The Tragedy of Climatism: Resource Misuse on a Global Scale
Originally published in The Washington Times.
Last week, thirteen members of the House of Representatives introduced a resolution “recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women.” The resolution implied that man-made climate change was responsible for impacts on global women, stating “food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health.” But the resolution ignores the real tragedy, the tragedy of misguided policies to combat climate change.
Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate, has guided world governments since 1992. That year, 41 nations and the European Community signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. The FCCC called for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent dangerous global warming. For 21 years, world leaders have argued about how and when to reduce emissions. Today, 192 of 193 heads of state say they believe in man-made warming and most are pursing policies to try to stop climate change.
But, rather than beneficial, efforts to “fight” man-made climate change actually injure people in developing nations. The ideology of Climatism demands that nations forego the use of fossil fuel, use less energy, and force use of expensive or unreliable wind, solar, or biofuel alternatives. Poverty, lack of jobs, and lack of modern energy foster prostitution in developing nations. Climate change from emissions of carbon dioxide, a trace gas in our atmosphere, is a negligible factor.
The United Nations has long criticized the use of “unsustainable energy.” In a 2010 report on Asia, the UN warned, “Asia-Pacific countries must undergo structural adjustment to make key policy changes needed to switch their development mode…Most member countries have followed the industrial model of developed countries, which is the root cause of climate change. This traditional industrial development model results in an unsustainable energy consumption pattern.” The paper says nations must “pursue a low carbon development path” and skip a “growth path heavily reliant on pollutants.” The report goes on to question whether televisions, computers, and networking through the internet are necessary activities.
Yet, world economies remain overwhelmingly based on hydrocarbons. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2010 hydrocarbons provided 81 percent of the world’s energy, while wind and solar provided less than 1 percent. Denying hydrocarbon energy to developing nations is foolish and destructive policy.
The Equator Principles are ten principles for lending by international banks that work to the detriment of poor nations. Under pressure from environmental groups, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and 76 other banks in 32 countries adopted the Principles. These principles demand that banks lend in an “environmentally and socially responsible manner,” which sounds good. But a top objective of the Equator Principles is “to promote the reduction of emissions that contribute to climate change.” Lending capital is restricted for coal mines, oil refineries, and other hydrocarbon projects desperately needed to build the economies of developing nations.
At the same time, the theory of man-made warming appears increasingly shaky. Hundreds of studies show that Earth was warmer 1,000 years ago than it is today. Water vapor, not carbon dioxide, is Earth’s dominant greenhouse gas. Arctic sea ice recently reached a 30-year low, but Antarctic Sea ice is near a 30-year high. More than double the polar bears roam the Arctic today than in 1960. History shows that droughts, floods, and storms are neither more frequent nor more severe than in past decades. Sea levels are rising at only about 7‒8 inches per century. Global temperatures have not risen for more than ten years, contrary to predictions by the leading climate models.
The tragedy of Climatism is a misuse of resources on a vast scale. Over $250 billion is spent each year in a futile effort to decarbonize―twice global foreign aid. The world spent over $1 trillion in the last ten years and is on track to spend another trillion in the next four years in a fight against a climate change phantom.
At the same time, real life-and-death problems need to be addressed. According to United Nations figures, 25,000 people die from hunger-related issues each day. More than one billion people try to survive on less than $1.25 per day. Two and one-half billion lack adequate sanitation, 1.4 billion lack electricity, and almost one billion lack clean drinking water. Every year, two million die from AIDS. Almost one million die from tuberculosis. Malaria, pneumonia, and diarrheal diseases kill millions more.
Suppose we reallocate the billions spent in the foolish fight against global warming toward solving the real problems of humankind?
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