On September 23, representatives from 190 nations will gather at the Climate Summit 2014 at United Nations headquarters in New York City, including 125 heads of state. President Obama and other world leaders will attend to discuss the urgent problem of climate change, seeking common ground in preparation for a “meaningful global agreement in 2015.” At the same time, Europe is threatened by conflict in Eastern Ukraine and ISIS beheads US citizens in the Middle East.
With regard to ISIS, President Obama recently addressed the nation, but many have said that the President’s strategy is still unclear. However, the President does have a strategy for a global climate change agreement. It was reported last month that the Obama administration is pursuing a global accord to compel nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
On February 16, Secretary of State John Kerry stated, “In a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” Only two days later, demonstrators set fire to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, protesting ties between then President Viktor Yanukovych and Russia. Yanukovych was forced to step down four days later. Events in Ukraine have continued to deteriorate, with the Russian seizure of Crimea in March and today’s growing insurrection by Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
European leaders and President Obama appear to have no effective plan to stabilize the situation in Ukraine. But the Europeans do have a strategy to halt global warming. The European Union has proposed a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels and a 30 percent energy efficiency target by the year 2030 for member states.
The irony of the situation is that all human efforts to “fight” climate change are likely to be futile. The greenhouse effect, which is blamed for human-caused global warming, is overwhelmingly a natural effect. Earth’s dominant greenhouse gas is neither carbon dioxide nor methane. Water vapor is Earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas, accounting for between 75 and 90 percent of the greenhouse effect.
Of the remaining portion of the greenhouse effect that is due to carbon dioxide and methane, the vast majority is caused by natural emissions from oceans and the biosphere. Every day, 25 times as much CO2 enters the atmosphere from natural emissions as from all human industry. In sum, humans cause only about one percent of Earth’s greenhouse effect.
Alarming warnings from the UN are based on climate model projections, which diverge further from reality with each passing month. We are approaching 18 years of flat global temperatures, with no global warming since 1997. Most US high school students today have never lived during a period of rising global temperatures.
Global sea ice, long regarded as an indicator of man-made climate change, has rebounded. Data from the University of Illinois shows that global sea ice area has returned to the 30-year average. Last winter was the coldest winter in the United States since 1911-1912. Many scientists now predict two or three decades of cooler global temperatures.
Because the greenhouse effect is dominated by natural, not man-made factors, there is no accord that the United Nations can sponsor that will halt sea-level rise. There is no regulation that the EPA can enact that will make the hurricanes less frequent or less severe. There is no law that Congress can pass to curb droughts or floods. The sum of thousands of climate change laws across hundreds of nations will not have a measureable effect on global temperatures.
Today the world is spending over $250 billion per year on renewable energy and other programs to try to stop the planet from warming. In addition to the unresolved conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq, an estimated 20,000 people die each day from hunger-related causes. Two billion persons are trying to survive on less than two dollars per day, 1.8 billion do not have adequate sanitation, 1.4 billion do not have electricity, and almost one billion lack clean drinking water. Millions die each year from disease.
Suppose we forgo the foolish attempts to stop the planet from warming and return to solving the real problems of the world?