It seems I am often the contrarian when it comes to environmental issues. My current position and quarter-century career in this industry have certainly helped form ideas that may be in opposition to the status quo. I’ll call the “status quo” what we see and hear on the national news stage. Let’s review the status quo to see how adherence to it might affect those of us in the thermal-processing world.

What we experience tends to affect how we think about an issue. The climate is something that all of us experience. It’s interesting that when recent tornadoes struck in the U.S., it was the result of global warming (GW) or climate change, but when we experienced one of the coldest winters of the past decade – it was the coldest March globally since 1994 – it is also GW’s fault. I read something recently in the Boston Herald that said, “For a theory to be scientific, it must be fallible – capable of being proven false. If every weather condition can be used to ‘prove’ GW simply by being declared ‘weird,’ then it’s not science. It’s a joke.”

A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article discussed The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project, which is the latest attempt to find out whether recent weather trends are extreme by historic standards. Published this year, the project’s findings show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. The climate models, which led the United Nations to predict that there would be 50 million “climate refugees” by 2010 (fail), indicate more and more extreme weather will occur as CO2 levels increase. An analyst with this project said, “We were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend going back to 1871.” These researchers from the University of Colorado added, “There’s no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather.”

Forecasts from prognosticators with no GW agenda, such as Piers Corbyn and Joe Bastardi, seem to have greater accuracy than those from the status-quo forecasters. Corbyn, who uses data such as the flow of particles from the sun to make his predictions, predicted London’s severe winter weather while the government’s Met Office predicted a mild winter in keeping with the GW narrative. Corbyn believes that the cold winters of the past three years are the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035. He says that it could be colder than at any time in the past 200 years.

Ironically, some of this winter’s extremes were magnified by the GW narrative, not by GW. The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation charges that British authorities are so committed to the notion that Britain’s future will be warmer that they failed to plan for the winter storms of the last three years. It was also reported that the floods in Australia were similarly magnified in proportion because, using the narrative and fearing drought, officials would not allow any water to be released from dams and levies.

The WSJ asserts, “Global-warming alarmists insist that economic activity is the problem, when the available evidence shows it to be part of the solution. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, extreme or otherwise, but we can make sure we have the resources to deal with it when it comes.”

Why do we discuss this topic in an energy-conservation issue? Because energy conservation – a good thing – is often tied to the environmental (green) movement. Some of the goals of the environmental movement could decimate our industry and kill the U.S. economy. The WSJ indicated that even labor unions have joined the fight against the current administration’s environmental agenda. In a letter late last year, the United Steelworkers said that “tens of thousands” of jobs at factories whose employees are represented by the Steelworkers “will be imperiled” by EPA decisions. The miners’ union said the (EPA) proposal “could put at risk as many as 250,000 jobs.”

A recent online piece helped me to realize why the steel industry is seeing this issue more clearly while the aluminum industry continues to support carbon cap-and-trade legislation. Agmetalminer.com reasoned that “aluminum, as a global industry, has a strategic advantage over the [largely] domestic steel industry. Climate-change legislation would handicap the steel industry while allowing the aluminum industry to leverage global supply options not subject to such legislation.”

Interesting, and it’s an example of how policymakers need to think about future climate legislation/regulation. IH