(December 19, 2013) Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the cause of global warming.
By Lawrence Solomon, published by the National Post on December 19, 2013
2013 has been a gloomy year for global warming enthusiasts. The sea ice in the Antarctic set a record, according to NASA, extending over a greater area than at any time since 1979 when satellite measurements first began. In the Arctic the news is also glum. Five years ago, Al Gore predicted that by 2013 “the entire North polar ice cap will be gone.” Didn’t happen. Instead, a deflated Gore saw the Arctic ice cap increase by 50% over 2012. This year’s Arctic ice likewise exceeded that of 2008, the year of his prediction. And that of 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Weather between the poles has also conspired to make the global warming believers look bad. In December, U.S. weather stations reported over 2000 record cold and snow days. Almost 60% of the U.S. was covered in snow, twice as much as last year. The heavens even opened up in the Holy Land, where an awestruck citizenry saw 16 inches of snow fall in Jerusalem, almost three feet in its environs. Snow blanketed Cairo for the first time in more than 100 years.
2013 marks the 17th year of no warming on the planet. It marks the first time that James Hansen, Al Gore’s guru and the one whose predictions set off the global warming scare, admitted that warming had stopped. It marks the first time that major media enforcers of the orthodoxy — the Economist, Reuters and the London Telegraph – admitted that the science was not settled on global warming, the Economist even mocking the scientists’ models by putting them on “negative watch.” Scientific predictions of global cooling – until recently mostly shunned in the academic press for fear of being labeled crackpot – were published and publicized by no less than the BBC, a broadcaster previously unmatched in the anthropogenic apocalyptic media.
2013 was likewise bleak for businesses banking on global warming. Layoffs and bankruptcies continued to mount for European and North American companies producing solar panels and wind turbines, as did their pleas for subsidies to fight off what they labelled unfair competition from Chinese firms. Starting in 2013, though, their excuses have been wearing thin. China’s Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, has now filed for bankruptcy, as has LDK Solar, another major firm. Sinovel, China’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines and the world’s second largest, reported it lost $100-million after its revenues plunged 60%, and it is now closing plants in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
While these no-carbon technologies get buried, carbon rich fuels go gung ho. Last month Germany fired up a spanking new coal plant, the first of 10 modern CO2-gushers that Europe’s biggest economy will be banking on to power its economy into the 21st century. Worldwide, 1200 coal-fired plants are in the works. According to the International Agency, coal’s dominance will especially grow in the countries of the developing world, helping to raise their poor out of poverty as they modernize their economies.
But as important as coal is, the fossil fuel darlings are indisputably shale gas and shale oil. This week the U.K. sloughed off the naysayers and announced it will be going all out to tap into these next-generation fuels. Half of the UK will be opened up to drilling to accomplish for the U.K. what shale oil and shale gas are doing for the U.S. – drastically lowering energy costs while eliminating the country’s dependence on foreign fuels. China, too, has decided to tap into the shale revolution – in a deal with the U.S. announced this week, it will be exploiting what some estimate to be the world’s biggest shale gas reserves, equivalent in energy content to about half the oil in Saudi Arabia.
2013 as well marks a turning point for the governments of the world. January 1, 2013, Day One of the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, saw Kyoto abandoned by Canada and Russia, two fossil fuel powerhouses. With their departure Kyoto became a club for the non-emitters – the Kyoto Protocol now only covers a paltry 15% of global emissions. At UN-sponsored talks on global warming in Warsaw last month, the Western countries of Europe, North America, and Australia refused to even discuss a proposal from developing countries that would limit emissions in the future.
2013 also saw Australia elect a climate-skeptic government in an election that was hailed as a referendum on climate change. Upon winning, the government promptly proceeded to scrap the country’s carbon tax along with its climate change ministry, now in the rubbish heap of history. Other countries are taking note of the public’s attitude toward climate change alarmism – almost nowhere does the public believe the scary scenarios painted by the climate change advocates.
2013 was the best of years for climate skeptics; the worst of years for climate change enthusiasts for whom any change – or absence of change — in the weather served as irrefutable proof of climate change. The enthusiasts fell into disbelief that everyone didn’t pooh-pooh the failure of the climate models to perform as advertised. That governments and the public would abandon the duty to stop climate change was in their minds no more thinkable than Hell freezing over. Which the way things are going for them, may happen in 2014.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe.
A version of this article, dated December 23, 2013, was posted by Hans Labohm on the Dutch political blog, Dagelijkse Standaard. See here for the original post in Dutch and here for the Google translation in English.