5 Signs Eco-pessimists are Wrong

This video accompanied an editorial at Investor’s Business Daily Climate Hoax: Global CO2 Emissions Spike, Despite Paris Climate Pledges.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Climate Change: Three years after leaders from around the world signed on to the Paris climate agreement, pledging to cut their carbon footprints, global CO2 emissions accelerated. Does anyone still think President Donald Trump was wrong for pulling the U.S. out of this sham agreement?

According to the Global Carbon Project, which monitors this, global CO2 emissions climbed by 1.6% last year. They are on track to shoot up by 2.7% this year. That’s after three years of annual emissions remaining flat.

Worse After Paris Deal

Wait a minute. The accelerating growth in carbon emissions came after some 200 countries signed the Paris agreement?

At the time, Barack Obama called the Paris agreement “an enduring agreement that reduces global carbon pollution and sets the world on a course to a low-carbon future. ”

It “sends a powerful signal that the world is firmly committed to a low-carbon future,” Obama said. He even called the agreement “a turning point for the world.”

Annual CO2 measured at Mauna Loa through 2017.

Right.

The reality is that nations need energy to grow. And the best and most economical forms of energy are oil, natural gas and coal.

CO2 ppm added in the last three years.
(60-year rate 1.53ppm)

2015   2.18ppm
2016   3.38ppm
2017   2.32ppm

So, while all those leaders were making promises and bragging about how they were saving the planet, their economies were increasing the use of fossil fuels.

As the New York Times laments in its front-page story, “Even as coal has fallen out of favor in some markets, the rise in emissions has been driven by stronger demand for natural gas and oil, scientists said. And even as the use of renewable energy like solar and wind power has expanded exponentially, it has not been enough to offset the increased use of fossil fuels.”

China Builds Coal Plants
China — already the single largest contributor of CO2 emissions — will see emissions climb by 4.7%. It continues to build coal-fired plants within its borders, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa, the Times notes.

India’s emissions will likely shoot up by more than 6% this year, as the country tries to do things like bring electricity to 300 million people — almost equal to the entire population of the U.S. — who don’t have it.

As we noted in this space recently, not one of the G20 countries is close to meeting the CO2 emissions targets they pledged to reach in the Paris deal.

This is all further evidence that whatever these leaders claim, and no matter how many end-of-the-world predictions environmentalists make, nobody is serious about drastically cutting CO2 emissions by anywhere near the levels climate scientists say is needed to prevent “global catastrophe.”

Witness the retreat this week by climate-change champion and French President Emmanuel Macron, who suspended the country’s relatively modest carbon tax plan — which would have raised gas prices by 12 cents a gallon — after violent protests broke out across the country.

Or look at liberal Washington state, whose voters overwhelmingly rejected a carbon tax in the midterm elections.

Or look at any poll that measures public priorities and see how low climate change ranks. The latest IBD/TIPP poll found that only 17% ranked dealing with climate change as a top priority for the new Congress.

The Wrong Approach

We’re not complaining about this, mind you. We think all the doom-and-gloom scenarios are wild speculations based on dubious 100-year computer forecasts. And the environmentalist agenda has less to do with saving the planet and more to do with controlling everyone’s lives.

Even if the climate does warm as predicted, the better approach is to adapt to changing environments, if and when they occur. Not wreck entire economies in a futile attempt to stop it.

If nothing else, mankind has proved its remarkable ability to survive and thrive in the harshest environments on Earth.

The sooner world leaders come realize this, the better.

See also UN “Stretches” CO2 Goals

The blue line is CO2 in ppm observed at Mauna Loa. The linear regression line shows the continuation of the 1.53 ppm per year rate projected to the end of this century. As noted above the blue line is already exceeding the earlier rate. The orange line shows CO2 hitting 430 ppm in 2032 at the 1.53 rate, or earlier if more recent rates continue. For example, if the 2.14 ppm per year rate continues, 430 ppm is reached by 2028. The red 450 scenario is reached in 2045. Both scenarios presume zero additional CO2 after those dates.

 

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Sorry NYT, Climate Change Won’t Savage Big Oil

 

energy-dominanceLast week New York Times published Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Doctrine Is Undermined by Climate Change.  (H/T Matthew Kahn) Excerpts below in italics with my bolds

“Climate change disrupts everything, including Trump’s agenda,” said Alice Hill, a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution think tank who served as senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama.

When it comes to fossil fuel production, the disruptions are particularly serious. And there’s a fundamental irony at play. Even as emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are warming the planet, the consequences of that warming will make it harder to drill for oil, mine for coal and deliver fuel through pipelines.

Energy systems in the Southeast are particularly vulnerable, the report said, with some 200 power plants and oil refineries exposed to flooding from hurricanes and fiercer storm surges. Scientists estimate, if sea levels rise nationally 3.3 feet (a figure it describes as on the “high end of the very likely range” for what the country could see by 2100), it could expose dozens of power plants currently considered to be in safe zones to risks of 100-year floods. That would jeopardize about 25 gigawatts of operating power capacity, or power for about 18 million homes.

Along the Gulf Coast — home to a significant proportion of the United States oil production and refining industry — energy infrastructure faces a similar and more immediate risk. A sea level rise of less than 1.6 feet could double the number of refineries in Texas and Louisiana vulnerable to flooding by the end of the century.

Yet energy analysts cautioned against expectations that the effects of climate change will cause irreparable harm to the fossil fuel industry or make oil, gas and coal production fundamentally unattractive to investors. Sarah Ladislaw, an energy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that the oil and gas sector has a long history of managing risks, including figuring out how to operate in politically unstable countries and prodding governments to loosen regulations they find too burdensome.

Climate change will add “headwinds” to fossil fuel companies, make production more costly in some areas and less competitive in others, Ms. Ladislaw said. But, she added, “If you’re waiting for climate impacts to be the end of the oil and gas industry, that’s not going to happen.”

Despite the US now leading the world in fossil fuel production, warmists dream of  bringing down the oil majors.  The scenario is expressed in all its glory in the legal documents produced  in recent years, in support of shareholder proposals meant to financially weaken Exxon, Shell, BP, etc.  But Ms. Ladislaw is correct,  too many unlikely things have to happen for this dream to come true.

Now let’s unbundle the chain of suppositions that comprise this scenario.

  • Supposition 1: A 2C global warming target is internationally agreed.
  • Supposition 2: Carbon Restrictions are enacted by governments to comply with the target.
  • Supposition 3: Demand for oil and gas products is reduced due to restrictions
  • Supposition 4: Oil and gas assets become uneconomic for lack of demand.
  • Supposition 5: Company net worth declines by depressed assets and investors lose value.

1.Suppose an International Agreement to limit global warming to 2C.

From the supporting statement to the Exxon shareholder proposal, attorney Sanford Lewis provides these assertions:

Recognizing the severe and pervasive economic and societal risks associated with a warming climate, global governments have agreed that increases in global temperature should be held below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels (Cancun Agreement).

Failing to meet the 2 degree goal means, according to scientists, that the world will face massive coastal flooding, increasingly severe weather events, and deepening climate disruption. It will impose billions of dollars in damage on the global economy, and generate an increasing number of climate refugees worldwide.

Climate change and the risks it is generating for companies have become major concerns for investors. These concerns have been magnified by the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, where 195 global governments agreed to restrict greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to no more than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels and submitted plans to begin achieving the necessary GHG emission reductions. In the agreement, signatories also acknowledged the need to strive to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, recognizing current and projected harms to low lying islands.

Yet a careful reading of UN agreements shows commitment is exaggerated:
David Campbell (here):

Neither 2°C nor any other specific target has ever been agreed at the UN climate change negotiations.

Article 2 of the Paris Agreement in fact provides only that it ‘aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change … including by the holding the increase to well below 2°C’. This is an expression, not of setting a concrete limit, but merely of an aspiration to set such a limit. It is true that Article 2 is expressed in a deplorably equivocatory and convoluted language which fails to convey this vital point, indeed it obscures it. But nevertheless that is what Article 2 means.

Dieter Helm (here):

Nothing of substance has been achieved in the last quarter of a century despite all the efforts and political capital that has been applied. The Paris Agreement follows on from Kyoto. The pledges – in the unlikely event they are met – will not meet the 2C target, shipping and aviation are excluded, and the key developing countries (China and India) are not committed to capping their emission for at least another decade and a half (or longer in India’s case)

None of the pledges is, in any event, legally binding. For this reason, the Paris Agreement can be regarded as the point at which the UN negotiating approach turned effectively away from a top down approach, and instead started to rely on a more country driven and hence bottom up one.

Paul Spedding:

The international community is unlikely to agree any time soon on a global mechanism for putting a price on carbon emissions.

2: Suppose Governments enact restrictions that limit use of fossil fuels.

Despite the wishful thinking in the first supposition, the activists proceed on the basis of aspirations and reporting accountability. Sanford Lewis:

Although the reduction goals are not set forth in an enforceable agreement, the parties put mechanisms in place for transparent reporting by countries and a ratcheting mechanism every five years to create accountability for achieving these goals. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summarized the Paris Agreement as follows: “The once Unthinkable [global action on climate change] has become the Unstoppable.”

Now we come to an interesting bait and switch. Since Cancun, IPCC is asserting that global warming is capped at 2C by keeping CO2 concentration below 450 ppm. From Summary for Policymakers (SPM) AR5

Emissions scenarios leading to CO2-equivalent concentrations in 2100 of about 450 ppm or lower are likely to maintain warming below 2°C over the 21st century relative to pre-industrial levels. These scenarios are characterized by 40 to 70% global anthropogenic GHG emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2010, and emissions levels near zero or below in 2100.

Thus is born the “450 Scenario” by which governments can be focused upon reducing emissions without any reference to temperature measurements, which are troublesome and inconvenient.

Sanford Lewis:

Within the international expert community, “2 degree” is generally used as shorthand for a low carbon scenario under which CO2 concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere are stabilized at a level of 450 parts per million (ppm) or lower, representing approximately an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from current levels, which according to certain computer simulations would be likely to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and is considered by some to reduce the likelihood of significant adverse impacts based on analyses of historical climate variability. Company Letter, page 4.

Clever as it is to substitute a 450 ppm target for 2C, the mathematics are daunting. Joe Romm:

We’re at 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year — rising 3.3% per year — and we have to average below 18 billion tons a year for the entire century if we’re going to stabilize at 450 ppm. We need to peak around 2015 to 2020 at the latest, then drop at least 60% by 2050 to 15 billion tons (4 billion tons of carbon), and then go to near zero net carbon emissions by 2100.

Note:  In  the run up to COP24 in Katowice, IPCC stalwarts increased the ambition to 1.5C of additional warming, which translates to 430 ppm.  Presently Mauna Loa reports 407 and rising.

And the presumed climate sensitivity to CO2 is hypothetical and unsupported by observations:

3.Suppose that demand for oil and gas products is reduced by the high costs imposed on such fuels.

Sanford Lewis:

ExxonMobil recognized in its 2014 10-K that “a number of countries have adopted, or are considering adoption of, regulatory frameworks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” and that such policies, regulations, and actions could make its “products more expensive, lengthen project implementation timelines and reduce demand for hydrocarbons,” but ExxonMobil has not presented any analysis of how its portfolio performs under a 2 degree scenario.

Moreover, the Company’s current use of a carbon proxy price, which it asserts as its means of calculating climate policy impacts, merely amplifies and reflects its optimistic assessments of national and global climate policies. The Company Letter notes that ExxonMobil is setting an internal price as high as $80 per ton; in contrast, the 2014 Report notes a carbon price of $1000 per ton to achieve the 450 ppm (2 degree scenario) and the Company reportedly stated during the recent Paris climate talks that a 1.5 degree scenario would require a carbon price as high as $2000 per ton within the next hundred years.

Peter Trelenberg, manager of environmental policy and planning at Exxon Mobil reportedly told the Houston Chronicle editorial board: Trimming carbon emissions to the point that average temperatures would rise roughly 1.6 degrees Celsius – enabling the planet to avoid dangerous symptoms of carbon pollution – would bring costs up to $2,000 a ton of CO2. That translates to a $20 a gallon boost to pump prices by the end of this century… .

Even those who think emissions should be capped somehow see through the wishful thinking in these numbers. Dieter Helm:

The combination of the shale revolution and the ending of the commodity super cycle probably point to a period of low prices for sometime to come. This is unfortunate timing for current decarbonisation policies, many of which are predicated on precisely the opposite happening – high and rising prices, rendering current renewables economic. Low oil prices, cheap coal, and falling gas prices, and their impacts on driving down wholesale electricity prices, are the new baseline against which to consider policy interventions.

With existing technologies, it is a matter of political will, and the ability to bring the main polluters on board, as to whether the envelope will be breached. There are good reasons to doubt that any top down agreement will work sufficiently well to achieve it.

The end of fossil fuels is not about to happen anytime soon, and will not be caused by running out of any of them. There is more than enough to fry the planet several times over, and technological progress in the extraction of fossil fuels has recently been at least as fast as for renewables. We live in an age of fossil fuel abundance.

We also live in a world where fossil fuel prices have fallen, and where the common assumption that prices will bounce back, and that the cycle of fossil fuel prices will not only reassert itself but also continue on a rising trend, may be seriously misguided. It is plausible to at least argue that the oil price may never regain its peaks in 1979 and 2008 again.

A world with stable or falling fossil fuel prices turns the policy assumptions of the last decade or so on their heads. Instead of assuming that rising prices would ease the transition to low carbon alternatives, many of the existing technologies will probably need permanent subsidies. Once the full system costs are incorporated, current generation wind (especially offshore) and current generation solar may be out of the market except in special locations for the foreseeable future. In any event, neither can do much to address the sheer scale of global emissions.

Primary Energy Demand Projection

4.Suppose oil and gas reserves are stranded for lack of demand.

Sanford Lewis:

Achievement of even a 2 degree goal requires net zero global emissions to be attained by 2100. Achieving net zero emissions this century means that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned. As noted by Mark Carney, the President of the Bank of England, the carbon budget associated with meeting the 2 degree goal will “render the vast majority of reserves ‘stranded’ – oil, gas, and coal that will be literally unburnable without expensive carbon capture technology, which itself alters fossil fuel economics.”

A concern expressed by some of our stakeholders is whether such a “low carbon scenario” could impact ExxonMobil’s reserves and operations – i.e., whether this would result in unburnable proved reserves of oil and natural gas.

Decisions to abandon reserves are not as simple or have the effects as desired by activists.

Financial Post (here):

The 450 Scenario is not the IEA’s central scenario. At this point, government policies to limit GHG emissions are not stringent enough to stimulate this level of change. However, for discussion purposes let’s use the IEA’s 450 Scenario to examine the question of stranded assets in crude oil investing. Would some oil reserves be “stranded” under the IEA’s scenario of demand reversal?

A considerable amount of new oil projects must be developed to offset the almost 80 per cent loss in legacy production by 2040. This continued need for new oil projects for the next few decades and beyond means that the majority of the value of oil reserves on the books of public companies must be realized, and will not be “stranded”.

While most of these reserves will be developed, could any portion be stranded in this scenario? The answer is surely “yes.” In any industry a subset of the inventory that is comprised of inferior products will be susceptible to being marginalized when there is declining demand for goods. In a 450 ppm world, inferior products in the oil business will be defined by higher cost and higher carbon intensity.

5.Suppose shareholders fear declining company net worth.

Now we come to the underlying rationale for this initiative.

Paul Spedding:

Commodity markets have repeatedly proved vulnerable to expectations that prices will fall. Given the political pressure to mitigate the impact of climate change, smart investors will be watching closely for indications of policies that will lead to a drop in demand and the possibility that their assets will become financially stranded.

Equity markets are famously irrational, and if energy company shareholders can be spooked into selling off, a death spiral can be instigated. So far though, investors are smarter than they are given credit.

Bloomberg:

Fossil-fuel divestment has been a popular issue in recent years among college students, who have protested at campuses around the country. Yet even with the movement spreading to more than 1,000 campuses, only a few dozen schools have placed some restrictions on their commitments to the energy sector. Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University are among the largest endowments to reject demands to divest.

Stanford Board of Trustees even said:

As trustees, we are convinced that the global community must develop effective alternatives to fossil fuels at sufficient scale, so that fossil fuels will not continue to be extracted and used at the present rate. Stanford is deeply engaged in finding alternatives through its research. However, despite the progress being made, at the present moment oil and gas remain integral components of the global economy, essential to the daily lives of billions of people in both developed and emerging economies. Moreover, some oil and gas companies are themselves working to advance alternative energy sources and develop other solutions to climate change. The complexity of this picture does not allow us to conclude that the conditions for divestment outlined in the Statement on Investment Responsibility have been met.

Update:  Universities are not the exception in finding the alarmist case unconvincing, according to a survey:

Almost half of the world’s top 500 investors are failing to act on climate change — an increase of 6 percent from 236 in 2014, according to a report Monday by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, which surveys global companies on their climate change risk and management.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Japan Post Insurance Co Ltd., Kuwait Investment Authority and China’s SAFE Investment Company, are the four biggest funds that scored zero in the survey. The 246 “laggards” identified as not acting hold $14 trillion in assets, the report said.

Summary

Alarmists have failed to achieve their goals through political persuasion and elections. So they are turning to legal and financial tactics. Their wishful thinking appears as an improbable chain of events built upon a Paris agreement without substance.

Last word to David Campbell:

International policy has so far been based on the premise that mitigation is the wisest course, but it is time for those committed to environmental intervention to abandon the idea of mitigation in favour of adaptation to climate change’s effects.

For more on adapting vs. mitigating, see Adapting Works, Mitigating Fails

shutterstock_276290831

Balancing on a set of suppositions.

 

Monotonic Climate Science

The Greek word for “one tone” is monotonia, which is the root for both monotone and the closely-related word monotonous, which means “dull and tedious.” Monotone is a droning, unchanging tone. A continuous sound, especially someone’s voice, that doesn’t rise and fall in pitch, is a monotone. Nothing can put you to sleep quite as effectively as a teacher talking in a monotone.

Monotonic climate science was on full display this week as journalists, pundits and tweeters freaked out over a comment by the new US ambassador to Canada.  Her offense:  saying there were two sides on the climate issue and she respects them both.

The story from CBC:  The new U.S. ambassador to Canada said Monday that she believes “both sides” of climate change science.

In an interview with Canada’s CBC News, Kelly Knight Craft said that she believes there is “accurate” science on “both sides” but did not specify what sides she was referring to.

“I believe there are sciences on both sides that are accurate,” Craft said. “Both sides have their own results from their studies, and I appreciate and respect both sides of the science.”

President Trump appointed Craft, a prominent GOP fundraiser, to the ambassadorship earlier this year.

Craft told CBC that even though Trump has pledged to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, she thinks the U.S. can “absolutely” fight climate climate change.

“We all have the same goal, and that is to better our environment and to maintain the environment,” she said. “I feel like our administration has been on top of this regardless of whether or not they’d be pulling out.”

It is true Ambassador Craft had the look of a deer in the headlights.  She is from Kentucky where one doesn’t encounter sanctimonious warmists as frequently as in Ottawa, and especially not ones determined to get a “gotcha” quote from her.

All the comments at alarmist websites are dissing her for thinking the issue could have two differing points of view. Going further, they repeatedly claim “science” does not have two sides, not now, not ever. And, of course, she offends them by saying she respects people on both sides of the matter. As an Ambassador, she sought common ground without going into the specifics of how the US is actually reducing its CO2 emissions while Canada has not.

The damage here goes beyond climate science to the degradation of all scientific disciplines.  These smug journalists and their audiences know that on all kinds of issues reasonable people can disagree.  But somehow they have been brainwashed with the notion that science is a catechism with only one right answer.  That idea is false and a threat to modern civilization.

They hear only about Jim Hansen, Al Gore, Mike Mann and their ilk, and think their pronouncements are universally and eternally true.  Many, many scientists see things differently. Hard as it is to go from simplicity to complexity, let us enlighten these folks to some of the other sides of climate science .  First, meet Richard Muller who shares some concerns and not others.  Below in italics is his answer to a question raised on Quora:   What are some widely cited studies in the news that are false?

Answer by Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley.

That 97% of all climate scientists accept that climate change is real, large, and a threat to the future of humanity. That 97% basically concur with the vast majority of claims made by Vice President Al Gore in his Nobel Peace Prize winning film, An Inconvenient Truth.

The question asked in typical surveys is neither of those. It is this: “Do you believe that humans are affecting climate?” My answer would be yes. Humans are responsible for about a 1 degree Celsius rise in the average temperature in the last 100 years. So I would be included as one of the 97% who believe.

Yet the observed changes that are scientifically established, in my vast survey of the science, are confined to temperature rise and the resulting small (4-inch) rise in sea level. (The huge “sea level rise” seen in Florida is actually subsidence of the land mass, and is not related to global warming.) There is no significant change in the rate of storms, or of violent storms, including hurricanes and volcanoes. The temperature variability is not increasing. There is no scientifically significant increase in floods or droughts. Even the widely reported warming of Alaska (“the canary in the mine”) doesn’t match the pattern of carbon dioxide increase–it may have an explanation in terms of changes in the northern Pacific and Atlantic currents. Moreover, the standard climate models have done a very poor job of predicting the temperature rise in Antarctica, so we must be cautious about the danger of confirmation bias.

My friend Will Happer believes that humans do affect the climate, particularly in cities where concrete and energy use cause what is called the “urban heat island effect.” So he would be included in the 97% who believe that humans affect climate, even though he is usually included among the more intense skeptics of the IPCC. He also feels that humans cause a small amount of global warming (he isn’t convinced it is as large as 1 degree), but he does not think it is heading towards a disaster; he has concluded that the increase in carbon dioxide is good for food production, and has helped mitigate global hunger. Yet he would be included in the 97%.

The problem is not with the survey, which asked a very general question. The problem is that many writers (and scientists!) look at that number and mischaracterize it. The 97% number is typically interpreted to mean that 97% accept the conclusions presented in An Inconvenient Truth by former Vice President Al Gore. That’s certainly not true; even many scientists who are deeply concerned by the small global warming (such as me) reject over 70% of the claims made by Mr. Gore in that movie (as did a judge in the UK; see the following link: Gore climate film’s nine ‘errors‘).

The pollsters aren’t to blame. Well, some of them are; they too can do a good poll and then misrepresent what it means. The real problem is that many people who fear global warming (include me) feel that it is necessary to exaggerate the meaning of the polls in order to get action from the public (don’t include me).

There is another way to misrepresent the results of the polls. Yes, 97% of those polled believe that there is human caused climate change. How did they reach that decision? Was it based on a careful reading of the IPCC report? Was it based on their knowledge of the potential systematic uncertainties inherent in the data? Or was it based on their fear that opponents to action are anti-science, so we scientists have to get together and support each other. There is a real danger in people with Ph.D.s joining a consensus that they haven’t vetted professionally.

I like to ask scientists who “believe” in global warming what they think of the data. Do they believe hurricanes are increasing? Almost never do I get the answer “Yes, I looked at that, and they are.” Of course they don’t say that, because if they did I would show them the actual data! Do they say, “I’ve looked at the temperature record, and I agree that the variability is going up”? No. Sometimes they will say, “There was a paper by Jim Hansen that showed the variability was increasing.” To which I reply, “I’ve written to Jim Hansen about that paper, and he agrees with me that it shows no such thing. He even expressed surprise that his paper has been so misinterpreted.”

A really good question would be: “Have you studied climate change enough that you would put your scientific credentials on the line that most of what is said in An Inconvenient Truth is based on accurate scientific results? My guess is that a large majority of the climate scientists would answer no to that question, and the true percentage of scientists who support the statement I made in the opening paragraph of this comment, that true percentage would be under 30%. That is an unscientific guestimate, based on my experience in asking many scientists about the claims of Al Gore.

Then esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen, in a short video introduces you to more sides to the climate change issue:

Summary

Science in general, and climate science in particular is not monotonic, but polyphonic.  There are and have always been differing voices and tones in the search for objective truth.  Only the illiterate think otherwise.

Follow the Climate Money

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

How climate finance ‘flows’ around the world is an informative article from CarbonBrief.  Excerpts below in italics followed by a comment from Bjorn Lomborg.

Climate finance is one of the bedrocks of negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the “COP24” talks taking place this month in Katowice, Poland.

“Climate finance” refers to money – both from public and private sources – which is used to help reduce emissions and increase resilience against the negative impacts of climate change.

Rich countries have promised they will provide $100bn a year in climate finance to poorer nations by 2020. The UNFCCC’s recent biennial assessment found this sum had reached $75bn in 2016, a step forward compared to the $65bn given in 2015.

The OECD, a Paris-based intergovernmental economic organisation, asks its 36 member countries to report on their foreign aid, including climate finance. The data captures climate finance that is both bilateral (country to country) and multilateral (via international institutions) It also gives detailed information about funded projects. (The OECD calls this database “climate-related development finance” rather than strictly climate finance).

Key takeaways

  • Donor governments gave climate finance totalling $34bn in 2015 and $37bn in 2016, according to OECD estimates (note that this is not a full estimate of money counting towards the $100bn pledge – see below for more).
  • Japan was the largest donor, giving $10.3bn per year (bn/yr) on average over the two years. It was followed, in order, by Germany, France, the UK and the US.
  • India was the largest recipient on average, receiving $2.6bn/yr. It was followed, in order, by Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand
  • The single largest “country-to-country” flow was an average yearly $1.6bn from Japan to India.
  • The US was the top contributor to the multilateral Green Climate Fund (GCF) in 2016. (However, the US has now ended its support for the GCF).
  • Around $16bn/yr went to mitigation-only projects, compared to $9bn for adaptation-only projects.
    Around 42% of the finance consisted of “debt instruments”, such as loans.

Implications

It is important to note that the OECD database does not claim to capture all climate finance counting towards the $100bn. The totals of the data given here add up to $37bn, well below the $47bn the OECD recently estimated in a separate, top-down overview of public climate finance from developed to developing countries in 2016. The OECD also put public climate finance at $55bn in 2017. However, no project-level database for 2017 has been released yet.

The values represent money committed by governments or agencies on the basis of a firm written obligation and backed by available funds. Therefore, it does not represent pledges.

As the first chart above shows, not all climate finance goes straight from one country to another. Instead, a sizeable wedge goes via international institutions, such as multilateral climate funds and multilateral development banks (MDBs). The breakdown of the $5.1bn climate share of contributions to these bodies is shown in the second diagram above.

It shows, for example, that the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was established with a mandate specifically to leverage climate finance towards the $100bn pledge, received an average $1.7bn per year in 2015 and 2016. Japan, the UK and the US contributed the most.

The Paris Agreement says that scaled-up financial resources “should aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation”. As is shown in the OECD data (and elsewhere) this is not close to being the case, with almost double the amount going to mitigation-only projects compared to adaptation-only ones.

Discussions on climate finance are currently ongoing at this year’s climate conference in Katowice, Poland, as part of the Paris “rulebook”. Sticking points include accounting rules and the extent to which developed countries should promise concrete sums of climate finance years ahead of time. Some countries are also pushing for talks to start on a new climate finance goal, due to begin in 2025.

One further complication is that all of the above numbers assess only public finance from developed to developing countries. This does not account for all of the money going towards tackling climate change, such as private finance, in-country spending or flows from one developing nation to another, such as support being offered by China. This is often referred to as “South-South” finance.

The UNFCCC biennial report gives an estimate that includes all of these flows and puts overall global climate finance at $680bn in 2015 and $681bn in 2016, a 17% increase on 2013-2014 levels. The growth was largely driven by high levels of new private investment in renewable energy, the report says.

Climate Money Could Be Better Spent

Bjorn Lomborg When it comes to climate change, let’s get our priorities straight

We must also bear in mind that global warming is not the planet’s only challenge. We often hear that it is the defining issue of our time, but it is no such thing. By the 2070s, the IPCC — the U.N. climate change panel — estimates that warming will cost between 0.2 and 2 percent of global GDP. This is certainly a problem, but not the end of world.

Speaking of climate change in catastrophic terms easily makes us ignore bigger problems, including malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria and corruption. The World Health Organization estimates that climate change since the 1970s causes about 140,000 additional deaths each year, and toward the middle of the century will kill 250,000 people annually, mostly in poor countries. This pales in comparison with much deadlier environmental problems such as indoor air pollution, claiming 4.3 million lives annually, outdoor air pollution killing 3.7 million and lack of water and sanitation killing 760,000. Outside of environment, the problems are even bigger: Poverty arguably kills 18 million each year.

Every dollar spent on climate change could instead help save many more people from these more tractable problems. The current approach to subsidize solar and wind arguably saves one life across the century for every $4 million spent — the same expenditure on vaccinations could save 4,000 lives. Each person — and the next president — needs to decide his or her legacy.

Postscript: Financing for Climate Aid is a Fraction of the Full Cost of Climate Crisis Inc.

A fuller accounting of the climate crisis industry is more like 2,000,000,000,000 US$ per year (2 Trillion)
See Climate Crisis Inc. Update

 

Fighting Carbon Taxes

 

Memo To Congress: French Riots Show Why U.S. Carbon Tax Should Be A Non-Starter
is an Editorial at Investor’s Business Daily Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

French Riots: They call themselves the “Gilets Jaunes,” or yellow vests, in French. They’re mostly young, male and extremely angry, and they’ve been marching in the streets and rioting in Paris and elsewhere, protesting yet another bunch of taxes on gasoline in the government’s never-ending battle against global warming. Who says no one cares about climate change?

If you think of the French as people who will suffer any indignity in the name of more government, think again. Many young French, watching their standards of living decline under a socialist president’s high taxes, are fed up. This latest round of taxes on already outrageous fuel prices was the proverbial straw breaking a dromedary’s back.

“A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists wearing yellow jackets torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti,” the AP reported of Saturday’s riots.

Some 263 people were injured, including dozens of police, and the government made hundreds of arrests, after an estimated 36,000 people took to the streets on Saturday. Even unions are upset, seeing possible damage to the economy from the demonstrations. They’ve asked the socialist regime to reverse course.

No such luck.

French Riots: A Tax Revolt

Socialist President Emannuel Macron was booed when he showed up to quell the demonstrations. His spokesman, meanwhile, threatened that “all options” are on the table to stop the French riots.

Macron’s prime minister Edouard Philippe even canceled his trip to a global warming conference in Poland. That’s something, given that France’s leaders constantly claim global warming is humankind’s most serious threat. Apparently, French riots rank higher.

No, we’re not happy people are rioting. But governments must understand they can’t just jam things down people’s throats, and expect them to like it. No one asked Macron to raise energy taxes. Macron and his government did it because, to them, globalism is more important than satisfying the demands of their own citizens. It’s that simple.

Today, among all OECD nations, France has the second-highest rates of taxation. Only Denmark ranks higher. So people are fed up.

Nor is it just a “French thing.” Macron is among a growing number of European leftist leaders who want to foist the anti-climate change agenda on their citizens as part of this new globalism. But this isn’t kumbaya, feel-good globalism; it’s one that will feature few if any individual rights, lots of taxes, shrinking standards of living, no real freedom, and little joy.

EU Über Alles

Across the border in Germany, soon-to-be-former German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that, on behalf of climate change and migration, “Countries must give up their sovereignty … in an orderly fashion of course.”  “Orderly,” by the way, is a German euphemism for “by force, if needed.”

For those who don’t know, Macron and Merkel are the two strongest leaders in the EU. Their goal, stated outright, is to use the threat of global warming and unbridled migration to wrest control of their nations from their own people — whom they demonize as “populists” — and give it instead to the European Union.  The EU’s record of economic incompetence, absurd regulation, excessive taxation, preening corruption and, increasingly, totalitarian behavior, are troubling to say the least.

Not everyone’s buying in to this mandatory globalism. Both Switzerland and Italy have announced they’ll not attend an EU meeting next month to adopt the U.N.’s new legal guidelines on migration. One big reason: The U.N. has now declared criticism of its pro-immigration policies “hate speech.” Yes, that’s how far we’ve come.

Carbon Tax, Coming Our Way.  Should we care?

Yes, because leftists here have the same things in mind for all of us. The scientific holes in the climate change religion are enormous. Literally thousands of engineers, scientists, academics and Nobel Prize winners have criticized the flawed science behind the theory that we inevitably face disastrous over-heating of the planet.

Yet, some in Congress — including some Republicans — are eager to saddle Americans with a massive new “carbon tax.” It’s the modern equivalent of the medieval church granting indulgences for sins. For a fee, of course. Pay us, and your sins will be remitted.

The idea is that Americans will accept a high tax on energy if it’s “rebated” on an equal basis to everyone. That way, we get less global warming gas emitted into our atmosphere, while reducing the scourge of unequal income. Win-win!

Except, as we’ve noted repeatedly in the past, that’s not how it works.

“The superficial purpose, of course, is to make carbon-based fossil fuels more expensive to use,” we wrote back in April. “But fossil fuels are a blessing, not a curse. They are in large part responsible for the record growth in the global economy in the past two centuries and especially over the last 18 years, helping to pull literally hundreds of millions of once-destitute people out of poverty.

We wouldn’t change a word of that. And the idea of “rebates” is absurd. The U.S. would always be one election away from “rebates” turning into just another tax-grab by Congress for badly needed “climate remediation” or some other hokey purpose. Meanwhile, businesses affected by carbon taxes would hire fewer workers and invest less. It’s a recipe for French-style stagnation.

Climate Change, Climate Yawn

Our just-released IBD/TIPP Poll shows what Americans think about all this. Just 17% ranked climate change as No. 1 or No. 2 on their list of priorities for the new Congress. Even so, some in Congress seek literally trillions of dollars in new taxes that will distort energy markets and hand rebates to those who don’t even pay the taxes.

If no one likes the idea, why would Congress push it so hard? It’s called “redistribution,” and it’s yet another socialist idea that will make people miserable. Ask France.

The U.S. shouldn’t travel down France’s road. Americans aren’t stupid. They won’t accept a massive new tax to prevent a threat they don’t really believe in. We wonder: What will our Congress do if faced with mass demonstrations?

Like many politicians, Macron suffers from impaired vision, and perhaps brain rot from disinformation.  Corrections are needed and are available to the willing.  See Impaired Climate Vision

The Rotting Stops in Denmark

The red marker is Lindholm island .

Denmark will not accept and attempt to integrate unwelcome migrants, according to this report Denmark Plans to Isolate Unwanted Migrants on a Small Island Excerpts in italics with my  bolds.

COPENHAGEN — Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island that now holds the laboratories, stables and crematory of a center for researching contagious animal diseases.

As if to make the message clearer, one of the two ferries that serve the island is called the Virus.  “They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on Facebook.

On Friday, the center-right government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party announced an agreement to house as many as 100 people on Lindholm Island — foreigners who have been convicted of crimes and rejected asylum seekers who cannot be returned to their home countries.

The 17-acre island, in an inlet of the Baltic Sea, lies about two miles from the nearest shore, and ferry service is infrequent. Foreigners will be required to report at the island center daily, and face imprisonment if they do not.  “We’re going to minimize the number of ferry departures as much as at all possible,” Martin Henriksen, a spokesman for the Danish People’s Party on immigration, told TV 2. “We’re going to make it as cumbersome and expensive as possible.”

The deal allocates about $115 million over four years for immigrant facilities on the island, which are scheduled to open in 2021.  The finance minister, Kristian Jensen, who led the negotiations, said the island was not a prison, but added that anyone placed there would have to sleep there.

Louise Holck, deputy executive director of The Danish Institute for Human Rights, said her organization would watch the situation “very closely” for possible violations of Denmark’s international obligations.
The agreement was reached as part of the annual budget negotiations. Each year, the Danish People’s Party demands restrictions on immigrants or refugees in return for its votes on a budget.

In Denmark, as in much of Europe, the surge in migration from the Middle East and Africa in 2015 and 2016 prompted a populist, nativist backlash.

The government has vowed to push immigration law to the limits of international conventions on human rights.  Legal experts said it was too early to tell whether the Lindholm Island project would cross those boundaries, constituting illegal confinement. They said it resembled an Italian government project that was struck down in 1980 by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Lindholm Island plan furthers the government’s policy of motivating failed asylum seekers to leave the country by making their lives intolerable.  Asylum seekers with criminal records are not allowed to work in Denmark. Rejected asylum seekers who cannot be deported are given accommodations where they cannot prepare their own meals, food and an allowance of about $1.20 per day, which is withheld if they fail to cooperate with the authorities.

A former immigration minister, Birthe Ronn Hornbech, called the island project “a joke” and a blunder comparable to a soccer player scoring a goal for the opposing team.  “Nothing will become of this proposal,” she wrote in her newspaper column.

Many foreigners who have been denied asylum cannot be deported to their home countries for fear of abuse or persecution, or simply because those countries refuse to take them back. Hundreds lingering in two deportation centers refuse to leave — a challenge for a government that has promised to get rid of those who have no legal right to remain in Denmark.

Some have held out for more than a decade despite a steady deterioration in living conditions. An independent study by a former prison director now working for the rights group Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly found conditions in one of the deportation centers to be comparable to those in some prisons, or worse.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said last month that the government’s aim in receiving refugees would no longer be to integrate them, but to host them until they can return to their countries of origin.“It’s not easy to ask families to go home, if they’ve actually settled,” he told a meeting of his party. “But it is the morally right thing. We should not make refugees immigrants.”

This summer, a ban on face coverings was introduced and quickly nicknamed “the burqa ban” as it followed a debate on the Islamic garment seen by some as “un-Danish.” This month, Parliament is expected to pass legislation requiring immigrants who want to obtain citizenship to shake hands with officials as part of the naturalization ceremony — though some Muslims insist that they cannot shake hands with someone of the opposite sex.

The government contends that hand shakes are “a basic Danish value.”

Sunday Comics Dec. 2.

A roundup of cartoons that caught my eye this week.  H/T PatriotPost and commonsenseevaluation.

French Fries

Global Warming Virtue

The Global Warming Experience

 

The UN Crusade

US Thanksgiving

From Way Out There

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.