Barack Obama and other world leaders have traveled to Paris this week to talk about what they can do to combat alleged "climate change" – but in doing so they may also be contributing to the "problem" they are trying to ease.
The argument behind climate change (a.k.a. "global warming") is that man's burning of fossil fuels is driving the problem by putting more heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere, reportedly resulting in warmer temperatures and bigger, more powerful storms.
"The United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it," the president told his audience at COP 21 in Paris.
Dr. Patrick Michaels, a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, now works for the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. He doesn't think the talks in the French capital will accomplish much.
"If you take the temperature trajectories the United Nations says the world would be on, if we basically did nothing about climate change, after these meetings are done we're going to be pretty much on the same trajectories," he summarizes.
In the meantime, Michaels warns that while most other countries aren't going to really do anything, Obama's proposed policies are much more stringent.
"The United States ... is proposing to reduce its emissions considerably beyond what is called a 'business-as-usual' scenario," he begins. "And in fact, because the [president's] Clean Power Plan says we can't achieve that by substituting natural gas for coal in electrical generation, it's going to be very expensive – and frankly, I don't think we can do that anyway. It's not going to be very popular."
Various individuals, think tanks, and special-interest groups are skeptical of the "fossil fuels" argument as well as what they call inaccurate climate models warning of catastrophe.
Hypocritical - but having fun
Meanwhile, Townhall reported yesterday on President Obama's travel to Paris, for which he used "fossil-fuel powered Air Force One" to reach his destination. While some may write that off as a partisan attack, the fact that world leaders have been flying worldwide for years to warn about emissions has been a point of concern for climate scientists. At least one of those scientists has told OneNewsNow that "there is definitely a big discussion in our community regarding the carbon footprint of our travel."
David Kreutzer, PhD, a research fellow in energy economics and climate change at The Heritage Foundation, hesitates to criticize world leaders for their mode of travel because, as he says, "they have security problems that the rest of us don't have."
"But the hypocrisy extends way beyond the presidents and prime ministers and so on," he continues. "You have Hollywood people flying in private jets to protest energy use. I wonder why they don't use the technology that we have. This would be the perfect thing for a massive teleconference, where you could broadcast all the hearings and people could be connected electronically."
And while Kreutzer acknowledges that it would take work to go that route, he says it can be done.
"I think the reason we don't see that is because it's a lot more fun to go to Bali and to go to Paris and to go to Copenhagen than to sit in your office, wherever it is you are, and look at a screen, getting maybe even more work done – but without the fun," he states. "If you took the fun out of this, they would be on to some other issue."
Meanwhile, Kreutzer counters arguments from Obama and others that weather is becoming more extreme because of climate change or global warming. He tells OneNewsNow there has been no increase in occurrences like tornados, hurricanes, floods, and droughts.