Earth Day this year is marked with dueling reports about what climate change means for the future of our planet. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has declared that human activity is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warns that sea levels could conceivably rise by more than three feet by the end of the century if emissions continue at a runaway pace.
On the other side and backed by thousands of peer-reviewed papers, a study released by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) contrasts starkly with the recently released UN report that finds probable severe impacts from global warming. The NIPCC report finds that warming from greenhouse gases will be so small as to be indiscernible from natural variability. The impact of modestly rising CO2 levels on plants, animals, and humans has been quite positive while the costs of trying to limit emissions are huge and counterproductive.
So what is the real truth? Mother Nature has been in control of Earth’s climate for all of Earth’s history but the United Nations IPCC now proposes that she has relinquished that job to a weak greenhouse gas named carbon dioxide (CO2). This group hypothesizes that since the Industrial Revolution, about 150 years ago, humans have begun to put enough emissions of this weak gas into the atmosphere to wrest control from Mother Nature’s grasp.
CO2 flunks the empirical test of being a dominant cause of climate change. For the past 16 years, Mother Nature has ceased Earth’s warming even as man-made CO2 levels have risen. While this brief pause is not absolute proof that CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas, it should make us want to examine more of its historical influence on the climate and environment.
For those of you that profess to being true environmentalists, there is very good news as to what we humans are doing to the planet that is quite beneficial. Here is what the non-political NIPCC has concluded its multi-year study:
• Neither the rate nor magnitude of twentieth century warming lie outside the range of normal variability.
• Sea Level rise is not accelerating, no global increases in rainfall or evaporation or of the number or intensity of extreme weather events are occurring.
• Global climate models are unable to make accurate projections of the climate even just 10 years into the future and, as admitted by those who create these models, should NOT be used in policymaking.
• CO2 is not a pollutant and terrestrial ecosystems have thrived globally as temperatures and CO2 levels have risen and are not a significant threat to life in the oceans.
• A modest warming will result in reduced human mortality from temperature-related events.
• Plants, food crops, and trees will continue their increased growth as CO2 levels rise.
• Most vegetation will need less water to grow as fast or as large as CO2 levels rise, which should also reduce topsoil erosion.
So why are we seeing these conflicting reports? Some simply ignore the facts and take advantage of mankind’s fascination with environmental disasters. They do so by feeding conjured-up projections manufactured in un-validated climate models to the catastrophe-loving media. Others are in it for the money, political or professional promotions, or to gain fame by riding promoted environmental calamities.
So true environmentalists and scientists, see where you will come out after reviewing actual observations of the impact of CO2 on Earth’s climate and habitats. As the noted economist, John Maynard Keynes, said at the end of a debate, “If the facts change, I’ll change my opinion. And what do you do sir?”