Guest opinion by Vijay Jayaraj
The Yellow Vest protests in France, now in their third week, have grabbed global attention. Though the French government suspended its fuel tax increase, the unrest continues.
France is not the only country to introduce taxes on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Germany, Canada, and others have their own versions. To make matters worse, the Paris climate agreement threatens to prevent developing countries from using fossil fuels to lift themselves out of poverty. Are such actions justified in the name of the war against climate change?
Up to 30 years ago, no one would have predicted that developed countries would impose taxes on fossil fuel use, the source of energy that made them prosperous.
Now, taxes on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have not only become reality but also inspired widespread outrage from citizens. The Yellow Vest protests have spread to neighboring countries, echoing consumers’ unwillingness to pay exorbitant energy taxes to fight climate change.
Macron’s France, Trudeau’s Canada, and Merkel’s Germany have imposed taxes on carbon dioxide emissions and the use of fossil fuel. They argue that the taxes are necessary to curtail climate change.
Their reasoning is rooted in the United Nations-led collective climate alarmism movement, which aims to replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy sources—mostly wind and solar.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—which purports to be, and the mainstream media and most governments accept as, the most authoritative body on climate science and climate policy—recommends the course of action for world leaders on climate change.
Scientists associated with the IPCC contribute to its reports and recommendations. But most of their global temperature predictions—used to justify the taxes—have failed miserably in the past two decades.
Staunch climate alarmists like Michael Mann and senior climatologists like John Christy pointed out that belief in a rapidly, and dangerously, warming world rested largely on IPCC’s faulty computer climate models.
The computer climate models exaggerate the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on temperatures, making the warming appear dangerous. Yet, contradicting the models, global temperature has been in what scientists call a “warming hiatus” for at least 18 years now. There has been no significant warming in this time period, despite a steep increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
Real-world temperatures have shattered the widespread belief that the earth is turning into a fireball. The model errors prove that assumptions regarding the relationship between anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and temperatures were wrong.
This discrepancy between carbon dioxide and temperature is no surprise to those who understand climatic history. During the past hundred years, although both carbon dioxide emissions and global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration have increased steadily, the global temperature has risen, fallen, and plateaued repeatedly, refusing to follow the pattern of carbon dioxide concentrations.
Similarly, the proponents of climate doomsday conveniently ignore the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period in the 1st and 10th century respectively. Those were remarkably similar to the present and occurred when there were relatively no anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.
This astounding climate reality is reflected in the health of our planet. Despite the rhetoric concerning melting ice caps and dying polar bears, the reality remains starkly different.
Antarctic ice mass volume is on a continuous increase, and Arctic ice mass volume is at the highest level in 10,000 years, barring the severely cold Little Ice Age during the 16th century. In fact, the Antarctic ice sheet gained 112 billion tons a year from 1992 to 2001. NASA’s official page concludes that this addition of ice mass outweighed losses and states that the conclusions of the IPCC are wrong.
Real-world climate differs dramatically from that portrayed by the UN, globalist leaders, and the liberal mainstream media. Every year, numerous peer reviewed scientific journals confirm the healthy state of our environment and strongly object to the climate doomsday theories the UN wants us to believe.
There is no reason why countries should adopt restrictive energy policies that burden their middle classes and slow the conquest of poverty in developing nations.
Thankfully, not all countries are like France.
The U.S. and Philippines have pulled out of the Paris agreement, China and India are continuing to build their coal empires, Japan is on a mission to increase the export of coal technology, Russia is upgrading its coal infrastructure, Germany has continuously failed to keep up with its emission reduction targets, and Brazil’s new President is likely to steer the country away from anti-coal policies.
The Yellow Vest protests are the first large-scale democratic uprising against globalist green policies based on climate fearmongering. We can expect more backlash as the public becomes aware of the truth about the state of climate change.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.