Opinion: Daily Journal

You Can Make This Stuff Up

RALEIGH – The jig is up, but don’t expect the global-warming crowd to cop a plea just yet.

According to a new report in the Christian Science Monitor, the much-ballyhooed Kyoto Protocols have virtually no chance of affecting the global climate in any significant manner. That’s because surging economies such as China and India – likely to be among the centers of economic growth in the 21st century and, conveniently, outside the protocols – will be generating large amounts of energy in the coming decades, energy that may well come from burning coal. Throw in some additional emissions from the United States, also expected to continue to be a world economic leader, and you have an effect that will “swamp” any purported benefits from Kyoto:

The magnitude of that imbalance is staggering. Environmentalists have long called the treaty a symbolic rather than practical victory in the fight against global warming. But even many of them do not appear aware of the coming tidal wave of greenhouse-gas emissions by nations not under Kyoto restrictions.

By 2012, the plants in three key countries – China, India, and the United States – are expected to emit as much as an extra 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to a Monitor analysis of power-plant construction data. In contrast, Kyoto countries by that year are supposed to have cut their CO2 emissions by some 483 million tons.

Those peddling climate-change hysteria won’t accept the situation easily. For one thing, they may simply argue that an expected surge of emissions makes it all the more imperative to enact Kyoto and subsequent regulatory regimes. This will be an obvious case of missing the point – Kyoto was hard enough to negotiate, left out key countries, and will accomplish little. A more drastic, job-killing, Third World-impoverishing treaty is not going to happen. But in enviro-wacko world, reality isn’t allowed to intrude. Nor are solutions such as addressing the liability barriers to nuclear power.

Furthermore, facing the enormity of the task of making a noticeable dent in CO2 emissions, they may fall back on the old tactic of feeding the hysteria still more. Global warming will cause global cooling. It will cause droughts, floods, storms, etc. This ecological theology, quite antithetical to science given that its contradictory predictions can’t be falsified, gets easier to laugh off when you consider the history of climatological hysteria, as Karl Zinsmeiser did recently in The American Enterprise when he pulled out an old copy of Newsweek, circa 1975, and quoted this passage:

There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically…. 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.

You can’t make this stuff up.

No, wait, this stuff is made up. That’s the point.

Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation and publisher of Carolina Journal.