Experts Declare CO2 Benefits Outweigh Dangers

Published June 30, 2015

At this year’s International Climate Change Conference (ICCC-10) hosted by Heartland Institute, speakers and scientists praised the social and economic benefits of carbon dioxide – a position in direct contrast to those popularly held among climate change radicals.

Historical Background of Concern Over Climate Change 

As part of Agenda 21 (See here the Agenda) the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 2 -14, 1992.   According to Myron Ebell, a member of Panel 14 at Heartland’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change, Republicans didn’t want George H.W. Bush to sign on to the UN framework, but he went ahead and made the U.S. a signatory, insisting that the agreement was non-binding and no harm would come of it.

It did, however, put a noose around today’s economy.  A really bad break happened when the Supremes ruled that the Clean Air Act could be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in a 5-4 decision. In its wake, Obama’s EPA declared CO2 a pollutant. Although the results haven’t been overly oppressive as of yet — the Koyoto Protocol was dead on arrival and President Obama did fail in his attempt to implement cap and trade — in typical Obama fashion, executive orders have been issued to fight global warming, with more scheduled to be unleashed. 

Are We Living in an Age of Poisoned Weather? 

According to Marc Moran of Climate Depot, a project of CFACT, who appeared on Panel 14 at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change appropriately titled “Fresh Start”: “We are now living in what some call an age of Poisoned Weather.”  As a global warming denier, Moran knows first-hand how skeptics are smeared and discredited by climate change alarmists.  Moran further questioned whether this present era might be the end of constant and dependable electricity in our home, only to be replaced by a situation where the use of power will depend upon its availability? 

A current project of CFACT, “Climate Hustle: The global warming shakedown”, is to be released in the fall.  This new documentary will be hosted by Marc Moran.

For those who dare call atmospheric CO2 a pollutant, shame of them.  CO2 is a non-toxic, non-irritating, and natural components of the atmosphere.  Higher atmospheric levels of CO2 increase agricultural yields.  It is not a pollutant, nor will it cause catastrophic global warming. Real pollution (smog, fly ash, etc.) can be cost-effectively controlled. CO2, declared a pollutant under the Clean Air Act by the EPA, constitutes a scam to diminish American economy and a way for crony businesses to make money on carbon trading and “green technology” crony businesses.  The scam additionally serves well as a means to redistribute wealth from those who create it to poor countries governed by criminal tyrants. 

As related by G. Cornelis van Kooten, Ph. D., a ICCC-10 Panel 5 participant in speaking on “The Economic Consequences of Carbon Dioxide Regulation”: “The transfer of  millions of dollars to rich people in poor countries will inevitably end up in the pockets of the well-to-do or the elites.”  What is instead needed is the creation of wealth in these poor countries, beginning with the development of energy resources, for energy is the life blood of a nation.  It’s immoral to deny energy to the poor in the world.

Fiddling With Numbers Exaggerates the Severity of Climate Change 

There are many social benefits of carbon, but they are meaningless if the tradeoffs between mitigation, adaptation, and damages are not similarly assessed. Such a process can be carried out directly by ascertaining what people are willing to pay for avoiding certain physical consequences. The present U.S. Administration strongly endorses the Interagency Working Group’s BCA (Benefit Cost Analysis) estimates.  As speaker Marlo Lewis, Jr., Ph. D. so succinctly stated as a member of Panel 4 in expounding upon his topic, “The Social Costs of Carbon Dioxide”. . . “by fiddling with the social cost of carbon, analysts can get almost any result they desire.” And why fiddle?  Agencies have an incentive to report climate change in the worst possible way, for by inflating the estimated social cost of carbon, the purported net benefits of their regulations can be increased.  Lewis noted these fiddling tricks that are employed:

  1. Ignore all the climate sensitivity literature.
  2. Use below market discount rates.  When discount rates are as low as 1% renewable energy appears to be more efficient, making renewables look like a bargain at any price.
  3. Simply ignore the benefits of CO2 fertilization.
  4. Assume that doomsday is not only more likely, but also more costly.

“The real damage is not climate change, but trying to change the climate”

Paul Driessen, in his Panel 5 discussion about “How Climate Change Prevention Schemes Impact Human Welfare”, noting how the temperature has barely budged in 18 years, reflected: “The real damage is not climate change, but trying to change the climate.”  According to Driessen, 1.3 billion world inhabitants still lack electricity — 320 million in India and 730 million in Africa.  Four million individuals die every year from lung and intestinal disease caused by using animal dung for cooking and heat. There is also no refrigeration for food.

In action that defies common and moral sense, the World Bank (OPEC) won’t provide funding in Africa to build energy producing facilities.  Why?  Because building energy facilities to provide electricity would result in more global warming.  Does this in any way constitute sound moral judgment?  It is notable that a self-professed atheist and scientific advisor to the Vatican, Hans Schellnhuber, appears to believe in a Mother Earth, the Gaia Principle. And what about 40% of the U.S. corn crop being used for fuel?  Not only has the cost of meat increased here in the U.S., but 412 million people could be fed with the corn being used to make ethanol. In regard to global warming, cold kills.  A modest warming of the planet would result in a net reduction of human morality from temperature-related events. 

Panel 12 speaker, Canadian Tom Harris, bemoaned how Canada used to receive 25% of its electricity from coal. Now it’s down to zero percent. Thousands of gigantic onshore wind turbines are being constructed in Ontario, Canada, resulting in grave sites containing millions of birds and bats.  These 610 feet turbines, costing $250,000 each to build, require 30 years to realize a return on the original investment.

John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, likewise a speaker on Panel 12, further expounded on the use of wind turbines for energy.  Energy provided by wind turbines will cost the average American family $1,200 more a year.  If a carbon tax is implemented, the yearly cost of energy for the average American family will increase to $4,000.

Economic Implications of War on Fossil Fuel 

Of the many noted and learned speakers at the ICCC-10, Jay Lehr, Ph.D., as a Panel 4 participant, had much to say about his topic, “The Future of Fossil Fuels,” which covered the economic implications of the war on fossil fuels.  Lehr, was direct, unapologetic, and passionate in his rhetoric, calling it insanity to limit the use of fossil fuels which only raises the cost of what we buy.  Cheap energy is the only way out of poverty and is needed in Africa and India to improve the standard of living.  Continuing, Lehr observed the following: 

  • Nuclear, which has the biggest bang for the buck, is being made more expensive with a burden on safety. Although two nuclear plants are being built, one each in Georgia and South Carolina, most likely these new plants will end construction for the next 20 years.
  • Coal is a cheap source of energy.  As such coal is needed to fuel the poorest parts of the world and is needed, as well, in this country.  “If we can put men on the moon, we can burn coal cleanly.”
  • There is enough gas and oil to last 1000 years as shale is the most prolific rock on the planet.
  • Regarding bio fuels, it is ridiculous to burn food for fuel.
  • Wasteful spending of tax payer monies by Navy and Airforce going green.  Bio-fuel for ships costs $27.00 per gallon vs. $3.50 for regular fuel.  Bio-fuel for jets costs $454 per gallon as compared to $57.00 for regular fuel (This article relates to how President Obama is recruiting the Pentagon to advance his sweeping climate change agenda ranging from building clean energy projects at military installations to the use of expensive green fuels in planes.). 
  • According to the U.S. Energy Administration, wind and solar can’t compete economically when subsidies end. Even with 2016 technologies:
  • New wind projects are nearly double the cost of conventional.
  • New solar projects are three to five times more expensive.

Other thoughts shared by Jay Lehr: 1) Get rid of all regulations — the earth is not warming as a result of anything man is doing;  2) Stop picking winners and losers as providers of energy, such as Solyndra, and allow the market to decide;  3) Keep drilling.  Russia is drilling in the Arctic, but this nation’s drilling is restricted; 4) Repeal cafe standards — the only way to increase mileage is to produce lighter cars which result in more fatalities.

Jay Lehr’s plan to phase out the EPA in a five-year plan was detailed in his July, 2014 Policy Brief for the Heartland Institute titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency.” It was circulated widely and has been received positively by at least one influential Republican senator.  

Overwhelming Social Benefits of CO2 

Following are the greatest benefits pertaining to those associated with the development of our modern technology-based society:

  • Unprecedented economic growth.
  • Higher standard of living.
  • Increased human life span.
  • One billion persons elevated out of poverty in the past 200 years.
  • Increased agricultural yields to combat hunger. 

A booklet handed out at ICCC-10, “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case” by Kathleen Hartnett White, produced by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, notes how fossil fuel was a necessary ingredient of industrialization’s beginning and for its continued growth, having freed billions of human beings from poverty.  Since the Industrial Revolution life expectancy has tripled (a modest warming of the planet is good), while income per-capita has increased 22-fold. 

Now consider renewable energy resources from wind, solar, and biomass as ways to replace fossil fuels that are falsely blamed for global warming.  Man can control access to and conversion of energy held in fossil fuels, but no machine or person can control when the wind blows or at what velocity, nor can man or machine control how much of the radiant heat of the sun will hit the earth on a given day or hour.  When considering renewable biomass like corn for ethanol, annual weather and the growing cycle control the timing and quality of harvest.

Heartland Has Last Word

Lastly, consider the below statements that are backed by sound scientific research, in contrast to the unproven global warming hypothesis of the U.N. (accepted as gospel by the Obama administration) obtained from flawed climate models and which portend that the sky is falling unless immediate global action is taken. 

From Climate Change Reconsidered II:  Physical Science.  II:  Physical Science. Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute:   

  • “Global climate models are unable to make accurate projections of climate even 10 years ahead, let alone the 100-year period that has been adopted by policy planners. The output of such models should therefore not be used to guide public policy formulation.”
  • “Neither the rate nor the magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979 – 2000) lay outside the range of normal natural variability, nor were they in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climatic history.  If anything, solar forcing of temperature change is likely more important than is currently recognized.”