U.S. climate envoy John F. Kerry delivered a dire warning Wednesday on “the mounting costs ... of global warming and of a more volatile climate.” Last year’s tally of “22 hurricanes, floods, droughts and wildfires shattered the previous annual record of 16 such events, and that was set only four years ago,” Kerry told a congressional hearing. “You don’t have to be a scientist to begin to feel that we’re looking at a trend line.”

Kerry is right about one thing: He is not a scientist. So here are a few climate facts that Kerry failed to mention in his testimony, marshaled by one of the Obama administration’s top scientists, Steven E. Koonin. All are based on official assessments published by the U.S. government or United Nations:

These facts come from Koonin and his new book, “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters. When he shares such information, he writes, “most are incredulous. Some gasp. And some get downright hostile.” Koonin — a physicist who worked on alternative energy for BP and as undersecretary for science in Obama Energy Department — has dug through those U.N. and U.S. government reports to bring us some inconvenient truths. And he says the facts do not support the “doom mongering” of climate alarmists.

The globe is warming, he tells me in an interview, partly due to natural phenomena and partly due to growing human influences. (Scientists can’t untangle the two, he writes, due to “the deficiencies of climate data.”) But, Koonin argues, the terrifying predictions of increasingly violent weather and coastal cites drowned beneath rising seas are overblown.

So are the predictions of climate-induced economic devastation. Koonin explains that, if the U.S. economy grows at a 2 percent average annual rate, then absent any climate impact gross domestic product will rise from about $20 trillion today to about $80 trillion in 2090. If temperatures rise by 5 degrees Celsius over that same period, Koonin notes that, according to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, our growth would be 4 percent less 70 years from now. That means GDP would grow to about $77 trillion instead of $80 trillion. “We would be delayed in our growth by a couple of years,” he says.

The idea that we can stop climate change, Koonin argues, is delusional. “If we stop emitting CO2 today, it would still be there in the atmosphere for hundreds of years” he tells me. “If we manage to reduce emissions a little bit, it’ll just accumulate at a slower rate but it’ll still go up.” Even that is hard to do at an acceptable economic cost. During last year’s pandemic lockdowns, when much of the economy ground to a halt, our carbon emissions fell to about 21 percent below 2005 levels — which was less than halfway to the Biden’s administration’s 10-year goal.

Those most harmed by the draconian proposals of the climate extremists would be developing nations that produce the most emissions. People in these countries, he says, “need energy to improve their lot, and fossil fuels are right now the most reliable and convenient way of doing that.” Rather than forcing poor countries to participate in a futile and economically destructive effort to stop climate change, we need to help them adapt.

In fact, adaptation is the only choice we have, Koonin says. Climate change “will be gradual, and human ingenuity will certainly get us through this, if not allow us to prosper.” Indeed, Koonin notes there are advantages to a changing climate, such as the greening of the planet through increased vegetation, which he believes will dramatically increase the food supply for the world’s population. “So, this is not at all an unmitigated disaster as people would have you believe,” he says. “We’ll learn to take advantage of whatever changes happen rather than simply tolerate them. That’s what humans do, and we’re pretty good at it.”

Mankind has adapted to climate change before, and we’ll do it again — the doomsaying of the climate alarmists notwithstanding.

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