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National Climate Assessment Report Raises False Alarm

May 7, 2014 in Economics

By Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger

Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger

The Obama Administration’s just-released National Climate Assessment report leaves the impression that if we don’t quickly launch into action to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases (primarily by shifting away from using fossil fuels), we will be inundated by an endless flow of misfortune unleashed by the ensuing climate change. The flood has already begun.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, the assessment report frequently confuses climate with climate change. The natural climate of the United States is constantly overflowing with extreme weather hazards of all sorts — hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, blizzards, heat waves, hard freezes and on and on. It’s the norm. The assessment would have you think that every time one of these types of events happens, now or in the future, it is because we are emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Such a conclusion is a stretch and has never been proven. A thorough review of climate science would demonstrate that the impact of human-caused climate change on the behavior of most types of extreme weather is poorly understood. Instead, the vagaries of climate dominate our experiences.

The National Climate Assessment is a political call to action document meant for the president’s left-leaning constituency.”

Second, greenhouse gas emissions from the United States have a truly minimal and diminishing effect on the future course of the Earth’s climate. Rather, that course is being set by developing nations such as China and, soon, India. Research has shown that eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from the United States now and forever only mitigates less than two-tenths of a one degree of warming by the end of the century — but the cost to do so would hurt our economy dearly. Few folks are willing to pay such a price for no measureable return.

Third, a growing body of scientific evidence — which is based in observations rather than climate models — strongly suggests that future climate change is going to be smaller than we are commonly told in reports such as this National Climate Assessment or those from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This means that reducing carbon-dioxide emissions from the United States will have even less of an impact than the tiny number mentioned above.

Finally, suggesting that we will be overwhelmed by negative impacts from climate change ignores our demonstrated human ability to respond to environmental challenges. A …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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