The climate change debate isn’t really about a change in the world’s climate. Almost everybody knows the earth has undergone millions of years of hot and cold weather cycles. The controversy is whether human use of fossil fuels and other natural resources affects the earth’s normal weather cycles.
I’ll say at the outset I think regional weather is becoming warmer. Anybody who visited Montana’s Glacier National Park in 1953 like I did, and again in 2018, can come to no other conclusion.
The climate change debate over the years has morphed into a multibillion-dollar business. The federal government spent $37.7 billion in 2014 alone. A Forbes study estimated about $150 billion was spent on climate change during President Barack Obama’s first term. During that same period, governments around the world spent an estimated $359 billion. And in 2018, Oregon State University took in almost $100 million for environmental research.
It seems to me that kind of money can warp the opinions of climatologists who’re funded primarily with government money. That’s not to say they’re dishonest. Just that they’re human like everybody else and know where their bread’s buttered. Besides, I’m at a loss to remember a government study, funded with government money, that recommended the government do nothing about the subject of the study.
For example, it’s certainly not correct to claim, as an Oregon State University climatologist did at a Columbia Forum speech in October, that scientists aren’t divided over science showing human influence has been the dominant cause of global warming.
In fact, 31,487 American scientists of all branches of science, including 9,029 with Ph.D.s, signed the following little-known petition to the United States government after then-Vice President Al Gore signed a treaty to ration world energy production (the treaty was never ratified by the Senate). Here is the petition in its entirety:
“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
America’s media never publicized this petition, called the Global Warming Petition Project. It was originated by Oregon’s Institute of Science and Medicine. Most folks know nothing about it. But you can read all about this petition, signed by scientists from all branches of American science, including 350 Oregon scientists, at petitionproject.org/index.php. And anybody who wants to nitpick this petition can find plenty of folks who criticize it for one reason or another.
Furthermore, two other Oregon State University scientists, in a recent paper signed by 11,258 scientists from around the world, expressed opposite opinions from these American scientists who signed the Global Warming Petition.
So what’s really going on?
It seems to me climate change has morphed into just another big political controversy. It’s no longer a scientific endeavor. Anybody can easily find an opinion on climate change to support whatever their political beliefs happen to be about the role of government in their lives.
It’s true that a large majority, but certainly not all, of today’s climatologists claim mankind’s use of fossil fuels is causing global warming from carbon dioxide emissions. They’re paid handsomely for their opinion that government needs to step in. Unfortunately, too many politicians readily act on opinions that folks need more government control over their lives. Politicians know that when everybody thinks there’s a possibility of fire, everybody wants a fireman.
The big question is what Americans should do about the possibility, however remote, that carbon emissions at least contribute in some fashion to, if not actually cause, the Earth to warm up before its usual cycle. In other words, since opinions are all over the lot, whether most folks can be satisfied about government’s role in the matter.
Extreme suggestions aren’t acceptable to almost everybody. To claim we must stop using fossil fuels is like saying we must stop growing food. Or stop using airplanes, ships, cars, or lawnmowers. Or stop eating beef because cows produce methane gas.
Cap-and-trade laws proposed in Oregon are another example of extremism. That kind of brand new tax and control over citizens’ lives by one small rural state in the Pacific Northwest will do absolutely nothing for a worldwide weather phenomenon. Even if all 50 American states enacted the same new tax and control over people’s lives, little would be accomplished — except to make everything more expensive for everybody. And make America much weaker compared to other nations of the world.
Extreme American proposals will do nothing about carbon emissions for a very simple reason. America already regulates carbon emissions to a very low level compared to China and other far eastern countries. America’s not the biggest polluter and emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. China is. And countries in the far east exceed by far America’s carbon emissions.
It seems to me those folks interested in climate change would be well-advised to take on China instead of blaming today’s America for the world’s weather. They should encourage America to motivate China to take a more responsible attitude about pollution in general and carbon emissions in particular. Because as China goes, other far eastern countries will follow.
It’s difficult to deal with dictatorships like China when a moral perspective is needed toward the environment. That need is the best reason why everybody should encourage Congress and President Donald Trump to make concerted efforts to have China become more environmentally responsible.
Future American elections will help resolve our government’s role toward matters of climate change. But international diplomacy is needed to realistically deal with China’s pollution of the Earth itself, and the environmental havoc China’s pollution causes.