The Third National Climate Assessment released on Tuesday by the U.S. Global Change Research Program caps a spring of catastrophic climate change forecasts. First it was Earth Hour on March 29, which was completely dominated by climate concerns this year. Then it was the March 31 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that we face climate change-driven "death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods" if we did not mend our ways. This was followed on April 12 by another alarmist IPCC report, Climate Change 2014-Mitigation of Climate Change. And of course, the annual April 22 Earth Day, hijacked years ago by climate activists, has become the world's largest civic observance with over 1 billion people participating.
The message from these groups is always the same. Coastal communities will be submerged due to rapid sea-level rise caused by soaring temperatures and glacier melt. Record heat waves, droughts, floods, insect infestations, and wild fires will result in millions of climate change refugees fleeing their ruined homelands. Competition over increasingly scarce water resources will lead to armed conflict. About all that has been missing from these predictions is alien invasion.
The solution is invariably the same as well. We must reduce our carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas most blamed for planetary warming, and other greenhouse gas emissions by 40 - 70% by 2050 to keep so-called global temperature from exceeding 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.This will require massive cuts in our use of coal, oil, and natural gas, the sources of 87% of world primary energy consumption.
Yet, contrary to IPCC forecasts, global temperatures have actually plateaued over the past 17 years despite a rise in CO2 of about 8%. The most recent reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) that cite thousands of peer-reviewed science papers from the world's leading technical journals, show that there is nothing extraordinary about today's climate. The NIPCC also concludes that there is little evidence that dangerous man-made effects are on the horizon.
This message is starting to hit home. In a U.S. Gallup poll conducted in March, global warming ranked 14th out of 15 issues respondents were asked about. Few people demonstrated genuine concern about climate change when forced to choose between competing issues.
Yet according to the February 2014 national survey for the Sierra Club, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a majority of Americans said that they were worried about climate change and so indicated that they wanted to see the country move from hydrocarbon fuels to renewable energy.
Why the inconsistency?
The 'bandwagon effect', the tendency of respondents to answer pollsters in politically correct ways, prompts many people to give 'respectable' answers to direct questions about issues such as climate change, no matter what they actually think. Dangerous human-caused climate change is so widely promoted in our educational, media, religious, political, and commercial institutions that it takes both courage and knowledge to express an alternative point of view.
Still, many courageous, knowledgeable people who doubt, or are agnostic about, the science backing the National Climate Assessment (NCA) will say nothing to oppose the new report.They judge that widespread acceptance of climate concerns will encourage pollution reduction, energy conservation, increased foreign aid, crop biotechnology, alternative and nuclear energy, and even personal fitness, social justice, and world government-things they regard as beneficial to society. So they keep their doubts to themselves so as to advance 'progressive' policies. Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. sums up the situation in the press, "That much of the media accepted the NCA without questioning its findings and conclusions either indicates they are naive or they have chosen to promote a particular agenda and this report fits their goal."
Plato called the approach of promoting lies to encourage supposedly beneficial outcomes, the 'Noble Lie'. He believed that most people lacked the intelligence to behave in ways that are in their own and society's best interest and so religious lies should be created to keep the public happy and under control. False propaganda to enhance public welfare is completely acceptable, Plato argued.
But this is a slippery slope.
As the public come to realize that they have been misled about climate change, they become cynical about actions they would normally support. For example, many people who support energy conservation oppose Earth Hour because they regard the climate concerns on which the event is based as unfounded. Some even intentionally increase their energy consumption during the event. Crying wolf about global warming that is not happening is damaging sensible environmentalism and even science itself.
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