The Green Left foments hysteria about supposedly catastrophic consequences if the earth’s current modest warming trend reaches 1.5 degrees Celsius. Preventing the planet from warming to that level, the Green Left insists, requires imposing draconian regulations that would kill economic growth and impoverish millions, especially in the Third World.
Yet since 1920, the planet already has warmed by 1.12 degrees. In other words, the world has conducted a massive experiment over the past 100 years by warming almost the amount that the Green Left so fears. The result of this test disproves the Green Left’s case.
First, the planet’s warming has saved many thousands of lives. Environmental statistician Bjørn Lomborg reported on September 16 in the Wall Street Journal that “Global warming now prevents more than 166,000 temperature-related fatalities annually.” His statement is supported by three studies that analyzed millions of deaths in numerous countries over recent decades and found that cooler temperatures kill several times more people than warmer temperatures.
Second, since 1920 the number of people killed by natural disasters has declined by over 90 percent, even as the world’s population has quadrupled from less than two billion to almost eight billion.
Third, while human progress and adaptation have improved the world’s ability to prevent natural disaster deaths, as the planet has warmed, there have not been more hurricanes, the area burned by fires has not increased, there has not been more flooding, and the air pollution death rate has not increased.
A 2021 EPA report admits that “[t]he total number of hurricanes (particularly after being adjusted for improvements in observation methods) and the number reaching the United States do not indicate a clear overall trend since 1878.”
U.S. forest fires burned millions more annually from 1926 to 1952 than in the seven decades since then. Lomborg put it this way on August 5: “in 2021 the burned area to date is the fourth-lowest of the past 11 years. The area that burned in 2020 was only 11% of the area that did in the early 1900s. Contrary to climate clichés, the annual global burned area has declined since 1900 and continues to fall.” Worldwide, the area burned has declined from 4.2 percent in the early 1900s to about 2.5 percent now.
In the same article, Lomborg also reported that “a new study of more than 10,000 rivers around the world shows that most rivers now flood less.”
As for the global air pollution death rate, it has declined by 45 percent in the past three decades — from 156 deaths per 100,000 in 1990 to 86 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019
Similarly, while the planet’s average temperature rose by 1.07 degrees from 1950 to 2015, economist Max Roser in Our World in Data has reported that the share of people living in extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.90 per day — fell from 67 percent in 1950 to less than 10 percent in 2015.
These facts will shock many, but they shouldn’t. In 2017, a group of eminent scientists — including Richard Lindzen of MIT and William Happer of Princeton — wrote that “[o]bservations [over the last] 25 years … show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign.” On the other hand, the Green Left has been fear-mongering for decades. In 1989, for example, the head of the UN’s Environment Program said we had just three years to “win — or lose — the climate struggle. (READ MORE: Pete Buttigieg Is Wrong: Regulations to Stop Global Warming Kill People)
At the heart of the Green Left’s “mistaken” forecasts of doom have been irretrievably flawed models used to predict global temperatures. As Obama administration Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Steven Koonin discussed in his book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, these models are so poor that they cannot even reproduce the temperature changes of the 20th century.
The Green Left insists that it is the science of global warming that warrants draconian regulations and restrictions. But science depends on an honest evaluation of test results. The results of the world’s century-long test of global warming show that its benefits at least offset any harm that it may cause. They also eliminate the rationale for imposing the draconian “climate change” mandates in the Paris Agreement, the Glasgow Climate Pact, the Green New Deal, and the proposed Build Back Better legislation.
David M. Simon is a senior fellow at the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and a lawyer in Chicago. For more, please see www.dmswritings.com.
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