Halloween is just about my favorite time of year. I love the holiday in all its aspects and forms, from the horror to the kitsch to the nostalgic, from the childlike to the adult. Give me the Halloween season and I’m a happy man. Based on candy, costume, and decoration sales, many people share my enjoyment of the season, and for kids, except perhaps for Christmas morning or the first day of summer when school ends, it is the possibly the most joyous day of the year.
Unfortunately, apocalyptic climate scolds seem intent on robbing me and, based on the number of angry kids protesting climate doom and those exhibiting eco- or climate depression, a generation of youth of the joys of celebrating Halloween for its fantastical and fun elements. Hardly a day, and certainly not a week, goes by without a hysterical series of news headlines proclaiming the end of the Earth is near because of this or that aspect of the supposed climate crisis based on a “new study” or a “groundbreaking,” alarming report. Every report says the world is worse off than so-called climate experts had previously claimed and the end is closer than they thought.
The horrors detailed in these headlines and reports are all as mythical as the vampires, werewolves, and shambling mummies and zombies that stalk our streets on Halloween, but unlike those fictional monsters, they really are dangerous because, as spokespersons for the United Nations, staffers of prominent American politicians, and youth climate activists have revealed time and again, the whole made-up climate delusion is not truly about saving the Earth or preventing climate change (a hubristic, impossible task in any case) but rather is aimed at controlling how average people live, by directing their lives and lifestyles.
Climate alarmists’ recent actions remind me of a song from when I was young: “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha, Ha!,” by Napoleon IV (Jerry Samuels). Radical watermelon greens have said often enough they would like to take all climate realists away and prosecute us for climate apostasy, presumably in political show trials like those conducted in the socialist dictatorships they often openly admire. More importantly to the average person, they are coming to take away peoples’ choices about where and how they will live, how they will move about, what they will be allowed to eat, who they can vote for (or even whether they have a vote), and perhaps the most basic choice humans are born with aside from whether to continue to live: whether to have children.
Increasingly in recent months, climate fascists, having already pushed smart-growth policies dictating how people can develop their land or build single-family homes, have pushed cities to ban new natural gas hookups in homes and end natural gas heaters and stoves—forcing people to replace them with less-flexible, less-efficient electric stoves and water heaters, presumably powered by wind and solar power—unless the electricity is shut off, as it was for nearly a week in California, the leading state for climate authoritarianism.
News reports have also covered the push by environmentalists for people to stop eating meat, telling everyone they should be satisfied to live like rabbits or dine on faux meat products. Climate alarmists are also demanding airlines end their airline mile programs, so people will fly less. Of course, this won’t stop wealthy self-proclaimed climate saviors such as Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio from flying in private jets to accept awards for making it harder for average Joes and Janes to fly.
Environmental radicals would even limit peoples’ choice of toilet paper—that’s right, you can’t even be comfortable in the privacy of your bathroom—saying everyone should be willing to accept rear rash or a chapped behind as a penance for causing climate change.
Environmentalists openly admire the ability of dictators in China to get things done without the messy complications of peoples’ democratic choices, not having to take into account peoples’ feelings on matters like where to live and work, and most importantly whether to have children or how many children to have. Radical leftists of an eco-bent have argued since the late 1960s and early 1970s the world’s problems all basically come down to population size and growth, with climate change being the most recent excuse for pushing population control policies. Environmentalists argue we must force U.S. taxpayers to promote and pay for abortions abroad, and they even, on occasion, have spoken glowingly of China’s soul-crushing one-child policy, which has all too often resulted in forced abortions and preferential female infanticide.
In the end, for environmentalists, climate change is not the fundamental existential crisis; people are: our choices, our freedom. The pretend horrors of Freddie, Jason, Michael Myers, Pinhead, and other celluloid Halloween creeps and killers pale in comparison to the evil designs climate catastrophists have for you and future generations. Now, that’s spooky.
— H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
In a recent article in Forbes, professor Roger Pielke Jr., Ph.D., writes, “More than a decade ago, Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner characterized climate policy as an ‘auction of promises’ in which politicians ‘vied to outbid each other with proposed emissions targets that were simply not achievable.'” Nothing has changed, with each candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for the 2020 presidential election making more and more outlandish claims about how soon they can take the economy carbon-neutral if only they are elected president.
Pielke’s analysis shows every candidate promising to free the country from fossil fuel use and the attendant carbon dioxide emissions is lying, because the goal, whether it be by 2025, 2030, or even 2050, is physically impossible to meet. Pielke informs us in 2018 the world’s people consumed 11,743 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe) of coal, natural gas, and oil, resulting in 33.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That means in order to reach net zero by 2050 the world will have to replace approximately 12,000 mtoe of fossil fuel use just to meet current energy demands, not accounting for growth in use expected to accompany economic growth going forward.
As Pielke writes, “Another useful number to know is that there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050. To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of [more than] 1 mtoe of carbon-free energy consumption (~12,000 mtoe/11,051 days) every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years. Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day.”
This transition would require the equivalent of opening three new large nuclear power plants every two days, to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, or alternatively, deploying approximately 1,500 (2.5 megawatt) wind turbines, across about 300 square miles of land, every day, starting the day after he wrote (September 30) and continuing to 2050.
For the United States to reach net zero emissions, we would have to deploy one new nuclear power plant about every six days, starting on September 30 (whoops—we missed that starting date), and continuing until 2050.
To reach the more ambitious goal set by some Democratic candidates of becoming net-zero by 2030, 3,746 days from September 30, globally, it would mean that starting on October 1, 2019, the world would have had to bring online a little more than four new nuclear power plants every day, “and for the United States, the deployment of a new nuclear plant about every other day,” or the equivalent number of thousands of wind turbines daily.
That, of course, is just the physical demands of the problem, not taking into account the economic or environmental costs of such a rapid transition or need for and availability of skilled labor and materials to carry out such a transition.
A meeting of the European Union’s (EU) environment council in Luxembourg ended on October 4 without firm plans or commitments to increase the trading bloc’s emission reduction goals ahead of the U.N.’s forthcoming climate conference in December. Delegates of ten countries forced the E.U.’s environment commission to water down its statement concerning cutting carbon dioxide emissions below the levels they agreed to in the Paris climate agreement.
At the outset of the meeting, the EU’s 28 environment ministers were presented with a draft text calling for member nations to increase their joint Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commitments under the Paris agreement of at least a 40 percent reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gases emissions by 2030 “in a manner that represents a progression of ambition beyond the current one and that reflects the E.U.’s highest possible ambition.” This was consistent with the pledge by incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to increase the E.U.’s NDC to 50 percent and up to 55 percent when appropriate.
At the insistence of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, and Romania, this statement was replaced in the environment council’s final communique with one saying “in 2020, the EU will update its NDC as agreed in Paris.”
Among the countries blocking language committing the EU to further greenhouse gas reductions, Euractive reports the “Czech Republic and Poland in particular refuse to commit to new targets until the costs of ditching fossil fuels are explained fully. Polish energy officials last week insisted that the idea of going carbon neutral by 2050 is ‘a fantasy.'”
The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) has called on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to withdraw its recent Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), which made the alarming claim the organization had high confidence the upper oceans had recently warmed significantly more than previously estimated or measured.
In particular, SROCC says with “high confidence,” “The rate of heat uptake in the upper ocean (0-700m) is very likely higher in the 1993-2017 (or 2005-2017) period compared with the 1969-1993 period.”
GWPF points out IPCC’s overheated claims about ocean warming are based on two studies, one of which is fatally flawed and the second of which doesn’t support IPCC’s claims. One paper the IPCC cites as claiming the oceans warmed more than previously estimated relied on a second paper that, as I discussed in Climate Change Weekly 338, the journal Nature retracted after an independent climate researcher discovered significant methodological flaws in the paper, which the authors were unable to correct.
According to GWPF, the second study the IPCC cites as supporting its claim oceans warmed more and faster than previously estimated in recent years was seven years old, does not demonstrate accelerated warming during the time period it studied, and because of its age, didn’t cover much of the period IPCC claimed alarming warming had occurred.