The 'non-crisis' reality of climate change
By Richard W. Rahn
In the next 50 years, what do you think is more likely to kill you: a pandemic; a major war, including the use of nuclear, biological or electronic weapons; the income-destroying effects of a global economic meltdown or the effects of global warming?
If you really think sea levels are rising at a non-manageable rate, would you buy a waterfront home? If you really viewed the rise in CO2 levels as an immediate danger, would you fly around in a private jet or invest in a private jet firm? President Biden has appointed John Kerry as the administration’s climate “czar.” Mr. Kerry, whose greatest accomplishment in life (an important talent) seems to have been to marry very wealthy women enabling him to live as a hypocritical dilettante utilizing a private jet, advocates such things as higher taxes on people who are trying to get wealthier by providing goods and services desired by their fellow humans.
It was reported over the weekend that the great humanitarian and steward of the environment, Bill Gates, and some of his cronies paid $4.7 billion for a “private-jet firm.” Do those rich social-justice warriors who lecture the rest of us about the “crises” of climate change and tell us to ride bicycles, while they live in mansions at the water’s edge and have enormous carbon footprints, believe they are entitled because of inherent superiority or do they know much of what they spew out is just ”malarkey”?
Yes, sea levels are rising — and they have been since the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 or so years ago. Men and women are wonderful engineers — and they are endlessly able to claim land from the sea despite rising sea levels. Some countries, notably the Netherlands and Singapore, have been able to appreciably increase the size of their land area.
Miami Beach is an interesting case study. Much of it did not exist a little over a century ago. A developer, Carl Fisher, pumped much of it up from the seafloor and sold lots on the new land. At the time, he and his colleagues only built the island just a few feet above sea level.
With rising sea levels and the increased value of the real estate, flooding became a greater danger. The city leaders, rather than evacuating for higher ground, instead decided to increase the elevation of Miami Beach. A major but doable engineering feat is now well underway — far more cost-effective than trying to change the climate or abandoning one of the world’s great residential playgrounds.
Other parts of Florida, mainly on the west coast, are rising on their own, so the state is not getting smaller as the doomsayers predicted decades ago. Low-lying islands around the world, contrary to earlier predictions, for the most part are not getting smaller or disappearing according to recent global studies. In fact, more are growing for a variety of natural reasons than sinking.
The other great danger, we are told, is the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere from burning hydrocarbons — which is alleged to cause atmospheric warming. CO2 is a trace gas that animals exhale and plants use as fertilizer — which is why it is pumped into greenhouses. There is no consensus on the optimum level of CO2, but current levels are still below that which is beneficial for most plants. Plants tend to like warmth, water, and CO2 that global warming has provided with the good-side effect of increasing agricultural yields and lowering food prices.
Cold climates are more dangerous for people than warmer climates. It is not just good government and low taxes that cause many New Yorkers to move to Florida. In a new study, climate scholar and former U.S. delegate to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Indur M. Goklany, reports that: “Between 1990 and 2017, the cumulative age-standardized death rate from climate sensitive diseases and events dropped from 8.1% to 5.5%,” and malnutrition has dropped by nine percent. To date, global warming has been a net benefit for mankind.
The number of deadly wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes has not increased, despite sensational news headlines. In 2020, Atlantic hurricanes were more numerous than average, but were more than offset by a very large drop in Pacific hurricanes.
Climatologist Judith Curry in a report for the Climate Forecast Applications Network wrote: “Any recent signal of increased hurricane activity has not risen above the background level of natural climate variations. At this point, there is no convincing evidence that manmade global warming has caused a change in hurricane activity.” Lives lost in climate events have been declining for decades as a result of both better forecasting and protective measures.
CO2 emissions have been rapidly declining in the U.S. while greatly increasing in China and India (both of whom continue to build many large coal plants). Atmospheric CO2 is not an immediate crisis but, by the time it might be some decades from now, the safe bet is that cost-effective technologies that do not exist now will have developed to reduce it.
There are a number of greater dangers to mankind at the moment than climate change — so enjoy the longer summers and less expensive food.
• Richard W. Rahn is chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and MCon LLC.
This article appeared on the Washington Times website at https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/feb/8/the-non-crisis-reality-of-climate-change/]]>