Good News: Outbreak of New Energy Realism

Out of the darkness and gloom from climate doomsters shines a declaration of energy abundance, and positive prospects for future well being.  Robert Bradley Jr. writes March 14, 2019 at Master Resource  Perry’s “New Energy Realism” (freedom and fossil fuels are essential, moral, unstoppable) Excerpts in itallcs with my bolds and images.

“The lesson is clear. We don’t have to choose between growing our economy and caring for our environment. By embracing innovation over regulation, we can benefit both. And THAT is the heart of our New Energy Realism.”

At yesterday’s CERA conference, DOE Secretary Rick Perry did not quite come out and say it. But it’s a fossil-fuel world. Some bones were thrown out for the politically correct, economically incorrect energies (grid wind and solar, as well as batteries/electric vehicles), but make no mistake. The philosophy of the US Department of Energy is let the US-led global boom in oil, natural gas, and coal continue.

Oil, gas, and coal? Yes …. Ethanol? Not mentioned…. Domestic production? Yes…. Domestic usage? Yes…. Exports? Yes….. Regulation? No …. Sacrifice? No…. Pessimism? No.

Climate change? No mention….

Read between the lines. The fossil fuel boom is great for America and the world. Peak Oil and “the limits to growth” are refuted. Energy reliability (versus intermittency) is key. Heavy regulation of oil and gas is failure. New regulation and pain are unnecessary.

And you don’t even need to mention the Green New Deal.

The Obama era’s creeping radicalism to “keep fossil fuels in the ground” is being reversed. The CO2 mitigation window for the activists is closing rapidly, with the world energy market leaving the Paris accord in shambles. It’s a fossil-fuel world.

Excerpts from his speech follow:

“Just the other day the Meridian Spirit embarked from Sabine Pass with an LNG shipment to India. And just last week a LNG tanker left Cove Point, Maryland with its first shipment. These shipments underscore the Trump Administration’s desire to export more natural resources and innovation technologies to the world.

“DOE [recently] met with producers and midstream developers to identify the next generation of technologies to unlock more of our nation’s resources. Whether carbon capture, developing new solar technology or stepping up efforts on storage, there is a tremendous amount of optimism in the energy sector and for obvious reasons.”

The Meridian Spirit loading a cargo for India’s Gail at Sabine Pass LNG. (Cheniere)

“Energy security is a roadmap to economic prosperity.”

“But today, we have the opportunity to reaffirm a new direction which I call the New Energy Realism. This ‘new energy realism’ rests on the fact that America is in the midst of incredible energy progress.”

“Due to a cascade of technological breakthroughs driven by innovation, America is producing abundant, affordable energy from a wider range of sources than we ever thought possible … and we are using this energy more cleanly and more efficiently as well.”

“… our successes refute old myths, debunk false choices, and transcend limitations, pointing the way to global energy security and shared prosperity. This dramatic progress is a decisive break from the 1970s, when America began pursuing a fundamentally flawed energy policy for which we paid dearly.”

“Those who believed in it claimed that the days of energy abundance were over. It was said we had a permanent energy shortage. It was said that even if we discovered new reserves, they would be too costly to produce or impossible to use without harming the environment. And the solution proposed was a bleak one — draconian regulation of energy.”

“Truth be told, we had no shortage of energy. What we had was a shortage of imagination and a loss of confidence in our ability to innovate. Clearly, the naysayers weren’t realists at all… they were pessimists blinded to the reality of America’s innovative capabilities. And unfortunately, this blindness ruled in one of the least innovative places on earth….Washington, D.C.”

“In a place that so obviously favored regulation over innovation, it was no surprise when the government used one thumb to promote a favorite technology and the other hand to regulate those they didn’t like.”

“In states like Texas, taxes were cut and regulations kept simple and transparent, giving people both the freedom and the incentive to innovate. And with innovation came a revolution in energy technology.”

“As a former Texas governor, I’m proud that the major breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – leading to our historic natural gas boom — began right here in this state.

“From fossil fuels to renewables…supply rose…costs fell…efficiencies increased…and diversity blossomed. And something else happened as well. Our environment did not become worse. By nearly any measure, it became better, even as our economy expanded and energy development reached new heights.”

“The lesson is clear. We don’t have to choose between growing our economy and caring for our environment. By embracing innovation over regulation, we can benefit both. And THAT is the heart of our New Energy Realism.”

“Over the past year, President Trump and his Administration have brought this realistic view to Washington… and we are seeing its benefits. He has cut taxes and reduced regulations by historic numbers, putting Washington squarely on the side of innovators and investors.”

“… this can only help the President’s plan to spur the construction of more infrastructure. Tax reductions will cut a major cost of doing business, while his proposal to reduce the permitting process to just two years will give investors the confidence to provide the necessary capital and communities visibility on project completion.”

“The President has also signed off on critical new pipelines. He has removed draconian oil-and-gas restrictions on responsible exploration, supported clean coal technologies, and seeks to reinvigorate civilian nuclear energy.

“America is now on the cusp of energy independence, but the President would like to go farther. He would like to share our energy bounty with the world and let the spirit of competition benefit consumers by providing more choices in the marketplace. Already, we are sharing our natural gas.”

“Last year, we became a net natural gas exporter. Today, we export LNG to 27 nations on five continents.”

“We are increasing our coal exports substantially. These exports rose by an estimated 61 percent last year over 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Last August, the first shipment of Pennsylvania thermal coal bound for Ukraine left the Port of Baltimore. In the coming years, we will be exporting multiple fuels.”

“And not only that. We will export the same technologies that made us a clean, abundant, and diverse energy producer in the first place. By exporting our energy, we can free our friends and allies from fuel dependence on unfriendly nations.

“And by exporting our energy technology and know-how, we can help developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia create their own energy renaissance and harness more energy to improve the lives of their citizens.”

“And that includes access to electricity. Over a billion people live without it. We want to reduce that number substantially in the coming years.”

“Now some aren’t happy with us exporting this technology because they oppose most energy production, specifically that of fossil fuels, which comprise 80 percent of world energy usage and continue to produce carbon emissions. I fear that this is the mindset of the Paris Agreement.”

“And while studies show that even by the year 2040, fossil fuels will still comprise 77 percent of world energy use, I believe that continued technological breakthroughs will help us defy this prediction.”

“What are the people without electricity supposed to do? Remember what we have done through technology…..we have not only produced more fossil energy with it; we’ve made that energy cleaner.”

“Since we’re making coal cleaner and since our technology can affordably extract massive amounts of lower-emissions natural gas, we’re likely to continue to reduce the overall emissions of our fossil fuels. That, again, is the New Energy Realism.”

“Thanks to the amazing power of human ingenuity and innovation, we don’t have to tolerate the intolerable…we don’t have to accept hideous sacrifices that harm the poorest among us.”

“And so let us reject the old energy pessimism – and embrace the New Energy Realism…. We would welcome – and help lead – a global alliance of countries willing to help make fossil fuels cleaner, rather than abandoning them. This will help nations diversify their energy supply…a key to achieving energy security.”

“And from that energy security… comes prosperity: affordability, economic growth…rising opportunities…optimism…and, most importantly, the freedom for each individual to pursue and achieve their dreams.”

“Combining opportunity with the freedom to design your own energy future, will enable the production of more energy from more sources, more affordably, and in a cleaner way than it ever could have in freedom’s absence.”

“It is by embracing this New Energy Realism that we will all move toward greater energy security and a brighter, more prosperous future. Let all nations embrace it – and the spirit of imagination and innovation that drives it – for their own sake and for the sake of the world.”

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New York AG Foul Play in Climate Case

 

IN DEFIANCE OF JUDGE’S RULING IN CLIMATE CASE, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL REFUSES TO COMPLY WITH DISCOVERY REQUESTS

Spencer Walrath writes March 12, 2019 at Energy In Depth. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

(Left) New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced her office’s lawsuit against Exxon for climate fraud. October 24, 2018.

(Right) Attorney General of New York, Letitia James took over January 6, 2019 and has opened a civil investigation into President Donald Trump’s business dealings.

The New York Attorney General’s Office (OAG) is refusing to comply with ExxonMobil’s discovery requests even after the New York Supreme Court ruled the company could proceed with discovery related to the AG’s investigation of its climate change disclosures. The company is seeking documents that would support its allegation that the OAG is pursuing its investigation in bad faith.

Since the OAG initiated its investigation into ExxonMobil more than three years ago, its arguments have shifted multiple times, as each of the allegations of fraud has lacked evidence. However, in addition to highlighting the questionable legal agenda, recent court filings demonstrate how the OAG has methodically denied ExxonMobil’s discovery requests in an effort to delay the exercise, possibly in the hope that the OAG can convince the judge to dismiss the company’s defenses.

Right to Discovery Upheld by New York Supreme Court

Justice Barry Ostrager ruled in February that the OAG could file a motion to dismiss ExxonMobil’s defenses, but that in the meantime, “Exxon Mobil is privileged to pursue discovery on its defenses.”

“Civil litigants may not avoid their discovery obligations by challenging the legal viability of an adversary’s claims,” ExxonMobil writes in one letter to the OAG. “Therefore, ExxonMobil maintains that OAG’s objections are improper to the extent they are predicated on a legal challenge to ExxonMobil’s affirmative defenses. OAG may not credibly withhold documents responsive to the Affirmative Defense Requests.”

The OAG’s efforts to hinder ExxonMobil’s right to discovery stand in stark contrast to the actions of the defendant. For instance, the OAG claims that documents requested by ExxonMobil are protected by various privileges, “without identifying each document withheld and the basis for invoking any privilege,” according to one letter from ExxonMobil. In another letter, the company writes that the OAG’s reluctance to turn these documents over suggests that certain privilege assertions appear to be “facially dubious.”

Conversely, ExxonMobil has provided the OAG with more than 2,800 pages of privilege logs. In fact, throughout the entirety of this investigation, ExxonMobil has turned over more than four million pages of documents; so many pages that they would stand taller than the Empire State Building if stacked on top of each other.

New York’s Conflicting Statements

In letters to senior officials in the OAG, ExxonMobil refutes the legal basis of numerous discovery objections and highlight inconsistencies and contradictions made by the state’s top law enforcement office.

A prime example of New York’s attempts to stonewall the company is their failure to provide documents regarding their communications with third parties. According to one letter, ExxonMobil’s lawyers had phone call with the OAG in November during which the OAG denied conducting any “Third-Party Interviews,” stating that they “emphatically and unequivocally informed ExxonMobil that no such interviews had taken place.” However, in a letter written just two weeks later, the OAG contradicted its previous claim, noting that “OAG did communicate with third parties in the course of the investigation” and that it would “respond appropriately to any document requests that Exxon propounds” seeking “notes associated with those communications.”

However, when ExxonMobil asked for the identities of third-parties the OAG communicated with, the OAG claimed that the requested information was shielded by various privileges and protections from disclosure – without articulating how “the mere identity of persons or entities it communicated with constitutes privileged information.” As ExxonMobil states in a letter sent at the end of January:

“Apparently, the clarified understanding OAG claimed it achieved roughly a month earlier vanished by the time OAG responded to our document requests…OAG’s attempt to deflect our document request on vagueness grounds lacks credibility.”

New York Seeks Protective Order

The evidence provided in the dueling letters between ExxonMobil and the New York Attorney General’s Office suggest that the OAG is hoping to run out the clock and convince Justice Ostrager to dismiss the company’s defenses before the OAG runs out of delaying tactics.

“Further delay smacks of gamesmanship and an effort to engage in trial by ambush,” the company’s lawyers wrote in a letter to the OAG.

In early March the OAG notified ExxonMobil of its intent to motion to dismiss the company’s defenses or ask for a protective order, adding that they were no longer obligated to comply with ExxonMobil’s discovery request while their motion is pending. The OAG adds that they intend to continue to collect and review documents in accordance with a severely reduced list of custodians and search terms they proposed to ExxonMobil back in February.

 

Overheating About Global Warming

Mar 13, 2019 Bjørn Lomborg writes about the overheated discourse that has children taking to the streets on the advice of adults who should know better.  Overheating About Global Warming was published today at Project Syndicate.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

Decades of climate-change exaggeration in the West have produced frightened children, febrile headlines, and unrealistic political promises. The world needs a cooler approach that addresses climate change smartly without scaring us needlessly and that pays heed to the many other challenges facing the planet.

Across the rich world, school students have walked out of classrooms and taken to the streets to call for action against climate change. They are inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who blasts the media and political leaders for ignoring global warming and wants us to “panic.” A global day of action is planned for March 15.

Although the students’ passion is admirable, their focus is misguided. This is largely the fault of adults, who must take responsibility for frightening children unnecessarily about climate change. It is little wonder that kids are scared when grown-ups paint such a horrific picture of global warming.

For starters, leading politicians and much of the media have prioritized climate change over other issues facing the planet. Last September, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres described climate change as a “direct existential threat” that may become a “runaway” problem. Just last month, The New York Times ran a front-page commentary on the issue with the headline “Time to Panic.” And some prominent politicians, as well as many activists, have taken the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to suggest the world will come to an end in just 12 years.

This normalization of extreme language reflects decades of climate-change alarmism. The most famous clip from Al Gore’s 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth showed how a 20-foot rise in sea level would flood Florida, New York, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Shanghai – omitting the fact that this was seven times worse than the worst-case scenario.

A separate report that year described how such alarmism “might even become secretly thrilling – effectively a form of ‘climate porn.’” And in 2007, The Washington Post reported that “for many children and young adults, global warming is the atomic bomb of today.”

When the language stops being scary, it gets ramped up again. British environmental campaigner George Monbiot, for example, has suggested that the term “climate change” is no longer adequate and should be replaced by “catastrophic climate breakdown.”

Educational materials often don’t help, either. One officially endorsed geography textbook in the United Kingdom suggests that global warming will be worse than famine, plague, or nuclear war, while Education Scotland has recommended The Day After Tomorrow as suitable for climate-change education. This is the film, remember, in which climate change leads to a global freeze and a 50-foot wall of water flooding New York, man-eating wolves escape from the zoo, and – spoiler alert – Queen Elizabeth II’s frozen helicopter falls from the sky.

Reality would sell far fewer newspapers. Yes, global warming is a problem, but it is nowhere near a catastrophe. The IPCC estimates that the total impact of global warming by the 2070s will be equivalent to an average loss of income of 0.2-2% – similar to one recession over the next half-century. The panel also says that climate change will have a “small” economic impact compared to changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, and governance.

And while media showcase the terrifying impacts of every hurricane, the IPCC finds that “globally, there is low confidence in attribution of changes in [hurricanes] to human influence.” What’s more, the number of hurricanes that make landfall in the United States has decreased, as has the number of strong hurricanes. Adjusted for population and wealth, hurricane costs show “no trend,” according to a new study published in Nature.

Another Nature study shows that although climate change will increase hurricane damage, greater wealth will make us even more resilient. Today, hurricanes cost the world 0.04% of GDP, but in 2100, even with global warming, they will cost half as much, or 0.02% of GDP. And, contrary to breathless media reports, the relative global cost of all extreme weather since 1990 has been declining, not increasing.

Perhaps even more astoundingly, the number of people dying each year from weather-related catastrophes has plummeted 95% over the past century, from almost a half-million to under 20,000 today – while the world’s population has quadrupled.

Meanwhile, decades of fearmongering have gotten us almost nowhere. What they have done is prompt grand political gestures, such as the unrealistic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions that almost every country has promised under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. In total, these cuts will cost $1-2 trillion per year. But the sum total of all these promises is less than 1% of what is needed, and recent analysis shows that very few countries are actually meeting their commitments.

In this regard, the young protesters have a point: the world is failing to solve climate change. But the policy being pushed – even bigger promises of faster carbon cuts – will also fail, because green energy still isn’t ready. Solar and wind currently provide less than 1% of the world’s energy, and already require subsidies of $129 billion per year. The world must invest more in green-energy research and development eventually to bring the prices of renewables below those of fossil fuels, so that everyone will switch.

And although media reports describe the youth climate protests as “global,” they have taken place almost exclusively in wealthy countries that have overcome more pressing issues of survival. A truly global poll shows that climate change is people’s lowest priority, far behind health, education, and jobs.

In the Western world, decades of climate-change exaggeration have produced frightened children, febrile headlines, and grand political promises that aren’t being delivered. We need a calmer approach that addresses climate change without scaring us needlessly and that pays heed to the many other challenges facing the planet.

Bjørn Lomborg, a visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School, is Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. His books include The Skeptical Environmentalist, Cool It, How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place, The Nobel Laureates’ Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World, and, most recently, Prioritizing Development. In 2004, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people for his research on the smartest ways to help the world.

Lancet Abandons Science for Propaganda

 

The Lancet joins other once-respected science journals falling into disrepute at the hands of alarmists. Alex Berezow writes at the American Council on Science and Health ‘The Lancet’ Has Gotten Really Weird. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  A footnote at the end provides a timetable for the Lancet’s demise.

The Lancet is a highly respected biomedical journal that rightly carries a lot of clout in the scientific community. That’s what makes its recent turn toward sensationalism and clickbait so incredibly odd.

We first noticed that something was strangely amiss in 2017 when the editor-in-chief of The Lancet praised Karl Marx in a bizarre editorial. The piece made multiple dubious claims, such as, “Medicine and Marxism have entangled, intimate, and respectable histories.” The 100 million (or so) graves of the victims of communism beg to differ.

Then, in 2018, The Lancet went on an ideological bender against alcohol. First, it hyped a study that purportedly showed that every additional glass of alcohol above roughly 5 per week decreases a person’s life expectancy by 15 to 30 minutes. Think about that for a minute. Many people around the world have a nightly glass of wine with dinner. In The Lancet’s opinion, that’s precisely two too many, and anyone who does that is slowly killing themselves.

When a scientist reaches an absurd conclusion, that should serve as a warning to take a closer look at the methodology, the data, or both. Instead, The Lancet decided to double down. Later that year, it published a study that declared that any alcohol whatsoever is bad for your health. Somebody, please notify the French.

This year, the weirdness continued. A paper in The Lancet argued that certain food experts should be banned from food policy discussions. (Of course, the experts that should be banned are any that are associated with industry, because industry = bad.) And then, The Lancet slandered surgeons, using shady statistics to blame them for killing millions of people every year. The study was so bad that our typically calm, cool, and collected Dr. Charles Dinerstein worried that his head would explode.

The Lancet on Twitter: The World Is Worse Now than Ever Before

Apparently, whoever is operating The Lancet’s Twitter feed said, “Hold my beer, and watch this.” Here is what the organization posted today:

The study itself may be fine, but The Lancet’s tweet about it is misleading at best. Disease, violence, and inequality threaten more adolescents than ever before. Really?

The statement is absurd on its face. Violence has decreased all over the world. The Medieval period was a particularly rough time to be alive. Not only were people dying of things like the Black Death (which killed 1/3 of Europe in the mid-1300’s), homicide rates were incredibly high. (See chart below from Our World in Data.)

As recently as the 20th Century, smallpox is thought to have killed 300-500 million people. Likewise, measles killed millions. But vaccines have prevented millions, if not billions, of deaths.

Inequality? Well, that’s getting better, too. Yes, in some places, the rich are getting richer, but in a lot of impoverished regions, the poor are getting richer. In fact, poverty has fallen from around 90% of the global population in 1820 to under 10% today. (See chart below from Our World in Data.)

Putting this all together, it’s easy to see that humanity has never had it better than in 2019. To quote The Beatles, “It’s getting better all the time.” So, what on Earth is The Lancet talking about?

The only possible explanation for the tweet is that the journal decided to ignore the indisputable trends and instead hyped absolute numbers. That’s extremely misleading in this case because there are more people on the planet now than ever before. (It would be like comparing the cost of a TV in 1960 versus 2019 without adjusting for inflation.) The data need to be standardized, which is why percentages are really the only honest way to do this analysis.

Of course, The Lancet knows this. They just chose to put out a sensationalist tweet, instead. That is troubling.

Footnote: Timetable of Lancet Demise

Lancet May 2015 Regarding health and climate, the Lancet published in May 2015 an evidence-based report Gasparrini et al: Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study.
Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

Lancet June 2017 Lancet sets the facts aside in order to prostrate itself before the global warming altar. Lancet says in a press release The Lancet Countdown—delivering on the promise of Paris 
The collaboration is therefore delighted to announce that Christiana Figueres will join as Chair of its High-Level Advisory Board. Much as she did with the Paris Agreement, Christiana Figueres will help guide the Lancet Countdown to maximise its impact and deliver on the promise of the Paris Agreement.

Christiana Figueres, chair of the Lancet Countdown’s high-level advisory board and former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “The AR5 report lays bare the impact that climate change is having on our health today. It also shows that tackling climate change directly, unequivocally and immediately improves global health. It’s as simple as that.’’

Lancet January 2019 Lancet publishes Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems.

Following environmental objectives by replacing animal-source foods with plant-based ones was particularly effective in high-income countries for improving nutrient levels, lowering premature mortality (reduction of up to 12% [95% CI 10–13] with complete replacement), and reducing some environmental impacts, in particular greenhouse gas emissions (reductions of up to 84%). However, it also increased freshwater use (increases of up to 16%) and had little effectiveness in countries with low or moderate consumption of animal-source foods.

Nutritional experts immediately took issue with Lancet’s claims:
We all want to be healthy, and we need a sustainable way to feed ourselves without destroying our environment. The well-being of our planet and its people are clearly in jeopardy, therefore clear, science-based, responsible guidance about how we should move forward together is most welcome.

Unfortunately, we are going to have to look elsewhere for solutions, because the EAT-Lancet Commission report fails to provide us with the clarity, transparency and responsible representation of the facts we need to place our trust in its authors. Instead, the Commission’s arguments are vague, inconsistent, unscientific, and downplay the serious risks to life and health posed by vegan diets.

Full critique of this latest Lancet propaganda is at Climate Ideology = Bad Nutritional Advice

eat-lancet-commission

The Debatable Cost of Climate Change

I am always interested in expanding the voices talking about issues, in this case, global warming/climate change.  Some people I know nothing about say some reasonable things.  For example, the Dent Research Team of Analysts write at FXStreet The Debatable Cost of Climate Change.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Green New Deal article I published last week (“The Green New Deal Has Already Worked,” March 5) struck a nerve, particularly the part about climate change. I received a ton of feedback, some of which I’ll put at the end of this article (so read it through!).

Many of you agreed with my view of the Green New Deal (GND) plan as both unworkable and not the main point, while others noted we’ve got to address climate change starting now.

Several of you took me to task for not offering a solution. Well, let’s do that today.

I’ve studied climate change for some time, and while the space constraints of Economy & Markets won’t allow me to fully air the research, I can give a sense of it.

How Warm Will it Get?
The best temperature modeling came together in the late 1990s, and we started tracking temperature with these models in 2000.

Since that time, only one has been accurate, model INM-CM4, so let’s follow what that one has to say about the future. This model calls for temperatures to increase modestly over the next 80 years if we do nothing. The average temperature has remained well below the average estimate of all the models combined.

There’s no question it’s warmer than before the Industrial Revolution, but the most accurate model over the 20 years we’ve been focused on this is not calling for dramatically higher temperatures.

We need to determine why the forecasts have been wrong, and what makes this one model accurate.

What’s in the Assumptions?
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Climate Assessment (NCA) use an emission assessment from 2007 that doesn’t account for the move from coal to natural gas, a move that has already started in earnest.

As this trend continues, societies will mitigate some of the estimated climate change because it is cheap and efficient to do so, not because of government mandates.

Going At It Alone Won’t Work
Most countries that signed onto the Paris Agreement aren’t anywhere close to their targets, and it’s already been four years. The U.S. accounts for only 15% of new greenhouse gas emissions, so our efforts at curbing emissions are just one-sixth of any possible solution. Countries like China and India, with more than 2.5 billion people between them, would have to dramatically shift their energy structure over the next 12 years for the efforts in the U.S. to bring about the changes discussed in the GND and elsewhere.

The Cost of Mitigation is Astronomical
The total U.S. cost of mitigating climate change is somewhere between $1.3 trillion and $14 trillion, depending on whom you ask. Just as with any spending, we should ask if the outcome is worth the investment. Or if there is a less expensive option that provides a substantial amount of the desired result.

What if We Don’t?
Per the IPCC and the NCA, if the temperature rises as forecast, U.S. GDP would expand by 385% instead of 400%. Granted, that doesn’t speak to localized effects in low-lying coastal areas, but there is zero question that as the temperature increases, people will adapt.

Prices for land in low areas will decline over time, and populations will move. They won’t wait for 81 years to look out the window and then be surprised to see water.

The point is that populations have always adapted as the environment has changed, and this will be no different.

Is Climate Change the Best Use of Funds?
The Copenhagen Consensus asks economists to list the major challenges facing humanity, assign a cost, and then prioritize how to spend the world’s limited funds. Climate change makes the list… at number six.

In terms of improving the lot of humanity, other initiatives like eradicating malnutrition in pre-schoolers, eradicating malaria, wider immunizations, and de-worming children would have a much greater positive effect for the dollars spent.

What We Can Do
In the U.S., we can continue down the path we’re on, replacing coal-fired plants with natural gas plants. We could also dramatically reduce our carbon footprint by re-evaluating nuclear energy, which remains the most reliable, low-carbon, and safest source of reliable energy available, even with accidents around the world.

We can use Miami as an example of how coastal communities can work to abate some of the effects of rising sea levels by implementing new building codes and developing new drainage systems.

We can also explore geo-engineering approaches that might ease some of the expected warming.

One approach is to create clouds of water vapor over parts of the ocean simulating low-lying clouds, which would stop the ocean beneath from absorbing as much sunlight. If the project created unintended bad consequences, it could be stopped immediately and the vapor would disappear rapidly.

Geo-engineering gets a bad rap because if it works, then people will be less inclined to move away from fossil fuels. This goes back to determining the goals before we start measuring and attacking the problem.

Is this about improving the lot of humanity while being good stewards of the environment? Or is it about moving away from fossil fuels at any cost and redistributing assets from wealthy countries to poorer nations?

Before we can agree on solutions, we have to agree on the problem.

See also: 2018 Update: Best Climate Model INMCM5

Stop Fake Science. Approve the PCCS!

John Droz makes some good points writing at Town Hall.Stop Fake Science. Approve the PCCS! Excerpts in italics with my bolds, images and header questions.

Shouldn’t We Get Independent Advice Before We Spend Trillions of Dollars?

Not to date myself, but in my day the “$64,000 Question” represented a lot of money!

Today I’m proposing to you a $64 Trillion question: “Should the United States conduct a full, independent expert scientific investigation into the models and studies that say we face a serious risk of manmade global warming, climate change and extreme weather disasters?”

That independent expert investigation is what’s being proposed by Dr. Will Happer, President Trump’s Senior Director for Emerging Technologies, in the National Security Council. Specifically, a brand new Presidential Committee on Climate Science (PCCS) will do this analysis. The decision about launching the PCCS will be made in the next few days. America’s support for President Trump is urgently needed.

(For the sake of brevity – and to use the most commonly employed term – when I say “global warming,” I mean all the climate changes that are supposedly caused by fossil fuel use and other human activities.)

$64 Trillion is actually at the lower end of estimates of what it will cost the USA over the next decade to replace all our fossil fuel use with (supposedly) green, renewable, sustainable wind, solar and biofuel energy – in order to (supposedly) stabilize Earth’s climate (which has never been stable).

Many say the obvious answer to this $64 Trillion question is YES, of course. However, many other parties are saying NO. What are the arguments against the PCCS, and do they hold water?

If the case for alarm is so convincing, what’s the problem?

1) It’s a waste of money to have this PCCS investigation. If the US was about to spend an enormous amount of money – such as $64 trillion or more – would you say an investigation costing one-billionth(!) of that monumental expenditure would be a waste of money? That’s what we are talking about here.

2) It’s a waste of time. President Trump has already stated that (without new facts confirming that we actually face imminent manmade climate chaos) he’s not going to do anything consequential about global warming. So since the USA is in a holding period on this issue, how is any time being wasted?

In fact, since the President is asking for an independent investigation, the end result could be that the PCCS would recommend that Mr. Trump take a different global warming policy position, and actually support action against fossil fuels. One would think those clamoring for exactly that would be ecstatic!

3) Human responsibility for climate change and extreme weather has already been scientifically resolved. That is simply not so. A genuine scientific assessment has four necessary components. It must be: a) comprehensive, b) objective, c) transparent, and d) empirical. There has never been a true scientific assessment of global warming claims, anywhere on the planet.


How about the many scientists who have valid questions about the evidence?

What about the position of 97% of the world’s scientists? That’s a good question, because we constantly hear that virtually the entire scientific community agrees that humans are causing climate catastrophes.

Fact one: there never has been a survey of the world’s 2+ million scientists on anything – certainly not on this vital issue, which is being used to demand the immediate end to all use of fossil fuels that today provide over 80% of all the energy the United States and entire world use.

Fact two: There may indeed be a majority of certain subsets of scientists who hold an opinion about global warming. However, many who support climate cataclysm claims receive government or other grants that would be terminated if they began to “question the science of global warming.” And not one of them has ever conducted a genuine, evidence-based scientific analysis of the global warming matter.

Fact three: Science is never determined by a vote. Do you think that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was accepted due to a poll? Or was it because his theory survived extensive scientific scrutiny?

What about the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s voluminous Assessment Reports?

Another good question. However, if we compare the reports to the four necessary requirements for Real Science, as practiced for centuries, they actually fail on at least three of the four criteria that I just presented a few paragraphs ago!

If the global warming cataclysm proponents’ scientific arguments were as unassailable as they say they are, then those scientists should relish this high-profile opportunity to publicly upstage the skeptics and prove to the world that “dangerous manmade climate change” is real.

On the other hand, those alarmist scientists might fail spectacularly. They might be shown to have no real-world evidence to back up their computer models and assertions. I submit that they are scared to death this would happen. That is why they oppose the PCCS so stridently.

How about our long history of coping with changes in climate and weather extremes?

4) Global Warming is a national security threat. This is another three-card-Monte trick being played on the technically-challenged public. Multiple studies have shown there is little correlation between extreme weather events (e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, floods) and global warming. Moreover, our military – indeed our entire country and civilization – have been dealing with these problems for centuries, and today we have far better technologies to do so than ever before.

On the other hand, one of the key “solutions” to Global Warming (industrial wind energy), has a well-documented history of interfering with the missions and operational readiness of our military. Where is the outcry against that?

What’s wrong with asking questions about actions being promoted?

5) President Trump is acting irrationally regarding global warming. Surprisingly, President Trump, as a skeptic, is actually taking a more scientific position than many scientists who hold PhDs. Skepticism is the primary pillar of Real Science. So being labeled a “skeptic” is high praise to real scientists.

Unless we pay close attention, it may not be apparent that America’s Left is frequently in favor of exactly the opposite of what they are now saying. For example:

* The people who say they want more unity – are actually instigating divisiveness.

* The people who say they are protectors of the environment – are actually doing the most to ravage the environment, by demanding energy systems that require far more land, far more raw materials, and far more environmental damage than fossil fuels have ever caused.

* The people who say immediate, extraordinary, highly disruptive changes are needed to prevent global warming catastrophe – are promoting feeble, inadequate solutions: like wind and solar energy.

So when these same people clamor that they want President Trump to reverse his position on global warming (and the Paris Climate Accord – in reality they actually want President Trump to continue with his present climate policies and skepticism. Why is that?

Because they think that will give them political ammunition to use against him in the 2020 election.

 Shouldn’t we try to separate private interests from the public good?

The bottom line is very simple. President Trump should be applauded for proposing the PCCS, and for being open-minded enough to reconsider global warming claims – before our nation accepts them as gospel … and rushes headlong into disrupting our energy, economy, living standards and lives … probably for no climate benefit whatsoever.

We citizens need to support him against the very vocal (and often very self-interested) people and organizations that strongly oppose the Presidential Committee on Climate Science. We need to take immediate action to support President Trump on this vitally important initiative.

Send him a quick note. Real, evidence-based climate science demands that we have this PCCS review. So does the future of our country and our children.

Arctic Ice High Jump March 2019

For ice extent in the Arctic, the bar is set at 15M km2. The average in the last 12 years occurs on day 62 at 15.07M before descending. Most years are able to clear 15M, but in the five previous years only 2014 and 2016 ice extents cleared the bar at 15M km2; the others came up short.

On day 61, March 2, 2016 peaked well above 15M, and did not reach that level again. The graph shows 2017 peaked early and then descended into the Spring melt.  2018 started much lower, gained steadily before peaking on day 74, 250k km2 below average. 2019 has been exceptional, surging early to surpass average on day 54, then declined for a week, before re-surging to virtually tie the average extent on day 70.  One final push in the next few days could go over the top.

As reported previously, Bering Sea is a big part of the story this year.  The graph above shows NH ice extents from mid-February to mid-March with and without Bering ice.  The gap between black and green lines shows that Bering contributed about 700k km2 to the NH average, increasing to 800k km2 by the end of this period.  However, 2019 started with about 500k km2 from Bering.  The gap between the cyan and purple lines shows Bering ice declined down to 140k km2, before adding back 100k km2 in the last 3 days. Meanwhile, Okhotsk Sea next door gained steadily and is now holding above average ice extents.  Except for Bering, 2019 ice extents are well above the 12 year average (2007 to 2018 inclusive).

Typically, Arctic ice extent loses 67 to 70% of the March maximum by mid September, before recovering the ice in building toward the next March.

What will the ice do this year?  Where will 2019 rank in the annual Arctic Ice High Jump competition?

Drift ice in Okhotsk Sea at sunrise.

 

 

 

Climate Alarmists Circle Around Kid’s Lawsuit

On March 1, 2019 the Ninth Circuit Court was hit with a coordinated deluge of briefs by “Friends of the Court” in support of continuing the kid’s lawsuit. As you will see from the names below, these are actually “Friends of Climate Crisis Inc.” who are fully aware that a dismissal of this case would be a mortal wound to their cash cow. In addition to various and sundry Big Green organizations (Sierra Club, Greenpeace, etc.) there are a distressing number of lawyers who are apparently blinded by climate ideology. More on that later. First the list of briefs dumped on the court March 1 from Climate Change Litigation

  1. Brief of business amici curiae filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  2. Brief filed by Center for International Environmental Law and Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide—US in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  3. Brief filed by EarthRights International, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and Union of Concerned Scientists in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  4. Brief of amici curiae environmental history professors filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees’ answering brief.
  5. Brief of amici curiae Food & Water Watch, Inc., Friends of the Earth – US, and Greenpeace, Inc. in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  6. Brief filed by amicus curiae law professors.
  7. Brief of Leagues of Women Voters filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  8. Brief of members of the United States Congress filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  9. Brief of amicus curiae Niskanen Center filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  10. Brief of amici curiae public health experts, public health organizations, and doctors filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees seeking affirmance.
  11. Brief of amicus curiae Sierra Club filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  12. Brief of amicus curiae Sunrise Movement Education Fund filed.
  13. Brief of amicus curiae Zero Hour on behalf of approximately 32,340 children and young people filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees.
  14. Brief of amicus curiae International Lawyers for International Law filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees.

Now that is a impressive display of the multi-Trillion dollar industry whose skin is on the line in this legal gambit.  Distressingly it seems the legal profession has joined the dash for climate cash, along with doctors, investment managers, and so on.  A previous post (Kangaroo Klimate Kourt Ruling ) gave a synopsis of the argument from the defendants (US Government) for dismissing on appeal the Juliana vs. US lawsuit.  Here are excerpts in italics with my bolds from none other than law professors who are standing on their heads, twisting the law and logic in order to join this children’s crusade. The brief in its entirety is Amicus Curiae Law Professors

Amici law professors are of the view that Plaintiffs have pled legally cognizable causes of action under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The Magna Carta produced the Carta de Foresta (Forest Charter) in 1217, which guaranteed the “liberties of the forest and free customs traditionally had, both within and without the royal forests,” and obliged all “to observe the liberties and customs granted in the Forest Charter.”

By way of the common law, the public trust doctrine passed to law in the United States through England and the Romans from natural law: “the following things are by natural law common to all – the air, running water, the sea and consequently the seashore.”

The Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), held that the very harms caused by climate change are constitutionally cognizable injury in fact traceable to U.S. policies that can be redressed by a federal court under Article III.

Plaintiffs have alleged and provided evidence of sufficient injury in fact that is fairly traceable to Defendants’ conduct and can be redressed by the court.

The emissions for which Defendants are alleged to be responsible, and their direct effects, far exceed those in Bellon, and even those in Massachusetts v. EPA.

Administrative Procedure Act is not jurisdictional and there is no need for litigants to pursue constitutional claims under it.

Rather than violating separation of powers, the district court’s assertion of jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment claims implicates the core function of the federal courts in our system of separation of powers: to determine the meaning and scope of constitutionally protected fundamental rights. This is, essentially, the power to say what the law is, a power that has been allocated to the federal judicial department since Marbury v. Madison and repeated ever since.

The liberty clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments include interests of similar fundamental importance to the right to a stable climate system asserted here.

The District Court and Plaintiffs are correct that an unstable climate system can adversely affect many profound extensions of liberty, including occupation, education, family, food, shelter, travel, drinking water, residence, and relationships.

The climate context of this case makes it all the more amenable to judicial resolution. The constitution protects what is of fundamental importance and what cannot be relegated to protection in the political branches alone. A stable climate system satisfies both of these, arguably more than anything else in history. Protection against the degradation of the environment is precisely the kind of thing that the political branches are least likely to be able to protect: it requires long-term thinking for the benefit of those who have no political voice.

Plaintiffs have pled constitutionally cognizable claims under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, again for three reasons:
(1) The Fifth Amendment encompasses Plaintiffs’ claim that government action has deprived them of a constitutionally-cognizable liberty interest in a stable climate system;
(2) Plaintiffs’ due process claim for government inaction falls within the “statecreated danger” exception to government immunity;
(3) Plaintiffs have also pled a constitutionally cognizable equal protection claim under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Lastly, the logical extension of the Defendants’ arguments would virtually immunize government action from judicial review, and therefore should be rejected.

Summary

Of course this brief is written by lawyers who share the suppositions of “consensus” climate scientists like those working with IPCC. Lawyers argue from authorities listed at the beginning of their briefs, those being decided cases setting some kind of precedent relevant to the case at hand. The scientific proof is not questioned, it is assumed as a social proof. In the above brief, 87 law professors agree that everyone knows extreme weather is caused by people burning fossil fuels, which will destroy our planet unless the federal government stops us.

Postscript:

Note also the sad irony of members of Congress filing a brief looking to offload their responsibility onto the courts, and agreeing that Judges should make laws rather than acts passed by elected representatives.

 

Landscape of Climate Ideologies

This post summarizes a useful set of categories for positions on global warming/climate change that are advocated in the public square. H/T Richard Drake for pointing me to an extensive and illuminating discussion by Edward Ring at American Greatness The Politics, Science, and Politicized Science of Climate Change. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Climate alarm shouldn’t be a hard sell, and it isn’t. The horror inspired by natural conflagrations taps into primal, instinctual fears; when vividly imagining terrifying acts of nature, even the most hardened skeptic might have a moment of pause.

And every time there’s a hurricane, or a flood, or a wildfire, we’re reminded again by the consensus establishment; we caused this. We are to blame. And nothing, absolutely nothing, is too high a price to pay to stop it.

But rarely explored, and difficult to find, is data on how much it costs to adapt to climate change versus how much it would cost to stop climate change. Equally hard to find is information about the extent to which climate change might actually benefit humanity.

Political Categorizing of Today’s Eco Intellectuals

In 2014, Matthew Nisbet, a professor of communications at Northeastern University, in a paper titled “Disruptive ideas: public intellectuals and their arguments for action on climate change” made an interesting attempt to classify influential activists and experts on climate change into three categories: Ecological Activists, Smart Growth Reformers, and Ecomodernists. The focus of Nisbet’s analysis was how these public intellectuals “establish their authority, spread their ideas, and shape public discourse.”

While retaining Nisbet’s framework, it is useful to speculate as to how each of the mass political ideologies and major political movements in 2019 America would align with each of Nisbet’s three categories. After all, how “climate action” is implemented, now and in the future, arguably is the most significant variable determining how Americans and everyone else in the world will cope with challenges relating to energy development, economic growth, technology deployment, individual freedom, property rights, national sovereignty, international cooperation, and, of course, environmental protection.

Click on image to enlarge.

Making this leap, a plausible match for each of Nisbet’s categories would be as follows: The “Ecological Activists” are mostly socialists, the “Smart Growth Reformers” are mostly liberals, and the “Ecomodernists” are mostly libertarians. It is important to reiterate that this only roughly overlaps with the influencers Nisbet has characterized in his three groups. Moreover, there is a fourth important category that Nisbet ignored (or dismissed), which might be defined as practical skeptics. More on that later. Here is Nisbet’s chart depicting his three categories of environmental influencers:

Socialist Environmentalists

The first of Nisbet’s three categories are the Ecological Activists. Based on Nisbet’s description, their political ideology is most likely socialist. This group has the most negative perspective on climate change, seeing it as a consequence of capitalism run amok. They argue that the carrying capacity of planet earth has reached its limit and that only by radically transforming society can the planet and humanity avoid catastrophe.

This group is Malthusian in outlook, and the solutions they advocate—returning to small scale, decentralized infrastructure, “smaller scale, locally owned solar, wind and geothermal energy technologies, and organic farming”—are not practical or even internally consistent for several reasons.

“Ecological Activists argue on behalf of a fundamental reconsideration of our worldviews, aspirations, and life goals, a new consciousness spread through grassroots organizing and social protest that would dramatically re‐organize society, decentralize our politics, reverse globalization, and end our addiction to economic growth,” Nisbet writes. It must be a very selective subset of globalization the Ecological Activists wish to reverse, however, because this most radical of Nisbet’s cohorts tend to be the same people who favor open borders and the erasure of national governments. Can they truly believe small communities will constitute what remains of governance when nation-states and multinational corporations wither away?

But in their commitment to achieving 100 percent decentralized, renewable energy, the Ecological Activists make their greatest departure from reality.

Not mentioned in Nisbet’s paper, but easily fitting into the Ecological Activists category, are the “deep greens,” a group typified by the “Deep Green Resistance.” They reject “green technology and renewable energy,” both in terms of its ability to meet the total energy requirements of modern civilization, and in terms of how “green” it actually is. Their solution is to “create a life-centered resistance movement that will dismantle industrial civilization by any means necessary.”

Most Ecological Activists believe in phasing out the use of fossil fuel in a manner they perceive to be as benign as possible. But to achieve this, and unlike the Smart Growth Reformers, the Ecological Activists do not believe in market-based solutions. They support carbon rationing and carbon taxes as the means both to curtail the use of fossil fuel and to fund development and deployment of renewable energy solutions.

In Congress today, the Ecological Activists would be most represented by the Democratic Socialists, led by their media-anointed leader, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.). The policies promoted by Ocasio-Cortez and her allies in the “Green New Deal,” in its undiluted form, read like a socialist manifesto.

It is impossible to catalog the profusion of activist groups and activist websites now promoting the Green New Deal. There are too many. But almost invariably they perceive “social justice,” socialist economics, environmentalism, and abolition of fossil fuels as interlinked goals sharing common values. One of the explicitly political online promoters of a congressional Green New Deal is the Sunrise Movement. The group claims already to have secured the endorsements of 45 members of Congress, along with hundreds of environmentalist organizations.

But how can Americans possibly expect to replace conventional energy with more expensive renewable energy, at the same time as they pay additional trillions to secure the “economic rights” for everyone living in the United States? The very idea is so preposterous it is difficult to take the socialist environmentalist movement seriously. That would be a mistake.

Liberal Environmentalists

If the Ecological Activists tend to lean socialist, the second of Nisbet’s groups, the Smart Growth Reformers, appear to be conventional liberals. They are more business-friendly, and while they agree that a climate catastrophe is inevitable without dramatic changes in policy, they believe “market forces” can be harnessed to change the energy economy of the world. Where the Ecological Activists support carbon taxes and carbon rationing, the Smart Growth Reformers support carbon trading.

The best known of the so-called Smart Growth Reformers is former Vice President Al Gore, who has enjoyed a career since 2000 that, if anything, eclipses his accomplishments as a politician. In addition to producing Oscar-winning documentaries on climate change, writing bestsellers on the topic, and receiving a Nobel Prize for his proselytizing on the issue, he has become fabulously wealthy. As a co-founder of Generation Investment Management, with over $18 billion in assets under management, and as a senior partner at the elite venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Gore falls firmly into the pro-business political camp, along with plenty of other liberal democrats. A likely Gore ally among the Smart Growth Reformers would be U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose net worth is estimated at $29 million.

It isn’t hard to see why emissions trading would appeal to pro-business liberals, although embracing this terminology requires a very specific sort of definition for the phrase “pro-business.” Why enact a carbon tax, where only the government gets to be the middleman, when with emissions trading, you can engage the global financial community, and create completely new categories of economics, as armies of accountants, economists, environmental scientists, and myriad additional, highly-credentialed ancillary experts engage in cradle to cradle assessments of carbon molecules?

Emissions-trading schemes pose all kinds of problems. Think of the subjectivity inherent in measuring significant variables, the stupefying complexity, the huge, nonproductive overhead, consisting of a veritable army of bureaucrats, consultants, experts, and, of course, financial middlemen. Or consider the vast potential for corruption, or just multiplying schemes that turn out to do more harm than good, saturate the prospect of emissions trading from end to end.

A recent ignoble example would be how carbon emissions trading in the European Union funded palm oil plantations. To purchase the right to emit more CO2 than their allotment, European companies bought “carbon credits,” investing in “carbon neutral” biofuel plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere in the tropics. Thousands of square miles of tropical rainforest, valuable wildlife habitat, were incinerated to accommodate the new market for biodiesel made from palm oil. By the time the Europeans realized what they were doing, it was too late. Just ask the orangutans of Borneo, if there are any left.

The “smart growth reformers” advocate more than just carbon trading, but it is difficult to overstate its centrality to their much broader agenda. And it’s important to emphasize that the scope of its implementation will go far beyond regulating energy. Because there is a “carbon footprint” to virtually every development—all housing, all infrastructure, all transportation; not just power plants, but bridges, dams, water and wastewater treatment plants, solid waste management, the energy grid, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks, roads, rail, transit, schools, every durable good, every gadget, everything.

In the hands of a creative carbon accountant, there isn’t any human activity that might not have earnings potential, taxation potential, or become a target for regulation. Government agencies view this as a gold mine. Code enforcement departments and planning commissions will become profit centers—so long as people are forced by law and ordinance to use less and consume less. And to enable, monitor, and enforce the great ratcheting down: the internet of things.

Libertarian Environmentalists

It may not be entirely accurate to claim that most Ecomodernists are libertarians. While libertarians appear to overlap more with the Ecomodernists than with Smart Growth Reformers or Ecological Activists, there are plenty of libertarians who have been seduced by the “market-based” solutions of emissions trading. Moreover, according to Nisbet’s paradigm, Ecomodernists “argue for ‘clumsy’ policy approaches across levels of society, government investment in energy technologies and resilience strategies,” hardly something you would expect from a Libertarian. Nonetheless, many self-proclaimed Ecomodernists identify as libertarians. One of the public intellectuals who is cited by Nisbet as an Ecomodernist is Michael Shellenberger. An apt choice, as Shellenberger co-authored “An Ecomodernist Manifesto” along with 17 other notables.

The Seven Key Sections of the Ecomodernist Manifesto

(1) Humanity has flourished over the past two centuries.

(2) Even as human environmental impacts continue to grow in the aggregate, a range of long-term trends is today driving significant decoupling of human well-being from environmental impacts.

(3) The processes of decoupling described above challenge the idea that early human societies lived more lightly on the land than do modern societies.

(4) Plentiful access to modern energy is an essential prerequisite for human development and for decoupling development from nature.

(5) We write this document out of deep love and emotional connection to the natural world.

(6) We affirm the need and human capacity for accelerated, active, and conscious decoupling. Technological progress is not inevitable. Decoupling environmental impacts from economic outputs is not simply a function of market-driven innovation and efficient response to scarcity.

(7)We offer this statement in the belief that both human prosperity and an ecologically vibrant planet are not only possible but also inseparable.

Ecomodernists may not all embrace the libertarian desire to let the unfettered free market solve every challenge facing humanity (note point No. 6), but perhaps in a more important sense they are very libertarian, in their commitment to encouraging a free market of ideas.

All in all, the Ecomodernist category is an intriguing way of gathering together an eclectic group of thinkers. Also included on Nisbet’s list of Ecomodernists is Roger Pielke Jr., a political science professor at the University of Colorado and another co-author of the “Ecomodernist Manifesto.” Pielke’s situation is one that many Ecomodernists (and Practical Skeptics) face, he is condemned by the “consensus” community merely because he is occasionally willing to criticize their work.

Where Pielke is attacked for exposing politically motivated hyperbole that violates the integrity of the scientists that produce it or condone it, Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg (who is not on Nisbet’s list of Ecomodernists but perhaps should be) is attacked for exposing the deeply flawed economic logic underlying many of the most urgently promoted policies designed to mitigate climate change.

What Pielke, Lomborg, and many others have in common is their overt, unequivocal agreement with the fundamental premise—Earth is warming, and anthropogenic CO2 is the cause. And yet they are at times marginalized because they question certain critical assumptions or conclusions relating to that premise. As these two examples show, the twin hearts of the climate change movement—the science and the economics—have hardened against the voices of contrarians. Along with being eclectic, contrarian might be another widely shared quality of the Ecomodernists.

The Ecomodernist, or, if you will, the Libertarian Environmentalist, as a category, is elusive and heterogeneous. These qualities make its output less predictable, its potential greater. It is best defined simply as not belonging to the two preceding categories, nor willing to cross the red line into overtly questioning the theory of anthropogenic global warming. It has much to offer.

Practical Skeptics

The failure of Nisbet to include climate skeptics as a fourth category may be a forgivable oversight on his part, because climate skeptics almost have been erased from public dialogue. As a result, it makes sense that Nisbet would not consider the members of this group to qualify as influential public intellectuals.

Another reason Nisbet may not have included climate skeptics would be because he was analyzing differing approaches by “public intellectuals arguing for action on climate change.” It’s certainly debatable, but understandable to assert that climate skeptics are arguing for no action on climate change. Equally likely, of course, was that Nisbet chose to avoid the opprobrium he would invite if he legitimized climate skeptics by including them in his analysis.

Climate skeptics have been demonized and ostracized by the socialist and liberal environmentalists. The Ecomodernists, for the most part, scrupulously avoid allowing their laudable contrarianism to overflow into questioning the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

Practical Skeptics have a range of positions that earn them the “denier” label, and everything that comes with that: suppression of their work, savaging of their reputations, and banishment from the public square. Some of them, such as “Climate Etc.” host Judith Curry, former professor and chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, maintain that while anthropogenic CO2 is contributing to global warming, the likely amount of warming is far less than what alarmingly is being projected. Curry has also criticized the growing calls by congressional Democrats to criminalize the free speech of skeptic scientists, by attempting to expose their links, if any, to fossil fuel corporations.

One of the most distinguished, and most demonized, of living climate skeptics is Richard Lindzen, an American atmospheric physicist who is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute. Until his retirement in 2013, Lindzen was the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen was one of the early participants in the early IPCC reports on climate change, but became disillusioned because he perceived the organization had become politicized.

Lindzen’s specific criticisms of conventional climate change theories are many: He acknowledges there are moderate warming trends, but that it is merely our emergence from the “little ice age” of the 19th century. He claims that if the earth were warming significantly, extreme weather would diminish, not increase. He questions the assumptions built into the computer programs that model global climate and produce predictions. He believes predicted warming is overstated. He states that the natural feedback mechanisms governing the global climate have offsetting impacts, and that if they did not, the earth would have experienced catastrophic warming eons ago.

There are dozens of credible climate skeptics, credible enough, that is, to deserve a place on panels at climate conferences or congressional testimony, editorial pages, scientific journals, and press coverage, on what are arguably the most consequential policy decisions of modern times. Along with Curry and Lindzen, other skeptical scientists include Roy Spencer, Fred Singer, and Anastasios Tsonis along with many others who are keeping their heads down.

Lindzen has said that many climate scientists will criticize alarmist pronouncements in whatever may be their specific area of expertise. A glaciologist will challenge a press release predicting an ice-free Himalayan mountain range by 2035. A meteorologist will challenge a press release asserting an increase in extreme weather. But none of them will take the further step of criticizing the overall “consensus.”

There remains a handful of organizations that will provide equal time, or even promote, climate skeptics. They include Cato, AEI, The Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation. But these scientists, these online reporters, and these nonprofit organizations are vastly outgunned by most of the political establishment (with the major exception of the Trump administration), the media and entertainment communities, prestigious scientific journals, the K-12 public education system, higher education, local, state, federal, and international government bureaucracies, virtually every major corporate or financial player, and spectacularly wealthy nonprofit educational foundations including powerful environmental pressure groups.

But scientific “consensus” does not constitute scientific truth. Just ask Galileo. And the overwhelming institutional consensus on a course of action, even if there is such a thing, does not mean that course of action is the optimal course of action.

Solutions Require Renewed Debate

Even if anthropogenic CO2 emissions are driving the planet headlong into an apocalyptic nightmare, climate skeptics should be heard. Because as it is the scope of acceptable debate is relentlessly narrowing. Should Bjorn Lomborg’s valuable economic analysis be ignored, simply because he’s willing to point out the absurdity of spending trillions for the remote possibility of slowing warming by a half-degree? Should Roger Pielke, Jr. be silenced, when the data he presents suggests extreme weather may not be the primary type of havoc for which we need to prepare?

The Heartland Institute Sent 300,000 Teachers Books and DVDs Presenting Evidence Contradicting Alarming Man-Made Climate Change

A healthy policy synthesis would be to promote and invest in projects and technologies that make sense no matter what climate outcome is destined to befall the planet. But the chances of getting that right are improved if skeptics are allowed to rejoin the conversation.

The notion that skeptics are the beneficiaries of vast sums of dark money is by now ludicrous. Every major corporation, certainly including the oil companies, has worked out their lucrative pathway into a profitable “carbon-free” future. But which set of public intellectuals, along with their powerful institutional allies and grassroots constituents, will prevail?

Will it be the Socialist Environmentalists, who are funded by a European-style leftist oligarchy, backed up by populist agitators, with growing support from the electorate? And if so, will any of the stupendous sums of new tax revenues they collect actually make it onto the ground in the form of renewable energy, and if so, will it do any good? Or will climate change just be the Trojan Horse of socialism that finally made it through the gates?

What about the Liberal Environmentalists, the “Smart Growth Reformers”? Will they win? And if so, do we want to live in their hyper-regulated world, where the “free market” survives in the form of cronyism, and every aspect of our lives is monitored in order to ensure we each maintain our “carbon neutrality”? And will that do any good? And when the predicted climate disasters don’t happen, will any of them admit those disasters weren’t going to happen anyway, or will they claim the green police state they built saved the world?

The Ecomodernists, we hope, will excuse being associated in any context with the Practical Skeptics, but here goes: in terms of divergent, undogmatic thinking, and general optimism regarding the ultimate fate of humanity, these two groups have much in common. It used to be accepted that the person holding the sign on the street corner, proclaiming the imminent doom of mankind was the crazy one, and the person suggesting that actually, mankind is probably not doomed, was the sane one. But in the crazy world of climate alarmism, those roles have been inverted.

Shock. Despair. Change everything, overnight, or else. We’ve got five years. When it comes to climate change, that is the prevailing message, and deviation from that message invites demonization, banishment, erasure.

In a recent and very typical development, the BBC, in response to pressure from activists, announced in September 2018 they would no longer cover the arguments of climate skeptics. This is a natural progression that began in 2007 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled—in an ominous endorsement of politicized science and a staggering violation of common sense—that CO2, part of our atmospheric blanket against the cold cosmic emptiness, the food of all plant life, whose rise perhaps delays the past-due next ice age, is a pollutant. Nisbet’s omission of climate skeptics from his panoply of public intellectuals driving the climate debate is just another part of this sad, possibly misanthropic, potentially tragic course.

It is unclear who is right, nor whether reason will prevail. But it would be far better if every voice was heard.

Summary

What a strange twist. Marx gave us the notion of ideology, which he understood to be the system of beliefs and values that the ruling class used to control the working class and ensure continued power and privileges. Today’s Marxist wannabes who are mostly in the entitled class are employing the ideology of environmentalism to mount an anti-capitalist crusade under the banner of Climate Change, advocating policies which will further the misery of the downtrodden.

See Also: Warmists and Rococo Marxists.

Swirling Socialist Socialites

 

Some reflections in this article give context to displays of social craziness around us. Abe Greenwald writes at the Commentary Our Socialist Socialites Aren’t they cute. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

If there’s confusion about what socialism means in today’s America it should be cleared up by Simon van Zuylen-Wood’s recent article on the hip socialists of New York City. Socialism is mostly a scene—a loosely organized assemblage of youngish people who are connected by a shared aesthetic. That’s pretty much it.

There were once beatniks, rockers, and punks, and now there are socialists. They speak about the same things, drink beer at the same bars, and celebrate one another for belonging to the same group. Yes, they talk about corporate greed, and they back socialist candidates. But they also do things like start a socialist dating app (called Red Yenta) and launch a glossy magazine (named “Lux,” after Rosa Luxemburg). Many of them, in fact, seem to have sexy media jobs. And judging from the pictures in the article, they look a lot like fashion models. They’re wealthy, whiny, and mostly white. In the U.S., socialism is for the privileged.

If all this sounds like a strange manifestation of socialism, keep in mind that socialism in America is bound to be bizarre (and silly) because we have none of the supposed preconditions necessary for a people’s revolution. No brutal class distinctions, no tyrannical government, no grossly exploited workers.

But we do have socialist university professors—plenty of them. So these kids get indoctrinated by radicals in college and are then turned loose in a placid world requiring no radical solutions. There’s no draft and no institutional discrimination, and there’s little unemployment. Yet they’re stuck with their socialist training, so they…throw Communist-themed parties with DJs. Here’s what things are like at one socialist bash in Brooklyn:

An hour into the party, Isser and Brostoff stage a version of The Dating Game—one bachelorette, four suitors—to promote Red Yenta. Friend-of-the-app Natasha Lennard, a columnist at the Intercept, yells for quiet. “There is a service—a communal service—that is better than a Tinder, or the last hurrahs of an OKCupid,” she announces. Who wants to slog through a few bad dates only “to find out that someone is a liberal?” Brostoff takes the mic. Pins and posters are available for purchase, she says, and donations are of course welcome. “That’s how we became capitalists,” she jokes. “And that’s what you call irony. Or dialectics.”

That’s actually what you call the triumph of the free market. Capitalism effortlessly commodifies its enemies and turns them into brands. It’s part of why these glitzy Marxists don’t stand a chance in America. But it’s not entirely clear what they think about capitalism altogether. At another socialist party, we meet a “23-year-old self-proclaimed venture capitalist named Michael.” He doesn’t reveal his last name because “his parents fled the Soviet Union and hate socialism.” Here’s how Michael, son of Soviet refugees, explains his move toward socialism: “I went from a neoliberal Hillary Clinton fan to, like, questioning everything I believed….That was my shit, dude. I was so pragmatist. I was all about it. And then I was like, This makes no sense.” The ellipsis above omits none of Michael’s words. That was his whole explanation.

The only people in the world who would dream of taking these socialist socialites seriously are in the Democratic Party. Older Democratic politicians come to their bar hangs, try to learn the kids’ language, and take it back to the world of actual politics, fueling the left’s Iran-Iraq War between socialism and identitarianism. It’s one of several ways in which the Democrats are becoming a truly eccentric political party. They’re shaping their politics to reflect the whims of a few young scenesters. A recent NBC and Wall Street Journal poll revealed that 72 percent of Americans do not want a socialist candidate for president. Socialism is fine as a theme for loft parties. For political parties, not so much.

 

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