How Fossil Fuels Will Help Us Confront Climate Change

The debate over climate change policy pits two competing visions of the future against each other.

On the one hand are the “true believers,” who see in global warming an existential threat to humanity. They want to slow the rise in temperature as soon as possible, and as much as possible.

Their policy prescriptions focus on the curtailment, or even elimination, of the use of fossil fuels, no matter the costs in terms of slower economic growth and increased poverty.

The “skeptics,” on the other hand, view global warming as a potentially serious issue. It might cause problems in the future, but the impacts cannot be determined now with any degree of certainty.

Instead of attempting to forestall future warming, they focus on policies that will build societal wealth as well as scientific and technological capacity by the most efficient means available. Given the existing state of technology, this includes the use of abundant fossil fuels to promote rapid economic growth.

The goal of the skeptics is to position society to deal effectively in the future with whatever issues may arise from global warming as they actually occur.

One possible version of the skeptics’ vision of a high-wealth, high-energy society was on vivid display last week in Dubai, where The Heritage Foundation was promoting the Index of Economic Freedom at the annual conference of the Academy of International Business.

The United Arab Emirates is a group of seven semi-independent Emirates on the shores of the Persian Gulf, of which Dubai is the largest.

When the Emirates gained independence in 1971, the population was about 275,000. Now it is about 9.3 million, making the UAE one of the fastest-growing countries in the world.

Economic growth has kept pace with population growth in the UAE, and the per capita gross domestic product is among the highest in the world at about $67,000 (based on purchasing power parity).

The UAE is an oil-producing state, and the economy is built on a foundation of abundant and cheap fossil fuels.

Unlike many other oil-producing states, however, where centralized control has hampered diversification and locked society into dependence on export revenue, the UAE government has promoted economic freedom and openness, rising to eighth place in the world in The Heritage Foundation index rankings and first place among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

Modern Dubai rises from the desert like a vision of Tomorrowland. Skyscrapers vie with one another for the most inventive architectural design, and the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, towers over them all.

A 14-kilometer artificial river surrounds the city. In heat that averages over 100 degrees on an annual basis, citizens move from air conditioned homes to air conditioned cars, buses, and trains, to air conditioned offices and shopping malls.

This is where the relevance to the climate change debate comes in.

The current average world temperature is about 58 degrees. The true believers in climate change are predicting global catastrophe if that temperature rises by a worst-case estimate of 7 degrees Fahrenheit. That would bring the world average temperature to about 65 degrees.

Dubai, today, is doing quite well at an average temperature 35 degrees higher.

Obviously, Dubai is on the cutting edge of technology and prosperity as a result of its oil endowment and government policies that promote economic freedom and growth.

Not every country has oil, but in a globalized market, cheap fossil fuels are available everywhere to spur rapid growth and technological change.

True believers want us to accept sacrifices now—and a poorer world—in favor of unproven policies to avert warming that may or may not occur, and that may or may not be harmful.

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Comments (4)

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    What will be the limiting factor to population growth? Water, fuel, food, war or CO2 ?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    many big time Eco-Wackos want the human race to go extinct becuase their so belt out of shape by this Population Bomb hoax of Paul Ehrlich

    Reply

    • Avatar

      rakooi

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      and YET, another Asinine comment by always SPURING PLOVER….the very definition of UGLY BILE FILLED FOOLISHNESS and HATE.
      ..
      IT WAS, IN FACT, mainstream science that debunked the “population bomb” author Pau Ehrlich !
      Now RIGHT WING IDEOLOGUE mouth pieces for the Killer Coal Billionaires use the VERY FELLOW they supported, in an attempt
      to stop Government POLICY stopping the use of COAL, because of the damage it was clearly seen doing to the CLIMATE and life on Earth.
      **
      “1799
      The FIRST Postulation about Human Activities causing “climate changes” by name.
      .
      1811
      The FIRST Scientific LINK of Global Warming and Human Activities.
      .
      1958
      The Legititmate Scientific Community, in 1958, gave a Research Study & Warning t President Eisenhower
      about the unrestrained & MASSIVE Dumping of TOXIC industrial waste gasses &
      chemicals into our atmosphere & the climate warming Changes it causes.
      Complete with tumultuous weather changes: Cold events, Heat waves, Droughts, Rising Sea levels, & Flooding Rain events!
      Source: AAAS
      (The American Association for the Advancement of Science)
      .
      1965
      The Scientific Community Delivered a detail Research report in 1965 to President Johnson about the massive,
      unrestrained Dumping of TOXIC industrial waste gases & chemicals into our atmosphere &
      Global Warming with Climate Changes threatening our populations and economies.
      Source: AAAS
      .
      Global Warming Science PROJECTED (Spot on, accurate) Changes likely over 50 yrs. into the future (to 2015)
      PROJECTED Climate changes:
      .
      1. AS PROJECTED: ALL Surface digital weather station measurements register RISING Global TEMPERATURES .
      2100+ (NASA NOAA) Ground Stations around the world.
      PLUS!
      independent News/TV/Radio collected.
      Tens of millions of human measures / yr. by well over 30,000 private, independently owned & operated
      Digital Weather stations around the world.

      ALL Satellite measurements show that the troposphere is warming…& verified by HUNREDS OF THOUSANDS OF
      digital weather balloon launches around the world.
      ALL Satellite measures of the stratosphere is cooling for 52 straight YEARS, as Projected by anthropogenic global warming
      &
      as projected spot-on accurately BASED ON GLOBAL WARMING THEORY & numerous computer models in over 2 dozen countries.
      .
      (Strotospheric Cooling “CANNOT” be explained by ANY NATURAL CYCLE !…If direct solar warming is responsible for Climate on earth,
      how can 1 atmospheric layer be warming while the layer closer to the sun is actually cooling???)
      .
      (CO2 removes sufficient Infra Red Radiation = that the Stratosphere deprived of IR heat..is cooling
      …If Deniers/Skeptics are to be believed…the heat comes from the sun.
      ….then the Stratosphere Is FIRST IN LINE to WARM from the sun…how could IT be cooling and the next atmospheric layer, the Troposphere, be warming ….? ?
      As projected by Global Warming Theory: Temperatures at the ocean surface & at various ocean depths show * warming as far down as 2000 meters
      (after thousands of years cooling)
      AS projected: Sea level rise gravitometric measurements of Greenland and Antarctica show net ice loss. HEADLINES: “….“The loss of ice from West Antarctica
      between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region,”
      writes the ESA, whose GOCE satellite measured the change. Apparently, melting billions of tons of ice year after year has implications….”

      National Snow & Ice Data Center registered the ARCTIC AND ANTARCTICA set Satellite Historic Low Ice LEVELS…2016

      As Propjected: Ice loss in the Arctic is dramatically accelerating setting low ice records 2015, 2016 etc.
      **continuing a 40+ year trend ! Acceleration of melting glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, particularly within the last few years.
      China reports a stunning 18% loss of Ice Packs and Glacier Ice in recent years, Citing Accelerating Global warming & Black Carbon build up
      from Coal electric generation locally & around the world.
      AS Projected: Poleward migration of species:

      The Pine Beetle, for example, has been confined to much warmer southern latitudes for thousands of years by Frigid Northern Climates.
      Today, That Beetle is found north of Fairbanks, Alaska !!

      AS Projected: Increased hurricane & Storms (numbers &/or intensity) as expected from rising sea surface temperatures
      & expanded surface area, with expanding evaporation..
      .
      (10 of the 15 Busiest Hurricane Seasons have occurred since 2000.)
      Accelerating decline of glaciers throughout the world
      Montana’s glacier national park had 150 in 1910 ((& in 1958 when I was there)) today, only 25 remain ! (soon to be 24)
      *
      ((( at a time when Skeptics & Deniers claim we are Plowing into a new ICE AGE,
      …that we will be knee deep in it by 2030 ! Hmmmm! )))
      As Projected: The rise of the troposphere altitudes
      As Projected: Rise in temperatures at greater depths in the permafrost
      As Expected: Rapid expansion of thermokarst lakes throughout parts of Siberia, Canada and Alaska
      Russia reports that atmospheric temperatures in Siberia are rising at Twice the world wide average increase.
      Changes in ocean circulation as predicted by climate models, for example, with temperatures rising more quickly overland
      AS expected: Disintegration of permafrost coastlines in the arctic
      AS expected: Changes in the altitude of the stratosphere
      ALSO, AS expected: An energy imbalance-the earth is receiving more energy than it emits (Hansen 2005) Verified.
      …every monthly compilation of energy readings registers the same imbalance
      …increasing energy staying within the earth’s atmosphere rather than escaping to space.
      (These findings are verified by detailed satellite data from 3 different nation’s satellites)
      .
      Poleward movement of the jet streams
      SOURCE: (Archer 2008)
      SOURCE: (Seidel 2007)
      SOURCE: (Fu 2006)
      The 270 Largest Fresh Water Lakes in the world are ALL rising in temperatures, TWICE as fast as the atmosphere.
      Algae Blooms and mass fish die-offs have doubled.
      Flooding Rain Events have far more than doubled.
      Deserts world wide are expanding.
      The Number of droughts has more than doubled AND the Square Miles affected have more than doubled.
      Heat Waves have more than Doubled.
      The world is greening, primarily at higher altitudes on mountains and in far norther latitudes
      and far southern lattitudes as snow is replaced by vegitation. So let’s remember that Snow/Ice Reflects I.R. Heat back to space
      ..but vegitation absorbs MORE heat on Earth.

      “….Robin Bell, an Antarctic researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute at Columbia University who was not involved in the study. “Who had heard of rain in Antarctica — it is a desert!….”
      *
      ” Our ability to analyze and adapt is what makes humans the dominant species on the planet.
      Spitting on that, is spitting on what makes us, us !

      In the 70s,
      when scientists told us that CFCs used in aerosol sprays and refrigeration had punched a hole in the Ozone Layer
      and their continued use would render the planet uninhabitable to humans,
      we listened and A VERY CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN banned them.
      The hole is closing and we’re safe from a world poisoned by ultraviolet radiation.
      HUMANS AFFECT the CLIMATE of EARTH.
      HUMANS can correct CLIMATE CHANGES they have caused.
      .
      https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/?

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Sonnyhill

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        Gotta hand it to you Rakoyoyo you’re big on recycling garbage .

        Reply

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