Hurricane Matthew has given climate change alarmists yet another excuse to rail against fossil use and demand a “fundamental transformation” of the US and world energy and economic systems. Reality simply does not support their claims or demands.
Guest opinion by Paul Driessen
Despite constant claims to the contrary, the issue is not whether greenhouse gas emissions affect Earth’s climate. The questions are whether those emissions are overwhelming the powerful natural forcesthat have always driven climate fluctuations, and whether humans are causing dangerous climate change.
No Real-World evidence supports a “dangerous manmade climate change” thesis. In fact, a moderately warmer planet with more atmospheric carbon dioxide would hugely benefit crop, forest and other plant growth, wildlife and humans – with no or minimal climate effect. A colder planet with less CO2 would punish them. And a chillier CO2-deprived planet with less reliable, less affordable energy (from massive wind, solar and biofuel projects) would threaten habitats, species, nutrition and the poorest among us.
And yet, as Hurricane Matthew neared Florida on the very day the Paris climate accord secured enough signatures to bring it into force, politicians, activists and reporters refused to let that crisis go to waste.
Matthew is the kind of “planetary threat” the Paris agreement “is designed to stop,” said one journalist-activist. This hurricane is a “record-shattering storm that is unusual for October,” said another; it underscores how climate change could “turn seasonal weather events into year-round threats.”
What nonsense. What hubris. Suggesting that humans can control planetary temperatures and prevent hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather is absurd. Saying an October hurricane augurs year-long chaos is either grossly ill-informed or deliberately disingenuous.
Matthew was a powerful storm that left destruction and death in its wake, especially in impoverished Haiti. Its slow track up the southeastern US coastline pummeled the region with rain, flooding and more deaths. But it was a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds when it made landfall in South Carolina October 8, and a post-tropical storm as it moved offshore from North Carolina a day later.
Despite the rain and floods, that makes a record eleven years since a major (Category 3-5) hurricane last made landfall in the United States (Wilma in October 2005). The previous record major hurricane hiatus was nine years, 1860-1869, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.
Only a charlatan would suggest that this record lull is due to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. But plenty of alarmist charlatans claim that any violent or “unseasonal” storms are due to “too much” CO2.
Since record keeping began in 1851, the US has been hit by 63 Category 3 hurricanes, 21 Cat 4 storms and three Category 5s (1935, 1969 and 1995). Of 51 hurricanes that struck in October, 15 were Category 3-4. Other significant gaps in major hurricane strikes on US coasts occurred in 1882-86, 1910-15 and 1921-26.
The worst periods were 1893-1900 (8 Category 3-5 ‘canes), 1915-21 (8 Cat 3-4), 1926-35 (8 Cat 3-5), 1944-50 (8 Cat 3-4), 1959-69 (7 Cat 3-5), and 2004-05 (7 Category 3-4 hurricanes in just two years).
There is no pattern or trend in this record, and certainly no link to carbon dioxide levels.
Even more obscene than the CO2-climate deception is the response to Matthew’s devastation. More than a week after the Category 4 version of this hurricane struck Haiti’s unprepared shanty towns, hundreds of thousands still had not received food, water, medicine or clothing.
Just as intolerable, United Nations “humanitarian and disaster relief” agencies were issuing “emergency appeals” for $120 million in “life-saving assistance” funds for the desperate Haitians. This after President Obama improperly diverted $500 million from an economic aid program set up to address disease epidemics – like the Zika and cholera cases that are rapidly rising in Haiti – to the UN’s Climate Action Fund. So Obama and the UN blame hurricanes and diseases on manmade climate change, but refuse to spend money they already have on a hurricane disaster, and instead beg for more money. Incredible!
It is clearly not climate change that threatens the poor. It is policies imposed in the name of preventing climate change that imperil poor, minority, blue-collar, farm and factory families.
A new study by the Institute for Competition Economics concludes that Germany’s “green energy transition” will cost €520 billion ($572 billion) by 2025 – just to switch from gas and coal to renewable electricity generation. These costs will keep accumulating long after 2025, and do not cover “decarbonizing” the country’s transportation, heating and agriculture sectors, the study points out.
This €520-billion bill amounts to a €25,000 ($27,500) surcharge for every German family – and 70% of it will come due over the next nine years. That bill is nearly equal to the average German family’s total net worth: €27,000. It is a massive regressive tax that will disproportionately impact low-income families, which already spend a far higher portion of their annual incomes on energy, and rarely have air conditioning.
Germany is slightly smaller than Montana, which is 4% of the USA, and has just 25% of the US population and 22% of the US gross domestic product. (One-fifth of US families have no or negative net worth.)
All of this strongly suggests that a forced transition from fossil fuels to wind, solar and biofuel energy would cost the United States tens of trillions of dollars – hundreds of thousands per American family.
The impacts of climate change obsession on developing nations would be far worse, if they bowed to President Obama’s suggestions and agendas. African nations, he has said, should “leapfrog” “dirty” fossil fuels and instead utilize their “bountiful” wind, solar, geothermal and biofuel resources. In practice, that would mean having expensive, intermittent electricity and growing biofuel crops on Africa’s nutrient-depleted, drought-stricken lands, with no fertilizer, mechanized farming equipment or GMO seeds.
That is racist. It reflects an elitist preference that the world’s poor should die, rather than emit carbon dioxide “pollution,” drive cars, build modern homes, or engage in other “unsustainable” practices.
Thankfully, few developing countries are listening to such nonsense. Instead, they are using oil, natural gas and especially coal, in ever-increasing amounts, to lift their people out of abject poverty – because the “climate-saving” Paris non-treaty imposes no restrictions on their use of fossil fuels.
But meanwhile, “keep it in the ground” pressure groups are redoubling their efforts to prevent Americans from using their own bountiful fossil fuels to create jobs and prosperity. Even though a new NOAA study confirms that rice growing and meat production generate far more methane than do oil, natural gas and coal production and use – with US operations contributing a tiny fraction of that – these groups use every legal and illegal tactic to block drilling, fracking and pipelines. (Methane is 0.00017% of the atmosphere.)
The dictatorial USEPA nevertheless stands ready to issue tough new methane rules for oil and gas operations, while Al Gore and assorted regulators advocate forcing farmers to control cow flatulence “to combat climate change.” Meanwhile, even Hillary Clinton has recognized that Russia provides millions of dollars in support for anti-fracking and anti-pipeline agitators in Europe and the United States.
Keeping fossil fuels in the ground really means depriving people of reliable, affordable electricity; prolonging unemployment and poverty; having no feed stocks for plastics and petrochemicals, except what might come from biofuels; and blanketing hundreds of millions of acres of farm, scenic and habitat land with biofuel crops, 400-foot-tall wind turbines, vast solar arrays and new transmission lines.
And as the UN’s top climate officials have proudly affirmed, “preventing climate change” is really about replacing free enterprise capitalism with “a new economic development model” and having an excuse to “distribute the world’s wealth” to crony corporatists and other “more deserving” parties.
When taxpayers, consumers, unemployed workers and poor families finally recognize these inconvenient truths, the world will be a far better place – with true freedom, justice and opportunity for all.