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William Stoecker / November 28, 2014

Imagine

Recently, America’s Emperor met with the Emperor of China to produce a treaty that is not a treaty, since it has not been approved by the Senate, to “solve” the imaginary problem of global warming by having the US reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants, motor vehicles, and the like, while China continues to burn more and more coal. If the people who believe that Obama’s birth certificate is fraudulent and he is not legally President are correct, this means that an imaginary President has given us an imaginary solution to an imaginary problem. To understand the imaginary nature of Man-caused climate change, it is helpful to look at the history and even the prehistory of the global warming hoax.

Many of the people (many politicians and bureaucrats and few scientists) who claim that our production of the deadly plant food CO2 will cause ice caps to melt and the seas to rise and drown us all were, only a few decades ago, predicting that human industries would produce an ice age, because particulates (they ignored the CO2 then) from power plants and the like would block sunlight. Now, of course, they ignore the particulates and focus on the CO2, or, as they like to call it, “carbon,” which implies that we are filling the air with black coal dust (actually, CO2 is a transparent, odorless gas. Many of these same people wanted the US to disarm, because a nuclear war, setting off fires and producing smoke, would produce a nuclear winter (again, they ignored the CO2 and focused on the smoke). Many of them also tried to panic us over alleged destruction of the ozone layer. They claimed that heavy molecules of common refrigerants and aerosol propellants would magically rise to the stratosphere and set off an equally magical chain reaction that would destroy the ozone layer, which protects us from some of the Sun’s ultraviolet light. They pointed to the seasonal ozone holes that have been forming each winter in the Arctic and Antarctic as the ozone (which is produced when ultraviolet light hits oxygen molecules) decays from unstable O3 to ordinary O2 oxygen. This has been going on for billions of years, since long before the advent of Chicken Little science.

That renowned atmospheric physicist, Al Gore, never mentions how little of our atmosphere consists of CO2 – it is .038 percent, or 3.8 parts in every ten thousand. If it were to double (even Al doesn’t expect that) our atmosphere would still consist of less than one part in a thousand of CO2. Intuitively, most of us can see that this is unlikely to have a large effect on climate. But we don’t have to trust intuition.

Earth’s overall temperature is not easy to measure; you can’t just stick a thermometer up Bakersfield, California. The most accurate measurement is by satellite, and satellite data confirms that there has been no warming in almost 18 years. Long before coal-fired plants and automobiles, the Earth had ice ages and warm periods. During the Holocene Optimum, right after the last ice age ended, the Earth was warmer than at any time since – yet the seas did not rise and flood the land. Climate changed naturally, driven by changes in the Sun’s energy output, the shape of our planet’s orbit, its axial wobble, volcanism, and the slow drifting of the continents. And CO2 itself is produced in greater abundance by natural processes, such as volcanism, than by our puny efforts. And of course, CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas that traps the Sun’s heat; methane and, especially, water vapor play a major role.

The Chicken Littles have even produced elaborate computer simulations of climate changes in the future allegedly caused by global warming; their maps show, among other things, the growth of deserts. Aside from the fact that these simulations are produced by people who cannot reliably predict if it will rain in any given location in one week, they prey on the ignorance of many people, who associate deserts with heat. In fact, when the Earth gets warmer there is more evaporation of sea water, and, hence, more atmospheric moisture, more clouds, and more rain. During the Holocene Optimum, the Sahara was mostly grassland, with coastal, riverine, and montane forests.

Even if our CO2 production was sufficient to warm the Earth, the process would be self-limiting. Warmer weather, as stated above, means more clouds, and the clouds reflect the Sun’s energy at a rate generally exceeding the extra energy absorption of the atmospheric water vapor. And the CO2 rise itself would tend to be self-limiting, since the CO2 (as well as the warmer weather and increased rainfall) stimulates plant growth, and plants remove the CO2 from the air. In fact, if we actually had the power (we don’t) to warm our planet to Holocene Optimum levels, the eco system would be richer; the deserts would bloom; and the hungry could be fed.

One final irony: radical environmentalists have always opposed nuclear energy, which produces greenhouse gases, and they oppose the development of small scale hydroelectric facilities. So they have helped to create the imaginary problem for which they now offer an imaginary solution.

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