5 Factual Errors In The NAACP’s $5 Billion Demand For ‘Climate Justice’

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program is demanding the United States pay $5 billion for “climate justice” to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, but their demands are based on several factual errors.

The money would pay for “increasing energy efficiency; keeping fossil fuels in the ground; transitioning to clean energy; eradicating poverty; and preserving the planet for future generations,” the NAACP program’s director, Jacqueline Patterson said recently at the U.N. Paris climate summit. “For us, this is personal,” she added, saying communities of color face negative effects from climate change.

Here are five major factual errors about global warming and environmentalism contained in her remarks, adapted to print Wednesday.

1. The United States is responsible for 25 percent of global CO2 emissions.

According to a 2014 study by the European Union, the United States is responsible for 15 percent of the world’s emissions, not 25 percent. Carbon dioxide emissions have declined by roughly 10.4 percent in the United States in the last 5 years for which data was available, largely because clean burning natural gas is replacing dirtier coal power.

China is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide — responsible for 29 percent of carbon dioxide emissions — and India has long been responsible for the largest share of global emissions growth. So CO2 reduction schemes in the United States are futile without global participation.

2. Nuclear reactors “spew” radiation.

The radiation risks of nuclear power are massively overestimated, recent studies show. Nuclear reactors are remarkably safe, even in a worst case scenario.

Worries about radiation from nuclear power plants have no “scientifically valid support,” Carol S. Marcus, a professor of nuclear medicine at UCLA, told The Wall Street Journal. Other scientists have shown that radiation is far less dangerous than current regulations assume.

3. Global Warming will cause more hurricanes. 

The NAACP director claims that more hurricanes will hit the United States as sea levels rise.

But global warming is projected to reduce the number of hurricanes, according to studies sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Research suggests that the number of hurricanes each summer could decrease by about 18 percent as sea levels rise.

And the United States is experiencing a decade-long “hurricane drought.” The last Category 3 or higher hurricane to make landfall in the United States was Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

4. Fracking causes earthquakes.

“Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as ‘fracking’, does not appear to be linked to the increased rate of magnitude 3 and larger earthquakes,” according to to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website.

There has never been a single injury resulting from earthquakes potentially induced by fracking or fracking related processes. Magnitude 3 or weaker earthquakes are so weak they can only be felt by people on the highest floors of buildings.

The USGS findings concur with a National Research Council assessment which states: “The process of hydraulic fracturing a well as presently implemented for shale gas recovery does not pose a high risk for inducing felt seismic events.”

Fracking earthquake myths from environmentalists are so widespread that the USGS actually maintains a “Myths and Misconceptions” section of its website to debunk them.

5. Fracking does not significantly reduce CO2 emissions. 

The biggest cause of the 1,022 million ton drop in American carbon dioxide emissions is the fracking-powered natural gas boom, not solar or wind power. Natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent of this emissions decline, while solar power is responsible for 1 percent. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons.

“The transition from coal to natural gas for electricity generation has probably been the single largest contributor to the … largely unexpected decline in U.S. CO2 emissions” says the research organization Berkeley Earth, concurring with more formal assessments from the Department of Energy.

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