Unelected unaccountable ENGOs skew benefits of conventional energy.
By Michelle Stirling-Anosh
Friends of Science
Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs) can’t seem to stop themselves.
Maybe it’s time to heed the words of people such as UK MP Douglas Carswell (“We’re spending money that we don’t have to solve a problem that doesn’t exist at the behest of people we didn’t elect”) rather than those of unelected and unaccountable ENGOs which continue to ramp up climate hysteria in an effort to induce governments, industry and the public into agreeing to a carbon tax.
American ENGOs, for example, recently issued a report called “Omitted Damages: the Social Costs of Carbon” which claimed the use of fossil fuels and the emission of ‘carbon pollution’ (i.e. carbon dioxide/CO2) will have disastrous consequences unless we take ‘climate action’ now. They say carbon pollution costs society in terms of extreme weather, illness, deaths and displacement due to sea level rise.
Let’s look at the facts:
According to a report called “The Global Warming-Extreme Weather Link” by retired Environment Canada scientist, meteorologist Dr. Madhav Khandekar, the world has not experienced any trend in more extreme weather despite a rise in CO2.
A comparison of CO2 emissions by country shows that industrialized countries enjoy significant benefits in health, wealth and standards of living. Modern medical interventions, warm, safe buildings, and abundant food supply are all products of industrialized societies.
As to the forecast of people being displaced by rising sea levels (back in 2005 the UN had forecasted that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010, mostly due to sea level rise) there has actually been zero climate refugees. Of course, this hasn’t stopped ENGOs from persisting in making crisis proclamations.
ENGOs focus on alarmist rhetoric recently led Dr. Richard Tol, a Dutch economist at the University of Sussex, to very publicly withdraw from the IPCC Working Group II report writing team, saying . . .”there are positive benefits to climate change, but we are not always allowed to talk about it.”
According to Tol, the increase in temperatures of 0.74 C has led to an increase in global economic output by 1.4 per cent, or US$11 trillion over the course of the 20th century.
Another little discussed benefit of an increase in CO2 is its ‘atmospheric enrichment’ for crop growth-enhancement which has resulted in a greener world and an increase in crop yields by about 16 per cent or $170 billion, according to an October 2013 report by Dr. Craig Idso, chairman of the board of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.
Even worse news for ENGOs, data from NASA’s Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) suggest that two-thirds of 20th century warming was caused by natural factors, which are beyond our control and far more influential than human-made carbon dioxide.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to tax natural factors, which may explain the ENGOs insistence on claiming a social cost of carbon (SCC) – in this case of some US$24 to $37 per ton – which can then be used to capture “the benefit of reduced carbon pollution from a policy in terms of expenses avoided.”
By putting a price on SCC, these ENGOs are undoubtedly hoping that industry may simply cave in to their rhetorical hysteria as a means of ending regulatory uncertainty. Hopefully, industry and business leaders will think twice before falling for this “Social Cost of Carbon” scam.
We don’t have to look far to see the true cost of an ENGO model of a low-carbon society.
It was, after all, David Suzuki and the Pembina Institute’s study “Renewable is Doable” which pushed Ontario into implementing a low-carbon Green Energy Act (GEA), which was panned in a cost-benefit analysis by economist Ross McKitrick last April for the Fraser Institute. He concluded “. . . the GEA path is currently 10 times costlier than the retrofit (of coal plants) option, and will eventually be 73 times costlier if pursued to the point of providing 4,800 MW of year-round generating capacity.”
Governments in the EU and UK, which have pursued stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and low-carbon targets, have seen these policies impoverish citizens, ruin industry and destroy shareholder value in conventional utility companies. These countries, now find themselves, like the Ontario government, facing the consequences.
Considering that global warming stopped before Kyoto was even implemented, and that the rise carbon dioxide over the past 16 plus years has not led to more global warming, isn’t it time we reassessed the catastrophic scenarios of these climate change alarmists?
The fact is, the overall benefits of “carbon” far outweigh the alleged social costs.
Michelle Stirling-Anosh is the Communications Manager of Friends of Science.