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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 2:26 pm | Fair 63º


Trent Benedetti: Beware the Climate Change Carnival Coming to Town

Who has not heard the carnival barker entreating passersby to step right up to this attraction or that?

Carnival attractions come in many forms, but they all have two things in common: they cost money and they are shamelessly hyped. The more shameless the hype, the more money the carnival operator is able to extract from ... ahem ... the gullible.

The mother of carnivals recently concluded in Paris. It was the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, or COP21 (shorthand for the 21st Conference Of the Parties).

Oh, boy. If we were truly worried about global warming, they would stop holding these events because of the hot air they generate.

COP21 was an ostentatious spectacle that cost a mountain of money. Admittedly, it had entertainment value.

It entertained those who attended (probably at someone else’s expense) with the latest dreams, schemes and shenanigans to separate people from their money. Otherwise, the opulent extravaganza accomplished nothing.

The hype leading up to COP21 focused on the goal of achieving for the first time a binding climate agreement among all nations. It did not happen.

Of course, some will claim it did. Those making that claim are probably the same people who previously claimed certain islands in the Pacific were going to sink, islands that are still high and dry.

COP21 may sink Santa Barbara County, figuratively speaking — sink it under a deluge of the dire and dubitable. Our local carnival barkers will be shilling the latest regulation, rule or tax aimed at saving the world from the looming climate catastrophe being wrought by man-made CO2.

Anyone who questions whether the world actually needs saving will be attacked and unmercifully bludgeoned with sanctimonious claims to the effect that everything climate alarmists say is “settled science.”

Only card-carrying climate carnies make such claims. All reputable scientists reject such ridiculous assertions because science is a never-ending process. By definition, it is never settled.

There are some settled facts.

One, our climate comes from the dynamic interaction of many factors within a complex system consisting of five major components: lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere and atmosphere.

Two, our atmosphere contains many different elements. Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is one. CO2 comprises approximately .04 percent (400 parts per million) of the atmosphere. Man is responsible for approximately 16 of the 400 parts; the rest occur naturally.

In other words, man-made CO2 comprises a very small portion of the atmosphere, and atmosphere makes up only a fraction of the climate equation.

There is nothing wrong with scientific study of climate, what affects it and how. There is nothing wrong with common-sense measures to reduce man-made CO2 in the atmosphere.

But something is wrong with dogmatically continuing to make one tiny variable within a very challenging equation the sole focus of the remarkably arrogant, seemingly never-ending, often quoted and up-to-now always wrong predictions about disastrous global warming.

Wrong like the claims about a binding worldwide climate agreement being reached at COP21; wrong like the claims about sinking islands; and, wrong — repeatedly wrong — about predictions of runaway warming.

The predictions were so wrong for so long, the term “global warming” was discarded for the much more flexible term, “climate change.” It was hucksterism at its best because no one will argue against climate change?

Climate change is an incontrovertible fact. Sometimes the world warms, sometimes it cools. Knowing why it does what it does is complicated. That is a reality.

Here is another reality: climate alarmists are carnies at heart. They can’t help it. It is who they are. Therefore, they hype and try to separate you from your money.

Enjoy the carnival. Just don’t be taken in.

— Trent Benedetti is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Improve North County and a longtime local business owner. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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