AGW, Anthropomorphic Global Warming, Axial Tilt, Barack Obama, Carbon Concentration, Carbon Forcing Models, Carbon Intensity, Climate Feedbacks, Dementors, Donald Trump, Green Climate Fund, Harry Potter, Jeffrey Tucker, Paris Climate Accord, Paris Climate Summit, Steven Allen
Ah, Paris, we bid you adieu. For both scientific and economic reasons, the Paris Climate Accord is pure numbskullery. We should all be grateful that President Trump has decided to revoke the expensive promises made by Barack Obama under the agreement in a willful effort to appease the world’s rent seekers.
From a scientific perspective, the accord’s prescriptions are premised on a partial effect: absent any feedbacks, carbon emissions would raise the atmospheric temperature slightly. But feedback effects are massively important, as anyone familiar with the climate models’ terrible track record of predictive performance might guess. Water vapor, cloud formation, wind currents, and the response of the Earth’s biomass are just some of the effects that impinge on the relationship between atmospheric carbon and temperatures. In addition, carbon forcings are relatively minor compared to the energy impulses delivered by natural sources, including solar activity and the Earth’s varying axial tilt. Paleoclimate data shows that the world has been this warm before, and warmer.
The economic case against the Paris Accord is even stronger. The very idea that authorities would impose huge material sacrifices on mankind in an effort to prevent a threat for which the evidence is so weak should give pause to any rational individual. Beyond that, however, the real function of the accord was not so much carbon mitigation as it was a shift in the distribution of wealth. This quote of Steven Allen, in a scathing assessment of the agreement, is instructive (forgive his mid-sentence switch to sarcasm):
“Mainly, it’s about taking money from taxpayers and consumers and businesspeople and electricity ratepayers and giving it to crony capitalists, and taking money from people in relatively successful countries and giving that money to rich people in poor countries, to the benefit of members of governing elites who support the Paris deal for the good of humanity and not at all because they expect to line their pockets with it.“
World carbon emissions were expected to keep rising at least through 2030 under the agreement. The subsidies it promised to crony capitalists in the renewable energy industry were to generously fund technologies that are not economically viable without government support, to the detriment of relatively clean-burning fossil fuels, not to mention nuclear power. The U.S. promised to reduce absolute carbon emissions, but the world’s greatest emitter of carbon dioxide, China, promised only to seek to limit emissions per unit of GDP, but not until sometime down the road. That means China’s level of emissions might not reverse, given the rapid growth of the Chinese economy. India’s commitment is similar. And Russia promised a reduction relative to a depressed 1990 level of emissions, which means they have plenty of room for growth.
As for the U.S., where absolute carbon emissions have been decreasing since 2007, the Paris Accord relied on so-called “voluntary” limits to be imposed by federal mandates. Financial demands were made by developing countries under the deal: $100 billion per year. And who would pay for that? Taxpayers in the developed countries, of course. One can only imagine the lust of unaccountable third-world officialdom for those funds. Thus far, the U.S. has paid only $1 billion into the so-called Green Climate Fund, and at least half of that was taken from a State Department account from which disbursal did not require Congressional approval.
Jeffrey Tucker, who is anything but a fan of Donald Trump, minced no words in his assessment of the Paris “treaty”. Here are a few selected quotes:
“The Paris Agreement is a ‘voluntary’ agreement because its architects knew it would never pass the US Senate as a treaty. Why? Because the idea of the agreement is that the US government’s regulatory agencies would impose extreme mandates on its energy sector: how it should work, what kinds of emissions it should produce, the best ways to power our lives (read: not fossil fuels), and hand over to developing world regimes billions and even trillions of dollars in aid, a direct and ongoing forcible transfer of wealth from American taxpayers to regimes all over the world, at the expense of American freedom and prosperity. …
The exuberant spokespeople talked about how ‘the United States’ had ‘agreed’ to ‘curb its emissions’ and ‘fund’ the building of fossil-free sectors all over the world. It was strange because the ‘United States’ had not in fact agreed to anything: not a single voter, worker, owner, or citizen. Not even the House or Senate were involved. This was entirely an elite undertaking to manage property they did not own and lives that were not theirs to control. …
The Paris Agreement is no different in its epistemological conceit than Obamacare, the war on drugs, nation-building, universal schooling, or socialism itself. They are all attempts to subvert the capacity of society to manage itself on behalf of the deluded dreams of a few people with power and their lust for controlling social and economic outcomes.“
The popular fascination with climate scare stories has provided a useful channel of influence for would-be central planners and redistributionists. These social dementors reject the proposition that science is a process of continuing challenge and testing, thereby subverting the very notion of scientific inquiry. They make the laughable claim that 170 years of temperature data, much of which is quite sketchy, is sufficient to draw strong conclusions about the trends and dynamics of the climate on a four billion year-old planet.
Even worse, the climate alarmists insist that they have a monopoly on scientific knowledge, despite a significant share of skeptics in the climate science community. But in pursuit of that monopoly, the alarmists have gone so far as to undermine the integrity of the peer review process in the climate literature and to manipulate temperature data to exaggerate recent records. They have promoted the false claims that cyclonic storm energy has increased with carbon concentration and that sea levels are rising at an increasing rate. (Coastal property values don’t seem to reflect those concerns.) They would have us confuse actual climate data with model predictions, and they continue to offer prescriptions based on carbon-forcing models after many years of terrible forecast performance. They claim that a small increment (one part per 10,000) to the concentration of a trace atmospheric gas will dominate other forces exerting far greater variations in energy. They ignore the benefits that an increase in nourishing carbon dioxide and warming can provide. And they make the anthropocentric claim that a costly sacrifice by mankind, in an attempt to reduce that trace gas slightly if at all, will pay off reliably by reducing global temperatures, despite the very modest claims on those grounds by the Paris Accord itself.
Here is a link to 17 earlier posts on Sacred Cow Chips having to do with the hypothesis of anthropomorphic global warming, including this one written in late 2015, at the time of the Paris Climate Summit.