Commentary: Gut Check on “Climate Change”

by John McClaughryJohn McClaughry

“Gov. Shumlin has spent the past six years ardently preaching the Gospel of Anthropogenic Climate Change – but the case for it gets weaker every year.”

For the past twenty years Vermonters have been fed a heavy diet of terrors originally labeled the Menace of Global Warming – then renamed “climate change” after the predicted warming failed to appear.

This diet also includes lots of urgent proposals for making Vermont the world leader in battling “climate change”, victory over which will presumably occur when the climate finally stops changing.

All of these proposals have called for new mandates, new bureaucracies, more subsidies to the renewable industrial complex, and of course more taxes.

The most ardent and determined Vermont proponent of this war – especially in advocating the handouts to the wind and solar investors – has been Governor Peter Shumlin. Back in 2006 he was telling reporters that “I think [the # 1 issue] is global warming and keeping this planet from destroying itself and keeping us from destroying this planet in front of our own eyes.” Two years later he was the lead sponsor of the VPIRG “extreme green makeover” bill, based on “making global warming the top priority of everything we do, not only in government but also in our own personal and private lives.”

Shumlin announced that our failure to defeat global warming would lead to an “unspeakably horrid future” for our grandchildren. Three years ago he said “that our planet is warming at an alarming rate is undeniable”, and declared, as Pope Urban VIII declared to Galileo about the sun revolving about the Earth, that “any other conclusion is simply irresponsible”.

Soon after his election as governor he created a “Climate Cabinet” with thirteen specific duties, including, of course, “securing federal and state funding” for programs to make “climate change” stop. In doing so he alluded to “wild weather caused by climate change…including increased snowfalls and flooding, unpredictable storms and more.”

There are four components to the Shumlin Climate Theology: first, the climate is doing terrible things; second, we irresponsible humans, addicted to carbon combustion, are producing these dangerous changes; third, government must force us to stop, through a broad array of taxes, mandates, regulations, and subsidies; and fourth, all this is completely beyond debate: “the science is settled”, so shut up. This theology is impervious to facts.

Here are just three recent discoveries that ought to give a reasonable person some real doubts about the Gospel of Human-Caused Global Warming.

First, despite a ten percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration since 1998, the global temperature anomaly curve has remained flat. A chart prepared by climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer compares the UN IPCC’s 1990-2012 temperature projections with actual satellite-measured global temperatures. All of the IPCC projections, not just the scariest ones, are notably hotter than what has actually happened. The never-validated supercomputer projections cannot even represent known past temperatures. Therefore they are worthless.

Second, Dr. John Christy, an internationally-known NASA-funded climatologist who has participated in all of the IPCC assessments, recently summarized events thus:

  • Popular scare stories that weather extremes – hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods — are getting worse are not based on fact.
  • In the U.S., high temperature records are not becoming more numerous.
  • Even if climate models were correct, a 50% reduction in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 would avert only 0.07°C of warming by 2100.
  • The climate change impact of enhancing CO2 concentrations has so far been small compared to the public health and biospheric benefits provided by affordable, carbon-based energy.

Third, despite the ridicule of such propagandists as Bill McKibben, real scientists (notably at CERN, in Geneva) have confirmed a mechanism whereby variations in solar charged particle emissions produce terrestrial climate change well above and beyond the effect of the solar energy arriving on earth. The magnitude of the effect is still being debated, but the forthcoming IPCC assessment (AR5) is likely to concede that much of the unexplained warming previously attributed by the Global Warming crowd to “human causes” is in fact a product of solar activity.

These and other developments have thrown the Shumlin Climate Theology into the recycling bin, along with phrenology, Lysenkoism, spooks, and goblins. The sooner all of Shumlin’s yearned-for “climate change” taxes, mandates, and subsidies are repealed, the better for Vermonters and our economy.

– John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Spencer’s chart is at

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Stuart Friedman June 13, 2013 at 2:27 am

I read your article on global warming. The Automobile is one the greatest sources
of toxic emissions, some lighter than air some not. The combustion motor, the sole source of these emissions wastes around 70% of the energy in gasoline. The 2 Stroke Motor burns oil and gasoline creating even more emissions that are toxic and lighter than air. Regardless of global warming, the emissions are known to be toxic, coal for example, producing mercury. Nuclear, the occasional radiation steam leak, or leak into rivers. A large majority of this will end with the intro of ever advancing technology. Everything that uses electricity uses less, everything that produces energy,produces it more efficiently. When heat is removed from the use of electricity, example: LED light bulbs 10X longer, efficiency will compound from energy production to demand. Petroleum demand and price are up over 400% since the year 2000,the opportunity is presented by costs soaring, none of them involving air polluting production of energy and use of oil. Truth is, everything that creates pollution is becoming obsolete. Live with it, invest in it. The technology industry notices the cost of the automobile, the increase in cost to move it, whileat the same time a personal computer cost to consumers has fallen 50-80%. Basically what I am trying to say is that anything that produces pollution will not compare to the efficiency and costs to operate versus a non polluting device. Pollution producing things will become obsolete it won’t have anything to do with pollution….


Victoria June 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm

It’ll help but it won’t be enough. New frmniag practices that are more efficient and sustainable will have to be invented, probably incorporating old ones. Agriculture is a major contributor. Cattle, etc, will have to be ranched or reduced consumption, or burn the methane. There goes Agriculture, check.Also other than residential stuff, moving onto industrial. Methods will probably have to be converted to electric and solar heat for power. The grid will need to be redesigned, various renewables will be able to power at least 90% of power needs in most places. Increased efficiency will turn that into 100%.As to cars, various manufacturers are in competition right now. I say the free market should be opened to the world, along with fast lanes around the red tape to getting efficient electric vehicles on the road. If they aren’t efficient, it defeats the purpose. At this point, power from nuclear plants which should also be used for the isotope industry may be needed.Moving on. Boats currently burn an extremely dirty fuel that’s illegal anywhere where there are any basic health regulations. Here I see so many options for improvement, that I say the UN should carbon-tax them to stimulate a gradual move towards the hundreds of options I see. That way, it will be as close to the free market as possible.This money, along with some voluntary donations would have to go to third world countries. Currently, there is too much dependence on deforestation to sustain their economies. In order to make it possible for them to industrialize without destroying their forests, and basically following the same path we did which created global warming, some money will need to be given away. Deforestation is the most long-term contributing factor to the CO2 increase.Also, as a bonus a carbon tax on shipping would stimulate goods to be produced closer to home. More jobs would be created in the industrialized nations, however that would be due to a loss of jobs elsewhere.Reconstruction of infrastructure to do with the consumption of energy would pull us out of the recession, by creating many new jobs.In turn, the economic growth can be directed into further response, fueling further economic growth. Then one day in the far future, the bubble of endless green response will burst.Basically, yes it’ll help to slow global warming. It’s really the speed that is dangerous, not so much the warming itself.


Rod McCormick June 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Thanks for the excellent commentary. I have wondered why the religion has changed from man made global warming to man made climate change, and it speaks mostly to liberal guilt and to others it speaks to original sin. That is, just by being born, humans live in sin one way or another. Absence Catholic dogma, the innate need for religion turns to environmentalism to say how sinful and horrible humanity is. In my 65 years on this planet, I have been very impressed with how human beings have reduced the entropy of living by huge improvements in pollution. Now the environmentalists are trying to convince us that a chemical essential not only for plant life, but life altogether, is a pollutant. Climate change is a problem for Vermont only if it leads to another Ice Age, not if it warms up enough to have a decent growing season for life to do well in this part of the world.


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