Monday, May 05, 2014

Global Warming, and Keeping Africans Down

Is this leftie in the pay of so-called Big Oil, or something?  How else will lefties explain this?
Every year environmental groups celebrate a night when institutions in developed countries (including my own university) turn off their lights as a protest against fossil fuels. They say their goal is to get America and Europe to look from space like Africa: dark, because of minimal energy use. 

But that is the opposite of what's desired by Africans I know. They want Africa at night to look like the developed world, with lights in every little village and with healthy people, living longer lives, sitting by those lights. Real years added to real lives should trump the minimal impact that African carbon emissions could have on a theoretical catastrophe.

I've spent my life on the foreign-policy left. I opposed the Vietnam War, U.S. intervention in Central America in the 1980s and our invasion of Iraq. I have headed a group trying to block U.S. arms and training for "friendly" dictators, and I have written books about how U.S. policy in the developing world is neocolonial.

But I oppose my allies' well-meaning campaign for "climate justice"...

The left wants to stop industrialization—even if the hypothesis of catastrophic, man-made global warming is false. John Feffer, my colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies, wrote in the Dec. 8, 2009, Huffington Post that "even if the mercury weren't rising" we should bring "the developing world into the postindustrial age in a sustainable manner." He sees the "climate crisis [as] precisely the giant lever with which we can, following Archimedes, move the world in a greener, more equitable direction." 

I started to suspect that the climate-change data were dubious a decade ago while teaching statistics. Computer models used by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to determine the cause of the six-tenths of one degree Fahrenheit rise in global temperature from 1980 to 2000 could not statistically separate fossil-fueled and natural trends. 

Then, as now, the computer models simply built in the assumption that fossil fuels are the culprit when temperatures rise, even though a similar warming took place from 1900 to 1940, before fossil fuels could have caused it. The IPCC also claims that the warming, whatever its cause, has slightly increased the length of droughts, the frequency of floods, the intensity of storms, and the rising of sea levels, projecting that these impacts will accelerate disastrously. Yet even the IPCC acknowledges that the average global temperature today remains unchanged since 2000, and did not rise one degree as the models predicted. 

But it is as an Africanist, rather than a statistician, that I object most strongly to "climate justice." Where is the justice for Africans when universities divest from energy companies and thus weaken their ability to explore for resources in Africa? Where is the justice when the U.S. discourages World Bank funding for electricity-generation projects in Africa that involve fossil fuels, and when the European Union places a "global warming" tax on cargo flights importing perishable African goods? Even if the wildest claims about the current impact of fossil fuels on the environment and the models predicting the future impact all prove true and accurate, Africa should be exempted from global restraints as it seeks to modernize.
If you want fewer fossil fuel emissions, you've got to be for relatively clean, safe, plentiful, inexpensive nuclear power.


allen (in Michigan) said...

Hardly the first time lefty policies have caused suffering, even death, in service of some largely phony goal.

For her mendacious creation of the DDT scare that resulted in millions of poor African kids dying I nominate Rachel Carson as an inductee in the mass murder's hall of fame. In the intervening years the only thing that appears to have changed is more lefties are arrogating to themselves the moral certainty that justified Carson's lies and ultimately led to the ban on DDT.

Mike Thiac said...

Allen, you beat me to it! :<)

Darren, our liberals just want an entire continent to look like North Korea.

Dan Pangburn said...

Paraphrasing Richard Feynman: Regardless of how many experts believe it or how many organizations concur, if it doesn’t agree with observation, it’s wrong.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), some politicians and many others mislead the gullible public by stubbornly continuing to proclaim that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is a primary cause of global warming.

Measurements demonstrate that they are wrong.

CO2 increase from 1800 to 2001 was 89.5 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has now (through March, 2014) increased since 2001 by 27.04 ppmv (an amount equal to 30.2% of the increase that took place from 1800 to 2001) (1800, 281.6 ppmv; 2001, 371.13 ppmv; March, 2014, 398.17 ppmv).

The average global temperature trend since 2001 is flat (5 reporting agencies Graphs through 2013 have been added.

That is the observation. No amount of spin can rationalize that the temperature increase to 2001 was caused by a CO2 increase of 89.5 ppmv but that 27.04 ppmv additional CO2 increase had no effect on the average global temperature trend after 2001.

Before you think cherry picking, examine . It considers all measurements since before 1900 and corroborates that CO2 change has no significant influence on climate.

This link also shows that there are only two primary drivers of average global temperature change. They very accurately explain the measured and reported up and down temperature trends since before 1900 with R2>0.9 (correlation coefficient = 0.95) and provide credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610).

allen (in Michigan) said...

Dan, lefties are attempting to substitute consensus for proof. That has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics.

What that means is that the proponents of anthropogenic global warming just don't care about the lack of evidence or the lack of a demonstration proof. Whatever helps, or might help to advance, the politics of anthropogenic global warming is good and anything, or anyone, that impedes the imposing of crushing regulatory burdens, is bad.

So lefties will continue to ignore the evidence since it doesn't support their preconceptions in favor of irrelevancies, like a consensus of scientists, that does.

maxutils said...

allen ... a consensus of SOME scientists. I really don't know where to fall on this issue. I've seen very convincing arguments on both sides. Where I tend to fall, though, is that it can't hurt to try to reduce pollution/CO2 emissions. Not to say we should go ninja on them ... but remember in the 70s when oil prices skyrocketed due to OPEC, and the Japanese who had already experienced the same thing started to dominate the auto market? We adapted. And that has made the world better. We can keep doing that, and should. If the cost makes it prohibitive? I'm against it. But lots of times it isn't ... and whether or not it pertains to global warming or not -- it's worth exploring.