Planet Earth was cycling through one climate pattern or another long before the Jurassic breakup of the Pangaea super-continent 175 million years ago, and it will continue to do so right up until the moment our distant descendants are consumed in the sun’s red giant phase.
So, there you go: something to look forward to in the ultimate settling of anthropogenic global warming.
What remains distinctly unsettled — Al Gore’s massive carbon footprint notwithstanding — are at least two questions. To what degree, if any, does human activity influence climate shifts? If it can be established beyond reasonable doubt humans do shape the global climate, and that our shaping is demonstrably detrimental, what constitutes a rational action plan?
The short answer to the first is probably yes, but the science is unsettled on how much. As for the second, read on.
Just now, clinical evidence of harmful warming is elusive. Portions of the Great Lakes remain partly frozen in the retreat of the Great Polar Vortex Winter of 2014. Warming? Really? As for more and scarier hurricanes, the U.S. mainland has gone 7 1/2 years without a Category 3 storm making landfall, the longest drought in recorded history. And the sweep of storms that began April 25 marked the latest tornado outbreak, by nearly a month, since at least 1950, when tracking was nationalized.
To be sure, when the moratorium broke, it did so in record fashion. But in a nod to advancements in warning technology and construction, both highly suggestive of the wisest path going forward, the 39 fatalities didn’t come close to cracking America’s top-10 killer outbreaks.
Which brings us to Danish writer (“The Skeptical Environmentalist”) Bjorn Lomborg, who manages to be faithful to the Church of AGW while resisting its alarmist theology. Lomborg, foremost a practitioner of cost-benefit analysis, was flatly dismissive of the most recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, highlighting the findings’ assorted scientific flaws, blatant political biases and misplaced economic priorities — and he managed without getting into how the climatologist fraternity has been known to make stuff up, waterboard evidence and give sharp elbows to credentialed skeptics.
Wrote Lomborg, there’s been no warming for at least 15 years (European Union bureaucrats wanted that expunged); climatologists’ “models are running far too hot”; taxpayer pump-priming on “green jobs” has proved neither self-sustaining nor a notable contributor to energy security; and shaving even a fraction of a degree from the increase predicted by (so-far flawed) models would cost First World economies from twice to more than 30 times the economic impact of simply adapting to (presumably) rising temperatures.
Rather than sacrifice trillions of taxpayer greenbacks at the altar of AGW in pursuit of an outcome rooted in faith (and the infallibility of central government control), our efforts would be better rewarded by prudently expanding low-cost, high-potency energy sources — yes, fossil fuels — while counting on marketplace innovation to overcome what complications, if any, arise.
Because climate change is inevitable, and ever since humans dropped from trees and were banished from Eden, we’ve figured out how to cope.