Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical Is Unwise and Should Not Be Acted Upon

by Bill Gray

It is unfortunate that Pope Francis has let politics and erroneous climate science sway his judgment into advising the world to change much of its energy usage from cheaper fossil-fuels to more expensive renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.). Such changes will slow-down the globe’s future economic development and adversely affect the poorest people of the world. And such changes will not significantly improve our global climate.

Pope Francis’s Encyclical gives a rather pessimistic view on the current status of humanity with its large wealth disparities and its market driven economic systems which appear to many to put profit above the overall benefit of society. Yet it is the extensive use of fossil-fuels and the free-market economic system which has so greatly raised the living standards and life expectancy of the world over the last 150 years. Increased (not decreased) fossil-fuel usage will be necessary if society is to continue its wondrous economic and human-life improvements in the coming decades.

None of us can know of the unique new beneficial economic and human advancements that will be coming if plentiful and cheap fossil-fuel energy is available and if society continues to encourage individual imagination and well rewards individual achievement. The fostering of such a future creative society will likely have the best chance of any other system of discovering and developing new energy sources which would be able to gradually relieve our dependence of fossil-fuels at energy costs much lower than we will encounter by turning to wind and solar energy at this time. Society will encounter no serious global warming or environmental degradation over the next 50-100 years from rises in atmospheric CO2 amounts.

I have spent 60 years studying, teaching, and forecasting weather and climate. This lifetime study has convinced me and many hundreds of my older and similarly experienced colleagues that there is no physical way that the expected atmospheric CO2 gas increases over the next 50-100 years can possibly bring about the large amounts of global warming (2-4oC) that has been projected by the climate models. The primary climate change which a doubling in CO2 gas will bring about is not temperature but an increase in global rainfall (~3%) which should be overall beneficial for humanity. Contrary to the current general belief, global temperature rise, due to a doubling of CO2 later in this century, should be expected to be quite small (0.2-0.3oC). Most of the global temperature changes of the last century have been of natural origin. There has been no global surface warming in the last 18 years as CO2 amounts have risen.

The failure of the climate models are related to their inability to explicitly resolve the globe’s many individual deep cumulonimbus (Cb) cloud elements. Due to faulty assumptions these cloud models produce unrealistic upper tropospheric temperature and moisture rises as CO2 amounts increase. These increases in moisture block too much radiation loss to space and cause unrealistic warming. By contrast, observations show that increases in global deep Cb clouds from CO2 gas increases brings about an opposite (drying) response. Observed upper tropospheric drying from Cb clouds acts to enhance radiation flux to space and bring about temperature decreases.

Those who demonize fossil-fuel usage do not understand or appreciate the great economic technical and human advances which fossil-fuels have brought to society. Our modern society with its higher living standards and increased lifespan would not have been possible without the large amounts of cheap energy which fossil-fuels have provided over the last century-and-a-half.

The many environmentalists and politicians who cite the climate models for justification of their warming pronouncements do so because these climate model results fit so well into their global government and other political control agendas. The real science behind what changes CO2 gas increases will bring about does not concern them. It is what the climate uninformed public can be lead to believe which is most important. Most of the believers of large CO2-induced global warming lack the necessary climate background knowledge to be able to know how unrealistic their climate warming ideas really are. They get caught up following the popular view.

We should all try not to be swayed by this politically generated and driven fictitious warming threat, whether it comes from our Government, the UN, the IPCC, or now from the Pope.

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