A North Carolina citizen`s guide to global warming
The state of North Carolina is headed toward imposing major new regulations and taxes on the consumption and production of energy. These restrictions include higher gasoline taxes; restrictions on the use of coal, oil and natural gas in electricity generation and mandatory use of wind and solar power; new land-use regulations that would restrict people’s lifestyle choices and use of their property; tax penalties for roomier and more powerful cars; and the diversion of state funds from road construction to mass transit. All of this is being considered in the name of fghting global warming.
But how much have human activities affected the Earth’s climate up to now? How much will human activities change the climate in the future? What fraction of human-caused climate change is the result of greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, and how much is from other factors, such as turning wilderness into
cities and farmland? How harmful will climate change be, and what should policymakers in Raleigh, N.C., or Washington, D.C., do about it?
Climate change has dominated public attention during the last few years as environmentalists, along with many climate scientists, journalists and public fgures, most notably Al Gore, have driven climate change to the top of the world’s politi-cal agenda. The result has been a steady stream of scary headlines about hurricanes, foods, crop
failures, and other disasters of biblical proportions that humankind’s greenhouse gas emissions will ostensibly bring down upon us during the 21st century.
Gore warns that “We have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, foods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.”
According to Gore, the only way to avert these disasters is through a “wrenching transformation” of our way of life that involves drastic reductions in the amount of energy we use and large increases in the price we pay for the energy that remains.
As this guide will show, Gore’s brand of over-the-top climate hysteria has nothing to do with reality. Whatever the risks of future climate change, they pale in comparison to the risks of the “wrenching transformation” sought by Gore and his environmentalist allies.
The restrictions they seek to force on the world would require us to relinquish the energy consumption that undergirds the extraordinary prosperity, health, and comfort of life in the U.S., the nations of Europe, and other wealthy countries. At the same time, those restrictions would prevent individuals in the world’s poorest nations
from aspiring to the rich world’s quality of life, consigning them instead to continued poverty and hardship.
Environmentalists claim that their alarming view of the Earth’s climate represents the “consensus” of climate scientists, and that the scientific literature provides no room for a more benign assessment of the causes and nature of climate risks. In reality, papers that contradict this ostensible consensus are published in the major scientifc
journals nearly every week, and we discuss some of their results in the pages that follow