Greenhouse Apocalypse

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Greenhouse Apocalypse

Do carbon dioxide emissions threaten all life on Earth?
From the August 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

Environmental activists were outraged. Politicians warned that greenhouse gas emissions would submerge cities, suffocate children, and put human survival at risk. Many saw President Donald Trump pulling America from the Paris climate accords as an unmitigated catastrophe.

“We shouldn’t have to wait until Mar-a-Lago is under water for President Trump to care about the consequences of climate change,” Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez told a crowd of protesters. “And we shouldn’t be joining Syria and Nicaragua as the only three countries in the United Nations to oppose this historic progress.”

“The question I have for Donald Trump, as a mother of five and a grandmother of nine, is how is he ever going to explain to his grandchildren what he did to the air they breathe—assuming they breathe air,” House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “What happened yesterday on the climate issue is an embarrassment to our country, and it should be an embarrassment to him personally for how he answers to his grandchildren.”

“The longer we delay action, the more catastrophic climate change will be,” former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein warned. “Water and temperature levels will soar in the next decades. The sixth mass extinction of species will accelerate, which will render the chances for human survival precarious at best. The issue is how many people will needlessly be forced to deal with—to die from—the ravages of extreme weather, droughts, famine, forced migrations, spread of diseases, and wars over access to land and water.”

To prevent this environmental apocalypse, some activists have proposed drastic action. Three years ago, environmental activist Robert Kennedy suggested that America needs laws to punish climate change deniers. Climatologist James Hansen said those who deny man-made climate change should face criminal trial for “high crimes against humanity.” One professor from the University of Graz suggested the death penalty for climate change deniers.

Before we start imprisoning skeptics, however, let’s look at the actual facts behind man-made climate change. Despite claims from alarmists, the science is far from settled.

Consensus Myth

Former U.S. President Barack Obama tweeted in 2013, “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” Many others, including Sierra Club former president Aaron Mair, have echoed this statistic over the past few years. The problem with this figure, however, is that it is completely bogus.

The 97 percent figure comes from a survey of almost 12,000 peer-reviewed science papers conducted by Australian scientist John Cook. The survey actually found a 97 percent consensus only among peer-reviewed papers taking a position on the cause of global warming. The catch is that only 34 percent of the papers took a position on the subject. Since 33 percent of the papers appeared to endorse the notion that humans cause climate change, Cook divided 33 by 34 to arrive at his 97 percent figure. It would be more honest to claim that 1 percent of scientists say humans are not causing climate change, one third of scientists say they are, and two thirds of scientists are not making such dogmatic proclamations.

When University of Delaware Prof. David Legates reexamined Cook’s study, he found that even the 33 percent figure might be artificially high. By Legates’s assessment, only about 0.3 percent of the 11,944 abstracts Cook examined dogmatically state that humans were causing Earth’s climate to change.

More recently, over 31,000 U.S. scientists signed a petition saying, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Among these scientists were two Nobel Prize winning physicists, four nasa astronauts and more than 9,000 Ph.D.’s.

Despite being virtually canonized as religious dogma by the United Nations, the hypothesis of man-made climate change is not “settled science.” It remains an extremely contentious issue.

Those trying to silence dissenters have far more in common with the medieval inquisitors who arrested Galileo Galilei for spreading the heretical view that the Earth orbits the sun than they do with real, unbiased scientists.

Government Bias

The environmental group Greenpeace condemned anthropomorphic climate change skeptic Dr. Wei-Hock Soon for accepting research grants from energy companies like ExxonMobile. They implied that fossil fuel companies are paying off climate change skeptics.

The majority of climate-research funding comes from the government. Could this lead to biased research?

Unlike the energy industry, which funds both sides of the climate change debate, the federal government primarily funds scientists who conclude that more government regulation of the economy is necessary in order to save the planet. According to Joanne Nova at the Science and Public Policy Institute, the U.S. government spent over $32 billion on climate change research between 1989 and 2009—over 1,500 times more than ExxonMobile.

“Academics who jump on the global warming bandwagon are far more likely to get big research grants than those who express doubts—and research is the lifeblood of an academic career at leading universities,” wrote Dr. Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. “Environmental movements around the world are committed to global warming hysteria and nowhere more so than on college and university campuses, where they can harass those who say otherwise.”

These professors also receive billions of dollars from left-wing foundations like the Sierra Club, Earthworks, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and Earth Justice. Accepting funding from certain organizations does not automatically discredit research; however, it is undeniable that scientists skeptical of man-made climate change receive a fraction of the funding that goes to scientists who propagate it. In the words of Nova, “In this scientific debate, one side is gagged while the other side has a government-funded media campaign.”

What you see in the news isn’t an open, may-the-best-facts-win scientific debate. It is the result of heavily biased and politically motivated manipulation.

Manipulating Data

Ever since the 1980s, scarcely a week has passed without some new report warning about the apocalyptic effects of man-made climate change. These reports systematically exclude data that cast doubt on their conclusions.

The hypothesis of man-made climate change states that when human beings burn fossil fuels, the resulting carbon dioxide gases insulate the planet to an unnatural extent. This causes the planet to warm and the polar ice caps to melt. While few people deny that the planet seems to be about a degree and a half warmer than it was a century ago, the link between rising temperatures and rising carbon dioxide levels is not as straightforward as many politicians say.

According to nasa Earth Observatory, Earth’s average temperature increased by almost 1 degree Fahrenheit between 1918 and 1941. Over the same period, carbon dioxide levels increased 5 percent. Between 1941 and 1978, carbon dioxide levels increased another 5 percent—but temperatures decreasedby about a half degree.

The media at the time engaged in a freak-out about global cooling, yet from 1978 to 1998, temperatures increased another degree. Carbon dioxide levels have risen 15 percent since 1978; however, the average global temperature seems to have stopped increasing since 1998.

These facts cast serious doubt on the notion that burning fossil fuels is the primary cause behind the planet’s 1-degree temperature increase over the past century.

Scientists from America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa) rushed to publish a paper denying this pause in global warming before world leaders met to sign the Paris Agreement in 2015. But Dr. John Bates recently revealed that noaa had to breach its own rules on scientific integrity to get this paper out in time. For some reason, noaa failed to archive key pieces of data used in the paper, which means that its conclusions can never be verified.

Government-funded scientists are ignoring evidence that global warming does not correlate to carbon dioxide emissions, and has paused for the past 19 years.

They are also ignoring evidence that Earth has experienced higher temperatures than today—before carbon-emitting industries were even invented.

Natural Cycles

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, natural factors play an insignificant role in climate change compared to human-induced factors. In order to believe this assessment, however, you have to ignore reams of data from ice cores, dripstones, tree rings and ocean sediment cores. The vast preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that Earth naturally alternates between warm and cold phases in a 1,000-year cycle.

This cycle includes the Holocene Warm Period, the Akkadian Cold Period, the Minoan Warm Period, the Bronze Age Cold Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Dark Age Cold Period, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the Modern Warm Period. During the Medieval Warm Period, the Vikings colonized Greenland and the Normans planted vineyards in balmy Southern England. This warm period occurred 800 years before the first smokestack of the Industrial Revolution went up.

“Based on climate reconstructions from North Atlantic deep-sea sediment cores, Prof. Gerard Bond discovered that the millennial-scale climate cycles ran largely parallel to solar cycles, including the Eddy Cycle which is—guess what—1,000 years long,” wrote German environmentalist Fritz Vahrenholt. “So it is really the sun that shaped the temperature roller coaster of the past 10,000 years. … With our empirically proven natural pre-
industrial pattern, however, we would predict that solar activity had risen since 1850, more or less in parallel with an increase in temperatures. Indeed, both timing and amount of warming of nearly 1 degree Celsius fit nicely into this natural scheme. The solar magnetic field more than doubled over the past 100 years” (Telegraph, June 18, 2012).

However, Dr. Vahrenholt, shunned by climate scientists as a nonbeliever, doesn’t deny that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. He simply concludes that the contributions of carbon dioxide emissions are insignificant when compared to the effects of the sun. Since solar activity increased from 1900 to 1940 and decreased from 1940 to 1970, it correlates much closer with global temperatures than with carbon dioxide levels.

Yet many scientists still find it politically expedient to bury and discredit this type of research.

In 1995, Dr. David Deming from the University of Oklahoma received an e-mail from a major person working in the area of climate change, saying, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.” Four years later, Dr. Michael Mann did just that. His famous “hockey stick graph” showed that Earth’s temperatures had been stable for 1,000 years, before rising precipitously after the Industrial Revolution. This graph ignored Greenland ice core data indicating that the period between a.d. 1000 and 1300 was just as warm as it is today. In fact, according to researchers Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, the algorithm used to produce this graph was specifically built to erase the Medieval Warm Period no matter what data was fed into it.

That is not science.

The burning of fossil fuels may have some limited effect on global temperatures, but the problem with climate change alarmists is that they systematically ignore evidence of naturally occurring climate change. Why would they do this? The evidence suggests that their real goal is to frighten people into surrendering their freedom to centralized government.

Wrong Priorities

Using data manipulation to push a political agenda threatens more than the economy; it also threatens the environment and human wellbeing.

Former President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 would have cost the nation $5.3 trillion, according to Columbia Business School economist Geoffrey Heal. Such draconian reductions would likely have a minuscule effect on global temperature, and a catastrophic effect on more pressing environmental issues.

Many rural communities in America lack access to clean drinking water due to outdated infrastructure. The Government Accountability Office estimates that the costs of fixing this water crisis will be $190 billion in the coming decades. This is money unlikely to be spent if drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions push the nation into recession.

Ecological restoration projects could also suffer if America abandons fossil fuels too quickly. Contaminated sites around the country—old factories, polluted waterways, disfigured wildernesses—need to be cleaned up. This “restoration economy” is worth about $9.5 billion a year, but the work is usually done by green entrepreneurs banking on America’s continued economic prosperity.

Conservation efforts nationwide depend on a growing, free-market economy. So instead of subsidizing unprofitable industries and giving money to the UN’s Green Climate Fund in a misguided attempt to shut down the fossil fuel industry within three decades, the U.S. would do better to invest its money in a research and development initiative to discover alternative energy sources that work. This would be cheaper and much more effective than the UN’s approach.

Fossil fuels and livestock grazing are often targeted as major culprits behind environmental catastrophes. But academic dishonesty, mismanagement of natural resources, and the abandonment of biblical agriculture laws are much bigger problems.

Environmental Stewardship

Scientists, journalists and politicians have hijacked concerns about the environment and twisted them for their own purposes. Does that mean, however, that we should blow off these concerns and ignore the smokestacks, the river-dumping, the nuclear waste leakage and all the other very real, very toxic substances we human beings are releasing into our own environment?

Not at all. In fact, we should care about the environment more than those who co-opt it to serve their own agenda.

The Bible records with notable specifics that God created the environment: the seas, the atmosphere, the land, the plants, the animals. And He created all this for man. Not for man to abuse, but to use responsibly.

God gave the first human beings stewardship of the planet and provided them with instructions on how to sustain the environment, including these two principles: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

Dress means to work and, by implication, to serve as a bondman, or become servant to. Keep means to guard, hedge about, protect, preserve and look narrowly to (Strong’s Concordance). Dressing and keeping the planet requires honesty, discipline, self-denial and individual responsibility.

Industrialists today have discarded wholesome environmental practices and embraced principles based on short-term profit. Meanwhile, government officials who supposedly regulate these industrialists twist environmental concerns for their political agenda.

Our society is built upon the way of selfishness and greed. Our entire approach must be revolutionized.

Real environmental stewardship is going to require nothing less than a change in human nature itself.

Mankind needs to reassume its role as leader of the environment and once again dress and keep the environment as God intended. The Bible tells us that a time is soon coming when “the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine” (Amos 9:13). But first, mankind must learn that attitudes of greed and selfishness need to be discarded and replaced with attitudes of service and of respect for God’s law and God’s creation!