Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on climate change, featuring an exclusive interview with Patrick Michaels, climatologist and Senior Fellow in Environment and Energy at Competitive Enterprise Institute.
How dare you? We will long remember those words from a Swedish teenager who has now been elevated to a position of moral authority atop the Armageddon faction of the left’s climate justice movement. In fact, she has become the public face of the climate branch of the broader social justice movement.
Yes, a child shall lead them. And we don’t mean Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, you see, is the face of victimhood. She is the bright young mind selected to be the poster child for the untold millions of youngsters around the world who will never get to see their potential realized because of a collapsing planet.
This now infamous, pubescent profession of scorn for the generations that fought to preserve the freedom of the western world and the succeeding generations who sustained it is sure to be etched in stone by both sides in the climate debate.
More than anything, it is the predictable consequence of the single most damaging effect of this insanely irrational fear of the changing climate – or need for control. And we’re not even talking about the $30 trillion price tag for the Green New Deal, nor the reality that the GND would tank the economy overnight.
No, the true and lasting damage the adult climate extremists have wrought is to rob impressionable American youth of the invaluable gifts of childhood, innocence, and hope. Stop for a moment and consider how miserable your own life would be if you were raised among parents – not to mention indoctrinating teachers, shameless politicians, and a recklessly irresponsible media – shouting that the end of the world is nigh. And then you were told that the only solution is to tear apart our entire infrastructure and command the destruction of the fossil fuel economy that built and sustained the nation.
Extreme as that seems, another thing is equally true. These young climate justice warriors (most of whom are tied directly into the broader social justice movement), not to mention millennials and Generation Z writ large, truly believe most or all of this.
Thus, we sought a sane and balanced perspective from the go-to guy for all things related to climate: Pat Michaels, respected climatologist and Senior Fellow in Environment and Energy at Competitive Enterprise Institute. And pay close attention to the last thing he says. You can watch or hear the interview here:
Tim: Let’s get right to this 12-year thing, where we’re 12 or 11 or 10 years or whatever away from this end of the world scenario … that’s the amount of time we have before the end of the world is nigh. On what basis do they make this claim, and how valid is it?
Pat Michaels: It’s an exaggeration of a claim made by the United Nations that if the nations on earth, this was made in 2018, did not follow a path to substantially reduce emissions and to go to the zero emissions by the year 2030, that it would be impossible to avoid a very negative impact from climate change. Now, they didn’t quite exactly say that, but somehow the 12 years between 2018 and 2030 was conflated into saying that the world’s going to end. We’re going to go into climate apocalypse in 12 years unless we do something. No, that’s real exaggeration, and what that was all about.
Tim: Well, now here’s something I completely don’t understand in what environmental activists claim. They say that this climate crisis will produce all manner of catastrophes, including both floods and droughts. Now, I don’t understand how you can say both droughts and floods would result from the meltdown of the global climate. Can you explain that to us?
Pat Michaels: Well, it’s kind of difficult because you see, as noted by the famous philosopher of science, Karl Popper, if a theory explains everything, it explains nothing because it can’t be tested, and there’s a very strong aspect of that. In many of the months of the rhetoric on climate change, every time there’s a hurricane, every time there’s a tornado, every weather event, somebody gets online and says, “Ah, this was caused by climate change.”
In reality, the changes that we see are really subtle. For example, about hurricanes, there have been model projections that hurricane rainfall rates might increase some, but according to those projections, the signal of that is not likely to emerge out of the noise in the data until somewhere around the year 2080. When you start talking about things that far in the future and trying to plan for things that far in the future, you may actually be doing a disservice by spending money now on futile attempts to stop the things you can’t.
Tim: Now, we have enough trouble trying to predict the weather next week, but oops, I forgot … weather and climate are different … we get lectured on that by the environmental extremists, especially when we ask why, for example, we got record low temperatures across the Midwest last winter down to like -30 degrees when we’re in the midst of a global warming crisis. They say we just don’t understand there’s a difference between climate and weather, so Pat, what is the difference?
Pat Michaels: Well, generally weather events are just that, events that last a few days or so, individual storms, et cetera. Climate is the summation of all those events over time. Obviously, the climate is very multidimensional and that’s why you just can’t take an individual weather event and attribute it to climate change.
Tim: Now, I’m trying to figure out with this green new deal business how basically shredding the entire American economy and starting all over again with the green new deal, and let’s call it what it really is, a fantastical all-encompassing socialist manifesto, when there are approximately 190 or so other countries in the world who will not live by the same standards. How’s that going to save the planet? I mean, if we did the whole green new deal, the whole thing that the squad and most of the democratic presidential candidates are demanding, would it actually make any difference if we’re the only country out of almost 200 in the world that’s doing this? And conversely, what difference would it make if every country on the planet did do a green new deal?
Pat Michaels: Well, let’s try the first one. Let’s say that we cut our emissions to zero today, and we don’t emit another molecule of carbon dioxide from the United States all the way to the year 2100. The Obama Administration had a model to project the climate effects of various policy options, and you can run that model under those circumstances. In other words, our emissions go to zero today and they stay there until the year 2100. Using the climate models that the Obama Administration was very fond of, it turns out that zeroing our emissions to the year 2100 would reduce global warming by about 1400th’s of a degree Celsius!
In part two of this series tomorrow, Pat Michaels discusses how much difference it would make if the green New Deal becomes law and the larger question of how much mankind can actually affect or reverse a changing climate.