Whoa! I’ve been Bot-censored.

Today someone linked to one of my posts on a thread at reddit:

slinkydink2 14 hours ago
·
More grammatical errors and an emoji face. Am I talking to a 9 year old? Consensus is not science. It’s an opinion. The scientific theory has not been and cannot be applied to your global warning bullshit.

Spez: Even though I know you won’t read it (or understand it if you do) here’s an article from last month saying the models are bullshit and that Solar activity is the largest factor.

https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/2018-update-best-climate-model-inmcm5/

That was followed by:

13 hours ago
Your comment was automatically removed because you linked to an anti-Trump domain. Please use archive.is or a google cache for this domain so we do not give them any undeserved clicks.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

The censorship statement was presented this way:

Wow! So much for free speech on the internet.  And the irony for being censored as an anti-Trump domain, which itself seems like a spoof.  The content referring to climate sources does ring true as climatist suppression of alternate information and views.  Apparently, you are an idiot if you know too much and see through the alarmist house of cards.

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Katawice COP24 Briefing for Realists

czestochowska

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is just nearby.

The upcoming COP24 will be dramatic with the host country Poland resolute on continuing to burn coal.  Comments by the Polish Minister of Environment have been aimed at lowering expectations in advance of the meeting, in stark contrast to the recent over-the-top IPCC SR15 climate horror movie.  See UN Horror Show

Polish coal miners 2015 protest against liquidation of Polish coal mines. Note the vests like those now seen all over France.

In addition, Brazil is canceling their invitation to host next year’s COP 25.  Considering the obstacles along with the location, COP24 could be considered a “Hail Mary” gathering.  Three years ago French Mathematicians spoke out prior to COP21 in Paris, and their words provide a rational briefing for COP24 beginning in Katawice this weekend. In a nutshell:

Fighting Global Warming is Absurd, Costly and Pointless.

  • Absurd because of no reliable evidence that anything unusual is happening in our climate.
  • Costly because trillions of dollars are wasted on immature, inefficient technologies that serve only to make cheap, reliable energy expensive and intermittent.
  • Pointless because we do not control the weather anyway.

The prestigious Société de Calcul Mathématique (Society for Mathematical Calculation) issued a detailed 195-page White Paper that presents a blistering point-by-point critique of the key dogmas of global warming. The synopsis is blunt and extremely well documented.  Here are extracts from the opening statements of the first three chapters of the SCM White Paper with my bolds and images.

Sisyphus at work.

Chapter 1: The crusade is absurd
There is not a single fact, figure or observation that leads us to conclude that the world‘s climate is in any way ‘disturbed.’ It is variable, as it has always been, but rather less so now than during certain periods or geological eras. Modern methods are far from being able to accurately measure the planet‘s global temperature even today, so measurements made 50 or 100 years ago are even less reliable. Concentrations of CO2 vary, as they always have done; the figures that are being released are biased and dishonest. Rising sea levels are a normal phenomenon linked to upthrust buoyancy; they are nothing to do with so-called global warming. As for extreme weather events — they are no more frequent now than they have been in the past. We ourselves have processed the raw data on hurricanes….

Chapter 2: The crusade is costly
Direct aid for industries that are completely unviable (such as photovoltaics and wind turbines) but presented as ‘virtuous’ runs into billions of euros, according to recent reports published by the Cour des Comptes (French Audit Office) in 2013. But the highest cost lies in the principle of ‘energy saving,’ which is presented as especially virtuous. Since no civilization can develop when it is saving energy, ours has stopped developing: France now has more than three million people unemployed — it is the price we have to pay for our virtue….

Chapter 3: The crusade is pointless
Human beings cannot, in any event, change the climate. If we in France were to stop all industrial activity (let’s not talk about our intellectual activity, which ceased long ago), if we were to eradicate all trace of animal life, the composition of the atmosphere would not alter in any measurable, perceptible way. To explain this, let us make a comparison with the rotation of the planet: it is slowing down. To address that, we might be tempted to ask the entire population of China to run in an easterly direction. But, no matter how big China and its population are, this would have no measurable impact on the Earth‘s rotation.

Full text in pdf format is available in English at link below:

The battle against global warming: an absurd, costly and pointless crusade
White Paper drawn up by the Société de Calcul Mathématique SA
(Mathematical Modelling Company, Corp.)

A Second report was published in 2016 entitled: Global Warming and Employment, which analyzes in depth the economic destruction from ill-advised climate change policies.

The two principal themes are that jobs are disappearing and that the destructive forces are embedded in our societies.

Jobs are Disappearing discusses issues such as:

The State is incapable of devising and implementing an industrial policy.

The fundamental absurdity of the concept of sustainable development

Biofuels an especially absurd policy leading to ridiculous taxes and job losses.

EU policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% drives jobs elsewhere while being pointless: the planet has never asked for it, is completely unaware of it, and will never notice it!

The War against the Car and Road Maintenance undercuts economic mobility while destroying transportation sector jobs.

Solar and wind energy are weak, diffuse, and inconsistent, inadequate to power modern civilization.

Food production activities are attacked as being “bad for the planet.”

So-called Green jobs are entirely financed by subsidies.

 

The Brutalizing Whip discusses the damages to public finances and to social wealth and well-being, including these topics:

Taxes have never been so high

The Government is borrowing more and more

Dilapidated infrastructure

Instead of job creation, Relocations and Losses

The wastefulness associated with the new forms of energy

Return to the economy of an underdeveloped country

What is our predicament?
Four Horsemen are bringing down our societies:

  • The Ministry of Ecology (climate and environment);
  • Journalists;
  • Scientists;
  • Corporation Environmentalist Departments.

Steps required to recover from this demise:

  • Go back to the basic rules of research.
  • Go back to the basic rules of law
  • Do not trust international organizations
  • Leave the planet alone
  • Beware of any premature optimism

Conclusion

Climate lemmings

The real question is this: how have policymakers managed to make such absurd decisions, to blinker themselves to such a degree, when so many means of scientific investigation are available? The answer is simple: as soon as something is seen as being green, as being good for the planet, all discussion comes to an end and any scientific analysis becomes pointless or counterproductive. The policymakers will not listen to anyone or anything; they take all sorts of hasty, contradictory, damaging and absurd decisions. When will they finally be held to account?

Footnote:

The above cartoon image of climate talks includes water rising over politicians’ feet.  But actual observations made in Fiji (presiding over talks last year in Bonn) show sea levels are stable (link below).

Fear Not For Fiji

In 2016 SCM issued a report Global Temperatures Available data and critical analysis

It is a valuable description of the temperature metrics and issues regarding climate analysis.   They conclude:

None of the information on global temperatures is of any scientific value, and it should not
be used as a basis for any policy decisions. It is perfectly clear that:

  • there are far too few temperature sensors to give us a picture of the planet’s temperature;
  • we do not know what such a temperature might mean because nobody has given it
    any specific physical significance;
  • the data have been subject to much dissimulation and manipulation. There is a
    clear will not to mention anything that might be reassuring, and to highlight things
    that are presented as worrying;
  • despite all this, direct use of the available figures does not indicate any genuine
    trend towards global warming!

What is Populism?

 

Christopher Caldwell writes an article What is Populism? at Claremont Review of Books. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Le monde, the French newspaper of record, admitted last summer that readers had been complaining about the indiscriminate way its journalists flung around the word “populist.” It seemed to describe dozens of European and American political actors with nothing in common except the contempt in which Le Monde held them. The meaning of “populist” was nonetheless easy to decode. A dispatch in that same edition of Le Monde, about a new political alliance between populist governments in Italy, Austria, and Hungary, was titled: “Europe’s hard right lays down the law against migrants.” To call someone a populist is to insinuate that he is a fascist, but tentatively enough to spare the accuser the responsibility of supplying proof. If one sees things as Le Monde does, this is a good thing: populism is an extremism-in-embryo that needs to be named in order that it might better be fought. Others, though, will see populism as an invention of the very establishmentarians who claim to be fighting it, an empty word that allows them to shut down with taboos any political idea that they cannot defeat with arguments. In Europe, populism is becoming the great which-side-are-you-on question of our time.

Whatever populism is, it is prospering across Europe. By late September, in the wake of Chemnitz, support for the AfD had risen to 18% nationwide, placing the party level with the once-colossal Social Democrats as the country’s second largest, behind Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). In Hungary, Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz Party has held roughly two thirds of the seats in the country’s national assembly since regaining control in 2010. Italy’s two populist parties—the Five Star Movement and the League—were mocked when they came together to form a coalition last May. After four months of pursuing a hard line on migration, their government has become one of the most popular in Italy since the Second World War. Between the two of them, the parties had the support of 64% of the public by early October.

Populist movements, however, even when strong, can be checked by social convention and threats of ostracism. Few call themselves populist. In Sweden, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats took 18% of the vote at elections in September but at their own demonstrations their supporters are sometimes outnumbered, and always outshouted, by activists massing in the name of anti-racism or anti-fascism. That populists have a hard time seizing and holding public platforms is a problem for the movement. It may mean, though, that sympathy for populism runs deeper than it appears to. The decision of Britain’s voters to withdraw from the European Union in a 2016 referendum won only narrowly, with a 52-48 margin in favor of the Leave option. But when London’s Independent asked Britons days before the vote how the results would make them feel, 44% said they would be “delighted” with a Leave vote, while only 28% said that about Remain. There seems to be more support for populism in citizens’ inmost hearts than on the Letters to the Editor page.

Migration and Merkel

Europe has entered a period of demographic, institutional, and ideological convulsion. Mass migration is the focus of populist concern. After World War II, Europe’s countries, while not ethnically homogeneous, all had stable populations of European descent. The need to rebuild spurred many countries in wrecked northern Europe to import workers—primarily from southern Italy, Portugal, and what was then Yugoslavia. A boom ensued that intensified the short-term need for labor, and brought new workers from further afield. Turks and Moroccans came. Decolonization and war untethered vast populations from their Pakistani, Algerian, and Indonesian homelands. Soon storefronts were being converted into mosques. Europeans learned words like “couscous,” “Ramadan,” and “jihad.”

Europeans assumed migration would end when their own need for migrant labor did. That was naïve. Middle Easterners and North Africans simply liked Europe better. What is more, at roughly this time European women stopped bearing babies, to the point where the population of native Italians was projected to fall by a quarter, from 60 million to 45, before the middle of the 21st century. This had society-transforming consequences. By the beginning of this century there were tens of millions of Muslims living in western European lands where there had never been any. Now minarets towered over the urban neighborhoods where those storefront mosques had been, cities (including London) came under the control of ethnic political machines, and Islam replaced Christianity as the main source of religious zeal, if not yet as the professed belief of the largest number of residents.

The change riled Europeans. In virtually every western European land, when pollsters ask members of the public to list their country’s most pressing problems, immigration ranks either first or second. But it seemed no one could do anything about it. The values that European elites proclaimed—a mix of post-Holocaust repentance and emulation of American civil-rights institutions—made it seem hypocritical and xenophobic to regulate the country’s frontiers in any way at all. Europe no longer had the conviction to say “no” to anyone making a reasonable case for political asylum, and no longer had the will to deport even those whose petitions were deemed unreasonable. One of these was Daniel Hillig’s alleged murderer Yousif Abdullah, who had accumulated a long criminal record in his three years in Europe. Abdullah’s own asylum application had been rejected, and then reopened on a technicality.

Episodes of terrorism and crime do shift thinking in a populist direction. If there was a moment when public sentiment about mass migration began to swing, as if on a hinge, it came in the days after New Years’ Eve 2015-16. Hundreds of women reported having been sexually assaulted by gangs of immigrants in the center of Cologne that night, but police took such pains to play down the attacks that news of the disorder did not reach newspapers for days. Notoriously, the city’s mayor advised women to avoid such unpleasantness in the future by keeping suspicious-looking men “at arm’s length.”

Still, the ultimate impetus for populism among native Europeans probably lies not in any individual incident but in the prospect, more vivid with every passing year, of demographic decline and even extinction. By this decade, several countries had lost control of their borders—above all, Sweden, where almost a third of babies are born to foreign mothers. The Pew Research Center recently projected that Sweden will be 30% Muslim by mid-century if refugee flows continue and 21% Muslim even if they stop altogether.

The wave of migration from the Arab and Muslim world may be as nothing compared to what awaits. Sub-Saharan Africa is now seeing the largest population explosion any region has undergone in the history of the planet. By 2050, Africa is expected to double its population to 2.5 billion. That increment of 1.25 billion young people is roughly twice the present population of Europe. At mid-century, Africa will still be the poorest place on earth, but it will be the richest in young men of military age. Until 2017 charitable rescue ships were transporting hundreds, sometimes thousands, of African migrants across the Mediterranean to Italy daily. These provide the merest foretaste of the population pressures that await.

Merkel’s invitation to Syrian migrants in 2015 was a detonator. Suddenly Germany had a million-odd Syrians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Afghanis on its soil—culturally alien, hard to employ, and making claims for the admission of millions more wives, children, and siblings. Germans were thus forced to choose between (a) welcoming an even larger second wave of dependent family members, and (b) damage control. This would mean stepping up expulsions, revoking longstanding rules on family reunification, and overturning various longstanding taboos against discussing Germany’s national interest and ethnic identity. Germans have opted for (b). They have shifted their votes from establishment parties (not just Merkel’s Christian Democrats but also the Social Democrats) to radical ones (not just the AfD but also the post-Communist Left party).

New Problems, New Solutions

In Italy, interior minister Matteo Salvini has become one of the most popular politicians in Europe by turning his party, the League, from a regional separatist group into a nationwide anti-immigration force. For years now, foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been chartering boats to mount extensive rescue operations of African migrants adrift in the Mediterranean. Salvini derided these efforts as taxi services to deliver migrants from the North African coast. Extraordinary maps published by the New York Times in June 2017, which showed rescue operations moving steadily closer to the port of Tripoli as humanitarian operations increased, provide considerable justification for Salvini’s view. But he went further. Salvini accused humanitarians of acting as go-betweens for two mafias: one that trafficked humans in Africa, and another that scammed Italy’s social-welfare system in Europe. He then closed Italy’s ports to such rescue vessels—first foreign-registered ones, then Italian ones. The result is that Salvini, called an “extremist” in many newspapers in the run-up to elections last March, now commands the support of 60% of Italians.

European leaders have assailed Salvini in the name of their values, none more volubly than French President Emmanuel Macron. In early June, when Salvini refused landing rights to 629 migrants aboard the German rescue ship Aquarius, Macron denounced him as irresponsible, cynical, and extremist. Salvini replied that, if Macron cared so much about European values, perhaps he could take some of the migrants himself. Macron did not. Indeed, when the same ship, the Aquarius, made for the French port of Marseille in late September with only 58 migrants aboard, Macron’s government denied it authorization to dock. In mid-October, newspapers across Europe reported that French authorities had apprehended African illegal migrants in the Hautes-Alpes region, driven them across the Italian border in a police van, and dropped them off in the woods.

The debate between Salvini and Macron revealed something formulaic and flawed in the latter’s way of thinking. Macron and his globalist allies sometimes acted as if the problems of human conflict had been solved by the Western “values,” and as if history were done presenting contingencies and surprises. That made it easy to “build a legacy” or win an honorable “place in history.” All one had to do was consult these values and order correctly from a menu of historical roles. With the rise of Salvini, the European Union’s economic commissioner Pierre Moscovici warned of “little Mussolinis” in the continent’s politics, and Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn accused Salvini of using “fascist methods and tones”—which presumably made Moscovici and Asselborn the Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt of our times.

Populists, by contrast, argued that today’s events are not a replay of the 1930s—they are today’s events. “What people call ‘right-wing populism,’ ‘the new right,’ or ‘a return to nationalism,’” wrote Frank Böckelmann, editor of the contrarian German quarterly Tumult, “is only a reaction to specific new conditions.” That is the way Salvini saw it: he was just reacting pragmatically to problems as they came up. He wanted Italy to include in every trade deal it signs with a developing-world country a “repatriation clause” linking economic ties to a willingness to take back migrants. “I think I am paid by my citizens to help our youth to have the babies they used to have a few years ago,” Salvini said, “and not import the best of African youth to replace the Europeans who, for economic reasons, don’t have many children.”

Was this reasonable or was it racist? In matters of identity politics, the two adjectives can describe the same action. National identity is maintained by preferring one’s own people to others. This proposition sounds obvious and uncontroversial when you are saying, for example, that Italy’s destiny is a matter for Italians alone to decide—and not for Frenchmen to meddle in, even Frenchmen as powerful as Macron. It is perfectly innocent to prefer Italians to French people in that case. But is it okay to prefer Italians to Africans? Europeans are less comfortable answering “yes” to that question. When a boatload of migrants steams into a Sicilian harbor, and the law calls for them to be sent back to Libya, and thence to Chad or Niger, and they sue to stay, politicians who assert European values begin to hem and haw. But if one cannot argue against interlopers on behalf of fellow citizens, then the long history of Italy will soon come to an end. At least that is how the populists see it.

Class and Competition

The establishment view reflects a difference not just of ideology but also of class. Perhaps because he is yet a political novice, Macron has been vocal on the subject of human inequality. He is in favor of it. The president’s role in French life should be “Jupiterian,” he argued, while describing those who collected welfare as “illiterates” (illettrés) and “freeloaders” (fainéants). Like Matteo Renzi, the pro-business former prime minister whose center-left party was ousted by Italy’s populist coalition, Macron has behaved as if business were all: entrepreneurs and captains of industry are the only modern heroes. Cutting taxes, delaying retirements, and permitting Sunday shopping are the highest achievements to which a sensible politician could aspire. At the opening of Station F, a clearinghouse for high-tech start-ups, Macron found the name appropriate, because this would be the place that determined the entrepreneurs’ worth. “A station,” he said, meaning a railway station, “is a place where you run into people who succeed and people who are nothing.”

It was in this vein that historian Anne Applebaum, writing in the Atlantic, lamented the rise of two populist parties in Central Europe: Orbán’s Fidesz in Hungary, and Jaroslaw Kaczyński’s Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland. Applebaum, attentive and logical in all her books about Eastern Europe, showed little perspective or sense of context in writing about contemporary political clashes. She denounced the Polish and Hungarian upstarts as a threat to democracy, comparing them to Lenin’s Bolsheviks, Hitler’s Germany, and Apartheid South Africa.

Ceding Authority

All across the West, the intelligent, credentialed people who held the commanding heights of the economy were making the same mistake. They viewed the rise of populism as a misunderstanding or a glitch. Ashoka Mody, a gifted macroeconomist at the International Monetary Fund, cautioned against reading too much into the 2016 referendum on which Renzi had staked his political career: “Italians rejected the changes to the electoral system,” Mody wrote, “not because they had thought very deeply about the changes proposed but, rather, because the referendum gave them an opportunity to vent their economic and political frustrations.”

If such votes are only a “venting of frustrations,” then they don’t mean anything, and they certainly contain no specific instructions that deserve to be heeded. Last June, when Salvini began to change Italy’s immigration policies, Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, voiced her objections: “Using migration in an instrumental way for a political objective is irresponsible,” she said in an interview, “because this reflects immediately not only on the lives of migrant and refugees, but also on the lives of the hosting communities of the Italians, pitting the one against the others.”

The verb “instrumentalize,” meaning “to make a political issue of,” is multinational shop talk. It is used to mark off an area of policy where public opinion has no legitimate role, and is therefore unwelcome. The duly elected constitutional government of Italy should step aside from making policy for Italy—Mrs. Sami will handle it! One might predict that no one would put up with such effrontery. In fact most people are willing to cede authority to judges and multinational bodies for as long as things are going well.

Where does this willingness to cede authority come from? Its sources run deep. Sociologist Norbert Elias, in his 1965 study The Established and the Outsiders, described the “monopoly on the means of orientation” that Brahmins in India held, just by virtue of being Brahmins. Most elitism is like this. To say that progressive elites control things is not a conspiracy theory, it is a tautology—they control the culture by definition.

Similarly, populists are wrong by definition. They usually internalize the idea of their inferiority and immorality. An establishment, as Elias sees it, always offers an alternative that the public can passively fall back on. Outsiders and populists do not. They will be subject to a “paralyzing apathy” unless a leader is there to light a fire under them. The challenge is keeping it lit. Hence the importance of Salvini’s social media videos and Donald Trump’s tweets. Constant motion is of the essence. One can see the difference between successful populist governments (such as Salvini’s) that act quickly, bringing rapid change; and unsuccessful ones (such as Trump’s over his first year-and-a-half) that do not, permitting all the playing pieces to roll back down the unlevel board into their pre-election positions.

A Democracy Movement

Margaret Canovan, one of the most sensitive academic analysts of populism, has described it as something that “haunts even the most firmly established democracies.” It would be more accurate to say that populism haunts especially the most firmly established democracies. It arises in democracies that are so built-out and specialized that a class of sophisticated political initiates is required to run them effectively. Any such class will be tempted to nudge the system to produce results more in line with what it sees as society’s needs. These “needs” may grow hard to distinguish from that class’s “values.”

Americans, living in the home of modern judicial review, will understand that judges are often guilty of trying to correct electoral results that don’t correspond to insider thinking. The civil rights laws of the 1960s, for example, have been interpreted to require transgender bathrooms, regardless of how democratic majorities might feel about them. Certain western European democracies work under analogous constraints. In Italy, both investigative magistrates (the equivalent of federal prosecutors) and adjudicative magistrates (the equivalent of federal judges) are members of the judiciary branch, and the bench, for the most part, operates as a self-perpetuating guild. Judges, not legislators or executives, appoint and approve judicial hires. Like Americans, Italians had plausible 20th-century reasons for enhancing the prerogatives of judges. Americans wanted to smash segregation. Italians wanted to ensure—in the wake of Mussolini, fascism, and defeat—that no prosecutor working on behalf of a strongman would use his office to throw political opponents in jail.


As it turned out, allowing the judiciary to be “independent” in this way was an even bigger risk. For, in Italy as in the United States, the judiciary is both a powerful regulatory body and a subset of what we now call the One Percent. Italian lawyers and judges, like our own, have a cultural affinity with intellectuals and progressive politicians. The result is that, when conservative governments come to power, the judiciary joins the opposition. Silvio Berlusconi, the madcap media billionaire who after 1994 became the longest-serving postwar Italian prime minister, was in and out of courtrooms for long-ago business irregularities for the whole two decades he was in or near power. He was convicted of tax fraud in 2013 and banned from politics for six years, until 2019.

Since the new League-Five Star coalition took power in mid-2018, Italy’s situation has paralleled that of the United States even more closely, with judges seeking ingenious ways to thwart a government they oppose on ideological grounds. A Genovese judge threatened to seize the League’s entire €49-million treasury, for an embezzlement case that antedates Salvini’s takeover of the party. After Salvini delayed the disembarkation of 177 Eritreans who had arrived aboard the Italian Coast Guard boat Diciotti, a prosecutor in Agrigento indicted him for kidnapping.

Where the United States is unloved among European populists, it is sometimes as the source of such judicial chicanery. American forces wrote or inspired a number of postwar constitutions, including the German Grundgesetz, which contains guarantees that many blame for the country’s impending “dissolution” by migration. “It is high time,” writes Frank Böckelmann, “for a constitution that is of the German people and for the German people.” For another thing, the United States tax code provides the model for various activist foundations that have left governments feeling surveilled and threatened in their sovereignty. That has been particularly so in Hungary, which in recent months has moved to close the Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros’s charities and to shutter a university he founded.

Orbán’s philosophy has been described in Western headlines as an attack on democracy. It is more accurately described as a passionate defense of his own vision of democracy. Orbán’s vision is different from the one that prevails in the West today. It is closer to the understanding of democracy that prevailed in the United States 60 years ago. For Orbán, democracy is when a sovereign people votes and chooses its destiny. Period. A democratic republic need not be liberal, or neutral as to values. It can favor Christianity or patriotism, if it so chooses, and it can even proudly call such choices “illiberal,” as Orbán did in a 2014 speech.

The detractors of Orbán-style democracy consider democracy a set of progressive outcomes that democracies tend to choose, and may even have chosen at some time in the past. If a progressive law or judicial ruling or executive order coincides with the “values” of experts, a kind of mystical ratification results, and the outcome is what the builders of the European Union call an acquis—something permanent, unassailable, and constitutional-seeming. If a democratic majority were to overturn, say, a country’s membership in the European Union, or a state’s laws establishing gay marriage, that outcome would be called “undemocratic.” Of course it would be no such thing. What would be threatened in this case would be somebody’s values, not everyone’s democracy.

That is our problem. Liberalism and democracy have come into conflict. “Populist” is what those loyal to the former call those loyal to the latter.

See Also Patriotism vs. Multiculturalism

Climatist Logic Fail

 

Abe Greenwald writes in the Commentary The Paris Climate Discord Not in my wallet. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Global-warming activists predicted that Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate change would claim innocent lives. Trump pulled out over a year ago, and the death toll from the American snub stands at zero. In France, however, violent protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to mitigate climate change have killed one person and injured 227.

On Saturday, French mobs were protesting a tax hike on fuel. And they, not Macron, are directly to blame for the death and destruction. But the fact that these massive demonstrations happened at all—that they involved some 283,000 protestors—shows how little anyone really worries about climate change.

Macron is trying to get France off of fossil fuels. The French government recently raised diesel taxes by seven euro cents and had planned to raise the gasoline tax by four euro cents. But it turns out that people—not just Americans—care deeply about melting ice caps and rising sea levels only under specific circumstances. Namely, when they can be blamed on the greed and stupidity of their political enemies. They find that they suddenly care a lot less when addressing climate change means shelling out a few extra euro cents. So the French came out in droves, lit bonfires, tore up some buildings, blocked streets, and chanted slogans.

Last year, Trump fought back against critics of the Paris withdrawal by saying, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” But he might have represented the citizens of Paris, too. “We no longer know what kind of car to buy, petrol, diesel, electric, who knows?” said one protester interviewed by the Guardian. “I have a little diesel van, and I don’t have the money to buy a new one, especially as I’m about to retire. We have the feeling those from the countryside are forgotten.

Another protestor said that “the fuel tax was just the final straw.” He went on: “All we can do is show that people are angry, that they are not alone and that they can do something about it. I hope there is no violence, but people are angry. I can understand why, for years they have voted for things and nothing has changed for them.” The protestors, known as gilets jaunes, for their signature yellow vests, enjoy 79-percent support among the French working class, according to IFOP.

Meanwhile, as Parisians turn against the core ideas of the Paris agreement, Americans are worked up over the Trump administration’s seeming indifference to a new U.S. government report on climate change. The Fourth National Climate Assessment was prepared by “300 leading scientists,” according to CNN. And like all sober scientific documents, it’s packed to the gills with apocalyptic predictions for the coming century.

The U.S. economy could lose 10 percent of its GDP; crops will shrink, much ocean life will die off, and more people will have less food. Illness will spread, pollution will get worse, floods and wildfires will increase, and, naturally, many people will die. Now, imagine the public response in our own low-trust, grievance-obsessed nation if the Trump administration actually instituted a policy that required every American to pay up to keep that theoretical future at bay.

There’s a curious contradiction in climate activism. On the one hand, we’re told that the effects of climate change are already happening all around us—that we no longer have to wait for signs of devastation. On the other hand, huge resources swing into action to lay out disaster-movie scenarios of a dystopian future. If the effects of climate change are already so evident, why go to all the trouble of scaring us about what’s going to happen? Maybe because even sympathetic people don’t really believe—in their marrow—that anything alarming is currently happening. If they did, perhaps they’d give up their cars and shrink their lifestyles on the spot. But as it stands, they scream for government intervention and then protest when called to share in the cost.

Arctic Breaks Ice Ceiling

 

slider-glassceiling

The remarkable growth of Arctic ice extent continues with a new development yesterday, as shown by the graph below.
Arctic2018330

Note that as of day 330, Nov. 26, 2018, Arctic ice extent exceeds the 11 year average reached at month end.  At 11.08M km2, it is 400k km2 above the average for day 330.  It also matches 2013 (not shown) with only 2014 slightly higher in the last decade.

 

Dr. Judah Cohen at AER posted yesterday on the difficulties forecasting this winter’s coming months.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In my opinion troposphere-stratosphere coupling is now in full gear and is having a significant impact on the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere. The relatively active vertical transfer of energy from the troposphere to the stratosphere is repeatedly perturbing the stratospheric PV though it is not of sufficient magnitude to force a significant PV disruption but only minor disruptions. Still the stratospheric PV is predicted to be continuously displaced from the North Pole towards northwest Eurasia. The displacement of the stratospheric PV south of its normal position is allowing the stratospheric PV to grab milder temperatures from more southern latitudes and sling shot it from across Asia towards Eastern Siberia and Alaska, where the warming temperatures are building ridging/positive geopotential height anomalies in the stratosphere centered near Alaska. This is resulting in northerly flow between the Alaskan ridge and stratospheric PV on the North Atlantic side of the Arctic from central Siberia to eastern North America. We have seen the same flow already mimicked or repeated in the troposphere during the month of November contributing to an overall cold month of November in the Eastern US.

As far as the winter as a whole, I believe that the behavior of the stratospheric PV is critical. The vertical atmospheric energy transfer looks active to me for the foreseeable future. This could lead to a significant or major stratospheric PV as early as the second half of December and extending into early January. If a large stratospheric PV disruption were to occur in the late December and early January timeframe this would be almost ideal in contributing to an overall cold winter for the usual favored regions across the NH mid-latitudes, but each event is unique. Any delay in a significant stratospheric PV disruption would lead to an extended period of volatile weather and increase the odds for an overall mild winter especially if the stratospheric PV strengthens and becomes circular in shape. There is the scenario where the vertical energy transfer remains active, the stratospheric PV is perturbed but no significant disruptions occur and the Eastern US still experiences a cold winter ala winter 2013/14 and is described in our new paper: Kretschmer et al. 2018, but more on the paper in a future blog.

 

Meanwhile, in Nunavut, it is a great time to be a polar bear, even more of them than people want.

 

Don’t Base Policies on Climate Hysteria

Noah Rothman writes at Commentary: Climate Hysterics and Their Advocates
Satisfying histrionics never solved anything. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Exhuming this [fourth National Climate Assessment] report from its early grave, NBC’s “Meet the Press” focused on it extensively—probing lawmakers about the issue and devoting a panel segment to the political implications of its findings. American Enterprise Institute scholar Danielle Pletka attracted an unusual amount of attention for her remarks on the subject. In a brief soliloquy, she said that she doesn’t believe “we can have any doubt” about the existence of climate change, though we can join the scientific community in speculating about the precise degree to which human activity contributes to that change.

Pletka went on to note mitigating phenomena that, in her view, don’t receive due attention. The last two years were typified by the “biggest drop in global temperatures that we have had since the 1980s,” she said. Pletka added that carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. are declining even after America pulled out of the Paris accords, and American industry has shifted away from burning so-called “dirty coal,” unlike its European counterparts.

The AEI scholar’s critics noted that extreme temperature fluctuation doesn’t tell us much about the climate, which is fair. But “dirty coal” burning in America is declining at a terminal rate despite the loosening regulatory climate, and the United States has led the world in CO2 emissions reductions even without a non-binding international treaty compelling it to do so. Pletka observed in closing that this was the work of industry, consumer preference, and capitalist innovation, and not oppressive central planning (which is entirely correct).

“We shouldn’t be hysterical” about the problem of climate change, Pletka concluded. You’d think she shot someone’s dog on live television.

On Twitter, investigative reporter Alex Kotch insisted that this “non-scientist” perspective was advanced in service to “the biggest fossil fuel polluters in the world, Koch Industries.” Attorney Max Kennerly contended that it was “inexcusable” to allow Pletka to opine at all on this subject. “This is PR for polluters, not journalism,” he barked. “This is crazy,” ABC News analyst Matt Dowd said. “Balance shouldn’t be the goal, truth should.” “People tune in to be informed not be subjected to propaganda,” former Think Progress founder Judd Legum tweeted. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, and controversial climatologist Michael Mann all attacked the network for giving Pletka a platform to discuss climate as it relates to public policy.

There was no such outrage over the response from Pletka’s counterpart, New York Times columnist and fellow “non-scientist” Helene Cooper, which tells you all you need to know about this ginned-up controversy. “I actually think we should be hysterical,” she said. “I think anybody who has children or anybody who can imagine having children and grandchildren, how can you look at them and think this is the kind of world that through our own inaction and our inability to do something, that we’re going to leave them?”

It’s a struggle to think of a long-term public policy crisis that was mitigated by mass hysteria, which is perhaps why Pletka’s many detractors can’t explain why Cooper’s brand of lay advocacy is more acceptable than her counterpart’s. Cooper also said that it was time for the political class to “force corporate leadership” to do something about climate change, demonstrating that she either hadn’t heard a word Pletka said or couldn’t refute her claims. But none of the usual suspects have expressed so much as a hint of disapproval over the gauzy sentimentalism and histrionics expressed by Cooper. That sort of dilettantism serves their purposes.

For Pletka’s detractors, the likely source of consternation wasn’t her professional expertise but her refusal to accept a straight-line projection at face value. That is, however, the only prudent course considering how many climate-related prognostications have not panned out. In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s First Assessment Report’s predictions related to rates of warming and temperature changes were erroneous. The IPCC’s 2001 assessment that climate change would reduce the severity of snow storms did not materialize. The Arctic should be ice-free by now if climate scientists’ predictions were always accurate. As Abe Greenwald noted just last week, the scientific consensus around the rate of oceanic warming was successfully challenged not by the deliberate process of peer review but by a freelancing skeptic with time enough to critically parse the data. Given the failure of these near-term predictions to manifest, it’s only reasonable not to lend too much credence to a projection that takes us nearly 100 years into the future.

You might see now why some advocates prefer hysteria to caution and skepticism, and why those who shatter the serenity of the echo chamber are so valuable.

See also: The Problem with Climate Chicken Littles

Climate Tipping Points Quiz

OPEC: The Walking Dead

America is fracking away and has become the world’s greatest oil producer.  Investor’s Business Daily has the story  How Fracking Turned OPEC Into The Walking Dead Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The river of oil now hitting the market from U.S. fracking has stunned global energy markets. The U.S. has already leapfrogged both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the No. 1 producer. Will U.S. oil lead to OPEC’s demise?

For the first time since World War II, the U.S. is on the verge of being a net oil exporter — something that, just five years ago, would have been considered impossible.

This, of course, has caught the 28-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries by surprise. Even just a few years ago, the consensus was that fracking and its related technologies would add a decent amount of oil to the market, but nothing like what’s happening now.

Can OPEC Cut Enough?

Now, as OPEC prepares to meet on December 6, its original hope of major output cuts to bolster prices has become a problem. A suddenly booming and opportunistic U.S. oil industry is raising output faster — and producing oil more cheaply — than its competitors. Prices are plunging.

As Javier Blas of Bloomberg notes, U.S. oil output is rising at its fastest pace in 98 years. Meanwhile, both Russia and the Saudis are also pumping at record levels. The U.S. is tipping the scale. Since 2010 in the West Texas Permian Oil Basin alone, some 114,000 new wells have been drilled, bringing millions of barrels of new oil to the market. Other parts of the U.S. are undergoing the same transformation.

That’s bad for OPEC.

“The U.S. energy surge presents OPEC with one of the biggest challenges of its 60-year history,” wrote Blas. “If Saudi Arabia and its allies cut production … higher prices would allow shale to steal market share. But because the Saudis need higher crude prices to make money than U.S. producers, OPEC can’t afford to let prices fall.”

Fracking = Plunging Prices

Yet that’s exactly what oil prices are doing. On November 1, West Texas Intermediate crude traded at $65 a barrel. Today, it’s barely above $50, a nearly 19% drop.

Yes, plunging oil prices might signal concerns over the global economy, or over President Trump’s trade fight with China, or over the election of a Democratic Congress, or perhaps all three. But the fact is, the U.S. is producing enormous amounts of oil today.

One thing history has shown is that so-called cartels such as OPEC have an easy time finding agreement when prices rise, and end up bickering and backstabbing when prices fall. OPEC is definitely in the latter mode right now. Adding to its woes, the Department of Justice is looking into recent bipartisan antitrust legislation to curb OPEC’s market clout.

Are we seeing the final days of OPEC? Thanks to fracking, even if OPEC continues as the walking dead, it will likely never again have the clout it once had.

Kid’s Climate Lawsuit Update Nov. 24

 

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Updated Nov 23, 2018

As of Friday, Oregon District Court Judge Aiken has given into the Supreme Court suggestion and defendant’s request that a stay for interlocutory appeal be accepted by the lower court.  The Order by Judge Aiken is here The key excerpt is in italics with my bolds.

This Court stands by its prior rulings on jurisdictional and merits issues, as well as its belief that this case would be better served by further factual development at trial. The Court has, however, reviewed the record and takes particular note of the recent orders issued by the United States Supreme Court on July 30, 2018, and November 2, 2018, as well as the extraordinary Order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. USDC-ORE, Case No. 18-73014 issued on November 8, 2018. At this time, the Court finds sufficient cause to revisit the question of interlocutory appeal as to its previous orders, and upon reconsideration, the Court finds that each of the factors outlined in § 1292(b) have been met regarding the previously mentioned orders. Thus, this Court now exercises its discretion and immediately certifies this case for interlocutory appeal. The Court does not make this decision lightly. Accordingly, this case is STAYED pending a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This means activity in preparation for an estimated 50 day trial is suspended while the higher Court of Appeals considers whether the lawsuit is out of bounds.  See Background below.

Background from Previous Post on Nov. 5

As predicted in an earlier post (reprinted at the end), US lawyers are following the Supreme’s lead by again asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case.  At the same time, one motion filed at the Oregon District Court asks for a stay of proceedings there pending a ruling by the Appeals Court.  Another motion asks the Oregon court to again consider narrowing the scope of the lawsuit.  The documents can be accessed at Columbia’s climate litigation website for Juliana vs. United States  Some excerpts in italics with my bolds, followed by the Nov. 2 post.

From Petition to Court of Appeals:

If the district court grants certification and stays all proceedings, as the Supreme Court has signaled that it should, it will obviate the need for this Court’s intervention by way of mandamus. If, however, the district court declines to grant certification (despite the Supreme Court’s clear guidance to the contrary), this Court would need to intervene to provide the pretrial appellate review contemplated by the Supreme Court. 

To be clear, the government hopes that this Court’s intervention through extraordinary relief will not be necessary. The government is doing everything in its power to persuade the district court to follow the Supreme Court’s guidance and to certify its decisions for interlocutory appeal. But if the district court declines to do so, this Court should intervene to provide the relief that the Supreme Court has expressly stated “may be available in” this Court — and that is plainly warranted given the fundamental defects in Plaintiffs’ action. ECF No. 416, at 2.

Previous Post Nov. 2, 2018:  Supremes Kick Kids Lawsuit Down the Road

Last night the US Supreme justices refused the federal government’s petition to end the Oregon district court case. The media headlines will say this action allows the case to start, but that is not what happened. The real story concerns procedural hurdles and comes from Scotusblog, not from the green industry PR department (when did yellow journalism change colors?).

Everyone knows this issue will eventually come to the Supreme Court for a ruling. Some judges in black robes will take the heat for telling the truth about the case’s fatal legal flaws. So the Supremes will allow (not prevent) the lower courts to do their job to declare the suit out of bounds. All the while they know any lower ruling will be appealed by the losing side to the top later on.

As you will see, there are probably two more procedural maneuvers before the case can proceed to address the merits, or lack thereof. Yesterday, the Supremes noted that the Ninth District Court of Appeals twice refused the fed’s petition on grounds that no longer pertain. Thus, they suggest that the Ninth take a third kick at this can, perhaps this time actually engaging the issues.

If, as everyone expects, the Ninth follows their San Francisco-based leftist leanings and summarily grants no relief, then the feds can come back to the Supremes having no longer any recourse at lower levels. BTW, two Supreme Justices said they were ready now to grant the federal petition as it stands.

Amy Howe writes truthfully Justices refuse to block climate-change trial. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Tonight the Supreme Court declined to intervene to block the trial in a lawsuit filed by a group of children and teenagers who have asked a federal district court in Oregon to order the federal government to prepare and put in place a plan to phase out fossil-fuel emissions. Although the justices’ ruling formally cleared the way for a trial in the case to go forward, the court stressed that the government may be able to get the relief that it is seeking in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and it did not foreclose the possibility that the government could return to the Supreme Court yet again.

Text of Supreme Court Order ORDER IN PENDING CASE

This afternoon’s order was the latest chapter in the climate-change lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2015, during the Obama administration. The plaintiffs contend that the federal government’s conduct has led to a “dangerous climate system,” in conflict with their constitutional right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.”

The federal government first came to the Supreme Court in the case last summer, asking the justices to block discovery and a trial until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could rule on the government’s request to have the case dismissed or, at the very least, put on hold. But the justices declined to step in, describing the government’s request as “premature.” At the same time, the justices acknowledged that the plaintiffs’ claims are “striking” and that there are “substantial grounds for difference of opinion” on whether those claims belong in court at all; they also emphasized that the district court should “take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on” other motions that the government had filed seeking dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims.

With a trial looming, the government returned to the Supreme Court again last week, complaining that the district court had declined to “meaningfully narrow” the scope of the case. It asked the justices to either end the lawsuit altogether or, at a minimum, review the district court’s rulings allowing the case to go forward. Chief Justice John Roberts, who at the time handled emergency requests from the geographic area that includes Oregon, agreed to put discovery and the trial on hold temporarily to give the plaintiffs an opportunity to respond to the government’s application.

In their response, the plaintiffs urged the justices to allow the trial to go forward. They noted that most pretrial fact-finding had already been completed, with the only remaining discovery “extremely limited.” The only harm that the government has cited to justify putting the trial on hold, the plaintiffs argued, is that it would otherwise be required to “participate in the normal process of trial and await appellate consideration until after final judgment” – which, in the plaintiffs’ view, is an “ordinary” burden rather than the kind of irreparable harm necessitating emergency relief. By contrast, they suggested, stopping the trial now “will disrupt the integrity of the judiciary’s role as a check on the political branches and will irreparably harm these children.” Indeed, the plaintiffs asserted, discovery and a trial are essential because the district court can’t decide the questions presented by their lawsuit, involving the plaintiffs’ legal right to bring the lawsuit and the allocation of power between the different branches of government, until the facts have been better developed.

In a reply brief, the federal government pushed back, telling the justices that it had made every possible effort in the lower courts to avoid reaching this point, but had been unsuccessful. The government emphasized that what the plaintiffs are asking the federal courts to do is extraordinary, “nothing less than a complete transformation of the American energy system – including the abandonment of fossil fuels.” Such a request, the government continued, “has no place in federal court,” so that granting the government a reprieve from the upcoming trial would “preserve the judiciary’s essential role under the Constitution.”

The government added that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ assurances, the prospect winning on appeal after an “extensive” trial had already taken place would provide little comfort to the government, because of the enormous amount of resources that would have to be devoted to pretrial preparations and the trial itself.

In an unsigned three-page order issued tonight, the Supreme Court explained that it would block the proceedings in the district court only if the government were likely to prevail on its request for an order of the Supreme Court, in particular, requiring the district court to dismiss the case. But the government cannot meet that standard, the justices continued, because it may be able to get the relief that it is seeking in the 9th Circuit. The court acknowledged that the 9th Circuit has twice turned down requests from the government to order the district court to dismiss the case, but it reasoned that the 9th Circuit did so because of the prospect that the plaintiffs’ claims against the government might eventually be dismissed through more conventional avenues. The justices concluded that those “reasons are, to a large extent, no longer pertinent” with a 50-day trial – which had been scheduled for October 29 – looming.

The court therefore denied the federal government’s request to keep the trial on hold “without prejudice” – that is, leaving open the possibility that the dispute could return to the Supreme Court again. The justices’ earlier order putting the trial on hold temporarily, to give them time to consider the government’s request, is terminated. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch indicated that they would have granted the government’s request.

Background from previous post Supreme Justice Grants Stay of Kids Lawsuit

On Friday, Chief Justice Roberts stayed the discovery and trial of Juliana vs. US, pending responses from the plaintiffs to issues raised by the defense.  Report from The News Review in italics with my bolds.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday granted a stay in the climate trial, Juliana v. United States, pending a response from the plaintiffs.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to dismiss the case brought by 21 young plaintiffs Thursday.

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Meg Ward with Our Children’s Trust said the plaintiff’s legal team is working on its response, which it will file Monday.

The Supreme Court order states a response is due by Oct. 24.

Julia Olson, one of the lawyers representing the young plaintiffs, said the prosecution is confident that once the court receives the response the trial will proceed.

“As the Supreme Court has recognized in innumerable cases, review of constitutional questions is better done on a full record where the evidence is presented and weighed by the trier of fact,” Olson said in a news release.

The lawsuit alleges the federal government has violated young people’s constitutional rights through policies that have caused a dangerous climate.

They have said their generation bears the brunt of climate change and that the government has an obligation to protect natural resources for present and future generations.

The young people say government officials have known for more than 50 years that carbon pollution from fossil fuels was causing climate change and that policies on oil and gas deprive them of life, liberty and property. They also say the government has failed to protect natural resources as a “public trust” for future generations.

The lawsuit wants a court to order the government to stop permitting and authorizing fossil fuels, quickly phase out carbon dioxide emissions to a certain level by 2100 and develop a national climate recovery plan.

The Trump administration got a temporary reprieve on the case after also asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the request in July.

“The latest attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the trial does not appear to be based on any new evidence or arguments. The only new element is an additional Supreme Court justice,” said Melissa Scanlan, a professor at Vermont Law School, who is not involved in the case.

Kavanaugh replaced the more moderate Anthony Kennedy.

Scanlan said the Trump administration is trying to avoid “what they’re expecting to be a 50-day trial focused on climate disruption.” The trial in Eugene was expected to wrap up in January.

CNN added this:

Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the justice to stop any further discovery and the pending trial while the government appeals the lower court opinion.

In his filing, Francisco lambasted the suit, calling it “an attempt to redirect federal environmental and energy policies through the courts rather than through the political process, by asserting a new and unsupported fundamental due process right to certain climate conditions.”

Francisco’s language echoes some of the remarks Attorney General Jeff Sessions made before the conservative Heritage Foundation on Monday. “Judicial activism is therefore a threat to our representative government and the liberty it secures,” Sessions said. “In effect, activist advocates want judges who will do for them what they have been unable to achieve at the ballot box. It is fundamentally undemocratic.”

The filings may be welcomed by some of the justices but they also put others in an uncomfortable position, and there’s a risk of going to the well too often.

“The Supreme Court unquestionably has the authority to provide the extraordinary relief the government is seeking in these cases,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

“That said, it tends to exercise that authority sparingly,” he added,” and there’s reason to wonder if the government, by repeatedly asking for such unusual relief, might be perceived by at least some of the justices as the boy who cried wolf.”

The text of the  US filing is PETITION FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS Contents:

Reasons for granting the petition

A. The government has a clear and indisputable
right to relief from the district court’s refusal to
dismiss this fundamentally misguided suit

1. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by exercising jurisdiction over the suit
2. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by allowing the claims to proceed
outside the binding framework of the APA
3. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by allowing the claims to proceed on the
merits

B. The government has no other adequate means to
attain relief from a fundamentally misguided and
improper trial

C. Mandamus relief is appropriate under the
circumstances

Excerpt from page 26:

Remarkably, the district court rooted its recognition of a fundamental due process right to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life,” App., infra, 141a, in this Court’s recognition of a fundamental right to samesex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015). There is no relationship, however, between a distinctly personal and circumscribed right to same-sex marriage and the alleged right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life that apparently would run indiscriminately to every individual in the United States. The right recognized by the district court has no relationship to any right as “fundamental as a matter of history and tradition” as the right to marry recognized in Obergefell. Id. at 2602.

Background from previous post Supremes Looking at Kids Lawsuit

An Oregon liberal judge is determined to put climate change on trial in Juliana vs US, scheduled to start on October 29, 2018.  But now another pitfall stands in the way.  The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to review the legitimacy of the scope of the kids’ claims they have a right to an unchanging favorable climate provided to them by the federal government.  Here is the update from Scotusblog by Amy Howe Government returns in climate change lawsuit  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In July, the Supreme Court declined to intervene in a lawsuit filed by a group of 21 children and teenagers who allege that they have a constitutional right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.” The justices rejected the federal government’s request to block discovery and a trial until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could rule on the government’s petition seeking to have the case dismissed or, at a minimum, to block discovery and the trial temporarily. Today the Trump administration returned to the Supreme Court, asking it once again to put discovery and the trial – now scheduled for the end of October – on hold.

The case was originally filed in 2015 against the Obama administration. The plaintiffs argue that the federal government’s actions are causing a “dangerous climate system,” and they have asked a federal district court in Oregon to order various federal agencies to prepare and implement a remedial plan to phase out fossil-fuel emissions.

When the government asked the justices to step in over the summer, they rejected the request, which they described as “premature.” But the justices also seemed to express some skepticism about the “breadth” of the plaintiffs’ claims, calling them “striking” and observing that there are “substantial grounds for difference of opinion” on whether those claims belong in court at all. The justices instructed the district court to “take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on the” federal government’s other pending motions, which could result in dismissal of some or all of the plaintiffs’ claims.

The government is now back at the court, telling the justices that earlier this week the district court “declined to meaningfully narrow” the plaintiffs’ claims, instead rejecting various government motions that would have ended the case. The government is now asking the court to order the district court to “end this profoundly misguided suit” or, at the very least, review the district court’s rulings allowing the case to go forward; moreover, the government again urges, the Supreme Court should put discovery and the trial on hold while it considers these requests. There would be no real harm to the plaintiffs from doing so, the government stresses, because the plaintiffs are claiming that they have been harmed by the cumulative effects of carbon dioxide emissions over several decades.

The government’s request, signed by U.S. solicitor general Noel Francisco, goes to Chief Justice John Roberts, who currently serves as the circuit justice for the 9th Circuit. Roberts can act on the government’s application immediately or refer it to the full court.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes of climate change: “There is a point at which, once this harm occurs, it cannot be undone at any reasonable cost or in any reasonable period of time. Based on the best available science, our country is close to approaching that point.” Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

For an insight into the claims being made on behalf of the kids, here is a reprint of a previous post analyzing a brief filed by an IPCC insider.

Climatists Make Their Case by Omitting Facts

One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change. (Source: Inside Climate News  here) Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Stiglitz, a Columbia University economics professor and former World Bank chief economist, concludes that increasing global warming will have huge costs on society and that a fossil fuel-based system “is causing imminent, significant, and irreparable harm to the Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children more generally.” He explains in a footnote that his analysis also examines impacts on “as-yet-unborn youth, the so-called future generations.”

But, he says, acting on climate change now—by imposing a carbon tax and cutting fossil fuel subsidies, among other steps—is still manageable and would have net-negative costs. He argues that if the government were to pursue clean energy sources and energy-smart technologies, “the net benefits of a policy change outweigh the net costs of such a policy change.”

“Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels,” Stiglitz writes. “This urgent action is not only feasible, the relief requested will benefit the economy.”

Stiglitz has been examining the economic impact of global warming for many years. He was a lead author of the 1995 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an authoritative assessment of climate science that won the IPCC the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Al Gore.

The Stiglitz expert report submitted to the court is here.

An Example of Intentional Omissions

Since this is a legal proceeding, Stiglitz wrote a brief telling the plaintiffs’ side of the story. In a scientific investigation, parties would assert theories attempting to explain all of the evidence at hand. Legal theories have no such requirement to incorporate all the facts, but rather present conclusions informed by the evidence deemed strongest and most pertinent to one party’s interests.

While the Pope accuses us with the Sin of Emissions, we counter with the Sins of Omissions by him and his fellow activists.

Let’s consider the Stiglitz brief according to the three suppositions comprising the Climatist (Activists and Alarmists) position. Climate change is a bundle that depends on all three assertions to be true.

Supposition 1: Humans make the climate warmer.

As an economist, Stiglitz defers to the IPCC on this scientific point, with references to reports by those deeply involved and committed to Paris Accord and other UN climate programs. In the recent California District Court case (Cities suing Big Oil companies), both sides in a similar vein stipulated their acceptance of IPCC reports as authoritative regarding global warming/climate change.

Skeptical observers must attend to the nuances of what is referenced and what is hidden or omitted in these testimonies. For example, Chevron’s attorney noted that IPCC’s reports express various opinions over time as to human influence on the climate. They noted that even today, the expected temperature effect from doubling CO2 ranges widely from 1.5C to 4.5C. No mention is made that several more recent estimates from empirical data (rather than GCMs) are at the low end or lower.

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations. Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off. In the effort to proclaim scientific certainty, neither Stiglitz nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

Further they exclude comparisons between fossil fuel consumption and temperature changes. The legal methodology for discerning causation regarding work environments or medicine side effects insists that the correlation be strong and consistent over time, and there be no confounding additional factors. As long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for a set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. Such is the null hypothesis in legal terms: Things happen for many reasons unless you can prove one reason is dominant.

Finally, Stiglitz and IPCC are picking on the wrong molecule. The climate is controlled not by CO2 but by H20. Oceans make climate through the massive movement of energy involved in water’s phase changes from solid to liquid to gas and back again. From those heat transfers come all that we call weather and climate: Clouds, Snow, Rain, Winds, and Storms.

Esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen ended a very fine recent presentation with this description of the climate system:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Supposition 2: The Warming is Dangerous

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus. Stiglitz links to a recent Climate Report that repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims.

Stiglitz: It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

But: Weather is not more extreme.
And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.
Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.
arctic-sept-2007-to-20181

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.

In fact our climate is remarkably stable.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

Climate is Changing the Weather

Stiglitz:  Other potential examples include agricultural losses. Whether or not insurance
reimburses farmers for their crops, there can be food shortages that lead to higher food
prices (that will be borne by consumers, that is, Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children).
There is a further risk that as our climate and land use pattern changes, disease vectors
may also move (e.g., diseases formerly only in tropical climates move northward).36 This
could lead to material increases in public health costs

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

 

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

Supposition 3:  Government Can Stop it!

Here it is blithely assumed that the court can rule the seas to stop rising, heat waves to cease, and Arctic ice to grow (though why we would want that is debatable).  All this will be achieved by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and powering civilization with windmills and solar panels.  While admitting that our way of life depends on fossil fuels, they ignore the inadequacy of renewable energy sources at their present immaturity.

Stiglitz: Conclusion
The choice between incurring manageable costs now and the incalculable, perhaps even
irreparable, burden Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children will face if Defendants fail to
rapidly transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is clear. While the full costs of the climate
damages that would result from maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy may be
incalculable, there is already ample evidence concerning the lower bound of such costs,
and with these minimum estimates, it is already clear that the cost of transitioning to a
low/no carbon economy are far less than the benefits of such a transition. No rational
calculus could come to an alternative conclusion. Defendants must act with all deliberate
speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel
projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil
fuels.

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

But: Modern nations (G20) depend on fossil fuels for nearly 90% of their energy.

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

People need to know that adding renewables to an electrical grid presents both technical and economic challenges.  Experience shows that adding intermittent power more than 10% of the baseload makes precarious the reliability of the supply.  South Australia is demonstrating this with a series of blackouts when the grid cannot be balanced.  Germany got to a higher % by dumping its excess renewable generation onto neighboring countries until the EU finally woke up and stopped them. Texas got up to 29% by dumping onto neighboring states, and some like Georgia are having problems.

But more dangerous is the way renewables destroy the economics of electrical power.  Seasoned energy analyst Gail Tverberg writes:

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.

These issues are discussed in more detail in the post Climateers Tilting at Windmills

Footnote regarding mention of “multi-meter” sea level rise.  It is all done with computer models.  For example, below is San Francisco.  More at USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

sf-ca-past-projected

dilbert-sins-of-omission-and-comission

Arctic Ice Keeps Coming

 

iceman-cometh

Despite the feverish reporting that last summer was hell, and that hot is now the “new normal,” the Arctic ice man is hard at work.  In reality, Arctic ice is spreading everywhere.  The image below shows how quickly Hudson Bay froze over in recent days.

Baffin Bay in the center next to Greenland is extending south and added 250k km2.  Hudson Bay on the left added 700k km2, now at 73% of maximum, with both east and west coastlines freezing all the way down into James Bay.

On the Eurasian side, on the left margin Chukchi is closing in.  On the right side Kara has added 300k km2 of ice extent, now at 85% of maximum

The graph below shows 2018 is now exceeding the 11-year average after being down in October.

MASIE is showing  10.8M km2 ice extent, 400k km2 greater than the average for day 327, Nov. 23.  SII is slightly lower, while 2007 is almost 500k km2 lower. In fact, in the past decade, only two years, 2013 and 2015, had more ice than 2018 at this date.

Region 2018327 Day 327
Average
2018-Ave. 2007327 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 10815225 10412198 403027 10323881 491344
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070498 1068397 2100 1053320 17177
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 624371 744131 -119760 655458 -31087
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1077862 9275 1055561 31576
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897263 582 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 795273 712636 82637 784601 10672
 (6) Barents_Sea 133731 197266 -63536 137195 -3464
 (7) Greenland_Sea 453657 518028 -64371 589509 -135852
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 786601 615297 171304 585929 200672
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853337 851790 1547 852556 781
 (10) Hudson_Bay 916266 406475 509791 494237 422029
 (11) Central_Arctic 3142574 3186697 -44124 3151036 -8462

Small deficits in Chukchi, Greenland and Barents Seas are more than offset by surpluses in Kara Sea, Baffin and Hudson Bays. Note Hudson Bay is more than twice the average for this date.

Meanwhile, in Nunavut, it is a great time to be a polar bear, even more of them than people want.

 

Is this cold the “New Normal?”

Update Regulatory Backfire

Update Nov. 22, 2018

With the Democrats taking control of the US House of Representatives, we can expect attempts to again “fight climate change” by means of counter productive regulations.  This post explains why such policies are ineffective and produce unintended consequences, with results worse than doing nothing.

Background:  Heisenberg Uncertainty

In the sub-atomic domain of quantum mechanics, Werner Heisenberg, a German physicist, determined that our observations have an effect on the behavior of quanta (quantum particles).

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that it is impossible to know simultaneously the exact position and momentum of a particle. That is, the more exactly the position is determined, the less known the momentum, and vice versa. This principle is not a statement about the limits of technology, but a fundamental limit on what can be known about a particle at any given moment. This uncertainty arises because the act of measuring affects the object being measured. The only way to measure the position of something is using light, but, on the sub-atomic scale, the interaction of the light with the object inevitably changes the object’s position and its direction of travel.

Now skip to the world of governance and the effects of regulation. A similar finding shows that the act of regulating produces reactive behavior and unintended consequences contrary to the desired outcomes.

An article at Financial Times explains about Energy Regulations Unintended Consequences  Excerpts below with my bolds.

Goodhart’s Law Regarding Policy Effects

Goodhart’s Law holds that “any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes”. Originally coined by the economist Charles Goodhart as a critique of the use of money supply measures to guide monetary policy, it has been adopted as a useful concept in many other fields. The general principle is that when any measure is used as a target for policy, it becomes unreliable. It is an observable phenomenon in healthcare, in financial regulation and, it seems, in energy efficiency standards.

When governments set efficiency regulations such as the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for vehicles, they are often what is called “attribute-based”, meaning that the rules take other characteristics into consideration when determining compliance. The Cafe standards, for example, vary according to the “footprint” of the vehicle: the area enclosed by its wheels. In Japan, fuel economy standards are weight-based. Like all regulations, fuel economy standards create incentives to game the system, and where attributes are important, that can mean finding ways to exploit the variations in requirements. There have long been suspicions that the footprint-based Cafe standards would encourage manufacturers to make larger cars for the US market, but a paper this week from Koichiro Ito of the University of Chicago and James Sallee of the University of California Berkeley provided the strongest evidence yet that those fears are likely to be justified.

Mr Ito and Mr Sallee looked at Japan’s experience with weight-based fuel economy standards, which changed in 2009, and concluded that “the Japanese car market has experienced a notable increase in weight in response to attribute-based regulation”. In the US, the Cafe standards create a similar pressure, but expressed in terms of size rather than weight. Mr Ito suggested that in Ford’s decision to end almost all car production in North America to focus on SUVs and trucks, “policy plays a substantial role”. It is not just that manufacturers are focusing on larger models; specific models are also getting bigger. Ford’s move, Mr Ito wrote, should be seen as an “alarm bell” warning of the flaws in the Cafe system. He suggests an alternative framework with a uniform standard and tradeable credits, as a more effective and lower-cost option. With the Trump administration now reviewing fuel economy and emissions standards, and facing challenges from California and many other states, the vehicle manufacturers appear to be in a state of confusion. An elegant idea for preserving plans for improving fuel economy while reducing the cost of compliance could be very welcome.

The paper is The Economics of Attribute-Based Regulation: Theory and Evidence from Fuel-Economy Standards Koichiro Ito, James M. Sallee NBER Working Paper No. 20500.  The authors explain:

An attribute-based regulation is a regulation that aims to change one characteristic of a product related to the externality (the “targeted characteristic”), but which takes some other characteristic (the “secondary attribute”) into consideration when determining compliance. For example, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in the United States recently adopted attribute-basing. Figure 1 shows that the new policy mandates a fuel-economy target that is a downward-sloping function of vehicle “footprint”—the square area trapped by a rectangle drawn to connect the vehicle’s tires.  Under this schedule, firms that make larger vehicles are allowed to have lower fuel economy. This has the potential benefit of harmonizing marginal costs of regulatory compliance across firms, but it also creates a distortionary incentive for automakers to manipulate vehicle footprint.

Attribute-basing is used in a variety of important economic policies. Fuel-economy regulations are attribute-based in China, Europe, Japan and the United States, which are the world’s four largest car markets. Energy efficiency standards for appliances, which allow larger products to consume more energy, are attribute-based all over the world. Regulations such as the Clean Air Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Affordable Care Act are attribute-based because they exempt some firms based on size. In all of these examples, attribute-basing is designed to provide a weaker regulation for products or firms that will find compliance more difficult.

Summary from Heritage Foundation study Fuel Economy Standards Are a Costly Mistake Excerpt with my bolds.

The CAFE standards are not only an extremely inefficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emission but will also have a variety of unintended consequences.

For example, the post-2010 standards apply lower mileage requirements to vehicles with larger footprints. Thus, Whitefoot and Skerlos argued that there is an incentive to increase the size of vehicles.

Data from the first few years under the new standard confirm that the average footprint, weight, and horsepower of cars and trucks have indeed all increased since 2008, even as carbon emissions fell, reflecting the distorted incentives.

Manufacturers have found work-arounds to thwart the intent of the regulations. For example, the standards raised the price of large cars, such as station wagons, relative to light trucks. As a result, automakers created a new type of light truck—the sport utility vehicle (SUV)—which was covered by the lower standard and had low gas mileage but met consumers’ needs. Other automakers have simply chosen to miss the thresholds and pay fines on a sliding scale.

Another well-known flaw in CAFE standards is the “rebound effect.” When consumers are forced to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, the cost per mile falls (since their cars use less gas) and they drive more. This offsets part of the fuel economy gain and adds congestion and road repair costs. Similarly, the rising price of new vehicles causes consumers to delay upgrades, leaving older vehicles on the road longer.

In addition, the higher purchase price of cars under a stricter CAFE standard is likely to force millions of households out of the new-car market altogether. Many households face credit constraints when borrowing money to purchase a car. David Wagner, Paulina Nusinovich, and Esteban Plaza-Jennings used Bureau of Labor Statistics data and typical finance industry debt-service-to-income ratios and estimated that 3.1 million to 14.9 million households would not have enough credit to purchase a new car under the 2025 CAFE standards.[34] This impact would fall disproportionately on poorer households and force the use of older cars with higher maintenance costs and with fuel economy that is generally lower than that of new cars.

CAFE standards may also have redistributed corporate profits to foreign automakers and away from Ford, General Motors (GM), and Chrysler (the Big Three), because foreign-headquartered firms tend to specialize in vehicles that are favored under the new standards.[35] 

Conclusion

CAFE standards are costly, inefficient, and ineffective regulations. They severely limit consumers’ ability to make their own choices concerning safety, comfort, affordability, and efficiency. Originally based on the belief that consumers undervalued fuel economy, the standards have morphed into climate control mandates. Under any justification, regulation gives the desires of government regulators precedence over those of the Americans who actually pay for the cars. Since the regulators undervalue the well-being of American consumers, the policy outcomes are predictably harmful.