The Case Against America’s Green Energy Policies

by | Nov 11, 2022

Compelling evidence of a better way to manage climate change.

US federal, state, and local governments are pursuing so-called green energy policies that promise to entirely replace fossil fuels (coal, refined oil fuels, and natural gas) with electric energy generated by wind and solar generating facilities. More specifically, green energy policies include: (1) massive spending to subsidize the expensive wind and solar generation and expensive electric vehicles; (2) restricting the production and transportation of fossil fuels; (3) restricting the production of gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles; (4) restricting the production of natural gas and oil fired furnaces, water heaters, and other heating and drying devices; and (4) forcing electric utilities to generate exclusively with expensive and highly unreliable wind and solar generation. (For more details follow the link to, “How Green Energy Will Become No Energy” in Capitalism Magazine.)

The alleged justification for these costly and disruptive green energy policies is to stop global warming and catastrophic climate change that is alleged to be an existential threat to humanity. But the evidence that follows below overwhelmingly indicates that these policies will not stop warming or climate change. Nor are these costly and disruptive green energy policies even necessary to protect humanity from a climate catastrophe. The following is strong evidence that might even be used in courts to stop green energy policies.

Evidence: Why Ending US Fossil Fuels Won’t Stop Global Warming

As the following discussion will demonstrate, the risk of massive economic disruption caused by abandoning fossil fuels offers no offsetting benefits to Americans and is unjustified. Because, as US officials certainly know, ending fossil fuels in the US will not significantly hinder global warming or climate change.

Here’s why.

  • According to the UN’s “Executive Summary – Production Gap 2021 Report,” [1] the world needs to decrease fossil fuel consumption by roughly 60% between 2020 and 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C or well below 2°C, as required by the 2015 Paris Agreement. “Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.”
  • In 2021, the International Energy Agency reported that “Despite many pledges and efforts by governments to tackle the causes of global warming, CO2 emissions from energy and industry have increased by 60% since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [aka the UNFCC or the Kyoto Protocol] was signed in 1992.”[2]
  • According to the Wall Street Journal in 2022, only 18 nations have reduced emissions for a decade or more. [3] Apparently, about 173 other nations, like China and India, are continuing to enjoy the cost-effective advantages of fossil fuels – the prior pledges and climate agreement goals to reduce fossil fuel emissions are clearly not being honored.
  • In 2021, President Biden’s Climate Ambassador John Kerry admitted the following about reducing global atmospheric CO2 emissions:  “…almost 90 percent of all of the planet’s global emissions come from outside of US borders. We [the USA] could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn’t solved.”[4]

That admission of climate policy failure was spoken by the highest-ranking US official who is responsible for persuading other nations to join America in abandoning fossil fuels. Kerry also stated that the President is aware of this failure.

Obviously, global warming and climate change cannot be stopped by the US abandoning fossil fuels. Because, even after over 30 years of pleading and debate, roughly 170 other nations are not cooperating.

Evidence: Climate Models Collide with Reality

Groups of elite government-sponsored scientists and computer programmers worldwide have each developed massive computer models of atmospheric and oceanic physics and chemistry. These groups are sponsored by the World Climate Research Programme, in collaboration with the US Department of Energy and others. The projects are named the Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIP). The CMIP models attempt to predict the increases in mean global temperatures caused by anthropomorphic greenhouse gases (AGW or human-caused GHG). If the warming simulations match (i.e. are statistically correlated to) actual observations of warming, then the simulations would tend to confirm the theory that GHG emissions cause global warming.

In 2017, a significant test of the validity of 32 different CMIP model results was conducted by comparing scientifically observed global tem­peratures to the average of the 32 different mean global temperature model warming predictions reviewed by the IPCC. Model inputs include many factors including assumptions of the quantity of emissions of human-caused greenhouse gasses (GHGs) in addition to naturally occurring GHGs. The 32 different model predictions and the real-world observations are compared in the temperature anomaly chart below. (Anomaly charts depict the variation in temperatures.)

The temperature anomaly chart above was prepared by Dr. John R. Christy, a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, an acknowledged expert in the measurement of global temperatures.

Dr. Christy presented his temperature comparisons and explained the results of his statistical analysis of the comparisons to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology on March 29, 2017.[5] A key excerpt of Dr. Christy’s testimony to Congress follows:

“… the consensus [average] of the models fails the test to match the real-world observations by a significant margin. … As such, the average of the models is considered to be untruthful in representing the recent decades of climate variation and change, and thus would be inappropriate for use in predicting future changes in the climate or for related policy decisions.” [Emphasis added.]

The failure of temperature predictions to predict reality casts serious doubt on the hypothesis that justifies the predictions – the theory that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of global warming. Also, the widely varying CMIP predictions graphed in Dr. Christy’s temperature anomaly chart reveal the large variance among the world’s climate modeling elite when it comes to predicting global warming, graphically demonstrating that the cause of global warming is not “settled” science.

In fact, scientists don’t know to what extent recent warming is due to carbon emissions and to what extent the warming is due to unknown natural causes. Natural warming does occur. Consider that scientists generally believe that about 100,000 years ago, Earth’s temperatures began dropping to cause Earth’s most recent “ice age” when a large portion of the northern hemisphere was eventually covered with massive glaciers and sea ice. Then about 10,000 years ago, Earth began warming, melting much of the glaciers and sea ice. Certainly, that warming was not human-caused.

If we accept claims without proof or strong evidence, then we must accept almost anything claimed. For example, would we accept a claim that a new ice age has begun? Or would we demand proof?

Evidence: Even Massive CO2 Emissions Have Not Harmed Humanity

The fact is that no one can predict the extent to which people are harmed by GHG emissions if any. There is not even a preponderance of evidence of the claimed harm or existential threat. But there is ample evidence (summarized in the opening paragraph of this brief and detailed in a companion brief) that suppressing GHG emissions is harmful.

Here are some little-known statistical facts that further contradict the climate catastrophe claims and confirm our common sense conclusion: During the 100 years ending in 2010, when CO2 emission rates increased 10-fold, the worldwide rate of deaths from extreme weather plunged by 98%.[6]

That is solid evidence that most humans are succeeding in protecting themselves from extreme weather, even when carbon emissions are soaring. Actually, humans have struggled to survive the potential dangers of extreme weather events since the beginning of humanity. And that includes natural climate changes resulting from seasonal changes, migration, the “ice age”, the “Little Ice Age” and the “Medieval Warming” eras of centuries past. Also, be aware of the natural warming period and the resulting 120-foot increase in global mean sea level over the past 10,000 years as the most recent ice age ended.[7]

So the current gradual warming trend of about 0.15°C per decade[8] (confirmed by satellites for the past four decades) is not remarkable in the annals of human struggles to survive climate change. That’s why climate change is not a danger to people who take reasonable and well-known precautions to protect themselves against the weather extremes feared to occur in any particular climate.

Fossil fuels have made labor-saving energy very affordable since the beginning of the industrial era 200 hundred years ago. Using fossil fuels to power labor-saving machines and devices has made Americans incredibly prosperous and has doubled Americans’ longevity. And the more prosperous people have become, the easier it has become for people to master the risks of extreme weather. As Alex Epstein demonstrated in his book, Fossil Future, humanity will benefit from more fossil fuels, not less.

Evidence: Adaptation Is a Superior Way to Manage Climate Change

Here’s how we know that the plunging death rates – even when CO2 emissions were soaring – are likely the result of the human ability to manage and adapt to extreme weather.

Rising seas: Humans have managed rising seas for 100 centuries. Scientists know that Earth’s seas have been rising for over 10,000 years – ever since natural warming began melting the glaciers and sea ice of the last ice age. The UN reports a near-term 1.46 inch per decade rate of rise of global mean sea level (about a foot by the end of this century). The UN’s worst-case scenario is for a 3-foot rise by the end of this century.[9] Not exactly a tsunami. There’s time to move to higher ground or build dikes, even in the event of the UN’s worst-case scenario.

Extreme weather danger: Consider the many residents of New York City who migrate to the Miami area, where the average Miami temperature is 12°C warmer than in New York City. (That’s eight times the 1.5°C warming limit demanded by the Paris Climate Agreement.) Certainly, Miami experiences a different set of weather extremes than New York City. But where is the evidence that Miami’s much warmer climate is more dangerous than New York City’s cooler climate? And why are New Yorkers so eager to migrate to Miami? And why aren’t people clamoring to escape the dangerous climate of Miami?

The answers are that the claims of extreme weather danger are grossly exaggerated and that they evade the fact that most people know how to protect themselves from extreme weather. When New Yorkers move to Miami, they soon learn that it’s best to have air-conditioned homes, offices, and vehicles and to avoid golf or tennis in the middle of a summer day. They can seek homes that are built and located to safely withstand tropical storms. In New York City, residents know to use winter clothing, snow tires, and heated shelters to protect themselves from extreme cold weather and winter ice and snow storms.

In fact, climate adaptation has become so easy for Americans that we hardly think about it. We take it for granted, not fully realizing that we often successfully and safely deal with quite significant climate changes and extreme weather in our lives. Claims that a warmer climate leads to extreme weather danger are contradicted by our routine life experience with climate change. Our common sense tells us that a change to a warmer climate is different – but not necessarily dangerous if we take appropriate precautions to protect against extreme weather, as humans have done throughout human history.

So claims that global warming and climate change pose existential threats are absurd and an affront to our common sense.

Evidence: Global Warming Can Make People Safer

Extreme weather has always been a threat to human safety in both hot and cold climates. But if you are marooned on an uninhabited island like Robinson Crusoe or the crew of JFK’s PT 109, would you survive best on a tropical island or an arctic island? For humans, warmer weather is better than cooler. That’s common knowledge and a scientific fact that has been confirmed by health research.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says, “The Arctic is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the world.”.[10] So perhaps global warming makes cooler climes safer and more comfortable with only moderate warming of tropical climates.

How Might Green Energy Policies Be Justified

Green energy policies might be justified if the following three conditions have been satisfied:

  1. Most of the nations of the world have signed a binding treaty to reduce human-caused GHG emissions in a total quantity that is sufficient to stop global warming by a date certain (and without US subsidy or coercion of signatory nations); and
  2. US scientists have provided compelling evidence that they can reasonably predict the harmful and beneficial changes in various US climates as a function of human-caused GHG (exclusive of natural causes); and
  3. US scientists and energy economists have reasonably demonstrated (not just opined) that banning the production and consumption of fossil fuels is a more cost-effective method of managing or preventing climate danger than conventional methods of protective adaptation.

Reasonably, all three of these conditions are required to justify violating the freedom of Americans to produce and consume fossil fuels in the US. At a minimum, the third requirement should include all four of the green energy strategies currently being employed by US governments (listed in the first paragraph of this policy brief), plus any other policies being contemplated.

Conclusion

At this time, the three conditions listed above have not been satisfied. So there is no reason to believe that violating Americans’ freedom of energy production and consumption is justified. And Americans should demand that all green energy policies be reversed until all three of the above conditions have been satisfied.

There is no proof that global warming or climate change is significantly caused by fossil fuel emissions. (Natural causes have not been ruled out.) Nor proof that abandoning fossil fuels will stop global warming or climate change (with plenty of evidence to the contrary). Nor proof that climate change poses an existential threat to humanity nor any threat that cannot be safely managed with adaptive measures (with plenty of evidence to the contrary).

Weigh the evidence. The preponderance of evidence presented in this article indicates that the always ongoing human adaptation and management of extreme weather is far superior to green energy policies as a way to cope with any reasonably anticipated added danger that may arise due to climate change. Therefore, US federal, state, and local governments have no right to prevent Americans’ from producing or consuming fossil fuels.

US officials surely know that their green energy policies will only delay global warming and climate change by an imperceptible amount of time. Americans will not benefit from these policies and they will definitely be harmed. So, with such compelling evidence, shouldn’t US officials be required to answer for violating Americans’ lawful freedom of action and for pursuing costly and disruptive green energy policies in the popular media as well as in federal and state courts?

Hopefully, individuals, companies, and associations in the US who understand the green energy policy threat to American prosperity and freedom will have the courage to act to stop the green energy policies and hold officials accountable for denying Americans the freedom to produce and use fossil energy.

 

End Notes

[1] Production Gap: The Production Gap Executive Summary   https://productiongap.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/PGR2020_ExecSum_web.pdf  Published by the Stockholm Environment Institute, UN Environment Programme, and others.

[2] International Energy Agency: Net Zero by 2050 – Analysis – IEA https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050

[3] Wall Street Journal: Renewables Are Key to Cutting Emissions Over Next Decade, U.N. Panel Says – WSJ  https://www.wsj.com/articles/emissions-cuts-in-next-decade-are-crucial-to-meet-paris-targets-u-n-panel-says-11649085009

[4] Kerry: Kerry admits zero emissions won’t make difference in climate change (nypost.com) https://nypost.com/2021/01/27/kerry-zero-emissions-wont-make-difference-in-climate-change/

[5] Christy: ChristyJR_Written_170329 (house.gov)   March 29, 2017. https://science.house.gov/imo/media/doc/Christy%20Testimony_1.pdf?1

Dr. John Christy is the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, the Director of the Earth System Science Center, Alabama’s State Climatologist, and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He is the recipient of NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and a Special Award by the American Meteorological Society. He has served as Lead Author and Contributor/Reviewer for reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Illinois.

Read the following policy brief for further understanding of how science contradicts GHG claims:  Ending Fossil Fuels Won’t Stop Global Warming by Richard Batey | Capitalism Magazine

[6] 98% Reduction: Wealth and Safety: The Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather in an Era of Global Warming (reason.org) https://reason.org/wp-content/uploads/files/deaths_from_extreme_weather_1900_2010.pdf

See this cited article for a detailed explanation of the various data sources used in this assessment of deaths from extreme weather.

[7] Ice Age Warming: NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service: Glacial-Interglacial Cycles   https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/2021-11/1%20Glacial-Interglacial%20Cycles-Final-OCT%202021.pdf

[8] Current Warming Rate: Warming trend based on temperature readings of satellites that are owned and operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Data and charts are assembled by climate scientists and satellite temperature experts, Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy  (University of Alabama, Huntsville).  https://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

[9] Rising Seas: UN IPCC 2021 Assessment Report Summary for Policy Makers   https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM_final.pdf

[10] NOAA: Climate change rule of thumb: cold “things” warming faster than warm things | NOAA Climate.gov https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/climate-change-rule-thumb-cold-things-warming-faster-warm-things

 

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Richard Batey received a Bachelor of Science degree (Physics) from Texas A&M University and enjoyed a lengthy career in the electric utility power generation and transmission industry. Rich receives no compensation or other benefits from any employers or sponsors.

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