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Williams: Berkeley Declares ‘Climate Emergency’ Worse Than World War II

Climate activists demonstrate in Paris, Saturday, Dec.12, 2015 during the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Several environmental and human rights groups are planning protests around Paris to call attention to populations threatened by man-made global warming and urge an end to human use of oil, gas and coal. …
AP/Thibault Camus

This week, the Berkeley City Council issued a resolution declaring a worldwide climate emergency, calling it “the greatest crisis in history” after evoking memories of World War II.

“The United States of America has disproportionately contributed to the climate and ecological crises and to preventing a transition away from fossil fuels, and Americans thus bear an extraordinary responsibility to solve the crises,” the text reads.

Apparently the six million Jews massacred during the Second World War, not to mention the other tens of millions of casualties, do not measure up to the overarching evils of climate change—at least in the minds of the Berkeley City Council.

Droughts, famines, and diseases produced by global warming “have already killed millions of people in the Global South,” the document announces, adding that the earth is “already too hot for safety and justice.”

“The global economy’s overshoot of ecological limits and, increasingly climate change, are driving a global fresh water scarcity crisis and the sixth mass extinction of species, which could devastate much of life on earth for the next ten million years,” the resolution warns.

To read through the text, one would think that global warming has been behind every catastrophe and uprising on the planet.

Climate change “has been linked to the Syrian War, the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, as well as the famines, water shortages, and resulting conflict in Yemen, Somalia, and South Sudan,” the document pronounces.

Not only present evils, however, but future calamities are also prophesied with astounding exactitude and certainty.

The collapse of the Greenland Ice Shelf, the resolution states, could result in “several billion climate refugees,” or a substantial share of the entire population of the world.

Climate change, population growth, and growing demand for food, energy and fresh water will incite “violent conflict over diminishing resources” by the year 2030, the document also forecasts with remarkable confidence.

The antidote to the Council’s doomsday predictions are to take the world back to pre-industrial levels of CO2 emissions, the text declares, conjuring images of bearded Amish people driving about in horse-drawn carriages.

Humanity must “restore a safe level of greenhouse gas concentrations and global average temperatures well below today’s levels and back to pre-industrial levels as quickly as possible,” it states.

Despite the Council’s dire warnings, however, it turns out that scientists themselves are far less certain that Berkeley’s elite council members.

For instance, only 22 percent of the 1,862 American Meteorological Society (AMS) members surveyed in 2008 believe that “all” or a “large” amount of the damage caused by global warming could be prevented by taking measures to mitigate its effects.

Moreover, the correlation between carbon dioxide emissions and climate warming seems anything but linear.

Between 2002 and 2008, CO2 emissions increased from 24 billion tons to 29 billion. In that same period, the global temperature anomaly decreased from 0.62C to 0.52C.

This fuzzy correlation between CO2 emissions and increase in global temperature raises the question of just what effect a radical decrease of carbon dioxide emissions would actually have on the planet.

Not content with prescribing a drastic cutback in global emissions, however, the Council members forge onward to make a more insidious proposal: population control.

The Council argues in favor of finding ways to “humanely stabilize population” as a means of mitigating the effects of global warming.

“The City of Berkeley calls on the United States of America to initiate a just national mobilization emergency effort to reverse global warming, which ends national greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible and immediately initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere,” the text boldly proposes.

While one can only have pity on local residents who must live under the heavy boot of the unhinged Berkeley City Council, the rest of the nation can offer a collective sigh of relief that their power extends no further.

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