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Ignore the Fake Climate Debate

Ignore the Fake Climate Debate thumbnail

Beyond the headlines and social media, where Greta Thunberg, Donald Trump and the online armies of climate “alarmists” and “deniers” do battle, there is a real climate debate bubbling along in scientific journals, conferences and, occasionally, even in the halls of Congress. It gets a lot less attention than the boisterous and fake debate that dominates our public discourse, but it is much more relevant to how the world might actually address the problem.

In the real climate debate, no one denies the relationship between human emissions of greenhouse gases and a warming climate. Instead, the disagreement comes down to different views of climate risk in the face of multiple, cascading uncertainties.

On one side of the debate are optimists, who believe that, with improving technology and greater affluence, our societies will prove quite adaptable to a changing climate. On the other side are pessimists, who are more concerned about the risks associated with rapid, large-scale and poorly understood transformations of the climate system.

But most pessimists do not believe that runaway climate change or a hothouse earth are plausible scenarios, much less that human extinction is imminent. And most optimists recognize a need for policies to address climate change, even if they don’t support the radical measures that Ms. Thunberg and others have demanded.

In the fake climate debate, both sides agree that economic growth and reduced emissions vary inversely; it’s a zero-sum game. In the real debate, the relationship is much more complicated. Long-term economic growth is associated with both rising per capita energy consumption and slower population growth. For this reason, as the world continues to get richer, higher per capita energy consumption is likely to be offset by a lower population.

A man walks on the seawall in Jakarta, Indonesia, built in 2017 in anticipation of rising sea levels. Photo: Anton Raharjo/NurPhoto/Getty Images

A richer world will also likely be more technologically advanced, which means that energy consumption should be less carbon-intensive than it would be in a poorer, less technologically advanced future. In fact, a number of the high-emissions scenarios produced by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change involve futures in which the world is relatively poor and populous and less technologically advanced.

Affluent, developed societies are also much better equipped to respond to climate extremes and natural disasters. That’s why natural disasters kill and displace many more people in poor societies than in rich ones. It’s not just seawalls and flood channels that make us resilient; it’s air conditioning and refrigeration, modern transportation and communications networks, early warning systems, first responders and public health bureaucracies.

New research published in the journal Global Environmental Change finds that global economic growth over the last decade has reduced climate mortality by a factor of five, with the greatest benefits documented in the poorest nations. In low-lying Bangladesh, 300,000 people died in Cyclone Bhola in 1970, when 80% of the population lived in extreme poverty. In 2019, with less than 20% of the population living in extreme poverty, Cyclone Fani killed just five people.

Poor nations are most vulnerable to a changing climate. The fastest way to reduce that vulnerability is through economic development.

So while it is true that poor nations are most vulnerable to a changing climate, it is also true that the fastest way to reduce that vulnerability is through economic development, which requires infrastructure and industrialization. Those activities, in turn, require cement, steel, process heat and chemical inputs, all of which are impossible to produce today without fossil fuels.

For this and other reasons, the world is unlikely to cut emissions fast enough to stabilize global temperatures at less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the long-standing international target, much less 1.5 degrees, as many activists now demand. But recent forecasts also suggest that many of the worst-case climate scenarios produced in the last decade, which assumed unbounded economic growth and fossil-fuel development, are also very unlikely.

There is still substantial uncertainty about how sensitive global temperatures will be to higher emissions over the long-term. But the best estimates now suggest that the world is on track for 3 degrees of warming by the end of this century, not 4 or 5 degrees as was once feared. That is due in part to slower economic growth in the wake of the global financial crisis, but also to decades of technology policy and energy-modernization efforts.

We have better and cleaner technologies available today because policy-makers in the U.S. and elsewhere set out to develop those technologies.

The energy intensity of the global economy continues to fall. Lower-carbon natural gas has displaced coal as the primary source of new fossil energy. The falling cost of wind and solar energy has begun to have an effect on the growth of fossil fuels. Even nuclear energy has made a modest comeback in Asia.

All of this suggests that continuing political, economic and technological modernization, not a radical remaking of society, is the key to both slowing climate change and adapting to it. And while the progress we’ve made has mostly not been due to climate policies that would cap, regulate or tax emissions, it has required government action.

We have better and cleaner technologies available today because policy-makers in the U.S. and elsewhere set out to develop those technologies, from hydraulic fracturing to solar panels to electric vehicles. Adaptive capacities around the world have also improved dramatically because policy-makers have invested in infrastructure, technology and economic development. And a decades-long commitment to expanded global trade and international development institutions has brought greater economic opportunities to many regions of the world that historically have been left behind.

Acknowledging that we have made progress should not deter continued investment in clean technology and climate adaptation. Rather, it should encourage us to redouble those efforts, especially because uncertainty still looms large in any assessment of climate risk. At the high end of current estimates of climate sensitivity, the world could still experience 4 or 5 degrees of warming in this century, even with significantly lower emissions.

Moreover, even if climate change does not threaten social or economic collapse, anyone who has lived through the California wildfires of recent years, or the bushfires that are currently encircling Sydney, Australia, can tell you that this is not a future most people would desire. And even if human societies end up adapting well to climate change, the planet’s biodiversity almost certainly will not.

Such conclusions are unlikely to satisfy the noisy participants in the fake climate debate. But the utopian dreams of those who wish to radically reorganize the world to stop climate change are not a plausible global future. Nor will denying the relationship between carbon emissions and global warming make the real risks of climate change go away. The world will tackle this problem the way that it tackles most other problems, partially and incrementally, by taking up the challenges that are right in front of us—adaptation, economic development, energy modernization, public health—and finding practical ways to address them.

WSJ



80 Comments on "Ignore the Fake Climate Debate"

  1. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 6:39 am 

    The above is my ID theft BTW. In regards to this dAvy ID theft comment I know these things because I weaponized the use of socks and ID theft. Little was it known until I started daily attacks on Davy that I was a biggest and only source of socks early on before I ruined the forum. ID’s like noobtube and Kenz were some of my socks. Noob was an extremist and Kenz a mindless bot spewing one-liners. Truth has a liberal bias is another. Later once I started to weaponizing this behavior the socks exploded with too many to mention here. I moved from quietly practicing socks and the occasional ID theft of people like Nony to the daily, obsessive, and crowding of comments. I was only discovered after I became sloppy and belligerent with them. This unmoderated forum has now been taken over by me the mindless lunatic. I spew muzzie bag day and other lunatic comments. I steal ID’s constantly. Davy may do this but only in defense. When I let off of this activity he stops. I can’t blame Davy because it is a way he can practice self-defense. Davy’s REAL Green contributes on topic news. I occasionally post under JuanP but even when I do I am not smart enough to contribute much. Most of the time I am cheerleading anti-Americanism in one form or another. All my socks are mindless and stupid. They are not even funny. I also like bragging about my playboy life in Miami Beach. I am a worthless psychopathic individual that loves to have what i want. I want this forum for myself. I want to take it down. Since there are no moderators I am succeeding. ROTFLO

  2. More Davy ID Theft, Projections, and Hypocrisy on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 9:24 am 

    JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 6:39 am

    “The above is my ID theft BTW. In regards to this dAvy ID theft comment I know these things because I weaponized the use of socks and ID theft.”

  3. Fact checker on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:03 am 

    We determine JuanP is a bold face liar. We also determine he should be banned from this forum.

  4. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:10 am 

    Let’s face it we’re all muzzies and muzzies lovers.
    Recently I found videos of muzzies “baroness” warsi. You gotta laugh at british nobility titles. Also found video of muzzies iram khan. Both using high english to urge for love of muzzies.

    We need to do better. Show our support for world muzzies bag day 4 days away on Feb 1st

  5. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:10 am 

    No wonder Mak ran back to the US with his tail between his legs. It must be looking bad there with all the Chinese there and then the overpopulated conditions of the country where a virus could spread like wild fire. Mak is more concerned by his skin than his agenda.

    Philippines To Deport 500 Chinese People To Prevent Spread Of Coronavirus
    The Philippines is to deport 500 Chinese citizens who arrived in the country from Wuhan in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The tourists were heading to Boracay for a holiday but will now be sent straight back. “Philippine authorities are sending back nearly 500 Chinese tourists who came from Wuhan,” reports CNA. Four flights were arranged to take the tourists back to Wuhan despite none of them showing symptoms of the virus. The number of victims killed by the coronavirus has risen to 81, with around 3,000 people total infected. 44 other cases have been confirmed in other countries around the world. The Chinese new year holiday has also been extended until Sunday in an attempt to prevent half a billion people traveling the country on planes, trains and buses. The University of Hong Kong’s Gabriel Leung said that “substantial, draconian measures” to limit population mobility were needed to prevents tens of thousands of further infections. Meanwhile, the Chinese government banned the sale of all wild animals after experts linked consumption of bat and snake to the outbreak of the virus.

  6. Cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:21 am 

    Sad news
    Washington post felicia sonmez said she supports world muzzies bag day and got fired

    The reason for firing because she doesn’t support world grater nedertardland

  7. Cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:24 am 

    Why supertard madcat said China and phils are kings but neither has functional public health system which facilitates spread of infectious diseases

  8. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:37 am 

    Update: There are reports to the effect that the leaking of Bolton’s book might lead to some Republicans supporting Democrats’ requests to call witnesses.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  9. Davy on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:01 pm 

    China has a population of almost 1.5 Billion people juanpee. A virus that has caused a few dozen deaths is a nothingburger. More people die every single day in the US from the common cold.

    stupid

  10. cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:05 pm 

    Why supertard madcat so stupid
    A king nation should have its public health system down pat
    Neither china nor Phil’s have that

    Lacking public health infrastructure is freedom because food is not regulated

    In the us less freedom need permit for food

    Just an example

  11. Cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:18 pm 

    Btw, the above Davy is the lunatic JuanP

  12. GregT on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:19 pm 

    Fuck you juan and what you have done to our forum! Go back to the third world where you belong.

  13. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:21 pm 

    Fuck you Greg! Lol.

  14. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:23 pm 

    Duncan, Bolton is a hamster that wants to sell books. He lies as necessary to support the deep state. Quit being gullible. Who cares about the impeachment. People are dying.

  15. REAL Green on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:24 pm 

    Davy’s write y’all. More people in the US even die in car accidents every single day. The coronavirus is a nothingburger.

  16. Davy on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:34 pm 

    More people even die from gunshot wounds every day in the US REAL Green. That’s a lot easier to prevent then viruses.

  17. Apneaman on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:38 pm 

    I support world muzzies bag days 4 days away feb1

    I support world grater nedertardland 87 days away

    I show support for supremacist muzzies by putting a shopping bag over my head when driving and being outside

    I put maple leaf over my genital

  18. Davy on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:42 pm 

    I’m REAL Stupid.

  19. Apneaman on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 1:14 pm 

    The two Davy and one real green comments above are obviously from the lunatic JuanP. Juan, go south to your 3rd world hatch. You don’t belong up here with intelligent people.

  20. Apneaman on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 1:32 pm 

    JuanP. Everyone hates you

  21. Antius on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 1:40 pm 

    This article describes in intricate detail, how Jews have conspired to rob Britain of free speech since WW2.

    https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2019/03/09/free-speech-jewish-activism-and-the-trial-of-jeremy-bedford-turner/

    Growing up, I was conditioned to believe that Adolf was the devil incarnate and that Nazi Germany was the greatest evil that mankind had ever had to face. The more I learn about the events of WW2 and the gradual erosion of the white peoples ever since; the more I realise that Nazi Germany was a liberation movement.

  22. full woke supremacist muzzies jerk maximum low English on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 1:44 pm 

    I appoint apneaman supertard
    His title is “the lover” of muzzies

    Everyone loves supremacist muzzies

  23. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 2:02 pm 

    I hate everyone so who cares

  24. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 2:05 pm 

    Lol, so you were conditioned as a child and now conditioned by emotions the other way. Sounds like you maybe lack a spine.

  25. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 3:02 pm 

    VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN (TVIX)
    NasdaqGM – NasdaqGM Real Time Price. Currency in USD

    53.90+9.15 (+20.45%)
    At close: 4:00PM EST
    I wonder if the Fat Boy made a few dollars today?
    (Not a trade for the faint of heart)

  26. More Davy ID Fraud on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 3:03 pm 

    JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 6:39 am

    Fact checker on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:03 am

    JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:10 am

    Cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:21 am

    Cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 11:24 am

    cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:05 pm

    Cloggie on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:18 pm

    GregT on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:19 pm

    JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:21 pm

    JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:23 pm

    Apneaman on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 12:38 pm

    Apneaman on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 1:14 pm

    full woke supremacist muzzies jerk maximum low English on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 1:44 pm

    JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 2:02 pm

    JuanP on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 2:05 pm

  27. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 3:26 pm 

    “remains curiously preoccupied with opposing advocates for meaningful climate action and is coincidentally linked to natural gas interests” and criticises the BTI for advocating “continued exploitation of fossil fuels”.

    Hydrocarbon whores.

  28. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 3:46 pm 

    DOW FUTURES MINUS 437

    The 10 year DOW run may be coming to an end.
    The Fat Boy’s continued losses become apparent.

  29. debate this you dumb fucks on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 6:52 pm 

    fuck your climate opinions. 400 ppm is a drop in the bucket. The concentration needed would suffocate you before it changed the climate.

  30. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 27th Jan 2020 7:43 pm 

    400 ppm is a drop in the bucket.

    Our 415 Co2 is the highest in 3 million years—-
    The evolutionary history of homo sapiens is 200,000-300,000, depending on ones reference point.

    So, we have never existed with these levels–
    Get to see how that works out.

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