Hurricane Zeta was the 27th named storm of the season; there were 28 in 2005. Predictably, “climate change” reared its head in reports and a National Geographic writer claimed: “If another storm does materialize, we’ll officially break the record. And if climate change continues unabated, scientists predict that more intense hurricane seasons like this one are on the horizon.”
Indeed, climate change always “continues unabated.” It is as real today as it was hundreds and thousands of years ago. According to LongRangeWeather.com, global temperatures have made 78 major changes in the past 4,500 years. That pattern will certainly continue. The Chinese city of Shimao, once a bustling fortress city with thousands of residents, is deserted today, an apparent victim of climate change. High atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by human activities are not likely the cause of its demise more than 3,500 years ago.
Climate change was an issue in both presidential debates. The relevant question, however, should not be whether climate change will continue, but to what degree anthropogenic activity contributes to climate change and how best to minimize its impact. Thus far, political agreements between nations to limit carbon emissions – and the resulting government regulations – have proven largely ineffective.
Equally ineffective and quite possibly counter-productive are political schemes such as the “Green New Deal,” essentially a socialist manifesto masquerading as a climate change initiative. Much of the 14-page resolution dictates massive government (taxpayer) spending on socialist programs. Included are: “providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States;” “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States;” and “providing all people of the United States with high-quality health care; affordable, safe, and adequate housing; economic security; and clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.”
It comes as no surprise that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased at a relatively consistent rate, even during periods when CO2 emissions have declined. In fact, a graph produced by climate.gov shows CO2 levels steadily increasing during and immediately after periods of notable drops in CO2 emissions.
Two things are abundantly clear: Human activities aren’t the sole driver of climate change, and significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions will not result from government regulations and climate agreements that are thinly veiled tax schemes. Old technology creates greenhouse gas emissions; new and improved technology is required to reduce them so people can improve (or maintain) their lifestyles while reducing emissions.
To date, many “green technologies” lauded by politicians simply move emissions to another time and place. Electric vehicles (EV) are one example; they have no visible CO2 emissions; EV emissions hit the atmosphere during the manufacture of batteries and the generation of the electricity needed to charge them. According to a peer-reviewed study published by the Journal of Industrial Ecology, when a new EV appears in the show-room, it has already caused 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The equivalent amount for manufacturing a conventional car is 14,000 pounds.
In the years ahead, technology will advance and greenhouse gas emissions will decline. That may or may not have a positive effect on climate change. As Zeta and this year’s storms demonstrate, it all depends on whether the forces of nature cooperate.
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