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Issues & Insights

A Cold, Dark Winter: Sweden Learns The Cost Of Trusting Climate Alarmists

I&I Editorial

The Democrats’ Green New Deal legislation was hailed as a smart, forward-looking effort to rid the world of this meddlesome carbon dioxide that is overheating the planet. But it is simply a costly and overburdening fantasy, as Sweden is learning with its own attempt to “curb global warming.”

The Sierra Club called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s GND “a big, bold transformation of the economy to tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change.” (Give the gang credit for obliquely admitting the “fight” against global warming is driven by a desire to take over the economy.)

Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat and ancient gladiator, has compared the GND to defeating the Nazis and putting men on the moon.

Both Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar found it to be “aspirational.”

Al Gore, famous for being a vice president and climate Paul Revere, who should be infamous for lying about global warming, has said he is “strongly in favor of” the GND.

More reasonable thinkers less concerned about appearing hip than getting to the truth have determined the GND would cost up to $93 trillion over its first decade. That’s quite a bit of money for a problem that might not exist.

And, as Sweden is learning, there are not only excessive costs incurred by “going green,” there are practical problems, as well, in particular energy shortages.

Sweden’s introduction of “a tax aimed at phasing out the nation’s last remaining coal and gas plants to curb global warming comes with an unintended consequence for some of its biggest cities,” Bloomberg reported last week.

“Hiking threefold a levy on fossil fuels used at local power plants will make such facilities unprofitable,” forcing utilities to announce “they will halt or cut power production.”

It might be a colder (and darker) winter than usual in Sweden this year, and not due to lower temperatures but because power output, according to two Stockholm utilities, “will stop or be heavily cut.”

Or as one commentator on oilprice.com said, “enjoy your rolling power blackouts.”

And for what? The possibility that human activity is overheating the planet? The alarmists insist there are no other explanations. They cite United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports as if they were brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses.

But are those reports infallible? Of course not. Are they completely divorced from politics? No honest person would try to make such a claim.

Yet the alarmists bitterly cling to those reports and the mythical scientific consensus, and treat those who aren’t in agreement with them with an irksome smugness.

They also offer the temperature record as indisputable evidence of the narrative, even though, as University of Alabama-Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer recently pointed out, the “records come from a fairly limited and error-prone array of thermometers which were never intended to measure global temperature trends.” (Spencer also notes that “July 2019 was not the warmest on record” despite reports claiming it to be “hottest month on record for global average surface air temperatures.”)

Academic and Capitol Hill policy staffer Caleb Rossiter has also dared to challenge the record. Curious after grading a student’s paper that uncritically accepted the U.N.’s global warming claims — for which the student received an “F” — Rossiter, a Democrat, checked the U.N.’s temperature chart from 1860 to 2000 and noticed it was “based on thermometer readings, mostly from developed countries.” This meant much of the global surface and nearly all the oceans were not measured, rendering the data “woefully incomplete,” and “making it difficult to draw large-scale conclusions.”

Writing recently in the Washington Examiner, Rossiter: 

  • Said the researchers who run the computer models that forecast climate doom “control the final answer from the start.”
  • Characterized the “hockey stick” chart that supposedly shows beyond any doubt a recent “thousand-year high” in temperatures as “pretty much all art and no science.”
  • And compellingly argued that “even if true, the chart was irrelevant to whether our recent warming is mostly human or natural,” because “every 100,000 years, oscillations in the earth’s orbit drive temperatures up and then down far more than the recent fluctuation. The processes and feedback are poorly understood.”

There are far too many examples of reasons to distrust the alarmist narrative to fit into an editorial or op-ed, or even a lengthy essay. But it’s important to add this to today’s discussion: The climate scare to many is less about harnessing the global temperature than it is a convenient “backdoor way to implement socialist policies in the Western democracies,” as environmental policy scholar H. Sterling Burnett has said. It is a dishonest scheme to “replace private property and free exchange in the market with state control of the economy.”

Finally, the fearmongering also provides an unparalleled opportunity for attention seekers to engage in blue-ribbon virtue signaling. They freely brag about their electric vehicles, residential solar panels, and dedication to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Some even resort to strutting their “advanced degrees” in science in an effort to intimidate and shut down discussion while at the same time showing how educated and intelligent they are.

Unfortunately, they will be saying the same things in 10 years, long after so many deadlines to “save the planet” have gone by without our existence being threatened.

— Written by J. Frank Bullitt


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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

9 comments

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  • I’ve never been convinced that the environmental movement has only been about protecting the environment, there is a lot of economic redistribution and anti-market sentiment also involved.

    What are the only two technologies in the modern era that have actually reduced carbon? Fracking and nuclear. Yet not only have these technologies not been endorsed by the enviro movement, they’ve been condemned. Why? Relying on solar and wind are completely unserious proposals since they won’t generate nearly enough energy, and the battery storage capacity is inadequate.

    Reducing carbon output isn’t the main goal of the “green” movement, otherwise we’d see nuclear plants opening up everywhere rather than them being closed down. No, this movement is another attempt at massive Western redistribution of resources, the regulation of markets and an increase of the state.

  • The impetus for this global movement seems to be the financing of a new world order (government).
    I remember an incident in Canada that involved some gov. officials and a sub-group representing the Bildebergers a handful of years ago.
    They were caught discussing policy illegally and their meeting minutes were confiscated.
    Those minutes explained the need for a carbon tax to fund the new world order.

    The experts at indoctrination have gone after the impressionable and will get their way with TV Believers, and “free” education.

  • Prediction: not one Swedish minister, junior-undersecretary-for-running-upstairs-two-at-a-time-flinging-the-door-open-shouting-HaHa-caught-you-Helga!, or intern in any Swedish government department will have his power cut or reduced by one watt.

  • The same people who can’t keep their own cities from drowning in crime, sewage and poop are going to fix the World’s environment? How stupid.

  • There are two very simple facts the Liberals will not acknowledge:

    #1 This Earth can only sustain 2 billion people without burning fossil fuel – John Deere does not run on batteries… so, what to do with 5 billion dead bodies?

    #2 The “deal” Trump wisely backed us out of would have taxed USA and sent this money to the #1 and #4 producers of CO2 – Chairman Mao’s China, and India…

  • It appears to me that the IPCC has consistently been wrong in its dire predictions and then make even more extreme predictions in subsequent “reports” over and over again. And the media uncritically buys in and reports it all as fact. It is quite bizarre.

  • 2Jan2015
    At a news conference [22Jan2015] in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework be adopted Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity, but to DESTROY CAPITALISM. “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said . Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will at change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

    Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors DOTcom/ibd-editorials/021015the Paris climate
    -738779-climate-change-scare-tool-to-destroy-capitalism.htm#ixzz3RXh5Tujn

  • IPCC official, Ottmar Edenhofer, speaking in November 2010: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute, de facto, the world’s wealth by climate policy. … one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute, de facto, the world’s wealth…” “This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy, anymore.”
    From Der Spiegel

  • The core of a lot of the environmental movement is to redistribute income. The left wing nuts in our country are looking for any which way to apply some kind of tax to the majority of us so that they can create more programs. Now I’m all for a clean planet-you can never attain perfect but where technology is successul & efficient then we chase that road. I don’t know why anyone would trust a politician. These guys can’t control crime or blight or litter in their own cities I smell naziism coming on. They don’t want us to have cars, they don’t want us to take vacation, they don’t want us to turn the furnace on & they don’t want us to turn the AC on.

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