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Climate change is not an ‘existential threat’ – Washington Examiner

The Biden administration’s climate change policies have sharply increased oil prices, damaging the domestic economy and increasing the cost of nearly everything consumers buy. By increasing revenues for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, they also made Russia stronger and more dangerous at a critical time, thus damaging national security. It is worth noting that Russia’s invasions of Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014, and Ukraine again this year each happened after an oil price spike.

But worst of all, the Biden administration’s basis for these policies, the claim that global warming presents an “existential threat,” is fraudulent. It is not based on any scientific consensus, and in fact, it ignores evidence of environmental benefits of global warming that offset its harm.

Studies published in May 2015, July 2021, and August 2021 analyzed millions of deaths in numerous countries over recent decades and found that cooler temperatures kill several times more people than warmer temperatures. “Global warming,” environmental statistician Bjørn Lomborg wrote in September 2021, “now prevents more than 166,000 temperature-related fatalities annually.”

Matt Ridley’s February 2022 essay explained that global warming has increased both agricultural yields and growth of forests, grasslands, and tree leaves.

The facts regarding natural disasters also do not support the “existential threat” claim. The number of hurricanes per year, a 2021 EPA report shows, has not increased since the late 19th century. Moreover, although you wouldn’t know it from the panicky, sensationalized news coverage, the total acreage burnt by forest fires annually has decreased, and most rivers flood less today than they used to.

Since 1920, Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.12 degrees and the world population has quadrupled from less than two billion to almost eight billion. Even so, the number of people killed each year by natural disasters has declined by about 90%. That statistic, more than any other, puts the lie to claims of an existential crisis due to climate.

There is also the global air pollution death rate, which has declined by about 45% over the last three decades. Again, no “existential threat” here.

Climate change comes with trade-offs — this is not a new idea. 

A group of eminent scientists, including Richard Lindzen of MIT and William Happer of Princeton, wrote in 2017 that “observations [over the last] 25 years, show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign.”

Biden administration climate change policies are sensationalizing the threats while ignoring all the benefits. They rely on speculative “models” that supposedly project global temperatures and predict disasters. But these models are highly unreliable. In Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, Obama Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Steven Koonin shows that these models are unable even to reproduce the temperature changes of the 20th century.

The Biden administration’s campaign against U.S. oil production and pipelines is not just harmful — it is an environmental fraud. Now more than ever, with both a hot war in Europe and spiking energy prices wreaking economic havoc, it is vital to change our attitude and our policies toward this issue.

David M. Simon is a senior fellow at the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and a lawyer in Chicago.

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