During a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Chris Coons demanded of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that the social media giant ban statements that deny that climate change presents an existential threat. “You do, Mr. Dorsey, have policies against deep fakes or manipulated media, against COVID-19 misinformation, against things that violate civic integrity, but you don't have a stand-alone climate change misinformation policy. Why not?”
Coons justified his demand for censorship in apocalyptic terms. “I cannot think of a greater harm than climate change, which is transforming literally our planet and causing harm to our entire world. I think we’re experiencing significant harm as we speak.”
Eliminating debate about climate change is essential, Coons insisted. “I recognize the pandemic and misinformation about COVID-19, manipulated media also cause harm, but I’d urge you to reconsider that because helping to disseminate climate denialism in my view further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world.”
Instead of saving the world, the ban that Coons demands would suppress discussion of facts that eviscerate his claim that climate change is leading to global doom.
He would have Twitter ban distribution of a 2017 statement by some of the world’s most eminentscientists – such as Richard Lindzen of MIT, William Happer and the late Freeman Dyson of Princeton, the late Fred Singer of the University of Virginia, and Judith Curry of Georgia Tech – that “[o]bservations [over the last] 25 years … show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign …”
Twitter could not be used to share the study by 22 scientists from around the world, published in 2015 by the British medical journal The Lancet, that found that cold kills over 17 times more people than heat. Of over 74 million deaths in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States in 1985-2012, cold caused 7.29 percent, while heat caused only 0.42 percent. And of the temperature-related deaths, “moderately hot and cold temperatures” caused 88.85 percent, while “extreme” temperatures caused only 11.15 percent.
Nor could one tweet evidence that while NASA data show that the planet’s temperature has risen by 1.25 degrees Celsius since 1920, the effects have been beneficial rather than harmful.
As world population has quadrupled from less than two billion to over seven and half billion since 1920, EM-DAT (The International Disaster Database) data show that the number of people killed by natural disasters has declined by over 80 percent, from almost 55,000 per year to less than 10,000 per year.
Data compiled by University of Oxford economist Max Roser and researcher Hannah Ritchie show that since 1990, the global air pollution death rate has declined by almost 50 percent, from 111.28 to 63.82 deaths per 100,000 people.
A 2019 National Bureau of Economic Research study estimated that if the planet’s temperature rises by 0.01 degrees Celsius per year through 2100, total U.S. GDP in 2100 will be 1.88 percent lower in 2100 than it would otherwise be.
But by 2100, with the 1.4 percent annual real long-term potential labor force productivity growth rate projected by the Congressional Budget Office, U.S. GDP per person will be about 204 percent higher. And it will still be about 200 percent higher after NBER’s 1.88 percent reduction based on global warming.
Even NBER’s extreme case projection that total U.S. GDP will be 10.52 percent lower in 2100 than it would otherwise be if the planet’s temperature rises by 0.04 degrees Celsius per year (over three times the actual rate of increase since 1920) similarly would leave U.S. GDP per person about 172 percent higher.
In other words, regardless of any negative impact that climate change may have, U.S. income per person in 2100 will be about triple today’s level.
The facts at least cast serious doubt about predictions that climate change means global doom. That’s the real reason that Senator Coons wants to ban discussion about them on Twitter.