Climate Change: Facts, Fiction, and Failed Solutions

Climate change and its causes are politically charged topics with liberals and conservatives often having diametrically opposed opinions. Independent voters and thinkers may not agree with either side as there is an abundance of data, some of which is conflicting.

The alarms being sounded about the consequences of climate change are largely inspired by studies and models predicting a future climate apocalypse based on historical patterns. Yet, in its 2007 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states:

“(W)e should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.

That isn’t to imply that climate is not changing; to deny climate change is to deny history. Changes in the earth’s climate have existed for thousands, if not millions of years, as documented by Long Range Weather.

What’s in dispute is the degree to which anthropogenic (human) activities have had a significant influence over recent climate trends.

The alarms being sounded about the consequences of climate change are largely inspired by studies and models predicting a future climate apocalypse based on historical patterns.

Climate change alarmists are fond of bolstering their claims by citing specific articles and opinions containing statements of “facts.” Not surprisingly, virtually all of the “facts” and “science” referenced by the alarmists point to the burning of fossil fuels as the primary cause of carbon emissions and their effect on climate.

And as expected, some form of taxation is cited as the primary means of reducing carbon emissions.

Climate change alarmists cite human activities in general, and the burning of fossil fuels in particular as the major cause of increasing CO2 emissions. They further claim that increased atmospheric levels of CO2 are the primary drivers of climate change. If those claims are valid, you have to wonder why the solutions promoted by the same groups making those claims have been so ineffective at ameliorating the effects of human activity.

With an abundance of chest-beating and back slapping, representatives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) proclaimed that the Kyoto Protocol treaty would lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Implemented in 2005, the Kyoto Protocol set binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community (the United States did not sign the treaty) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet NASA Climate data specifies that during the 11 years between the January 2005 signing of the agreement and December 2016, atmospheric CO2 levels increased from 371.21 parts per million (ppm) to 405.25, an increase of 34.04 ppm.

In contrast, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data for the 11-year period preceding the Kyoto agreement (January 1994 through December 2005) CO2 levels increased only 21.87 ppm, from 358.24 ppm to 380.11 ppm.

That is, “in the 11 years after the accord was signed, CO2 emissions increased at a 55.65% faster rate they did in the 11 years before the protocol agreement.”

The irony of the IPCC and the UNFCCC both operating under the auspices of the United Nations is that the position of one organization contradicts the position of the other and brings credibility issues to both organizations.

The UNFCCC bases its recommendations for future actions on historical data, yet the IPCC’s declaration is that climate is a chaotic system which renders prediction of future climate states, based on historical data, impossible.

The Paris Agreement is another UNFCCC initiative allegedly designed to keep the sky from falling as a result of excessive industrial CO2 emissions. Like the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement calls for all parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also recognizes:

“The importance of adequate and predictable financial resources, including for results-based payments, as appropriate, for the implementation of policy approaches and positive incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks…’

The operative phrase in the previous paragraph is, “adequate and predictable financial resources,” which is a direct reference to the wealth redistribution intent of the agreement.

The Paris Agreement on climate calls for the reduction of industrial greenhouse gas emissions, a reduction in deforestation, and an enhancement of conservation initiatives. These are certainly worthy goals.

Yet these goals are essentially window dressing because at its core, the Paris Agreement is an instrument of wealth redistribution. Paragraph 53 states, “prior to 2025 the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement shall set a new collective quantified goal from a floor of USD 100 billion per year, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries…”

Specification of 100 billion US dollars, as opposed to Euros, is also a strong indication that signatory nations expect the United States to bear the bulk of the expense (just as we bear the majority of the costs for funding the United Nations). Further, distribution of the $100 billion extorted annually from developed nations is determined by third parties, specifically, “the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, the entities entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the Convention.”

The Paris Agreement marks the first time a UNFCCC document has seriously addressed deforestation, in spite of the fact that in 2009, Businessweek Magazine (8/10/09 issue) referred to a Greenpeace study and reported:

Carbon released from slash-and-burn techniques, plus the loss of forest themselves, account for some 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the study notes, a larger share than that from all the world’s cars, planes, ships, trains, and trucks combined.”

Further evidence of the abject failure of UNFCCC initiatives is found in the recent Statistical Review of World Energy conducted by BP Global. It states, “Global CO2 emissions from energy in 2017 grew by 1.6%, rebounding from the stagnant volumes during 2014-2016, and faster than the 10-year average of 1.3%.”

Declines were led by the US (-0.5%). This is the ninth time in this century that the US has had the largest decline in emissions in the world. This also was the third consecutive year that emissions in the US declined, though the fall was the smallest over the last three years.

Carbon emissions from energy use from the US are the lowest since 1992, the year that the UNFCCC came into existence. The next largest decline was in Ukraine (-10.1%).

The largest increase in carbon emissions in 2017 came from China (1.6%), a reversal from the past three years when the largest increases in emissions came from India. China’s emissions in 2017 were 0.3% higher than the previous peak in 2014. China has had the world’s largest increments in carbon emission every year this century except in four years – 2000 and between 2014-16.

The next highest increment came from India where emissions rose by 4.4%, though lower than its 10-year average (6% p.a.).

Together, China and India accounted for nearly half of the increase in global carbon emissions.EU emissions were also up (1.5%) with just Spain accounting for 44% of the increase in EU emissions. Among other EU members, UK and Denmark reported the lowest carbon emissions in their history.” (Emphasis added)

The United States accomplished its reduction of CO2 emissions without a carbon tax, without imposing a cap and trade scheme, and without participating in either the Kyoto Protocol or Paris Agreement.

Concurrently, a majority of signatories to UNFCCC CO2-reduction initiatives had either an increase in CO2 emissions, or failed to meet their target reductions. Obviously, lip service fails dismally as a means of “saving the planet.”

Considering that world population has more than doubled, from 2.9 billion to 7 billion since 1959, it’s reasonable to conclude that human activity has contributed to rising CO2 levels. Whether that contribution has been a major or minor factor in climate change is another discussion entirely.

And judging by UNFCCC initiatives, it’s irrelevant. If the best proponents of reductions in CO2 emissions can do is to create programs that are thinly veiled taxes and wealth redistribution schemes, why even bother having a discussion?

Photo Credit: Roschetzky Photography / shutterstock.com