From ancient days of village idiots, communities recognized that some people get caught up into thinking and talking crazy stuff detached from the real world. And if the behavior resulting from being unhinged endangers other people, it becomes necessary to hold the crazies in an asylum apart from the general population. So what to make of Biden’s first 100 days? Systemic Delusion, full of sound and fury, in defiance of the real world. Later on I will go into some depth on the climate fantasies, but the unhinged rhetoric is generalized and administration-wide. No one knows whether the principals (Biden, Harris, etc.) actually understand what they are saying. I am inclined to believe they are only posturing, since those in power behind the throne are emboldened by the advantage of escaping accountability for the results of bad rhetoric and policies.
Examples include calling illegal aliens, not simply “undocumented”, but according to Biden “already Americans.” Legislation expanding voting access to documented citizens is called “voter suppression.” Adding four more Supreme Justices is called “unpacking the court.” A brave policeman who saves two black teenagers from being stabbed by a third is called a “racist.” Biden and his appointees claim the nation is guilty of “systemic racism” without any apology for their own roles for decades in government. But the grandest fantasy and hypocrisy are wrapped in the call for climate action.
Climate Rhetoric is a stool composed of three assertions, all of which must stand for the appeal to be compelling. Of course, the topic itself has been shifted from “global warming” (not scary enough) to “climate change” (not urgent enough) to “climate crisis, or chaos or emergency.” The consensus label is not yet settled, with “global weirding” still in the running. But we know the issue is the same one posted on Obama’s twitter account, back when POTUS was permitted to tweet: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.”
The Science Leg: Man Makes Earth Warmer.
Many people commenting both for and against reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels assume it has been proven that rising GHGs including CO2 cause higher atmospheric temperatures. That premise has been tested and found wanting, as this post describes: Global Warming Theory and the Tests It Fails. At least five rigorous analyses of relevant datasets failed to discern surface warming due to rising CO2 concentrations. While it is true in the laboratory that CO2 is able to absorb and emit infrared radiation (IR), the effect upon the actual planetary climate system has not proven to be substantial rather than negligible.
The temperature records show warming from time to time, but do not distinguish between natural and man-made warming. For example, consider that all the surface warming since the 1940s can be attributed to three oceanic events.
The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby. These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event. The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4. This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C. Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C. Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.
Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate. On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. Moreover, the UAH record shows that the effects of the last one are now gone as of January 2021. Updated to March 2021 (UAH baseline is now 1990-2020)
Professor Richard Lindzen ended a recent lecture with these words:
I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.
The Impacts Leg: The Warming is Dangerous
The second leg consists of impact studies from billions of research dollars spent uncovering any and all possible negatives from warming, everything from risk of Acne to Zika Virus. The delusion is double: Natural fluctuations when increasing are presumed to be negative, and the positive benefits of CO2 concentrations are ignored.
A recent Climate Report repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims. An example:
It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.
Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.
Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.
But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.
But: All of these are within the range of past variability.
But: Weather is not more extreme.
But:Wildfires were worse in the past
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.
But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.
The Policy Leg: Government Can Stop It.
And the third leg is climate initiatives (policies) showing how governments can “fight climate change.” Some discussion on the wildly improbable notion of powering modern societies with so-called “renewable energy” is provided by Kent Lassman writing at the Washington Examiner Our conversation about the environment is broken. What is the way forward? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Our government relies on predictive scientific models that are periodically tweaked. With decades of actual data, it is clear the models have consistently over-predicted warming. Yet, these problems are rarely given any cautionary weight in policy deliberations.
We have a half-century of dire environmental predictions that are usually wrong in the same direction. That raises the question of how much science is being undermined by a political agenda. Is the problem models that do not perform or our attachment to the terror of environmental apocalypse?
This fear is the second major problem we must overcome to improve the quality of our policy debate. Fear of carbon dioxide obscures the near-term and very real consequences of radical climate policies that could have consequences worse than those of a warming atmosphere.
Consider the poorest among us. According to the International Energy Agency, Africa will be the most populous region on Earth by 2023. Today there are 600 million Africans without access to electricity and 900 million who lack clean water. Achieving a reliable electricity supply for this population will require a huge investment, about four times pre-pandemic trends, of $120 billion a year, every year through 2040.
That gargantuan figure assumes access to the most readily available forms of energy: fossil fuels. Without such access, lower-income nations will not enjoy improving standards of living, education, and health. Instead, disease and war are their future. Ironically, depriving these people of a carbon economy likely leads to the very apocalyptic conditions we all want to avoid.
Renewable energy can be a crucial piece of a greener energy future, but we need to be realistic about its limits, the costs of production and disposal, and the secondary effects for the communities producing the raw materials necessary, often with child labor.
Last year a Dutch government-sponsored study concluded that the Netherlands’s renewable energy ambitions ALONE would consume a major share of global minerals. Considering that the U.S. consumes 30 times more energy than the Netherlands, the study concluded: “Exponential growth in [global] renewable energy production capacity is not possible with present-day technologies and annual metal production.” The report also determined that meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement would require the global production of some metals to grow at least 12-fold by 2050.
An effective climate strategy must be itself sustainable. That requires some measure of humility and an honest evaluation of real-world trade-offs, the linkage between energy use and human welfare, the technological vulnerabilities of alternatives to fossil fuels, and how little we know about the future of something as complex as climate.
That uncertainty demands honesty about the confidence we have, and ought to have, in what we know and can predict. It is a feature, not a bug, of sound climate policy. It should inform understanding of both benefits and costs that flow from any policy choice.
The lives and livelihoods of real people are at stake. We have a responsibility to be clear-eyed and humble about real-world consequences. That means admitting when we are wrong and, equally important, when someone with a different view has a valid point.