Many people favor Big Government solutions to the problem of carbon emissions. For example, the Green New Deal proposed by the Democrats would abolish all gas, oil and coal energy. That plan would raise taxes and require massive restrictions on free markets and individual consumers. But there is a better way, and it was just published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Science.
Economist Robert P. Murphy wrote a very interesting article about the new study for the Mises Institute.
A recent article in the Guardian trumpeted the findings of a new study published in Science that found massive tree planting would be — by far — the cheapest and most effective approach to mitigating climate change. Ironically, the new thinking shows the pitfalls of political approaches to combating so-called “negative externalities.” The good news about tree planting disrupts the familiar narrative about carbon taxes that even professional economists have been feeding the public for years.
He quotes the Guardian article so:
Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.
As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.
[…]“This new quantitative evaluation shows [forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” said Prof Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zurich, who led the research. “What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed.”
OK, so this plan will work, but will it cost less than the $52.6 to $93 trillion dollars over 10 years needed for the Green New Deal?
Citing a figure that planting a new tree costs roughly 30 cents, Prof. Crowther remarked that we could plant the target of 1 trillion trees by spending about $300 billion.
Just FYI, the cost per household for the Green New Deal is between $361,010 and $653,010, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
As a conservative, I recognize that sometimes I have to be willing to spend taxpayer money on a small government solution in order to avoid other big government solutions to a problem. The same thing is true for individual health savings accounts funded by a government voucher. I don’t like spending taxpayer money, but sometimes spending a little is better than creating a huge bureaucracy that will require spending a lot more.
I had lunch with one of my co-workers on the secular left recently. I asked him what his biggest concern with the world. After telling me that he was a “libertarian”, he said that he was alarmed that people were having too many babies. I asked him what he wanted to do about it. He said keep abortion legal, and use the government to stop people from reproducing. Some libertarian!
Anyway, he was just factually wrong about the overpopulation, and I had to launch into a long, detailed explanation of replacement rates, birth rates across the world, and how the prosperity created by capitalism has caused birth rates to decline in even poorer countries. I also explained to him that once a country dips below the replacement fertility rate (2.1 births per woman), it never returns. I concluded my refutation of his assertion by stating that he should be more worried about underpopulation than overpopulation.
Anyway, I had to repeat the same explanation again with another secular leftist that same week. So when I saw this recent Daily Caller article about a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control, I figured I might as well equip you guys to respond to other people with the same wrong view.
The United States birth rate hit a record low in 2018 with numbers reflecting the lowest birthrates in the past 30 years, reports say.
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that almost every age group of women under 35 showed birth rate declines in 2018. The provisional number of births in the U.S. in 2018 was 3,788,235, down 2% since 2017. For every 1,000 women, the fertility rate declined 2% from 2017 to 1,728.0 births.
Birth rates had reached a record low in 2017 as well, marking a continuing trend of declining birth rates over the past four years, according to CNN.
[…]These 2018 birth rate numbers are below the necessary threshold needed for population replacement, which is 2,100 births per 1,000 women, CNN reports.
So we’re down to 1.73 births in the USA, which is below the 2.1 rate needed to maintain current population levels.
This new report isn’t an outlier. It confirms what we knew about from previous reports.
A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.
Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.
Now I have a couple tools for you to share to those people who might have irrational views of this issue.
This video explains what’s wrong with overpopulation fears:
And this one explains what the replacement rate number is:
You can share those for people who don’t have time to read. It at least makes the point, even if it doesn’t link to a reputable report.
A useful podcast
This podcast featuring famous economist Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse will be useful for you to understand why the overpopulation myth is something you should be concerned about.
France’s socialist leader Macron raised gas taxes in order to encourage people to drive their cars less. His gas taxes were supposed to reduce carbon emissions, and “stop global warming”. The people who have to pay those taxes, many of whom voted for him, protested. So Macron decided to persuade them.
Vincent Picard describes himself as a “militant ecologist.” But when protesters took to the streets to express their rage over a planned increase in France’s fuel tax, Mr. Picard joined their ranks.
He acknowledges that the tax might encourage the conservation considered critical for a healthy planet. But with the nearest train station 35 minutes away, he has to drive to work every day.
“I am conscious that we have reached the end of fossil fuels and that we have to modify our habits,” said Mr. Picard, a 32-year-old pastry maker from northern France. But, he added, “You have to continue to live.”
The gas tax is part of an effort started by France in 2014 to regularly raise the tax on fossil fuels to fight global climate change.
The so-called Yellow Vest protests against the tax increase have become the biggest obstacle yet to such attempts to encourage conservation and alternative energy use.
[…]Mr. Picard, the pastry chef, for instance, earns €1,280 a month, or about $1,450, after payroll taxes. For him, the planned tax increase of 6 or 7 cents per liter of gas “is enormous,” he said.
Wow, the “ecologist” (pastry chef) wants to save the planet, but he doesn’t want to have to pay for it.
This tweet made me laugh out loud:
She doesn’t like the socialism she voted for, either. Taxing the rich made her feel so good, until she found out that the government thinks she is rich, and taxed her.
But isn’t green energy working in Canada?
But France isn’t the only socialist country passing carbon taxes to stop the global warming monster. Canada is doing it too, especially in the province of Ontario, where they switched from nuclear power to wind power.
Here is a helpful graphic from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank that focuses on fiscal policy:
But it’s not just green energy, they wanted a carbon tax, too. Environmentally conscious Canadian voters handed their socialist leader Trudeau a majority government two years ago. But now that they are getting the carbon tax that they voted for, they’re having second thoughts about paying for it.
Two years ago, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a set of aggressive policies to reduce his country’s greenhouse gas emissions, centered on a nationwide price on carbon.
As that price is about to take effect, growing opposition has put Trudeau on the defensive and has provincial governments rolling back other measures, raising questions about the appetite of this oil-exporting country to tackle climate change.
[…]The growing backlash to Canada’s climate push reflects a number of changes, experts say. Those include widespread anger in Ontario as electricity prices soared in recent years, driven in part by a shift to renewables.
Canada’s environment minister “Climate Barbie” (she has no earned degrees in climate science, or any applied science, but she sure is glamorous and hawt) says they’re going ahead with the carbon tax:
Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, said in an interview that the dangers associated with global warming meant her government had to cut emissions. She said the government would proceed with its plan in the face of provincial opposition.
Canadian socialists felt so good when they elected a socialist. They wanted their carbon tax, and they thought the rich would pay for it. But just like the socialist voters in France, they are learning that they are going to have to pay for it. It felt so good to save the planet by voting for socialism… voting didn’t cost a thing, and it felt so good. You can tell your friends “I voted socialist”, and they’ll think you’re compassionate and caring. But then the bill came, and you find out that you have to pay for what you voted for.
The nice thing about consumption taxes (e.g. – gas taxes and carbon taxes), is that everyone has to pay for it. Income taxes are only pad by people who earn money. But consumption taxes are paid by everyone. If France is any indication about what’s ahead for Canada, then we should soon see young Canadian socialists choking on tear gas. (Maybe they will think that’s an improvement from the pot they’re smoking now that they legalized it). It’s time for Canadian socialists to understand the price they have to pay for their belief in global warming mythology. Bring. It. On.
During the past week, news stories reported that Pope Francis actually knew about the epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes by homosexual priests in the Catholic church. His response leaves a lot to be desired.
In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.
Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement, simultaneously released to the Register and other media, (see full text below) that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.” Viganò said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.
Archbishop Viganò, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” ended his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.
Speaking as a Protestant, I thought that Benedict was the best Pope the Roman Catholic church ever had. I used to call him “The Protestant Pope”, because he had so few of the problems that Protestants like me dislike about Roman Catholic doctrines. It doesn’t surprise me that he did the right thing when the crisis was brought to his attention. But his successor has not done the right thing. He has different priorities.
As he flew near Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma on his way back to the Vatican from Colombia on Sunday, Pope Francis said that political leaders and others who denied climate change reminded him of a passage from the psalms about man’s stubbornness.
[…]On the flight, the pope nevertheless appealed again to Mr. Trump, this time on his decision to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Children Program, known as DACA.
[…]In contrast to his negative appraisal of Mr. Trump’s approach to immigration, the pope praised Italy’s efforts to welcome large numbers of migrants even as it sought to stem the tide of immigrants coming from Libya.
In fact, the defenders of the Pope made clear that his priorities are global warming and open borders, not following what the Bible says about sex outside of marriage.
Catholic journalist Emily Zanotti explains, in the Daily Wire:
In a bizarre interview with a Chicago NBC affiliate, Cardinal Blaise Cupich, head of the Archdiocese of Chicago, suggested recent claims made by a former apostolic nuncio — the Vatican’s envoy to the United States — that Pope Francis not only disregarded sexual abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, but promoted McCarrick and sought his counsel, were going down a “rabbit hole.”
The Pope, Cupich told NBC, has more important things to attend to than sex abuse scandals, like climate change and immigration.
“The Pope has a bigger agenda,” Cardinal Cupich said. “He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.”
Clearly, this is the focus of Catholic church leadership. Global warming and open borders both help to destroy free market capitalism, and increase the size of the secular government. (Global warming alarmism allows the government to tax and regulate energy production and consumption, and open borders brings in a lot of low-skilled immigrants who tend to vote for higher taxes and more welfare spending). That’s the Pope’s priority. And since it’s also the mainstream media’s priority, they are defending him from his critics.
Ben Shapiro, writing in the far-left Newsweek, explains:
So, did the press leap to investigate Vigano’s claims? Did they demand answers from Pope Francis? Did we see the same type of courageous, comprehensive coverage of Francis’ activities that we saw from the Globe team circa 2003? Of course not.
Instead, mainstream media outlets went out of their way to portray Vigano as a disgruntled conservative angry at Pope Francis’ progressive interpretation of Catholic doctrine. The New York Times headlined, “Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open as Conservatives Pounce.” Their print headline was even worse: “Francis Takes High Road As Conservatives Pounce, Taking Criticisms Public.”
Yes, according to the Times, the story wasn’t the sitting Pope being credibly accused of a sexual abuse cover-up—it was conservatives attacking him for it. The problem of child molestation and sexual abuse of clergy took a back seat to Francis’ leftist politics, as the Times piece made clear in its first paragraph: “Since the start of his papacy, Francis has infuriated Catholic traditionalists as he tries to nurture a more welcoming church and shift it away from culture war issues, whether abortion or homosexuality. ‘Who am I to judge?’ the pope famously said, when asked about gay priests. Just how angry his political and doctrinal enemies are became clear this weekend…”
It wasn’t just the Times. On Wednesday, Reuters headlined, “Defenders rally around pope, fear conservatives escalating war.” On Thursday, Reuters doubled down with this headline: “Conservative media move to front line of battle to undermine Pope Francis.” The Telegraph (U.K.) reported, “Vatican analysts say the attack appears to be part of a concerted effort by conservatives to oust Pope Francis, who they dislike for his relatively liberal views…
[…]The media’s disgraceful attempts to cover for Francis because of their love for his politics merely exposes the actual malign motivations of many in the media: they were happy to expose misconduct and evil inside the Catholic Church when the pope was a conservative; they’re happy to facilitate a cover-up when the pope is a liberal.
As an evangelical conservative Christian, the Bible means more to me than the opinions of any man. The Bible is God speaking to his creatures about what their priorities ought to be. So, as a Bible-believing Christian, I’m primarily concerned about chastity, fidelity, protecting the unborn and promoting natural marriage. I wish we could all agree that these things should be our priorities. People should not be having sex outside of marriage, or cheating on their spouses. Unborn children should not be killed. Young children should grow up in stable homes with their biological mother and father present.
And I also believe in small government and low taxes, because parents need to keep the money they earn, in order to run their families properly. Parents should not be taxed to pay for high energy costs (global warming alarmism causes higher energy costs, for example Germany and Canada) and unskilled immigrants (higher police, education and health care costs, as seen in places like France and the UK). I want strong families where children grow up loved and protected. And I think Catholics should agree with me on this.
My friend Bruce posted this article from the the Daily Wire, and I think it’s a good summary of the scientific evidence against global warming alarmism. After we go over this, I’ll take a stab at explaining why so many non-scientists desperately want to believe that global warming is true, and why they try to push everyone else to believe it, too.
First, the list:
Temperature records from around the world do not support the assumption that today’s temperatures are unusual.
Satellite temperature data does not support the assumption that temperatures are rising rapidly
Current temperatures are always compared to the temperatures of the 1980’s, but for many parts of the world the 1980’s was the coldest decade of the last 100+ years
The world experienced a significant cooling trend between 1940 and 1980
Urban heat island effect skews the temperature data of a significant number of weather stations
There is a natural inverse relationship between global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels
The CO2 cannot, from a scientific perspective, be the cause of significant global temperature changes
There have been many periods during our recent history that a warmer climate was prevalent long before the industrial revolution
Glaciers have been melting for more than 150 years
“Data adjustment” is used to continue the perception of global warming
So, we can’t look at all of these in one post. Obviously, the satellite measurements are the best thing to look at, since they cannot be tampered with as easily as the ground measurements, and they show no warming for 18 years.
But let’s look at number 8 instead:
Even in the 1990 IPCC report a chart appeared that showed the medieval warm period as having had warmer temperatures than those currently being experienced. But it is hard to convince people about global warming with that information, so five years later a new graph was presented, now known as the famous hockey stick graph, which did away with the medieval warm period. Yet the evidence is overwhelming at so many levels that warmer periods existed on Earth during the medieval warm period as well as during Roman Times and other time periods during the last 10,000 years. There is plenty of evidence found in the Dutch archives that shows that over the centuries, parts of the Netherlands disappeared beneath the water during these warm periods, only to appear again when the climate turned colder. The famous Belgian city of Brugge, once known as “Venice of the North,” was a sea port during the warm period that set Europe free from the dark ages (when temperatures were much colder), but when temperatures began to drop with the onset of the little ice age, the ocean receded and now Brugge is ten miles away from the coastline. Consequently, during the medieval warm period the Vikings settled in Iceland and Greenland and even along the coast of Canada, where they enjoyed the warmer temperatures, until the climate turned cold again, after which they perished from Greenland and Iceland became ice-locked again during the bitter cold winters. The camps promoting global warming have been systematically erasing mention of these events in order to bolster the notion that today’s climate is unusual compared to our recent history.
That’s right, the world was much warmer than it is now during the Medieval Warming Period… so warm that you could actually farm on Greenland. But now it’s all frozen over.
Bruce also posted this article from Forbes magazine about the so-called consensus about global warming among scientists.
It is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.
[…]Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.
The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.
According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”
The authors of the survey report, however, note that the overwhelming majority of scientists fall within four other models, each of which is skeptical of alarmist global warming claims.
[…]Taken together, these four skeptical groups numerically blow away the 36 percent of scientists who believe global warming is human caused and a serious concern.
Most people who get excited about the threat of global warming have something to gain financially from the hysteria. For example, Democrat campaign donors who own stock in solar or wind power companies that get fat government subsidies. Solyndra was one example of that.
Why do people believe weird things?
So why do people believe these things? People believe these things for the same reason that primitive people would sacrifice animals in order to get a bountiful harvest or be spared being struck by lightning. They fear the future, and they want to believe that they are doing something in order to save themselves from doom. There is something credulous in us that seeks to know and control the future. When we are told a noble lie by grant-seeking, attention-craving academics, we believe it because we want to believe it. We want to believe that the future is going to be OK, especially when all we have to do to make it OK is recycle cans and turn off our lights when we are not using them.
This is the real psychological motivation behind the desperate desire to believe in the global warming myth. We are scared, and we want someone to save us from the future. And we jump at the chance of controlling the future, especially when it means recycling cans, rather than having to deal with our own sinfulness. We invent a new morality that justifies us rather than having to comply with the old morality. Freedom to commit adultery, as long as we recycle cans to save the planet. Sanctification through purchasing carbon credits, instead of sanctification through chastity, sobriety and self-control.