Seems everyone is talking about the massive United States federal deficit and how it has now reached an unfathomable $14 trillion. Is there any way to comprehend such a bloated number? Try this: the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. At that speed a photon of light starts at the surface of the Sun and reaches the Earth in 8 minutes. On Star Trek, the speed of light is warp one — at that speed the Enterprise would travel about 6 trillion miles in one year. If each dollar of the deficit is represented by one mile, it would take the Enterprise more than two years traveling the speed of light to go 14 trillion miles.
So what can we cut out of the federal budget to make any kind of dent in this enormous pile of borrowed money? We could start with the vast sums of cash being wasted on climate change research.
This year, your government will spend in the neighborhood of $4 billion on global warming research, despite the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998, and despite all of the billions that have been spent so far yielding no conclusive evidence that using fossil fuels to make energy has any significant effect on Earth’s temperature.
The human component of carbon dioxide that is injected into the air each year is very small, on the order of 3%. Half the carbon dioxide emitted into the air by human activity each year is immediately absorbed into nature. Carbon dioxide is 8% of the greenhouse effect; water in the air is 90% of the greenhouse effect. By volume, carbon dioxide is currently at about 390 parts per million in the atmosphere, increasing at about 2 parts per million annually. In other words, carbon dioxide is increasing at a rate of .5% per year. Since human activity adds 3% of the carbon dioxide that gets into the air each year, the human component of the increase in carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year is 3 % of .5%, or just .015%.
Here is what the federal government thinks is happening with the Earth’s climate due to the burning of fossil fuels — the following quote is from chapter 15 of the Advancement of Science’s 2011 budget request:
Past scientific research demonstrates that the Earth’s climate is changing, that humans are very likely responsible for most of the well-documented increase in global average surface temperatures over the last half century, and that further greenhouse gas emissions, particularly of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, will almost certainly contribute to additional widespread climate disruption. This climate disruption poses considerable risk to society because it can be expected to cause major negative consequences for most nations and to a wide range of species.
The first sentence is obvious: of course the Earth’s climate is changing; it always has and always will no matter what we do.
The next statement — “humans are very likely responsible for most of the well-documented increase in global average surface temperatures over the last half century” — is speculation. The statement completely ignores any natural variability in the climate. Apparently all of nature’s power to regulate the Earth’s temperature, which has been going on for millions of years, stopped 50 years ago, and now carbon dioxide is the principal driver of the climate. This is political and social advocacy, not science.
Then, this statement: “further greenhouse gas emissions, particularly of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, will almost certainly contribute to additional widespread climate disruption.” The implication is that there has already been widespread climate disruption — there has not. There is no more extreme weather going on now than anytime in the last 2,000 years. Per the complex Orwellian world of government-speak, we have now moved on from “global warming” to “climate change” to “climate disruption.” Climate change wasn’t frightening enough! What’s next? My money’s on “climate disintegration” — that should keep the money flowing so we can figure out who and what will be disintegrated.
The statement then reads: “This climate disruption poses considerable risk to society because it can be expected to cause major negative consequences for most nations and to a wide range of species.” And that is the key to all of this: the fear factor. Pitching rising sea levels and other catastrophic consequences to keep the research money coming.
If you want to know where to save money in the budget, cut the vast sums of redundant funding headed to redundant federal agencies doing redundant climate change research. Four billion dollars to study climate change — and that’s just for this year!
Check the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2011 budget request, and go to chapter 15: Climate Change in the FY 2011 Budget. The numbers are staggering. In 2011, your government will spend $10.6 million a day to study, combat, and educate about climate change.
The big winner in the climate change money train is the National Science Foundation — they are requesting $1.616 billion. They want $766 million for the Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability program, a 15.9% increase from their last budget. They also need another $370 million for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), an increase of 16%. They say they also need another $480 million for Atmospheric Sciences, an increase of 8.1%, and Earth Sciences, up 8.7%.
Oh, and $955 million for the Geosciences Directorate, an increase of 7.4%.