Drawing the Wrong Conclusion XVII — the John Kerry makes THE case against government force to ‘solve global warming’ and then muffs it edition

Speaking at John Hopkins University this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprisingly accurate statement about U.S. government policy and global warming:

Even if every single American biked to work or carpooled to school or used only solar panels to power their homes – if we reduced our emissions to zero, if we planted each of us in America a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what? That still wouldn’t be enough to counteract the carbon pollution coming from China and the rest of the world.

That’s right; even if everybody in the United States did all that, we still would have no impact on the climate.

To repeat, according to Kerry, if everybody in the United States:

  • stopped driving
  • stopped using fossil fuels altogether
  • used solar only
  • in fact completely reduced emissions to zero, zilch, nothing
  • then planted almost four billion trees (the estimated U.S. population of 316.1 million times a dozen new trees works out to about 3.8 billion trees)

it still would have no impact on the climate.

Friends, this is what Roy Cordato has been explaining to us for years. Roy had argued along these lines especially with respect to North Carolina policy.

Consider: if everyone in the U.S. adopting 100 percent doctrinal purity according to the global warming bible doesn’t do diddly, then forcing North Carolinians — at great personal and public expense and with terrible social and economic disruption — to achieve our one-fiftieth of diddly would not just be useless, but dangerous stupidity.

For example, Cordato recently quantified this national and international diddly all the way to 2100 — using the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s estimates of “climate sensitivity” to emissions:

If the United States were somehow magically able to eliminate all of its carbon dioxide emissions, by 2100 temperatures would be .137 degrees C (.246 degrees F) cooler than they would be if we had no CO2 reductions at all. In other words, temperatures would cool by an undetectable amount. This is an amount so small that if one walked from one side of a street to another and the temperature fell by this amount it wouldn’t be noticed.

And what if we included all industrialized nations in our calculations? In other words, what if not just the US completely eliminated its CO2 emissions, but so did all of the EU, Japan, Australia, etc. That surely would cool things off, right? Well, the number is .278 degrees C (.5 degrees F) lower than business as usual in 100 years.

Again, that undetectable amount is based on the scenario of all mankind essentially lying down and doing nothing for the next century, not working and living under a “manageable” emissions reduction program dictated by government that still allows people to exist on the planet.

Kerry’s point isn’t this government program’s abject, dangerous futility staring him in the face, however. No, the lesson he draws is that everybody else — China, I’m blathering at you! — has to join us before it suddenly works to save the earth. Reflexively, he couches his call in the terms of “The science could not be clearer,” but he means the opposite from what the science has clearly been finding over the past two decades of the inconvenient utter lack of the predicted, cataclysmic global warming:

The UN climate report that was released over this last weekend is another wakeup call to everybody. The science could not be clearer. Our planet is warming and it is warming due to our actions, human input. And the damage is already visible, and it is visible at a faster and greater rate than scientists predicted. That’s why there’s cause for alarm, because everything that they predicted is happening, but happening faster and happening to a greater degree. The solutions are within reach, but they will require ambitious, decisive, and immediate action. …

The solution to climate change is as clear as the problem itself. And it’s not somewhere out there, pie in the sky, over the horizon, impossible to grab ahold of; it’s staring us in the face. The solution is energy policy. It’s as simple as that. Make the right choices in your energy policy, you solve the problem of climate change.

Previous entries in “Drawing the Wrong Conclusion”: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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