As the Earth Warms

By: 
Al Jacobs

On the very first day June – for many of us the perceived start of the summer season – I was greeted with a most unsettling newspaper headline: “Climate change causes 37% of global heat deaths, study finds.”

If this were not sufficiently devastating, the article reports the following: “but scientists say that’s only a sliver of climate’s overall toll – even more people die from other extreme weather, amplified by global warming such as storms, flooding and drought – and the heat death numbers will grow exponentially with rising temperatures.”

The author of these grim tidings is journalist Seth Borenstein, affiliated with The Associated Press, who identifies himself as a science reporter. With the introduction he presents, I could not help but continue my reading. He states “dozens of researchers who looked at heat deaths in cities around the globe calculated that 37% were caused by higher temperatures from human-caused warming” … but he fails to name a single researcher.

Later, as he notes, the deaths “amount to about 9,700 people a year from just those cities, but it is much more worldwide, the study’s lead author said” …however he doesn’t divulge who this lead author is.

Later in the article he reports “scientists used decades of mortality data to plot curves detailing how each city’s death rate changes with temperature” … but again not a single scientist is named. Finally, he discloses “researchers took observed temperatures and compared them with 10 computer models simulating a world without climate change” …though whoever these researchers are remain a mystery. My immediate reaction was wonderment as to why a science reporter might be so remiss in disclosing the most crucial information required in affirming an article’s verifiability.

As you can see, the concern I’m raising strikes at the very heart of what is now the single-most controversial subject debated today: the validity of the claim of man-made climate change as a threat to the world. You’ll note I use the adjective “man-made.” This is because there is no question climate change exists and has since the earth formed. This I learned as a youngster living in Minnesota – known as The Land of 10,000 Lakes. I understood those lakes are the remnants of the glaciers that covered the area during the Quaternary ice age, which existed some two and a half million years ago. It’s for this reason there is uncertainty as to whether a meaningful portion of the change can actually be attributed to how we humans conduct ourselves.

And of even greater concern, will our efforts prove to be both socially and financially practicable. If the answer is no, the entire controversy is meaningless. It’s therefore vital the investigation and research we conduct is thoroughly accurate.

In the hopes of collecting information, I visited the Internet and found a massive amount of verbiage on the subject of climate change.  However, virtually every site I came upon presented nothing of consequence and concluded with a fundamentally identical plea … “You can help fight climate change – donate now.” All of them simply appear to specialize in collecting money; to obtain valid information on what we seek, we must direct our attention elsewhere.

Ah ha … I’ve located what appears to be a thoroughly reputable research source. It is the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a nonprofit tax-exempt foundation formed by “a group of scientists” in 1967 on Long Island, New York. They identify themselves as an environmental organization and have issued a report titled “7 Undeniable Climate Change Facts.” I will summarize each.

1. Though they offer no substantiation, they maintain climate change is real, that “97% of climate scientists agree it is driven by human activity” and “in the scientific world this is consensus.”

2. They refer to a report by NASA, the Department of Defense and “experts at 10 other agencies” indicating human action made Hurricane Harvey, which devastated parts of the U.S. in 2017, “three times more likely to happen,” and “this matches the conclusions of thousands of other scientists around the world.”

3. They state “climate change reports from major climate science institutions around the world are entirely based on thoroughly peer-reviewed scientific research and are further reviewed by external experts at various stages of development.”

4, They believe “working to stop climate change can drive economic growth, while unchecked climate change will have dire economic consequences.” They also maintain “unchecked climate change will cost $40 trillion by 2060.”

5. They contend “Climate scientists are underpaid – or not paid – for their work.

6. They maintain “federal climate change reports are credible because they are written by scientists, not politicians.”

7. Finally, they disclose “climate change reports will consider a wide range of possible future scenarios, which will use advanced technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

Now that I’ve summarized the EDF report, I contend there’s nothing of consequence revealed. It’s clear they do not engage in research; they merely seem to repeat what they come across elsewhere … and most of it is devoid of verifiable substance. Not a single research source is provided nor are there any statistics which might be checked for accuracy. They present nothing but vague generalities.

I will now present the rebuttal information I’ve encountered … and I’ve tried to find responses of substance from persons with impeccable credentials, so this is not merely a “No I’m not!” … “Yes you are!” variety of shouting match.

Dr. Leslie Woodstock, emeritus professor, University of Manchester (UK), School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science: “The theory of ‘man-made climate change’ is an unsubstantiated hypothesis, as is the belief carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuel is the ‘greenhouse gas’ causing ‘global warming’ – in fact, water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is 20 times more of it in our atmosphere. There is no reproducible scientific evidence carbon dioxide has significantly increased in the last 100 years. Anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean anything in science. It’s not significant.”

Dr. James Lovelock, English scientist and environmentalist, PhD degree in medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. As a lifelong inventor, he developed many instruments designed for NASA in its planetary exploration program. He invented the electron capture detector which assisted in discoveries about the persistence of chlorofluorocarbons and their role in stratospheric ozone depletion. He questioned the climate change movement (which used to be called global cooling and later global warming). He described the environmental movement as becoming “a religion … and religions don’t worry too much about facts. We simply can’t be certain.”

Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace and holder of a PhD from the University of British Columbia in Forest Biology where he researched heavy metal contamination due to failure of existing mechanisms. As a leader of the international environmental movement for over 40 years, he has since criticized the environmental activists for what he sees as scare tactics and disinformation, saying that the environmental movement “abandoned science and logic in favor or emotion and sensationalism.” He concluded “There is no scientific proof human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years … no actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.”

Dr. Tim Ball, PhD University of Manitoba in geography with a focus on historical climatology from Queen Mary University of London. He is an environmental consultant and former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg. He views the climate change advocacy as conspiratorial: “Everything going on with weather is normal … they pick chosen parts of records to support their story … WHO claims a 30-year long record is significant – problem is, climate cycles can be two years to 100,000 years … the aim of practical politics is to alarm the populace, menacing it with endless and imaginary hobgoblins, clamoring to be led to safety…man-made climate change is a fake.”

A final thought: I find the arguments and evidence presented by climate change enthusiasts to be unimpressive. I believe the entire movement is largely hyperbole.

Al Jacobs, a professional investor for nearly a half-century, issues weekly financial articles in which he shares his financial knowledge and experience. Al may be contacted at al@abjacobs.com

 

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