Blowing With the Wind on Climate Change

While snow-weary New Yorkers have shoveled their way through one of the worst winters in recent years, and Chicagoans have shivered through record-breaking low temperatures, Secretary of State John Kerry attended a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, on global warming or at least it used to be called that. Perhaps it’s because of the latest inconvenient severe temps this winter that the Save-the-Planet crowd has felt compelled to give their cause a name change: Climate Change, née Global Warming.

Kerry called the issue of climate change “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction,” declaring that 97 percent of scientists recognize it as a proven phenomenon.

Exactly which scientists has Kerry been polling to reach the verdict that climate change is proven? Apparently, not our nation’s best and brightest at NASA. A study of NASA satellite data from the years 2001 through 2011 was contrary to the claim that trapped greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere are producing more cirrus clouds and more humidity, leading to dramatic global warming. The data actually showed that cirrus cloud formation hasn’t been increasing and that instead of heat being trapped in the earth’s environment, it’s instead leaking out into space. In other words, if there is any climate change, it’s not due to so-called greenhouse gases.

In a poll of 1,077 geothermal scientists and engineers, conducted by the Journal of Organization Studies, a strong majority said that they attributed any climate change to normal world conditions. A strong majority felt that climate change poses no risk to the public. Kerry should understand that just because someone wears a white coat and creates a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the indisputability of climate change, it doesn’t make him or her a scientist.

Don’t get us wrong here. There’s nothing salubrious about breathing in car exhaust or the smoke from coal-burning generators. It only takes a visit to China or India to see that the lack of controls on pollution leads to respiratory disease. India’s rapid and unchecked industrialization without proper regulatory controls on emissions have afflicted Indians with the worst lungs in the world. And until the EPA was formed, many of America’s most beautiful rivers were turned into toxic, foul-smelling dumps. Americans enjoy some of the best air quality and drinking water only because of strict regulations on car and power generator emissions. China, India and Indonesia should follow the same model if only to prevent deadly lung diseases.

And yes, we have witnessed some dramatic weather events lately: Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. This year California faces a terrible drought, one of the worst in its history.

But to attribute climate change to gas emissions when the causality has been strongly doubted and perhaps disproven will lead us to spend billions on attempting to combat a threat that doesn’t exist. The propaganda that the climate can be controlled with investing in wind and solar power, alternatives that are currently far more costly than fossil-fuels, will suppress the growth of our economy as well as that of other Western nations. Higher fuel costs will lead to spiraling costs for food and goods — all in the name of a very shaky theory.

And guess what? It’s not even clear that the climate is even changing. While in January the Arctic Sea ice was the fourth-smallest on record, ice in the Antarctic Sea was the fourth largest. For all the doom-and-gloom predictions of more hurricanes like Sandy to hit U.S. shores because of global warming, the U.S. has actually had one-third fewer hurricanes in the last 50 years than in the previous 50. Neither has the intensity of those storms increased; they have actually declined.

Despite the president’s claim that climate change has caused California’s drought, Columbia University climate scientist Richard Seeger told The New York Times that he was “pretty sure” that the state’s lack of rain had to due with “natural variability.” California experienced an almost equally severe drought in the 1970s.

Climate change should not be on the top of the secretary of state’s agenda if he wants to avert a looming catastrophe to the world. What should be his primary concern are not climate changes from gas emissions, but a nuclear winter from rogue states. If Kerry wants to do something about weapons of mass destruction, he should apply pressure on Iran, Pakistan and North Korea to dismantle their nuclear programs. Trying to change the weather is way above his pay grade.

As Mark Twain once said: “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” That was once a joke. Unfortunately, the climate-change activists aren’t joking when they propose drastic changes in how the world economy operates.