Editor’s Note: The Lake Geneva Regional News presents “Party Lines,” a monthly discussion of political issues featuring side-by-side guest columnists from the local Democratic and Republican parties. The column below represents one side of this month’s discussion. Click here for the other side.
Climate change is a given. The Great Ice Ages did occur. Around 1000 A.D., agriculture did flourish in now-icy Greenland. And a “Little Ice Age” in North America and Asia did occur in the 1600s.
I don’t dispute that we are currently experiencing change.
Concern for the environment is longstanding in the United States. Radical environmentalism with apocalyptic claims began in the 1960s. In his 1968 best seller, Paul Ehrlich claimed, “Sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come … utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”
Millions in Africa, India and China were sterilized, and forced abortion and infanticide occurred. Nonetheless, the population grew, and 50 years later, the end has not come. According to alarmist Al Gore, by 2014 “the entire North polar ice cap” would disappear.
In 1988, the United Nations founded the powerful International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to review published climate papers. The IPCC claims their models prove a certain amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) production will cause a specified rise in temperature, and can predict future CO2 production, and that all global warming is related to human CO2 production.
These findings are not universally accepted. The IPCC’s own 2018 report stated, “The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Actual readouts of temperatures barely covered 5 percent of the globe until the satellite era, much estimating is required.
The IPCC is not infallible. Last month the IPCC reported global warming has devastated crop production. But the UN agriculture agency reported record corn, wheat and rice production.
This month, a group of 500 scientists and professionals in climate and related fields noted that global temperatures have increased, but disputed IPCC’s method for correlating CO2 production to temperature increase, and its claim that humans are 100 percent responsible for the increase.
The Paris Climate Accords sprung from the IPCC’s work. President Trump wisely withdrew us. The Accords are non-binding, but even if followed uniformly, would reduce the global temperature by less than 0.17 degree centigrade by 2100. They allow China a nearly 20 percent increase in coal production by 2020, and no Chinese improvements are required for 30 years. Germany, a major proponent of the Accords, has failed to meet its own commitment.
There is a growing climate change fanaticism — a secular religion with the industrial revolution as the original sin and reduced carbon emissions our means to redemption. This fanaticism risks sidestepping needed debates about practical policies.
The call has been taken up by those who already favor totalitarian government. These groups are more interested in the radical transformation of society than the science of climate.
Self-described American socialists have formulated the disastrous “Green New Deal,” which has been taken up by Democratic presidential candidates. This “deal” would destroy our economy. In fact, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ chief of staff was caught out loud admitting “it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all” and “we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” Do the rest of us really want our entire economy changed?
Despite claiming there is a climate emergency, most Democratic candidates shun nuclear power. Even the Environmental Defense Fund’s John Finnigan writes of its present need. Unlike fossil fuel, nuclear reactors do not produce CO2 and already generate nearly 20 percent of U.S. electricity. France safely obtains about 75 percent of power via nuclear. Germany is failing to meet climate targets because of ending support for nuclear.
Among all this discord, a bipartisan private policy institute, the Climate Leadership Council, has been founded to grapple with climate issues. I encourage our readers to visit their website and check the surprising array of endorsers and participants. I find it hopeful that a number of independent leaders, experienced in critical thinking, are now dedicated to the issue.
Pamela B. Wolfe of the town of Geneva is a member of the Republican Party of Walworth County.