Flawed Science Behind Nitrogen “Crisis” (Briggs and Hanekamp)

The Dutch Nitrogen Faux Crisis — Jaap Hanekamp Interview

William M Briggs and Jaap Hanekamp discuss the Dutch nitrogen “crisis.”

Farmers in the Netherlands are unhappy with government wanting to shut them down or reduce their operations, because of a supposed plague of nitrogen.  The “crisis” is, however, completely model driven. First by the Curse of the Wee P, and second by Lack of Skill.

Jaap and William have been involved in this “crisis” for many years, publishing often on how much over-certainty there is and about bad models.  Give a listen and find out why the government is wrong and they are right.  For those who prefer reading, below is an excerpted transcript from closed captions in italics with my bolds.

How in Netherlands Nitrogen Policy Became Nature Policy

The Netherlands is famous for its Dutch cheese, not for much longer as the government sells off all of the Farms or or buys up all the farms. We’ve been working on this this topic. Our audience knows me a little bit but they don’t know you. Jaap has formal training in chemistry and he is a chemistry professor. He’s also got a PhD in Theology and teaches on that. And he and I have been working together on this so-called crisis, this fake crisis for a number of years.

So the so-called uh mediator who was once a part of the official panel to investigate the crisis, and due to some sort of bureaucratic trick, became an independent expert, today recommended that the government buy off the biggest farmers. What’s the deal with that?

Of course we have a small country with loads of agriculture so the government and house of Parliament and NGOs from the environmental side think that we should reduce our impact on ecosystems, nature in the Netherlands. That is strange, given our history. You know, it’s long been said that God created the world, and the Dutch created the Netherlands. It’s so obvious here that we engineer nature, like any other organism or creature on Earth that reorganizes nature around itself to suit itself. But we in the Netherlands were rather exuberant in that arena so we created our whole ecosystem around us in terms of of cities, in terms of agriculture. Any kind of Natural Area we might have is created in the Netherlands almost literally either intentionally or unintentionally anyway. And those places are quite nice and beautiful.

There is sort of a very strong protective streak in policy saying we should protect the natural areas we still have, and protect simply means more or less a status quo, keep it as it is which doesn’t make much sense. But the weapon of choice is nitrogen now. There is a strange thing about this because influences are from all sides, especially here groundwater, precipitation, temperature, climate and so on, and of course also nitrogen. And we chose nitrogen, so nature policy is nitrogen policy, and nitrogen policies are nature policy in the Netherlands. Which is a very odd thing to do but anyway this is what we have.

The Dutch government wants to spend 30 billion euros which is a large chunk of our budget on protecting nature via the reduction of nitrogen emissions and depositions. So that’s it.

Believing in Ecological Crisis

But why why do they believe that this crisis exists? I mean they must have had something in the expertocracy as I call it. They have Solutions in search of problems in my my estimation. They have a solution they want to meddle with certain things because of their understanding of what nature is. So they go look for a problem, and they created a lot of nitrogen other other countries are using carbon dioxide, of course the Netherlands as well, l so we’ve part of that of course.

But why this thing and after you answer why, then let’s start talking about the the research that they’re using on this and and the stuff that you and I have discovered.

Why can be answered on multiple levels. You could look from a scientific perspective, which is not really that interesting; we’re going to discuss this later. Because the problem we have nowadays everywhere is that science or scientism or exportocracy should solve everything and anything. Whether or not there’s a problem, there must be some solution to some issue because of science. That’s a huge problem in itself. Why do we think that science could actually do that, or understand it or research it, or fathom it to such an extent I would actually find solutions to to the problems that might exist or might not exist.

The other part is harder to Fathom; it has to do likely with the problem coming from the 1970s: Acid rain and the disappearance of forest. The forest dieback was originally a German issue. Der Spiegel actually brought out a huge paper with the title The Ecological Hiroshima, the idea that acid rain would obliterate within a decade every single forest in the world.

I remember that, it was sort of the the climate change catastrophe 101 basically. That acid rain story sort of disappeared from view, people didn’t talk about it anymore. But during that time of the 1970s and 80s dangers of agriculture came into view because producing ammonia and of course deposited on nature areas.

And the idea was, okay ammonia is of course a base, but it will acidify the soil
and that will destroy the forest and will aid in the forest in dying off.

So that’s where it originated, say 50 years ago. But of course the whole Forest dieback disappeared and now it’s about soil acidification and loss of biodiversities. Those are the the terms that actually have survived the debacle of the acid rain Forest dieback apocalypse.

On the one hand we can very well monitor the dying of forest; you can actually observe that. Yeah it didn’t happen, not even close. So they had to move away from that theme. I still remember pictures of monuments dissolving into nothing as if this has happened overnight; algae blooms on lakes as if these were brand new; all kinds of things like that. So they had the same problems. not just in Germany yeah. And course the the famous dangers came from Eastern Europe, loads of sulfur dioxide from foundries for instance were blasted into to Forest. And sulfur dioxide is not really a healthy chemical if you if the concentration is really high. Of course most plants or humans or any other organism would really love to have sulfur dioxide blown in their face so sulfur dioxide was an issue. And that was tackled since then which is basically a good thing. You obviously shouldn’t pump stuff in the air just randomly.

But of course the story got bigger and bigger and in the end disappeared because yeah the forest just grew happily uh through all our own brouhaha about all these problems. But what remained is the idea that ammonia changes soil chemistry, changes ecosystems, changes our biodiversity and that’s a bad thing. And it just became a matter of theology almost; it became a truism. And then it seems after that truism, they went in search of evidence in the form of models.

Examining the Notion of Chemical Critical Loads

The science of nitrogen and the impact on ecosystems has been around now for the past 50 years, at the same time as the forest issue. And it never has grown out to be an adult critical discourse scientifically speaking. Now it’s just confirming what the other guy says and based on the work from some other type; so there’s no real conflict no real discussion within this discourse at all. It’s just basically doing the same old same old thing and sort of publishing stuff without really critically reflecting on the results that came out of that research.

And we’ve shown that especially when we have to discuss the critical loads issue. The idea was that beyond a certain level of deposition per area, ecosystems suffer from a certain kind of deposition, meaning the the amount of nitrogen that’s falling on the land, in precipitation or dry deposition or whatever you can imagine.

Critical loads have been devised on the idea that above a certain kind of of raining down or depositing a certain chemical, ecosystems suffer a certain amount of risk, that’s the critical loads topic that now you and I have investigated that quite thoroughly. We’ve found it to be at best wanting, that’s being very very euphemistic.

We discovered so many caveats, which are embarrassing on the one hand,
on the other hand sloppy, imprecise, statistically nonsensical,
experimentally badly done.

So to apply this idea of nitrogen critical loads you have to define the critical point when we’re gonna stop things. They went and did these experiments, basically they took small plots just a couple of meters square. And they would grow certain grasses or other other types of plant matter on this and they would measure all kinds of things: the rate of growth, the width of the stems, and the root penetration and so on. And if they tested a difference between something that had a higher nitrogen content than a lower nitrogen content and it gave a wee P value, well that was said to be a nitrogen critical load. But there was no consistency to what they meant by a critical load or what was actually affected or the or the range of stuff that could be affected. And they had these ridiculous numbers extrapolating from a couple of square meters to the area of the entire country

Using these kinds of things, we showed if you just take a proper accordance of the uncertainty in these measurements, the critical loads just evaporate, they have no meaning unless you were to design really good experiments . We proposed large scale experiments taking a couple of hundred square meters and doing this experiment for years and years and years.

But there’s another problem you described quite well in in our paper. Of course nitrogen instigates change in ecosystems but the question is: In what terms do you regard this as damage or bad? Sure things change, but to what extent does is change a good thing or or not?

They assumed that change of any kind was a Bad Thing. Any difference between the sort of control group and a nitrogen group was considered bad. Which is which is ridiculous because you have to have nitrogen, you can’t eliminate nitrogen. It’s absolutely like eliminating carbon dioxide. In epidemiology you can do elimination studies, for instance antioxidants intake. You can do that because you can survive antioxidants intake for a certain while. But you can’t really do an elimination study in nitrogen and plant growth no that’s not going to work.

The other great thing we found is that there’s always a background concentration in the atmosphere and how much deposited on the area you’re looking at and background is important because you want to know at the control level how much nitrogen will rain down anyway. We found that studies were taking yearly averages, sort of polls of plots of the countryside. Which of course doesn’t give us much information about anything.

So you cannot really take the control and look at the experiment. They would calculate these single numbers from a small area and apply them either to an entire region or even Countrywide. And then averaging by year. I mean as the basis of policy it’s quite absurd. Of course there are other observational studies which are much harder to do experimentally. That is observing what happens to to certain ecosystems in in areas where there’s much more nitrogen deposition than somewhere else. But it’s hard to to extrapolate precise information from these studies anyway.

So this whole critical load debate is basically devoid of any critical reflection. We were the first ones that published a paper which was critical on on anything. And of course we got no response from the community, nothing at all. There was a weak response in Dutch in an internet Forum, which was poorly written and and sort of a hand-waving response. There was no real critical reflection on that at all. And we weren’t surprised because the researchers in that Arena are not at all versed in critical discourse as we are in chemistry. In mathematics and in physics you have to be critical, you’re critical of other people as well, because that’s how the the whole discourse develops. But in this matter not so much, in this discourse none whatsoever.

Central Role of Aerius OPS Chemical Transport Model

In fact the whole nitrogen policy is reduced to two things: the critical loads we just discussed and Aerius OPS (Operational Priority Substances), which is a model. Aerius OPS is a transport model that calculates the emission or actually how much of a certain chemical is transported through the atmosphere, and where and and to what extent it deposits at some point from the source where this emission comes from.

Now you can imagine to measure and analyze deposition in the Netherlands you would have maybe a hundred thousand measuring points. Or you can measure different chemicals like ammonia which is not possible. So I always say modeling itself is not a problem, but you have to model in this case because you can’t sample a hundred thousand areas in the Netherlands and decide exactly how much were the deposits. And that still doesn’t cover the problem: Where do all these emissions come from, which is another issue altogether.

So modeling itself is not a problem but OPS areas is a problem and keep in mind both critical load and Aerius OPS are part of the nitrogen laws in the Netherlands so in order to define how much you contribute to nitrogen deposition in Netherlands you have to use areas OPS the model run by the National Institute of Health and Environment. You have to use that model to calculate your own addition to the background levels of of nitrogen deposition. So it has huge policy implications.

Now I was part of a scientific committee that had to analyze the scientific quality of areas OPS and and all the other stuff. Not critical loads by the way, we didn’t discuss very much. But here’s the thing: We never really looked under the hood in OPS, we never looked at the Machinery of OPS. We did say as a committee the calculations done per hectare were too imprecise. That’s as far as we got with our criticism of Aerius.

Then of course validation studies via FOIA requests came on the table and you were courteous enough to look at these validation studies, which by the way we didn’t get as a scientific committee, which still annoys me actually. As a good scientist, you know science needs to be transparent. That’s the a priori of any kind of scientific work. People should have put on these validation studies immediately on the table. That’s what you do; you don’t make others to have to ask for them. That’s part of questioning the science. But here that makes you a denier and so forth; you’re just supposed to accept because this is how the expertocracy works.  But we did get these things and we were able to investigate how well this model performed you can explain much more than I can what were the what were the results. 

We have a two-tier approach here. The first part was for our esteemed colleagues to provide the underlying data of these validations. We didn’t get that, at least not immediately; there’s a nice story to that. But the first stage of this two-tier approach was your analysis of the quality of the validation studies, and how well the model actually worked according to those studies.

Aerius OPS Model Lacks Necessary Predictive Skill

Let me explain something about this model: it stinks, it doesn’t have good predictive ability at all. I want to explain this concept called skill. I’ve explained it a million times but it never sticks in people’s minds for some reason. So we have this expert model this OPS model, with all kinds of science going it. And it makes predictions of something like SO2 or NOx concentrations of something like this in the atmosphere. Now that’s a very sophisticated model, there’s lots of code and all this kind of stuff in here.

Before you continue you do an experiment. You open a bottle of sulfur dioxide or ammonia or whatever gas can be transported through the atmosphere. You measure distances over time, or over a certain time frame you measure concentrations when you open the bottles and you afterward find certain atmospheric concentrations. And of course they diminish over time because of a convection of wind, blah blah. You have these data from these measurements which has a certain precision. But now the model subsequently needs to predict based on all this physics and chemistry and these concentrations you just measured in the experiments. So the sophisticated model is making a prediction of these numbers.

I’m just going to take the seasonal average, the location experimental average we have. I’m going to make a guess of the mean, just the average, and I’m going to pretend that average is itself a forecast. In other words for every measurement I’m going to predict the mean. Now that’s a really crude model; it’s a very simple but a useful model. In fact we use it all the time to say winter is colder than summer in the northern hemisphere because of these types of averages.

It’s a very rough and crude model, but if this OPS model itself has any weight to it,
it should easily beat this mean model.

It should be more precise than just taking seasonal averages. That’s what skill is. The skill is relative performance over a supposedly weaker model. The OPS model often does not have skill against this simple mean model. It just doesn’t work. The error of the model itself increases as the concentration of the chemical (whatever we’re measuring) increases.

In other words, when these chemicals are in small amounts down and hovering around zero, the model has skill. But if you get large amounts and they become interesting, the model becomes worse and worse and worse .

So that’s one of the problems with it. The second problem is when our researcher ran the model for a farm at a particular downwind site. It’s what you’re supposed to do if you have a farm yourself so our researcher populated this farm with 400 fictional cows and then halved it to 200 cows and halved it again to 100 cows and then again to zero cows. And looked at comparing the amount of nitrogen that was deposited at this particular location according to OPS. OPS predicted the grand difference between all 400 cows and no cows at all was just under six moles per hectare per year. From 400 to 200 cows, it went down to like four or something so we’re talking about a difference of two moles per hectare per year. So now tell us as a chemist what is the difference in terms of numbering six or four or two

But of course that’s just completely fictional because there is no way
I can tell the difference between four and six moles per hectare per year.
I couldn’t measure it.

Though the model says as we increase the number of cows the amount deposited does increase. So based on that if I had to make a policy decision I’d say: Oh this is terrible the only way I could fix this is if I eliminated the cows or I’d cut them in half and then the number does go down. So based on that kind of reasoning therefore I should do something.

But you’re talking about a difference so small, so down into the noise you’d never be able to tell if you really reached it in reality. That’s our main criticism against this this whole policy making. It’s completely virtual, it sort of suggests a world which doesn’t exist, except in the zeros and ones in the computers. The biggest problem I have with the model is that it’s completely an imaginary reality not the world that we live in.

I couldn’t stress this enough Aerius is Central to the whole policy making. You need to use it in order to have a computation whether or not you add or subtract, increase or decrease your ammonia additions to a nature area near by. That is of course very worrying because that’s still in place. This model should be scrapped immediately because it produces bogus results as this very nice pictures shows. At least it should be tested, be investigated and then judged by independent parties.

Food Supply and Livelihoods At Risk from Nitrogen Policies

The irony of this whole situation is that the Dutch institution literally produces misinformation . We show that it’s completely misinforming about the reality of of any kind of nitrogen deposition from a certain Farm which wants to increase or decrease its number of animals.

That’s actually the case, so now where are the Netherlands going to get their food once the Farms are shut down,  Of course it’s not suddenly we have less food to eat no that’s not how it works. Fortunately that’s not how agriculture markets work, happy to say.

But there is another problem which I do not understand: We have a war in Ukraine in our backyard. If War would actually be extended to other parts of Europe we have a big problem, also a big agricultural problem. So where do we get our food from? So yes of course you can you can diminish your your livestock that’s not gonna over change overnight the the the food situation. But in this particular case, this could be more worrisome in the long term.

There’s also another problem, the biggest issue now is that we invest huge amounts of money to buy out all these farmers, and we have no idea what we get back for it. More nature? Of course we know this is not going to happen because it’s a virtual world all these policy makers look at. But of course that means less income for the Netherlands and more unemployment. So it’s a lose-lose situation on all sides.

We don’t get what we want in nature, and we get less income and and food
not just for us, but actually for the European Union and beyond.

People should be looking meticulously at the Netherlands, because what’s happening here is a huge top-down policy influence on a huge economic sector based on mere fantasy of apocalyptic risks related to nitrogen deposition. Because other countries like Canada, US and and other European countries are feverishly hoping the Netherlands government can pull this off. Because it’s a trick to disenfranchise huge parts of of the population in the Netherlands for no Return of Investment.

Footnote: List Of Evidence Showing There Is No Nitrogen “Crisis” In The Netherlands

To read studies exposing the flawed science basis to the so called Dutch nitrogen crisis, see the link above at wmbriggs.com.

There is no nitrogen emergency,
except for government nitrogen policies
threatening global food supply.


Escape The Postmodern Matrix

These days we are hosed every day with verbage, both written and spoken, claiming that absurdities are facts, and that common sense is illusion.  Examples include labeling the essential trace gas CO2 as a “pollutant”.  A man can decide he’s a woman and cannot be refused access to women’s sports, bathrooms or prisons. Pronouns are unhinged from any objective reality.  Racial identities are claimed and paraded without any genetic basis.  People are appointed to positions of power and responsibility without any required knowledge or competence, but solely upon their skin color and/or sexual preferences.  Conversely, persons with demonstrated performance are barred from working because they come from a “privileged” background.

As well, there is rampant verbicide, where words are detached from realities, turned upside down, or rendered nonsensical.  This is the result of postmodern newspeak.  Encyclopedia Britannica explains:

What do postmodernists believe?

Many postmodernists hold one or more of the following views:

(1) there is no objective reality;
(2) there is no scientific or historical truth (objective truth);
(3) science and technology (and even reason and logic) are not vehicles of human progress but suspect instruments of established power;
(4) reason and logic are not universally valid;
(5) there is no such thing as human nature (human behavior and psychology are socially determined or constructed);
(6) language does not refer to a reality outside itself;
(7) there is no certain knowledge; and
(8) no general theory of the natural or social world can be valid or true (all are illegitimate “metanarratives”).

We now live in a world where legacy and social media have taken on the mission to impose on the population a Postmodern framework or matrix. And thus, words no longer mean what once they did.
[Note that (6) is the basis for Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatBot.  They can manipulate words to appear meaningful, but actual understanding of the world is impossible without linking to it]
[For a discussion of the Glossary of Leftist Doublespeak, see Great Reset = Great Resentment.]

The Method in This Madness

David Rose offers insight for understanding and resisting this pervasive media matrix in his paper George Orwell, objectivity, and the reality behind illusions.  Some excerpts in italics below to show the thrust of his analysis.

Here, I will focus on the depiction by George Orwell of how anti-realist attitudes can manifest themselves in culture and politics—with dire consequences upon the individual. In promoting the denial of objective reality and truth, these philosophies actually suppress a person’s ability to see and think freely about their world. It is therefore suggested here that any similar denial of our common-sense understanding of objective reality in scientific research on perception and illusions should be resisted.

Orwell then continues to lay out the psychological consequences of being subjected to such continuous and intense coercive pressure:

“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?”

Note especially the sentence ‘Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy’, as it reminds us of the most relevant point about Orwell’s thesis.

But as Orwell also makes clear, it is not simply that loss of belief in objectivity opens the way to the tyranny of those with the loudest voices (or the most authority, charisma, guns, or money—or the catchiest slogans). The true problem is far deeper and more subtle. Instead of clarity and consistency, the powerful deliberately say contradictory things. This leads to the complete discrediting of everything that everybody says, however powerful or well qualified as ‘experts’ they may be. As soon as you have concluded you have no certain, true, and reliable facts upon which to base decisions, then you cease even any attempt to make them—you give up trying to think for yourself.

Your resulting state of lassitude and passivity clears the way for those in power
to act as they please, without even minimal scrutiny or criticism from anyone else.

In a striking echo of the processes Orwell so described, some recent commentators on perception (e.g. ; see also ) have suggested that inconsistent, confusing, or contradictory statements about reality also appear in the perception research literature. For example, they point out, various researchers have denied the mind-independent existence of material objects, 4 and of the sun before human minds existed, 5 or have claimed that only phenomenal experiences are real, 6 while nevertheless maintaining that we evolved by natural selection—thus implicitly (and often explicitly) accepting that our ancestors were actual organisms, with actual sense organs, 7 in an objective world replete with sunshine, rocks, and rival organisms. Similarly inconsistently, some have denied that we perceive external reality correctly, as it ‘really’ is, without explaining how they know that such a reality exists at all, or how they know it is not as we perceive it, given that they also claim perception is the only source of knowledge that we have. 8

But might the effects on readers, however unintentional, be the same as they are when politicians make contradictory statements? That is, uncertainty and apathy about what is real or true, or even antipathy towards the issue altogether. . . . Now, if such antipathy becomes widespread, decision-making might then be surrendered to whatever famous, charismatic or immediate source of influence is the most dominant, with passive and uncritical acceptance of whatever that authority has most recently declaimed or pontificated to be the truth. There would be no more independent thinking and critical appraisal of ideas in the field.

Objective Reality is a Many Splendored Thing

While there is no space here to give a full review and justification of this newer non-reductive metaphysics, I will briefly present three relevant ideas, which I hope will be sufficient to give the gist. First is the idea that Nature consists of multiple levels of dynamic interacting systems, nested more or less hierarchically within one another. Systems emerge by spontaneous self-organisation of components interacting with each other. The behaviours of those components are now constrained within the new higher-level system they have formed. Moreover, these lower-level components are themselves systems, similarly emerged from the level below them. This process applies recursively so that ultimately there are many levels of reality, not just that of the most fundamental physical building blocks, if any. It is all these multiple levels that comprise the material of reality and should be described by any comprehensive theory—and that hold the explanatory resources for our accounts of perception.

Second, it is natural to ask what these systems and their components are actually made of, or how they are ‘realized’. Any name is arbitrary here (since under monism there is nothing to contrast it with), 13 but some say ‘energy’ (e.g. Tyler, 2015; Pepperell, 2018) while others prefer ‘information’ or ‘pattern’; I will go with the latter.

Third, real existence is intimately linked with causal power.  For example, nation states, not just their individual leaders, make war or peace with each other, which affects the futures of those entire nations as wholes. Companies engage in legally binding contracts with other companies. Government fiscal policy affects market behaviour and macroeconomic performance. The social ethos, Zeitgeist, social norms, and mores guide and direct the course and successfulness of whole societies and their philosophies. Thus, just as objects such as coronaviruses, umbrellas, and professors are real, so too are other higher-level emerged entities such as concepts, memes, reputations, invisible colleges, data sets, theories, and the laws of copyright. These are all the effects of causes and have causal effects on the world.

In sum, within this metaphysical picture, perception is causal information transfer.


So it is necessary to believe there are objective facts and truths about agreements and agriculture, elections and emotions, morals and murders, preferences and prejudice—otherwise we would have no standards against which to judge whether our words are truly meaningful, our actions genuinely effective or ethical, and our decisions and beliefs actually correct. Similarly, we need to believe there are objective facts and truths about portraits and parallel lines, stairs and spears, tigers and tables, ziggurats and zigzags, which we can use as a basis for our decisions on how and when to act—and against which we can judge whether our percepts are illusory or veridical.

In other words, if you believe that people are born and people die, that millions of people were killed in what is commonly known as the Holocaust, that theft is illegal in your country, that most people have two hands, that diamonds are denser than air, that the capital of France is called Paris, that vaccines protect us against viruses, … then you (at least implicitly) believe in objective reality.  [Note: regarding vaccines, we now can exclude as illusions mRNA shots against SARS2, since they did not protect.]

So, as such a realist, you should believe there can be perceptual illusions (as they are commonly defined, i.e. deviations from veridical perception). Although there are multiple levels of reality, and hence many ways reality can be described (Todorović, 2020, pp. 1174–1178), one can stipulate or specify which are the relevant ones for measuring the ground truth that perception should match, and that give the criteria for distinguishing the veridical from the illusory.  . . Illusions, like perception itself, must be defined with respect to a specified level of reality.



Green Schemes Broken by Reality

James E. Hanley provides a roundup of failed Green expensive ventures in his Real Clear Policy article Green Projects Hit Iron Wall.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Developers looking to build thousands of wind turbines off the Mid-Atlantic and New England coast are coming up against a force even more relentless than the Atlantic winds: the Iron Law of Megaprojects, offering a warning of the trouble ahead for green-energy projects.

The Iron Law, coined by Oxford Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, says that “megaprojects” — which cost billions of dollars, take years to complete, and are socially transformative — reliably come in over budget, over time, over and over.

From Boston’s Big Dig to California’s high-speed rail to
New York’s 12 years-overdue and 300% over-budget East Side Access rail project,
big boondoggles routinely demonstrate the validity of the rule.

Offshore wind projects are not immune to the Iron Law, regularly experiencing vast cost overruns before a single watt is generated.

The New York state government, looking to replace oil- and gas-fired powerplants with hundreds of wind towers off Long Island, set out in 2019 to create an offshore wind supply chain from scratch, beginning with a massive state-funded turbine fabrication facility about 100 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River.

Port of Albany factory’s fate at stake as leaders race for a solution The $700 million-plus project is expected to create work for generations, but hopes are dwindling that more funding will become available

Ground still hasn’t even been broken, but the budget certainly has: The price of that Port of Albany facility has already doubled from $350 million to $700 million. An additional $100 million may be needed for equipment costs, raising the final price tag to $800 million.

It’s been billed the future hub for wind power infrastructure. So far, though, the only thing that continues to get billed over and over in recent years is the Connecticut taxpayer.

A similar situation is playing out in New London, Connecticut, where a state-funded pier facility being built to support that state’s offshore wind buildout has more than doubled in price from an original estimate of $95 million to $250 million.

Commonwealth Wind Declares that the largest offshore wind farm in the state’s pipeline “cannot be financed and built” under existing contracts,

And in Massachusetts, developer Commonwealth Wind has asked the state to scrap its power purchase guarantees and rebid the project, arguing that inflation and supply chain problems mean the project is not financially viable under its current contracts.

Big projects tend to exceed their cost projections for many reasons. One is the unanticipated, and sometimes unprecedented, complexity of these projects. Further uncertainties and costs arise from the challenge of navigating the red tape of the modern regulatory state. In addition, there is the risk of inflation for projects that take years, sometimes decades, to develop.

Underlying all these is often a failure to spend enough time on careful planning
that treats reality as a fundamental constraint.

But sometimes project sponsors may simply worry that accurate cost projections could scare away public support at the outset, and choose to employ what Prof. Flyvbjerg politely calls “strategic misrepresentation.”

As former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said, “If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved. . . . Start digging a hole and make it so big, there’s no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.”

If that sounds too cynical, note that the current Chair of the Connecticut Port Authority has admitted that when officials first proposed the pier facility, they already knew it would cost more than they were claiming.

Ironically, the New York and Connecticut projects aren’t even big enough to be considered megaprojects, and yet even they have run into the Iron Law of being over budget and behind schedule. The challenges won’t diminish with bigger and more ambitious green energy projects.

In New York, the state’s huge Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act — of which the Port of Albany project is the first substantial investment — is projected to cost between $270 and $290 billion. At that price it is a gigaproject composed of numerous individual megaprojects.

The benefits, mostly in the form of greenhouse gas reductions, are supposed to be up to $415 billion. But if the overall cost of the policy climbs by merely 55 percent, which is in the normal range for megaprojects (and much less than the Port of Albany cost overrun), the costs will exceed the benefits, creating a net loss for New Yorkers.

If costs balloon to twice the initial estimates, which is not uncommon, the state stands to spend more than more than a hundred billion dollars more than gained in benefits That would be a loss of over $30,000 per New York household by 2050.

And that’s assuming the benefits are as good as promised. It gets even worse if,
as is common, the benefits have been overstated.

The tale of megaprojects is a cautionary one for the whole country as we attempt to transition away from fossil fuels. Cost estimates for a nationwide transition span from $4.7 trillion to over $60 trillion – almost three times U.S. GDP. Such uncertainty should give us pause for thought before jumping wildly into the financial unknown.

If we’re not careful, we may be digging Willie Brown-style holes, and politically and financially we may find ourselves in too deep to ever get ourselves out.

We’re Betrayed by Decarbonists and Cowardly Energy Companies

Edward Ring writes at American Greatness The Corruption of Climate Science.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Instead of fighting anti-civilization lunacy,
corporations are taking their money off the table,
along with their life-affirming affordable fuel.

We need to criticize the people who got us here,” says Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of Fossil Future. “We can’t keep treating these designated experts as real experts. They are not real experts, they are destroyers. They are anti-energy, non-experts. And that needs to be made clear.”

Epstein is right, and his advice has never been more urgent—or as difficult to make people understand. It is no exaggeration that every major institution in America has now committed itself to the elimination of affordable and abundant energy. If it isn’t stopped, this commitment, motivated by misguided concern for the planet but also by a lust for power and money and enabled by moral cowardice and intellectual negligence, will destroy Western civilization.

For over 50 years, with increasing frequency, corrupted, careerist scientists have produced biased studies that, amplified by agenda-driven corporate and political special interests, constitute a “consensus” that is supposedly “beyond debate.” We are in a “climate crisis.” To cope with this climate emergency, all measures are justifiable.  This is overblown, one-sided, distorted, and manipulative propaganda.

It is the language of authoritarians and corporatists bent on achieving
even more centralized political power and economic wealth.

It is a scam, perhaps the most audacious, all-encompassing fraud in human history. It is a scam that explicitly targets and crushes the middle class in developed nations and the entire aspiring populations in developing nations, at the same time as its messaging is designed to secure their fervent acquiescence.

What is actually beyond debate is not that we are in a climate crisis but that if we don’t stop destroying our conventional energy economy, we are going to be in a civilizational crisis.

Energy is the foundation of everything—prosperity, freedom, upward mobility, national wealth, individual economic independence, functional water and transportation infrastructure, commercial-scale agriculture, mining, and industry. Without energy, it all goes dark. And “renewables” are not even remotely capable of replacing oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. It’s impossible.

The only people who think renewables are capable of replacing conventional energy
are either uninformed, innumerate, or corrupt. Period.

But to cope with the apocalyptic messaging of climate catastrophists, it isn’t enough to debunk the potential of renewables. It is also necessary to challenge the underlying climate “science.” The biased, corrupt, unceasing avalanche of expert “studies” serving up paid-for ideas to special interests that use them as bludgeons to beat into the desired shape every relevant public policy and popular narrative. So here goes.

Biased, Flawed Studies

A new study, released May 16, deserves far more criticism than it’s going to get. Authored by seven ridiculously credentialed experts and primarily affiliated with the leftist Union of Concerned Scientists, this study has the rather innocuous title: “Quantifying the contribution of major carbon producers to increases in vapor pressure deficit and burned area in western US and southwestern Canadian forests.” Bursting with charts and equations, and too many links to corroborating sources to count, the study has all the accouterments of intimidating credibility. But serious questions may be raised as to its logic as well as its objectivity.

For starters, this study doesn’t restrict itself to “Quantifying the contribution of major carbon producers to increases in vapor pressure deficit.” The authors can’t resist attacking these “major carbon producers.” In this revealing paragraph, the study’s true intent becomes apparent: it is fodder for litigation.

To explain what the authors got wrong, it is first necessary to summarize what they did. In plain English, the authors claim that hotter summers in recent years have caused more severe forest fires in the western United States, and fossil fuel emissions are causing the hotter summers.  That’s it.

But what if it isn’t just heat, but dry heat, that is unprecedented today? What if the “vapor pressure deficit” is worse today than it has been at any time in 20 million years? That is a huge assumption, probably impossible to verify. Even if it’s true, it doesn’t make up for the study’s other flaw, which is the density of forests in California today, which is truly unprecedented. The study’s authors acknowledge they don’t take this variable into account.

In California, wildlife biologists and forest ecologists who spend their lives studying and managing these timberlands unanimously agree that tree density has increased, thanks to “non-climatic factors such as the prohibition of Indigenous burning, and legacies of fire suppression.” The increase is not subtle. Without small, naturally occurring fires that clear underbrush and smaller trees, forests become overgrown. Controlled burns and responsible logging are absolutely necessary to maintain forest health.

This is not an isolated finding. Observations of excessive tree density are corroborated by numerous studies, testimony, and journalistic investigations. Unlike the subjectively defined algorithms plugged into a climate model, excessive tree density is an objective fact, verified repeatedly by people on the ground. To imply by omission that more than tripling the density of trees across millions of acres of forest would not leave them stressed and starved for soil nutrients, sunlight, and water from rain and atmospheric moisture is scientific malpractice.

Without taking these additional factors into account, it is deceptive
to indict fossil fuel emissions for causing wildfires.

Perhaps some indirect connection can be established of debatable relevance, but for this study to assign specific percentages and acreages suggests a premeditated purpose: creating material for expert testimony for litigation against oil companies.

The monolithic alignment of the scientific and journalistic community in support of an authoritarian, utterly impractical “climate” agenda reveals a misunderstanding if not outright betrayal of scientific and journalistic core values. Both disciplines are founded on the bedrock of skepticism and debate. Without nurturing those values, the integrity of these disciplines is undermined. When it comes to issues of climate and energy policy in America, science and journalism are compromised.

Carbon Fuel Industry Fails to Step Up

The real crime, if you want to call it that, isn’t that oil and gas companies
questioned climate change theories back in the 1960s or ’70s.
It’s that they’re accepting them now.

Oil and gas companies today are not willing to challenge the climate crisis orthodoxy, or the myth of cost-effective renewables at scale. They aren’t willing to devote their substantial financial resources to debunking this agenda-driven madness that is on the verge of taking down our entire civilization. The fact that America’s oil and gas companies have adopted a strategy of appeasement is a crime against humanity. The fact that these companies are failing to make long-term investments to develop new oil and gas fields, and instead are reaping windfall profits as they sell existing production at politically inflated prices, that, too, is a crime against civilization.

Ultimately, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the major oil companies
are complicit in the destruction of America’s energy economy.

Because rather than declaring total war on these paid-for, flawed scientific studies and the special interests that fund them, oil companies will engage in theatrical litigation, knowing that the cost of settlements won’t even come close to the short-term profits to be had by slowly asset stripping their companies while selling diminishing quantities of fuel at punitive rates.

Epstein is right that we must criticize the “experts” that want to destroy human civilization with climate alarmism. But we must also recognize and criticize the institutions targeted for destruction. Instead of fighting this lunacy, they are taking their money off the table, along with their life-affirming affordable fuel, and heading for the hills.


Google Screens Your Climate Info

Jimmy Dore reports in the above video on collusion between UN and Google to control public access to climate information .  Below is a transcript from the closed captions.  JD is the host with some asides from Kurt Metzger (KM)  The UN spokesperson is Melissa Fleming (MF), United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. Text in italics with my bolds and added images.

JD: It turns out Google is the richest company in the history of humanity–did you know that Google gets more money than Exxon, more money than Apple. They have more money than Tesla, they have a lot of money.   “Google teams up with the UN for verified climate information.” So this is an article from the United Nations, This is from April 22nd of last year.

KM: Well I hope they fight nitrogen deniers.

JD:  So I don’t know if we covered this, which is why I want to cover it now. Did you know that if you Google climate change, Google has now rigged it. It’s not just, well whatever the most popular websites are that talk about climate change come up; the order of the 10 most popular articles.

That’s not what they’re doing. They’re making sure that the popular articles don’t show up and they’re trying to control the narrative. They only want certain ones, only articles the United Nations approves of. That’s what Google’s doing.

KM  Look, millions of people around the world go to Google to get information about climate change and sustainability.  Nobody is going: What about sustainability? What about that word you just invented a couple years ago? Sustainability, sustainability.

JD:  In addition to organic search results, Google is surfacing short and easy to understand information panels and visuals on the causes and effects of climate change as well as individual actions that people can take to help tackle the climate crisis

KM  Should I glue my head to a painting?

JD:  So here is the under Secretary General for Global Communications at the UN;  ready.

MF: Served with Google for example. If you Google climate change, at the top of your search you will get all kinds of UN resources. We started this partnership when we were shocked to see that when we googled , climate change we were getting incredibly distorted information right at the top.

JD: So when she Googled climate change, she was getting a lot of articles that she didn’t agree with. They would come up because what Google is supposedly doing is just showing you what’s the most popular articles, without an editorial input. She’s saying we didn’t like that people were getting to see those articles that were popular that we disagree with. So we went to Google and we told them artificially manufacture your Google results when people Google climate change. And have these special articles that we like come up, those that push a specific agenda about climate change. And they say it right out in public, she’s saying it on camera.

KM  I’m relieved.  It was about time they started doing this, so I was happy to hear it

MF:  So we’re becoming much more proactive. You know, we own the science and we think that the world should know.

JD:  Like the Vatican, we own the science. You mean like Tony fauci did. And then he had to admit that he was lying constantly during covid because he was. We Own the science, we own the science: Nobody owns the science, science doesn’t work like that, there’s no such thing. It’s always: Question science. Science always needs to be questioned and tested, always. That’s why Einstein didn’t trust what Newton said about gravity, he had his own ideas. And now we know about E equals m c squared.

MF: And the platforms themselves also do, but again it’s a huge, huge challenge, that I think all sectors of society need to be very active in. We need total control.

JD:  We own the science sounds about right. So if you thought when you Google something you’re getting organic natural results, no you’re getting propaganda selected by people like her, articles they want you to have. They want to control your thoughts, and they are. And that’s what propaganda is. They’re all propaganda and they just brag about doing propaganda right in the open.

KM:  I’ve heard we own the Sciences, the second time I heard it that sounds like a catchphrase or something.

JD:  Someone says we own the science, we own the science. No what you own is the Google results on the science. So that means you own the conversation and the narrative in the culture. But you don’t own the science. Own the science, what kind of a thing is that to say I don’t know.


Even 3°C Warming Can’t Stop World Prosperity

The 3°C Scenario: What’s the economic impact of severe global warming?  James Pethokoukis writes at his substack.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Even with an extreme scenario, the world should be richer and more capable in 2050

You may have noticed some concerning climate headlines popping up today in your smartphone notifications:

  • “‘Sounding the alarm’: World on track to breach a critical warming threshold in the next five years” – CNN
  • “Global warming likely to exceed 1.5C within five years, says weather agency” – Financial Times
  • “Global warming set to break key 1.5C limit for first time” – BBC

As the above FT chart neatly shows, the newsy forecast is about breaching the 1.5°C level in a single year, not a permanent increase. That said, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says humanity better get used to 1.5° and higher without a drastic shift away from fossil fuels. Current global policies, according to the IPCC, make it “likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century and make it harder to limit warming below 2°C.”

But what if the global heating is more severe than expected? A new analysis by consulting firm Capital Economics looks at a scenario in which the global average temperature rises by more than 3°C from its pre-industrial average and finds that global GDP would still nearly double by 2050.

How could that be possible given all the negative effects predicted by climatologists — which I’m not contesting — such as rising sea levels, more droughts and severe heatwaves, more extreme-weather events such as hurricanes, a loss of biodiversity and ecosystems? From the cautious and meticulous analysis by CE economists David Oxley and Gabriel Ng:

But the key takeaway is that we think global GDP would still nearly double in size between now and mid-century even if the world were to warm by more than we anticipate, largely because developed economies would be affected the least. And even in places where a warmer world would have much bigger impacts on GDP, such as in India and south-east Asia, the physical effects on economic activity would be a headwind to catch-up growth rather than putting economic development in reverse.

(One thing to keep in mind: The firm’s baseline forecast is that the increase in global temperature will be kept just below 2°C thanks to the increasing use of renewable energy sources and other technological improvements, resulting in a ecline in global greenhouse40 percent d gas emissions by 2050. This level of warming is already baked into its economic forecast.)

Caveat:  Decarbonizing Our Energy Platform is the Way to Stop Prosperity

In assembling this forecast, CE highlights some of its key decisions. First, it focused on “physical risks,” such as the impacts of more severe hurricanes and consistently higher temperatures, rather than “transition risks,” the impacts of taxes and regulations meant to mitigate climate change. What’s more, CE also tried to look for economic models that took into account the possibility of non-linear outcomes.

[Note: In ClimateSpeak, mitigation doesn’t have it’s usual meaning.  “Mitigate:  make something, such as a problem, symptom, or punishment, less harsh or severe.” (Mirriam-Webster).  IPCC supporters speak of spending Trillions of $ on schemes to reduce carbon emissions without any guarantee of lowering climate impacts.]

But again: The impacts mentioned here won’t result in either advanced or
emerging economies becoming poorer a generation from now than they are today.

Rather, the physical effects of climate change on economic activity would create headwinds that slow growth. A country suffering some of the biggest impacts from climate change would be Indonesia. Even so, CE still expects the country to become a top-ten economy by 2050. Yet under the 3°C scenario, it would rise to become the eighth largest economy rather than the fifth largest economy under the cooler CE baseline forecast.  Or India: Under both scenarios, it would still be the third largest economy by 2050, but under the 3°C scenario it only be three times as large as fourth place Germany rather than four times in the baseline.

The good news here is even with a rapid and severe climate outcome over the next 25 years, there’s good reason to think humanity will have even more economic resources and technological capabilities to do something about it — while also preparing for a future where more us can use more energy to turn our dreams into reality. Innovation-driven economic growth is what provides true resilience to America and the world.


We have always and will continue to adapt to the effects of changing weather and climate, so long as we have the economic means to prepare and respond to events.  The real threat to society, humanity and the biosphere is climate policies directed against our energy platform.

See Also Series of Posts:   World of Hurt from Climate Policies






NYT Makes 12 out of 12 False Claims Against Lomborg’s Book

Bjorn Lomborg set the record straight at LinkedIn The New York Times’ stunningly false and deceptive hit piece to preserve climate alarmism.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The piece consists of Stiglitz enumerating four specific and compounding mistakes that I apparently make, and then another six separate observations. I will go through all of them below, starting with the four mistakes.

My first “mistake”

My first mistake is that I draw “heavily on the work of William Nordhaus of Yale University, who came up with an estimate of the economic cost to limiting climate change to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.” Instead the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, which Stiglitz co-authored, showed that 1.5°C-2°C goals “could be achieved at a moderate price.”

This is triply wrong. I don’t rely on Nordhaus for the cost on limiting temperature rise for 1.5°C to 2°C, simply because Nordhaus does not make that estimate. Nordhaus explicitly writes, as Stiglitz would know had he read Nordhaus or my book: “A limit of 2°C appears to be infeasible with reasonably accessible technologies even with very ambitious abatement strategies.”

Secondly, Stiglitz claims that his report estimates “a moderate price” for reaching the Paris agreement. This is false. There is no estimate of the total economic cost of a 2°C or 1.5°C target in his High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices.

Compounding Stiglitz’ error is the fact that the background report for his high-level commission does indeed list the UN Climate Panel cost estimate for reaching 1.5-2°C at more than 4% of GDP by 2100 (p2), which makes Nordhaus’ 1.38% GDP economic cost at the lowest temperature scenario of 2.35°C by 2100 substantially smaller (not larger, as Stiglitz claims).

Stiglitz throughout his piece neglects to inform the reader that Nordhaus is not just any old economist, but actually the only climate economist to get the Nobel prize for his work on climate economics. For reference, Stiglitz got his Nobel prize in economics for analyses of markets with asymmetric information like the selling and buying of used cars.

For the first mistake, Stiglitz makes two false claims and no correct, relevant claims.

My second “mistake”

My second mistake is “Nordhaus’s and Lomborg’s underestimation of the damage associated with climate change.” Stiglitz is in reality informing us that he knows much better than the world’s only climate Nobel economist.

But curiously, Stiglitz never tells us what the right cost is. As such, Stiglitz makes an absurd claim, essentially asserting he knows better than the best peer-reviewed evidence — but just couldn’t be bothered to share that knowledge publicly.

Stiglitz gives one indication of his knowledge on this matter. He claims that a significant part of the cost of climate change “includes more extreme weather events — more intense hurricanes, more droughts, more floods, with all the devastation to life, livelihood and property that accompanies them. Yet, again, he seems to have forgotten to actually acquaint himself with the best evidence on the science and economics of extreme weather events. As the leading researcher on economic impacts of extreme weather events says, Stiglitz is “just wrong.

But more importantly, Stiglitz is just cherry-picking and ignoring the actual data. He picked the costliest recent data point and he neglects that the trend for the US (and similarly for the world) is declining.
Stiglitz is simply doubly wrong on his only indication of how Nobel Laureate Nordhaus and I should be wrong, so for the second mistake, Stiglitz makes two false, one unsubstantiated and no correct, relevant claims.

My third “mistake”

Stiglitz suggests that “A third critical mistake, compounding the second, is not taking due account of risk.”  Ah, if only the world’s only actual Nobel laureate in climate economics had thought of incorporating risks.

Of course, Stiglitz could still have quibbled about a different way to model risk, and added his own take on this. But he does not. He simply — and falsely — suggests that Nordhaus or I have not taken this obvious point into consideration.

Specifically, Stiglitz assuredly tells us that the best damage estimates are underestimates because “as we learn more about climate change these best estimates keep getting revised, and, typically, in only one direction — more damage and sooner than had been expected.”   No, they do not. This is the kind of claim one makes if one gets most of one’s climate information from news media.

For the third mistake, Stiglitz makes two false, one unsubstantiated and no correct, relevant claims.

My fourth “mistake”

Stiglitz seems to claim that Nordhaus and I use a discount parameter that is too low for his liking. I cite the whole paragraph, because it is unclear what his actual point is except a rant against the Trump administration:

Stiglitz apparently suggests that Nordhaus and I use a 7 percent discount rate to spew out the numbers that are in my book. This is demonstrably false. Perhaps Stiglitz knows he’s fibbing, given that he settles for criticizing Trump and then conflating the 7% with the “models Lomborg loves.”

Instead, Nordhaus’ discount rate is calibrated to the real interest rates, meaning a 4.8% discount rate in 2015, declining to 3.5% in 2100.

As he would know, having been World Bank chief economist, it is one thing what rich, liberals in Manhattan want for a discount rate. Most of the rest of the world has much higher discount rates. When we worked with the government of Haiti, the central bank decided on 12% (even contemplating 20%), while Ghana decided 8%.

For the fourth mistake, Stiglitz makes one false and no correct, relevant claims.

Other claims

Media drives alarmism

He seems to brush off my points that the hyperventilating media is one of the main causes of alarmism simply by saying “fake news”: 

For example, I outline how New York Times claims that South Vietnam by 2050 will “all but disappear” because it will be “underwater at high tide.”  While the story was reported in almost all media, it was clearly incorrect. Because almost all of South Vietnam is already under the high tide mark today, and almost all of South Vietnam is already well-protected today:


Stiglitz claim that I miss discussing good regulations as a way to tackle climate.  

More importantly, Stiglitz seems to have missed at least the last third of my book. Here I talk about

1. Innovation: how we should invest $100 billion per year in green R&D (regulation, not taxation)

2. Adaptation: regulation like zoning, building regulation and more pervious city surfaces (to ensure less flooding)

3. Geoengineering: which will be almost entirely a regulatory approach

4. Prosperity: mostly about better policies including regulatory policies

Stiglitz’ claim that I ignore regulation is blatantly false.

Wall Street underwater

Almost bizarrely, Stiglitz chides me for not including in my book that Wall Street could be underwater by 2100:

The research very clearly shows that at least when an area has sufficient value (as Wall St and surrounding areas certainly have) all will be safeguarded through adaptive policies (like sea walls etc.).  I even show this in a graph in the book, based on this paper. We only see significant flooding when we disregard adaptation:

So when Stiglitz chides me for not including that Wall Street might be underwater in my book, it is because such a claim would be false. His is a good example of bad information from hyperventilating media.

Copenhagen Consensus

Stiglitz writes a slyly derogatory paragraph about the think tank I work for, Copenhagen Consensus:

The paragraph doesn’t seem to say anything but that the experts are conservative and that we didn’t include any “true experts” on climate science.

On his first claim, we have worked with more than 300 of the world’s top economists and seven Nobel Laureates. Our main focus is all the world’s problems, not just climate change, so many are experts in the economics of malaria, infrastructure, water, education etc.   We certainly don’t have a ‘conservative’ bias — we’ve actually invited Stiglitz to be a member of several eminent panels together with his Nobel colleagues. But it also shows that Stiglitz seems to be suggesting that only liberal economists such as himself can be trusted to help set priorities for the world.

On his second claim, we have worked with many climate economists, and when we did our big climate consensus, we worked with 27 of the world’s top climate economists, publishing the results as a book with Cambridge University Press, which even got a favorable quote from the IPCC’s chairman (“This book provides not only a reservoir of information on the reality of human induced climate change, but raises vital questions and examines viable options on what can be done to meet the challenge.”).

Stiglitz’ derogatory two claims are simply incorrect.

Lack of prioritization

One of the key points of my book (and the Copenhagen Consensus’ work) is that we have to prioritize. No matter the amount of resources available, there is never enough to do everything, and hence we have to make sure we spend resources where they can do the most good first.  The allocation of scarce resources with alternative uses, of course, is the key definition of economics.

Obviously, money from a tax can be used on many things (some of which I’m sure Stiglitz wouldn’t like), but they can still only be used once. And the point is, that with more stringent climate policies, GDP will be slightly lower, hence there will be less in total to spend.

The new IPCC report shows end-of-world

Stiglitz finally claims that because I cite the UN Climate Panel so often, one could believe I might be right. But, he comforts his readers, “nothing could be further from the truth”:

What I say in the book is also what is in the IPCC 2018 1.5°C report.

Then Stiglitz goes on to make the exact scare scenario in which the media excels and that I have criticized. The 60 feet sea level rise is from a world in an entirely different part of the state space. He knows very well that such statistics are only meant to scare but not informative for what will happen for us, in this part of the state space. That, of course, is exactly what the IPCC reports are about. They talk about a high outcome of 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100. The only reason to throw out 60 feet is to scare people silly.


Making 12 substantial criticisms of my book and that they are all false, is quite an achievement. It is hard not to conclude that Stiglitz’ review of my book is a deceptive and false hit piece. It is perhaps not surprising that Stiglitz actually said that he was going to give the book a bad review even before he read it. In many ways, it seems like he still hasn’t read it.

I have asked New York Times to rectify this terrible article. 



Montana Lawmakers Rein In Judicial Climatism

Mine work at Westmoreland’s Rosebud Mine near Colstrip. Credit: Alexis Bonogofsky

Montana Free Press reports on how the state legislature liberated project permitting from CO2 hysteria, and the nonsense labeling the essential trace gas as a “pollutant.” The article is Gianforte signs bill banning state agencies from analyzing climate impacts.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

House Bill 971 comes as Montana courts are poised to consider how “clean and healthful environment” protections intersect with energy regulations.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed into law a bill that bars the state from considering climate impacts in its analysis of large projects such as coal mines and power plants.

House Bill 971 was among the most controversial energy- and environment-related proposals before the Legislature this session, drawing more than 1,000 comments, 95% of which expressed opposition to the measure. HB 971 bars state regulators like the Montana Department of Environmental Quality from including analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts, both within and outside Montana’s borders, when conducting comprehensive reviews of large projects.

It builds off of a decade-old law barring the state from including
“actual or potential impacts that are regional, national,
or global in nature” in environmental reviews.

Comment:  The pertinent wording appears in Part 2 of the Act:

(2) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), an environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1) may not include an evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions AND corresponding impacts to the climate in the state or beyond the state’s borders.

(2) (b) An environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1) may include an evaluation if: conducted JOINTLY by a state agency and a federal agency to the extent the review is required by the federal agency;
or the United States congress amends the federal Clean Air Act to include carbon dioxide emissions as a regulated pollutant.

Gianforte signed HB 971 into law May 10 over opposition from climate and environmental groups that had argued that the measure hinders the state’s ability to respond to the crisis of our time: the atmosphere-warming emissions of greenhouse gases that are shrinking the state’s snowpack, reducing summer and fall streamflows, and contributing to catastrophic flooding and longer, more intense wildfire seasons. Opponents had also argued that the majority of Montanans believe in human-caused climate change and want meaningful climate action.

Proponents of the measure, including its sponsor, Rep. Josh Kassmier, R-Fort Benton, argued that by pushing back on a recent ruling revoking a NorthWestern Energy gas plant permit, HB 971 underscores that it’s lawmakers, not judges, who set policy. Other proponents, including the Treasure State Resources Association and the Montana Petroleum Association, asserted that HB 971 protects state agencies from an “unworkable” mandate to measure greenhouse gas emissions and that any such regulation properly belongs under federal regulatory frameworks such as the Clean Air Act.

NorthWestern Energy Plan Building a New $250M Natural Gas Power Plant at Laurel, Montana

Gianforte spokesperson Kaitlin Price echoed this assessment in a statement to Montana Free Press.

“House Bill 971 re-established the longstanding, bipartisan policy that analysis conducted pursuant to the Montana Environmental Policy Act does not include analysis of greenhouse gas emissions,” Price said. “The bill would allow evaluation of GHGs if it is required under federal law or if Congress amends the Clean Air Act to include carbon dioxide as a regulated pollutant.”

The bill comes as a Helena judge is weighing a case brought by 16 youth plaintiffs asking the judicial branch to require the state to measure and regulate greenhouse gas emissions. That lawsuit, Held vs. Montana, is set for a 10-day hearing that will start June 12.

It also comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers a rule that would expand regulations dealing with power plants’ emissions of greenhouse gasses. If passed, the rule would require power plants like the coal-fired plant in Colstrip to capture 90% of its carbon emissions by 2038.


Zero Carbon Alarmists Upset at Public Rejection

Climatists are increasingly complaining about critics dismissing their doomsday claims as false alarms.  Recently I posted on meteorologists upset about negative pushback from their audiences.  [See Enforcing Climate Correctness (Fact Checking)]

Maybe if they stuck to weather reporting? See Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast

In addition Daily Sceptic observes Scientists Pushing Net Zero Complain of Hurty Feelings on Twitter. Excerpt in italics wtih my bolds.

What is happening of course is that the horrors of the collectivist Net Zero project are becoming increasingly apparent, as a widespread attack on almost all human activity is launched under the suggestion that the climate is breaking down. Until recently the ‘settled’ science promoting this view had a safe, largely uncontested space to prosper. But scepticism about the unproven hypothesis that humans operate the climate thermostat by burning fossil fuels is growing, with two recent polls showing that over 40% of people surveyed worldwide believe climate change is mainly due to natural causes. Far from coughing up the huge sums required to hit Net Zero, 4 in 10 Americans are not even prepared to pay more than two dimes a week to combat climate change.

 It is hardly surprising that the banning of meat eating, along with all the other notable Net Zero suggestions such as no flying, shipping, barely enough energy to heat homes and cook food and restrictions on all common building materials, is starting to foster wide debate – even sometimes robust debate. Maslin, along with many of his fellow climate extremists, seem oblivious to this gathering trend. This is perhaps not surprising. In 2018, he was one of a number of eco-activists who signed a letter to the Guardian saying they would no longer “lend their credibility” by debating climate change scepticism.

The loss of Twitter as a ‘safe’ space for climate alarmists has been a bitter blow. It is not seemingly enough to exert considerable control over most other public platforms including social and mainstream media. Global Witness is of the view that if climate scientists are unable to do their work because of “stress and fear caused by harassment”, the critical evidence that undergirds climate action and solutions is put at risk.

It is reasonable for social media users to tell delicate activists like Maslin that there is really nothing to worry about from our climate. It’s just free speech, and it applies – in fact it is vital – in science and geography, as elsewhere. But it’s not just about science anymore. It is becoming apparent that Net Zero is being used as an attack on almost all human activity. Everything humans do to survive, from keeping warm to growing food, is being cast as an attack on Mother Earth.

Expert Findings Awaken Censorship 

The alarmists are calling for greater censorship of growing numbers of studies and perspectives that refute and contradict claims made by “consensus” scientists.  For example Fraser Institute recently published Celebrate Earth Day by burning latest UN climate report.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Ahead of Earth Day, and not coincidentally, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  released a summary of its summaries of summaries of a massive unreadable multi-volume report that specifies how the climate is changing and what must be done. Again, not surprisingly, the new plans are more stringent than the already unachievable previous plans.

In presenting the report, which is still not available in its final form, Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, called on developed countries to move up their already impossible “net-zero” greenhouse gas emission timelines from 2050 to 2040. He also wants coal use to end entirely by 2030 in developed countries, and wants the developed world on carbon-free electricity generation by 2035, meaning no gas-fired power plants. Yes, only 12 years from now.

If we don’t follow that advice, we’re told, we’ll cruise past the politically-determined target of limiting increased global average temperature to 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. And, we’re told, UN scientists believe we’ll see all kinds of negative trends—droughts, floods, storms, hot weather, cold weather, ocean acidification, glacier retreat (basically all the worst parts of the Bible). Some of this may be true, much is likely untrue, as almost all of it is based on speculative computer models infused with assumptions about how things might work in nature, rather than rigorously measured values that establish how they actually work in nature. Canadians who believe computerization can correct soothsaying will be concerned; those who believe the future is unpredictable will be less so.

But either way, the secretary-general’s net-zero acceleration is a terrible idea that Canada’s governments should ignore, mainly because the side effects of this prescription will be far worse than the ailment. In 2021, RBC estimated it would cost a cool $2 trillion to reach net-zero by 2050. Broken down by year, the estimated cost rivalled spending on our health-care system. And RBC’s estimate assumed continued use of natural gas, which the UN is taking off the table. And even though, through RBC’s rose-coloured glasses, a “nation of electric vehicles, solar-powered houses and hydrogen-fueled airplanes” will help enormously, RBC found even the best-case scenarios for these technologies might only get Canada three-quarters of the way to net-zero—the old net-zero of 2050, not the potential new net-zero of 2040.

Finally, as always, the climate benefits from all of this will be negligible.

Nothing Canada can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (already a small and diminishing fraction of global emissions) would be enough to exert a measurable influence on the climate. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Trudeau’s friends in China, the world’s largest emissions emitter, are allowed to emit with abandon. Hopefully, Canadian policymakers will file the new UN report in the voluminous burn bin with other silly UN reports, and with the Trudeau government’s current woes, there’s room for hope.

Ben Pile’s Compilation of Climate False Alarms
Pushback Against Ruinous Climate Policies Takes to the Streets

The growing resistence to elite’s agenda is not only in discourse, but now working people are protesting in the streets.  Brendan O’Neill writes at Spiked The working-class revolt against Net Zero.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Danish truckers are the latest workers to rise up against eco-authoritarianism.

Danish truckers are the latest workers to join the rebellion against green authoritarianism. Yesterday, they caused ‘road havoc’ in Denmark. They parked their huge hauliers side by side on key roads. Sections of the border with Germany were affected, as were the M11 and M16 around Copenhagen. Roads towards the ferry docks at Helsingor – ‘one of the most important ports in Denmark’ – were also briefly clogged by angry truckers.

Their beef? The government’s plan to introduce a ‘truck tax’ in 2025. As part of its devotion to the cult of Net Zero, the Danish ruling class wants to slash carbon emissions by 70 per cent before 2030. And one way it intends to do that is by imposing a punitive mileage-based eco-tax on the drivers of diesel trucks, in the hope that the financial pressure will become so unbearable that they’ll switch to electric trucks instead.

The ingratitude is staggering.

Truckers are the lifeblood of a modern society. They transport the fuel, food and other goods that are essential to everyday life. They drive alone, for hours, in all weathers, to keep society well stocked. And how do the elites in Copenhagen repay these people who, without fuss or fanfare, bring them everything they need? By slapping them with a new kind of sin tax – the sin in this case being to drive a vehicle that the eco-minded consider to be ‘dirty’ and ‘polluting’.

No wonder the truckers are angry. Others are, too. Dutch farmers have been in a state of revolt for a couple of years now. They’re raging against their government’s plans to cut nitrogen emissions by half before 2030, which would entail farmers getting rid of vast numbers of their livestock and possibly lead to the closure of 3,000 farms.

The nitrogen-slashing policy was drawn up under pressure from the eco-oligarchs in the EU, who are heaping pressure on all member states to hurry toward that secular heaven of Net Zero. In Ireland, too, farmers are simmering over government plans to cut ‘farm emissions’ by up to 30 per cent in order that Ireland might achieve its ‘climate goals’. They’re worried that 58,000 farm jobs could be lost to the elites’ slavish devotion to the Net Zero ideology.

Elsewhere, cab drivers and hauliers in England have blocked roads over the introduction of ‘clean air’ taxes on anyone who drives an allegedly dirty vehicle. Some Londoners have taken direct action against the ugly bollards erected in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to discourage driving, and against the cameras that are being installed to monitor the movements of ‘high-pollution’ vehicles.

And let’s not forget that the great gilets jaunes revolt in France of 2018 to 2020 started out as an uprising against a hike in fuel tax that was introduced as part of the government’s plan to ‘reduce greenhouse-gas emissions’. Yet another Net Zero assault on working people’s pockets. The French knew very well that this eco-punishment was an act of Jupiterian overreach by Emmanuel Macron.

And Danish truckers, Dutch farmers, British cabbies and other working-class
blasphemers against the religion of Net Zero clearly feel similarly
about the green policies being imposed on them.

These uprisings throw into sharp relief the elitism of the climate-change ideology. They expose the class element in the green tyranny. It is increasingly clear that where the pursuit of Net Zero might benefit the elites, providing them with a sense of moral mission as they tackle the fantasy apocalypse of their own fever dreams, it is incredibly destructive for working-class communities. Our rulers’ fretful turn against industrial society threatens to decimate jobs in ‘dirty’ industries and further raise the cost of energy and driving, leaving the hard-up even harder up.

Look On The Bright Side

There is a brighter side to emphasize in contrast to the climatists’ gloom and doom. Zachary Emmanuel summarizes the alternative messaging in his Countere article How climate change could benefit life on earth. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

A world warmer by a few degrees Celsius, far from dealing a death blow to humanity, presents several opportunities for the flourishing of life: a world-altering trading passage will finally open, global food agricultural production could rise, and we will even see the return of mega-lakes such as Lake Chad in Africa. This certainly depends on the degree of warming: for example, a 2.5 degree-warmer earth could even be considered ideal, whereas a 5 degree-warmer earth would present significantly more challenges. Even then, I have no doubt humanity would be able to survive and succeed, as it has through crises in our time and in the past.

This is an unpopular opinion. In fact, an AI like ChatGPT literally can’t tell you one positive benefit of marginal global warming, as it said when I asked: “I’m sorry, but I cannot provide you with reasons why an increase in temperature by 1 degree Fahrenheit would be beneficial to biodiversity, nature, or human society. Climate change and global warming, which are largely driven by human activities, have already caused significant impacts on the planet…” yadda yadda yadda.

There will be negative effects of global warming. But scientists and “experts” explicitly ignore any positive effects of global warming. Dissident climatologists like Dr. Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, have stated this is because entire academic careers, professional recognition, and media spotlights are linked to one’s degree of alarmism over climate change. (This is also because intense fear over climate change makes a population more willing to accept radical measures.)

Well, that’s why we have Countere. Here are some reasons why you should look forward to the future—or at least, no longer be so scared of it.

Climate change is not a new phenomenon. The Earth has been much hotter and colder before. In fact, over the 4-billion-year lifespan of the Earth, warmer periods are correlated with the flourishing of life, while colder temperatures are tied to mass extinctions. The impacts of global warming on our civilization will be complex and unpredictable; while it will undoubtedly cause harm to some, we must recognize its potential opportunities.

We only get one side of the story—the one meant to intimidate us
and convince us that the only way to prevent climate Armageddon
is to vote for a certain political party or to radically remake our society.

Far too often, global warming is viewed as the most critical environmental action of our time, or even cited a reason not to have children, when in reality, we are contending with just as grave issues: destructive mono-cropping practices, glysophate-containing pesticides, micro-plastics in the ocean, and a spiritual crisis threatening all of humanity and to sever our connection to nature. And that’s to say nothing of the game of nuclear chicken that our warmongering foreign policy elites play on a daily basis.

You are being lied to about climate change.

Global warming does not mean the end of the world. It means a new world with new challenges. We should accept these challenges with a stoic mindset and a positive attitude. By embracing new ideas, technologies, and approaches to global warming, we can create a better future for ourselves and our planet.

Arctic Ice Plentiful Mid May 2023

The image above shows 2023 Arctic ice extents from Mid April (day 106) to Mid May (day 135). As usual, the LIFO pattern is observed: ice that is Last In is the First Out.  The Pacific basins of Okhotsk (top left) and Bering (bottom left) rapidly turn to open water.  Baffin Bay (lower right) melts more slowly. Barents Sea (top center loses ice extent steadily.  Note Hudson Bay (bottom) keeps its ice, and Canadian Archipelago (lower center) retains most of its ice. On the left center, the Eurasian coastline remains frozen.

The graph below shows 2023 compared to 17 year average and some recent years for this time period.

Firstly, on average this period shows ice declining 1.44 M km2 down to 12.68M km2,  Note that  2023 matched the average in April, then retained more ice than usual during first two weeks of May. Sea Ice Index (SII) was close to MASIE throughout..  The other years, including 2007, were ~300k km2 lower than average.

Region 2023135 Day 135 Average 2023-Ave. 2007135 2023-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 12771477 12677903 93574 12431928 339549
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1050531 1046418 4113 1057649 -7118
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 943942 926464 17478 953491 -9549
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1085822 1081321 4501 1075314 10508
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897060 881069 15991 828738 68322
 (5) Kara_Sea 919027 879799 39228 876053 42974
 (6) Barents_Sea 407569 418431 -10862 351553 56016
 (7) Greenland_Sea 730714 619664 111050 564865 165849
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 979333 1076523 -97190 1018780 -39447
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 841610 839708 1902 830604 11006
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1153016 1186552 -33536 1167310 -14294
 (11) Central_Arctic 3247995 3223255 24740 3234305 13690
 (12) Bering_Sea 296036 301878 -5842 298268 -2231
 (13) Baltic_Sea 6134 7668 -1534 6368 -234
(14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 211027 186778 24249 164833 46194

The table shows the distribution of ice in the Arctic basins.  The main deficits to average are Baffin and Hudson Bays, more than offset by surpluses in Kara and Greenland Seas. Most other regions are surplus with a few slightly negative.

Resources:  Climate Compilation II Arctic Sea Ice