Pushback on Corrosive Energy Idiocy

Congressman Byron Donalds excoriates the House Oversight and Reform Committee for biting the hands that energize the nation in the five minutes allowed him in video below.  (The settings button on the video allows you to turn on subtitles). For those who prefer reading, my transcript (lightly edited) follows in italics with my bolds and added images.

Chair: The gentleman from Florida Mr. Donalds is recognized for five minutes.

Donalds: Thank you Madam Chair and first of all to the witnesses, the the leaders of Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, I know that the climate activists are in twitter world which Dave Chappelle says doesn’t exist. And he’s right because it’s just people who have nothing better to do but type on their keyboards. And we do it too here in congress.

But let’s be very clear. You deserve an apology, because what I witnessed today was just rank intimidation by the chair of this committee, trying to get you to pledge on what you’re going to spend your money, is a gross violation of the first amendment. Just because we’re members of congress, and we’ve got microphones and we passed laws, does not mean that we also have the ability to infringe on your ability to organize, whether it’s API or anybody else, or what you choose to spend your money on. It is disgusting, absolutely disgusting. Somebody needs to go call Merrick Garland to tell them to get in here and watch the intimidation that came from this very panel today.

Because this is not about defending big oil or defending big anything; it’s about defending the ability of people in our country to be free to say what they want, think what they want, spend their money how they choose. And if we’re not going to be any better than the Chinese, how do we ever expect to beat them on the world stage? When we’re cutting our neck when it comes to energy production, while they are burning more coal, burning more oil. They’re increasing their emissions and they’re not showing up in Scotland. And why not?

Because they’re interested in building an economy; they’re interested in becoming the dominant economic player across the globe, in becoming the dominant military player across the globe.

Meanwhile we joke around and mess around intimidating you guys who frankly heat our homes, you cool our fridges and keep our cars going. This is insane. So I’m sorry for you and I’m sorry for the people in our country who have to witness shenanigans like this and witness circuses like this.

One show on HBO or whatever it is, is called the circus because that’s exactly what this is. Madam Chair, I’m requesting that a letter be entered into the record. This is a letter written by ranking member Comer and the other ranking members on this committee that actually speaks to the chilling effect that has come from you Madam Chair, asking you to stop intimidating companies, requesting information that is their first amendment right to have. I ask that letter be admitted into the record under unanimous consent

Chair: Without objection.

Donalds: Thank you Madam Chair.

I have a question for Mr. Sommers, now that we’re done with that. Mr. Sommers, it was asked of the executives if they believe in electronic vehicles. And it’s a noble goal to have, but Mr. Sommers: Where does the energy for electricity production actually come from?

Mike Sommers, President, American Petroleum Institute: Thank you congressman. Before I address that question, I do want to clear up one thing. Having a difference of views on electric vehicles is not climate disinformation. We as an organization support all forms of energy. We support the rapid advancement of electronic vehicles as well. But at the same time we don’t agree that the federal government should be the ones funding the build out of that infrastructure. As we built out service stations across the country, those service stations have been developed not by the federal government but by private industry. And members on this panel themselves are investing in building out that infrastructure, as is appropriate for the private sector.

First of all your question is very very important, which is: Where does that energy come from? In the United States most of the energy comes from natural gas. It has replaced coal as the primary source of energy in this country.

Donalds: Let me ask you this question as a follow-up. So if we don’t have natural gas, and obviously the democrats are against coal, where would we actually get the electricity to power all of these electric cars?

Sommers: Well congressman for most countries, and certainly for the United States, there would be likely be a fuel switch back from natural gas to coal.

Donalds: So real quick Mr. Sommers, I don’t mean to cut you off, because you make a great point, but I have 30 seconds. It is important for the American people to understand that if you follow the idiocy that’s in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, it is going to make natural gas harder to procure. We’re actually not going to have lower emissions we’re going to have higher emissions because you’re going to have to switch back to coal fire plants.

And just for the record let’s also say the world will always demand energy. if you’re not getting it from us, where we actually do it more safely and more cleanly, you’ll get it from Russia or from China. And they don’t care what the climate activists have to say on twitter.

I yield the floor.

 

Brits Run Con Game at Glasgow COP

Doomsday was predicted but failed to happen at midnight.

Vijay Jayaraj explains in his Real Clear Energy article COP26’s UK Hosts Peddle Climate Misinformation.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

As hosts of the Glasgow COP26 climate conference, UK leaders were models for the meeting’s steady stream of misinformation and fearmongering that came from the likes of Barack Obama and Greta Thunberg.

The clock on the doomsday device is still ticking, but we’ve got a bomb disposal team on site,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “They’re starting to snip the wires – I hope some of the right ones.” If the specter of catastrophic global warming is not sufficiently scary, how about the image of an explosion?

As for misinformation, Boris claimed that “India (is) keeping a billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere by switching half its power grid to renewable sources.”

Actually, India is increasing emissions, not reducing them.

The country is determined to raise coal production by 50 percent — from 700 million tons to 1 billion tons a year. The country has invested heavily in the coal sector and is asking coal utilities to implement fresh strategies to achieve the new target.

Also, the claim of India’s power grid being 50 percent renewables is misleading. While the total installed renewable capacity is around 40 percent out of the total installed power generation systems in the country, only nine percent of all electricity consumed comes from wind and solar because the so-called green technologies are available much less than are baseload sources. Seventy percent of all electricity comes from coal, followed by hydroelectric and nuclear. Even if wind and solar ever achieve 80 percent of total installed capacity, the actual generation from them would be less than 20 percent.

Also, there is no imminent threat from the climate as Boris so dramatically claims. Certainly not anything thing like a ticking bomb. Antarctica has been colder during the last four years, polar bears have thrived, islands are gaining land mass, and fewer people die from climate disasters than ever before.

Of course, understanding these realities requires unbiased research of data, which seems to be too much of a bother for Boris Johnson. Perhaps, the prime minister’s aides could read him page 256 of the United Nation’s special report, “Global Warming of 1.5°C.”

The report states that if we do nothing on climate, the subsequent theoretical increase of 3.66°C in temperature by the year 2100 will cost a meager 2.6 percent of the global gross domestic product — a loss that gives no reason to panic nor any justification to declare a climate emergency. And that is assuming UN projections are not overstated, which they often are.

To balance the scare tactics of the prime minister, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak employed alluring cliches to promote the financing of climate polices. “We’re talking about making a tangible difference to people’s lives,” said the chancellor. “About cheap, reliable and clean electricity to power schools and hospitals in rural Africa. About better coastal defenses in the Philippines and the pacific islands to protect people from storm surges. About everyone, everywhere having fresher water to drink…cleaner air to breathe.”

Instead of real-world data, the chancellor uses high-sounding language as poetic musical prelude and endnote to sell his vision of spending money on climate policies for a supposedly better world. He ignores that more people in the world have better access to clean water than ever before in modern history. The share of global population with access to safe drinking water went up from around 60 percent in the year 2000 to around 73 percent in 2020 despite a rapid increase in population and growing groundwater problems in cities.

Our World in DataImage: Improvement in access to clean water globally, Source: https://ourworldindata.org/water-access

Western economies — Europe, UK, and U.S. — that have been dependent on fossil fuels boast some of the cleanest air in the world today. This is because fossil fuels provide the fastest creation of wealth, which can be spent on reducing pollution. Average life expectancy in the world went up from just 45 in 1950 to 71 in recent years. These are all markers of improvement, not degradation.

When it comes to extreme weather events, there has been no increase in the global tropical hurricane frequency, a fact that is conveniently overlooked by leaders like Sunak when they bemoan storms in cyclone-prone regions of the world.

Global Hurricane Frequency — 12-month running sums. The top time series is the number of global tropical cyclones that reached at least hurricane-force (maximum lifetime wind speed exceeds 64 knots). The bottom time series is the number of global tropical cyclones that reached major hurricane strength (96 knots+). Source: http://climatlas.com/tropical/

If the chancellor really intends to provide affordable and reliable energy to the poor in Africa, then fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydro are the only probable solutions. Wind and solar are unreliable, and available battery technologies are simply not viable for on-demand baseload.

For those who care about facts, it is frustrating to have media-enabled leaders utter absurdities with few holding them to account. Billions of energy-starved people deserve better.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Va., and holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, England. He resides in Bengaluru, India.

Trudeau: Let’s Limit How Far You can Drive

Brad Salzberg writes Trudeau Considers Restricting Distance of Vehicle Travel For Canadian Citizens.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

During the recent COP26 summit, Justin Trudeau hosted a carbon pricing conference showcasing Canada’s carbon policy. He referred to it as “one of the most stringent and ambitious in the world.”

In terms of a domestic carbon program, no emission reduction mandates had thus far been established beyond an agreement between Alberta and Ottawa to limit output at 100 megatonnes per year. Canada emits roughly 730 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. The Trudeau government has now mandated a specific 100-megatonne reduction for our oil and gas sector by the year 2030.

This in itself is not a surprise. What should make the ears of Canadians perk up is one of the proposed restrictions to accomplish the goal. Among other current considerations in the Liberal government’s proposal, we discover the following, as reported by the Calgary Sun this week:

“Limit personal consumption of hydrocarbons by individual Canadians, in terms of allowable miles travelled by motor vehicle, train or air.”

My, my– Canada is certainly filled with surprises these days. Last week delivered another zinger:
“Deliberately coughing at someone during the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a criminal assault.”

Applying our math skills, that’s two examples of unprecedented forms of draconian social measures in the past two weeks. Not that mainstream media will present it as such. In both cases, the information was ever-so-casually tucked into news articles on a larger theme.Let us understand the potential what is being proposed. There may come a time when the distance Canadians can travel in their vehicles includes a hard cap on mileage. Not only would this apply to their personal vehicle, but also to the time they spend idly reading a newspaper while riding a bus.

All of which conjures up a collective yawn from legacy media. As a result, they will likely never juxtapose this “progressive” policy with what Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms has to say about the matter.

6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.

(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right:

to move to and take up residence in any province; and
to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

What would occur in a case where Charter-based mobility rights were violated by Trudeau’s restriction on distance of travel?

A simple question it is. The answer, of course, is nothing at all. Just as it applies to current Charter breaches that result from Covid mandates.

Result: a loss of personal freedom. Predicted extend of exposure from establishment media? Nothing.

Witness as Canada continues to morph into a reasonable facsimile of authoritarian nations of the world.

Footnote:  See also Uh Oh Canada

 

 

Climatist Insurrection Enters New Phase

Previously the insurrection by climate anti-fossil fuel acitvists took the form of sabotaging oil and gas infrastructure, led notably by the “valve turners”, who were arrested and mostly let off the hook in a series of high profile trials.  This phase broke down after numerous states enacted serious penalties for attacks on energy projects and infrastructure. Also, with the Biden administration climatists hoped for swift federal action to shut down oil and gas production and supply. See Securing Pipelines Against Disrupters

Disappointed with lack of progress on their “leave it in the ground” agenda, activists are now attempting to occupy federal buildings to intimidate public officials into action.  This could be a precursor of more insurrection events far more serious than anything happening on Jan.6, 2021.

Michael Austin reports at The Western Journal  ‘Insurrection’? Climate Change Protesters Attempt to Storm Interior Department Building.  H/T John Ray.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Jan. 6 Capitol incursion was not an insurrection, as many left-wing politicians and pundits have claimed.  Sure, some of those present during the incursion were rioters who broke the law. They should be punished accordingly.

 On Thursday, Oct. 14,  a large group of climate change protesters tried to enter the Department of the Interior, according to Ellie Silverman, a reporter for The Washington Post.

“Climate protesters are now rallying outside the Department of the Interior. They’re trying to get inside but police are blocking the entrance. I can see a few Indigenous women through the doorway who are sitting on the floor inside the building and linking arms,” Silverman tweeted.

She further noted that “protesters are remaining on the steps and won’t move out of the doorway where several police are blocking passage into the building.”

If these activists happened to be conservatives protesting against vaccine mandates or Bidenflation, the media would be covering it ad nauseam.

Panicky headlines declaring the return of the Jan. 6 “insurrectionists” would spread like wildfire across social media.

But instead, since the protesters happen to be supporting a cause backed by the establishment elite, the media has remained largely silent.

P.S. I don’t think of these protesters or those at the capital 6/1/21 as “insurrectionists.” But if that is the term used to imprison 6/1/21 participants and remove their civil rights, then it should also be applied here. We do not know whether these disturbances will evolve into riots like those in Portland where the Federal Courthouse was vandalized by insurrectionists, never held accountable.

Glasgow COP Has Fleet of Teslas To Be Diesel-Charged

Tyler Durden reports at zerohedge  UN Climate Change Conference Reportedly Using Diesel Generators To Charge Teslas Being Used As Shuttles. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

We’re not sure we can think of a better analogue for the lunacy behind the climate change hysteria that what is reportedly going on in Glasgow.

As many people know, the Conference of the Parties (COP) Climate Change Conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, is taking place in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12.

One blogger from Brighton wrote this week that attendees from the conference will be staying at Gleneagles Hotel.

He wrote that there’s 20 Teslas at the hotel to shuttle people back and forth to and from the convention, which is about 75km.

Then, the kicker. Since the hotel only has one Tesla charging station, diesel generators were contracted to help recharge the Teslas overnight.

The stated purpose of the conference is, among other things, “to review the implementation of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.”

The climate change conferences now count themselves, according to the UNFCCC’s website, as “among the largest international meetings in the world.”

“The intergovernmental negotiations have likewise become increasingly complex and involve an ever-increasing number of officials from governments all over the world, at all levels, as well as huge numbers of representatives from civil society and the global news media,” the conference’s website says.

Maybe since we’re gathered to talk about the negative effect on the climate, we could at least start by finding a carbon neutral way to shuttle yourself back and forth to the event.

It’s almost like these meetings aren’t really about climate change after all…

 

So Called “Climate Science”

Norman Rogers writes at American Thinker The ‘Science’ of Climate Change.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The science surrounding COVID has been hijacked for political purposes. People who recovered from the disease are pushed to get vaccinated, even though they have a natural immunity that is stronger than vaccine immunity. People are required to wear masks even though masks are essentially useless for preventing infection. People that die are reported as dying of COVID even though they died of something else. The government demands that children be vaccinated even though they are naturally resistant to the disease and suffer disturbing side effects from the vaccine. Schools are closed for no good reason.

The “science” of climate change is also BS. That should be easier to accept after seeing what the government did to COVID science. Why do politicians want to hype a nonexistent climate crisis? In a word: power. By claiming that there is an urgent climate crisis the politicians can spend billions to fight the imaginary foe. Those billions create political allies and reward friends. H.L. Mencken put it nicely in 1918:

The parade of imaginary environmental catastrophes during the last 70 years is very long. Here are some books predicting this or that environmental disaster: Our Plundered Planet (1948), Road to Survival (1948), Silent Spring (1962), Famine 1975! (1967), The Population Bomb (1968), The Limits to Growth (1972), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate (2014), The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (2019).

Richard Lindzen, one of the most accomplished climate scientists in the world by virtue of his discoveries, does not have to kowtow to the global warming mob. In an essay, he pointed out that scientific data that challenge the global warming hypothesis are simply changed. He cites examples of how environmental extremists have infiltrated scientific organizations. [See Climate Science Was Broken]

Tony Heller, an engineer and geologist, operates a long-running website, Real Climate Science. He specializes in exposing the changed data mentioned by Richard Lindzen. The promoters of climate change cherry-pick data when they are not changing it. Heller exposes the lie in the National Climate Assessment that heatwaves are becoming more common. He exposes “adjustments” to the U.S. temperature record to bring it into line with climate change predictions.[See Man Made Warming from Adjusting Data]

In her book The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, Donna Laframboise exposes the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN organization that pretends to produce very careful and serious reports on the Earth’s climate. Most climate hysteria traces back to the IPCC’s reports. The IPCC does not follow its own procedures and is populated by environmental activists with limited scientific credentials. Its reports are masterful examples of wordy expositions that circle around scientific problems rather than presenting solid ideas backed by facts. The IPCC is a political organization, not a scientific one.

Amusingly, the longtime head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian railroad engineer, is also the author of a porn novel: Return to Almora. The 75-year-old bureaucrat was forced out of an Indian environmental organization for making persistent and improper advances to young women that worked for him. But, of course, that is irrelevant to his accomplishments as head of the IPCC.

The predictions of climate doom are based on complex computer models of the Earth’s atmosphere. Kevin E. Trenberth, an accomplished climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research said this about these models:

“None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models.”

The method of the IPCC is to average together the results from dozens of computer models to make their predictions. They don’t actually say “predictions,” they say “projections,” but the rest of the world sees predictions. The model developers try to make their models fit climate history on the assumption that if they fit the past, the models might have predictive value for the future. There are a few problems. The models are so complex and have so many adjustable parameters, that fitting the past becomes an exercise in curve fitting. Further, the modelers are each permitted to have their own climate history. Parts of climate history that are poorly known, such as aerosols, can be fiddled to make a particular model fit better. [See Climate Models: Good, Bad and Ugly]

Figure 8: Warming in the tropical troposphere according to the CMIP6 models. Trends 1979–2014 (except the rightmost model, which is to 2007), for 20°N–20°S, 300–200 hPa. John Christy et al. (2019)

This method, applied to the stock market, would be to make a model and adjust it so that it explains past gyrations of the market. Then wahoo… the modeler can make billions. It doesn’t work, as the scarcity of mathematicians that are billionaires testifies.

I spent 10 years going to the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. I spoke with many climate scientists including many who freely admitted in private that global warming is a very dubious enterprise.

I remember a Danish guy who visited beaches in northern Greenland by dog sled. He discovered 6,000-year-old driftwood on a beach always blocked by ice, year-round. That was clear evidence that the Arctic Ocean was summer ice-free during a time called the Holocene Optimum. Present-day global warmers claim that our coming climate disaster will again make the Arctic Ocean summer ice-free, something that happened 6,000 years ago with no help from SUVs or belching cows. Of course, the guy was afraid to make too much of his discovery because it challenges the climate doom theory.

There is no such thing as an early career climate scientist that is skeptical concerning global warming. I actually tried to find one and did a poster at a scientific meeting on the subject. The reason is simple. It is not because the science is so clear that only an idiot would question it. It is because our early-career climate scientist would soon be looking for a new job. Interfering with the flow of money from Washington is grounds for dismissal.

I still believe in science and I feel sorry for all the closeted climate scientists. Like the Soviet geneticists forced to cheer for Lysenkoism, these academics must cheer the global warming racket. They have wives, children, and mortgages.

Twin Failed Projects: Afghanistan and Climate Change

Rupert Darwall explains the similarity in his Spectator article Afghanistan and climate change: the West’s twin failures. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and some added images.

Both have the same cause: a failure to accept reality

The West’s humiliation in Afghanistan has an older brother: climate change.

As siblings, the two share characteristics, most obviously an inability to confront unwelcome facts. In Afghanistan, there was a large constituency led by the Pentagon invested in the mantra of proclaiming progress in the fight against the Taliban. Climate has its own industrial complex of NGOs, climate scientists, renewable energy lobbyists profiting from the energy transition, eager helpers in the media, and politicians posing as world saviors.

Energy experts tell us renewable energy is cheaper than building new fossil fuel power stations. If they’re right, why did China build the equivalent of more than one large coal plant a week last year? Its slave labor camps help produce materials for Chinese solar panels, which make them the cheapest in the world. This led the Biden administration to ban their importation. In 10 years, India — a country more susceptible to Western fads — increased the amount of electricity it generated from coal nearly six times faster than from wind and solar. In 2020, fossil fuels accounted for almost 90 percent of India’s primary energy consumption.

These facts help explain the biggest fact of all. The first 20 years after the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change saw carbon dioxide emissions rise 60 percent. From 2012 to 2019, they rose a further 5.4 percent. However this is dressed up, it’s failure. Meanwhile, the West’s energy emissions have been more or less flat for nearly three decades and on a downward trend since 2007. Emissions from the Rest of the World account for all the growth in global emissions, suddenly accelerating in 2002 from an average of around 1 percent a year to nearly 5 percent a year in the 12 years until 2014.

As a matter of simple arithmetic, the West’s declining share of global emissions means that whatever it does or doesn’t do is of diminishing relevance to the future of climate change. The West’s solipsism of ‘we’ — as in ‘we must act’ — is a profound self-deception.

Foolishly, the West swallowed the claims of small island states that they would sink beneath the waves unless the rise in global temperature was kept below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This was how ‘pursuing efforts’ to meet the 1.5°C limit ended up in the Paris agreement. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) later confirmed, there was no scientific basis for this. ‘Observations, models and other evidence indicate that unconstrained Pacific atolls have kept pace with S[ea] L[evel] R[ise], with little reduction in size or net gain in land,’ the IPCC said. Instead, the IPCC argued that the 1.5°C target and net zero emissions by 2050 — a target set by the IPCC and not in the Paris agreement — provide the opportunity for ‘intentional societal transformation’.

Stamped all over the West’s two decades of failure in Afghanistan are the words ‘societal transformation’.

‘It has been the hubristic belief that Western values should be universally applied that has led to the folly of nation-building in Afghanistan,’ Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s former ambassador in Washington, has written. Climate involves a double dose of hubris. Western politicians expect other countries to turn their backs on the development paths that made the West wealthy. Yet the same politicians seek to transform their own societies in ways that will make many people — especially the middle class and working families — poorer without having won an honest, democratic mandate to do so. They will thereby invite a populist backlash.

Realism disappears on the shoreline of climate change on the presumption that other nations share the Western belief that climate transcends geopolitics.

It wasn’t a pretty sight when John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, met China’s gimlet-eyed realists earlier this month. In a blunt statement, they told Kerry that Washington should correct its ‘wrong policies’ on China if the US wanted a dialogue on climate. The requirement to appease China could not have been clearer.

In all likelihood, Kerry will probably get off more lightly than Boris Johnson and the British government, the hosts of this year’s UN climate conference in Glasgow. They naively built up expectations that the talks would produce a deal to save the planet. It showed great ignorance of three decades of UN climate diplomacy: there was never going to be a deal to cut emissions at Glasgow. The last time that happened was at the Kyoto climate conference 24 years ago.

The UN climate convention was a product of a different era. Nato’s Afghanistan operation occurred at the apex of the America’s unipolar moment. The short era of George H.W. Bush’s new world order is over. We live in a time of renewed great power rivalry. China and Russia act in ways Otto von Bismarck would recognize. Of the great powers, they are the principal winners from the West’s humiliation in Afghanistan and they are the biggest winners from the Paris agreement. China keeps its coal-based economy while America runs down its oil and gas industries, only recently having become the world’s largest producer of hydrocarbons.

As Europe phases out coal, so too does it becomes more dependent on the Kremlin for natural gas. The lessons of Afghanistan and climate are the same: the West won’t be defeated by its enemies, but by its refusal to see the world as it is.

Biden Preaches Climatism

Spencer Brown reports at TownHall Biden Declares Climate Change a Pressing Issue After 48 Years in Government.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Flanked by New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), and other local officials, President Biden stood atop Ida’s flotsam to call for radical policies allegedly aimed at addressing climate change.

Beginning with some confusion as to whose congressional district he was in, Biden said “It’s about time we step up” to confront climate change, despite his more than four decades serving in the Senate and White House that apparently failed to accomplish anything meaningful on the climate change front.

“People are beginning to realize this is much much bigger,” he explained of the weather that he says is the result of climate change before he criticized “a whole segment of our population” that he believes is denying climate change. “They don’t understand,” he added. “I think we’ve all seen even the climate skeptics are seeing” that so-called extreme weather is proof of climate change.

“Climate change poses an existential threat,” said Biden, raising his voice. “It’s here, it’s not going to get any better,” he added while insisting “we can stop it from getting worse.” If the Left’s climate agenda isn’t accomplished, Biden threatened, “the storms are gonna get worse and worse and worse.”

For his own record, then-Senator Biden voted against more stringent fuel efficiency standards a handful of times. And Biden’s words Tuesday suggest his time as Vice President in the Obama administration accomplished little to nothing. After all, if American policy could save the planet, wouldn’t eight years of Obama and Biden in the White House — which included negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement — have mitigated damage like that he spent Tuesday surveying?

“We’ve gotta listen to the scientists and economists,” Biden admonished. “They tell us this is code red.”  “The world is in peril,” Biden claimed, insisting “that’s not hyperbole.”

Among Biden’s recommendations to solve the climate change he lamented is to, “by 2020, make sure all of our electricity is zero emissions,” a deadline we passed nine months ago.

“We’re here, we’re not going home until this gets done, we’re not leaving,said Biden shortly before departing to board Air Force One to travel home to the White House.

Earlier during his Tuesday tour of damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, Biden was heckled by a local resident who yelled “Resign, you tyrant” as Biden walked nearby.

 

Climate Hysteria is a Global Psy-Op

Iron triangle Crisis

Iron Triangle of Public Crises

Alasdair Macleod writes at Goldmoney The problem with climate change politics. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Climate change bears all the hallmarks of a state-sponsored crisis, useful to shift attention from other political failures. But the absence of financial accountability which characterises government actions also introduces behavioural errors.

The absence of a profit motive in any state action exposes the relationship between governments and their electors to psychological factors. We all know that governments use propaganda and other tools to manage crowd psychology and influence their electorates. What is less understood is that governments themselves are misled by a crowd psychology in its own ranks which contributes to policy failure.

This article does not question the climate change debate itself. Instead, it examines the debate in the context of the psychology driving it. The release of government-sponsored propaganda on climate change in the form of a unanimous IPCC report predicting the end of the world as we know it is the latest example of a political and bureaucratic phenomenon, making the timing of this article highly relevant.

Six psychological factors

 In Chapter 6 of Desrochers & Szurmak’s work, they identify six distinct psychological factors which we will take in turn to enhance our understanding of the psychology of climate change. I list them under the following headings:

♦ The iron triangle of crisis
♦ The psychology of entrenched arguments
♦ Motivated reasoning
♦ The core theoretical theme
The anointed elite and
♦ Optimism and pessimism

The Desrocher and Szurmak reference is to their book Population Bombed.  My synopsis with links is Control Population, Control the Climate. Not.

The iron triangle of crisis

Even from before the time of Malthus, there have been political influencers and activists who have promoted pessimistic assumptions about uncontrolled population expansion, and the ability of the planet’s resources to feed them. Despite these fears being subsequently proved to be unfounded they continue to prevail among those who don’t need to pursue profits for a living. It is a bias to which politicians and their advisers are especially vulnerable.

The public naturally expects its elected representatives’ unbiased endeavours when bringing national threats to its attention. After all, it is arguably a primary function of government to protect its population from dangers, real and potential. There are government departments tasked with assessing dangers to society, their likelihood, and in their event how government should respond. These are tasks that require unbiased research. But political guidance from the top is rarely neutral, seeking to influence outcomes.

And we now find that climate change science has become heavily politicised.

Climate change is the gift that goes on giving to politicians. It creates an impression of tackling the big issue of our times. And it is a source of crisis giving cover for failings over lesser priorities. Observing how Boris Johnson maintains his popularity through a combination of leading the world in the battle against climate change while seeking every photo opportunity possible and at the same time presiding over the Covid disaster has been a masterclass in practical politics. One is left wondering how vacuous his politics would appear without the prop of climate change.

On his watch, the politics of climate disaster have taken on a new life in the UK. Government spending plans angled at reducing carbon emissions has accelerated, as has the support and credibility given by state-funded scientists producing alarming forecasts. Radical environmentalism is not only embraced, but actively promoted through the media.

This trinity, this iron triangle of crisis as Desrochers and Szurmak put it, is therefore comprised of establishment interests, the promotion of fear, and media management. It focuses the public’s mind on a specific threat to the exclusion of others. It is a feedback loop of career and protectionism driven by the psychology of entrenched arguments, which is our next topic.

The psychology of entrenched arguments

A rational approach to absorbing and understanding new information would be to address it logically and without bias. Clearly, this does not happen. Our brains are still wired as they were in our hunter-gatherer days when our decisions were based on a choice of fight or flight. We therefore have a natural tendency to hold onto a protected position after it becomes untenable.

Imagine being part of a community of primitive cave-dwellers and fight or flight becomes a group decision. We will support each other in uncertainty well after a crisis point has passed, breaking ranks after flight has become the only option. It is survival by inward-looking mutual defence, not attack. It is the deep psychology behind groupthink, or the psychology of entrenched arguments. It leads to the cliff-edge of crisis.

Researchers from Cornell University have examined the phenomenon.[iii] They found that “participants prefer to learn information from in-group sources and agree more with in-group members on moral and political issues”. This takes groupthink into persistence territory after the flight option has long passed, and existing views become defensively entrenched. Awareness of the true situation becomes compromised through self-ignorance of the flaws in the group’s knowledge and judgement. It even has a name: the Dunning-Kruger effect.[iv]

To this self-ignorance can be added a group’s overestimation of its understanding of controversial issues, leading to the illusion of “understanding bias”. The more members of a group who debate an issue, the more understanding bias is reinforced. You see evidence of understanding bias in wider politics, particularly when opinions coalesce over time into different political ideologies. In America, the Democrats are as intellectually capable as the Republicans, yet the two parties have retreated into sharply differing understanding biases.

Entrenched arguments are reinforced by naïve realism. A naïve realist assumes he or she personally is both rational and unbiassed in the assimilation and assessment of the facts, and further assumes that those who do not reach the same conclusions are ignorant, biased or both. Naïve realism is the product of a false consensus, under which those that agree with the naïve realist are seen to be more rational than those that do not. Entrenched arguments and naïve realism become the driving force behind motivated reasoning.

Motivated reasoning

We naturally believe in scientific research, on the incorrect assumption that all those PhDs from top universities conduct experiments for the same reasons as we were taught at school in chemistry lessons. Unfortunately, the scientific community’s motivation, in both the natural and social sciences, is not so pure. Scientists are human and need to earn a living, which is far easier to do if they go with the general confirmation bias. In the post-education world, a scientist needs a paid position, recognition and to publish frequently in respected journals. Good ideas become suppressed and poor data to back bad ideas are too frequently the result of this motivated reasoning.[v]

It was best summed up by John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University:

“Scientists in a given field may be prejudiced purely because of their belief in a scientific theory or commitment to their own findings… Prestigious investigators may suppress via the peer review process the appearance and dissemination of findings that refute their findings, thus condemning their field to perpetuate false dogma. Empirical evidence on expert opinion shows that it is extremely unreliable.”[vi]

Admittedly, Professor Ioannidis was writing about research in the natural sciences, but the methods and empirical evidence extends to the social sciences as well. It describes well the research papers published by central banks and the economist professors in universities. It is also characteristic of the opinion silos in government departments.

Motivated reasoning, such as on climate change and political correctness, is all about building a core theoretical theme.

The core theoretical theme

One way in which experts refute opposing evidence is by sticking to a core theoretical theme. I recall email correspondence I had with a well-known financial journalist in 2016, which ground to a halt when he declared,

“In my view, the record global savings rate (27pc) is the root cause of our problems. Some way must be found to rotate this into consumption to rebalance the global economy.”

In other words, he adhered to a core theoretical theme common to neo-Keynesian economists. By expressing it as his view, he was obviously not prepared to debate why he held that the record global savings rate was the root cause of our problems. We are not judging whether it is correct, only that he holds it, he assumes it. He was signalling he will not be shifted, so further debate is pointless. This is true of all state-funded economics, which this opinion reflects. Numerous papers have been written to justify this stance. We have lived with this view since Keynes published his General Theory in 1936. As in Keynesian economics, a core theoretical theme has emerged in the climate change debate

But if Professor Ioannidis is right about empirical evidence showing expert opinion is extremely unreliable, and which appears to be confirmed in the fields of economics and monetary theory, it explains the closed minds to balanced debate in fields such as climate change. So long as a core theoretical theme is adhered to, it becomes almost impossible to overturn.

A determination to stick to the core Keynesian theme on the savings paradox is my journalist friend’s membership card for the anointed elite.

The anointed elite

Many of us want to belong, to make a difference, to enhance society. We know that to do so we must have influence and the best way to do that is to join and promote a cause that has the establishment’s support. And there is nothing like that comforting feeling of an open invitation into the parlours of the great and the good. Well-known figures in the media with this access use their fame and position to anoint themselves alongside the elite and continue to have a career for so long as they play the elite’s game.

The anointed elite was the description of the economist and political theorist, Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He came up with it in his pithily named 1995 book, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a basis for social policy.

Even though we may not recognise it at the time, we have all come across it: the independent expert frequently called on by the media for comment in a specialist field. These experts rely on being informed by government insiders. They adopt the expert mantle, but it is never made clear that they owe their media status almost entirely to their membership of a government-anointed elite and their support of the elite’s objectives. But if they are stupid enough to turn critic, they will be immediately unanointed and they know it.

It applies to ex-politicians and media correspondents alike. If, say, a correspondent for a national newspaper doesn’t play along, he risks being dropped from background briefings by the elite, while his confrères at other journals continue to be invited. “That journalist from the Daily Screech is unreliable. Best not include him in our off-the-record briefings.” The threat of exclusion is the surest way for the elite to ensure that its message is the one that prevails.

Optimists v. pessimists

The glass-half-full optimists and the glass-half-empty pessimists are not split evenly across two sides of an issue. In practice, the establishment and those with a position in society are protective and pessimistic about change because it is a threat to their established position, while commercially minded outsiders tend to take a more positive view.

Psychologists tell us that as humans we have two personalities. One half of us protects what we have, giving us a sense of location, property, and home. The other half is a traveller in search of new vistas, foreign relationships, and trade. Journalist and activist Jane Jacobs (of New York City and then Toronto) identified and described these two patterns of moral precepts as guardian and commercial syndromes.[vii]

According to Jacobs, we have a different mix of these characteristics as individuals, communities and even at national levels. The two syndromes show different characters, which is why some of us are adventurers and others home birds. Commercial relationships are outgoing, and honesty in business is rewarded, while guardians are protective, favour loyalty and support the establishment. Commercials shun force and come to voluntary agreements, while guardians shun trading and exert prowess. Commercials are collaborative, competitive and respect contracts, while guardians are exclusive, take vengeance and respect hierarchy. Commercials are open to inventiveness and novelty, while guardians expect obedience and discipline. And so on.

The commercials’ activities encompass work in making and trading, while the guardians are political leaders, administrators, educators, and upholders of the law. The two syndromes are a neat explanation for the different mindsets and social duties of the private sector compared with governments.

The consequences of climate change politics

The purpose of this article is not to enter the climate change debate but to examine the flaws in the process. Realistically, it is too late to question the line being pursued, having gone beyond any influencer’s control. It is common knowledge that the science is politically influenced by state funding. But it is not widely appreciated that the process of hyping up climate change into a full-blown crisis has become the consequence of a crowd psychology rather than a pursuit of the facts.

The political advantages of introducing legislative targets for climate policies in 2030 or 2040 is that they are sufficiently far away for current politicians to have dumped the problem onto their successors. Without carbon fuels and having subsidised unreliable wind and solar energy to the point where other energy sources, notably nuclear, are uneconomic, the cost of climate change politics threatens to be ruinous for economic activity in the future, threatening the tax base and therefore the expenditure of the governments which have thoughtlessly promoted it.

brain on climate alarm

This is your brain on climate alarm.  Just say NO!

Biden’s Bogus Climate Report

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The latest criticism comes from James Broughel writing at Real Clear Politics Biden’s Climate Report Is Based on Personal Values, Not Science. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Late last month, the Biden administration quietly released an update of the government’s “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimate, a metric used to value the benefits of global warming policies, especially regulations. The update hasn’t received much attention yet, but it will be important in justifying the administration’s climate agenda in the months ahead.

There are numerous shortcomings with the Biden team’s calculations. Some may be due to the report being rushed, but others reflect misunderstanding of economic principles, and, more simply, poor judgment.

Biden’s People Get the Units Wrong

First, numerous tables in the document released by the administration are mislabeled. The interagency working group that produced the update claims its primary estimate of the SCC is 51 dollars per ton. But the models the working group uses calculate the figure in terms of social welfare — not dollars. Thus, 51 is a measure of the amount that the current generation’s “welfare” is reduced by carbon pollution. Even assuming that number is credible (and measuring welfare is no easy task), the administration doesn’t get the units right.,

This is a big deal because the numbers in the new report shouldn’t be used in cost-benefit analysis unless further adjustments are made. Cost-benefit analysis is supposed to measure impacts in dollars, not the Biden administration’s social welfare units. So any analysis that tries to compare these numbers to financial costs will be nonsensical. These problems with units extend to estimates of the social cost of methane and of nitrous oxide, which also appear in last month’s report.

Misleading Social Discount Rate

There are other misleading parts of the document. For example, there is extensive discussion about the correct “social discount rate” to use in cost-benefit analysis. The social discount rate describes how much less a future benefit from a policy should count relative to a present benefit. For example, many economists generally assume a life saved in 100 years is far less valuable than a life saved today — which is, of course, controversial and has implications beyond economics.

The report makes a number of dubious claims about the social discount rate, but here are just a few worth highlighting.

First, Biden’s team argues that risk-free market interest rates have declined in recent years, and that this provides a basis for using a lower social discount rate. However, claims like this reflect a misunderstanding of the discounting concept.

The decision of how much to weight future health, wellbeing, and lives saved is an ethical choice. One cannot find the correct social discount rate by opening up the Wall Street Journal and turning to the page on interest rates. Ultimately, we need some philosophical compass to guide our choice. Yes, one could choose to base an ethical decision on market criteria, but one could just as easily choose an alternative paradigm, like introspection. Nor should this issue be conflated with the rate of return on capital, which is a separate issue that is sometimes confused with social discounting.

In fact, it would be just as legitimate to pick any plausible number out of a hat (you might laugh, but some approaches do draw a discount rate from a distribution of rates based on surveys of economists). Whatever method is chosen, the choice of the social discount rate is inevitably a value judgment.

Similarly, the report tries to justify lower discount rates in the future by pointing to “Ramsey discounting,” a method named after the early 20th century mathematician Frank Ramsey. Under this approach, analysts assume a benevolent dictator — a proxy for our whole generation’s social welfare — centrally plans the economy. Economists have concocted various mathematical schemes to estimate how the dictator discounts the future.

Again, because the choice is an ethical one, there is no particular reason to believe this Ramsey discounting approach is wrong. But there’s no reason to believe it’s right, either.

Personal Preferences, Not Science

The problem with the government’s report is that it presents these various approaches as somehow scientific. In fact, they conceal what is fundamentally a question about values and make it appear as though the answer can come from technical measurement.

Perhaps most concerning is that the administration is already violating its own principles of social justice. In a memo signed by President Biden on his first day in office, he identified promoting the interests of future generations as a top priority, which is a noble goal, to be sure.

But the SCC is calculated using a version of the Ramsey model. In it, the present generation functions as the dictator whose welfare is measured, while the welfare of future generations counts for basically nothing. Present citizens may display some empathy for future generations — for example, the administration’s climate policy is probably motivated by their concern for the future — but the analysis doesn’t consider the welfare of future generations in a direct way.

The new social cost of carbon report comes across like an attempt by experts to ram through a political agenda, while trying to pass off their efforts as scientific. But the public should not be fooled. What’s behind the updated numbers is the administration’s personal values, for better or worse, not science.

Background from Previous Post Biden’s Arbitrary Social Cost of Carbon: What You Need to Know

The news on Friday was Biden signing another order, this one restoring the so-called “Social Cost of Carbon” to Obama’s $51 a ton, along with threats to raise it up to $125 a ton.  The whole notion is an exercise in imagination for the sake of adding regulatory costs to everything involving energy,  that is to everything.  A background post below describes the history of how this ruse started and the manipulations and arbitrary assumptions to gin up a number high enough to hobble the economy.

Background from 2018 post: US House Votes Down Social Cost of Carbon

The House GOP on Friday took a step forward in reining in the Obama administration’s method of assessing the cost of carbon dioxide pollution when developing regulations.

The House voted 212-201, along party lines, to include a rider blocking the use of the climate change cost metric to an energy and water spending bill.

The amendment offered by Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert bars any and all funds from being used under the bill to “prepare, propose, or promulgate any regulation that relies on the Social Carbon analysis” devised under the Obama administration on how to value the cost of carbon. (Source Washington Examiner, here)

To clarify: the amendment in question defunds any regulation or guidance from the federal government concerning the social costs of carbon.

Background: 
The Obama administration created and increased its estimates of the “Social Cost of Carbon,” invented by Michael Greenstone, who commented on the EPA Proposed Repeal of CO2 emissions regulations.  A Washington Post article, October 11, 2017, included this:

“My read is that the political decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan was made and then they did whatever was necessary to make the numbers work,” added Michael Greenstone, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago who worked on climate policy during the Obama years.

Activists are frightened about the Clean Power Plan under serious attack along three lines:
1. No federal law governs CO2 emissions.
2. EPA regulates sites, not the Energy Sector.
3. CPP costs are huge, while benefits are marginal.

Complete discussion at CPP has Three Fatal Flaws.

Read below how Greenstone and a colleague did exactly what he now complains about.

Social Cost of Carbon: Origins and Prospects

The Obama administration has been fighting climate change with a rogue wave of regulations whose legality comes from a very small base: The Social Cost of Carbon.

The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that impact cumulative global emissions. The SCC is an estimate of the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon emissions in a given year. It is intended to include (but is not limited to) changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services due to climate change. From the Technical Support Document: -Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis -Under Executive Order 12866

A recent Bloomberg article informs on how the SCC notion was invented, its importance and how it might change under the Trump administration.
How Climate Rules Might Fade Away; Obama used an arcane number to craft his regulations. Trump could use it to undo them. (here). Excerpts below with my bolds.

In February 2009, a month after Barack Obama took office, two academics sat across from each other in the White House mess hall. Over a club sandwich, Michael Greenstone, a White House economist, and Cass Sunstein, Obama’s top regulatory officer, decided that the executive branch needed to figure out how to estimate the economic damage from climate change. With the recession in full swing, they were rightly skeptical about the chances that Congress would pass a nationwide cap-and-trade bill. Greenstone and Sunstein knew they needed a Plan B: a way to regulate carbon emissions without going through Congress.

Over the next year, a team of economists, scientists, and lawyers from across the federal government convened to come up with a dollar amount for the economic cost of carbon emissions. Whatever value they hit upon would be used to determine the scope of regulations aimed at reducing the damage from climate change. The bigger the estimate, the more costly the rules meant to address it could be. After a year of modeling different scenarios, the team came up with a central estimate of $21 per metric ton, which is to say that by their calculations, every ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere imposed $21 of economic cost. It has since been raised to around $40 a ton.

Trump can’t undo the SCC by fiat. There is established case law requiring the government to account for the impact of carbon, and if he just repealed it, environmentalists would almost certainly sue.

There are other ways for Trump to undercut the SCC. By tweaking some of the assumptions and calculations that are baked into its model, the Trump administration could pretty much render it irrelevant, or even skew it to the point that carbon emissions come out as a benefit instead of a cost.

The SCC models rely on a “discount rate” to state the harm from global warming in today’s dollars. The higher the discount rate, the lower the estimate of harm. That’s because the costs incurred by burning carbon lie mostly in the distant future, while the benefits (heat, electricity, etc.) are enjoyed today. A high discount rate shrinks the estimates of future costs but doesn’t affect present-day benefits. The team put together by Greenstone and Sunstein used a discount rate of 3 percent to come up with its central estimate of $21 a ton for damage inflicted by carbon. But changing that discount just slightly produces big swings in the overall cost of carbon, turning a number that’s pushing broad changes in everything from appliances to coal leasing decisions into one that would have little or no impact on policy.

According to a 2013 government update on the SCC, by applying a discount rate of 5 percent, the cost of carbon in 2020 comes out to $12 a ton; using a 2.5 percent rate, it’s $65. A 7 percent discount rate, which has been used by the EPA for other regulatory analysis, could actually lead to a negative carbon cost, which would seem to imply that carbon emissions are beneficial. “Once you start to dig into how the numbers are constructed, I cannot fathom how anyone could think it has any basis in reality,” says Daniel Simmons, vice president for policy at the American Energy Alliance and a member of the Trump transition team focusing on the Energy Department.

David Kreutzer, a senior research fellow in energy economics and climate change at Heritage and a member of Trump’s EPA transition team, laid out one of the primary arguments against the SCC. “Believe it or not, these models look out to the year 2300. That’s like effectively asking, ‘If you turn your light switch on today, how much damage will that do in 2300?’ That’s way beyond when any macroeconomic model can be trusted.”

Another issue for those who question the Obama administration’s SCC: It estimates the global costs and benefits of carbon emissions, rather than just focusing on the impact to the U.S. Critics argue that this pushes the cost of carbon much higher and that the calculation should instead be limited to the U.S.; that would lower the cost by more than 70 percent, says the CEI’s Mario Lewis.

Still, by narrowing the calculation to the U.S., Trump could certainly produce a lower cost of carbon. Asked in an e-mail whether the new administration would raise the discount rate or narrow the scope of the SCC to the U.S., one person shaping Trump energy and environmental policy replied, “What prevents us from doing both?”

See Also:

Six Reasons to Rescind Social Cost of Carbon

SBC: Social Benefits of Carbon

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