McClaughry: That really scary climate report

By John McClaughry

On Nov. 23 the U.S government ‘s Global Climate Research Program delivered a congressionally-mandated “National Climate Assessment” report. “Grim” is too weak an adjective for the terrors that the report describes.

Here’s an attempt to summarize the document: The earth is steadily getting hotter. “Human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed climate changes in the industrial era, especially over the last six decades. Over the last century, there are no credible alternative explanations supported by the full extent of the observational evidence.”

John McClaughry

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

It continues, “Without significant [greenhouse gas emission] reductions, annual average global temperatures could increase by 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century compared to preindustrial temperatures.” The increasingly dire effects will be sea level rise, fires, floods, droughts, heat waves, ocean acidification, shrinking glaciers, disappearing Arctic sea ice, “growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water and the rate of economic growth,” and “challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.” In short, an unspeakable planetary calamity could be coming.

The mainstream news media’s coverage of the report was predictably contrived to induce panic. The media featured the report’s recurring statement that the dominant cause (Washington Post said “almost entirely”) of its projected grim consequences is human action. Announced CBS News: “Mass deaths and mayhem: National Climate Assessment’s most shocking warnings — billions of hours in productivity will be lost. Hundreds of billions of dollars will be wiped from the economy. Tens of thousands of people will die each year.”

But what’s new here? The report, relying on passive constructions such as “is projected to be,” seems to collect all of the contentions made by climate alarmists over the past 30 years and announce them again with a redoubled sense of urgency.

The “projections” are founded on computer models that, over the same period, have seriously overestimated the observed increase in global temperature. The report repeatedly tells us that somebody, unnamed, has “very high confidence” in certain of their own projections.

One critic has described the output as “an assembly of prophecies” made by prophets whose careers in government-funded agencies will assuredly diminish if they don’t contribute to the correct planetary disaster narrative.

Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity is defined as the temperature increase that will result from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (now 410 ppmv). For 30 years the ”official” ECS has been estimated as 1.5 to 4.5° C, average 3.0, an extraordinarily broad range.

Climatologist Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) writes that “climate sensitivity and estimates of its uncertainty are key inputs into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon. Continuing to rely on climate-model warming projections based on high, model-derived values of climate sensitivity skews the cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon.”

At least four recent scientific papers, including hers, have concluded that the ECS is more like 1.6°C. If so, even with continuing greenhouse gas emissions, warming will be gradual, comfortable, and probably net beneficial.

The tangible benefits from a warming planet are not conceded in the report. Since the present warming — not caused by humans — began around 1850, living on Earth has become a much happier experience. We have longer growing seasons, fewer crop-destroying cold snaps, greater food production, fewer deaths from cold, less need for heating fuels, and less costly winter highway maintenance.

What of the report’s supposed 4% (+/-2%) reduction in global GDP resulting from a purely conjectural 9°F global average temperature increase by 2090? New York University physics professor Stephen Koonin, who was an Obama appointment as Undersecretary of Energy for Science, puts that claim in perspective. Assuming a very conservative 2% annual global GDP growth rate, “the U.S. economy in 2090 would be no more than two years behind where it would have been absent man-made climate change.” (WSJ 11/27/18).

Yes, climate is changing, and human activity, notably land use changes and fossil fuel combustion, is in part responsible. Whether human activity is the “dominant” cause remains debatable. Debatable, too, is whether the cost of reducing global fossil fuel combustion to non-threatening (to climate activists) levels demands too great a price in prosperity and human well-being.

Rational people are right to harbor serious doubts about this report’s dire and highly speculative projections.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Images courtesy of go-greener-oz/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0 and John McClaughry

5 thoughts on “McClaughry: That really scary climate report

  1. Indeed – It is called WEATHER! …And while the perpetrators of this hoax continue to plaster our beautiful farms and fields with hideous contraptions, some folks in the “climate change business” are getting very rich.

  2. John’s spot on! For an excellent treatise on climate change, global warming, AND global cooling, and most importantly perspective to understand and appreciate these regularly occurring trends over hundreds of years and thousands of years I highly recommend Dr. Gregory Whitestone’s book
    “Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know”, in paperback and written for the non-scientist and very readable. Its thrilling to finally learn the science behind climate change almost all of which has always occurred before man had any capability to influence the process even one iota.
    During those warming phases with high CO2 (much higher than now) plant growth is highly favored and human civilizations thrived. During ice ages (including the mini ice age of 150 years
    ago and back another several hundreds of additional years) characterized by low CO2 levels were fraught with poor plant growth, famine, disease and great struggles for humans.
    As for ocean levels rising when temperatures increase and glaciers melt, think of a glass of ice water. As the ice melts, does the water level rise? Will it spill over the glass? The answer to both is no. The water level is already in equilibrium with the mass and volume of the ice and volume of water. As ice melts it trades ice volume for water volume and the level remains the same.

    Dr. Whitestone answers all of the popular misconceptions, mis-characterizations and outright lies John addresses and more, so you know the truth and the science behind why that’s the truth!

    • The Reader’s Digest earlier this year had an article describing how one naval base is in the process of raising their dock heights because of the rising ocean levels. It went on to describe the process and cost saying that it was due to global warming and the polar ice caps melting. It ended the article saying that it wasn’t necessary at all bases because the water rise varied at different ports. Anyone with an elementary school education learned that water seeks its own level.

      • Naw. Various countries and areas must control water levels with a series of locks like the Panama Canal or the controlling the North Sea from flooding London’s Thames River. But this info isn’t of news, so one doesn’t hear. Harbors are “locked” off. LOL

  3. The mainstream news media’s coverage of the report was predictably contrived to induce panic,
    yup the sky is falling, the sky is falling ………..Just another Al Gore scenario !!!

    Watch who’s getting the Money……………..

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