I used to hold the Public Policy Institute of California in high regard, as it surveyed the people of the state and ascertained their position on issues. Then over time, I became uncomfortable of how they framed questions, especially when asking about global warming. Their numbers were much different from the Gallup poll and the Pew poll on global warming attitudes in the US. Was California that different from the rest of the nation? It seem to me the PPIC was becoming biased.
The PPIC recently published a document they call California’s Future. One of the future issues is climate change.
Increases in global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are leading to higher air and water temperatures as well as rising sea levels, with serious consequences for California. Air temperatures are projected to increase throughout the state over the coming century. Sea level is expected to rise 17 to 66 inches by 2100, and the frequency of extreme events such as droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and floods is expected to increase. Higher temperatures will result in more precipitation falling as rain (and less as snow), diminishing reserves of water in the Sierra Nevada snowpack. Even if all GHG emissions ceased today, some of these developments would be unavoidable because the climate system changes slowly.
We are told that global warming will increase weather extremes, yet, global hurricane and cyclone activity is near a forty-three-year low. There has been no increase in tornadoes in the US. Neither droughts nor wildfires have increased. The poles are not melting. There has been no significant change in the global extent of sea ice since satellite monitoring began in 1979. And, for the last 18 years no increase in the global temperature, while CO2 continues to increase. There is no discernible scientific connection between an atmospheric trace gas increasing and the pause in the global temperature increase.
The PPIC is supposed to have some smart number crunchers on their staff. But, you don’t have to be a climate scientist or PPIC stastical wiz to understand the CO2 arithmetic.
The per capita annual carbon generated in the US from using fossil fuels is about 4.4 tons. California’s population is 38,800,000. So if carbon emissions for the entire state went to zero, we would prevent 170,720,000 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year. That sounds like an impressive number, but it is only 0.17072 gigatons (GT). The Earth’s atmosphere contains 720 GT of carbon. The oceans contain 38,400 GT. Every year, the atmosphere and oceans exchange about 90 GT of carbon. Nothing the state of California does is going to measurably change the composition of Earth’s atmosphere, and any claim to the contrary is utterly irrational.
Now you can see why I no longer believe any thing the PPIC puts out. They are incapable of doing the real numbers, and when they do the results are often biased.
H/T to David Deming geologist and geophysicist and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma for the CO2 math calculations and the data links.