Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Well, it didn’t take long for the Sun to publish its first inane, jingoistic editorial of 2009. The editorial board weighed in on what it sees as Barack Obama’s top priority for his first year: stopping climate change.

2008 was a bad year for alarmism. As more and more research unraveled their so-called “consensus”, and more scientists join the ranks of skeptics, the more shrill alarmists became. They doubled down on the old debunked arguments, and found new ad hominem slurs to hurl at those who disagree with them. The latest tripe from the Sun is more of the same:

…time is running out for mankind to take the needed actions to thwart the most disastrous effects of climate change.

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The planet is not merely approaching a perilous situation when it comes to the effects of man-made greenhouse gases; that day has already arrived. The relevant scientific community has reached a clear consensus: Many decades of unchecked fossil fuel consumption has pushed the planet far beyond the natural cycle, and the impact of this enhanced warming, especially the forecast rise in sea level this century, could ultimately lead to human suffering on an epic scale…

Mr. Obama pledged to take many of the necessary steps to move the nation toward a low-carbon economy. He endorsed a reasonable cap-and-trade system that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. And he promised to move the country away from foreign oil and toward renewable energy and so-called green jobs…

The president-elect even has a ready vehicle to help get a lower carbon economy rolling in the proposed multibillion-dollar economic stimulus package that he wants Congress to pass. The plan ought to include major new investment in alternative sources of power, energy conservation programs, public transportation and other green opportunities…

Make no mistake, there will be significant opposition in Congress and from certain
deep-pocketed traditional energy interests such as coal producers. Flat-earth types and other naysayers will no doubt suggest that an economic downturn is no time for added burdens on the business community…

But none of the global warming remedies is apt to happen overnight, and the cost of delay is far greater – not only for the business community but for everyone living on the planet.

Let’s start with the supposed “most disastrous effects of climate change”—but wait its been cooling—oh yeah, I forgot that is the inconvenient truth behind the rhetorical switch to “climate change.”

What clear consensus? Is the Sun referring to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that 2,500-member panel of experts? Does the writer of this editorial know that only 62 panelists reviewed the chapter in the Fourth Assessment Report, which ascribes warming temperatures to human activity? What about the fact that only four out of 23 endorsed the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming? Some consensus! I wonder if by “relevant scientific community” the editorial writer means the administrative assistant, computer network engineer, and website designer, who are listed among the IPCC’s 2,500 experts.

Perhaps the writer is referring to the summary for policy makers that is edited and written by UN bureaucrats. The SPM is a political document, which downplays uncertainties from the main scientific report, omits contrary evidence, and in many ways disagrees with the underlying scientific report. Oops can’t let that inconvenient truth slip out now can we.

The editorial waves the “the forecast rise in sea level” like Benjamin Butler with the bloody shirt. However, the IPCC’s forecast is a range between 7 and 23 inches. Given that warming—contrary to the computer models—has been on the low end and over the last ten years there has been no warming at all, we can expect that sea level rise will track toward the low end of the IPCC range or lower. Does a seven-inch rise in sea level warrant such Chicken Little, sky-is-falling alarmism? Hell even Richard Alley the chief author of the IPCC report on sea level rise said “we don’t have a good assessed scientific foundation right now.” Of course, in alarmist parlance this uncertainty leads inexorably to epic human suffering.

By now anyone who has been paying attention knows that cap and trade schemes have been a miserable failure in Europe. In fact, US emissions fell without cap and trade, compared to Europe’s which increased.

For the Sun however, your commitment to the environment is directly proportional to your support for massive government intervention into the economy and private life. Hence their description of Obama’s cap and trade proposal as “reasonable.” Not unlike Isaac Smith’s labeling of Lieberman-Warner as “modest.” Obama’s plan is merely a reiteration of Lieberman-Warner. Last year, I wrote about the tens of thousands of lost jobs; millions of dollars in lost income and GDP; and increased energy prices Lieberman-Warner would bring to Maryland alone. Lost on this editorial writer is that government mandates will create those millions “green collar jobs,” meaning that tens of millions of other jobs will be destroyed in the process.

Those are the costs of cap and trade. What would be the benefits? Michael Corleone provided the answer in his response to Senator Geary: Nothing. The Kyoto Treaty, if fully implemented, would have resulted in a climatically meaningless temperature reduction of 0.7 degrees—virtually undetectable, which is why some call for 30 Kyotos.

The worst effects of climate change will be manageable, not catastrophic. Furthermore, Jim Manzi noted that by the year 2100 the “epic scale human suffering” actually means a 3% drop in global GDP—in a world where the average human will be five times richer than today. Since the effects are manageable we will have the money to deal with them. Contrast that with cap and trade, which offers all cost and no benefits: energy rationing, higher energy costs, and more burdens on economic activity for a negligible reduction in planetary temperature.

It is interesting how those “deep pocketed traditional energy interests” are at serious funding disadvantage compared to alarmists. Alarmists are funded to the tune of $50 billion, versus the paltry $19 million skeptics receive. Again, another inconvenient truth the Sun, a newspaper with the moniker “light for all” doesn’t think its readers should know.

The lame attempt to paint skeptics as “flat earth types” through invoking the medieval notion that the earth was flat is also interesting. Apparently this editorial writer is ignorant of the fact that a flat earth was the consensus, and it was skeptics like Christopher Columbus, who proved them wrong.

Mmm Mmm Mmm, the sweet taste of delicious irony.

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