Global Warming Alarmism and Cows

Straight from the homeland of global warming alarmism and it's worrier-in-chief, Tony Blair, come two interesting pieces of information about climate change, both of which are likely to be ignored by mainstream media in America because they do not jibe with the media's existing bias toward accepting junk science which causes fear and raises ratings or newspaper sales.

According to an article in the UK's Telegraph newspaper, the upcoming report from the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will reduce its estimate of the human effect on climate change by 25 percent and cut in half their estimate of the maximum rise in sea levels which climate change could cause.

The changes are in part due to a re-thinking of the way the climate is working, i.e. the effect of aerosol sprays in keeping temperatures from rising as well as using newer and better data since the last report was completed five years ago.

It would be amusing, were it not so dangerous for policy considerations, that articles like that linked above have headlines pointing toward at least a slight retreat in global warming alarmism but then fill the article itself with the most scare-mongering fact-free text one could imagine outside The National Enquirer. (I take that's an insult to The National Enquirer.)

Some quote snippets from the Telegraph article: "People are very worried..." "...paints a bleak picture..." "...expect more storms of similar ferocity..." "...we are storing up problems for ourselves in the future."

It's enough to make you put your head in the oven.

Following the news about the IPCC report comes an incredible study entitled "Livestock's long shadow" by the LEAD (Livestock, Environment and Development) Initiative, which is supported by the World Bank, the EU, various government ministries and departments in Europe and the US, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Let me get right to the heart of the issue, quoting from their report: "The livestock sector is...responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport."

The emphasis on the last sentence is mine. What this says is that between deforestation to create pastures, the emissions of greenhouse gases in the process of making cow feed, and mostly from good old fashioned cow farts, cows are responsible for more of the pollution that people fear is causing global warming than cars, airplanes, trains, ships, snowmobiles, and motorized rickshaws combined.

While this does seem like quite a funny bit of news, it is yet another reason that we must be incredibly skeptical of dangerous and expensive policy suggestions like the Kyoto Protocols, which aim to possibly alter climate change by a fraction of a degree over decades at the cost of billions of dollars of economic output. And, if "economic output" sounds a bit theoretical to you, think of it as the likelihood that your and your children will be able to find a job.

I'll never look at a cow the same way again. Maybe the world needs to spend a billion dollars on very large corks....

But at least we have one politician who has the sense and courage to stand up against so much hype based on junk science. He is the often-derided Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. Inhofe's reaction to the story is summarized nicely by this quote (by him): "We are all skeptics now. It appears that the U.N. is now acknowledging what an increasing number of scientists who study the climate have come to realize: Predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming are simply unsustainable."

There is an ongoing battle for the "hearts and minds" of people in all industrialized countries, in which liberal anti-capitalists or else well-intentioned but poorly-informed environmentalists suggest policy choices which would be devastating to the world's economy and which would have benefits that are limited at best.

However, their side is winning the rhetorical war, in large part due to Tony Blair and the so-called Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. When you hear people like them say "the debate is over", don't believe it for a minute. Nevertheless, you should hold on to your wallet because your taxes and cost of living are likely to increase when their fears translate into new laws. And for heaven's sake, stay away from the business end of a cow.