If you’re a living, breathing human, you probably have a friend or five who wants to turn every conversation into a lecture about climate change. We know the feeling! But how can you combat their seemingly unassailable arguments, like that 97% of scientists supposedly agree on climate change? Or that we only have 12 (or 10 or 5) years left to stave off the apocalypse?
Never fear, friends. Life:Powered is here to arm you with the facts you need to effectively engage the climate change debate.
The next time you’re trapped in an argument around the dinner table, or just in your Facebook newsfeed, try stumping your climate alarmist friends with these 10 simple questions to return the discussion to logic, reason, and sound science.
Put your thinking caps on, because we’re about to do some science.
1. How much will the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increase by 2100? How will this cause the apocalypse?
Today, the atmosphere is made up of 0.04% carbon dioxide. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), typically a leading voice in climate alarmism, offers a range of scenarios that predict the concentration will rise up to 0.09% by 2100. However, these high scenarios are based on almost impossible projections, such as coal consumption increasing five times above current levels (while current trends show low-emission natural gas outpacing coal). More accurate projections suggest the concentration will increase from 0.04% to about 0.065%.
At this level, the IPCC predicts temperatures may increase between 1.4 to 3.1°C from the late 20th Century average. However, it has been frequently noted that the IPCC has not significantly updated their models, even though they have overestimated the planet’s temperature sensitivity to CO2 and consistently predicted more warming than has actually occurred. The best science indicates climate change will continue to be mild and manageable.
Doomsday predictions of mass deaths caused by heat waves ignore our adaptability to mild changes in climate, not to mention the continued trend of Americans moving to warmer states. There has been no statistically significant increase in climate-related natural disasters, and deaths due to those disasters have declined by 98%!
There is no evidence to suggest climate change will suddenly become rapid or catastrophic. So is it really worth strangling our economy and spending trillions of our tax dollars?
2. By how many degrees would banning fossil fuels reduce climate change?
Eliminating ALL use of fossil fuels in the U.S. by 2030 will only reduce global temperatures by 0.139 degrees Celsius by 2100, according to data models used by the IPCC.
Just over a tenth of a degree: So much for the End of Days.
3. Where do you think electricity comes from?
More than 80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels: oil, natural gas, and coal, in that order. Wind and solar combined provide just 8% of our electricity and 3% of our total energy — even after tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies — because those resources cannot reach the scale required to become our primary energy sources.
The electric grid is a massive piece of infrastructure built over decades. It is not a simple matter to “exchange” reliable energy from fossil fuels and nuclear with intermittent energy from wind and solar.
4. If we replace all our cars with electric vehicles, how do you think the electricity will be generated?
Electric vehicles don’t magically stop CO2 emissions because they have to get their electricity from somewhere. In fact, some electric vehicles actually emit more carbon dioxide over their lifetime than traditional cars, depending on the electricity sources where they’re driven and manufactured.
5. What’s your plan to replace the 80% of our energy that comes from fossil fuels?
Thus far, no one promoting the Green New Deal, Paris climate accord, or other large-scale environmental programs has proposed a concrete plan to take wind and solar power from 3% to 100%. If tens of billions of subsidies haven’t made it happen, what will?
6. Do you support banning plastics?
Think beyond plastic straws here. Plastics, which are made from fossil fuels, have made many now commonplace items cheaper, more accessible, and more beneficial to human life than ever. This is particularly critical in the medical field.
Imagine what a typical day in America would look like without water filters, plumbing pipes, circuit boards, medical machines like MRIs, artery stents, prosthetic limbs, sterile IV bags and tubes, syringes, disposable gloves, cochlear implants, contact lenses, adhesive tape, synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon, building insulation, and most of the parts for cars, airplanes, trains, ships, and even satellites. And this is just a short list!
Banning fossil fuels means banning all of these essential items — or at the very least making them prohibitively expensive.
7. How do you think wind turbines and solar panels are made?
“‘Renewable energy’ is a misnomer,” as energy expert Mark P. Mills puts it. Each individual wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete, and 45 tons of plastic. A single electric car battery requires 250 tons of material to be mined, moved, and processed — ten times the material required to produce the same number of miles driven in a gas-powered car.
Wind turbines and solar panels also require large quantities of rare earth elements, most of which come from China, where lax mining procedures generate toxic radioactive waste that significantly harm the environment and human life.
Between mining, manufacturing, and shipping materials to their end destination, wind turbines and solar panels simply can’t be made without fossil fuels.
8. How many acres of land would you need to replace one natural gas power plant with “renewables”?
It would take 27 acres of solar panels and 115 acres of wind turbines to replace a single acre-sized natural gas power plant. To put this in perspective, powering the State of Texas alone using just wind and solar would require over 6 million acres — that’s 14 times the size of Houston, Texas’ largest city. The environmental impact of this massive land clearing and wildlife habitat destruction cannot be overstated.
9. How big would a battery have to be to power New York City for one hour?
Wind and solar produce power intermittently — the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Many renewable advocates point out that in order to have stable power supplied around the clock, we would simply need to store excess energy in batteries so that the power could be used later when demand is higher. This is correct in theory, but battery technology currently lags far behind what is needed.
While America is expected to double its battery storage capacity in the next few years, battery technology is still generations at least away from the scale and efficiency required to make the switch to renewables.
10. What happens to wind turbines and solar panels when they wear out?
Wind turbines and solar panels are not as clean as your alarmist friends might think. Building these so-called “renewable” machines requires the use of non-renewable energy. Most are built in Asia using electricity predominately from coal (without America’s advanced pollution control technology), and rare earth elements generate literal tons of waste through the mining process. Wind turbines also require huge amounts of plastic, which is made exclusively from fossil fuels — 45 tons per turbine.
After a solar panel or wind turbine has worn out, it must be decommissioned, which generates massive amounts of waste. If the world adopts the goals of the Paris Climate Accords, solar panel disposal alone will double the world’s current plastic waste.