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 Pseudo scientific hysteria is the wrong answer to climate change

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Pseudo scientific hysteria is the wrong answer to climate change Vide
PostSubject: Pseudo scientific hysteria is the wrong answer to climate change   Pseudo scientific hysteria is the wrong answer to climate change Icon_minitimeSun Aug 04, 2019 10:10 pm

A year ahead of the US presidential election, exaggeration about global warming is greater than ever. While some politicians continue (incorrectly) to insist it’s made up, far more insist (also incorrectly) that we face an imminent climate crisis threatening civilization.

Pseudo scientific hysteria is the wrong answer to climate change Climate-change-debate

During this week’s Democratic debates, Pete Buttigieg called 2030 a “point of no return,” Beto O’Rourke warned we don’t have “more than 10 years to get this right” and Andrew Yang claimed climate change has already moved beyond a tipping point: “We are 10 years too late,” he said.

Using climate to energize the base may make short-term political sense, but adding to polarization on the topic just makes it impossible to engage in sensible policy discussion.

Until well into the early 1990s, US opinion about environmental issues, including climate change, remained remarkably unified. Then a partisan gap in attitudes emerged, and has been exploited from both sides of the political aisle. Today Democrats and Republicans are farther apart on how much priority should be accorded climate change and the environment than on any other issue.

This gulf is exacerbated by those who wrongly deny the existence of climate change, but today they are largely ignored and derided, while liberals are given a free pass to make far-fetched exaggerations.

An example: We are constantly told that climate change is to blame for an increase in extreme weather like flooding, droughts and hurricanes. But the UN climate science panel actually finds the evidence does not support claims that floods, droughts and hurricanes are increasing.

What’s more, the scientists find current human-caused warming cannot reasonably be linked to any of these extreme weather phenomena. This doesn’t mean there is no problem, but the facts matter.

What’s behind the overblown rhetoric? Nearly three decades of policy failure. Carbon-cutting promises made in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and in the Kyoto Treaty in 1997 achieved little or nothing. Three years into the Paris Agreement, just 17 countries are on track, countries like Samoa and Algeria, which promised little.

Since climate talks began in 1992, the world has emitted as much CO₂ from fossil fuels as all of humanity has from the beginning of time.

The reason for this failure — and the cause of today’s exaggerations — is that policies to cut carbon are incredibly expensive. Just the annual cost of the climate promises in the proposed Green New Deal could cost more than $2 trillion, or $6,400 per person.

And it’s eye-wateringly expensive to cut net emissions to zero. Although many politicians casually promise this should be the goal, few dare ask how much it will cost. A report commissioned by the New Zealand government found that reaching net zero by 2050 would cost that country more than its entire current annual national budget every year — and that’s a best-case scenario, with costs more realistically doubling to 32% of GDP.

Proponents of vastly expensive climate policies appear to believe the only way to overcome these exorbitant costs with voters is by scaring people silly.

This approach is unlikely to work. Not only is it turning climate unnecessarily into a polarizing issue, it is also likely to damage the credibility of science, as research becomes increasingly seen as a partisan attempt to push a particular policy rather than a disinterested search for truth.

And even as a political strategy, it seems destined to fail: As costs mount, we will see more street protests like in France, or eventual ballot losses, like in Australia, Brazil and the Philippines.

Compare proposals to spend many thousands of dollars on climate with a new survey showing nearly seven of every 10 Americans would vote against spending just $120 each a year to combat climate change.

Instead of scaring voters, we should innovate down the price of the green energy; when it becomes cheaper than coal and oil, everyone will switch.

Since the 1980s, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development spending on low-carbon R&D has slid from 0.06% of the GDP of its members to less than 0.03$. We can (and should) invest a lot more. It would be far cheaper than current policies and more likely to succeed.

We can only reclaim the pragmatic center of the debate if we stop accepting relentless climate exaggerations. Climate change is a problem, and it needs a smart and cost-conscious solution to address it.

https://nypost.com/2019/08/02/pseudo-scientific-hysteria-is-the-wrong-answer-to-climate-change/

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