The global warming debate threatens the supply of doomsday cliches
Cliches get attention, and fearmongers have christened a new one that’s already turning credulous heads: “Tipping point.” There are so many warnings about the danger of climate change tipping the balance of nature that to hear the “experts” tell it, Planet Earth has become one large canoe. Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, did a convincing imitation of Chicken Little in his Earth Day speech: “We are increasingly aware of the damage our species has wrought — the pollution, the dwindling resources, the species of flora and fauna forever gone, the rush toward tipping points that may alter the way our planet functions.” That’s quite a doomsday list. He forgot only the pain of gout and heartburn.
Sam Kutesa, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, dutifully chipped in his two cent’s worth: “As scientists have repeatedly warned, we are severely affecting the Earth’s carrying capacity and are in danger of reaching planetary boundaries or tipping points beyond which we risk irreversible and abrupt environmental changes.” Neither man specified exactly how many tipping points the human race faces, but given the vastness of the earth, all our tipping points, like cliches, are about used up.
Gov. Jerry Brown of California affirmed his commitment to fighting global warming last month with an executive order to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030: “If we don’t deal with it, before we know it, we will have passed a tipping point.” A sharp sense of balance can be elusive, but wouldn’t we know it when we tip?
Environmentalists urge one and all not to believe their lying eyes, but trust their computer models. The journal Nature Climate Change released a study last week blaming humans for causing 75 percent of the hottest days. Swiss climate scientists simulated the earth’s atmosphere without human-caused greenhouse gases and compared it to the planet’s actual atmosphere. Using 25 computer models, they calculated that three out of four very hot days are attributable to emissions from human activities. Wielding studies like this, left-wing environmentalists who suckle at the United Nations intend to hector the nations of the world to sign a legally binding treaty in Paris in December to curtail the use of fossil fuels for energy production.
There’s growing informed skepticism that temperatures on Earth are actually subject to human-induced warming. Skeptics point out that the predictions of disaster relying upon computer models are hardly worthy of unquestioning trust. Observations of actual temperature readings with no nudges from a computer reveal that global temperatures haven’t budged in nearly 20 years. Moreover, some of the readings taken from weather stations around the world have been manipulated to give the appearance that global temperatures are warming in line with a rise in greenhouse gas from industrialization. Accordingly, the Global Warming Policy Foundation has recruited a team of international climate experts to determine whether adjustments made to temperature data have resulted in flawed conclusions. Computer models spit out a pinch of prediction and a dash of wishful thinking, but satellite readings of actual temperatures present a stubborn picture of unadjusted reality.
A recent U.N. poll of nearly 7 million respondents put climate change dead last on a list of 16 concerns. You can make someone jump the first time by yelling “boo.” After that, not so much. Until someone comes forward with irrefutable evidence that humans are warming the planet, the wary and the wise will leave warnings about “tipping points” to canoeists.