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Why my opponents won’t debate me

Last week I was interviewed by Steven Crowder on his show “Louder Than Crowder.” It was a fun discussion that covered a lot of interesting topics, including why it is that fossil fuel opponents refuse to debate me–or back out after agreeing to debate me.

Watch/listen here.


hearts and minds alex epstein

Dilbert Exposes Climate “Science”

A recent Dilbert comic hilariously captured a point I regularly make when debating fossil fuel opponents: that claims of catastrophic climate change are not based on demonstrated science but speculative climate models–models that are overwhelmingly biased to show catastrophic warming.

I have a lot of respect for Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, who has shown both clear thinking and immense courage in taking on this issue. Earlier this year he wrote a must-read blog post on this issue, “How to Convince Skeptics that Climate Change Is a Problem.”

The post is filled with sharp observations. Here’s one that that I haven’t heard anyone make before:

“If skeptics make you retreat to Pascal’s Wager as your main argument for aggressively responding to climate change, please understand that you lost the debate. The world is full of risks that might happen. We don’t treat all of them as real. And we can’t rank any of these risks to know how to allocate our capital to the best path. Should we put a trillion dollars into climate remediation or use that money for a missile defense system to better protect us from North Korea?”

Be sure to read the entire post.

We constantly get messages from readers and viewers commenting on how our pro-human, full-context approach to thinking about issues has changed their way of thinking–and communicating.

Here’s a recent one, from a company that used our brand new Lunch-and-Learn program–a free training course that will help motivate and educate employees about the value of fossil fuels–and teach them to communicate that value to others.

“We [held our Lunch-and-Learn] just yesterday and the team thoroughly enjoyed the experience! Besides the opportunity to learn more about the topic and process; the concept of ‘lunch and learn’ was very well received. If you are considering using this format on a more regular basis, we believe it would add great value. For now we are a small 4 person team here in South Africa, and to have content and clarity such as this truly streamlines the learning process.

“Thank you for making great material available to the industry in this way.” – Gary

You can gain immediate access to this empowering tool here.

We’ve also received some great comments on Twitter, including a lot of people encouraging fossil fuel critics to debate me. Here are a few recent mentions.

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ALSO: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help your organization turn non-supporters into supporters and turn supporters into champions.

1. Fill out the free Constructive Conversation Scorecard to assess where you are and where you want to be in your one-on-one communications.

Email it back to me and I’ll send you my step-by-step Constructive Conversation System that will enable you to talk to anyone about energy.

2. Hold a free Lunch-and-Learn (inside or outside the industry).

This program contains one of my favorite debates along with some “cheat sheets” to help you make the moral case for fossil fuels in your professional and personal life more easily than you thought possible. You can have access to the entire program right now. By the end of the session you and your team will:

  • gain a deeper sense of meaning from their work
  • be able to turn fossil fuel skeptics into fossil fuel supporters
  • learn the secrets to having constructive conversations about energy instead of frustrating fights

Click here to sign up for the free program.

3. Hire me to speak at your next event.

If you have an upcoming board meeting, employee town hall, or association meeting, I have some new and updated speeches about the moral case for fossil fuels, winning hearts and minds, and communications strategy in the new political climate. If you’d like to consider me for your event, just reply to this message and put “Event” in the subject line.

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Gloria Steinem: Too few abortions caused climate change

Professor Debunked Obama Administration Charge that Global Warming led to War

Mr. Cool goes to Milan, announces that ‘climate refugees’ will flood the first world

Changing the subject?

Unbuttoned to mid-chest: We are told that Mr. Cool forgot his tie. If you are a former President of the U.S. staying in what must be the most expensive hotel in the city, isn’t it possible to send out for a wonderful selection of beautiful ties?

Just in case Islam-generated conflicts run out of steam in the Middle East and Africa, Barack Obama crossed the Atlantic to collect a speaking fee reportedly in the $3 million range to pronounce that, as a result of global warming there would be a refugee crisis “unprecedented in human history.”

He wants to make sure that world Open Borders activists (and global corporations looking for cheap labor) wouldn’t run out of reasons to tear down borders to the first world (if Islamic conflicts fail to do a good enough job).

Obama talked extensively in the speech about the impact of warming, while several reports lately say the earth is entering a cooling period.  So which is it?

Below is some of what Obama said in what some, here are calling a “contradictory speech.”

From the UK Independent:

Climate change could produce a refugee crisis that is “unprecedented in human history”, Barack Obama has warned as he stressed global warming was the most pressing issue of the age.

Speaking at an international food conference in Milan, the former US President said rising temperatures were already making it more difficult to grow crops and rising food prices were “leading to political instability”.

“Floods on sunny days”—bad, very bad….

He said the United States was currently experiencing “floods on sunny days”, increased wildfires and, in Alaska, increased coastal erosion as the ice melts and no country was “immune” to the problem.

Climate refugees on the march….

If world leaders put aside “parochial interests” and took action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to restrict the rise to one or two degrees Celsius, then humanity would probably be able to cope. [So, might we shut up about this issue if sunspot activity and natural cycles restrict the rise to one or two degrees?—ed]

Failing to do this, Mr Obama warned, increased the risk of “catastrophic” effects in the future, “not only real threats to food security, but also increases in conflict as a consequence of scarcity and greater refugee and migration patterns”.

“If those rain patterns change, then you could see hundreds of millions of people who suddenly find themselves unable to feed themselves, because they’re already at subsistence levels.

“And the amount of migration, the number of refugees that could be resulting from something like that, would be unprecedented in human history.”

Dare I mention the scientific notion of carrying capacity and that a population die-off might be mother earth’s way of staying in balance (okay stone me!).

Continue reading here.

I have a ‘Climate Refugees’ category with 49 previous posts on the topic, here.  I don’t know if they have settled their differences, but early-on the climate refugee agitators were at odds with the ‘humanitarian’ refugee agitators over the use of the word “refugee.”  ‘Humanitarians’ were angered by environmentalists stealing the word that they had over decades built up as one that invokes warm and fuzzy feelings among people who know nothing.

RELATED ARTICLE: Largest US Solar Panel Maker Files for Bankruptcy After Receiving $206 Million in Subsidies

COUNTDOWN: The Top 5 Lies of the Left

American political liberaldom relies heavily on empty canards, name-calling and scare tactics to stay alive and shut down opposition.

There are few if any deep and penetrating debates on major topics that drive the politics of the left. They simply will not allow it. So they create fictitious arguments (the nice way of saying lies.)

With that in mind, here are a few major shibboleths of at least the activist left which verge on the incredulous, but which are used regularly and magnified by the sympathetic media megaphone.

No. 5 Lie: Border security is racist

If you believe that America should act like most every other country in the world and protect its borders, you’re a racist.

If you believe that America should have the authority to let in who it wants to and keep out who it wants to like most every other country, you’re a racist.

If you believe America should know who is here and who is coming and going like most every other country, you’re a racist.

This stems from candidate Donald Trump running on a campaign to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to stop the millions of illegal aliens (that is the actual, legal term) from crossing back and forth like it was a state border.

This quasi-open border is the result of an unholy alliance between businesses that want cheap labor and Democrat political interests that see future Democratic voters and a play to current Hispanic voters. And it is the issue that Trump claimed in order to peel away blue-collar Democratic voters.

The left rarely tries to argue the merits of open borders, because most Americans oppose that. So they devolve to the thought-free name-calling of racism because, you know, Mexicans are brown and therefore opposing them, or anyone else, breaking into our country illegally is racist.

No. 4 Lie: Asking questions is science denying

Speaking of science and politics, the inquisitive, independent thinkers among us are now considered anti-science — if they are asking questions about the degree and causes of climate change today.

Yes, while it is obviously the antithesis of actual science, which involves continually asking questions, forming hypotheses, testing, re-testing based on results and so on, this tactic now is employed to shut up any opposition to the climate change political agenda.

The data seems to suggest modest warming since the mid 1800s and there seems to be a connection between carbon in the atmosphere, trapped greenhouse gases, and global warming.

But if you question the data because of a series of scandals revealing how leading climatologists have conspired to alter older data creating cooler temperatures to suggest more rapid warming now, you are a denier.

If you question the degree to which human activity is impacting climate change by pointing out a nearly two-decade pause while carbon emissions continued to increase, you are a denier.

But these and many others are reasonable questions. That we are not allowed to ask them without being labeled flat-earthers suggests this is a lot more about politics than about science.

No. 3 Lie: Men can be women can be men, or whatever

One of the most mind-boggling absurdities foisted on us by the modern liberal is that a person’s sex is dependent on what they think it is. Any “assignment at birth” is an arbitrary constraint to who that person really is.

So, if a person has one Y chromosome and one X chromosome and they have the full package of penis and scrotum, it is not arbitrary to call them male. That person is a man. That is actual science.

But the left — in true full science denial — says those physical realities can be trumped by a person’s feeling. If that person feels like a woman, then they are a woman trapped in a man’s body and they should be allowed and encouraged to dress like a woman or have full-blown surgery to become a woman. And they should be allowed to use women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers — even though they are a man.

Until just the past few years this was considered a psychological condition that should be treated. But now, the left celebrates children as young as four years old being encouraged to be the sex they are not.

One could reasonably call that child abuse.

No. 2 Lie: Hate speech is not free speech

No less a luminary than former Vermont governor, DNC chairman and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean tweeted out this past week that “Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment.”

dean tweet hate speech

The internet blew up over such a ridiculous statement. Even PolitiFact and media organs called him to task. But the thing is, his tweet got 700 retweets and 1,400 likes. Dean actually doesn’t have that big a Twitter following, meaning the tweet got strong traction among those following him.

Too many on the left, most particularly those on college campuses, view hate speech practically as any speech with which they disagree. Of course, many of these same campuses actually have speech codes and “free speech zones” with the overt meaning that outside the zone is not for free speech.

The unfortunate truth is that many college liberals, trained by professorial liberals, think that they should be able to shut down speech they do not appreciate or agree with. They have safe spaces and mainstream American views can be shouted down and pushed out with threats and actions.

These people leave the campuses today and in a generation will be leaders in the nation. It matters. The radicals running campuses know this.

No. 1 Lie: It’s not about innocent life, but reproductive freedom

And coming in at number one in our countdown is the oldie but definitely not goodie, the abortion non-debate.

Increasingly, science (which worldview seems to be anti-science here?) is showing that by every objective definition the baby in the womb is indeed a human, with the inherent rights of a human, within a few weeks of conception. From brainwaves to heartbeats to pain reaction, a person. Science continually pushes this obvious definition earlier and earlier.

But the left forces the debate to revolve around women’s rights. Not the 50 percent of female babies aborted — not those would-be women — but adult women who should have the right to kill their unborn baby at any point in a pregnancy for any reason they deem. Period. This is the classic Planned Parenthood position on choice.

Because abortion is conflated with birth control, it is called a reproductive “right” on the order of getting a contraceptive device or even pap smears and mammograms — anything except actually talking about whether we should condone the often wanton taking of an innocent human life. Any restrictions on abortion therefore are restrictions on a woman’s access to healthcare. See how much you can get away with when you refuse to call something what it is.

Oh and coat hangers. Don’t forget coat hangers.

But there is an encouraging side to this falderal. All of this avoidance on major issues means that conservatives actually have the stronger cases. Otherwise, liberals would not avoid the debate. We just need to be courageous enough to make those cases over and over and over.

RELATED ARTICLE: Conservatives Fight for Free Speech at a Far-Left College

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act. Click here to subscribe to the Revolutionary Act’s YouTube channel!

Carbon Dioxide is the ‘Elixir of Life’

Kevin Mooney in his column “Group Defends Carbon Dioxide as ‘Elixir of Life’ in Climate Change Debate” reports:

Forget everything government officials, many media outlets, and “activist scientists” have warned about the damaging effects of carbon dioxide, because in reality there’s no cause for alarm, a group called the CO2 Coalition urges.

Scientists, engineers, and policy analysts who are part of the nonprofit organization turned out in force Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, outside Washington.

“Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant, it is in fact the very elixir of life,” Craig Idso, a science adviser to the CO2 Coalition, said during a panel discussion at CPAC exploring the benefits attached to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The CO2 Coalition, founded in 2015, describes its mission as “educating thought leaders, policymakers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy.”

[ … ]

“Adding CO2 to the atmosphere enhances plant water use efficiency,” he said.

Increased levels of carbon dioxide could boost plant growth and make plants more resistant to droughts, he said. This could lead to increased food production, which in turn could offset projected food shortages.

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore testified before the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on February 25, 2014. During his statement for the record Dr. Moore said:

‘There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.

‘Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species…It is “extremely likely” that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.’

Earth’s Geologic History Fails CO2 Fears: ‘The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming…When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today.’

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore also stated that oil is the ‘most important source of energy to support our civilization.’ Dr. Moore said, “If it is the aim of ‘environmentalists’ to stop fossil fuel production and use, end fracking, end coal mining, end use of oil, then they are promoting a policy that would have disastrous consequences for human civilization & the environment. If we stopped using fossil fuel today, or by 2020 as Gore proposes, at least half the human population would perish & there wouldn’t be a tree left on planet within a year, as people struggled to find enough energy to stay alive…”

The New American (TNA) interviewed Princeton University Professor William Happer on the notion that CO2 is a pollutant and is the cause of climate change, formally known as global warming. TNA reports:

Physics Professor William Happer discredits the negative effects of CO2 on the planet and whether or not climate change is man-made. He also goes into detail of why the United Nation’s models are incorrect despite their overwhelming confidence that significant warming is taking place due to human activity.

John Casey, author and former NASA rocket scientist, has taught me three facts about the climate:

  1. The climate changes.
  2. The changes are cyclical.
  3. There is nothing mankind can do to change these natural cycles.

As John notes the only thing that mankind can do is prepare for these changes using good science and the best climate prediction tools to warn us of the coming changes.

End of story. Let the real science begin!

RELATED VIDEO: Tucker Carlson versus Bill Nye (Feb. 27, 2017).

Rex Tillerson is neither a yes man nor will he be boxed in on U.S. foreign policy

In a The Daily Signal article titled “9 Issues Discussed at Rex Tillerson’s Confirmation Hearing to Be Trump’s Secretary of State” Josh Siegel reported on the confirmation hearing of U.S. Secretary of State designate Rex Tillerson.

Reading Siegel’s article I came away with two impressions of Mr. Tillerson, first he will not be boxed in and second he is not a yes man. How refreshing.

First let’s look at Tillerson as a man who will not be boxed in when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. Siegel reported:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who ran for president against Trump, pressed Tillerson on whether he backs the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies about Russia’s election-year hacking.

“Do you believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that Russian intelligence services directed a campaign of measures involving the hacking of emails, the strategic leak of emails, the use of internet trolls, and dissemination of fake news to denigrate a presidential candidate and undermine faith in our election process?” Rubio asked.

Tillerson described the findings by the intelligence agencies as “clearly troubling,” and called cyber attacks from foreign actors such as Russia “the greatest and most complex threat” facing the country today. He labeled Russia’s annexation of Crimea to be “illegal” and proposed tougher measures to combat the Kremlin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine, vowing that he would advocate providing Ukrainian soldiers with weapons.

But Tillerson expressed hope that he could help improve relations with Russia, potentially seeking to ally with it in areas of common interest even if America “will not likely to be ever friends with the Kremlin.”

“Dialogue is critical so these [issues] don’t spin out of control,” Tillerson said. “We need to move Russia from adversary always to partner at times.”

Read more…

Tillerson clearly understands that Russia, and many other countries, act in their own self interests and against the interests of the United States. His reply was measured in that he understood that cyberwarfare is a national security threat, that invading another country is wrong and both must be punished. However, diplomacy is not just about jumping into a hot or cold war, as Senator’s Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham seem to want. Rather it is about pressuring those who would do us harm using all means available. The above interaction shows the sophistication of Tillerson, a man who thinks outside the box. Tillerson’s statement, “We need to move Russia from adversary always to partner at times” is that of a man who understands Russia more than some members of the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats alike. Again, refreshing.

Tillerson is not a yes man for President-elect Trump either. Siegel noted:

In the presidential campaign, Trump questioned the NATO alliance, and said members need to do more to earn the U.S.’ support.

Tillerson expressed a stronger commitment to NATO, promising to follow Article 5 of the treaty that enshrines the principle that an attack against one member is an attack against all.

“The Article 5 commitment is invaluable and the U.S. will stand by the commitment,” Tillerson said.

He also expressed concern for Baltic states that worry about Russian incursion on their borders.

“Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed about a resurgent Russia,” Tillerson said.

[ … ]

In another contrast with Trump, Tillerson did not say he explicitly opposes the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

“I do not oppose TPP, but I share some of Trump’s concerns that it doesn’t fully support American interests,” Tillerson said.

[ … ]

Echoing Exxon Mobil’s evolving calculus on climate change, Tillerson said he recognized the threat of a warming planet, and that the U.S. should “be at the table” in coming up with solutions to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

If confirmed, he said he and others in the Trump administration would review the 180-country Paris climate change agreement before deciding whether to remain party to it.

“It’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table with the conversations around how to deal with the threats of climate change,” he said.

As chief of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson publicly backed a tax on carbon in 2009, and expressed support for the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Yet, late in the hearing, he seemed to downplay the threat of climate change.

“I don’t see [climate change] as the imminent national security threat as perhaps other do,” Tillerson said.

Read more…

Tillerson will, on some issues, present a President Trump with differing views. That is healthy. It shows that President-elect Trump is filling his cabinet with quality people who think differently than him and provide opposing views. Once again, refreshing.

Donald Trump’s selection says as much about the President-elect as it does about Mr. Tillerson. There is a new way of thinking about foreign policy and a fresh approach that is pro-U.S. interests.

After reading Mr. Tillerson’s testimony it is clear he will not be foreign a policy rubber stamp as were former Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and that he will think outside the foreign policy box of the Obama administration.

Very refreshing indeed.

RELATED ARTICLE: Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson Criticizes U.S. Decision to Abstain from UN Israel Vote

VIDEO: Princeton Professor debunks climate change propaganda

John Casey, author and former NASA rocket scientist, has taught me three facts about the climate:

  1. The climate changes.
  2. The changes are cyclical.
  3. There is nothing mankind can do to change these natural cycles.

As John notes the only thing that mankind can do is prepare for these changes using good science and the best climate prediction tools to warn us of the coming changes.

The New American (TNA) interviewed Princeton University Professor William Happer on the notion that CO2 is a pollutant and is the cause of climate change, formally known as global warming. TNA reports:

Physics Professor William Happer discredits the negative effects of CO2 on the planet and whether or not climate change is man-made. He also goes into detail of why the United Nation’s models are incorrect despite their overwhelming confidence that significant warming is taking place due to human activity.

Erick Erickson in a column titled The Real Reason Leftwing Groups Are Freaked Out by Trump’s EPA Pick reports:

Leftwing groups are freaking out about Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s Attorney General and Donald Trump’s nominee for the EPA. It is safe to say that the collective meltdown over Pruitt is greater than over any other Trump pick. You probably have no idea why and it has nothing to do with climate change.

Superficially, progressives are saying that Pruitt is a climate change denier and has no business managing the agency he sued so often. But that’s just cover.

The real reason has everything to do with money.

With the blessing of the Department of Justice, the EPA has been going after major corporations and telling those corporations that they can pay a massive fine to the federal government or pay a lesser amount to various environmentalist groups.

Read more…

Its always about the money. Radical environmentalists are being funded by the EPA. The EPA is using its power to regulate and partnering with the DOJ to harm every business in America.

Well there’s a new sheriff in town and this government theft is going to stop.

RELATED ARTICLE: Washington Post Admits Science isn’t Settled on Climate Change of Warm Arctic, Cold Continents

A ‘Carbon Tax’ Is a Utopian Fix that Can’t Survive Contact with Political Reality by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times, suggests that Americans should pick a president who favors a carbon tax. But not even Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have proposed a carbon tax as part of their tax plans. All candidates have put forward detailed tax plans, and a carbon tax is not included in any of these plans.

What is a carbon tax? Why do so many academics and columnists love it? And why will Congress be unable to enact such a tax effectively?

No matter that only 16 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by America, and that by many measures global temperatures have not increased over the past decade. No matter than unless China and India reduce their carbon emissions, U.S. unilateral efforts will have no practical effect on global temperature. China has stated that it will reduce emissions in 2030, but has not made any definite commitment.

The carbon tax is a favorite of many academic economists for restructuring the tax system. Proponents include a bipartisan group of professors such as Tuft University’s Gilbert Metcalf, now Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the Department of the Treasury; Harvard University’s Martin Feldstein, Edward Glaeser, and Gregory Mankiw; and Columbia University’s Joseph Stiglitz.

However, as tax practitioners know, a carbon tax is complex to set up. It requires adjustments to make sure that the tax is not unduly regressive and does not encourage consumption of imports relative to domestic production.

But, as we saw from the passage of many tax and budget bills over the years, Congress does not think deeply before it passes major tax bills.

Rather, political expediency always triumphs over academic elegance. Congress is incapable of thoughtful tax solutions, no matter how many are offered by well-intentioned professors. Despite years of notice that the Bush tax rates were due to expire, Congress passed permanent tax laws at the last moment, without reading the bill.

Many academics see a carbon tax as an alternative to an individual income tax, a corporate income tax, or a European-style cap-and-trade system. But a quickly-passed carbon tax in the hands of Congress would be just another add-on levy, with exemptions for friends and punishments for enemies.

A carbon tax raises the price of energy and so discourages consumption without regulation. Carbon tax rates could be calibrated to be revenue neutral or to yield a net rise in federal tax receipts, with the increment possibly dedicated to reducing deficits.

What are the problems with a carbon tax?

Everyone would want to spend the revenue. Some people would want to use it to reduce the deficit. Others would want to use carbon tax revenues to lower other taxes, such as income taxes. And since high income tax rates reduce incentives to work, this could conceivably add to economic efficiency.

Carbon taxes are regressive. Since low-income people use more energy as a percent of their income than high-income people, a switch to a carbon tax would have to be accompanied by transfers to low-income groups.

Some academics suggest that offsets be returned to taxpayers through lower income taxes, perhaps with the proceeds going chiefly to low-income households (individuals and families), which are disproportionately hurt by what is in essence an energy consumption tax.

This could theoretically be done by adjustments to the income tax. However, low-income earners are not required to file returns, and they would have to do so in order to be identified and compensated. That means extra work for them, and for the Internal Revenue Service — which will already be overworked calculating and collecting penalties from Obamacare violators.

Energy-intensive sectors lose under a carbon tax. The prices of energy-intensive goods in America would increase relative to imports from countries without carbon taxes. So Americans will prefer to buy imports, and American firms will lose business. Proponents of the tax suggest putting tariffs on imports in proportion to their carbon content so that American companies will not be at a disadvantage. But the precise quantities are complex to calculate, and tariffs might be illegal under World Trade Organization regulations.

The shale oil and gas that are attracting energy-intensive manufacturing back to America would be taxed, to the detriment of these new industries — and their employees. Some industries, such as coal, would be big losers. Politicians from coal-producing regions are influential in Congress, and they would demand a share of revenues.

So for a carbon tax to make our tax system more efficient, its revenues would have to be used to offset other taxes in the economy. Its negative effects on low-income Americans and on energy-intensive regions would have to be ameliorated. Some border adjustments would have to be made so that domestic goods were not disfavored.

But our disfunctional Congress is incapable of crafting a carbon tax with these attributes. Any tax on carbon would be an additional tax, without the offsets that make it so attractive to university professors. It would hurt the poor and raise domestic prices relative to prices of imports.

None of the front-running presidential candidates have proposed a carbon tax as part of their tax plans, because they know it is unpopular and will not pass Congress. To lower global emissions, the large emitters of carbon such as China and India need to move to nuclear power or natural gas. That would indeed make a difference.

This post first appeared at Economics21.org.

Diana Furchtgott-RothDiana Furchtgott-Roth

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, is director of Economics 21 and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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A Scientific Consensus on What Now? by Robert P. Murphy

Authority versus Science in the Climate Change Debate.

When it comes to the climate change debate, many of the loudest voices are confidently making assertions that are not backed up by the actual evidence — and in this respect, they are behaving very unscientifically.

One obvious sign that many people in the climate change debate are appealing to emotions rather than facts is their reliance on pejorative terminology. For example, rather than make an informative statement that they support subsidies for wind and solar, and taxes on coal and oil, they may instead say they support “clean energy” while their opponents favor “dirty energy.”

The coup de grâce, of course, occurs when partisans in the debate refer to their opponents as “climate deniers.” This is a nonsensical slur that would have impressed Orwell. Obviously, nobody denies climate. Furthermore, nobody denies that the climate is changing. And, when it comes to the serious debate among published climate scientists, people on both sides agree that human activities are contributing to warmer temperatures; the dispute is simply overhow much. (Those who think the change is mild have embraced the label “lukewarmers.”)

To label critics of a carbon tax or EPA regulations on power plants as “climate deniers” is utterly destructive of rational inquiry and tries to link legitimate skepticism to Holocaust denial. Those who use this term without irony demonstrate that they have no interest in scientific discovery.

Related to this lack of nuance, and the appeal to an exaggerated consensus, is the oft-repeated claim that “97 percent of climate scientists agree” on the state of human-generated climate change. Physicist-turned-economist David Friedman (among others) has investigated the methods used to generate such claims, and finds that they are seriously lacking.

Using the very data (on abstracts from published papers) that forms the basis of these headline announcements, Friedman reckons that more like 1.6 percent of the surveyed papers explicitly endorse humans as the main cause of global warming since the 1800s. Friedman further argues that this confusion — where the actual findings of the paper ended up being misinterpreted by the media — appears to have been deliberately produced by the survey’s authors.

“Hottest Year on Record” and “the Pause”

A January 2016 New York Times article epitomizes the advocacy disguised as reporting in the climate change debate. The very title lets you know that a serious case of scientism is coming, for it announces, “2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say.”

Now, we must inquire, what is the purpose of adding “Scientists Say” at the end? Does any reader think that the Times would be quoting plumbers or accountants on whether 2015 was the hottest year on record? The obvious purpose is to contrast what scientists say about global warming with what thosenonscientist deniers are saying. The article goes on to let us know exactly what “the scientists” think about global warming and manmade activities:

Scientists started predicting a global temperature record months ago, in part because an El Niño weather pattern, one of the largest in a century, is releasing an immense amount of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. But the bulk of the record-setting heat, they say, is a consequence of the long-term planetary warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The whole system is warming up, relentlessly,” said Gerald A. Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

It will take a few more years to know for certain, but the back-to-back records of 2014 and 2015 may have put the world back onto a trajectory of rapid global warming, after a period of relatively slow warming dating to the last powerful El Niño, in 1998.

Politicians attempting to claim that greenhouse gases are not a problem seized on that slow period to argue that “global warming stopped in 1998,” with these claims and similar statements reappearing recently on the Republican presidential campaign trail.

Statistical analysis suggested all along that the claims were false, and that the slowdown was, at most, a minor blip in an inexorable trend, perhaps caused by a temporary increase in the absorption of heat by the Pacific Ocean.

This excerpt is quite fascinating. We have something reported as undeniable fact when it actually relies on assumptions of what might happen in the future (“may have put the world back onto a trajectory of rapid global warming”) and offers conjectures to explain why the measured warming suddenly slowed down (“perhaps caused by a temporary increase in the absorption of heat”).

The “statistical analysis” did not establish that the critics’ claims were false. It is undeniably true that the official NASA GISS records showed, for example, that the average annual global temperature in 2008 was lower than the annual temperature in 1998, and that’s why people at the time were saying, “There has been no global warming in the last ten years.”

Here is a NASA-affiliated scientist arguing that such claims are misleading, and perhaps they were, but it is similarly misleading to turn around and claim that the pause didn’t exist.

If you asked a bunch of Americans whether they gained weight over the last 10 years, their natural interpretation of that question would be, “Do I weigh morenow than I weighed 10 years ago?” They wouldn’t think it involved construction of moving averages since birth. In that sense, the people referring to the pause were not acting dishonestly; they were pointing out to the public a fact about the temperature record that would definitely be news to them, in light of the rhetoric of runaway climate change.

However, the more substantive point here is that the popular climate models predicted much more warming than has in fact occurred. In other words, the question isn’t whether the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s. Rather, the issue is given how much concentrations of greenhouse gases have risen, is the actualtemperature trend consistent with the predicted temperature trend?

To answer this, consider a December 2015 Cato Institute working paper from two climate scientists, Pat Michaels and Paul Knappenberger: “Climate Models and Climate Reality: A Closer Look at a Luke warming World.” They avoid the accusation of cherry-picking by running through trend lengths of varying durations, and they compare 108 model runs with the various data sets on observed temperatures. They conclude, “During all periods from 10 years (2006–2015) to 65 (1951–2015) years in length, the observed temperature trend lies in the lower half of the collection of climate model simulations, and for several periods it lies very close (or even below) the 2.5th percentile of all the model runs.”

Thus we see that the critics arguing about the model projections aren’t simply picking the very warm 1998 as a starting point in order to game the results. The standard models produced warming projections well above what has happened in reality, and for some periods the observed warming was so low (relative to the prediction) that there is less than a 2.5 percent chance that this could be explained by natural volatility. This is the sense in which the current suite of climate models is on the verge of being “rejected” in the statistician’s sense.

To be sure, I am not a climate scientist, and others would no doubt dispute the interpretation of the data that Michaels and Knappenberger give. My point is to show how utterly misleading the New York Times piece is when it leads readers to believe that “scientists” were never troubled by lackluster warming and that only politicians were trying to confuse the public on the matter.

Climate Economists Don’t Believe Their Models?

Finally, consider a December 2015 Vox piece with the title, “Economists Agree: Economic Models Underestimate Climate Change.” Furthermore, the URL for this piece contains the phrase “economists-climate-consensus.” We see the same appeal to authority here as in the natural sciences when it comes to climate policy.

The Vox article refers to a survey of 365 economists who had published in the field of climate economics. Here is the takeaway: “Like scientists, economists agree that climate change is a serious threat and that immediate action is needed to address it” (emphasis added).

Yet, in several respects, the survey reveals facts at odds with the alarmist rhetoric the public hears on the issue. For example, one question asked, “During what time period do you believe the net effects of climate change will first have a negative impact on the global economy?” With President Obama and other important officials discussing the ravages of climate change (allegedly) before our very eyes, one might have expected the vast majority of the survey respondents to say that climate change is having a negative impact right now.

In fact, only 41 percent said that. Twenty-two percent thought the negative impact would be felt by 2025, while an additional 26 percent would only say climate change would have net negative economic effects by 2050. Would anyone have expected that result when reading Vox’s summary that immediate action is needed to address climate change?

To be clear, the Vox statement is not a lie; it can be justified by the responses on two of the other questions. Yet the actual views of these economists are much more nuanced than the pithy summary statements suggest.

Authority versus Science

On this particular survey, I personally encountered the height of absurdity in the context of scientism and appeal to authority. For years, in my capacity as an economist for the Institute for Energy Research, I have pointed out that the published results in the United Nations’ official “consensus” documents do not justify even a standard goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, let alone the over-the-top rhetoric of people like Paul Krugman.

In order to push back against my claim, economist Noah Smith pointed to the survey discussed earlier, proudly declaring, “Apparently most climate economists don’t believe their own models.” Thus we have reached the point where partisans on one side of a policy debate rely on surveys of what “the experts say,” in order to knock down the other side who rely on the published results of those very experts.

This is the epitome of elevating appeals to scientific authority over the underlying science itself.

In the climate change debate, legitimate disputes are transformed into a battle between Noble Seekers of Truth versus Unscientific Liars Who Hate Humanity. Time and again, references to “the consensus” are greatly exaggerated, while people pointing out enormous problems with the case for policy action are dismissed as “deniers.”

Robert P. MurphyRobert P. Murphy

Robert P. Murphy is research assistant professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University.

RELATED ARTICLE: College Professor Advocating Climate Change May Have Mismanaged Millions in Tax Dollars

UN ‘Green Climate’ Program Is a Slush Fund for Dictators by Marian L. Tupy

Wherever you stand on the subject of global warming, pay close attention to one under-reported aspect of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Paris Agreement. I am referring to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is a financial mechanism intended “to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.”

According to the current estimates, developed countries will be obliged to contribute up to $450 billion a year by 2020 to the GCF, which will then “redistribute” the money to developing countries allegedly suffering from the effects of global warming.

Lo and behold, Zimbabwe’s government-run daily “newspaper” The Herald reported that “Southern Africa is already counting the costs of climate change-linked catastrophes… In Zimbabwe, which has seen a succession of droughts since 2012, a fifth of the population is facing hunger… Feeding them will cost $1.5 billion or 11 percent of … the Gross Domestic Product.”

No doubt Robert Mugabe, the 91-year-old dictator who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, is salivating at the prospect of some global warming cash. Beginning in 2000, Mugabe started to expropriate privately-held agricultural land. The result of what is euphemistically called “land reform” was a monumental fall in productivity and the second highest bout of hyperinflation in recorded history.

Some three million of Zimbabwe’s smartest people, including tens of thousands of doctors and lawyers, have left the country. Most of those who have remained behind are subsistence farmers with very little wealth. There is, in other words, very little loot left for the government to steal.

Thankfully for the Zimbabwean dictator, there are plenty of gullible Westerners willing to believe that the frighteningly vile, comically incompetent government isn’t at the root of Zimbabwe’s food shortages, but that global warming is to blame.

Of course, this is pure nonsense. Botswana and Zimbabwe share a border and their climate and natural resources are exceptionally similar. Yet, since 2004, food production has increased by 29 percent in Botswana, while declining by 9 percent in Zimbabwe. It is not drought but government policies that make nations starve!

As befits a dictatorship, Zimbabwe is one of the most corrupt places on earth. The notion that GCF funds will be will used for environmental “adaptation and mitigation” is a dangerous fantasy.

Like much foreign aid before it, most of the “green aid” money will likely end up in the pockets of some of the cruelest and most corrupt people on earth. Congress must stand firm and refuse to appropriate any money for the fund.

This post first appeared at Human Progress.

Marian L. TupyMarian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe departing after a state visit to the U.S.

New York’s Chilling Global Warming Witch Hunt by Walter Olson

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pursuing an investigation of the Exxon Corporation in part for making donations to think tanks and associations like the American Enterprise Institute and American Legislative Exchange Council, which mostly work on issues unrelated to the environment but have also published some views flayed by opponents as “climate change denial.”

Assuming the First Amendment protects a right to engage in scholarship, advocacy, and other forms of supposed denial, it is by no means clear that information about such donations would yield a viable prosecution. Which means, notes Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, that the New York probe raises an issue of constitutional dimensions not just at some point down the road, but right now:

A prolonged investigation in response to someone’s speech can violate the First Amendment even when it never leads to a fine. For example, a federal appeals court ruled in White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214 (9th Cir. 2000) that lengthy, speech-chilling civil rights investigations by government officials can violate the First Amendment even when they are eventually dropped without imposing any fine or disciplinary action.

It found this principle was so plain and obvious that it denied individual civil rights officials qualified immunity for investigating citizens for speaking out against a housing project for people protected by the Fair Housing Act.

In another case, in which a company had been sued seeking damages over its participation in trade-association-related speech, a federal appeals court found that the pendency of the lawsuit all by itself caused enough of a burden on the firm’s speech rights that the court used its mandamus power to order the trial judge to dismiss the claims, a remarkable step.

Moreover, Bader writes, a string of federal precedents indicate that the constitutional rights Schneiderman is trampling here are not just Exxon’s but those of the organizations it gave to, which have a right to challenge his action whether or not the oil company chooses to do so:

These groups themselves can sue Schneiderman under the First Amendment, if Schneiderman’s pressure causes them to lose donations they would otherwise receive. Government officials cannot pressure a private party to take adverse action against a speaker.

Meanwhile, writing at Liberty and Law, Prof. Philip Hamburger of Columbia Law School takes a different tack: the subpoenas imperil due process and separation of powers because they issue at the whim of Schneiderman’s office.

Earlier ideas of constitutional government “traditionally left government no power to demand testimony, papers, or other information, except under the authority of a judge or a legislative committee.” In more recent years executive subpoena power has proliferated; so has the parallel power of lawyers in private litigation to demand discovery, but the latter at least in theory goes on under judicial supervision that can check some of its abuse and invasiveness.

Extrajudicial subpoenas by AG offices are particularly dangerous, Hamburger argues, because of their crossover civil/criminal potential: the targets do not enjoy a high level of procedural protection when “attorneys general claim to be acting merely in a civil rather than a criminal capacity,” yet the same offices can and do threaten criminal charges. Especially dangerous is New York’s Martin Act, a charter for general invasion of the private papers of anyone and anything with a connection to New York financial transactions.

An attorney general’s concern about fraud or the “public interest” is no justification for allowing him to rifle through private papers.

When he thereby extracts the basis for a criminal prosecution, he evades the grand jury process. When he thereby lays the groundwork for a civil enforcement proceeding, he evades the due process of law, for there ordinarily is no discovery for a plaintiff until he commences a civil action.

Even worse, when a prosecutor uses a subpoena to get a remunerative settlement, it is akin to extortion — this being the most complete end run around the courts.

Previously on the probe here and here (and earlier here and here), and on the New York attorney general’s office here and here.

Cross-posted from Overlawyered.

Walter OlsonWalter Olson
Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.

Climate Confusion

Many Americans are again confused over how the President and the United Nations can say we are at grave risk from man-made global warming (a.k.a climate change) when we continue to get pummeled by brutal, record shattering, winter storms. If this situation has you confused, take heart. You are not alone.

Once again the natural world has slapped the ‘warmist’ community down hard with yet another record breaking blizzard in the northeastern US between January 22 and January 24, 2016. Winter storm ‘Janus’ (a Weather Channel designation) dumped record snow totals in the major cities of the USA with a major snowstorm that stretched from Arkansas to Massachusetts. Here are but a few examples of the storm’s wrath:

New York City saw 26.8 inches of snow fall in Central Park, the second highest ever recorded. It missed tying the all time record by one tenth of an inch. JFK Airport had 30.5 inches of snow. Washington’s Dulles airport measured 28.3 inches, the second highest ever. Baltimore had 29.2 inches, its largest snow total ever recorded. The list of snow events and the breadth of this winter calamity that dumped record snow from the central US to the mid-Atlantic states to the Northeast was truly one for the record books.

What is also shocking about this ‘snowmageddon’ is that according to the manmade global warming crowd, none of this was possible. We were told by United Nations scientists there was not supposed to be any snow anywhere on the planet after 2003!  And who can forget the previous terrible winter of 2014-2015 here in the US, where new temperature and snow records were routinely broken. Again, that mercilessly long and cold winter was not possible either according to the climate models from the UN and the U.S. government. How can the impossible happen so often?

We should not forget other monstrously bad predictions, the ‘warmist’ community has proffered. NOAA scientists were telling us along with Al Gore, that the Arctic sea ice would be completely gone by 2008, then revised that to 2013. Of course neither happened. Global sea ice, especially in Antarctica, is in fact, growing rapidly.

Greenhouse gas emissions recently reached 400 ppm, yet the predicted overheating of the Earth is not happening – on the contrary. The 800 lb gorilla in the climate laboratory that the manmade warming community ignores is, that there has been no meaningful growth in global temperatures for eighteen years! That includes the so-called warmest year ever – 2015. Unfortunately, my colleagues and I have observed that the US government can no longer be relied upon to tell the truth about the Earth’s climate or its temperature.

The United Nations certainly cannot be trusted either. The corruption of climate science via its climate reports issued since 1990, has been so deep seated within that organization for so long, that we must now conclude they simply are unable and unwilling to be truthful. The UN climate models of which they, the US media, and our government are so enamored, are well over 100% in error in many of the models in predicting global temperature variation. Yet, the predictions from these failed models are still offered up as evidence of the need to shut down coal and CO2 production worldwide. Further, recent data suggests that the Earth’s climate appears to be relatively insensitive to CO2!  Even the UN is now confused.

It is my fondest hope that we can put the sad era of manmade global warming behind us soon and begin the preparations needed for the rapidly approaching cold epoch, a message I have been spreading since 2007. Starting this year, a long term decline in global temperature begins. It will be at the bottom during the 2020’s through the 2030’s. This time will be grim for our species as the cold era starts its destruction of crops around the world.

We humans are easily confused about the climate. Many of us actually believe what we want to believe, and not what the facts tell us we should. Worse; we are often intentionally deceived by our leaders.

The natural world does not suffer from these afflictions. It is never confused.

RELATED ARTICLE: 300 Scientists Want NOAA To Stop Hiding Its Global Warming Data

Marco Rubio’s Recent Climate Change of Heart ‘Disingenuous’

ken fieldsNEW YORK, NY /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In response to Marco Rubio’s recent campaign event in New Hampshire where the candidate appears to have made a climate change of heart and has called for America to be “number one in wind, and number one in solar, and number one in biofuels, and number one in renewables, number one in energy efficiency. Let’s lead in all of these things,” independent presidential candidate Ken Fields (pictured right) responded by saying:

“For someone who has so vehemently opposed any acknowledgement of the scientific consensus backing the evidence of human-caused climate change due to our planet’s reliance on fossil fuels, Rubio’s change of heart seems disingenuous at best. He has voted against energy efficiency and clean energy tax incentives. It’s hard to believe him.”

When pressed for further comment, Fields stated, “The recent and continued volatility in global oil markets should be evidence enough that energy security is not simply a matter of having and exploiting our own fossil fuel resources, but rather being completely independent of fossil fuels altogether.”

Fields officially launched his campaign last week on January 8th, 2016. His platform revolves around his slogan, “Greatness Must Be Earned” and to do great things, he has advocated the transition to 100% renewable energy for the country over the next 20 years. His policy plan includes, but is not limited to, creating the public and private mechanisms to encourage and nurture the financial markets to participate, a tax holiday for repatriated corporate capital that is invested in renewables and a carbon tax and dividend plan.

For further information on his policies and positions feel free to visit www.kenfields.net.

NOAA: Earth’s Hottest Period was Before Man Existed

Penny Starr in a CNSNews.com article titled “NOAA Website on Climate: Earth’s Hottest Period Occurred Before Man Existed” reports:

The global climate change agreement adopted at the United Nation’s conference in Paris is making headlines, but a federal government website dedicated to weather makes the case that the warmest time on Earth happened before mankind existed, and in fact, it was at one time so hot that crocodiles lived among palm trees in the Arctic Circle.An Aug. 12, 2014 article posted on climate.gov and titled, “What’s The Hottest The Earth’s Ever Been,” stated, “Earth’s hottest periods—the Hadean, the late Neoproterozoic, the PETM—occurred before humans existed.” It added, “Those ancient climates would have been like nothing our species has ever seen.”

The article noted that the Arctic Circle was once a tropical hot spot:

“Stretching from about 66-34 million years ago, the Paleocene and Eocene were the first geologic epochs following the end of the Mesozoic Era. (The Mesozoic—the age of dinosaurs—was itself an era punctuated by ‘hothouse’ conditions.)

Geologists and paleontologists think that during much of the Paleocene and early Eocene, the poles were free of ice caps, and palm trees and crocodiles lived above the Arctic Circle. The transition between the two epochs around 56 million years ago was marked by a rapid spike in global temperature.”

In its earliest days “when [Earth] was still colliding with other rocky debris,” the temperature was “upward of 3,600 degree Fahrenheit,” the article noted.

During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, “the global temperature appears to have risen by as much as 5-8 degrees” Centigrade (9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit), the article stated. (Note: the Paris climate change agreement is designed to stop Earth’s temperature from rising 2 degrees Fahrenheit, an increase caused by human activity, according to the U.N.)

Read more.

King Canute vs. the Climate Planners by Jeffrey A. Tucker

“With a small hammer you can achieve great things.”

Oh really?

This claim comes from French foreign minister Laurent Fabius as he banged his gavel at the close of the Paris climate summit. To the cheers of bureaucrats and cronies the world over, Fabius announced the deal that the press has been crowing about for days, the one in which “humanity” has united to stop increases in global temperature through the transfer of trillions of dollars from the rich to the poor, combined with the eventual (coercive) elimination of fossil fuels.

And thus did he bang his gavel. To his way of thinking, and that of the thousands gathered, that’s all you have to do to control the global climate, cause the world to stop relying on fossil fuels, and dramatically change the structure of all global industry, and do so with absolute conviction that benefits will outweigh the costs.

One bang of a gavel to dismantle industrial civilization by force, replace it with a vague and imagined new way of doing things, and have taxpayers pay for it.

Markets Yawn

Interestingly, the news on the Paris agreement had no notable impact on global markets at all. No prices rose or fell, no stocks soared or collapsed, and no futures responded with confidence that governments would win this one. The climate deal didn’t even make the business pages.

Investors and speculators are perhaps acculturated to ignoring such grand pronouncements. “The Paris climate conference delivered more of the same — lots of promises and lots of issues still left unresolved,” the US Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. And maybe that’s the right way to think, given that the world is ever less controlled by pieces of paper issued by government.

Still, breathless journalists wrote about the “historic agreement” and government officials paraded around as planet savers. Meanwhile, the oil price continues to fall even as demand rises, and the Energy Information Administration announced the discovery of more reserves than anyone believed possible. As for alternatives to fossil fuels, they are coming about through private sector innovation, not through government programs, and successful only when adopted voluntarily by consumers.

It’s a heck of a time to announce a new global central plan affecting the way 7 billion people use energy for the next century. Anyone schooled in the liberal tradition, or even slightly familiar with Hayek’s warning against the pretensions of the “scientific” government elites, shakes his or her head in knowing despair.

The entire scene looks like the apotheosis of the planning mentally — complete with five-year plans to monitor how well governments are doing in controlling the climate for the whole world and do so in a way that affects temperature 10-100 years from now.

King Canute?

The scene prompted many commentators to compare these people celebrating in Paris to King Canute, who ruled Denmark, England, and Norway a millennium ago. According to popular legend, as a way of demonstrating his awesome power, he rolled his throne up to the sea and commanded it to stop rising.

It didn’t work. Still, the image appears in many works of art. Even Lego offers a King Canute scene from its historical set.

Historians have challenged the point of the story. The only account with have of this incident, if it occurred at all, is from Henry of Huntingdon. He reports that after the sea rose despite his command, the King declared: “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”

He did and said this, say modern experts, to demonstrate to his courtiers and flatterers that he is not as wonderful and powerful as they were proclaiming him to be. Instead of subservience to his own person, he was urging all citizens to save their adoration for God.

His point was that power — even the absolute power of kings — has limits. During his rule, King Canute was enormously popular and evidently benefitted from the common tendency of people to credit authority for the achievements of the spontaneous evolution of the social order itself. His sea trick, if it happened at all, was designed to show people that he is not the man they thought he was.

The Pretensions of the Planners

Lacking a Canute to give us a wake-up call, we might revisit the extraordinary speech F.A. Hayek gave when he received his Nobel Prize. He was speaking before scientists of the world, having been awarded one of the most prestigious awards on the planet.

Rather than flattering the scientific establishment, particularly as it existed in economics, he went to the heart of what he considered the greatest intellectual danger that was arising at the time. He blew apart the planning mindset, the presumption that humankind can do anything if only the right people are given enough power and resources.

If the planning elite possessed omniscience of all facts, flawless understanding of cause and effect, perfect foresight to know all relevant changes that could affect the future, and the ability to control all variables, perhaps their pretensions would be justified.

But this is not the case. Hayek called the assumption the harshest possible word: “charlatanism.”

In the climate case, consider that we can’t know with certainty whether, to what extent, and how climate change (especially not 50-100 years from now) will affect life on earth. We don’t know the precise causal factors and their weight relative to the noise in our models, much less the kinds of coercive solutions to apply and whether they have been applied correctly and with what outcomes, much less the costs and benefits of attempting such a far-flung policy.

We can’t know any of that before or after such possible solutions have been applied. Science requires a process and unrelenting trial and error, learning and experimentation, the humility to admit error and the driving passion to discover truth.

In other words, science requires freedom, not central planning. The idea that any panel of global experts, working with appointed diplomats and bureaucrats, can have the requisite knowledge to make such grand and final decisions for the globe is outlandish and contrary to pretty much everything we know.

Throw the reality of politics into the mix and matters get worse. Fear over climate change (the ultimate market failure “problem”) is the last best hope for those who long to control the world by force. The entire nightmare scenario of rising tides and flooded cities — one that posits that our high standard of living is causing the world to heat up and burn — is just the latest excuse. That fact remains whether or not everything they claim is all true or all nonsense.

Pretensions Everywhere

Hayek explains further: “To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.”

Why? Because planning overrides the spontaneous discovery process that is an inherent part of the market structures.

We are only beginning to understand on how subtle a communication system the functioning of an advanced industrial society is based — a communications system which we call the market and which turns out to be a more efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information than any that man has deliberately designed.

He went further. The planning fallacy doesn’t just affect economics. It is a tendency we see in all intellectual realms, including climatology and its use by governments to justify the desire to manage the world from on high.

Hayek’s conclusion is so epic that it deserves to be quoted in full.

If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible.

He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants.

There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success”, to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will.

The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society — a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.

Or we could just quote King Canute after the tides failed to respect his edict: “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name.”

Jeffrey A. TuckerJeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Digital Development at FEE, CLO of the startup Liberty.me, and editor at Laissez Faire Books. Author of five books, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

‘MOST WANTED climate criminal’ in Paris

‘Wanted’ posters targets Climate Criminals at Paris summit by Sanjev Dev Malik

climate wanted poster

The seven most insidious fossil fuel lobbyists in Paris to weaken attempts to agree a global climate deal have been named and shamed as ‘climate criminals’ in a dossier published by the global citizens movement Avaaz.

The seven most insidious fossil fuel lobbyists in Paris to weaken attempts to agree a global climate deal have been named and shamed as ‘climate criminals’ in a dossier published by the global citizens movement Avaaz.The group, which spearheaded last weekend’s climate marches which saw 785,000 people take to the streets globally, posted over a thousand ‘Wanted’ posters outside 5-star hotels in the French capital on Monday morning.

The poster highlighting the seven most notorious dirty energy lobbyists unearthed from the list of more than 50,000 delegates at summit.On Monday morning,  Avaaz ‘Climate Cops’ will hand out flyers outside key Metro stations leading to the Le Bourget with photos of the lobbyists, who are expected to ramp up their efforts to derail a deal when ministers arrive this week to negotiate the deal.

Emma Ruby-Sachs, Acting Executive-Director of Avaaz says:

“These lobbyists have come to Paris to sabotage a global deal for ambitious climate action, despite over 3.6 million citizens around the world calling for 100% clean energy. Ministers must listen to their people, not polluters, and refuse meetings with climate criminals who want to derail a deal the whole world wants.”

Skeptical Climate Documentary Set to Rock UN Climate Summit – ‘Climate Hustle’ To Have Red Carpet Premiere in Paris

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Skeptical Climate Documentary Set to Rock UN Climate Summit – ‘Climate Hustle’ To Have Red Carpet Premiere in Paris

Watch Now: Hannity on Fox News features exclusive clips of ‘Climate Hustle’: First Time Broadcast of Select Clips

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Marc Morano posing with his ‘Climate Criminal’ wanted poster in the streets of Paris during the CPO 21 Summit for Sustainable Development.

Morano issued this statement:

“I may have to relocate to a secure undisclosed location. I hope I don’t need a stunt double tonight to walk the red carpet at the ‘Climate Hustle’ premiere.”

Watch Now: Hannity on Fox News features exclusive clips of CFACT’s ‘Climate Hustle’: First Time Broadcast of Select ClipsWill Morano have to do a climate perp walk!? Will he need a stunt double to walk the red carpet tonight at premiere of ‘Climate Hustle’ due to security concerns? Stay tuned…