Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Climate fears impede real change

It looks like we'll always have Paris.  Once a belief is embedded in the collective brain, even if it is wrong, and especially if it is wrong, it doesn't let go easily.  Facts do not conquer emotion, and logical solutions cannot win over mass hysteria.  If only...

Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2017. By Bjorn Lomborg
Al Gore's Climate Sequel Misses a Few Inconvenient Facts  
Eleven years after his first climate-change film, he’s still trying to scare you into saving the world.

Mr. Gore helped ne­go­ti­ate the first ma­jor global agreement on cli­mate, the Ky­oto Pro­to­col. It did noth­ing to re­duce emis­sions (and therefore to rein in tem­per­a­tures), ac­cord­ing to a March 2017 ar­ti­cle in the Jour­nal of En­vi­ron­men­tal Eco­nomics and Man­age­ment. Un­daunted, Mr. Gore still en­dorses the same so­lu­tion, and the new doc­u­mentary de­picts him roam­ing the halls of the Paris cli­mate con­fer­ence.

And for what? Just ahead of the Paris con­fer­ence, the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change es­ti­mated that if every coun­try ful­fills every promised Paris car­bon cut be­tween 2016 and 2030, car­bon diox­ide emis­sions will drop by only 60 gi­ga­tons over that time frame. To keep the tem­per­a­ture rise be­low 2 de­grees Cel­sius, the world must re­duce such emissions nearly 6,000 gi­ga­tons over this cen­tury, ac­cord­ing to the IPCC. A “suc­cess­ful” Paris agree­ment wouldn’t even come close to solv­ing the prob­lem.

In part be­cause of ac­tivists like Mr. Gore, the world re­mains fo­cused on sub­si­diz­ing in­ef­ficient,
u­nreli­able tech­nol­ogy, rather than in­vest­ing in re­search to push down the price of green en­ergy. Real progress in Paris could be found on the side­lines, where phil­an­thropist Bill Gates and oth­ers, in­clu­ding po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, agreed to in­crease spend­ing on re­search and de­vel­op­ment. This is an im­portant start, but much more fund­ing is needed.

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