Chilling news 22/12/2004
Karl Zinsmeister reveals an earlier myth about climate change:
When I was in high school, the big environmental panic was “a looming ice age.” Consider this excerpt from “The Cooling World” in the April 28, 1975 edition of Newsweek:
“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically…. The evidence has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up…. Meteorologists are almost unanimous [that] the resulting famines could be catastrophic…. A survey completed last year reveals a drop in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere…. The present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average…. Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate, [like] melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot…. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”
And here’s a little common sense applied to the subject:
While the global climate changes over decades and centuries, the weather changes even more radically over periods of a few months. Consider that from January to August the average temperature in most of the world’s populated areas rises by ten times as much as in the apocalyptic global warming scenarios. Temperatures that may average below freezing in winter can easily rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. This temperature range is repeated year after year in most regions outside the tropics. It is perfectly normal and quite survivable, by both man and the environment.
For decades, Malthusian fears of imminent collapse of world food supplies have found a ready audience.47 The new apocalyptic fear is global warming. The doomsayers have it half right. The global warming issue is of critical importance to America and the world, but not because there is a threat of millions dying or world ecology being destroyed. The real threat is from inappropriate and counterproductive responses imposed under a political timetable devised by bureaucratic planners.
It is ludicrous to suggest that the same government which cannot balance the federal budget can somehow balance the world greenhouse gas budget. Almost every aspect of daily life would be impacted by global warming legislation. Special interests would strongly influence the resulting regulations and the bureaucratic micro-management required to enforce an international treaty would dwarf any in existence. The theory that such a system would actually benefit society is even weaker than the arguments supporting a global warming catastrophe.
There is no indication that the world is facing a climate crisis, either immediately or in the coming decades, and no reason why costly emergency responses should be adopted as international policy.
If warming does occur, it will bring many beneficial results. Most important are the longer growing seasons and increased crop yields from CO2 fertilization. The claims of worsening storms, increasing droughts and melting ice caps are frightening but unsupported by the evidence.
Director of Environmental Studies
Competitive Enterprise Institute