Chris Freind: Scorching temperatures fuel debate on climate change | Notice
Pop quiz: How relevant are the following?
108. 116. 121. 130.
If you’ve guessed how many free throws Ben Simmons missed in the playoffs, or how many seasons it will take the Sixers to advance to the final, good try.
The answer is recently recorded all-time record high temperatures for Seattle, Portland, western Canada and Death Valley. In some cases, these highs eclipsed previous records set days earlier.
Across the country, and particularly in the West, we are seeing extreme temperatures that some have proclaimed the climate change apocalypse to be upon us soon.
As with almost everything in America, the issue of global warming has been hyper-politicized, to the point where the facts are irrelevant, the truth is lost, and each side does little more than demonize the other as extremists without heart.
For the sake of clarity, let’s analyze this objectively:
1) As might be expected, many climate change advocates say the record high temperatures are proof that the Earth is warming at a breakneck rate and, if extreme measures are not immediately taken, the world will plunge into the dark. climate chaos.
Not so fast.
Often conveniently omitted from these environmental rants, some of these historic highs, as measured at the start of the recent heat wave, were breaking records not only decades ago, but even a century ago, in the 1920s and 1930. He therefore postulates that temperature extremes are not new and therefore more factual analysis needs to be done to determine how many other times soaring temperatures have occurred. In other words, are extreme heat waves a product of climate change, or are they just natural anomalies that occur periodically?
The most important question is frequency – do extreme conditions now occur on a more regular basis? It’s one thing if the 1930s Pacific Northwest was suffocating on a 115-degree day, but it was a one-off event for another decade. It is quite another thing if huge rises in temperature and the environmental damage they cause – organism deaths, habitat loss, drought and forest fires – occur on a much more frequent timescale.
2) Some on the right like to say that climate change, resulting from human-generated greenhouse gases, is a hoax perpetrated by the left to gain world domination in the name of a world government.
Yes of course.
Crazy plots aside, this point of view misses the point. Even though humans don’t contribute one iota to global warming, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking for cleaner burning alternatives. If climate change is cyclical and we are just in a period of warming, the goal should always be to continuously improve the quality of air, water, soil and landscape. Too many Republicans are missing the boat by ceding “environmental” issues to the left, failing to remember that the greatest environmentalist president was the GOP’s Teddy Roosevelt. Fighting for sound policies that preserve and improve the environment, responsibly that do not wipe out communities whose livelihoods depend on natural resources, is a winning political issue – period.
3) The most important reason we need an unbiased approach to climate change, free from political maneuvering, is that “experts” have a long history of dramatic mistakes. In the 1960s and 1970s, many climatologists hysterically shouted that “global cooling” (the result of man-made aerosols in the atmosphere reflecting sunlight away from Earth) was precipitating the planet into a cataclysmic ice age within decades. Because the Earth would be more than ten degrees colder by the year 2000, they predicted, billions would starve to death from massive crop failures, and chaos would reign. “This (temperature drop) is about double what it would take to put us into an ice age,” said an expert from the University of California.
Not to be outdone, a famous professor at Stanford University predicted: “By the year 2000, the UK will simply be a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million starving people. … If I were a player, I would even take money that England weren’t going to exist in the year 2000, and give ten to one that the life of the average Briton would be of much lower quality than it is. is today.
Still, there was no Ice Age, and the last time we checked Britain is still here. Palm trees are growing on its south coast, and copious amounts of beer, as well as bangers and mash, continue to increase in size, as the British enjoy the highest standard of living in their history.
Facts matter, but perhaps more importantly so does humility – in particular, the ability of scientists and Poles to admit that they were wrong in some of their assumptions. The only way to move forward with any credibility is to recognize that science, and by extension political politics, is not perfect – and therefore, it is commendable to change perspective as the facts unfold. evolve.
4) The point is that many mega-disasters, especially uncontrollable forest fires, are not the result of climate change, but of completely preventable human error. A number of western states (particularly California) have been sloppy on “vegetation management” because their leaders are beholden to radical environmentalists opposed to low-intensity controlled burns, mistakenly claiming that these burns kill the planet. fauna and generate greenhouse gases. Ditto for Australian environmentalists whose opposition to burns has contributed significantly to that nation’s devastating wildfires.
Prescribed fires are intentionally started fires that are extremely effective at removing highly combustible “fuel” from forest soil (pine needles, leaves, dead branches) and promoting new growth. Mother Nature has always caused lightning burns, but while cyclical weather conditions made them infrequent, many cultures, from Native Americans to Australian Aborigines, have imitated nature by lighting fires.
If controlled burns do not occur, debris accumulates to such an extent that the slightest event – lightning, arson, a simple mistake – ignites literal hell that destroys everything in its path. It’s not “climate change; Is stupidity. And it is preventable.
Although the climate is changing, the doctrine of “climate change” as preached by the left is not always what it appears to be.
5) There are a number of sensible ways to tackle climate change and work to reduce emissions:
– Rewrite our trade policies. America has made remarkable strides over the past decades in reducing pollution, but it is not without cost, as it is more expensive to operate factories when you adhere to strict environmental regulations – a problem that is compounded when many foreign companies do not follow these laws (or their governments do not enforce them).
We cannot physically force sovereign nations to reduce pollution and institute environmental regulations comparable to ours, but we can force their hand by leveraging our position as the world’s largest economy. Free and fair trade looks good, but we have neither, and that needs to change. From the threat of tariffs to the elimination of foreign aid and military support, we have the strength to use this advantage to level the playing field on the environment.
– Do not sign treaties restricting America’s carbon emissions while giving a free pass to “developing” nations. In addition to the devastating impact on American employment, agreements such as the Paris and Kyoto agreements are just fingers in the dyke. The United States is not out of control polluters (like China and Indonesia are) and is getting greener every day, so why penalize Americans for doing the right thing?
– No unfunded government mandates. Reducing a plant’s emissions is important, but a government mandate requiring scrubbers of $ 1 billion over a finite period of time results in job losses, lack of growth, and, for some companies, a one-way ticket. outside the United States. Tax credits and market-based incentives for pollution control initiatives are infinitely better solutions.
– Use more natural gas while imposing the safest hydraulic fracturing techniques. America sits atop a virtually unlimited supply of gas, which produces a fraction of coal emissions. Likewise, we should build more nuclear power plants, because they are not only extremely safe, but emit zero emissions. The environmental lobby cannot have it both ways by demanding much lower emissions, but by categorically opposing clean energy sources.
Yes, the Earth is warming up. The big question is why. Is it a cyclical phenomenon, or is it because humans have pumped billions of tons of emissions into the atmosphere? The rational answer is both. So instead of freezing each other, let’s err on the side of caution by creating innovative solutions to reduce emissions, while protecting American jobs and economic competitiveness.
What a victory that would be over the hottest problem of all.
Chris Freind is a freelance columnist and commentator whose column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @chrisfreind.