One of the beautiful things about "global warming" -- now called "climate change" since the planet didn’t warm for a decade starting in 1998 -- is, at least from the point of view of the climate change industry, that they can say almost anything and get away with it. Whatever is most likely to scare people into writing checks to this or that environmental defense fund is fair game not just for the organizations but also for many scientists clinging to the teat of private and federal grant money.
In 2009, hardly ancient history, Peter Ward published a peer-reviewed paper entitled "Sulfur dioxide initiates global climate change in four ways." In short, Ward argues that primarily by changing the way gases react with each other in the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide emissions cause global warming.
Many of you will remember the aggressive moves to combat acid rain, caused primarily by sulfur dioxide emissions, during most of the 1980s. The results have been impressive, with 2009 data showing the effort, including the federal government’s Acid Rain Program, "hav(ing) reduced annual SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions by 67 percent compared with 1980 levels and 64 percent compared with 1990 levels." To be fair, 2009 was a year of substantial economic downturn, so SO2 emissions were probably artificially low. But even in 2007, those emissions had declined 43 percent since 1990.
Dr. Ward saw the dark cloud rather than the silver lining: "By reducing acid rain, we accidentally reduced global warming."
But just as we were warned about the dangers of global cooling during my lifetime only to be told we’re all about to fry now, here comes the other side of the sulfur coin:
In a paper published this month, a group of four scientists from the US and Finland argue that sulfur emissions from China’s rapidly growing economy have a cooling effect on the climate, offsetting the claimed warming impact of other human activity and carbon dioxide. The implication, of course, is that once China embarks on a similar sulfur reduction program to what the US implemented a generation ago, global warming will resume apace. This is of course impossible to prove, but allows alarmist client scientists to claim that they remain relevant for the next scene in this doomsday film.
The paper is a wonderful example of members of the Cult of Global Warming determining their conclusion (in this case to defend the proposition that global warming is caused by humans) despite the persistent erosion of evidence in that direction, and then coming up with a way to explain why every significant prediction of their cult seems not to be coming true.
Indeed, the authors note that greenhouse gas concentrations have been rising while temperatures have not, causing a "disconnect (which) may be one reason why the public is increasingly skeptical about anthropogenic (human-created) climate change." You don’t say.
And perhaps the reason the public is getting skeptical about climate scientists is that they set out to create virtual reeducation camps for the public rather than admitting they might be wrong; such is the nature of a large, well-funded cult. In any case, the admission that temperatures have not warmed for a decade is the most important aspect of the paper.
Meanwhile, from the other side of the planet comes a story which is perhaps the ultimate proof that "climate change" policy has gone Through the Looking Glass: Under the name of "Management of large feral herbivores in the Australian rangelands", an Australian company has applied for a patent to "obtain a carbon offset credit or emission permit" for…wait for it…shooting camels from helicopters based on the theory that camels emit enough methane from their rear ends to be impacting climate.
The submission is in places laugh-out-loud funny: "The first method of removal is shoot-to-lie, where aerial based platforms (such as helicopter mounted, animal welfare trained and accredited marksmen) shoot the animals according to welfare standards identified in the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: The Camel (Camelus dromedarius) (PISC 2006) and locally relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and the carcasses are left." I’m sure the camel will be so comforted by the fact that his killer was "animal welfare trained."
More: "The issue of agricultural soils emissions caused by camel dung and urine are considered small relative to the methane emissions from camels, and are therefore excluded."
And the proposal has pages of formulas, of which this is one of the simpler examples. I include it for your amusement, not to test your math skills:
Equation 17: Net project abatement for year y
Pay = [Qy x M x GWPmethane x (L – Age)-PEy] – Bet
|Pay||=||Net project abatement in year y (t CO2e)|
|Q,y||=||Number of camels removed by management activities undertaken as part of the project activity in year y, from all removal methods, as shown in Equation 5|
|M||=||Methane emissions per camel per year (t CH4/yr)|
|GWPmethane||=||Global Warming Potential of Methane|
|L||=||Life expectancy of feral camels in the Australian Rangelands in years = 30 years|
|Age||=||Average age of feral camels in the Australian Rangelands = 14.23 years|
|PEy||=||Project emissions in year y (t CO2e)|
|BEt||=||Baseline emissions reductions for project activities in the year t (t CO2e)|
Comments received by the government so far are uniformly negative, including that the plan:
· "Simply involves the killing of a large percentage of the camel population - no matter how it is disguised in the proposal-style jargon, elaborate maths and claimed 'humane’ practices.'"
· Is "Unethical and immoral, degrading the value of life to be measured in gross simplistic terms of CO2e emissions." (Actually it’s CH4emissions, but let’s not nitpick…)
· "Will not even put a dent in Australia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions" because Australian cow and sheep farts put out 55 more times as much methane as camel farts do, and that therefore the government should "reduce livestock numbers through promoting healthy plant-based diets to the Australian public."
But what’s an enterprising company, in this case Northwest Carbon Pty Ltd, to do when the government itself, acting like believers in a gods-appeasing Aztec animal sacrifice, "identifies feral animal management as an emission reduction causing action"? If the government is going to hand out money for doing something, even if that thing is somewhere between silly and destructive, so be it; let’s get the cash. Northwest Carbon is simply responding to government incentives, just as millions of Americans responded to government incentives by buying homes they couldn’t afford, perhaps closer to destructive than silly we may agree.
These stories of global warming are half a world apart but point to the same sad fact: Global warming is a cult-industry in which everyone from scientists to trigger-happy so-called businesses work to redirect taxpayer dollars into their own bank accounts. No proposal or study is too self-serving, too self-contradictory, or too ridiculous to keep these profiteers away from their appointed rounds with the self-serving and ridiculous bureaucrats whose jobs similarly depend on maintaining the power of the cult.