What is the US President Talking About?
History of attempts to distort climate science and use it as a vehicle for political ends is a sequence of shifting goalposts. It moved from global warming to climate change to climate disruptions. CO2 became greenhouse gases then carbon. CO2, a gas essential to plant life for oxygen production and thereby life on earth became a toxic substance.
The Kyoto Protocol died at the G8 Summit in France as President Obama and other key nations said they would not agree to a second series of cuts to CO2. As usual most reports incorrectly called them “carbon cuts”. Some assume it’s the end of attempts to reduce CO2 emissions. It isn’t. All they’re saying is the Kyoto Protocol is unfair because nations like China and India among others are not required to reduce levels. Obama has prepared for the shift.
In the last couple of years he combined the shifts by using the term “carbon pollution”. He did it again in a speech at Penn State and repeated it in his address to the British Parliament just prior to going to the G8. It’s troubling when the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth uses completely incorrect terminology. He can claim he’s a victim of bad advice, but as an earlier President said, the buck stops here.
At Penn State he said:
Everybody focuses on cars and gas prices, and that’s understandable. But our homes and our businesses use 40 percent of the energy. They contribute to 40 percent of the carbon pollution that we produce and that is contributing to climate change. It costs us billions of dollars in energy bills. They waste huge amounts of energy.
Mr. President, apart from the scientific errors, people need to live somewhere and business provides the economy that supports the nation. Of course they can do that more efficiently, but it’s a matter of priorities. Did you fly to Pennsylvania in a 747? How much have your energy policies forced the cost of living increase? How much energy does government waste? How much has the expansion of government under your administration increased energy consumption? It probably equals any savings from homes or businesses and contributes nothing to the economy or quality of life.
In Britain he said,
No country can hide from the dangers of carbon pollution, which is why we must build on what was achieved in Copenhagen and Cancun, to leave our children a planet that is safer and cleaner.
Little or nothing was achieved because the corrupted science of the IPCC and Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was exposed through leaked emails. The key phrase is “build on what was achieved.” Fortunately little was achieved so far, despite Obama’s efforts to target CO2 and restrict industry. The phrase “carbon pollution” is another goalpost move and means he won’t stop because it is fundamental to his goals of undermining the US economy, expanding government control and redistributing wealth.
His use of the term carbon pollution is a measure of the desperation. He, like too many others, uses carbon incorrectly. It’s a non-metallic solid element coming from the Latin word carbo (meaning coal). He is actually talking about CO2, which is a gas. Carbon is a much better political term because people associate it with coal and especially soot – clearly dirty and undesirable. We should reduce the amount of soot going in to the atmosphere and, apart from China, significant advances have occurred. Scrubber technology has been available for a long time; if he really wants to help, he should then encourage in every way possible its application.
Use of the term carbon as a substitute is completely wrong but is now standard. For example, “carbon footprint” is really a “CO2 footprint”. Apparently Obama means CO2, not carbon, because he says it is causing climate change, the official claim of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We know he thinks CO2 is a pollutant because of the EPA activities. It’s not a pollutant, but the designation is necessary for having absolute control over the sources, especially industry. Fortunately, the Congress acted.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, on a mostly partisan vote, approved the bill that would halt EPA regulations that began this year to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants linked to climate change.
What Obama apparently doesn’t realize is that the phrase carbon pollution can cause climate change, but not as he and most people understand. People still associate CO2 with global warming. The shift from the threat of global warming to climate change occurred as CO2 continued to increase while temperatures began to decline. Ironically, it is unclear how soot would affect the climate. They are added to the general volume of aerosols and can cause cooling or warming. Here is what the 2007 IPCC Report says about aerosols:
The global Aerosol Model Intercomparison project, AeroCom, has also been initiated in order to improve understanding of uncertainties of model estimates, and to reduce them (Kinne et al., 2003). … Interactive atmospheric chemistry components are not generally included in the models used in this report.
In other words, we don’t know.
Environmentalists offset lack of knowledge with the Precautionary Principle – we should act anyway. With climate change, it is not lack of knowledge, but false information deliberately created for a political agenda and then used as proof for that political agenda. Obama’s actions and words confirm Will Roger’s comment: “If you ever injected truth into politics you would have no politics.”