Commentary by James Shott
The Paris climate conference is now over. The Christian Science Monitor
reported on Saturday that the rap of the chairman’s gavel “signaled
unanimous – if not unanimously enthusiastic – support from all parties
engaged in this year's UN climate talks. It comes at the end of a year
scientists say will likely be the hottest ever on record.”
all the time involved and the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced getting the
hundreds of representatives from 196 nations all in the same place, and
then back home again, the agreement does not put the world on a path
toward what scientists regard as a safe level of global warming, but the
agreement sets forth a clear path for countries to identify their own
targets for CO2 reduction. Ultimately, participants want a global
carbon-free environment by 2060, at the latest, meaning that every car,
building, plane, ship, train, and power plant would have to operate
without burning any fossil fuels.
Days prior to the
closing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the ministerial session,
“The clock is ticking toward climate disaster,” and former
Vice-President Al Gore compared the need to combat climate change to the
abolition of slavery, giving women the right to vote and the civil
rights battle. Gore said, “The right choice is to safeguard the future
for the next generation and for the generations to come.”
were scary stories of rising sea levels, causing residents of low-lying
areas like the Marshall Islands to lobby strenuously for the agreement,
while droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events were
predicted to increase elsewhere on the planet if CO2 emissions aren’t
reigned in. And to make sure to attract the attention of enough third
world countries, billions of dollars in support for affected economies
is on the table, supposedly to be paid by the rich countries, like the
The whole world is concerned because of
the idea that too much CO2 in the atmosphere will cause catastrophes
sometime in the distant future. Carbon dioxide is what plants that
produce oxygen for us to breath live on.
All of this
scare mongering tended to overshadow the dismal record of climate
predictions and data manipulations from the not-so-distant past that
casts doubt on the need for turning the energy universe upside-down.
Here are some of the scary predictions of global warming catastrophes
that did not come true:
* By 1980 all of the important animal life in the sea will be extinct.
By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of
impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.
* The world will be eleven degrees colder by the year 2000.
* By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by half.
A general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice
cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.
* Within a few years children just aren't going to know what snow is.
to those failed prognostications a global warming hiatus for at least16
years, according to the British Met Office, and energetic disagreement
about man-caused climate change among climate scientists, and the
agreement looks like a gigantic global shakedown.
example, while Barack Obama is busy regulating America’s coal-fired
electricity generating plants out of existence, China is constructing
new plants. According to the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris, we
should be wary of China’s commitment to reduce emissions. China is by
far the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and is currently
constructing 350 coal-fired power plants and has plans to build another
The Wall Street Journal notes, “In 2013
China burned 3.9 billion tons of coal, almost as much as the rest of the
world.” Obama seems to think that harming the U.S. economy by shutting
down U.S. fossil fuel-burning facilities will negate China’s feverish
coal-burning economy. Loris asks pointedly, “This is the country that
we’re going to trust to peak emissions 15 years from now?”
trust is the operative word: all countries are on scouts honor to do
what they have said they will do, without official oversight or
According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2013
“Historical Data Workbook,” 87 percent of the energy mankind uses every
second comes from burning fossil fuels.
People who live in cold
climates use them to warm their homes, and people who live in warm
climates use them to cool their homes. Fossil fuels are used to plant
and harvest crops that feed people, and are used to transport food from
places where food is produced to places where it is needed and wanted.
They are used to light the darkness, to entertain us, transport us,
diagnose disease, communicate with each other, mass-produce products we
need and want, and to provide security in our homes and for the nation.
fuel use has improved the lives of millions of people worldwide, and
millions more can benefit from it. There are no replacement technologies
that even approach filling the void Obama and the other climate change
advocates are creating. We are on course for a disaster.
Cross-posted from Observations