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Thomas Gallatin / September 12, 2022

A Climate Reality Check

News of the imminent demise of planet Earth has been greatly exaggerated.

“The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?” That’s what hard-leftist Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demanded to know in January 2019. Just a couple months prior, AOC had won her first general election after having surprisingly defeated six-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democrat primary. And here she was hitting Washington hard over its failure to take climate change seriously, a threat AOC declared would “destroy the planet” by 2031.

AOC is far from the only climate alarmist politician. Indeed, the Democrat Party has increasingly embraced this “green” agenda, always approaching the climate as “settled science” that requires near-immediate and unquestioned political action or else the planet is doomed. And yet these dire predictions of doom never seem to materialize, but we digress.

It is the climatic doom-and-gloom narrative that has placed Europe into its current energy crisis. Germany in particular, thanks to its aggressive Net Zero Emissions policies, is facing down the proverbial barrel of a gun, as Russia has shut off natural gas lines in retaliation for Germany’s support of Ukraine. Germany is learning the hard way that renewable energy equates to severely limited and unreliable energy.

Meanwhile in California, where bureaucrats just enacted a future ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles, state authorities are urging electric vehicle owners to refrain from charging their cars due to inconsistent energy production from wind and solar.

However, according to the climate alarmists, all this inconvenience and pain is worth it because we’re acting to “save the planet.”

Does the planet need saving? Are things getting worse and worse? That’s what we’re told by climate alarmists like John Kerry, who has expelled 9.5 million pounds of carbon flying all across the globe in his private jet to issue dire warnings.

For anyone who cares to take a look at the data, and not merely those computer-generated climate projections, there is more good news on the current condition of the planet than bad.

Let’s start with the polar bears. Climate alarmists like Al Gore, warning of the existential threat of climate change, used polar bears to highlight the melting polar ice caps. In the 1960s, there were fewer than 10,000 polar bears, but that number has more than doubled to 26,000 and is increasing. Evidently, shrinking ice hasn’t been bad for the bears.

What about the weather? Every time a major natural disaster hits, it is inevitable that climate alarmists will assert that climate change is responsible for making these disasters more frequent and more costly. Again, the data simply does not back up these claims; in fact, it show exactly the opposite. Since 1920, the number of people dying due to weather events has decreased significantly from roughly half a million annually to an average of 18,000 over the last decade.

The number of wildfires across the planet has also decreased over the century. Back in 1900, roughly 4.5% of the land burned annually from fires. By 2000, that percentage had decreased to 3.2%, and over the last two decades it has dropped to 2.5% even as global temperatures have increased. In short, less of the planet is burning every year.

A more recent alarmist claim has been the “dying” of the Great Barrier Reef. Its bleaching, alarmists contended, was due to climate change. Lo and behold, the Great Barrier Reef is far from dead, as this year scientists have witnessed that two-thirds of the reef is producing more coral than has ever been recorded. Records stretch back to 1985. Of course, that good news hardly got a mention in mainstream media.

Finally, human life expectancy rates across the globe over the last century have doubled — from 36 years in 1920 to 72 years today. Much of this is thanks to free-market capitalism: The number of people across the world in abject poverty has shrunk from three-quarters of humanity to less than a tenth of the world’s population today. And the only thing threatening this positive development is the climate alarmists’ policies.

Once again, the status of the overall health of planet Earth is far from dire. This is not a dying planet, nor is humanity writ large destroying it. Indeed, contrary to the climate alarmists’ narrative, humanity has been a net benefit to the planet. Ironically, it’s the “green” movements pushing the impossible, a world powered solely by renewable energy, that represent a greater threat to both the health of the planet and humanity than the fossil fuel industry ever has.

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