by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Benjamin Zycher of the American Enterprise Institute details “The Trouble With ‘Renewables'” for the latest print edition of National Review. The whole article is worth a read, but I particularly appreciated his rundown of the facts contradicting claims about a climate crisis.
Expansion of wind and solar power, and the [Green New Deal], is justified constantly on the grounds of a climate crisis for which there is little evidence. Temperatures are rising but, as the Little Ice Age ended around 1850, it is not easy to separate natural from anthropogenic effects. The latest research in the peer-reviewed literature suggests that mankind is responsible for about half a degree Celsius of the global temperature increase of about 1.5 degrees since 1850.
There is little trend in the number of “hot” days (maximum temperatures above 100 or 105 degrees Fahrenheit) between 1895 and 2017; eleven of the twelve years with the highest number of such days occurred before 1960. Global mean sea level has been increasing for thousands of years; the increase may or may not be accelerating. Changes in the extent of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice tell very different stories. U.S. tornado activity shows either no trend or a downward trend since 1954. Tropical storms, hurricanes, and accumulated cyclone energy show little trend since satellite measurements began in the early 1970s. The number of U.S. wildfires shows no trend since 1985. (Wildfire acreage is far more driven by federal forest-management practices.) The Palmer Drought Severity index shows no trend since 1895. U.S. flooding over the past century is uncorrelated with increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations. The available data do not support ubiquitous assertions about the dire impacts of declining pH levels in the oceans. The International Panel on Climate Change, in its Fifth Assessment Report, is extremely dubious about the various severe effects often hypothesized or asserted as future impacts of increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations. The one exception is the disappearance of the summer Arctic sea ice, which the IPCC views as “likely” with “medium confidence,” but only under an extreme greenhouse-gas concentration path that is not plausible.