President Biden said this past week that we are nearing a tipping point on climate change / global warming from which there could be no recovery and he has said it is an “existential threat”, imperiling our very existence.
Environmental policy is a topic upon which there are widely divergent views. Unfortunately, in these days of ‘all or nothing’ partisanship, it is hard to have a true dialog. More so because to many ardent environmentalists, the topic of climate change has become a religion. They claim it is established science much more than it really is and if they find anyone that disagrees, they start lobbing the label “climate denier” while telling anyone who will listen how unintelligent you have to be to believe anything other than what they believe.
The real truth is a lot less dramatic, though you would never convince the ‘true believers’.
Even if we set aside the debate on the broader topic, one thing we can say for sure is that the science is not developed or exact enough that we know what is actually going to happen. As much as proponents-including President Biden-say that the science is established, it clearly is not. And for those who want strong action because they fear global warming, the best advice they could heed would be “Don’t make predictions” because, to date, they are always wrong.
A brief look at the history of predicting the impact of the rise of what is now called “greenhouse gases”, shows that it truly runs the gamut from one extreme to the other.
Within our lifetimes, the concern about the buildup of gases in the atmosphere was that the gases would reflect and keep out the sun and the Earth would suffer a massive cooling, as a result. News outlets and scientists warned of a new ice age. Years ago, The Washington Post, for its part, published a Columbia University scientist’s claim that the world could be “as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age.” About 45 years from that prediction, it does not look like that’s going to happen.
Alas, all that has changed and the fear now is of global warming which will cause ice caps to melt, sea levels to rise and untold amount of land to be under water. Yet, the predictions thus far have been about as accurate as those of a new ice age. A few examples will illustrate the point.
Getting the most publicity, in 2006 Al Gore wrote a book where he said that we faced a “true planetary crisis” and unless we “took drastic measures the world would reach a point of no return within 10 years.” He predicted that the Arctic ice caps would be gone and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa would be snow free. In the years immediately following that prediction, the Arctic ice caps actually thickened though they are now melting at an increased rate. And alas, 2016 has come and gone and neither of Gore’s predictions have come to pass.
Someone recently found a New York Times article from 1999, talking about the coming new century. In the article, the Times, referring to the work of several scientists, said that by 2020 large parts of Manhattan would be underwater from rising sea levels. Yet, the pandemic and the response of New York’s political leadership has done more to empty Manhattan and its business district than everything else since 1999.
After the intense hurricane season on the east coast in 2003 and 2004, several prominent climatologists said that this was an indication of an advancing climate crisis and we should expect for a continued increase in violent weather. Almost immediately afterward, from roughly 2005-2015, we saw almost a total absence of hurricanes hitting the east coast for the next decade.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently suggested Miami would disappear in “a few years” due to climate change/global warming. At least she has the good sense to not get specific in her prediction. (She previously had said when she proposed the Green New Deal, that the Earth has 12 years before it was too late. She has since backed off that wild comment).
The list could go on, but the evidence is clear. Even if global temperatures are rising, we do not know how that is going to play out over the long term, no matter how confident Al Gore and John Kerry, President Biden’s ‘Climate Czar’ sound. I mean, when it boils down to it, if John Kerry really believed himself what he was saying, he would not be traveling to climate conferences in a private jet. If it was an “existential crisis”, he would be doing his part to try to save himself and the human race from extinction
The bottom line is the science is not sure, and certainly developed enough to make predictions. To Gore, and Kerry and Greta Thornburg and others…just stop throwing our predictions of doom and end of days. You just make yourself look silly.