Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Off the cliff with climate lemmings | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Off the cliff with climate lemmings

Morgan Liddick
On your right
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County. His column appears in every Tuesday in the Summit Daily News.
btrollinger@summitdaily.com |

Now we know what the global-warming lemmings do when their predictions of immanent disaster, destruction and death caused by naughty developed countries using more than our fair share of resources don’t materialize. They change both the timeline for catastrophe and the amount of pollution necessary for fatal effects.

Case in point is a recent and very quiet announcement from the UN’s Environmental Program. Perhaps nonplussed that — although global greenhouse-gas emissions have exceeded the 2020 amounts that their 2010-13 reports said would cause us all to roast to death while drowning in rising seas as hurricanes tore us apart, we remain dry, upright and hydrated — the UNEP essentially said “OK, since we’re already way over the threshold, maybe the deadline was 2030. And maybe the amount necessary for irrevocable disaster was 25 percent more than we thought.”

I don’t know about the voodoo science of global warming, but, in astronomy, chemistry or orbital mechanics, when you’re off your predicted results, it’s called failure. When you’re 25 percent off, it’s called a massive fail. People look at you funny. But apparently not when it comes to global warming because it isn’t all that scientific. The entire field is based on modeling, a product of advanced statistics. There are consequences of this, none of which instill confidence.

First, when one hears the word “consensus,” one isn’t dealing with science. Consensus is for politics and statistics. And while probability is useful in navigating the quantum world, if we are going to speak in absolutes about what we “must” do to absolutely create a desired result, the probabilistic calculations of consensus and majority ought to be left out.

Second, any theory or model, which purports to predict the future, should be able to accurately predict the past before we trust our grandchildren’s well-being to it. At present, none used to predict global warming can. They are especially inadequate at predicting historical instances of climate variation, including the Medieval Warm Period of about 1050-1300 and the Little Ice Age of 1325- 1700 — both of which brought wider swings in climate than are being predicted at present.

Third, any statistical model is only as good as the inputs, which is a problem for those currently in use. Not only do they favor data from the warmer urban areas of the world, their initial point — the beginning of the Industrial Revolution — was also at the end of an unusually cool period in the planet’s climate. If one was to begin measurement in, say, 1880, results would be considerably different. Current models are also based on the assumption that carbon dioxide is the chief driver of warming, although evidence from Greenland ice cores strongly suggests that, over geologic time, atmospheric carbon-dioxide increases follow, rather than precede, warming periods. Garbage in, garbage out.

None of which matters a wit to our climatologist-in-chief, who will flit off to Paris after Thanksgiving to attend a 190-nation meeting where he will attempt, as the White House puts it, “to prevent the worst effects of climate change.”

Be very afraid. This is the man who, after many discussions, multiple studies and much of what passes for thinking these days, put an end to any possibility that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built. He said he did it for the environment. Bunk. The reality is, he did it to show what he thinks is “resolve.” Now, instead of America using Canadian oil with the latest in safeguards and environmental technology in place, China will. This might give pause to anyone who’s seen pictures of the air in Beijing lately.

Speaking of China, this is a man who thinks that an agreement binding the U.S. to stricter – and more expensive — emission controls while allowing Beijing to pollute at will for another twenty years is a ripping good idea for the planet. And for us, because it shows we’re “leading.” The world’s leading polluter gets to pollute on, while we cripple ourselves in a search for ephemeral moral superiority.

Let’s be clear: “Leading” isn’t good if one is headed for a cliff at full speed. But that doesn’t matter to the savior-of-the-planet-in-chief — a characteristic he shares with the global-warming lemmings. For them, if the argument doesn’t work, find another. If the data doesn’t fit, fudge it. If the outcomes aren’t scary enough, make them so. If anyone objects, slander them. There’s a world to change, by any means necessary. And not much time left to do it.

And like most flimflammery, the global warming gambit requires distraction, an appealing line of patter and a willingly gullible audience. Will the president get them all this time?

One hopes not, but we shall see.

Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.

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