Free Markets, Free People

Jeff Jacoby

What do AGW alarmists and Harold Camping have in common?

Jeff Jacoby points out that climate change alarmists have fouled their nest so badly that the majority of the public in general has now concluded their cause is overhyped.   Climate change, as a pressing priority, is receding in the public’s eyes.  It simply doesn’t consider the warning credible.  Why?

Well answer this – if Harold Camping came out today and claimed that the world was going to end on October 21st, after previously claiming it would end on May 21st, how much credence would you give his claim? 

About as much as the scaremongers in the AGW game, one supposes, since much of what they warned would happen not only hasn’t happened but doesn’t appear likely to happen.  As I noted yesterday, however, that doesn’t keep the scare machine from cranking out new and more horrible predictions.

Jacoby points to one made by Newsweek which is, well, laughable on its face.  

“Worldwide, the litany of weather’s extremes has reached biblical proportions,’’ Newsweek intones, pointing to tornadoes in the United States, floods in Australia and Pakistan, and drought in China. “From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone.’’ This is what comes of burning fossil fuels for energy, which has increased atmospheric CO2 levels by 40 percent above what they were before the Industrial Revolution. “You haven’t seen anything yet,’’ Newsweek preaches. “Batten down the hatches.’’

Anyone spot the blatant bit of nonsense in there?   We’ve never had a “stable climate” for the last 12,000 years.   Jacoby quotes William Happer, distinguished Princeton physicist, on the reality of that time period:

“Carbon is the stuff of life,’’ he points out. “Our bodies are made of carbon.’’ Yes, atmospheric CO2 is higher today than it was before the industrial age — 390 parts per million now vs. 270 ppm then — but there was a time when “CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.’’ Indeed, greenhouse operators artificially boost CO2 concentrations in order to grow better flowers and fruit.

So why recoil from the modest increase in carbon emissions caused by fossil-fuel use? Because more CO2 means more climate change? Happer shoots down that idea. The earth’s climate is always changing, sometimes dramatically. During the medieval warming of a thousand years ago, temperatures were much higher than they are now; during the Little Ice Age six centuries later they were much lower. “Yet there is no evidence for significant increase of CO2 in the medieval warm period, nor for a significant decrease at the time of the subsequent little ice age.’’

It is like history and the climate records that go with it don’t exist for the alarmist crowd.  If you can’t explain it, apparently it is now ok to ignore it.  Thus the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age – inconvenient facts that refute the claim – seemingly never happened.  Not if you want to push the “12,000 years” of “stable climate”.

As I’ve asked any number of times, when did the science that previously saw CO2 as a lagging indicator change it into a leading indicator or cause of warming?  It hasn’t.  Nor does it have the amplifying effect that the alarmists claim through their flawed models.   In fact, none of the predictions they have made over the years have even come close to fruition for the reasons they state.   And it is clear, as we actually have real scientists study the atmosphere and climate, that there is still a vast amount they are discovering about the climate.  This, for instance:

Scientists at Marine Biological Laboratory say trees in a mini-forest where they simulated future global warming stored more carbon, a bonus offset for expected higher CO2 releases from the faster decay of organic matter in soil as Earth heats up.

Apparently as the atmosphere warms, trees store more carbon as “woody tissue”.  Result?

But project leader Jerry Melillo of MBL said this study demonstrates for the first time that global warming would also be likely to increase the carbon storing potential of trees, by speeding up nitrogen cycling in the forest — more matter decomposing frees up more inorganic nitrogen compounds, such as ammonium (also known as garden fertilizer), causing greater tree growth and more tree tissue available to store carbon.

The increased carbon storage capacity of the trees in MBL’s Harvard Forest experiment was enough to outpace atmospheric CO2 gain resulting from the warmer soil, Melillo concluded.

And most likely, any human contribution, as small as it is, would also be absorbed.  One could also theorize that other plant life might also store more CO2 than they do now.  Of course, if true,  that would likely mean that the human contribution (or CO2 for that matter) was not having the effect that alarmists attempt to claim, but instead the warming was due to other causes.

I’m sure, however, since this is a recent discovery, that the models don’t factor that in.  Of course, they don’t factor in cloud albedo either – something not only  critical to our climate, but fundamental.  But hey, that would get in the way of the desired results, wouldn’t it?

AGW is slowly strangling on its own fouled science.  As I pointed out yesterday and Jacoby points out today, that’s only increased the stridency of these cranks.  Scaremongering is headed to new heights in the coming months.  And, as it turns out, the basis for their “end of the world” scenarios is about as firm as that of Harold Camping and his end of the world claims.


Twitter: @McQandO