My Turn, Bruce LaRue: Good news from climate conference

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2021

By Bruce LaRue

The climate summit has come and gone, and one assumes the attendees who stayed awake were at least informed, and at best inspired by the speeches and presentations.

To the benefit of democracy, the event, the U.N. Climate Change Conference, overall seems to have been an example of, “After all is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done.” While there was unity concerning the imminent dangers of anthropogenic global warming and yet another reset of the hackneyed 10-years-to-live fire drill, there seems to be disagreement, or at least uncertainty, on how to implement the shakedown of industrialized nations.

Apparently, someone dared to suggest some sort of specificity or itemization of wealth to be extor … oops … redistributed from prosperous nations to chronically “developing” countries and island nations claiming increased impact caused by emissions from industrialized nations. Among their concerns were extreme weather events and rising sea levels. Let’s tackle these one at a time.

If we cede our sovereignty based on science persistently blaming the same cause for two disparate effects, we deserve to lose everything. Heavy rains and droughts, both caused by the same emissions? There are at least 20 currently erupting volcanoes in the world. Perhaps their emissions produce rain while human-generated emissions are responsible for drought.

A recurring theme in the ongoing crusade against prosperity, productivity and enjoyment is the threat of melting ice resulting in rising sea levels. Coastal cities and islands will be swallowed by vengeful oceans if we do not cut emissions, right? Maybe not.

You may have heard of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is composed of the grand arbiters of all things climatic. Their word is Gospel, and to challenge them is to be branded as deniers, skeptics, flat-earthers and worse. Here, then, is one of their declarations, from IPCC SR15 Ch.1 2018 p. 64: “Sustained net zero anthropogenic emissions of CO2 and declining net anthropogenic non-CO2 radiative forcing over a multi-decade period would halt anthropogenic global warming over that period, although it would not halt sea level rise or many other aspects of climate system adjustment.”

One cannot help but wonder about those “many other aspects.” The definite risks associated with a ban on fossil fuels far outweigh the uncertain rewards that even the ruling elders of the movement have thrown a wet blanket on.

Climate change is not only inevitable, it is inexorable. We cannot stop it, accelerate it or mitigate it to any great degree short of some concerted effort involving a lot of thermonuclear devices detonated in a sequence mimicking a major meteor impact, creating a temporary nuclear winter and some yucky side effects. Driving our trains, planes, and automobiles, mowing our yards, raising flatulent cattle, grilling out and even chartering a boat with twin diesels for a three-hour tour will not harm the climate appreciably. 

Is solar energy the answer? Not really, certainly not completely, and not without formidable shortcomings and side-effects. For example, supporters of recycling must know that solar and wind cannot generate the heat necessary to melt steel and aluminum. Even glass and tin are more efficiently melted by oil- or gas-fired furnaces than by electric ovens. Moreover, each solar farm is a heat island, not good for the AGW crowd, except perhaps as an optimal site for placing sensors to record “average” temperatures. Kudos to the Rowan County commission for voting against a 574-acre heat island. 

We have no control over the intensity of the Sun, nor can we prevent periodic changes in obliquity or precession or change the point of perihelion. We can neither halt nor reduce the impact of geologic venting and cyclical ocean currents.

On the other hand, we have proved we can mung up the air we breathe and the water we drink. We have also proved we can clean up the messes we made and in a relatively short time. Industrialization, farming and day-to-day living come with by-products and waste matter; it’s messy. We Americans do a pretty good job of cleaning up after ourselves, with the help of fossil fuels.

Bruce LaRue lives in Mt. Ulla.