de Vos: Climate denier denier
May 27, 2016
A sharp-eyed reader pointed out that I had erroneously linked global warming to human activity. He pointed me to one of Patrick Moore’s essays that explained how the world is cooling because 50 million years ago the average temperature was 16C degrees higher than today. Moore is a climate scientist who claims that carbon dioxide is good for the environment and the real risk to the planet would be to run out of it. Mr. Moore claims that the more petroleum and coal we burn, the healthier the planet becomes. “Wouldn’t hurt Canada a bit to warm up a couple of degrees,” he said, adding that long range forecasting is impossible so we might as well all get serious opioid addictions and put our heads in the sand.
I kind of summarized that last part because Moore’s essay droned on like a Sunday sermon and I was about to nod off. He explained that the current warming is actually cooling and well within the parameters of historical experience. Sea levels have risen before; they’ll rise again. Clear-cutting is good for forests and nuclear energy needs less regulation. So what if we lose penguins and polar bears, there’s plenty of animals around. Not to worry, be happy. He claims ninety-five percent of the world’s scientists think otherwise because they’re sheep in the thrall of liberal lies. I guess as opposed to the five percent of sheep in the thrall of conservative pay.
Much of what we know about climate-not-warming comes from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the United Kingdom’s most high-profile climate denier group. It’s a registered educational charity that claims the costs of reversing global warming are too high and everyone should cultivate a serious opioid addiction and put their heads in the sand. That’s not exactly their policy, but close.
Patrick Moore missed one big fact. By looking at the last 50 million years, he’s missed the trees for the forest. What’s happened in the last 2,000 years say, that’s different from the previous 49,998,000 years? First let me give you a couple of anecdotes.
Rio de Janeiro sits in Guanabara Bay. There’s a description of it in Melville’s Moby Dick that makes the place sound like heaven. Today it sounds more like hell with 315 million gallons of raw sewage pouring into it daily. In 1995 a university study counted over 800 different animals around the bay. The 35 remaining today are described as among the most contaminated mammals in the world. Water in the bay is so polluted that a teaspoon ingested could lead to any of several fatal illnesses.
This is the bay where all the outdoor water sports for this summer’s Olympics will take place. Brazil’s government is currently imploding and at least eight years behind on its promise to clean up the bay. It’s probable the water events will be moved, perhaps even out of the country.
Next, you’ll need to stand where you have a nice view of Niagara Falls, watching the 150,000 gallons per second flowing over the edge. Stand there for 6-1/2 minutes. That’s how much gasoline the world burns every single day.
Patrick Moore missed the fact that the human population 50 billion years ago was zero. In the year zero there were about 200 million folks getting around on donkeys. Today there are 7.2 billion people driving 1.2 billion cars spewing 3.81 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Moore ignores the impact on the planet of the sheer numbers of people devouring its finite resources and the sheer numbers of well-paid politicians pandering to polluters.
Climate-deniers are needlessly rolling the dice on mankind’s future. Even if they’re right, moving to renewable energy would provide lots of jobs and harm no one. If they’re wrong, they’ve condemned the grandkids to a pretty wicked future.