It may surprise most people to learn that amidst the delusion that fossil fuels are heating the world toward extinction, virtually little effort is being made to reduce the devastation alarmists anticipate. Instead, hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent trying to control Mother Nature.

Since the dawn of time, human beings have always suffered due to climate variability and extreme weather. Natural variations in our planet’s ‘average temperature’ has spanned 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a myth that our climate was constant until we started burning coal, natural gas and petroleum.

All nations should prepare for dangerous weather whose occurrence though not its timing can be expected. Societies that did not take sensible preparatory measures are no longer with us. Greenland’s Viking colonies established during the Medieval Warm Period (1100 1300 AD) died out at the start of the Little Ice Age having failed to adapt to extreme cold.

Even today, indigenous populations in the frigid Arctic and the hot Sahel region of Africa have experienced severe hardship due to natural climate change.

If we could control climate, what climate would we choose? Would we choose conditions like the Medieval Warm Period which was warmer than today when grapes were grown in the British Isles? It is a silly question. Human control of climate, sea level and extreme weather is a fiction based on computerized climate models that have not and can not predict the future. The complexity of the variables that control our climate remain beyond our full comprehension.

Contrary to the assertions of the United Nations, the Democrats, and many other political opportunists, scientists cannot even agree on whether cooling or warming lies ahead. Yet global warming campaigners assert that the science is settled. They claim our carbon dioxide emissions will cause a planetary emergency unless we eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Governments are convinced that we humans control the thermostat. As a result, we are spending twenty-times more money trying to stop natural phenomena that might someday happen, than we are on helping today’s population prepare for the future.

This is well illustrated by the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) which calculated in their November 2019 report of the over $500 billion spent during 2017/2018, only a tiny fraction of it went to adaptation, or preparation for climate change and extreme weather. CPI report:

Mitigation finance accounted for 93% of total flows in 2017/2018, or USD 537 billion annually on average. Adaptation finance made up only 5% of flows, showing no change from 2015/2016 as a percentage of tracked finance…”

This is immoral, effectively valuing the lives of people yet to be born who might someday be affected by climate change more than those in need today.

It is also even in direct contradiction to the approach agreed to in Copenhagen where participants at the 2009 UN climate conference committed to a 50-50 funding split between adaptation and mitigation.

Despite the intense disagreement between experts about the causes of climate change, they do agree we need to prepare better for climate variability and extreme weather. Even in the developed world it is infinitely more productive to focus on adaptation than spending vast sums on attempting to thwart nature.

A simple example is burying cables underground. The New York Times published a letter to the editor from a Manhattan-based lawyer who explained that, even in the middle of Hurricane Sandy, he had uninterrupted Internet, telephone and electric power because all of his cables were buried underground.

The disaster Hurricane Katrina caused in New Orleans could have been significantly reduced through better preparation. New Orleans is a city whose average elevation is 6 feet below sea level. It is protected by 350 miles of levies that were in fact not overtopped by the category 3 storm that was Katrina, but rather failed in numerous places where insufficient materials were used compromising the structure.

By definition, a storm protection system must have redundancy either from excessive strength or by having multiple levees operating in tandem. Neither redundancy existed in New Orleans. This left the entire city vulnerable to the ravaging force of the hurricane. Yes, the disaster was man-made all right as a result of incompetence and possibly corruption on the part of those trusted to protect the city from harm.

When it comes to hurricane preparedness, a good example for the US Gulf States to follow comes from India. Unlike in the U.S. where people engage in horizontal evacuation,trying madly to drive away before being stuck in huge traffic jams, Indians all along the Bay of Bengal coast (where most of their tropical cyclones hit) need only walk a half-kilometer or less to engage in vertical evacuation.Built at one-kilometer intervals all along the coast are multi-story storm shelters designed to house hundreds of people for days at a time above the waves.

These are just three examples of how we need to harden our societies to withstand extreme events of all kinds, independent of the causes. Other sensible adaptation measures would include reinforcing buildings and strengthening public infrastructure by building levees and upgrading our storm sewers, not to mention relocating populations living on flood plains or those at risk from tornadoes and hurricanes.

Attempts to alter climate has received the lions share of climate finance for several reasons. First, it is highly profitable for large corporations engaged in carbon trading and renewable energy generation (e.g., wind and solar power), by far the largest climate finance cost tracked by CPI.

Growing biofuels also leads to windfall profits for large agri-business conglomerates. Efforts to control climate expands government control of the economy and gives politicians an excuse to raise taxes to cover societys carbon dioxide emissions. It also furthers the objectives of one-world government advocates. International climate control agreements increasingly bring oil, coal and natural gas, which provide over 80% of all energy generation in the world, under UN control.

Finally, since control, not adaptation, is the focus of loud environmental lobby groups, most climate researchers and influential activists and politicians feel they have to show leadership by crafting global solutions to a global problemto generate favorable media coverage.

By comparison, adaptation involves local actions to solve local problems. For example, building a dike is only necessary if local sea level rise is a problem. Trends in mean sea level across the world are immaterial. Similarly, providing air conditioners to senior citizens is only necessary if heat waves are common in regions where seniors actually live. It makes no difference whether the planet as a whole is warming or cooling.

So, the sort of boots-on-the-ground approach needed for many adaptation projects is not particularly glamorous for politicians and activists intent on saving the planet.Adaptation projects are also generally less profitable for multinational corporations and do not prop up multi-million-dollar computerized climate research efforts. In addition, they do nothing to further government or UN control of the economy and offers little for media seeking exciting headlines.

Adaptation takes leadership and hard, grinding work to make happen. There is nothing particularly exciting about it. But it is something successful societies have always had to do. Lets stop wasting our time and resources trying to reduce emissions and get to the important task of preparing for whatever nature throws at us next.


  • CFACT Ed

    CFACT -- We're freedom people.

  • Dr. Jay Lehr

    CFACT Senior Science Analyst Jay Lehr has authored more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 36 books. Jay’s new book A Hitchhikers Journey Through Climate Change written with Teri Ciccone is now available on Kindle and Amazon.

  • Tom Harris

    Tom Harris is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition