Monday, June 29, 2009

U.S. House Takes Big Step in Foolish Direction

On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to limit carbon dioxide emissions in the name of curbing global warming. This bill is totally senseless from any perspective other than as an excuse to give the government power over every aspect of people's lives.

First of all, there is no global warming. There hasn't been any for more than ten years—despite the fact that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been steadily increasing. During the 20th century, the earth warmed 0.6 degree Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit), but that warming was wiped out in the span of a single year when January 2008 showed an annual drop of 0.63 degree C. (1.13 F.). Of course, the previous century's warming was so small that it should never have been a cause for concern in the first place, but that didn't stop the alarmists from claiming it portended catastrophic global warming. They are still making the same claim even when there is now no evidence of global warming.

Second, nearly all carbon dioxide emissions result from nature itself, not human activity. Joseph D'Aleo, the founding director of meteorology at the Weather Channel and former chairman of the American Meteorological Society's Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, has stated: “If the the atmosphere was a 100-story building, our annual anthropogenic (man-made) carbon dioxide contribution today would be equivalent to the linoleum on the first floor.”

Third, there is increasing scientific evidence that the earth's climate changes are not driven by changes in greenhouse gases but by variations in solar activity and ocean currents. This is abundantly clear in the 880-page report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), released just weeks ago, which systematically refutes the global warming claims of the United Nations IPCC, with thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were not included in the IPCC assessment. Dr. S. Fred Singer, one of the world's foremost atmospheric physicists and a co-author of the NIPCC report, states: human activity has “no influence” at all on the planet's temperature change, and attempts to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions are “ineffectual” and “won't have the slightest impact on carbon dioxide concentrations.” He said the political attempt to regulate regulate carbon dioxide emissions is “not about science” but about “money and power.”

Yet the Obama administration—and even Obama personally—have declared the IPCC's claims as justification for regulating carbon dioxide emissions, and the president stated he was pleased that the House passed the bill, which now goes to the Senate.

The IPCC report was written by only a few dozen people and claims a “consensus” of 2,500 scientists. But most of those were social scientists—such as sociologists or political scientists—not physical scientists, such as chemists or physicists. All scientists to whom the report was sent were listed as having approved it—even those who disapproved it. And many scientists listed as approving it had merely signed approval for use of their own work—not approval of the IPCC report itself. By contrast, more than 31,000 scientists—all physical scientists, no social scientists—have signed a petition against global warming, including some who were alleged to have supported the IPCC report. And more than 9,000 of these have Ph.Ds.

Rep. Henry Waxman, a co-sponsor of the House bill, called it a “decisive and historic action” that would force reductions in the use of fossil fuels and increase production from alternative energy sources that would create “millions of jobs.” This is in line with President Obama's intent to power our society with solar and wind power at 3 to 4 times the cost of coal and natural gas and create “green jobs.” All this reminds me of the time the famous economist Milton Friedman was visiting the site of a canal being built in Asia. He was astonished to see the men working with shovels. He asked a supervisor why they weren't using tractors and other heavy machinery. The government bureaucrat answered: “You don't understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Friedman replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it's jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.” I'm sure if Friedman were still alive, he'd have a similar view of the administration's millions of “green jobs”