Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 25, 2014

Climate change: What 150 years of global warming has done to Earth


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— As we celebrated the beginning of spring last week, then had our hopes for an end to winter weather dashed by forecasts of snow this week, a new report on global warming/climate change came out.

This report tells us that while the last 16 years where no additional warming of the climate were recorded, the previous 150 years where warming did occur are more important. It also explained what that century and a half of warming has meant for life on the Earth.

Since 1970 environment watchers have made quite a few predictions of dire consequences to the planet caused by the activities of humans that have thrown the environment into chaos, among which are:

• By 1980 all of the important animal life in the sea will be extinct.

• By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.

• The world will be eleven degrees colder by the year 2000.

• By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by half.

• A general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.

• Within a few years children just aren’t going to know what snow is. Snowfall will be a very rare and exciting event.

Fortunately, none of those predictions has come true, but what has 150 years of warming done to the humans whose dangerous activities are said to be causing it?

Well, according to a report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) by H. Sterling Burnett, this warming has been beneficial, not dangerous.

Over the last 150 years the earth has warmed and average of .8 degrees Celsius, according to economist Richard Tol, an increase that has had a positive impact on the world’s economy. Dr. Tol, who holds doctorates in economics and environmental economics, and teaches at the University of Sussex and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, says further that an additional rise of 2.2 degrees in temperature would continue to yield substantial benefits until at least 2080.

Mr. Burnett cites data from Dr. Tol showing that climate change has added 1.4 percent to global economic output over the last century, a figure that should rise to 1.5 percent by 2025. The increase in CO2 added .8 percent to GDP due to the boost it produced in agricultural production, and the warmer temperatures reduced the demand for heating, adding another 0.4 percent to GDP.

“With higher CO2 levels, plants thrive and become more efficient in their use of water,” the NCPA report states. “And because most of the warming has reduced low nighttime temperatures, the globe has seen fewer growth-stunting frost events, as well as longer growing seasons.”

Citing information from agronomist and geographer Craig Idso, the Stuart report asserts that improved plant growth over a 50-year period starting in 1961 totaled $3.2 trillion, and from today through 2050 increased CO2 will add $9.8 trillion to crop production.

And the greatest benefits in improved agricultural production have occurred in Africa, with one-third of that continent’s countries growing at 6 percent, and the poverty line dropping from 51 percent to 39 percent.

At the same time as this very positive information materializes, an assistant philosophy professor at Rochester Institute of Technology has advocated putting some of those who oppose the manmade climate change theory in jail.

Lawrence Torcello’s stepping-off point came after an earthquake in Italy where six Italian scientists and a defense minister were subsequently sentenced to six years in prison because the official didn’t adequately warn the public following several minor tremors of the possibility, or likelihood, of a full-scale quake, which did occur, and the scientists failed to correct the official’s error.

“When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on,” says the philosophy professor. “With such high stakes, an organized campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.”

It’s quite a stretch to equate people failing to provide information about a likely imminent event with people who financially support the contrarian view of a popular but unproven scientific theory, the contrarian view of which is itself strongly supported by scientists.

Further thwarting the Torcello plan is the indisputable fact that the time between tremors and the earthquake they foreshadowed was a matter of hours, where any harm that might come to humans from opposing the radical prescriptions to combat climate change is years or decades in the future.

Applying the professor’s goofy idea to those who financially supported opposition to the dire predictions listed previously, we might have dozens in prison for being correct.

Liberals seem always to prefer shutting down dissent rather than having civil and productive discussions about the different ideas. This happens for two reasons. First, they are unable to disprove the opposing position with actual facts, and second, their arrogance compels in them the belief that they are always right, and that justifies them using any means necessary to implement their radical and dangerous agenda.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.