RUSHVILLE – Sometime ago – I honestly don’t recall exactly how long, maybe a couple of years, maybe not – I wrote a column about all the hand-wringing over the changing climate debate.

Everybody knows that the debate centers around the issue of whether or not the climate is getting warmer or not. The media has been the “Chicken Little” shouting, “The climate’s getting warmer! The climate’s getting warmer!” So much so that a massive effort is being made to reduce carbon emissions from every use to which fossil fuels can be put, everything from the creation of electricity to the production of fuel for automobiles. Oh, by the way, we’re going to have to go to battery-powered cars to some other way to heat our homes during winter.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the leaders of the “save the planet” movement, telling us we only have or 10 or 12 years left to save the planet from whatever is going to happen if we don’t stop using carbon-based fuels. I honestly don’t think, however, the rest of the world is listening to her. The Chinese, for example, are building about one coal-fired power plant every two weeks to bring electric power to millions of people who’ve never had it before. Ever! The same thing is going on in India. What it amounts to is bringing the benefits of electric power to millions, if not billions, of people around the world who’ve been living in the Middle Ages all their lives.

We’ve got a very long way to go to manufacture enough wind turbines and fields of solar panels to take the place of coal and gas for energy production, not to mention the tens of thousands of charging stations that would be needed in this country to recharge all the battery-powered cars we’ll be required to use when the sale of gas is illegal. How long do you suppose it will take to replace gas stations, not just here, but in every city and town all over the country? And how many people will be out of work if gas stations are closed? Oh, well, never mind, battery-powered cars will help save the planet.

Here’s what Herman W. Jenkins Jr. had to say on the “Opinion” page of the September 3 edition of The Wall Street Journal (he also blames the media, incidentally, for helping spread “the sky is falling” rhetoric of people like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez): “If ‘news’ is about how today differs from yesterday, the press missed a lot of news in the long-awaited new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was issued a few weeks ago.

“After 41 years of promoting a fuzzy and unsatisfying estimate of how much warming might result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2, the world’s climate science arbiter has finally offered the first real improvement in the history of modern climate science.

“Through five previous U.N. assessments, plus their predecessor, the 1979 Charney Report, the likely worst-case was a rise of 4.5 degrees Celsius. This came from averaging the result of inconsistent computer climate simulations about which the IPCC knew only one thing: They couldn’t all be right and perhaps none were.

“Using real-world data, the new report now says the worst case is a 4-degree rise. More important, with much greater confidence than before, disastrous outcomes above 5 degrees are now found to be very unlikely.

“The report also notes, as the press never does, the full impact of these emissions won’t be manifested until decades, even a century, later. The ultimate likely worst-case effect of a doubling of CO2 might be 4 degrees, but the best estimate of the “transient climate response” this century is about 2.7 degrees, or 1.6 degrees on top of the warming experienced since the start of the industrial age.

“Our climate fluctuates under many influences, but one factor that overwhelms all others is the increase in human beings and their valuable property placed in the path of extreme weather, behavior encouraged by politicians. Even so, human preparedness has advanced faster than climate change or even human building propensities. As University of Colorado Boulder’s Roger Pielke Jr. has patiently pointed out, your odds of dying from extreme weather have been declining drastically all through the period of growing human climate impact. Since mankind demonstrably is not going to arrest climate change by banning fossil fuels, and quite likely would leave itself on balance worse off if it did, let this be your good-news story of the day.”

The point, as far as I’m concerned is, and as I’ve written before, is that the atmosphere tends to clean itself through the process of rain turning into lakes and rivers, then evaporating upward and turning to clouds before it rains again. That process, plus the relatively small amount of carbon dioxide man is putting in the atmosphere, should give is plenty of time to find safer substitutes for the use of fossil fuels. Certainly, longer than the media thinks!

That’s —30— for week.

Retired Rush County businessman Paul W. Barada may be contacted via this publication at news@greensburgdailynews.com.

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