Posts

The New Paganism? The Case against Pope Francis’s Green Encyclical by Max Borders

Paganism as a distinct and separate religion may perhaps be said to have died, although, driven out of the cities, it found refuge in the countryside, where it lingered long — and whence, indeed, its very name is derived. In a very real sense, however, it never died at all. It was only transformed and absorbed into Christianity. – James Westfall Thompson, An Introduction to Medieval Europe

In 2003, science-fiction writer Michael Crichton warned a San Francisco audience about the sacralization of the environment. Drawing an analogy between religion and environmentalism, Crichton said:

There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all.

We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

This analogy between religion and environmentalism is no longer a mere analogy.

Pope Francis, the highest authority in the Catholic Church — to whom many faithful look for spiritual guidance — has now fused church doctrine with environmental doctrine.

Let’s consider pieces of his recently released Encyclical Letter. One is reminded of a history in which the ideas of paganism (including the worship of nature) were incorporated into the growing medieval Church.

Excerpts from Pope Francis are shown in italics.


 

This sister protests the evil that we provoke, because of the irresponsible use and of the abuse of the goods that God has placed in her. We grew up thinking that we were its owners and rulers, allowed to plunder it.

Notice how Pope Francis turns the earth into a person. Sister. Mother. This kind of anthropomorphic trope is designed to make you think that, by virtue of driving your car, you’re also smacking your sibling. We’ve gone from “dominion over the animals and crawling things” to “plundering” our sister.

The violence that exists in the human heart wounded by sin is also manifested in the symptoms of the disease we feel in soil, water, air and in the living things. Therefore, among the most abandoned and ill treated poor we find our oppressed and devastated Earth, which “moans and suffers the pains of childbirth” [Romans 8:22].

First, if the state of the soil, water and air and living things is indeed symptomatic of our violent, sinful hearts, then the good news is that sin is on the decline. On every dimension the Pope names, the symptoms of environmental harm are getting better all the time — at least in our decadent capitalist country.

Do not take it on faith: here are data.

There are forms of pollution which affect people every day. The exposure to air pollutants produces a large spectrum of health effects, in particular on the most poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.

This will always be true to some degree, of course, but it’s less true than any time in human history. Pope Francis fails to acknowledge the tremendous gains humanity has made. For example, human life expectancy in the Paleolithic period (call this “Eden”) was 33 years. Life expectancy in the neolithic period was 20 years. Globally, life expectancy is now more than 68 years, and in the West, it is passing 79 years.

Yes, there is pollution, and, yes, the poor are affected by it. But the reason why the poor are affected most by air pollution is because they’re poor — and because they don’t have access to fossil fuel energy. Pope Francis never bothers to draw the connection between wealth and health because he thinks of both production and consumption as sinful. Brad Plumer writes at Vox,

About 3 billion people around the world — mostly in Africa and Asia, and mostly very poor — still cook and heat their homes by burning coal, charcoal, dung, wood, or plant residue in their homes. These homes often have poor ventilation, and the smoke can cause all sorts of respiratory diseases.

The wealthy people of the West, including Pope Francis, don’t suffer from this problem. That’s because liberal capitalist countries — i.e., those countries who “plunder” their sister earth — do not suffer from energy poverty. They do not suffer from inhaling fumes and particulate matter from burning dung becausethey are “sinful,” because they are capitalist.

See the problem? The Pope wants to have it both ways. He has confused the disease (unhealthy indoor air pollution) with the cure (cheap, clean, abundant and mass-produced energy from fossil fuels).

Add to that the pollution that affects all, caused by transportation, by industrial fumes, by the discharge of substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, by fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and toxic pesticides in general. The technology, which, connected to finance, claims to be the only solution to these problems, in fact is not capable of seeing the mystery of the multiple relationships which exist between things, and because of this, sometimes solves a problem by creating another.

It is strange to read admonitions from someone about the “multiple relationships that exist between things,” only to see him ignore those relationships in the same paragraph. Yes, humans often create problems by solving others, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t solve the problems. It just means we should solve the big problems and then work on the smaller ones.

Solving problems even as we discover different problems is an inherent part of the human condition. Our creativity and innovation and struggle to overcome the hand nature has dealt us is what makes us unique as a species.

Perhaps this is, for Pope Francis, some sort of Green Original Sin: “Thou shalt just deal with it.” But to the rest of us, it is the means by which we live happier, more comfortable lives here under the firmament.

The Earth, our home, seems to turn more and more into a huge garbage dump. In many places on the planet, the elderly remember with nostalgia the landscapes of the past, which now appear to be submerged in junk.

If you get your understanding of waste management and the environment from the movie Wall-E, then you might have the impression that we’re burying our sister in garbage. But as the guys over at EconPop have pointed out, land used for waste management is also governed by laws of supply and demand — which means entrepreneurs and innovators are finding better and less expensive ways to reuse, reduce, recycle, and manage our waste.

The industrial waste as well as the chemicals used in cities and fields can produce an effect of bio-accumulation in the bodies of the inhabitants of neighboring areas, which occurs even when the amount of a toxic element in a given place is low. Many times one takes action only when these produced irreversible effects on people’s health.

People, on net, are living longer and healthier than they ever have in the history of our species. What evidence does the Holy Father have that irreversible effects on people’s health rises to the level of an emergency that demands drafting in a papal encyclical? And why focus on the costs of “chemicals” without a single mention of overwhelming their human benefit? Indeed, which chemicals? This kind of sloppy thinking is rather unbecoming of someone who is (we are constantly reminded) a trained chemist.

Certain substances can have health effects, but so can failing to produce the life-enhancing goods in the first place. The answer is not to beg forgiveness for using soaps and plastics (or whatever), but to develop the institutions that prevent people and companies from imposing harmful costs onto others without taking responsibility for it.

The key is to consider the trade-offs that we will face no matter what, not to condemn and banish “impure” and unnatural substances from our lives.

These issues are intimately linked to the culture of waste, affecting so much the human beings left behind when the things turn quickly into trash.

Now we’re getting somewhere. This is where Pope Francis would like to add consumerism to production on the list of environmentally deadly sins.

Let us realize, for example, that most of the paper that is produced is thrown away and not recycled.

Heaven forfend! So would Pope Francis have us burn fossil fuels to go around and collect processed pulp? Is he unaware that demand for paper is what drivesthe supply of new trees? We aren’t running out of trees because we throw away paper. The Pope’s plan sounds like it could have been hatched in Berkeley, California, instead of Vatican City. And yet worlds have collided.

Michael Munger puts matters a little differently:

Mandatory recycling, by definition, takes material that would not be recycled voluntarily, diverts it from the waste stream, and handles it several times before using it again in a way that wastes resources.

The only explanation for this behavior that I can think of is a religious ceremony, a sacrifice of resources as a form of worship. I have no problem if people want to do that. As religions go, it is fairly benign. Butrequiring that religious sacrifice of resources is a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Well, Professor Munger, this is the Pope we’re talking about.

We find it hard to admit that the operation of natural ecosystems is exemplary: plants synthesize nutrients that feed the herbivores; these in turn feed the carnivores, which provide a lot of organic waste, which give rise to a new generation of plants. In contrast, the industrial system, at the end of its cycle of production and consumption, has not developed the ability to absorb and reuse waste and slag.

Where is the evidence for this? These are matters of faith, indeed. All this time I thought the industrial system did have the ability to absorb and reuse waste: It’s called the system of prices, property, and profit/loss. The problem is not that such a “recycling” system doesn’t exist, it’s that corruption and government distorts the system of property, prices and profit/loss so that our economic ecosystem doesn’t operate as it should.

Indeed, when you have the Pope suggesting we burn gas to save glass, you have to wonder why the industrial system is so messed up. A system that “requires us to limit the use of non-renewable resources, to moderate consumption, to maximize the efficiency of the exploitation, to reuse and to recycle,” is called the market. And where it doesn’t exist is where you’ll find the worst instances of corruption and environmental degradation.

Then, of course, there’s climate change. In the interests of brevity I won’t quote the whole thing. But here’s the punchline, which might have been plucked straight from the IPCC Summary for Policymakers:

Climate change is a global problem with serious environmental, social, economic, distribution and policy implications, and make up one of the main current challenges for humanity. The heaviest impacts will probably fall in the coming decades upon developing countries.

This might be true. What the Holy Father fails to appreciate is that the heaviest impacts of policies designed to mitigate climate change will definitely fall upon developing countries. (That is, if the developing countries swear off cheap energy and embrace any sort of global climate treaty. If history is a guide, they most certainly will not.)

Meanwhile, the biggest benefits of burning more carbon-based fossil fuels will accrue the poorest billions on earth. The Pope should mention that if he really has their interests at heart or in mind.

But many symptoms indicate that these effects could get worse if we continue the current patterns of production and consumption.

“Patterns of production and consumption”? This is a euphemism for wealth creation. What is wealth except production and consumption of resources to further human need and desire?

His suggested cure for our dangerous patterns of wealth creation, of course, is good ole demand-side management. Wiser, more enlightened minds (like his, he hopes) will let you know which light bulbs to buy, what sort of car to drive, and which insolvent solar company they’ll “invest” your money in. You can even buy papal indulgences in the form of carbon credits. As the late Alexander Cockburn wrote,

The modern trade is as fantastical as the medieval one. … Devoid of any sustaining scientific basis, carbon trafficking is powered by guilt, credulity, cynicism and greed, just like the old indulgences, though at least the latter produced beautiful monuments.

But the most important thing to realize here is that the “current” patterns of production and consumption are never current. The earthquakes of innovation and gales of creative destruction blow through any such observed patterns. The price system, with its lightning-quick information distribution mechanism is far, far superior to any elites or energy cronies. And technological innovation, though we can’t predict just how, will likely someday take us as far away from today’s energy status quo, just as we have moved away from tallow, whale oil, and horse-drawn carriages.

The Pope disagrees with our rose-tinted techno-optimism, saying “some maintain at all costs the myth of progress and say that the ecological problems will be solved simply by new technical applications.”

The Pope sits on his golden throne and looks over the vast expanse of time and space — from hunter-gatherers running mammoths off cliffs to Americans running Teslas off electric power, from the USA in 1776 and 2015, from England before and after the Industrial Revolution, from Hong Kong and Hiroshima in 1945 to their glorious present — and sneers: progress is a myth, environmental problems can’t be fixed through innovation, production is destroying the earth, consumption is original sin.

Innovation is the wellspring of all progress. Policies to stop or undo innovation in energy, chemistry, industry, farming, and genetics are a way to put humanity in a bell jar, at best. At worst they will put some of us in the dark and others in early graves. They are truly fatal conceits.

And yet, the Pope has faith in policymakers to know just which year we should have gotten off the train of innovation. William F. Buckley famously said conservatives “stand athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’” Greens are similar, except they’re yelling “Go back!”

Therefore it has become urgent and compelling to develop policies so that in the coming years the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases is reduced drastically, for instance by replacing fossil fuels and by developing renewable energy sources.

I reflect again on the notion that this effort might be just another way of the Church embracing and extending a competitor religion. Then again, Pope Francis so often shows that he is a true and faithful green planner. In an unholy alliance with those who see the strategic benefit in absorbing environmentalism, the Holy Father has found the perfect way to restore the power of the Church over politics, economics, culture, and the state to its former glory.


Max Borders

Max Borders is the editor of the Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also cofounder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.


Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

Global Coal Use Growing Faster Than Any Other Energy

Over the last decade, global coal use grew by 968 million tonnes of oil equivalent. That is 4 times faster than renewables, 2.8 times faster than oil and 50 per cent faster than gas. That’s hardly justification for a requiem.

As Master of Oxford University’s Baillol College in the second half of the 19th century, Benjamin Jowett once submitted a contentious issue to a vote among Baillol’s dons and was displeased with the result. “The vote is 22 to 2. I see we are deadlocked.”

enegy sources global

Jowett was determined to ensure that empirical facts were not going to deny him the result he wanted.

When it comes to the coal industry, environmental campaigners and fellow travellers in the media are busy wishing away facts that don’t suit their arguments.

‘‘The end of coal’’ was the tag­line for a Four Corners’ “analysis” of the coal sector last night. It was Episode 14 of Series 3 of the Four Corners’ critique of the mining industry.

Consistent with the established practice, the conclusion of the piece was predetermined and the narrative arranged accordingly.

Facts were in short supply, wishful thinking was not. A trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, which funds activist groups and co-funded the development of an Australian anti-coal strategy in 2011, was wheeled out as an objective observer.

So the release of BP’s 2015 Statistical Review of World Energy in recent days is timely. Although BP is no friend of coal, the report provides an objective analysis of developments in global energy.

Let’s test some of the anti-coal crusaders’ claims with some objective facts.

First, it is claimed that coal is a dying energy source and its use is being phased out. Not so. According to the BP Review, over the decade to the end of 2014, coal use grew by 968 million tonnes of oil equivalent. That is 4 times faster than renewables, 2.8 times faster than oil and 50 per cent faster than gas. That’s hardly justification for a requiem.

Second, investors are not walking away from coal. Yes, some universities and some funds have decided to divest some of their stocks in fossil fuels. That’s their prerogative. But the overwhelming majority have not and will not divest of coal stocks. Sure the share prices of coal companies fall during a commodity downturn due largely to oversupply. So do the share prices of oil companies and grain producers when prices fall in those sectors.

The empirical evidence suggests that interest in the sector from lenders and investors remains strong. One of the anti-coal movement’s own groups, Bankwatch, has complained that global financing for coal mining rose to $US66 billion in 2014, up from $US55bn in 2013 and a 360 per cent increase from 2005.

The third claim is that renewable energy is capable of replacing fossil fuels, including coal.

Not likely. In 2014, if the world had relied on renewable energy like wind, solar and biomass for primary energy, then the world would have had just 9 days of heat, light and artificial horsepower.

Fourth, campaigners claim that coal has no future in a low emissions world. Not true. New generation technologies are slashing CO2 emissions from coal fired plants by as much as 40 per cent. These high efficiency low emissions plants are being rolled out in China, Japan and elsewhere in Asia. And the first large scale carbon capture and storage coal plant in Canada has slashed its CO2 emissions by 90 per cent. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated the cost of meeting global reduction targets will be 138 per cent higher without the deployment of carbon capture and storage.

The campaigners also claim that major consuming nations are turning away from coal. But the International Energy Agency predicts that China will add 450 gigawatts of coal fired power over the next 25 years. That’s 40 per cent larger than the entire US coal fleet. As the International Energy Agency has predicted, “China will be the coal giant for many years in the future”.

Energy starved India is also expanding its coal use and is expected to become the world’s largest coal importer in the next decade. The anti-coal crusaders are confused when it comes to India, which, by the way, still has 300 million people without access to electricity.

Their intellectual callisthenics are driven largely by their opposition to the Adani project in the Galilee Basin, which will export high-quality thermal coal to India.

First the campaigners argued that India’s power needs could be supplied by renewable energy. Really? Wind, solar and biomass accounted for 2 per cent of India’s energy needs in 2014. That’s about one week of India’s primary energy needs.

Read the full post

Pope improves Armageddon with Climate Change prophecy

Today the Vatican released a highly anticipated Papal encyclical containing a carefully worded prediction of the imminent destruction of Earth’s environment at the hands of wealthy countries and individuals. Titled “Laudato Si,” (“Be Praised”), the new encyclical leaves little doubt that its author, Pope Francis, is attempting to bridge the widening gap between the boring and preachy Epistle of Jude and the still popular and hardcore Book of Revelation, while also courting a younger, progressive generation of Mother Earth worshippers by adding a cool new “Horseman of Global Warming” to the existing Doomsday scenario, bringing the total number of Horsemen of the Apocalypse to five.

Prior to the release, a senior Vatican official explained the purpose of the encyclical as a good faith effort by the Pope to demonize unbridled capitalism as the sole threat to our common planet, thus endearing himself and the Church he shepherds to the largely untapped progressive community. “If this encyclical receives the popular support it deserves, it may well find its way into the Canon of Scripture, and possibly into movie theaters worldwide,” the source told the press on condition of anonymity, explaining that “stealing the Holy Father’s thunder” is an excommunicable offense.

“It may seem odd to suggest that St. John, author of the Book of Revelation, shared a common failing with the early prophets of Climate Change, but it’s true. In his eagerness to steer readers to God, John wrote as though it was essential that people immediately embrace holy living so as to avoid the fast-approaching horrors of Armageddon. Likewise, until recently, the harbingers of carbon-based annihilation demanded drastic lifestyle changes among the world’s consumers to prevent climate cataclysm,” said the insider of an increasingly enlightened and once again relevant Catholic institution.

“Their mutual mistake was the specificity of predictions and deadlines for action, which have all passed without any noticeable impact. New York remains above water and natural disasters have not increased, while the seven seals remain unbroken and the stars are still attached to the firmament,” the Vatican source said.

And yet we shouldn’t lose hope: “The infallible Vicar of Christ won’t repeat those mistakes. His encyclical skillfully combines compelling, Revelationesque doomsday scenarios with a generous use of tempering vagaries such as ‘may’ and ‘potential.'”

Even though none of the earlier predictions have materialized, there is still reason for optimism, as Revelation and Climate Change Science both continue to be wildly popular among the respective groups of believers.

“The encyclical capitalizes on that popularity while serving as a long overdue segue between the present time, where nothing of note is happening, and the apocalyptic events which may still be decades away,” said the Vatican official, ending the anonymous statement with a prediction that the eventual Hollywood screenplay may potentially feature a snappier, dire-sounding title.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.

Pope turns lobbyist?! Urges prayers for passage of UN climate treaty!

Pope Francis: ‘We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present discussions, so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays.’

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano comment: “No matter how nuanced and faithful to Catholic teachings this encyclical attempts to be, this passage where the Pope urges Catholics to ‘ask God for a positive outcome’ to the current UN global warming treaty process, will overpower every other message. The Pope is clearly endorsing a specific UN political climate treaty and essentially declaring he is on a mission from God to support a UN climate treaty. He even conjures up the comical concept of climate ‘tipping points’.”

Full text of  “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”.

Full Text of Paragraph 169 reprinted below:

169. “As far as the protection of biodiversity and issues related to desertification are concerned, progress has been far less significant. With regard to climate change, the advances have been regrettably few. Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most. The Conference of the United Nations on Sustainable Development, “Rio+20” (Rio de Janeiro 2012), issued a wide-ranging but ineffectual outcome document. International negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good. Those who will have to suffer the consequences of what we are trying to hide will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility. Even as this Encyclical was being prepared, the debate was intensifying. We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present discussions, so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays.”

End excerpt.

Related Links:

Watch Now: Morano on Fox: ‘The Pope sounds a lot like Al Gore’ – There is an ‘unholy alliance’ between Vatican & UN

Marc Morano on Fox – Varney & Co. w/ Stuart Varney – June 17, 2015 – Watch here:

Morano: ‘The pope appears to be jumping on the bandwagon just as the evidence to weaken on man-made global warming…On all of these metrics, the case is weakening… It’s one thing for the Pope to have a scientific view that people can disagree on, but it’s completely another thing to time an encyclical and tie it in with a UN global warming treaty. The confusion is going to be Catholic Americans will ask themselves: ‘Hey do i have to support a UN political treaty on global warming? If I don’t , am I not a good catholic?’ It’s sowing confusion. But on the other hand, only 2% of this encyclical appears to be on climate. There are lot of other issues in it. The people touting the Pope’s view on climate are ignoring all of the other issues, life issues, overpopulation, that the Pope is against. The media loves it because he sounds a lot like Al Gore in this encyclical.’

Climate Skeptics Respond to Papal EncyclicalClimate Depot’s Marc Morano: “The Vatican’s partnering with the United Nations climate agenda is nothing short of an unholy alliance. The papal encyclical, no matter how nuanced it may read, will simply be used as a tool to support UN global warming ‘solutions’ that are at odds with most Catholic teachings on issues such as abortion, contraception, overpopulation, and helping the poor nations develop. The Vatican appears to be taking an unprecedented step by seemingly endorsing a specific UN climate treaty.

“Despite the media’s portrayal, this is ultimately not a climate change encyclical, as only 2% of the encyclical deals with climate at all. It is about much more than that, and the irony is that the people who are lauding the pope’s position on climate disagree with just about everything else he stands for. Climate activists who take the time to read the entire encyclical will learn about Catholic teaching on a host of moral issues that they probably have never been willing to listen to before.

“The climate activists are no doubt getting a PR boost from the pope’s entry into the climate debate. But ultimately, the pope’s views on climate science will do little to alter the opinions of Catholics about global warming. As a Catholic, it is my hope that the pope does not take the next step and essentially lobby for a UN climate treaty.”

Senator Inhofe: Pope’s Words Will Be Used To Justify ‘Largest’ Tax Increase In History

Catholic Herald: ‘Pope Francis is unduly pessimistic about the world’

Pope Francis: Time for a “bold cultural revolution” to confront climate change and ‘compulsive consumerism’

U.S. bishops taking Pope’s climate message to Capitol Hill for briefings with lawmakers

Pope Francis: Climate Change and Abortion are ‘Interrelated’

UN Climate Chief: Pope’s encyclical may have ‘major impact’ on climate talks

Boston Globe: US must take the lead on Pope Francis’ call on climate change

Watch Now: Morano in lively TV EWTN climate debate with enviro lobbyist: ‘The points she just made are demonstrably not true’

Climate Depot’s Mission to Rome – Persuading the The Vatican on ‘Climate Change’

Watch Now: Marc Morano’s Presentation in Rome to Vatican – April 28, 2015 – Watch video here: – Marc Morano, executive editor and chief correspondent at ClimateDepot.com, gives a presentation at The Heartland Institute’s climate science and policy event outside the Vatican on April 28, 2015. – Morano’s Powerpoint is here.

VATICAN HEAVIES SILENCE ‘CLIMATE HERETICS’ AT UN PAPAL SUMMIT IN ROME

Climate Skeptics In Rome Warn Pope Francis of ‘Unholy Alliance’ With UN Climate Agenda

Flashback: Vatican Climate Advisor ‘proposed creation of a CO2 budget for every person on planet!’

Pew Poll: Less than half of US Catholics believe climate change is mostly man-made – The survey by the Pew Research Center found 71 percent of U.S. Catholics believed the planet was getting warmer, but less than half, or 47 percent, attributed global warming to human causes. About 48 percent viewed it as a very serious problem. The numbers are similar to the U.S. population overall – 68 percent believe warming is happening, 45 percent say it is caused by humans, and 46 percent see it as a very serious problem.

Climate conversion? Al Gore: ‘I could become a Catholic because of this Pope’

Climate conversion? Al Gore: ‘I could become a Catholic because of this Pope’ – Gore: ‘Well I’ve said publicly in the last year, I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, I could become a Catholic because of this Pope. He is that inspiring to me.’

Against Eco-pessimism: Half a Century of False Bad News by Matt Ridley

Pope Francis’s new encyclical on the environment (Laudato Sii) warns of the coming environmental catastrophe (“unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us”).  It’s the latest entry in a long literary tradition of environmental doomsday warnings.

In contrast, Matt Ridley, bestselling author of GenomeThe Agile Gene, and The Rational Optimist, who also received the 2012 Julian Simon Memorial Award from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says this outlook has proven wrong time again. This is the full text of his acceptance speech. Video is embedded below.

It is now 32 years, nearly a third of a century, since Julian Simon nailed his theses to the door of the eco-pessimist church by publishing his famous article in Science magazine: “Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of False Bad News.”

It is also 40 years since The Limits to Growth and 50 years since Silent Spring, plenty long enough to reflect on whether the world has conformed to Malthusian pessimism or Simonian optimism.

Before I go on, I want to remind you just how viciously Simon was attacked for saying that he thought the bad news was being exaggerated and the good news downplayed.

Verbally at least Simon’s treatment was every bit as rough as Martin Luther’s. Simon was called an imbecile, a moron, silly, ignorant, a flat-earther, a member of the far right, a Marxist.

“Could the editors have found someone to review Simon’s manuscript who had to take off his shoes to count to 20?” said Paul Ehrlich.

Erhlich together with John Holdren then launched a blistering critique, accusing Simon of lying about electricity prices having fallen. It turned out they were basing their criticism on a typo in a table, as Simon discovered by calling the table’s author. To which Ehrlich replied: “what scientist would phone the author of a standard source to make sure there were no typos in a series of numbers?”

Answer: one who likes to get his facts right.

Yet for all the invective, his critics have never laid a glove on Julian Simon then or later. I cannot think of a single significant fact, data point or even prediction where he was eventually proved badly wrong. There may be a few trivia that went wrong, but the big things are all right. Read that 1980 article again today and you will see what I mean.

I want to draw a few lessons from Julian Simon’s battle with the Malthusian minotaur, and from my own foolhardy decision to follow in his footsteps – and those of Bjorn Lomborg, Ron Bailey, Indur Goklany, Ian Murray, Myron Ebell and others – into the labyrinth a couple of decades later.

Consider the words of the publisher’s summary of The Limits to Growth: “Will this be the world that your grandchildren will thank you for? A world where industrial production has sunk to zero. Where population has suffered a catastrophic decline. Where the air, sea, and land are polluted beyond redemption. Where civilization is a distant memory. This is the world that the computer forecasts.”

Again and again Simon was right and his critics were wrong.

Would it not be nice if just one of those people who called him names piped up and admitted it? We optimists have won every intellectual argument and yet we have made no difference at all. My daughter’s textbooks trot out the same old Malthusian dirge as mine did.

What makes it so hard to get the message across?

I think it boils down to five adjectives: ahistorical, finite, static, vested and complacent. The eco-pessimist view ignores history, misunderstands finiteness, thinks statically, has a vested interest in doom and is complacent about innovation.

People have very short memories. They are not just ignoring, but unaware of, the poor track record of eco-pessimists. For me, the fact that each of the scares I mentioned above was taken very seriously at the time, attracting the solemn endorsement of the great and the good, should prompt real skepticism about global warming claims today.

That’s what motivated me to start asking to see the actual evidence about climate change. When I did so I could not find one piece of data – as opposed to a model – that shows either unprecedented change or change is that is anywhere close to causing real harm.

Yet when I made this point to a climate scientist recently, he promptly and cheerily said that “the fact that people have been wrong before does not make them wrong this time,” as if this somehow settled the matter for good.

Second, it is enormously hard for people to grasp Simon’s argument that “Incredible as it may seem at first, the term ‘finite’ is not only inappropriate but downright misleading in the context of natural resources.”

He went on: “Because we find new lodes, invent better production methods and discover new substitutes, the ultimate constraint upon our capacity to enjoy unlimited raw materials at acceptable prices is knowledge.” This is a profoundly counterintuitive point.

Yet was there ever a better demonstration of this truth than the shale gas revolution? Shale gas was always there; but what made it a resource, as opposed to not a resource, was knowledge – the practical know-how developed by George Mitchell in Texas. This has transformed the energy picture of the world.

Besides, as I have noted elsewhere, it’s the renewable – infinite – resources that have a habit of running out: whales, white pine forests, buffalo. It’s a startling fact, but no non-renewable resource has yet come close to exhaustion, whereas lots of renewable ones have.

And by the way, have you noticed something about fossil fuels – we are the only creatures that use them. What this means is that when you use oil, coal or gas, you are not competing with other species. When you use timber, or crops or tide, or hydro or even wind, you are.

There is absolutely no doubt that the world’s policy of encouraging the use of bio-energy, whether in the form of timber or ethanol, is bad for wildlife – it competes with wildlife for land, or wood or food.

Imagine a world in which we relied on crops and wood for all our energy and then along comes somebody and says here’s this stuff underground that we can use instead, so we don’t have to steal the biosphere’s lunch.

Imagine no more. That’s precisely what did happen in the industrial revolution.

Third, the Malthusian view is fundamentally static. Julian Simon’s view is fundamentally dynamic. Again and again when I argue with greens I find that they simply do not grasp the reflexive nature of the world, the way in which prices cause the substitution of resources or the dynamic properties of ecosystems – the word equilibrium has no place in ecology.

Take malaria. The eco-pessimists insisted until recently that malaria must get worse in a warming 21st century world. But, as Paul Reiter kept telling them to no avail, this is nonsense. Malaria disappeared from North America, Russia and Europe and retreated dramatically in South America, Asia and Africa in the twentieth century even as the world warmed.

That’s not because the world got less congenial to mosquitoes. It’s because we moved indoors and drained the swamps and used DDT and malaria medications and so on. Human beings are a moving target. They adapt.

But, my fourth point, another reason Simon’s argument fell on stony ground is that so many people had and have a vested interest in doom. Though they hate to admit it, the environmental movement and the scientific community are vigorous, healthy, competitive, cut-throat, free markets in which corporate leviathans compete for donations, grants, subsidies and publicity. The best way of getting all three is to sound the alarm. If it bleeds it leads. Good news is no news.

Imagine how much money you would get if you put out an advert saying: “we now think climate change will be mild and slow, none the less please donate”. The sums concerned are truly staggering. Greenpeace and WWF, the General Motors and Exxon of the green movement, between them raise and spend a billion dollars a year globally. WWF spends $68m alone on educational propaganda. Frankly, Julian, Bjorn, Ron, Indur, Ian, Myron and I are spitting in the wind.

Yet, fifth, ironically, a further problem is complacency. The eco-pessimists are the Panglossians these days, for it is they who think the world will be fine without developing new technologies. Let’s not adopt GM food – let’s stick with pesticides.

Was there ever a more complacent doctrine than the precautionary principle: don’t try anything new until you are sure it is safe? As if the world were perfect. It is we eco-optimists, ironically, who are acutely aware of how miserable this world still is and how much better we could make it – indeed how precariously dependent we are on still inventing ever more new technologies.

I had a good example of this recently debating a climate alarmist. He insisted that the risk from increasing carbon dioxide was acute and that therefore we needed to drastically cut our emissions by 90 percent or so. In vain did I try to point out that drastically cutting emissions by 90% might do more harm to the poor and the rain forest than anything the emissions themselves might do. That we are taking chemotherapy for a cold, putting a tourniquet round our neck to stop a nosebleed.

My old employer, the Economist, is fond of a version of Pascal’s wager – namely that however small the risk of catastrophic climate change, the impact could be so huge that almost any cost is worth bearing to avert it. I have been trying to persuade them that the very same logic applies to emissions reduction.

However small is the risk that emissions reduction will lead to planetary devastation, almost any price is worth paying to prevent that, including the tiny risk that carbon emissions will destabilize the climate. Just look at Haiti to understand that getting rid of fossil fuels is a huge environmental risk.

That’s what I mean by complacency: complacently assuming that we can decarbonize the economy without severe ecological harm, complacently assuming that we can shut down world trade without starving the poor, that we can grow organic crops for seven billion people without destroying the rain forest.

Having paid homage to Julian Simon’s ideas, let me end by disagreeing with him on one thing. At least I think I am disagreeing with him, but I may be wrong.

He made the argument, which was extraordinary and repulsive to me when I first heard it as a young and orthodox eco-pessimist, that the more people in the world, the more invention. That people were brains as well as mouths, solutions as well as problems. Or as somebody once put it: why is the birth of a baby a cause for concern, while the birth of a calf is a cause for hope?

Now there is a version of this argument that – for some peculiar reason – is very popular among academics, namely that the more people there are, the greater the chance that one of them will be a genius, a scientific or technological Messiah.

Occasionally, Julian Simon sounds like he is in this camp. And if he were here today, — and by Zeus, I wish he were – I would try to persuade him that this is not the point, that what counts is not how many people there are but how well they are communicating. I would tell him about the new evidence from Paleolithic Tasmania, from Mesolithic Europe from the Neolithic Pacific, and from the internet today, that it’s trade and exchange that breeds innovation, through the meeting and mating of ideas.

That the lonely inspired genius is a myth, promulgated by Nobel prizes and the patent system. This means that stupid people are just as important as clever ones; that the collective intelligence that gives us incredible improvements in living standards depends on people’s ideas meeting and mating, more than on how many people there are. That’s why a little country like Athens or Genoa or Holland can suddenly lead the world. That’s why mobile telephony and the internet has no inventor, not even Al Gore.

Not surprisingly, academics don’t like this argument. They just can’t get their pointy heads around the idea that ordinary people drive innovation just by exchanging and specializing. I am sure Julian Simon got it, but I feel he was still flirting with the outlier theory instead.

The great human adventure has barely begun. The greenest thing we can do is innovate. The most sustainable thing we can do is change. The only limit is knowledge. Thank you Julian Simon for these insights.

2012 Julian L. Simon Memorial Award Dinner from CEI Video on Vimeo.

Anything Peaceful

Anything Peaceful is FEE’s new online ideas marketplace, hosting original and aggregate content from across the Web.

The Poor Need Affordable Energy by Iain Murray

Affordable energy is fundamental to what economist Deirdre McCloskey calls the “Great Fact” of the explosion of human welfare. It remains central to the reduction of absolute poverty. Yet, some Western governments are working to increase energy costs, purportedly to combat global warming.

What they are really combating is prosperity.

This is perverse and regressive. In America and Europe, energy takes up a much larger share of poor households’ budgets compared to other income brackets. For instance, a household with an annual income between $10,000 and $25,000 spends well over 10 percent of its budget on energy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And a January 2014 study for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that “households earning $50,000 or less spend more on energy than on food, spend twice as much on energy as on health care, and spend more than twice as much on energy as on clothing.”

Increasing the cost of energy also harms people’s health. That’s because energy use is so fundamental to modern life that it can take precedence over other household expenses — including health care. The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association found that an increase in energy costs led 30 percent of poor households to reduce purchases of food, 40 percent to go without medical care, and 33 percent to not fill a prescription.

The term “fuel poverty” describes households in cold climates that are not able to keep their home warm at an affordable cost. The primary causes of fuel poverty are low income, poor insulation, and high energy prices. Eight percent of households in Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom suffer from some form of fuel poverty, according to the European Union’s European Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency consortium project. In the UK, where there is much more data owing to an official designation of fuel poverty, a household is defined as fuel poor if it has to spend 10 percent of its income on essential energy services; 20 percent of households meet this definition.

Despite this, Western governments are pursuing policies to increase energy prices. President Obama said during his first election campaign that electricity rates from coal would “necessarily skyrocket” under his policies; this may finally come to pass under his EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. In Western Europe, energy costs have increased due to a combination of renewable energy subsidies and mandates, bans or moratoria on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), hostility to nuclear energy, and Russia’s control of natural gas supplies for much of the continent’s eastern half.

Despite the president’s policies, US energy markets have shown that innovation beats regulation every time. Even though huge swaths of American energy resources are locked up under untouchable federal lands, energy production has boomed over the past decade, thanks to the development of horizontal drilling and improved hydraulic fracturing techniques. These technological advances have led to lower electricity prices from natural gas. And subsurface property rights have benefited both urban and rural households through royalty payments for energy production on their land.

Moreover, as gas became more affordable, it led to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, thanks to energy innovation, America met the emissions targets set for it in the Kyoto Protocol, without any need for burdensome laws and regulation — or for the Kyoto Protocol itself. Whatever you think of the need for carbon emissions reduction, energy innovation is achieving that goal.

This is all to the good, but more energy innovation is possible. They key is greater liberalization. America should free up federal lands to energy development, rather than pickle them in regulatory aspic. Europe could enjoy its own energy boom by approving hydraulic fracturing.

Reducing artificially high energy costs is the first step in tackling fuel poverty. In America, the market is alleviating the burden of energy costs on poor households, even as the government goes the wrong way. That shows us the way forward for tackling the much greater problem in the developing world.


Iain Murray

Iain Murray is vice president at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Leaving the Church of Environmentalism

In March 2009 while the Environmental Protection Agency was rushing to fulfill a presidential campaign pledge to document that carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other greenhouse gases endangered public health and the environment, a longtime employee, Alan Carlin, put out a 93-page report challenging the science being cited and the drift of the agency from its initial role to one captured by fanatical activists and alarmists, treating environmentalism more as a religion than based in science.

At the time Carlin was a 72-year-old analyst and economist who, as The New York Times put it, “had labored in obscurity in a little-known office at the Environmental Protection Agency since the Nixon administration.” His EPA career would span 38 years.

Cover - Environmentalism Gone MadThe website for his new book, “Environmentalism Gone Mad” says, “Dr. Alan Carlin is an economist and physical scientist with degrees from Caltech and MIT and publications in both economics and climate/energy, who became actively involved in the Sierra Club in the 1960s as an activist and Chapter Chairman. This led to a career as a manager and senior analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency.”

As he says in the preface “The purpose of this book is to explain why I changed from my lifelong support of the environmental movement to extreme skepticism concern their current primary objective of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.”

“Although I and the many other climate skeptics are now referred to as ‘deniers’ by the climate alarmists, that does not change the science—and there is no valid scientific basis for the alarmists’ catastrophic climate predictions—or justify their fantastically expensive and useless ‘solution.’”

Carlin went from being a dedicated environmentalist, based on its initial philosophy of conservation, to an observer of the movement that was taken over and distorted to advocate falsehoods about global warming and a transition from fossil-fuels to “clean energy” meaning wind, solar and bio-fuels. As an economist he understood how absurd it was to suggest rejecting fossil-fuels, the key element of modern industry and society.

“The climate alarmists,” says Carlin, “have now been making their apocalyptic predictions for almost thirty years and it is now possible to compare their predictions with actual physical observations.” Suffice to say all the predictions of a significantly higher temperature—the warming—have been wrong.

In fact, the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle since 1998 and shows no indication of warming

Predictions about the North and South Poles melting, a major rise in ocean levels, increased hurricanes and other climate events have been wrong along with countless other climate-related apocalyptic predictions.

Having observed how the EPA has functioned for more than three decades, Carlin warns that its current “environmental policy has been hijacked by radicals intent on imposing their ideology by government fiat on the rest of us whether we like it or not…If environmental policy is based on government fiat or ‘green’ policy prescriptions the results have been and are very likely to continue to be disastrous.”

At 625 pages, Carlin’s book takes the reader from his early days as a Sierra Club activist and chapter leader to being an EPA outcast, denounced for telling the truth about the false claims of global warming, climate change, and what is now being called extreme weather.

As an economist, Carlin is particularly upset that “the Obama Administration’s climate/energy policy is wasting very large sums on non-solutions to minor or non-problems.” The book has come along as President Obama has been flogging “climate change” as the greatest threat to the nation and the world.

“It has been long recognized that weather is chaotic,” says Carlin. While we operate within the four seasons, the weather that occurs can only be predicted in the most general terms. Suggesting that humans actually have any effect on the weather is absurd.

That is why the predictions made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and all the others based on computer models are, by definition, worthless. Computer models cannot predict anything about the vast chaotic global climate system. Even today, meteorologists are mystified by the actions of clouds which can form and disappear in minutes.

It’s useful to keep in mind that climate is measured in centuries, while the weather is reported as what is occurring today and forecast, at best, for no more than a week. Weather records are maintained for purposes of comparison and within the larger context of determining the Earth’s climate cycles. Like those in the past, the present cooling cycle is based on a comparable one of the Sun that is producing lower levels of radiation. You don’t need a Ph.D. in meteorology to understand this.

Carlin does not hesitate to excoriate the blather put forth by the alarmists; particularly their claims that the weather is affected in any significant fashion by human activity and development in particular. “There is simply no evidence thus far that the normal activities of man have or will result in catastrophic outcomes for either man or nature.”

The actions the alarmists call for do nothing to enhance and benefit our lives. They drive up the cost of energy and food. They ignore how dependent modern life is on the use of fossil fuels.

“Despite all the lavish funding by liberal foundations and the federal government on their global warming doctrine-inspired programs, the radical environmental movement has long since gone so far beyond rationality that it is counter-productive in achieving its own ends.”

So long as it remains heavily funded and backed by the federal government, we must, like Carlin, speak out against environmental extremism. We must elect new people to govern in a more realistic, science-based fashion. We must urge our current legislators to rein in the rogue Environmental Protection Agency.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

EDITORS NOTE: Earlier this month, the Media Research Center released a report exposing the media’s cover-up of Hollywood’s hypocrisy revolving around one of the Left’s favorite pet causes: climate change. If you haven’t seen this report yet, you can download your free copy here. The featured image is by Kate Bunker.

Barack “Climate Change” Obama

“Woe to the land that’s governed by a child.” – Shakespeare, Richard III

I have been wrestling for some kind of explanation why the President of the United States, Barack Obama, would continue to talk about climate change and urge the global transition from fossil fuels to wind, solar and bio-energy. I have concluded that he thinks everyone, not just Americans, are idiots.

We know he lies about everything, but these two topics are clearly near and dear to his heart.

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

My friend, Paul Driessen, is a policy analyst for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a free market think tank. Among the pundit class he’s ranked very high by his colleagues. Here’s what he has to say about climate change:

“Earth climate always has changed, is always changing, and always will change—but not from fossil-fuel use. Solar fluctuations, deep ocean circulation patterns, and other powerful natural forces have driven climate change and weather events throughout Earth’s history and will continue to do so.”

“President Obama’s hubris is breathtaking. He now thinks an army of regulators can control our planet’s temperature and climate by tweaking emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, a mere 0.04% of the atmosphere.”

“America’s communities do not need to be protected from climate change. They need to be protected from the excesses of authoritarian presidents and bureaucrats.”

Driessen and I look at and listen to Obama and wonder if others too see and hear someone uttering some of the most absurd claims about the climate. Then we worry that this someone is the President of the United States with the power to turn his ignorance into national policy.

At this point we have suffered his initial failure to respond to the recession he inherited from the 2008 financial crisis. More than six years later the economy has barely moved toward a normal rate of growth. Then we were gifted with ObamaCare and the disruption of what was widely regarded as the best health system in the world. And, for good measure, he imposed Common Core on an already weakened educational system. It is being repealed and opposed in many states. For good measure, his foreign policy, if he has one, is widely regarded as a total failure.

How is it a former “community organizer” possesses a seemingly vast understanding of meteorology? Did they also teach that at the Harvard Law School? “Climate change,” said Obama, addressing a graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy, “constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake; it will impact how our military defends our country.”

“Our military and our combatant commanders,” the President told the Academy graduates, “our services—including the Coast Guard—will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, because you need to be ready.” For what? For a rainstorm? For snow? Wind?

This is the same President who sees no threat to our national security from Iran whose leaders shout “Death to America” every day when they aren’t also shouting “Death to Israel.” He has zealously been pursuing a deal that would enable Iran, the leading supporter of terrorism, to have nuclear weapons. Meanwhile Islamic State (ISIS) is taking over more territory in northern Iraq and into Syria. Obama might as well be dropping bags of marshmallows on them.

He blamed climate change in the form of “severe droughts” for the rise of Islamism in the Middle East and Africa. Someone needs to tell Obama that there have always been severe droughts somewhere on the planet, and floods, and forest fires, and blizzards, and hurricanes. Even so, in the last eighteen years, there have actually been LESS of these natural events, along with the flatlining of the planet’s overall or average temperature—there has been no warming!

Not content to blame climate change for the rise of terrorism, the White House issued a report that was described as “a doomsday scenario of health, security, economic and political issues.” The thing about climate is that it measured in centuries, not years. As for the weather, while records are maintained, it is usually reported as today’s news with a forecast of the coming week.

So you shouldn’t be surprised that the report blamed “asthma attacks” on climate change!

Suffice to say there isn’t a glimmer of hard evidence to support anything the President is saying these days about climate change.

And this is the same President that wants the U.S. and the rest of the world to give up the use of fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas—to “stop climate change.”

IF Obama’s climate change idiocy is just a way to distract Americans from the real problems we have encountered thanks to his failure to address them, then it is purely cynical and political.

IF Obama really believes this stuff, he is unfit to be President.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Rusting Windfarm Junk off Waikiki: Europe’s Disaster Coming to Hawaiian Waters

Feds to License Windfarm off Waikiki Beach?

by Henry Curtis, Ililani Media, May 15, 2015 (excerpts)

Ocean-based floating wind-generation facilities have been proposed AW Hawaii Wind LLC.

Each facility would consist of 51 floating eight megawatt (MW) turbines secured in place by anchors.

The Oahu South Project would be located approximately 17 miles south of Diamond Head in water depths of approximately 1,000 – 2300 feet.

The Oahu Northwest Project would be located 12 miles northwest of Ka`ena Point in water depths of approximately 2,300 ‐ 3,300 feet above an ocean floor plateau.

“The Southern area will be visible from Waikiki beach….  The eastern area is equally visible from the southeastern part of Oahu and will be part of the sunrise….”  (Don’t worry.  Its OK to gamble the entire tourism industry on this scheme.)

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has scheduled its third BOEM/Hawaii Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting for Wednesday, June 3, 2015 from 9 am to 2:20 p.m.

The meeting will occur at the Homer A. Maxey International Trade Resource Center located at Pier 2, 521 Ala Moana Boulevard, near the makai end of Punchbowl.

The meeting itself is reserved for government conversations. BOEM and the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) will make presentations. At the end of the meeting the public can make comments….

read … Crackpot Idea Funded by Your Tax Dollars


Hawaii to be Guinea Pig for yet another Hare-brained Corporate Welfare Scheme

by Richard A Kessler, Recharge, March 20, 2015 (excerpts)

Danish developer Alpha Wind Energy (AWE) has submitted lease requests to the US Interior Department (DOI) for two proposed 51-turbine, 408MW floating wind projects in federal waters off Oahu, Hawaii.

The projects would be the first commercial application of floating wind technology in the US and be located in water depths at least five times those for conventional offshore projects under development along the east coast.

They would utilize Principle Power’s WindFloat semi-submersible, a three-legged triangular pontoon structure whose design allows onshore assembly and commissioning before towing to site.

AWE has formed a subsidiary called AW Hawaii Wind, LLC, based in Texas to carry out the projects. Its partners include Portuguese industrial group A. Silva Matos (ASM); wind energy consultant Energy and Environmental Data, and Danish energy management firm NEAS.

ASM has constructed the existing WindFloat, (Note the use of the singular here.  There’s only one of these things.) which has been in operation off the coast of Portugal for more than two years…. (Translation: The floats are not a proven technology.)

Recharge reported in January that BOEM expects to complete and release for public comment its draft environmental assessment (EA) for Principle Power’s 30MW WindFloat Pacific pilot project off the coast of Oregon.  (Translation: There are no offshore windfarms anywhere in the USA.  There’s a reason for this.  See next article….)

read … Nobody dumb enough to OK this scheme so they send it to Hawaii


Offshore wind farms are no public benefit

by Barbara Durkin, The Hill, December 6, 2014 (excerpts)

…While U.S. energy policy should address the needs of citizens for reliable energy sources that are commercially reasonable and reasonably safe, offshore wind has historically failed to deliver these public benefits to Europeans.

UK’s offshore wind energy projects’ results should serve as the catalyst for termination by the administration of its proposed ocean auction to wind limited liabilities corporations.  U.S. rate and taxpayers are unacceptably exposed by this administration’s blind eye to the UK’s failed offshore wind program.   Neither the ocean area the federal government holds in trust for U.S. citizens, nor U.S. citizens themselves, should be exploited by an industry that historically fails to deliver public benefits.

Germany’s flagship BARD Offshore I is a 400MW wind project intended to supply the energy needs of 400,000 households.  But Bard Offshore 1 remains out of operation according to industry source Offshore Wind Biz (June 2014) citing: “frequent technical problems with the converter substation,”  “a smoldering fire,” “failure of the system,” “five unplanned outages since the beginning of 2014” and “transmission problems.”

WindPowerOffshore (September 19, 2014) reports the Danish company Vattenfall is going to dismantle the Yttre Stengrund in Swedish waters after only 13 years of operation. “Only one in (5) turbines is currently operational.”

Europe’s offshore wind energy endeavors reveal the challenges of the harsh and corrosive marine environment.  GE deployed the Cape Wind prototype GE 3.6 MW wind turbines at Arklow, the wind farm offshore of Ireland.  GE subsequently “discontinued” the Cape Wind 3.6 MW wind turbine even while Cape Wind, the wind farm planned for offshore Massachusetts, was under permit review by the DOI. That review advanced Cape Wind as a “reliable” energy source.

Cape Wind changed specifications to Siemens 3.6 MW during their power purchase contract negotiations with the national grid.  But Siemens is not boasting offshore wind success, according to the Wall Street Journal [1/08/14]:

“Siemens, the world’s largest manufacturer of offshore wind turbines, and its partners concede they underestimated the challenges behind offshore wind. The financial fallout from these challenges was highlighted on Thursday, when Siemens said it booked €128 million ($171 million) in new charges related to connecting offshore wind farms to the power grid. It blamed unexpectedly high costs for shipping, installing and starting up grid components.”

A Spiegel International article ‘Turbine Trouble: Ill Wind Blows for German Offshore Industry’says, “Operators of offshore wind farms depend on sufficiently high electricity prices to refinance their investments.”  This runs contrary to public interest. Citizens need commercially reasonable energy sources that are reliable, while offshore wind energy technology is historically not reliable, yet its price is high.

The stunning and sobering candor of an executive of the “world’s largest” manufacturer of wind turbines, Vestas, would be comical if not for the serious context — billions in public funding along with the sacrifice of  the thousands of ocean acres that DOI intends to grant to wind LLCs.

In 2011, Anders Søe-Jensen, then president of the offshore division at Vestas said, “It’s a bit like buying an old crappy car. It’s starts cheap, but spends most of the time in the workshop costing you a fortune, so you didn’t drive much, and your cost per driven mile is staggeringly high. It’s the same with the cost of energy when you look at capital expense and operating costs with overall production.”

While President Obama’s energy goals should be to deploy energy sources that are commercially reasonable, reliable, and reasonably safe, based on the  best science, offshore wind has miserably failed to deliver public benefits to Europeans….

read … No Benefit

‘Politically contrived nonsense’: Scientific studies, data and history refute Obama’s climate/national security claims

“It is hard to even take today’s speech by Obama seriously on either a logical, scientific or political level. The speech was so farcical in its claims that it hardly merits a response. It is obvious that the climate establishment is seeking new talking points on ‘global warming’ to change the subject from the simple fact that global temperatures are not cooperating with their claims.

See: Global warming ‘pause’ expands to ‘new record length’: No warming for 18 years 5 months

clip_image002

If any Americans actually believe the climate claims linking ‘global warming’ to a rise in conflicts, no amount of evidence, data, logic or scientific studies will likely persuade them. But given the high profile nature of the comments, a rebuttal to the President’s climate claims is necessary.

Claiming that melting ICE is more a threat to the U.S. than ISIS is a hard sell, particular given the latest data on global sea ice. See: Sea Ice Extent – Day 137 – 3rd Highest Global Sea Ice For This Day – Antarctic Sets 49th Daily Record For 2015

Contrary to the President’s claims, it seems ISIS may in fact trump ICE as a bigger concern.

Image result for obama climate change

Obama also claimed that climate ‘deniers’ were a huge part of the problem. Obama explained: “Denying it, or refusing to deal with it, endangers our national security and undermines the readiness of our forces.”

Obama seems to be borrowing his claims from Rolling Stone Magazine. See: Forget ISIS, skeptics are greatest threat?! – Rolling Stone: Climate ‘Deniers’ Put ‘National Security at Risk’

Also see: Paper: ‘Osama bin Laden cared more about global warming than GOP Sen. James Inhofe’

But actually believing the above statements endangers our capacity for rational thought and evidence based research. Actually believing Obama’s climate claims, undermines our nation’s ability to distinguish real threats from politically contrived nonsense.

UN climate treaties and EPA climate regulations will not prevent wars, conflicts or impact the creation of terrorist groups.

The President seems to believe every modern malady is due to ‘global warming’ See: White House doom: Climate change causes allergies, asthma, downpours, poverty, terrorism – Lists 34 effects

President Obama claimed that man-made climate change was partly responsible for the civil war in Syria. “It’s now believed that drought, crop failures, and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East,” Obama said.

First off, extreme weather is not getting more ‘extreme.’ See: Extreme weather failing to follow ‘global warming’ predictions: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Droughts, Floods, Wildfires, all see no trend or declining trends

But such drought claims are not new or unique to President Obama. In 1933, similar baseless claims were made. See: 1933 claim: ‘YO-YO BANNED IN SYRIA – Blamed For Drought’

ScreenHunter_174 Sep. 03 22.08

For a larger view click on the image.

In addition, in 1846, in Australia, Aborigines blamed the bad climate on the introduction of the White man in Australia. During World War 2, some blamed the war for causing unusual weather patterns. In the 1970s, the exact same things (bad weather) we are talking about today, were  blamed on man-made global cooling.

Global warming is not a threat to the world, but global warming ‘solutions’ are. The estimated 1.2 billion people in the world without electricity who are leading a nasty, brutish and short life, will be the ones who “will pay” for global warming solutions that prevent them from obtaining cheap and abundant carbon based energy. See: S. African activist slams UN’s ‘Green Climate Fund’: ‘Government to govt aid is a reward for being better than anyone else at causing poverty’ — ‘It enriches the people who cause poverty’

Simple historical facts undermine the President’s claims about global warming and national security concerns.

Small Sampling of evidence countering President Obama’s claims.

Lord Christopher Monckton, Former Thatcher Adviser issues point-by-point rebuttal to Obama: ‘Does the ‘leader’ of the free world really know so little about climate?’– ‘If this Obama speech was the very best that the narrow faction promoting the extremist line on global warming could muster for their mouthpiece, then the skeptics have won the scientific, the economic, the rational, and the moral arguments – and have won them hands down.’

‘All Large European Wars Occurred With CO2 Below 350 ppm’ Via Real Science website- Most Of The World’s Wars Occurred Below 350 PPM CO2 — ‘Now that we know that war is caused by global warming, I was very surprised to discover that the vast majority of wars occurred before 1988 – including the War of 1812′

UN Climate Chief: Middle East Was Peaceful When CO2 Was Below 350 PPM — UN’s Christiana Figueres: ‘Food shortages and rising prices caused by climate disruptions were among the chief contributors to the civil unrest coursing through North Africa and the Middle East’

Scientific studies comprehensively debunk the notion that rising carbon dioxide will lead to more wars.

Flashback: Debunked: the ‘climate change causes wars’ myth –Peer-reviewed paper ‘thoroughly eviscerates’ climate war claims — ‘The primary causes of civil war are political, not environmental’

‘A total takedown’ of myth by the Center for Strategic and International Studies — ‘Since the dawn of civilization, warmer eras have meant fewer wars. The reason is simple: all things being equal, a colder climate meant reduced crops, more famine and instability. Research by climate historians shows a clear correlation between increased warfare and cold periods. They are particularly clear in Asia and Europe, as well as in Africa’

Scientific American: ‘Greens Should Stop Claiming More Warming Means More War’

Follow the (military) money: Is the military ‘taking on climate change denialists’ or simply following the lead of its civilian leaders?

Conflict Deaths and Global Warming – ‘The problem is that the conflicts that are cited as examples of the phenomenon are located in areas known for both frequent conflict prior to the current warming period and for historical patterns of extreme climates similar to those seen today.’

Der Spiegel Demolishes Syria War-Climate Paper By Kelley et al.: ‘Hardly Tenable’…’Distraction From Real Problems’

Even BBC features harsh criticism of new study: ‘Their strong statement about a general causal link between climate and conflict is unwarranted by the empirical analysis that they provide’ — BBC: Rise in violence ‘linked to climate change’ — ‘Changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders’

Climate Depot Round Up Counters global warming/war claims:

Climate Depot’s rebuttal to Sen. John Kerry’s climate change/national security claims

Study: Cold spells were dark times in Eastern Europe: ‘Cooler periods coincided with conflicts and disease outbreaks’ –Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’: ‘Some of Eastern Europe’s greatest wars and plagues over the last millennium coincided with cold periods’ — ‘The Black Death in the mid-14th century, the Thirty Years’ War in the early 17th century, the French invasion of Russia in the early 19th century and other social upheavals occurred during cold spells. The team suggests food shortages could explain the timing of some of these events’

New study: Global cooling led to wars, famine and plagues in 1560-1660: Cold ’caused successive agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic catastrophes’

Global Conflict Not Linked to Global Climate Change — ‘Wars in Burundi, Chad, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Peru, the Comoros, Congo, Eritrea, Niger, and Rwanda are so numerous that I could probably make a statistical argument that one in five wars are due to the AFC winning the Super Bowl’

Discovery News: Cold times led to angry runts, famine, and war; warm times led to The Renaissance

Remarkably sane article in Science: Warm periods are good, cold periods are bad

Time Mag reports: ‘Peaks of social disturbance such as rebellions, revolutions, & political reforms followed every decline of temperature’ — ‘Number of wars increased by 41% in Cold Phase’ — ‘Peaks of social disturbance such as rebellions, revolutions, and political reforms followed every decline of temperature, with a one- to 15-year time lag’

Study: Climate change ‘NOT to blame’ for African civil wars — ‘Climate variability in Africa does not seem to have a significant impact on risk of civil war’

A UN IPCC Scientist’s New Study! ‘Global Warming Sparks Fistfights & War, Researchers Say’: ‘Will systematically increase the risk of many types of conflict ranging from barroom brawls & rape to civil wars & international disputes’ — Climate Depot Responds

Related Links:

Watch Now: Morano in lively TV climate debate with enviro lobbyist: ‘The points she just made are demonstrably not true’

Sen. Inhofe calls Obama’s climate national security claims a ‘severe disconnect from reality’– Inhofe: ‘While the president has spent at least $120 billion on climate change initiatives since first taking office, he has also set into motion more than $1 trillion in budget cuts to our national defense. When I talk to military personnel, whether in Oklahoma or overseas, their greatest concern is not climate change. Instead, what I hear is their concern for global instability, the disarming of America and the lack of vision from their commander-in-chief.’

As Ramadi Falls, Obama Gives Troops Global Warming Speech

Obama Readies U.S. Troops For The War On ‘Global Warming’

Obama Tells Coast Guard cadets ‘dereliction of duty’ not to fight ‘global warming’ – In his speech, Obama said denying climate change or refusing to deal with it is negligence and “dereliction of duty.” “If you see storm clouds gathering or dangerous shoals ahead you don’t just sit back and do nothing,” President Obama said Wednesday. “You take action to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. So to with climate change.” “Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security,” Obama also said. “It undermines the readiness of our forces.” PRESIDENT OBAMA: Climate change is one of those most severe threats. This is not just a problem for countries on the coasts or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. So we need to act and we need to act now. After all, isn’t that the true hallmark of leadership? When you’re on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant, you plan for every contingency. If you see storm clouds gathering or dangerous shoals ahead you don’t just sit back and do nothing. You take action to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. So to with climate change. Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.

Obama: Climate ‘deniers’ endangering national security – “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” Obama told new Coast Guard officers at the academy’s New London, Conn., campus. “And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”
Republicans in Congress, however, have stymied legislative action on climate change. The president took aim at GOP critics, saying temperatures are rising even though “some folks back in Washington” refuse to admit it. “Denying it, or refusing to deal with it, endangers our national security and undermines the readiness of our forces,” Obama added. He also questioned how Republicans could claim to support the military while downplaying the effects of global warming. “Politicians who say they care about military readiness ought to care about this as well,” he said. Obama claimed the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the civil war in Syria were both fueled by instability caused by severe drought and crop losses connected to rising temperatures.

Obama Keeps Telling Renewable Energy Lies

Imagine you wanted to get in your electric car and drive a considerable distance. It wouldn’t take long for your car to run out of power, so you would have to have another car, one using gasoline, to drive behind you to make sure you reached your destination.

That’s a description of “renewable energy”, wind and solar, in America today because they both require backup from traditional energy sources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear. And “renewable energy” based on “free” sun and wind power costs more to produce and purchase. Need it be said that the sun does not always shine consistently everywhere or at night and that the wind does not always blow?

Within twenty-four hours of one another I received a news release from the Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition celebrating the election of a new chairman and vice chairman, and read a CNN news article saying that “The White House wants to put more returning servicemen and women to work manufacturing and installing solar panels” as part of “his growing list of climate actions meant to combat global warming.”

That list was a twelve-page long, single-spaced White House fact sheet. The White House seems to think that the states can do something about “climate change”, but the climate is measured in decades and centuries, not whether it is going to rain next Monday which is something we call “the weather.” And just as you can do nothing about the rain, neither can you do anything to affect the climate decades from now.

The White House has a problem. There is no “global warming.” Even if you change the name to “climate change”, the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle for the last eighteen years.

For the past 5,000 years humans have, as often as not, “done something” about the climate by moving somewhere else it was less of a bother and threat or found ways to adapt. Other than prayer, there was and is nothing humans can do about Mother Nature.

Most surely, getting veterans to manufacture solar panels is about as lame and stupid an idea as the President has proposed in the last 24 hours. Does the name “Solyndra” ring a bell? It was one of several solar farms that, along with wind farms went belly-up, leaving investors and consumers with nothing but the sunlight and passing breezes.

Indeed, the best news of late has been that the U.S. Senate has rejected a proposal to extend the federal wind Production Tax Credit (PCT) for another five years. The wind producers have benefitted from it for three decades. The federal subsidy to wind-energy producers expired along with other tax breaks at the end of 2013, but was retroactively extended through 2014 as part of the Cromnibus budget bill passed last December.

The PCT was intended to provide what was a then-new energy industry a helping hand, but it kept being extended and the industry benefitted as well from renewable energy mandates (REM) in 29 states and the District of Columbia. They require that a specific amount of electricity be purchased from renewable energy, wind or solar, producers. All that managed to do was drive up the cost of electricity to consumers. This is what happens when politicians get involved.

That’s a good reason to wonder why there is a Governors Wind Power Coalition in the first place. It consists of 23 Democratic and Republican governors from every region of the nation “working together to develop the nation’s wind energy resources”, but the nation doesn’t need wind energy which produces an unpredictable amount as opposed to traditional resources such as coal.

At the same time the President is talking about solar and wind power, his administration is pursuing a relentless “war” on coal that is forcing the primary source of electricity in America, coal-fired plants, to shut down. If that doesn’t sound like treason, then consider too that the U.S. is the greatest producer of oil and natural gas in the world and we have at least two century’s worth of known coal reserves. We have absolutely no need for wind or solar energy.

When Obama gave his State of the Union speech in 2014, solar power represented a pathetic 0.2 percent of the U.S. electricity supply according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. According to the Energy Research Institute, in 2013 wind power provided 1.6% of all the energy consumed in the U.S.

There isn’t a single good reason for either wind or solar power in an energy powerhouse like the United States. They are both costly, unpredictable, and a threat to a number of animal species. Neither the science, the cost, nor the recent history of “renewable energy” provides a single good reason to force Americans to pay for this “green” failure.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Vatican Silences ‘Climate Heretics’ at UN Papal Summit: ‘YOU WILL BE ESCORTED OUT OF HERE’

VATICAN CITY – Papal heavies shut down an awkward question at a Vatican press conference today when a journalist asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon his views on climate skeptics.

Marc Morano, covering the Vatican climate conference for Climate Depot, asked Ban Ki-Moon whether he had a message for the Heartland Institute delegation of scientists who have flown to Rome to urge the Pope to reconsider his ill-advised position climate change.

But before he could finish the conference hosts interrupted to ask which organisation he worked for, then directed the microphone to a more tame questioner, while a security guard came over to mutter in Morano’s ear “You have to control yourself or you will be escorted out of here.”

Morano, together with Christopher Monckton (one of the Heartland delegation) and your correspondent, only narrowly made it into the carefully stage-managed conference where – as known climate sceptics – they were apparently not welcome.

“Ah. So you made it in here?” said a somewhat surprised looking member of the Vatican press team to Morano, when he realized that he had bypassed the Vatican’s security and infiltrated the press pack who had come to cover the conference.

As luck would have it, a heaven-sent shower of torrential rain had created such chaos that security wasn’t as tight as it might have been.

However, the three skeptics (Morano, Monckton, Delingpole) were watched very carefully throughout the proceedings lest they attempt to ruffle the feathers of key speakers Ban Ki-Moon, left-wing economist Jeffrey Sachs and Cardinal Turkson, the Ghanaian priest who has been coordinating the Vatican’s position on “climate change.”

In the end, Secretary-General Ban did answer a similar question, albeit one expressed more delicately by a journalist from the Catholic media, when he was asked what his views were on those members of the Catholic community who had reservations about the Pope’s position on climate change.

Perhaps this was a response to Ban’s rather bold and very moot declaration that “Religion and science are united on the need for action on climate.”

“I don’t think faith leaders should be scientists,” said Ban, in reply to the question. “I’m not a scientist. What I want is their moral authority. Business leaders and all civil society is on board [with the mission to combat climate change]. Now we want faith leaders. Then we can make it happen.”

Secretary-General Ban clearly didn’t need the help from the papal security. As he smoothly demonstrated – as later when he deftly swerved a question about “overpopulation” and whether his previously expressed views that Africa should keep its population down clashed with the Catholic doctrine on contraception – he’s more than capable of squishing inconvenient truths himself.

Climate Skeptics In Rome Warn Pope Francis of ‘Unholy Alliance’ With UN Climate Agenda

Climate Depot’s Morano: ‘The Vatican is essentially going to confuse Catholics into thinking that their positions on man-made global warming fears are now an article of faith — are now part of Catholic doctrine…This is nothing short of an ‘Unholy Alliance’ between the Vatican and the man-made climate fear promoters.’

Retired NASA Scientist Hal Doiron, a member of the team that developed the Apollo Lunar Module landing software: ‘I am here to report today: Houston we do not have a problem. It is impossible to think global warming will cause any problem especially when you look at the benefits of adding CO2 to the atmosphere.’

Meteorology Instructor at the U. of Colorado Dr. Richard Keen:  On UN Climate ‘solutions’: ‘It’s like using surgery to solve a sniffles. It’s bad on two counts. The cure is worse than the ailment and number two, the cure does not even fix the ailment. So why bother? All of these draconian policies that would increase world poverty would be flawed policies that would fail to solve a non-existent problem.’

Former Thatcher advisor Christopher Monckton: ‘It is not the business of the Pope to stray from the field of faith and morals and wander in to the playground that is science. Do not invite only one narrow and boisterous scientific viewpoint that has been repeatedly discredited as events and the science and the data have unfolded.’

ROME – A team of global warming skeptics arrived in Rome and held a press conference just outside of the Vatican to appeal to Pope Francis to reconsider his views on man-made climate change claims. Media coveragehereherehere, here, and here. Also see: CLIMATE SKEPTICS WRITE LETTER URGING POPE TO RETHINK GLOBAL WARMING

The skeptical delegation is in Rome to hold counter events during Pope Francis’ climate summit on April 28 at the Vatican. (See: Pope Francis to Host Major Summit on Climate Change)

The skeptics are laying out a detailed case explaining why climate science does not justify the Vatican putting its faith in the work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or the UN climate agenda.

The skeptical delegation will hold a second event on Tuesday. See:

Tuesday, April 28, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. GMT +2 (7:00 a.m. ET)
Palazzo Cardinal Cesi
Via della Conciliazione n. 51 (Piazza S.Pietro)
00193
Rome, Italy

Selected Excerpts from Monday April 27th’s Skeptical Press Conference in Rome held at Hotel Columbus. (Video of the event will be available)

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano:

‘We are here today in Rome, just outside of Vatican City, to make an appeal to the Pope and the Vatican.

And here is the gist of this: No one is really that concerned about what the Pope and the Vatican think about climate science – ultimately.

The difference in what this Pope has done. He appears to be about to take an extra step that other Popes have not. That extra step is to endorse a UN climate treaty. This is a game changer from previous Popes and previous Vatican statements.

The Pope is essentially going to replace Leonardo DiCaprio at this year’s UN climate summit in New York City to speak on behalf of the UN to lobby for a climate treaty. So Leonardo DiCaprio in 2014, to Pope Francis in 2015. This will sow confusion among Catholics in America around the world.

We already have a phenomena that many Catholics recognize — a la carte Catholicism — where Catholics pick and choose which doctrine they want to follow. With the Pope coming out with such strong statements on global warming and endorsing a  UN treaty is very simple, the Vatican is essentially going to confuse Catholics into thinking that their positions on man-made global warming fears are now an article of faith — are now part of Catholic doctrine.

This is nothing short of an ‘Unholy Alliance’ between the Vatican and the man-made climate fear promoters.

One of the greatest friends of poor people around the world – an estimated 1.3 billion people who lack running water and electricity — is carbon based fuels.

The UN IPCC official Edenhofer has stated that UN redistributes wealth by climate policy. See: UN IPCC Official Edenhofer: ‘We Redistribute World’s Wealth By Climate Policy’ edenhofer@pik-potsdam.de

The EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said even if were wrong on the science, we are doing the right policy. It’s not about the science. The climate establishment admits that the science does not matter. It doesn’t really matter what the science says, we need these energy policies. So instead of arguing for centralized energy planning on what they think are the merits, they instead use climate fears to force these policies upon the public. See: EU Commissioner: Global Warming Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong – ‘Regardless of whether or not scientists are wrong on global warming, the European Union is pursuing the correct energy policies even if they lead to higher prices, Europe’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard’s has said.’ ‘Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.’

The Vatican and the Pope should be arguing that fossil fuels are the ‘moral choice’ for the developing world for people who don’t have running water, or electricity.

What is also a concern are the people advising the Vatican.  The global warming establishment is even embarrassed by the choices of advisors Pope Francis has chosen to listen to on global warming.

The Pope can believe whatever he wants on climate science, but he should not just listen to one perspective of the debate. And people like Prof. Peter Wadhams have been chastised by their fellow warmists. NASA’s lead global warming scientist Gavin Schmidt, said Wadhams used charts that had no basis in physics. See: Peter Wadhams is a scientist that even his fellow global warming advocates distance themselves from. See: Warmists attack fellow warmist Prof. Peter Wadhams for ‘using graphs with ridiculous projections with no basis in physics’

German climate adviser Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber was also at the Vatican climate presentation in 2014. Does Pope Francis want to align himself with Schellnhuber’s views? See: Flashback 2009: German Climate AdvisorSchellnhuber ‘proposes creation of a CO2 budget for every person on planet!’

Naomi Oreskes is known for advocating climate skeptics who dissent from the UN/Gore climate alarmist view be prosecuted as mobsters! See: Merchants of Smear: Prosecute Skeptics Like Gangsters?! Warmist Naomi Oreskes likes the idea of having climate ‘deniers’ prosecuted under the RICO act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).

Jeffrey Sachs, a UN special advisor UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Sachs tweeted on November 10 that ‘Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across the world.”

To argue that every storm that happens means skeptics have ‘blood on their hands’ is unscientific. It is frightening that the Vatican is listening to people like Jeffrey Sachs.

This is the kind of advice that Pope Francis and the Vatican are receiving and they are allowing no dissent to be heard.

In 2007, Pope Benedict, our Pope Emeritus, for lack of a better word, warned of prophets of doom of manmade climate fears. See: Flashback: Pope Benedict condemns the climate change prophets of doom

Pope John Paul 2 grew up in Poland and saw what centralized planning and restrictions did to human liberty and development.

There appear to be no ‘consensus’ on global warming within the Vatican. Cardinal George Pell, now a senior Vatican official, has said things sharply different climate view than Pope Francis. See: Catholic Cardinal George Pell: ‘In the past, pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in Co2 emissions’

Today’s human sacrifices that Cardinal Pell referred to is the developing world. If we go forward and restrict carbon based energy in the developing world, the poor residents are going to be our modern day human sacrifices.  We must not allow the UN to manage the developing world’s resources and limit carbon based energy.

We appeal to Pope Francis: Do not confuse Catholics. Do not listen to only one side. And do not make views of man-made global warming an article of faith.

Retired NASA Scientist Hal Doiron, a member of the team that developed the Apollo Lunar Module landing software:

Doiron noted that ‘using the same scientific method that put the man on the moon,’ NASA scientists have concluded there is not climate ‘problem.’ Doiron noted that the slogan at NASA: was ‘In god we trust, all others bring data.’

‘I am here to report today: Houston we do not have a problem.

It is impossible to think global warming will cause any problem especially when you look at the benefits of adding Co2 to the atmosphere.

We are convinced that we don’t have a problem with fossil fuels. There is no problem.’

Meteorology Instructor at the University of Colorado Dr. Richard Keen: ‘I am a scientist and I studied climate change for 60 years.’

On UN IPCC: ‘Something is wrong, something is missing. The models are wrong.

It’s like using surgery to solve a sniffles. It’s bad on two counts. The cure is worse than the ailment and number two, the cure does not even fix the ailment. So why bother?

All of these draconian policies that would increase world poverty would be flawed policies that would fail to solve a non-existent problem.’

Former Thatcher advisor Christopher Monckton: ‘It is not the business of the Pope to stray from the field of faith and morals and wander in to the playground that is science.

If you do so, then you should do so as your predecessor did and you should listen to both sides of the scientific argument.

Do not invite only one narrow and boisterous scientific viewpoint that has been repeatedly discredited as events and the science and the data have unfolded.

You demean the office that you hold and you demean the church whom it is your sworn duty to protect and defend and advance. You will be kicking the poor in the teeth. Stand back and listen to both sides. And do not take sides in politics.’

Elisabeth Yore is an international children’s rights attorney:  [The Vatican’s]nexus between human trafficking and climate change is … deceptive and infinitely damaging to the cries of human trafficking victims around the world. This statement places the real human crisis of modern slavery on the same line of the manufactured one of climate change.

Heartland Institute spokesmen Jim Lakely: ‘We’re here to prevent the pope from making the mistake of having the UN as an advisor, because he won’t be getting the whole picture.’

Related Links:

National Catholic Reporter features Climate Depot: Skeptics issues strong, blunt warnings to Pope Francis – Marc Morano, a former advisor to U.S. Senator James Inhofe and who now runs the website Climate Depot, said that Tuesday’s event would “sow confusion” among Catholics about the teachings of the church. “The Vatican is essentially going to confuse Catholics into thinking that your position [on climate change] … is now an article of faith, is part of Catholic doctrine,” Morano said. Morano and others at the event also cited Francis’ concern for those impoverished around the world, saying that policies to fight climate change would limit opportunities for growth in developing countries. “Fossil fuels are the moral choice for the developing world,” said Morano, who also quoted what he said were words by Australian Cardinal George Pell on the subject.

Morano in Rome – Climate skeptics press their case to the Vatican – Catholic paper ‘Crux’: Marc Morano, publisher of an eco-news center called ClimateDepot, said that at the end of the day, “no one cares” what Francis and the Vatican think about climate science. However, he said, penning an encyclical that endorses a UN treaty such as the sustainable development goals would be “confusing to many Catholics around the world,” who could be led to believe that UN positions on climate change and global warming are now part of Catholic doctrine.

Obama Plans to Discuss Climate Change With Pope Francis – Obama: ‘We’re going to talk about climate change I’m sure because he is very clear that part of the Church’s teachings, and part of my faith, is that we have to be good stewards of this incredible planet we’ve been given, and there are steps that can be taken there.’

Message to Pope Francis: Protect the Poor from Harmful Climate Policies

Skeptics Deliver An Open Letter to Pope Francis

Analysis: ‘WHY GOD IS NOT A WARMIST’

Actual headline: ‘Can Pope Francis halt climate change with new papal document?’

CLIMATE SKEPTICS WRITE LETTER URGING POPE TO RETHINK GLOBAL WARMING – “The world’s poor will suffer most from such policies,” the writers contend, adding: The poorest—the 1.3 billion in developing countries who depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, smoke from which kills 4 million and temporarily debilitates hundreds of millions every year—will be condemned to more generations of poverty and its deadly consequences. The letter ends with an appeal to the Pope to reconsider what seems to be the direction the Vatican is taking vis-à-vis climate change policies.

‘Global Warming? The Pope is Wrong’

Flashback: Pope Benedict condemns the climate change prophets of doom

CLIMATE SCIENTISTS HEAD TO ROME ON URGENT MISSION TO SAVE THE POPE FROM CLUTCHES OF MANBEARPIG

Climate Skeptics Descend on Vatican – Seek to Influence Pope on ‘Global Warming’

Global Warming? The Pope is Wrong

I have devoted the better part of more than two and a half decades speaking out against the charlatans that have created and maintained the greatest hoax ever imposed on modern man. At the heart of this hoax has been the United Nations environmental program and at the heart of that program is an agenda to initiate a massive redistribution of wealth from industrialized, successful nations to those who have suffered, as often as not, from being ruled by despots of one description or another.

It is with profound sorrow and disappointment that I must now speak out against Pope Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, whom observers have noted has “a green agenda.” He has become an outspoken advocate on environmental issues, saying that taking action is “essential to faith” and calling the destruction of nature a modern sin.

Before proceeding, let me note that I am not Catholic. My thoughts regarding the Pope are rooted in my knowledge of the long record of lies, false predictions, and claims by various environmentalists over the years.

When the Vatican announced it would hold a conference on April 28 called “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development”, I wondered why the Vatican is not holding a conference to organize the protection of Christians—particularly in the Middle East—against the wholesale genocide that is occurring. The Pope is not alone in this. There appears to be little urgency in addressing a threat comparable to the Holocaust of the last century that consigned six million Jews to death for being Jews.

I frankly do not know what is meant by “the moral dimensions of climate change.” Climate change is something that was occurring long before there was a human population on planet Earth. It is the measurement of the previous global cycles through which the Earth has passed for billions of years. It is profoundly natural. Applying a moral dimension to it makes no sense whatever.

As for “sustainable development”, that is a term that environmentalists use to deny any development that benefits the human population.

Environmentalism is deeply opposed to the use of any energy resource, coal, oil, natural gas, as well as other elements of the Earth we use to enhance and improve our lives with habitat of every description from a hut to a skyscraper. Over the last five thousand years we have gone from being largely dependent on wood to the use of fossil fuel energy that keeps us safe against nature—blizzards, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, et cetera.

At the heart of environmentalism, however, is a deep disdain and antagonism to the human race. From its earliest advocates, one can find allusions to humanity as “a cancer” on the Earth. The Catholic Church has been an advocate for the human race, most notably opposing abortion that kills humans in the womb. Its charitable work is legendary.

To grasp how far the forthcoming conference is from the most basic beliefs of Catholicism, one need only take note of the persons scheduled to speak. They include the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, the leader of the institution in which the hoax of global warming was created and advanced. Another is Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, another voice for global warming, but neither is going to tell those attending the conference that there is no warming and that the Earth has been a natural cooling cycle for the past eighteen years, tied entirely to a comparable cycle of the Sun.

The Green’s response to the voices of those scientists who courageously spoke out to debunk their lies has been to denounce and try to silence them. There is no science to support the global warming hoax.

The one-day summit will include participants from major world religions. The Pope will issue an encyclical on the environment later this year.

Is there a religious or spiritual aspect to opposing the forthcoming conference and encyclical? One need look no further than Genesis. In a Wall Street Journal commentary, William McGurn drew the lesson that it offers “a reminder that God’s creation is meant to serve man—not man the environment.

Quoting Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” concluding that “the Earth is to be worked and that this work and the fruit it bears are also blessed.” The spiritual truth to be drawn from this is that man is the steward of the Earth. That does not mean its resources should be abandoned because of bogus claims that the Earth is doomed.

McGurn reminds us that “it is the have-nots who pay the highest price for the statist interventions so beloved the Church of St. Green.” There are more than a billion on Earth who do not have any access to electricity which, in addition to hydropower, is generated by coal, oil and natural gas. Lacking the means to deter the impact of insects and weeds on agriculture, much of the Earth’s annual crops are lost. Lacking access to the beneficial chemicals that protect humans from the diseases transmitted by insects, millions die needlessly.

The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank is leading the effort to alert people to the dangerous message of the Vatican conference because “many people of faith who are familiar with the science and economics of climate change are worried this event will become a platform for alarmism over a controversial scientific issue” noting that “there is no scientific ‘consensus’ on whether there is any need to reduce mankind’s use of fossil fuels.”

The conference agenda is “profoundly anti-poor and anti-life” says the Institute. Plainly said, the Vatican conference incomprehensively would advocate policies whose only result would be the reduction of human life in order to “sustain” the Earth.

“These unnecessary policies would cause the suffering and even death of billions of people. All people of faith should rise up in opposition to such policies.”

The Heartland Institute is sending a team of scientists and climate policy experts to Rome where they will be joined by Marc Morano of the think tank, CFACT. Says Morano, ‘Instead of entering into an invalid marriage with climate fear promoters—a marriage that is destined for an annulment—Pope Francis should administer last rites to the promotion of man-made climate fears and their so-called solutions. This unholy alliance must be prevented.”

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Earth Month: 22 Ways to Think about the Climate-Change Debate

Reasoned agnosticism is a welcome antidote to hysteria by MAX BORDERS.

Reasonable people can disagree about the nature and extent of climate change. But no one should sally forth into this hostile territory without reason and reflection.

“Some scientists make ‘period, end of story’ claims,” writes biologist and naturalist Daniel Botkin in the Wall Street Journal, “that human-induced global warming definitely, absolutely either is or isn’t happening.”

These scientists, as well as the network of activists and cronies their science supports, I will refer to as the Climate Orthodoxy. These are the folks who urge, generally, that (a) global warming is occurring, (b) it is almost entirely man-made, and (c) it is occurring at a rate and severity that makes it an impending planetary emergency requiring political action. A Climate Agnostic questions at least one of those premises.

Trying to point out the problems of the Climate Orthodoxy to its adherents is like trying to talk the Archbishop of Canterbury into questioning the existence of God. In that green temple, many climatologists and climate activists have become one in the same: fueled both by government grants and zealous fervor.

Room for debate

But the debate must go on, even as the atmosphere for dialogue gets increasingly polluted. The sacralization of climate is being used as a great loophole in the rule of law, an apology for bad science (and even worse economics), and an excuse to do anything and everything to have and keep power.

Those with a reasoned agnosticism about the claims of the Climate Orthodoxy will find themselves in debate. It’s April 22nd — Earth Day. So I want to offer 22 ways to think about the climate-change debate. I hope these points will give those willing to question man-made climate change some aid and comfort.

1. Consider the whole enchilada

First, let’s zoom out a few orders of magnitude to look at the Climate Orthodoxy as a series of dots that must be connected, or better, a series of premises that must be accepted in their totality.

  • The earth is warming.
  • The earth is warming primarily due to the influence of human beings engaged in production and energy use.
  • Scientists are able to limn most of the important phenomena associated with a warming climate, disentangling the human from the natural influence, extending backward well into the past.
  • Scientists are able then to simulate most of the phenomena associated with a warming earth and make reasonable predictions, within the range of a degree or two, into the future about 100 years.
  • Other kinds of scientists are able to repackage this information and make certain kinds of global predictions about the dangers a couple of degrees will make over that hundred years.
  • Economists are able to repackage those predictions and make yet further predictions about the economic costs and benefits that accompany those global predictions.
  • Other economists then make further predictions based on what the world might be like if the first set of economists is right in its predictions (which were based on the other scientists’ predictions, and so on) — and then they propose what the world might look like if certain policies were implemented.
  • Policymakers are able to take those economists’ predictions and set policies that will ensure what is best for the people and the planet on net.
  • Those policies are implemented in such a way that they work. They have global unanimity, no defections, no corruption, and a lessening of carbon-dioxide output that has a real effect on the rate of climate change — enough to pull the world out of danger.
  • Those policies are worth the costs they will impose on the peoples of the world, especially the poorest.

That is a lot to swallow. And yet, it appears that the Climate Orthodoxy requires we accept all of it. Otherwise, why would the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publish a document called “Summary for Policymakers”?

2. Models are not evidence

The problem with models is that they are not reality. Whenever we try to model complex systems like the climate, we’re only getting a simulacrum of a system, designed to represent projected scenarios. So when a climatologist presents a model as evidence, he is playing a kind of game. He wants you to think, by dint of computer wizardry, that he has drawn for you a picture of the world as it is. But he hasn’t. And if observation of surface temperatures over the last 18 years has shown one thing, it’s that climate models have been inadequate tools for forecasting complex natural phenomena.

3. Forecast is not observation 

In the first IPCC assessment of 1992, the authors wrote, “Scenarios are not predictions of the future and should not be used as such.” Whether one views the models as predictions or as scenarios, the evidence is barely within the most conservative of these in the most recent assessment, which is essentially designed to hide good news.

When one attempts to forecast — that is, to tell the future — one is not engaging in observation. That is not to claim that prediction isn’t a part of the scientific enterprise; it’s simply to say that when one’s predictions (or scenarios) are off, one’s theory is suspect, and it must be modified and tested again. Any theory, and any forecast scenarios on which it’s based, have to be tested in the crucible of observation. The Climate Orthodoxy has thus far failed that test.

4. Climate systems are complex

As I alluded to above, climate systems are complex systems. And complex systems are notoriously immune to certain types of prediction and forecast. As Edward Lorenz famously taught us when he coined the term “butterfly effect,” the slightest changes in initial conditions can give rise to wild, unpredictable outcomes in the system. It’s no different for a simulation. “I realized,” said Lorenz of his findings, “that any physical system that behaved non-periodically would be unpredictable.” Now, those concerned about climate change will try to use this perspective to suggest changes to the atmosphere could cause wild, unpredictable climatic catastrophes. And that might turn out to be true. (But it might not. We’ll discuss Pascal’s Climate Wager later.) What we should be concerned about for now is how easy it is for a single tiny error (or purposeful fudge) in a climate model to generate ranges that, though they can feed hysteria, are out of touch with reality.

5. Garbage in equals garbage out

Complex systems also make modeling difficult to undertake because a model is a kind of simulation whose success turns on the accuracy of inputs. Computer scientists have an apt saying for such simulations: “Garbage in, garbage out.” If any of your variables are in error, your results are suspect. And the more variables you introduce, the more likely you are to introduce errors. But for the model to resemble reality, you have to be more granular by including more and more variables that represent causal relationships in the world. As more variables get introduced, the likelihood of introducing false inputs goes up proportionally. And those errors compound. In The Black Swan, Nicolas Nassim Taleb writes:

Simply, we are facing nonlinearities and magnifications of errors coming from the so-called butterfly effects … actually discovered by Lorenz using weather forecasting models. Small changes in input, coming from measurement error, can lead to massively divergent projections — and that generously assumes we have the right equations.

In other words, the lower “res” the model, the less it conforms to reality’s details. The higher “res” the model, the more likely it is to be infected with errors. This is one of the great paradoxes of modeling.

6. Data can be detached

The problem with numbers is that they’re sometimes detached from the phenomena they’re meant to describe. If we see a record of a person’s body temperature from 1969 — at 99.1 degrees — we might assume he had a fever. But knowing the context of that measurement may lead us to tell a different story about what caused his temperature at that time: for example, that the man had been sitting in a hot tub. Climate data from the past can offer even less context, clarity, and accuracy.

But let’s suppose all the world’s thermometers — both satellite and land — have neither heat-island effects nor any other distortions, and that they offer an accurate description of the earth’s temperature. Let us also assume that the temperature readings over the last hundred years are completely accurate and represent the planet as a whole, and that the temperature data derived from inferential methods such as ice core samples and tree rings also paint an accurate picture of surface temperatures well into the past, which is doubtful.

We are still left with a problem: We cannot simply look at the outputs of the climate system (temperature), because they are linked to all-important inputs — that is, those factors that caused any changes in temperature. The inability for climate scientists to tell a more conclusive causal story about factors in past warming is another reason to remain agnostic about trends over longer timescales.

7. Decomposability is a virtual impossibility

Another serious problem with the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is that, if it is a theory at all, it seems to be a cluster of interconnected theories and interconnected models. Let that settle for a moment. Consider that the IPCC, the central climate-science organization whose job is to give the definitive word on climate change, has to assemble the work of hundreds, maybe thousands, of scientists and weave it into a comprehensive report. But as Norgaard and Baer write in Bioscience, “Models developed and heretofore interpreted within individual scientific communities are taken out of their hands, modified, and used with other models in ways over which the original scientific communities no longer have control.”

Now, in stitching together the various individual theories, studies, and models of such a diverse and inevitably error-prone community, the problem goes deeper. Never mind that the IPCC central committee has deep incentives to interpret the data in a way that creates the impression of a single, uniform theory. Suppose that every climate scientist that gets picked by the IPCC for its report claims 95 percent confidence. Even if each scientist were 95 percent certain of his particular prediction or set of parameters, we can’t be so certain about the agglomeration of 10 scientists’ opinions about disparate phenomena, much less 50. Nor can any given scientist be 95 percent confident about the work of any other scientist.

8. Stats stand in for certainty

People crave certainty, and politicians want to provide it. So when we hear that a scientist is 95 percent confident about his or her conclusions, we feel like that’s close enough, derived as it presumably is through some sort of statistical analysis. “Yet since things are ultimately uncertain,” writes theoretical mathematician William Byers:

We satisfy this need by creating artificial islands of certainty. We create models of reality and then insist that the models are reality. It is not that science, mathematics, and statistics do not provide useful information about the real world. The problem lies in making excessive claims for the validity of these methods and models and believing them to be absolutely certain.

Byers’s book The Blind Spot: Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty is a welcome antidote to this sort of scientific hubris.

Climatologist Judith Curry put matters a little differently. When a journalist asked her how the 95 percent number was determined, she replied, “The 95% is basically expert judgment, it is a negotiated figure among the authors. The increase from 90–95% means that they are more certain. How they can justify this is beyond me.”

The reporter then asked if it was really all so subjective. Curry’s reply: “As far as I know, this is what goes on. All this has never been documented.”

9. AGW might not be a theory at all

What makes a scientific theory a theory at all? This has been debated among philosophers of science, but most people generally agree that a certain set of minimum criteria should be in place. Among them, at least, are these:

  1. Is the theory testable? Can we formulate hypotheses grounded in the theory, then figure out a way to test the hypotheses?
  2. Is the theory falsifiable? Is there evidence that could call the theory into question? What evidence would exclude the theory?
  3. Does the theory unify? Does the theory unify seemingly unrelated phenomena under a single explanatory framework?

AGW is not testable in any laboratory sense, of course, but many natural phenomena are not. And yet we’ve already discussed the problems of testing models against available evidence — considering the models’ hypotheses and seeing whether these track with what we can observe. One might argue that models stand for hypotheses, and suffice for a testability criterion. But this is unclear.

Perhaps the most damning of the three for AGW is the falsifiability criterion. That is, the Orthodoxy has created a situation in which models play a major role in the theoretical framework. But when the models fail to track with observation, the Orthodoxy claims the timescales are not sufficient to determine a climate trend — for example, that discussing the pause of the last 18 years is “cherry picking.” Fair enough. But then what sort of data wouldcount to falsify the theory? And what, going forward, is a time scale sufficient to determine a climate trend? 100 years?

If we accept these longer timescales as sufficient to smooth out natural variability, we might reasonably ask the Orthodoxy to remain agnostic about AGW while another 70 years of data come in. (After all, they have had to rely on spurious proxies to “trick” temperature trends in the past.) But the Orthodoxy then changes tack and argues that’s too long to wait! After all, we might be going through an emergency that requires immediate action. So, despite the insufficient timescale, they expect everyone to accept the climate consensus as the basis for policymakers’ faith-based initiatives.

Finally, does AGW unify diverse phenomena under a single explanatory framework? AGW is meant to explain everything from ocean acidification to melting sea ice, to rising sea levels, to regional desertification. The trouble is with the explanatory part. When taken in isolation, each of these purported consequences of global warming either aren’t happening as predicted, or, if they are, they can be explained by factors outside AGW theory. So it’s not clear that AGW satisfies any unification criterion, either.

10. It’s matter of degree

What if the Climate Orthodoxy is wrong and the “lukewarmists” like Judith Curry turn out to be right? If we look at the empirical data over the last 30 years or so, they might be. As Rational Optimist author writes, “I found myself persuaded by the middle-of-the-road, ‘lukewarm’ argument — that CO2-induced warming is likely but it won’t be large, fast or damaging.” The Climate Orthodoxy might have been hyperventilating over a degree of warming over a century. (And, of course, policies driven by hysteria could mean the poorest people might be prevented from joining the middle class for the sake of an almost imperceptible change.)

11. Pascal’s Climate Wager

Suppose we all agreed that 100 years of accurate temperature data would be sufficient to determine a climate trend. The Climate Orthodoxy argues that we must act now to prevent climate change, in case they are right. People familiar with theology will recall this is the analogous to Pascal’s Wager, in which 17th-century Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal tells us we’d better believe in God, Heaven, and Hell. If we believe and we’re wrong, we haven’t lost anything, according to Pascal. But if we disbelieve and we’re wrong, we have eternity to suffer. Similarly, we must believe, suffer, and sacrifice now to stave off climate change.

There are a number of problems with this rationale, but the biggest one is rather ironic. There is no viable political climate solution currently on the table that is capable of mitigating any predicted warming. Taking the IPCC’s own assumptions, Patrick Michaels and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger found that there is no winning “wager” here:

Assuming the IPCC’s value for climate sensitivity (i.e., disregarding the recent scientific literature) and completely stopping all carbon dioxide emissions in the US between now and the year 2050 and keeping them at zero, will only reduce the amount of global warming by just over a tenth of a degree (out of a total projected rise of 2.619°C between 2010 and 2100).

If you think that a rise of 2.482°C is vastly preferable to a rise of 2.619°C then all you have to do is set the carbon tax large enough to drive U.S. emissions to zero by mid-century — oh yeah, and sell that tax to the American people.

So even if all the models turn out to be true, there is little we can do with policy at this point. So unlike Pascal’s Wager, there is no amount of repenting and belief that could save us. We’re either all going to climate hell, anyway, or something ain’t right. The whole conversation about “climate action” appears to be moot at this point. Don’t believe it? Check the Handy Dandy Climate Temperature Savings Calculator.

12. The debate is not over, and the science is not settled

Freeman Dyson, a brilliant theoretical physicist, is no man of the right. But he is intellectually honest enough to wear the mantel of “heretic.” Here’s why:

I am especially unimpressed by the claim that a prediction of rapid and dangerous warming is “settled science,” as firm as evolution or gravity. How could it be? It is a prediction! No prediction, let alone in a multi-causal, chaotic and poorly understood system like the global climate, should ever be treated as gospel. With the exception of eclipses, there is virtually nothing scientists can say with certainty about the future. It is absurd to argue that one cannot disagree with a forecast. Is the Bank of England’s inflation forecast infallible?

Indeed. And to say that the debate is over is not to say that those willing to debate have nothing to say. It is rather to say that you have turned off your curiosity, your humility, and your willingness to engage in discourse so that you can get what you want.

And what should we say about all this “consensus” talk? Science writer Ronald Bailey (no agnostic about climate change) wisely says:

One should always keep in mind that a scientific consensus crucially determines and limits the questions researchers ask. And one should always worry about to what degree supporters of any given scientific consensus risk succumbing to confirmation bias. In any case, the credibility of scientific research is not ultimately determined by how many researchers agree with it or how often it is cited by like-minded colleagues, but whether or not it conforms to reality.

13. Climate science isn’t climate policy

One of the biggest problems with the Climate Orthodoxy is that one set of experts that is cocksure about the science really has no expertise in the economics of climate change or in climate-change policy. How in the world is an expert in albedo effects going to have anything meaningful to say about whether climate change is good or bad for the world today — much less 50 years into the future? This profound disconnect has never stopped scientists like James Hansen from advocating for certain types of policies.

Seeing this disconnect, however, the Orthodoxy has begun training up so-called specialists in the economics of climate change, led by such “experts” as Sir Nicholas Stern, whose models and predictions are the stuff of both speculation and spectacle. More tempered in his prognostications is Yale’s William Nordhaus, but economists such as Robert Murphy offer very good reasons to question Nordhaus’s almanac, as well.

If you think modeling the climate is hard, try modeling an economy. As economist Arnold Kling writes,

I think that if the press were aware of the intellectual history and lack of scientific standing of the models, it would cease rounding up these usual suspects. Macroeconometrics stands discredited among mainstream academic economists. Applying macroeconometric models to questions of fiscal policy is the equivalent of using pre-Copernican astronomy to launch a satellite or using bleeding to treat an infection.

Whatever the pedigree of the economist, his laurels, or his letters, mixing macrometeorology with macroeconomics is like trying to read tea leaves.

14. The climate orthodoxy is inherently corruptive

Here’s the heretic Dyson again:

The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems. Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, “Sorry, but we don’t know.”

He’s right. It is nearly impossible to inoculate science from the influence of those who pay the bills. As I wrote in “The Climate Complex Strikes Back” (Freeman, February 2015), “That government money shouldn’t corrupt is just another application of the unicorn fallacy so common among well-meaning greens.” And it’s even tougher not to develop blind spots and biases when those who fund you claim to be on the side of the angels. That is why we must put our faith not in centralized hierarchies of experts but in the Republic of Science itself.

15. Reasoned agnosticism is not “denial”

Godwin’s law surfaces quickly in the debates about global warming. Here’s Botkin again:

For me, the extreme limit of this attitude was expressed by economist Paul Krugman, also a Nobel laureate, who wrote in hisNew York Times column in June, “Betraying the Planet” that “as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.” What had begun as a true scientific question with possibly major practical implications had become accepted as an infallible belief (or if you’re on the other side, an infallible disbelief), and any further questions were met, Joe-McCarthy style, “with me or agin me.”

Of course, the term “denier” is meant to evoke Holocaust denial.

16. AGW might be beneficial on net

If Stern and Nordhaus (see #11) can engage in economic speculation, then we can, too. In fact, when we look back at warmer periods in the history of civilization, we see relative flourishing.

According to Matt Ridley, writing in the UK Spectator, Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University aggregated 14 major academic papers about the future effects of climate change. Tol determined that things look rosier than the Orthodoxy would have us believe:

Professor Tol calculated that climate change would be beneficial up to 2.2°C of warming from 2009 (when he wrote his paper). This means approximately 3°C from pre-industrial levels, since about 0.8°C of warming has happened in the last 150 years.

And in a more recent paper, Tol looks back over the last 100 years. He concludes that climate change raised human and environmental welfare during the 20th century:

By how much? He calculates by 1.4 per cent of global economic output, rising to 1.5 per cent by 2025. For some people, this means the difference between survival and starvation.

Sure, it’s speculative, even looking back. But isn’t it just as likely that there will be benefits as costs? It might turn out that if the planet does warm a couple of degrees, there will be new forms of flourishing.

17. One hundred years of certitude

One wonders what people in 1915 would have thought about our lives today. The pace of technological change has been staggering. And though a few people tried to make predictions, they were not cut out for the task. Likewise, we cannot readily say what forms of energy we’ll use, and what technologies they will power. As Troy University economist Daniel Sutter reminds us,

A dynamic market economy will feature too much creative destruction to allow detailed planning for the distant future. Nothing is sure in a market economy ten years from now, much less 100 years, and discounting in cost-benefit analysis simply reflects this reality. The economic future becomes more predictable when government controls economic activity, but then stagnation results. Discounting in climate change economics tells us to create wealth to protect future generations. Economic freedom and the institutions of the market economy, not central planning of energy use, is the prudent policy approach to a changing climate.

Inherent in our inability adequately to plan and predict is a recommendation that we adapt instead.

18. Adaptation as policy prescription

If the climate is warming some, and it might be, then what is the best policy? One can make a powerful case for adaptation. Adaptation is not about doing nothing. It means liberalizing the world on a number of dimensions of economic freedom to ensure that countries are rich enough to be resilient. A wealthy and adaptive people like the Dutch can figure out how to live with rising waters. A rich and resilient people like the Hong Kong Chinese can figure out how to build a city-state on a rock in 50 years. A rich and resilient citizenry of the world should be able to handle what a degree or two of change in average global temperature has in store for us — especially as we will undergo untold technological transformations over the next decade or two.

19. Climate policy has a defector problem

The problem with climate-change policies like carbon taxes is that they require near-global unanimity to work. That is, if the United States adopts a carbon tax, energy becomes more expensive for Americans. But if energy becomes more expensive here, it might be less expensive in other parts of the world. And, indeed, businesses and the energy industry will engage in energy arbitrage. Developing countries like India, China, Brazil, and Russia will welcome these energy arbitrageurs with open arms. They might develop even as we stagnate. And they should: they are lifting billions of people out of poverty. But there’s a problem here for climate policy. Every signatory to a climate treaty has strong incentives to defect. And as defectors do their thing, carbon continues to pour into the atmosphere. Nothing changes to mitigate climate change; industry simply shifts around.

20. Climate policy has an efficacy problem

Suppose we don’t accept Pascal’s Climate Wager and we conclude that no climate policy under consideration will do much to mitigate warming. Those who claim that action is vital respond to this claim by saying, “We have to start somewhere!” But if you’re conceding that no policy under consideration does very much, why would you start with a failed policy? It appears to be more empty rhetoric used to justify an unprecedented level of taxation designed to feed some of the most insatiable and predatory governments in the world.

21. Climate policy has a corruption problem

Earlier, I suggested that the Climate Orthodoxy has a corruptive influence on science. We shouldn’t stop there. The “climate industrial complex“ is large and growing. Scores of green energy companies are on the take, donating campaign contributions to politicians who control the purse strings at the Department of Energy. Legacy energy utilities lick their chops, seeing opportunities to game the system in a carbon-tax environment that is unfavorable to their competitors. Traders get in on energy credit schemes. Green NGOs play “Baptists” to all the corporate “bootleggers,” and when you scrutinize it all — including the billions of dollars the federal government pours into the “science” — the whole things starts to smell like one festering pile of corruption.

22. The confidence game

If you’re feeling uncertain, consider that the Climate Orthodoxy has to do everything it can to pull members of the public like you into assent. Here’s one final nod to Dyson:

The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities. So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think. They make confident predictions about the future, and end up believing their own predictions. Their predictions become dogmas, which they do not question. The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong. That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed.

If you are a Climate Agnostic, that’s okay. (You won’t burn at the stake; you’ll merely burn in the heat of a baking planet.)

Postscript: We are creative conservationists

As the world changes for this reason or that, we are growing richer, stronger, smarter, and more resilient. We are becoming more conscious about the environment and its natural treasures. On almost every environmental dimension — including air quality, water quality, the extent of forestland, and the return of wildlife — things are getting better. Whether you think most of these gains are a consequence of environmental regulations or improvements in market efficiencies, one thing is clear: wealthier is healthier. We should continue to cherish the beauty of the planet and continue to grow economically so we can afford to protect its wonders. Being agnostic about climate change does not require that we stop loving Planet Earth, it only means keeping a cool head and an open mind, even when the discourse overheats.

Max Borders

Max Borders is the editor of the Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

The Environmental Insane Asylum

Earth Day was declared in 1970 and for the past 45 years we have all been living in the Environmental Insane Asylum, being told over and over again to believe things that are the equivalent of Green hallucinations. Now the entire month of April has been declared Earth Month, but in truth not a day goes by when we are not assailed with the bold-faced lies that comprise environmentalism.

Around the globe, the worst part of this is that we are being victimized by people we are told to respect from the President of the United States to the Pope of the Catholic Church. Their environmentalism is pure socialism.

Organizations whom we expect to tell the truth keep telling us that “climate change is one of the biggest global security threats of the 21st century.” This was a recent statement by “world leaders” like the G7, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies, the International Monetary Fund, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. On April 17 they adopted a report about the “threat” put together by think tanks that included the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

When I speak of “climate” I am referring to data gathered not just about decades, but centuries of the Earth’s cycles of warming and cooling. When I speak of “weather”, the closest any of us get to it other than today’s, are local predictions no longer than a few days’ time at best. The weather is in a constant state of flux.

Climate change is not a threat and most certainly there is no global warming. As Prof. Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook College in Queensland, Australia, has written, “For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco.”

The fact that the Earth is now into the nineteenth year of a natural planetary cooling cycle seems to never be acknowledged or reported. “The problem here,” says Prof. Carter, “is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike.”

In a book I recommend to everyone, “Climate for the Layman” by Anthony Bright-Paul, he draws on the best well-known science about the Earth noting that “Since there is no such thing as a temperature of the whole Earth all talk of global warming is simply illogical, ill thought out, and needs to be discarded for the sake of clarity. The globe is warming and cooling in different locations concurrently every minute of the day and night.”

“Since it is abundantly clear that there is no one temperature of the atmosphere all talk of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is simply an exercise in futility.” A look at the globe from either of its two poles to its equator and everything in between tells us with simple logic that being able to determine its “temperature” is impossible. The Earth, however, has gone through numerous warming and cooling cycles, all of which were the result of more or less solar radiation.

The Sun was and is the determining factor. The assertion that humans have any influence or impact that can determine whether the Earth is warmer or cooler is absurd.

The Earth had passed through warming and cooling cycles for billions of years before humans even existed, yet we are told that the generation of carbon dioxide through the use of machinery in manufacturing, transportation or any other use is causing the build-up of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. We are told to give up the use of coal, oil and natural gas. That is a definition of insanity!

Here’s the simple truth that most people are not told: The Sun warms the Earth and the Earth warms the atmosphere.

As for carbon dioxide, the amount generated by human activity represents a miniscule percentage of the 0.04% in the Earth’s atmosphere. There has been more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere—well before humans existed—contributing to the growth of all manner of vegetation which in turn generated oxygen.

Without carbon dioxide there would be no life on Earth. It feeds the vegetation on which animal life depends directly and indirectly. As Anthony Bright-Paul says, “A slight increase in atmosphere of carbon dioxide will not and cannot produce any warming, but can be hugely beneficial to a green planet.”

The Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.9% Argon, 0.04% Carbon Dioxide, and the rest is water vapor and trace gases in very small amounts. They interact to provide an environment in which life, animal and vegetable, exists on Earth.

When you live in a Global Environmental Insane Asylum, you are not likely to hear or read the truth, but you can arrive at it using simple logic. We know instinctively that humans do not control the waves of our huge oceans, nor the vast tectonic plates beneath our feet, the eruptions of volcanoes, the Jetstream, cloud formation, or any of the elements of the weather we experience, such as thunder, lightning, and other acts of Nature.

Why would we blindly assume or agree to the torrent of lies that humans are “causing” climate change? The answer is that on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, we will be deluged with the propaganda of countless organizations worldwide that we are, in fact, endangering a “fragile” planet Earth. We hear and read that every other day of the year as well.

The achievement of the human race and the last 5,000 years of so-called civilization is the way we have learned to adapt to Nature by creating habitats from villages to cities in which to survive and because we have devised a vast global agricultural and ranching system to feed seven billion of us.

As for the weather, John Christy, the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, says he cringes “when I hear overstated confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next one hundred years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system’s behavior over the next five days.”

“Mother Nature,” says Christy, “simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, behind the mastery of mere mortals—such as scientists—and the tools available to us.”

Whether it is the President or the Pope, or the countless politicians and bureaucrats, along with multitudes of “environmental” organizations, as well as self-serving “scientists”, all aided by the media, a virtual Green Army has been deliberately deceiving and misleading the citizens of planet Earth for four and a half decades. It won’t stop any time soon, but it must before the charade of environmentalism leaves us all enslaved by the quest for political control over our lives that hides behind it.

We must escape the Environmental Insane Asylum in which they want us to live.

© Alan Caruba, 2015