By Dennis M. Mitchell and David R. Legates
As children playing on the beach, we discovered a fascinating behavioral pattern among hermit crabs. Place a dozen in a cardboard box, and within minutes the crabs exit their shells and try to occupy another. This mild stress-induced response probably reflects their life-long drive to continue growing by repeatedly commandeering larger shells, to protect their vulnerable soft bodies.
Similarly, climate alarmists are now scrambling to find new shelter from the stress coming from a public that increasingly realizes their doom-and-gloom predictions of climate chaos are based on shoddy data, faulty computer models and perhaps outright deception. The alarmist scientists have put themselves in a climate cataclysm box, and are desperate to protect their reputations, predictions and funding.
Despite the absence of warming in actual measured temperature records over the last 16 years, and near-record lows in hurricane and tornado activity, they still cry "wolf" repeatedly and try to connect every unusual or "extreme" weather event to human emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide. (Actually, people account for only 4% of all the CO2 that enters Earth's atmosphere each year.)
Alarmists used their predictions of climate catastrophe to demand that the world transform its energy and economic systems, slash fossil fuel use, and accept lower living standards, in response to the politically manufactured science. Even as growing evidence conflicted with their dogma, the money, fame and power were too good to surrender for mere ethical reasons.
The impact on energy prices, national economies, jobs and people's lives has been profound and negative. For example, in response to the unfounded alarmism, Germany moved aggressively toward wind and solar energy over the past 15 years – both politically and with taxpayer and investment spending. It also shied away from more nuclear power and saw its economy contract and energy-intensive companies shed jobs and threaten to move overseas. Now Germany is burning more coal and building new coal-fired power plants, in an attempt to reverse the economic disaster its "green" and "climate protection" policies unleashed, but its actions are still sending shock waves at investors around the world.
In Spain, every renewable energy job the government's climate alarmist policies created was offset by two jobs lost in other sectors of the economy that were punished by soaring electricity prices. The demise of a Spanish economy so committed to wind and solar power finally caused reasonable people to reevaluate why these decisions had been made, and the renewable subsidies were slashed, just as they have been in Germany.
How does Brazil's future look with biofuels? As reality finally overcomes media bias and political correctness, the naive excitement of a few years ago – when anything "green" was portrayed as lower cost, clean and superior in every technological sense – has given way to more rational thinking. Brazil is now going more for oil and gas, via conventional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, onshore and offshore.
Why are so many countries deciding to abandon or diminish the fools-golden eggs of green-tech? First, green technology power has been grossly oversold on reliability, cost, capacity, job creation and environmental impacts. A stable economy requires all of these power characteristics. Second, speculative alarmism about CO2 has been exposed by the hard data of the past couple decades.
The NIPCC Climate Change Reconsidered-II report presents the facts, so that even non-scientists can appreciate the relevant range of the climate components – and the ways people have been conned into believing we faced a manmade climate Armageddon that hasn't materialized and was never a threat.
Nevertheless, insisting that "climate chaos" was real, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson wailed that her agency would need at least 240,000 new EPA employees (each making some $100,000 per year, plus benefits) that she said would be needed just to administer new carbon dioxide regulations – and control nearly everything Americans make, drive, ship and do!
EPA currently employs some 20,000 people at an annual budget of over $8 billion. The new hires alone would cost taxpayers another $24 billion annually – plus hundreds of billions of dollars in economic pain, manufacturing shutdowns and new job losses that EPA's CO2 regulations would inflict.
Year after year, alarmists have changed their protective shells for more absurd answers regarding where the Earth has mysteriously stashed all the energy that greenhouse gases supposedly trapped. For years, alarmists said ocean waters were storing the missing energy. But when the ARGO project demonstrated that the heat was not in the ocean, at least down two kilometers (1.2 miles) beneath the surface, one prominent alarmist responded, "We are puzzled at the results." We are not puzzled.
When the data consistently conflict with their hypothesis, reputable scientists revise the hypothesis. Five-alarm climate scientists desperately seek new shells, and new excuses.
The "puzzling" facts triggered the predictable alarmist tactic of attacking the data and claiming the heat was hiding in the really deep ocean. Ignoring the physics of the problem – how the asserted heat was transferred from atmospheric carbon dioxide, through the sea surface, and beyond the first mile of ocean waters, without being detected – they expect us to believe that fluid thermodynamics is akin to magic.
The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has released its 2013 report Climate Change Reconsidered II. The world finally has a chance to see the actual science – not the kind that's hidden, massaged and filtered through alarmist shell games.
Unencumbered by political pressure and mega-lobbyists, this 1,018-page review by 50 serious and highly accomplished scientists has exposed the alarmists' fraud. These real scientists have also exposed as illusory the alarmists' mystical "tropical hot spot." This sacred cow turns out to be as fanciful as planetary warming hidden in the deepest ocean, or the infamous hockey stick of Michael Mann's hidden data and secret computer codes.
Have we forgotten that 1998 was to be the "tipping point," after which Earth would warm uncontrollably? The 1988 hearing in Washington one hot summer afternoon was dominated by the always sly James Hansen, who wiped his brow furiously, in a room made stifling by Senator Tim Wirth's cheap trick of turning off the air conditioning. Politics, theatrics and manipulation had replaced honest science.
Because Al Gore switched his CO2 and temperature curves to make it look like rising carbon dioxide levels caused planetary temperature increases – when in fact increasing temperatures always preceded higher CO2 – shouldn't he have corrected his mistake, returned his ill-gotten millions, and shared his 2007 Nobel Prize and money with Irena Sendler, who should have gotten it for saving 2,500 Jewish children during World War II? Shouldn't his accomplice, IPCC director and pseudo-Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, be held accountable for trumpeting made-up stories about melting Himalayan glaciers?
But when you're an alarmist, being wrong, lying, cheating, misleading the public and killing jobs simply does not count against you – even when the alleged human-caused global warming stopped in 1996.
We literally laughed aloud at a so-called "documentary" that's about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. It's called "Do the Math: Bill McKibben and the Fight over Climate Change." For McKibben and his comrades, "doing the math" is really a matter of "counting the cash" the alarmists rake in.
The serious money has always flowed to alarmists, guilt-ridden environmentalists and control-seeking regulators, whom the world's taxpayers are generously and unwittingly funding. That's also the real meaning of the "green" movement and "green" energy.
Dennis Mitchell, CPA/QEP has been professionally involved in environmental and tax compliance, monitoring and education for over 40 years. David Legates, PhD/CCM is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware and has been studying climate and its changes for 35 years. A version of this article originally appeared in the 10/18/2013 Investor's Business Daily.