our research – to include careful and honest studies of natural factors will science be able to discern and separate significant human influences from the powerful natural forces that are responsible for minor-to-profound climate fluctuations throughout history. Only then will we begin to improve our ability to predict why, when, how and where Earth’s climate is likely to change in the future.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the save-the-Earth money machine David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, USA.