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Climate Change Alarmism Is a Lie that Must Stop

Since 1992 the West has been living under the spell of a "climate emergency" that is repeatedly renewed but never happened.

Las chimeneas de una fábrica emiten humo.


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Since 1992 and the Earth Summit in Rio, the West has been living under the spell of a "climate emergency" that is repeatedly renewed but never happened. Since then, the West – and only the West - has set itself the main goal of reducing CO2 emissions (and other greenhouse gases, implied in the rest of this article). It is now 2023, time for a review.

CO2 emissions have not stopped growing and will continue to grow.

Since 1992, global CO2 emissions have continued to rise. With China opening an average of two new coal-fired power plants a week and India apparently more determined than ever to continue its development curve, as is the entire non-Western world, global CO2 emissions will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. There is not yet any available, inexpensive alternative to fossil fuels.

This increase in global CO2 emissions would be inevitable even if the West persists in its efforts to reduce emissions: Western reductions are - and will continue to be - more than offset by the increase in emissions in the rest of the world.

Will the warming target of the Paris Agreement be met?

Achieving the Paris Agreement target "to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels" requires drastic reductions in CO2 emissions. This has not happened. We are not on track. This global reduction will not happen. Therefore, the Paris Agreement target will not be achieved. This is now a certainty or, in the words of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a projection with a very high degree of reliability.

Will the EU's target of "decarbonisation by 2050" be met?

Even more extreme than the Paris Agreement is the EU's goal of decarbonisation. As stated earlier, even if the EU ceased to exist, global CO2 emissions would continue to rise. From this perspective, reducing European emissions only makes sense if it is part of an effective global framework, not a national or regional one. "Setting an example" to regimes and countries around the world that often hate the West simply enables those countries to grow stronger, while the countries setting the example weaken themselves by committing themselves to severe economic disadvantage - while having virtually no net effect on the climate. Do we really believe that China, Russia and India will let the West dictate their economic conditions and CO2 emissions? Meanwhile, as they grow, they would doubtless be extremely happy to see the West hobbling itself.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, probably the most zealous extremist to come to power in Europe since 1945 - whose chief of cabinet is the former leader of Greenpeace's anti-nuclear campaign - multiplies measures, initiatives and declarations aimed at drastically reducing European CO2 emissions - even at the cost of Europe's economic devastation, at the cost of freedom, and at the cost of causing a cruel increase in Europe's dependence on China's rare earth minerals.

The climate knows neither Europe nor Asia. Nothing that Europe and the West accomplish in this field has the slightest meaning if reduction of emissions is not global.

Would the economic consequences of even the most pessimistic IPCC global warming scenario matter?

Let us now look at the issue of the economic impact of CO2 emissions.

The climate expert and physicist Steven Koonin, former Under Secretary for Science during the Obama Administration, notes in his latest book, Unsettled that even if the IPCC's most pessimistic warming scenario were to come true, the global economic impact would be negligible (Unsettled: Dallas, BenBella Books, 2021, chapter 9, 'Apocalypses that ain't', page 179s.)

In its fifth and latest (full) report, the IPCC estimates that a 3° warming -- twice the Paris Agreement target -- would reduce global economic growth by 3%. Three per cent a year? No, 3% by the year 2100. This amount represents a reduction in global economic growth of 0.04% a year, a number that is barely measurable statistically. That is in the IPCC's pessimistic scenario. In the more optimistic scenarios, the economic impact of warming will be virtually non-existent. The IPCC, AR5, Working Group II, chapter 10 states:

"For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers.... Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices... and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is largely relative to the impact of climate change."

In other words, according to the data of the IPCC itself, the economic growth and well-being in Europe and the United States are more threatened by extremist and delusional environmental policies than by global warming. As Jean-Pierre Schaeken Willemaers of the Thomas More Institute, president of the Energy, Climate and Environment Cluster, noted on February 22:

"The EU and its Member States have focused on climate policy, mobilizing enormous financial and human resources, thereby reducing the resources necessary for the development of its industry and weakening the security of energy supply."

The lesson of all this is simple: Future generations will judge us harshly for allowing extremist environmental activism to enfeeble us in the West, while a hostile East – China, Russia, North Korea and Iran -- continue to advance their industrial and military capabilities. Instead of trying to fight CO2 emissions, we would do better to invest in researching ways to make reliable supplies of energy both cleaner and less expensive so that everyone -- by choice -- will rush to use them.

Global emissions and the accumulated stock of CO2 in the atmosphere will, unfortunately, not be decreasing any time soon, but that is no reason to let the global standing of the West decrease instead.

© Gatestone Institute