New Panic: Slowing the Burning of Fossil Fuels Will Cause Global Warming

AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File

In the world of climate scientists, everything causes the apocalypse. Whatever day or hour it is, it is time to panic. 

Well, I just learned that if you burn fossil fuels, you warm the planet, but if you quit burning fossil fuels, you will still warm the planet. 


No matter what we do, we are doomed. Unless, I would guess, if we raise taxes. Maybe burning through a few trillion dollars will solve the problem. Raise some taxes, eat some bugs, and close down some farms and perhaps everything will be OK. 

Oh, and pray to Klaus Schwab. You must do that. 

This terrible news comes via a Washington Post article, in which we learn that climate scientists have discovered that reducing the use of fossil fuels containing sulfur will increase temperatures by as much as a degree because we will be eliminating the cooling effects of the pollution and cloud formation caused by the sulfur particles released into the air. 

Reducing particulate and sulfur pollution has of course been a goal for decades, but now climate scientists are telling us that doing so is dooming us to burning up, drowning, or whatever else they can think up in a parade of horribles they trot out on a daily basis. 

It is widely accepted that humans have been heating up the planet for over a century by burning coal, oil and gas. Earth has already warmed by almost 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since preindustrial times, and the planet is poised to race past the hoped-for limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.

But fewer people know that burning fossil fuels doesn’t just cause global warming — it also causes global cooling. It is one of the great ironies of climate change that air pollution, which has killed tens of millions, has also curbed some of the worst effects of a warming planet.

Tiny particles from the combustion of coal, oil and gas can reflect sunlight and spur the formation of clouds, shading the planet from the sun’s rays. Since the 1980s, those particles have offset between 40 and 80 percent of the warming caused by greenhouse gases.


You can't win, can you? Maybe if we reduce fossil fuel use even more and engage Bill Gates to spray chemicals in the air, do a bit more gain-of-function research in China, and explode a few nuclear bombs to create a nuclear winter we can avert this disaster. 

Or does that cause a hole in the ozone or acid rain? I can never remember. There are so many environmental disasters to keep track of. 

In the climate fanatics' world there were never storms, hurricanes, tornados, or coastal erosion until coal and oil were discovered. The Earth was a virtual garden of Eden in Medieval times, with no disease, no disasters, and everything was organic. 

Capitalism changed all that, of course. Suddenly, people were dropping like flies, lifespans plummeted, inequality burst onto the scene, and it started getting hot in the summers. 

“We’re starting from an area of deep, deep uncertainty,” said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist and research lead for the payments company Stripe. “It could be a full degree of cooling being masked.”

Most of the cooling from air pollution comes through sulfur aerosols, in two ways. The particles themselves are reflective, bouncing the sun’s rays away and shading the Earth. They also make existing clouds brighter and more mirror-like, thus cooling the Earth.

Coal and oil are around 1 to 2 percent sulfur — and when humans burn fossil fuels, that sulfur spills into the atmosphere. It is deadly: Sulfur dioxide has been linked to respiratory problems and other chronic diseases, and air pollution contributes to about 1 in 10 deaths worldwide.

Over the past few decades, countries have worked to phase out these pollutants, starting with the United States and the European Union, followed by China and India. China has cut its sulfur dioxide emissions by over 70 percent since 2005 by installing new technologies and scrubbers on fossil fuel plants. More recently, the International Maritime Organization instituted restrictions in 2020 on the amount of sulfur allowed in shipping fuels — one of the dirtiest fuels used in transportation. Shipping emissions of sulfur dioxide immediately dropped by about 80 percent. Mediterranean countries are planning a similar shipping regulation for 2025.


Perhaps, just perhaps, all these people should quit speaking out of the holes in their nether regions and collect some data over a decent period of time, see what the data says, and then see if there is anything to worry about and whether anything can or should be done about it. 

We know that reducing particulate pollution is generally good for human health, so do that. I doubt there is much to worry about, but frankly they and I know about the same amount on the subject. As Zeke Hausfather said, “We’re starting from an area of deep, deep uncertainty.”

When you don't know anything, perhaps you should quit shouting from the rooftops that life is about to end. And I am not sure why I or anybody else should care what a researcher for Stripe, a payments company, has to say about this. But perhaps he is a super smart guy. 

Let's assume that reducing the use of coal and fuel oil will lead to some moderate warming, then what? Life is filled with trade-offs, which is something nobody in the climate cult seems to understand. Cheap energy has been the single-largest, most life expanding boon to humanity in history, and it is not even close. 

There is a direct correlation between lifespans and energy use--do a plot of the two variables, toss in population, from 1800 to today. More people live longer lives the more energy human beings use. 


Reverse the trend to more abundant and cheaper energy and you will reduce lifespans and the number of people who can live on Earth. It is that simple. 

Which is why environmentalists are also antinatalists. They want fewer people. 

You are the carbon they want to reduce. 

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