Climate Change Weekly #193
President Barack Obama has repeatedly proclaimed, directly and through proxies in his administration, that climate change is the most important threat facing the security, tranquility, and progress of our nation and the world. For instance, in his commencement address to the Coast Guard Academy in May 2015, Obama said, “no challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate.”
By contrast, concerning the Islamist terrorist group ISIS, the president compared them to a “junior varsity” team just as they were overrunning most of Iraq. On Thursday of last week, just a day before more than 100 people were killed and three hundred injured in separate, coordinated attacks in Paris by ISIS followers, Obama took to the airwaves stating we had “contained” ISIS.
Radical Islamic terrorists, not climate change, have been responsible for bombings, mass shootings, beheadings, executions, and assassinations, targeting politicians, military recruiters, and soldiers along with film makers, cartoonists, magazine publishers, journalists, and other civilians, resulting in thousands of lives lost and thousands more injured in New York, Indonesia, London, the Netherlands, Boston, Texas, Paris and throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Radical Islamic terrorists have kidnaped, raped, tortured, and forced young girls into sham marriages, while killing people who were homosexuals by tossing them to their deaths from the tops of buildings, stoning them, and beheading them.
There is no evidence climate change is making life worse for people today or will in the future. Climate model projections to the contrary, climate change has not made droughts or hurricanes worse, caused seas to rise at rates faster than historically has been the case, caused crop production to collapse, or resulted in the spread of tropical diseases. Indeed, deaths due to climate-related events continue to fall, and crop yields continue to set records.
Yet hundreds of billions of dollars are being squandered each year in the false hope we can prevent a relatively insignificant rise in global temperature of about 2 degrees. The world’s leaders can’t control their borders, yet they think they can change the weather. The sheer hubris is amazing.
Fighting climate change is a fool’s errand, and the policies proposed to do so are likely to cost far more lives than they will save. With all due respect to President Obama, climate change is well down the list of threats to peoples’ lives today, while terrorism must rank near the top.
— H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
With your help, sound science and common sense will be heard at Cop-21 in Paris … Trade pact ignores climate change … China adding more coal … Historic droughts worse than present … India, Saudi Arabia nix G20 climate goals … Senate would block power plan
One of the most important battles in the history of the global warming debate will be fought this December at a United Nations climate conference in Paris. It’s called COP-21 – the twenty-first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Heartland Institute is working with other leading think tanks and advocacy groups to make sure our voice – the voice of sound science and economics, of energy consumers and taxpayers in America – is heard. Please consider donating to this effort today; every dollar helps!
Although President Barack Obama claimed in his sixth State of the Union Address, “No challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” neither climate change nor global warming are mentioned in the 2,000 pages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement of which the president is so proud. TPP has the potential to be the most far-reaching trade agreement negotiated by the Obama administration. The 12-nation agreement, which consists of 30 chapters, mentions the environment only in general ways. For instance, one section states, it is “inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or reducing the protection afforded in [the participating countries’] respective environmental laws.” Critics argue such statements are undermined by sections stating, for instance, “The Parties recognize the sovereign right of each Party to establish its own levels of domestic environmental protection and its own environmental priorities, and to establish, adopt or modify its environmental laws and policies accordingly.”
While the House and Senate can report on the bill in committee and will ultimately vote on the trade agreement, under fast-track trade negotiating procedures they cannot amend the provisions negotiated by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. Thus no provisions concerning climate change can be added to the agreement.
SOURCE: Good Magazine
Less than two weeks after reporting China has been emitting much more carbon dioxide than it had officially reported, The New York Times now reports China’s government approved construction of 155 coal-fired power plants in 2015, equaling almost 40 percent of operational coal power plants in the entire United States. At a cost Greenpeace estimates to top more than $74 billion, China is building these plants despite a significant slow down in economic growth and claims by critics that most or all of the 155 new power plants are unnecessary. Since plants under construction now will have useful economic lives topping 30 years in many instances, the coal power plant “glut” will complicate China’s ability to cap carbon dioxide emissions growth as it has committed to do in the run up to the Paris climate conference.
SOURCE: The New York Times
A new study in the journal Science Advances aimed at putting climate model projections of droughts and other hydroclimatic events into historical perspective has found long-term megadroughts in the Northern Hemisphere were worse by almost any measurement in the past than they were during the twentieth century’s warming. Combining year-to-year maps of reconstructed tree-ring data over Europe and the Mediterranean Basin with historical accounts of severe drought and wetness and reconstructions of megadroughts over north-central Europe in the eleventh and mid-fifteenth centuries with data from North America and Asia, the more than 50 researchers involved in the study found droughts were more severe, extensive, and long-lasting over the Northern Hemisphere before the twentieth century. The scientists admit they do not have an adequate understanding of the causes of these historic droughts. This work calls into question the adequacy of current climate models’ understanding of the forcings that shift hydrologic cycles and throws doubt on models’ projections of drought, extreme rainfall, and other hydrologic events.
SOURCE: Science Advances
India blocked G20 efforts to adopt an ambitious climate change statement just two weeks before delegates from almost 200 nations meet in Paris. After almost 20 hours of talks at the G20 gathering in Turkey, India and Saudi Arabia successfully opposed the inclusion of a reference in the G20 statement concerning the need to add a “review mechanism” in the Paris accord examining the progress individual nations make toward meeting their climate goals. Representatives of many developed countries say a review mechanism must be a central feature of the accord. Developed countries wanted the G20 to endorse the view the Paris accord must contain measures requiring assessment every five years of commitments made by signatories and upgrade them if progress is deemed insufficient. India blocked even a general reference to discussions of “periodic monitoring.”
Speaking for developing countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi objected to environment and social safeguards being pushed by the World Bank and other multilateral agencies for project finance and loans. In addition, Modi called for “balance at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 December talks in Paris so that development is not compromised as a result of the focus on climate change.” Modi also emphasized developed countries need to meet their commitment to make available $100 billion of climate finance every year to developing countries beginning in 2020 to gain the developing countries’ acceptance of the climate accord negotiated in Paris.
Undermining President Barack Obama’s negotiating authority heading into the international climate summit beginning November 30, the Senate passed two resolutions aiming to block Obama’s tough new climate change regulations. The first resolution, offered by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) under the Congressional Review Act, says the Clean Power Plan limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants “shall have no force or effect.” The second Congressional Review Act resolution, sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), disapproves of and repeals the Clean Power Plan rules for new power plants. The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to review and potentially reject major regulations issued by executive agencies. Both resolutions passed by identical 52 to 46 votes, with three Democrats voting to block the Clean Power Plan rules and three Republicans voting to allow them to go forward.
As Obama has promised to veto the resolutions should they reach his desk, the votes are seen as largely symbolic, showing world leaders soon to be gathered at the United Nations climate summit in Paris the president’s ability to follow through on any promises he makes in Paris to enact meaningful domestic climate legislation is sharply limited. The House plans to pass companion resolutions in early December, forcing a presidential veto in the midst of climate negotiations in Paris, reinforcing the message to Paris climate negotiators Congress does not back the president’s climate pledges.
SOURCE: New York Times
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