The best answer to many of the claims by Senate Democrats during their three-day “Web of Denial” climate change campaign in Congress this week is also the simplest: “So what?”
“Climate change is real,” asserted Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jean Shaheen (D-NH), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). So what? Gravity and sunrise are also real. That doesn’t imply we cause them or that we would be better off without them. Climate has been changing since the origin of the atmosphere. The only constant about climate is change.
Furthermore, the world has mostly cooled for the last 3000 years.
Merkley and Feinstein continued: “Manmade climate change is a fact.”
So what? It is obviously warmer in urban areas than in the countryside because of manmade impacts. But the only place where carbon dioxide (CO2) increase causes a temperature increase is in computer models programmed to show exactly that.
Every record from every time period shows that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase, not the other way around.
All that should matter to public officials is whether our emissions are in any way dangerous. Since they are almost certainly not, the 15,000 words dedicated to the topic in the Senate this week was just hot air, and the $1 billion spent every day across the world on climate finance is mostly wasted.
Despite the senators’ confident claim to know what will happen decades from now, no one — not even the world’s leading experts — can meaningfully forecast future climate. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change itself stated the following in its 2001 Assessment Report:
The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.
No wonder every single prediction they have made since 1990 was wrong! If your prediction is wrong, your science is wrong.
Merkley next told Congress:
We saw it [man made climate change] when 2014 became the hottest year on record, and then we saw it again in 2015 when 2015 became the hottest year on record.
Feinstein offered a similar message:
This past May was the planet’s warmest May in the 136-year history of weather records. In fact, the last 13 months in a row all set world records for hottest average temperatures. Last year was the planet’s hottest recorded year, and the last two decades include the 19 hottest years on record.
So what? 2014 set the record by seven hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit. 2015, by 29 hundredths of a degree. These amounts are too small to notice, and one is even less than the government’s uncertainty estimates of 14 hundredths of a degree.
Regardless, one would naturally expect the warmest years to appear at the top of a warming record. And thank goodness, the Earth has been in a gradual warming trend since the depths of the Little Ice Age in the late 1600s that plagued humanity.
We see it in the oceans — oceans that are 30 percent more acidic today than they were before we started burning coal at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
But Dr. Craig Idso, founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, responded to Merkley:
Projected future decline [in pH, a measure of a substance’s acidity] is based on a theoretical postulation by models based on absorption of CO2 by the oceans. Regardless, there really is no such thing as a representative pH for the whole ocean. It varies vastly near the coast and in upwelling regions, much more than the projected pH decline.
In fact, there are regions in the ocean where pH varies in a day by more than the most extreme forecasts for the 21 century, yet ocean life adapts. So, once again, the right response to Merkley is: “So what?”
Like several of her colleagues, Feinstein was concerned about sea level rise. She warned:
Sea levels rose seven inches in the last century.
So what? Sea level has been rising since the end of the last glacial period — 15,000 years ago. There has been no recent acceleration, and the current rate of rise is less than one-tenth that of 8,000 years ago.
[The] fossil-industrial complex [funds] think tanks, advocacy groups that produce counter-climate research and make people question which facts and information they can trust.
So what? Third-party organizations are regularly funded by groups opposed to fossil fuel companies, too. Besides, such uncertain, rapidly evolving science should be constantly questioned. Scientific discovery is not — or at least it should not be — a fundamentalist religion.
Many of the senators complained that fossil fuel companies support groups and individuals who question political correctness on climate change. For example, Merkley asserted that “skeptics” received at least $30 million between 1998 and 2015 from ExxonMobil and at least $332,000 from Peabody Energy between 2014 and 2015.
Well, so what? Everyone in a free society has the right to promote their interests and to support causes they believe in. Besides, the May 27, 2016 creditor matrix associated with Peabody’s bankruptcy filings includes entries for climate change advocates like Ducks Unlimited, the Center for Clean Air Policy, and and the Sierra Club, not to mention several Democratic Party organizations.
Is there a problem with these donations, too? Or did Markley only find free speech problematic when Peabody supported the other side of the climate debate?
Of particular concern to senators was funding from the Koch brothers, who, according to Merkley, gave $88 million since 1997 to groups which opposed climate alarmism.
So what? If the scientific claims made by those funded by Koch prove to be incorrect — just as many claims have been proven to be that came from groups funded by Ducks Unlimited or by the government — they will be rejected. The Democrats assume others hire people who say only what they want to hear, just like they do.
Regardless, the amount of funding being funneled to entities which support the climate scare is enormously greater that the amount groups on our side of the debate receive.
For example, the latest Foundation Center report (2010) shows that California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation alone donated over a half-billion dollars to climate change programs in 2008. That amount is over one hundred times greater than the Koch’s average annual donation cited by Merkley. And $460,800,000 of that cash went to Climate Works Foundation, which reported about $1.5 billion in revenue between 2008 and 2015.
Are these senators seriously arguing that the miniscule support that climate skeptics receive is somehow an unfair advantage over climate activist revenues of at least an order of magnitude greater?
The Senate “Web of Denial” campaign would be humorous if it did not have such serious ramifications. In the vain hope of stopping trivial changes in climate, Democratic senators want to rapidly switch from coal and other fossil fuels, America’s least expensive and most abundant power sources, to unreliable and expensive alternative sources such as wind and solar power. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for president, promises the same.
The American people must stop them before it is too late.