Global Warming: A Step by Step Look At the Key Arguments – Part 7: Is the evidence supporting global warming so overwhelming that we should no longer debate or delay.?

This is my final segment in a series discussing global warming.  In my first segment I stated that, to conclude that the United States needs to take serious measures to fight global warming, all of the following questions must have the answer of true.

 

  • Global temperatures are rising.
  • Carbon emissions from humans are why global temperatures are rising.
  • The global warming will cause catastrophic environmental consequences.
  • It is the proper role of the United States government to enact regulations on private companies and individuals to protect the environment.
  • The actions of the United States government will effectively prevent these consequences.
  • The evidence supporting all of the above is so overwhelming that we should no longer debate or delay.

Before I discuss these questions, however, I would like to take a moment to discuss the methodology of this series.  I relied on data from mainstream sources or sources that overtly supported global warming.  As an addendum at the end of this post, I breakdown my sources by category.  Although there were many sources for convincing arguments and data against global warming, I did not use them if I could not find solid support in an unbiased source.  My arguments are based entirely upon the same data that global warming supporters use along with the predictions made by global warming supporters.

So here is my summary of the first five questions as delineated in previous segments along with the final question to be discussed here.

Are global temperatures rising?

Global temperatures rose in the second half of the twentieth century.  They have been flat for the last fifteen or so years.  It is unclear if this means global warming has stopped or if this is just a pause.

Are carbon emissions from humans are why global temperatures are rising?

There are many factors that contribute to variations in global temperatures.  Carbon emissions from humans are one possible factor. The statement that these emissions will cause a significant temperature rise is an unproven theory supported by computer models.  So far the predictions made by these models have not been fulfilled.  While this theory has certainly not been disproved, it also has not been proved.

Will global warming cause catastrophic environmental consequences?

Although Al Gore and others have been predicting Armageddon, even most scientists who support global warming say that these claims are grossly exaggerated.  While global warming has been theorized to cause every type of climate calamity one can think of, there is a lack of evidence to support this.

Is it the proper role of the United States government to enact regulations on private companies and individuals to protect the environment?

Yes

Can the actions of the United States government will effectively prevent these consequences?

The proposed actions of The EPA to combat global warming are unlikely to have any meaningful impact and will be dwarfed the increased carbon emissions from China, India, and other developing countries.  There is a much greater chance that they will have a significant negative impact on our economy.  The one thing the government could do to significantly reduce carbon emissions, promote fracking, is opposed by environmentalists.

Is the evidence supporting all of the above is so overwhelming that we should no longer debate or delay?

As I stated at the beginning of this topic, for the answer for this to be yes, all of the above questions would require a yes. While none of these questions can definitively answered no, only one can be answered yes.  Taken as a whole, the evidence is certainly not definitive.  To state once again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  If we are to take steps that will have significant and possibly devastating consequences to the economy and our lifestyles, we need much more evidence than we have right now.

The debate certainly is not over, despite President Obama’s statement to the contrary.  A true scientist encourages debate and doesn’t try to end it.  Einstein never said the debate is over on relativity.  We should not say this debate is over now.

Addendum

Going back through the last six segments, I would break down my references into the following categories:

Government/Academia:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), NASA, Princeton, The Federal Register

Mainstream Journalism:

Washington Post, ABC News,, Baltimore Sun, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Scientific American, The Economist, The Guardian

Internet Sites (Supposedly Neutral):

Wikipedia, ScienceLine.Org,  TheHill.Com, Patheos.Com

Overtly Left Leaning Sites:

Huffington Post, Union of Concerned Scientists, Grid-Arendal, Yale Climate Connection

Overtly Right Leaning Sites:

CNS News, Investors Business Daily (editorial), National Review

Advocates of global warming could argue that the right leaning sites are invalid.    I used the Investors Business Daily editorial as an example of a claim by opponents of global warming that I stated I could not verify. I used CNS news for a quote from John Kerry that was widely reported in right leaning sites and ignored elsewhere. The National Review was used to cite comments inside of EPA regulations that was not reported in mainstream sites. I will leave it to the reader as to the affect this has on my arguments.

 

 

Global Warming: A Step by Step Look At the Key Arguments – Part 6: Can the actions of the United States government effectively prevent these consequences?

In the last four sections I discussed whether global warming/climate change is a real problem with serious consequences.  I believe I have shown that the answer to this is most likely no.  For this section, though, we will assume that I am totally wrong and that this is a serious problem with potentially devastating consequences.  I also showed that, if this is a serious problem, the United States government does have the responsibility to act. The next question is whether actions by the United States government would be effective in reducing global warming.

In June 2014, the EPA issued new regulations to combat global warming.   A key provision of these regulations is that the electricity sector must cut carbon emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that  by 2030 these regulations will cause consumers to  pay $289 billion for electricity, cost 224,000 jobs, and lower household disposable incomes by $586 billion.  The EPA disputes these numbers.  It says that the regulations will create new green jobs.  It also states that the costs of climate change would be much greater.

The Obama administration also stated that the stimulus would create green jobs.  This didn’t happen.  The statement that the costs of climate change would exceed the costs to the economy of the regulations assumes that the regulations would have a significant impact on global warming.  If there is no impact, there are no cost savings due to the impact.

What impact does the EPA say these regulations will have on global temperatures?  Actually, the EPA does not say anything in its regulations to predict the impact.  Opponents state that the impact would be approximately .03 degrees by 2100, but I have not been able to locate an impartial source to back this claim.  On the other hand,  I also have not found anything by the EPA to suggest that the impact would be greater.  In September 2013 on page 346 of a  463 page report the EPA stated “The EPA does not anticipate that this proposed rule will result in notable CO2 emission changes.”  Also in September in 2013 EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated in hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the EPA could not measure if its policies are decelerating global warming or if they have any affect at all.  In short, if the EPA has any idea of how its regulations will affect global warming, it is not publishing this data.

The main reason that the United States cutting back on greenhouse gasses would be ineffectual, however, is that reductions in carbon emissions in the United States will be dwarfed by increased emissions from developing countries, most notably China and India.  In 2007 the United States emitted more carbon dioxide than any other country.  Now China is the top emitter with 25% of global emissions and the United States now emits 17%.  In 2012 the Scientific American reported that by 2015 China would emit 49% more carbon dioxide than the United States.  This trend is expected to escalate.

ChinaUSACarbonEmissions

Carbon emissions in the United States have actually been decreasing.  This chart shows actual United States carbon emissions from 1990 to 2012:

 

This decrease can primarily be attributed to fracking, which has greatly decreased the cost of natural gas resulting in many areas switching from coal to natural gas to produce electricity.  In 1997, half of the electricity in the United States was generated from coal.  By 2012 this decreased to 36.7%.    Due to fracking the United States may reach President Obama’s 2009 environmental goal to reduce emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020.

Since the environmental movement continually states that global warming/climate change is the greatest threat to the earth, one would think that the environmentalists would be embracing fracking.  Instead, the environmentalists are fighting to ban fracking.  They state that chemicals from fracking can seep up through thousands of feet of rock to contaminate drinking water, despite a lack of evidence that this happened or could happen.  A report from MIT found that only a handful of 20,000 wells drilled in the last decade caused any contamination, and when this occurred it was primarily due to surface spills.

In summary, there is no evidence that the current regulations proposed by the United States government would do anything to impact global warming/climate change.  With growth in carbon emissions in the developing world, any potential impact of these regulations would be dwarfed by increased emissions elsewhere.  With this in mind, is it worth the potentially heavy costs of these regulations?  The one thing that the government can do to reduce carbon emissions is to remove burdensome regulations restricting fracking, keeping only those regulations truly needed for it to be done safely.  That of course is the one thing our government won’t do.

 

Sources

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/06/18/2014-13726/carbon-pollution-emission-guidelines-for-existing-stationary-sources-electric-utility-generating

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-right/073014-711064-epa-junk-science-costs-jobs-hurts-livelihoods.htm?ntt=epa%20regulations%20global%20warming

http://online.wsj.com/articles/energy-regulators-say-epas-climate-rule-poses-grid-challenges-1406659902

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/359640/epa-admits-new-power-plant-regs-wont-affect-climate-change-alec-torres

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/359067/epa-head-admits-epa-cant-measure-effects-regs-announces-more-new-power-plants-sterling

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2014/04/11/united-nations-climate-change-carbon-emissions/7593019/

http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2013/07/global-co2-emissions-increases-dwarf-recent-u-s-reductions/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-greenhouse-gas-emissions-rise-past-us/

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/05/americas-falling-carbon-dioxide-emissions

http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2012/12/07/surprise-side-effect-of-shale-gas-boom-a-plunge-in-u-s-greenhouse-gas-emissions/

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/08/economist-explains-13