I voted twice for Barack Obama and would cheerfully do so again if offered the opportunity. Maybe he can be senator from California some day.
He took office when the U.S. was in great disarray following 8 years of what I consider mismanagement, entangled in two wars and facing the worst recession since the Great Depression. Barack Obama has done a superb job in helping the U.S. recover. Sometimes it was through active policies, such as Obamacare. Sometimes it was by just staying out of the way, such as with fracking.
A President I greatly admire is completely wrong on climate change. “President Barack Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to put the reality of climate change in particularly stark terms.
“Today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change,” Obama said. “Climate change can no longer be denied, or ignored.”
Mr. President, you’re mistaken. Climate change happens continuously. That’s why we measure it. Nobody denies that climate changes.
And very few deny that humans have contributed to changes since 1945. We have gone from 5 million cars to 2 billion wheeling around this planet. We have thousands of coal fired power plants where once we had hundreds. We have farms fit to feed 7 billion souls where once we struggled to feed 1 billion. We have cut down forests, burned them, paved over native grasses for strip malls and freeways.
But our actions constitute a nudge, not a shove. We are learning more about the sensitivity of the atmosphere to our actions and it turns out the climate is pretty resilient.
The scientists you say you trust on climate change do not forecast disaster. They estimate it will take between 1% and 5% of global GDP to manage the adaptations we will have to make to deal with the worst projected consequences, that 0.23% of our land will succumb to sea level rises, that the number of hurricanes may well diminish and that overall, global precipitation may increase by about 5%.
The Greenland Ice Sheet will not melt into the oceans, although many glaciers around the world may disappear. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is accumulating ice, as are the oceans around Antarctica. Malaria, recently thought to be poised to spread back to regions that had eliminated it, is now thought to be destined for eradication.
Global warming still continues to be most pronounced in winter time, at night, in the northern latitudes. Our CO2 will constitute a burden for our grandchildren to deal with, but in the meantime it has helped vegetation grow by 7% on this planet we share.
Mr. President, when you say, “2014 was the warmest year on Earth ever recorded. The 14 hottest years on record, meanwhile, have all fallen within the last 15 years,” I agree. But do you realize that conflict deaths have declined during that period, that there has not been a wave of climate refugees during that period, that mortality, poverty, malnutrition and infectious disease have all declined during this plateau of temperatures at record levels?
People concerned about the environment can be easily distracted by global warming, when in fact the major threats are over-hunting and over-fishing, pollution, loss of habitat and the introduction of alien species.
You can serve as witness for the dangers of distraction. Attribution of causes is of paramount importance. For many endangered species, the other causes comprise 99% of the threat and global warming 1%. When global warming activists try to reverse the percentages, they cheapen the debate and soil the science.
When you assign global warming responsibility for your daughter’s asthma, you provide a convenient alibi for two far more likely causes of her ailment–an allergy to peanuts being one and the presence of a parent who smoked being another. This is not to deny that global warming has occurred–temperatures have risen about 0.8C over the past century or so. But attributing all our problems to global warming is focusing on the tail, not the dog.
Your advisor Brian Deese was quoted as saying “The most salient arguments around climate change are associated with the health impacts and are ones that meet people where they are, and that requires making an argument around how climate is affecting local communities and individuals.”
As of now, the health impacts of climate change are benign. We are experiencing far fewer deaths from cold than any rise in heat related deaths. Whatever temperatures have done, they have not stopped our progress in reducing morbidity and mortality overall.
Climate change will rise in importance as developing countries continue to use more fossil fuels. Many of the remarks you make will be salient when applied to the period beyond 2040, when the IPCC predicts impacts from climate change will be more pronounced.
What a tragedy it would be if exaggerating the present state of our climate led us to ignoring what we will need to do in the future.
I am not a skeptic regarding climate change. I support tougher EPA regulations on coal fired plants. I will not be sorry on the day the last coal plant shutters its doors. I strongly believe in energy efficiency, better CAFE standards and many other no regrets options. I support a revenue neutral carbon tax and increased investment in renewable energy.
But blatant disregard for what the science is telling us about our climate today serves nobody’s purposes. You damage the credibility of your office and dilute efforts to prepare for the future.
I ask you to reconsider, not your stance on many of the issues surrounding climate change, but the over-blown rhetoric you and your administration employ in advancing your agenda.