And one of the central concepts in the Reverend Moon’s Divine Principle is the responsible stewardship of the earth and a caring attitude for the entirety of nature. This doctrine did not prevent him from incarcerating and brainwashing the members of his Unification Church, while operating among his many businesses a car manufacturing plant in North Korea, a sea food consortium, media and estate agencies, and a munitions racket that funded his mansions, castles and large properties around the world. For some of the shadier characters in the salvation business, a tenderness for nature can become a most profitable proposition.
In fact, liberal environmentalism is the cutting edge of the movement for bureaucratized state control of both private life and free market economics, not only conscripting the media, the NGOs, government departments and the intellectual classes to advance its agenda but shrewdly operating through the very corporations it seeks to regulate by offering tax and other incentives to ensure compliance. And it seems to be working.
The former Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, author of Blue Planet in Green Shackles, is on the mark when he warns of the irrationality of the bullish “global warming” industry: “As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism… Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.”
Like Vaclav Klaus, we might one day find ourselves living under a regime that would in many ways resemble the Communist nightmare from which half of Europe has only recently emerged. Similarly, in Left in Dark Times, Bernard-Henri Levy speaks of “the former Reds who have now turned Green and the friends-of-nature type of Greens who have now become greens of the revolutionary jihad variety.”
Green has become big business even though its effects have been largely counter-productive. It should be obvious by this time that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the ecological fence. What we see at work is the bizarre confluence of leftist autocracy and wealth known as fascism, that is, corporate totalitarianism, in which capital wealth is placed at the service of but also facilitates the rule of the managerial state. As Jonah Goldberg (among others) elucidates in Liberal Fascism, fascism and communism are kissing cousins, totalitarian movements and regimes that differ only in the disposition of industrial authority, but to the same end.
Hitler with Opel, 1937.
Corporate totalitarianism is now an internecine phenomenon, predicated on corruption. Robert Morton points out in the first of a multi-part series for The Pipeline that the major “charitable” foundations enjoy lucrative dealings with national competitors while at the same time aiming for oligarchic control of the very nations they putatively serve—all in the name of creating an egalitarian society where the environment is preserved by its self-appointed custodians and stewards, and men can live in harmony with nature. But the underlying motive is almost always money and power.
Morton mentions, for example, the Sea Change Foundation, Renaissance Technologies, Klein Ltd. and their umbrella entity the Lord Jim Trust. These organizations, which have “funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States,” are run by “executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests.” Cui bono? Clearly neither the environment nor the climate. The founders and managers of these firms and trusts are profiting handsomely, as is the state-owned Russian oil company, Rosneft.
These left-wing, faux-environmental trusts, foundations and endowments tend to breed like rabbits on steroids. They are owned and managed by obscenely wealthy people who flourish in a privileged milieu of money, influence, business deals and political connections. The Tides Foundationand the Rockefeller Foundation (which “contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world,” according to its promo), are among the most notorious of these progressivist organizations.
Other such concerns, reported by the Capital Research Center, include the California Endowment, the Chicago Community Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Pew Memorial Trust, the Union Square Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Novo Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Ben and Jerry Foundation, the Sierra Fund and of course the George Soros Open Society Foundations.
No names, please.
These enterprises are collectively awash in billions of dollars which they use, under the guise of public charity, to promote their own interests. What author Hayden Ludwig says of Tides seems true across the board: “Using a sophisticated funding model, Tides has grown into a leading platform for laundering away ties between wealthy donors and the radical causes they fund—while generating hundreds of new organizations along the way.” That is, many of these groups are conveniently set up to obscure the connection between donors and grantees, many of these latter violent activists who blockade railways, disable pipelines and foment riots.
Such consortiums, then, are designed “to maximize the flow of donations to far-left nonprofits while minimizing donors’ public exposure to the fruits of their largesse.” The motives behind these left-wing philanthropists and groups are a blend of fiscal and political objectives, promoting a “social justice” agenda, a single-party state governed by a plutocratic and technological elite (called “democratic socialism” and “the Great Reset”), and ultimately a monopoly controlling the nation’s wealth.
The environment in which these plutocratic pseudo-philanthropists function, and which galvanizes their interest is not river, land and air but finance, stocks and power. The only hedges they care about are hedge funds. The only power they are interested in is not electrical but political. The fact that the engine of Green energy will render the landscape unsightly, leak toxins into soil and water, remain variously unreclaimable and undisposable, fail to supply sufficient power to sustain a nation’s infrastructure without oil, gas and coal back-up, cost hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of jobs, and crush the population under a punitive tax-and-utility burden is of no account to them. After all, they are our gracious benefactors, complaisant and benign, “friends of nature” laboring to save the planet, just like Jim Jones and the Reverend Moon.
One thinks of Hamlet: “A man may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”
As responsible citizens, we must do our utmost to put the brakes on hasty and poorly thought-out Green infatuations and should proceed carefully and slowly to develop and introduce so-called “renewables” to offset a portion of our energy consumption without collapsing the economy and without fattening the revenues of parasitical corporations intent on political domination.
Above all, caution, thorough study and robust skepticism should be our watchwords. Beware the smiling emojis.
To Save California from Fire, Burn It
As the state of California slowly returns to the state of Nature, politicians such as Gavin Newsom -- the worst governor in Golden State history, so bad he makes one yearn for the second coming of Gray Davis -- and the arsonists in Sacramento propose to make things worse, not better. Newsom, whose name should be changed to Noisome, blames the outbreak of fires during, um, fire season on "global warming" and "climate change."
“The debate is over on climate change,” Newsom added. “Just come to the state of California.”
Well, governor, I've lived in California multiple times in my life, including growing up in San Diego, working as a reporter and critic in San Francisco, and writing in Hollywood. I love California -- or at least what it used to be. I knew California -- and your state ain't no California any more. But that's what happens when the same few interlocking wealthy families control the state's destiny for far too long: it becomes Mexico, ruled by aristocrats and cauldillos as they punish the peasants for their penury.
The fact is, the current wildfires are not, as the Huffington Post would have it, "among the largest wildfires in state history." Maybe in recorded state history, but that doesn't go back very far. Bjorn Lomborg, the "Skeptical Environmenalist," has a few words for the governor:
The massive fires raging in California are being blamed squarely on climate change. Alongside ominous photographs of orange skies, the front page of the Sunday Los Angeles Times blared: “California’s Climate Apocalypse.” Golden State Gov. Gavin Newsom says the cause is climate change. Anyone who thinks differently, he insists, is in denial.
The governor is right that climate change is real, man-made and something we need to deal with smartly. But the claim that the fires are caused by climate change is grossly misleading. To understand why, it helps to know that California wildfires used to be much bigger. This past decade, California has seen an average burnt area of 775,000 acres. Before 1800, however, California typically saw between 4.4 and 11.9 million acres burn every year.
In other words, up to 12 percent of the entire area of the state — had its modern boundaries existed in the 18th century — burned every year. This all changed after 1900, when fire suppression became the norm, and fire declined precipitously. In the last half of the 20th century, only about 250,000 acres burned annually.
But because most fires were stopped early, this left ever more unburnt fuel in the forests. According to one estimate, there is now five times more wood-fuel debris in Californian forests than before Europeans arrived. Californian fires are slowly coming back to their prehistoric state because of the enormous excess fuel load. Putting up solar panels and using biofuels will be costly but do virtually nothing to fix this problem. Prescribed burns will.
Ah, but the Left -- which systematically discourages the study of history -- believes (as did the French revolutionaries and the Soviet communists) -- that the world began anew with them. As far as the modern California Left is concerned, the Golden State sprang into being fully formed, like Athena from the brow of Zeus. They never give a thought to the white male easterners and midwesterners who came out west and made the desert bloom, who dammed the Sierra lakes and rivers, tamed the Colorado River, built the beautiful neighborhoods of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and most of all, learned to prevent forest fires via brush clearing and controlled burns (so, by the way, did the Indians).
That couldn't stand -- why, didn't they know that managing the fire threat was inflicting pain on Mother Gaia? The Left is nothing if not superstitious and anthropomorphic, and in the guise of "environmentalism" is hurtling the state back to the stone age.
Here's Michael Shellenberger, who like Lomborg believes that the warming trend is in part attributable to human activity, giving the governor a meteorological lesson. Please watch the video:
People are missing what's important about fires & climate change so I made this short vid
- Well-managed forests surviving despite cl. ch.
- 5x more wood fuel in forests means mega-fires were likely w/o cc
The climate hysterics don't want to hear this, of course. It's critical to their view of the world to believe in the innate evil of mankind, the better to salve their consciences as they punish their fellow citizens with ever higher taxes to appease the angry climate gods who do not, in fact, exist. Of such delusions are the ruination of once-great states made.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
At this point in the global hysteria -- increasingly mixed with petty bureaucratic malevolence -- over Covid-19, we have seamlessly passed from tragedy to farce, as a Marxist might say. As far back as April, it was already clear that the international Left was being forced to choose between its twin apocalyptic wet dreams of global destruction via "climate change" and global destruction via the second coming of the Black Death, aka, the Dreaded Coronavirus. If we didn't all drown from the rising oceans or fry under a burning sun, we would fall like tenpins to a virus of such deadliness that it has a kill rate of .04% and most victims don't even know they have it.
Why the Left has such a burning psychological need to constantly fantasize about destruction is no secret: in effect, they are a monomaniacal suicide cult with the added fillip of wanting to take the rest of the world down with them. They exist fearfully in a crabbed, constricted self-prison, in which anything -- a breath, a fart, a sneeze, the flick of a light switch -- can unleash cataclysmic events. What the arbitrary and capricious lockdowns have taught us -- in addition to the fact that the American constitution is now clinically dead, and that the Bill of Rights no longer is absolute -- is to fear our fellow man and thus turn ourselves into a nation of snitches and scolds.
A rising tide sinks all boats.
And so we are lectured to by children, and harried by agents of the state for the most trivial of offenses, most of which seem to be violating laws passed yesterday by thug governments criminalizing dissent from state orthodoxy. This story, concerning a pregnant woman arrested in front of her husband and children is bad enough:
“Arresting a pregnant female, it's never going to look good. The optics of arresting someone who is pregnant is terrible,” Mr Cornelius said. “We were very keen to understand the circumstances and consider whether or not in all the circumstances that action was appropriate. And I can say to you, based on the briefings that have been provided to me and my colleague, Assistant Commissioner Cindy Millen, we're satisfied in those circumstances the members behaved appropriately and in accordance with our policy.”
Mr Cornelius said the handcuffing of Ms Buhler was standard procedure when officers are executing a search warrant at a home but the handcuffs were removed as soon as police rendered the situation safe. “I've seen the footage, and you know, in my assessment, the members have conducted themselves entirely reasonably,” Mr Cornelius said.
Watch the video at the link just above and you be the judge of its "reasonableness." And then watch this:
Once a penal colony, always a penal colony.
Still, on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend pro tempore, it's been amusing to watch the two imaginary bugbears of "climate change" and the "Dreaded Corona" turn on each other. Not only has the virus spared us further manifestations of Greta Thunberg, last seen going sheepishly back to school in wintry Sweden, it's also seriously damaged the "green energy" quasi-industry:
Before the coronavirus pandemic arrived this year, clean energy was one of fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy. But since moderate stages of recovery began, experts say the industry has struggled to find footing. Just 3,200 jobs returned to the clean energy sector in July, Labor Department data shows.
That 0.1% employment growth has left more than 500,000 workers in fields including energy efficiency, solar and wind energy and clean vehicles without a job, an industry-sponsored analysis by the BW Research Partnership shows.
Before you can say, gee, that's too damn bad, there's more:
The last few months have seen a major reversal of fortune for a sector that grew 70% faster than the entire economy between 2015 and 2019 and had been employing three times as many workers as real estate, banking or agriculture. At July's growth rate, industry leaders say, it will take 15 years to replace the jobs that were wiped away by the pandemic.
The slow rebound can be blamed, they add, on a slate of pandemic-related restrictions and consequences that have combined to affect the industry.
Well... who decreed the "pandemic-related restrictions" in the first place? Which political party signifies its acquiescence to the whims of the state by wearing face masks on all possible occasions? How do the Karens of the world vote?
This is the path madness takes, once you go crazy. A central tenet of Leftist "woke" practice is 1) posit a counter-factual and, 2) act upon it as if it were real. The problem comes when the gulf between what you believe (imminent annihilation caused by driving to the supermarket to load up on groceries) and reality (the sun comes up tomorrow on pretty much the same planet it came up on when Caesar walked the earth).
Accordingly, the Left has spent -- and demanded that we spend as well -- billions of dollars to indulge their "climate change" fantasy: money now circling the drain in order to indulge their "Black Death" fantasy. That both fantasies are devoted to the destruction of the capitalism system in general and the U.S.A. in particular accounts for their passionate devotion to both, even though that were both true, their own destruction is equally guaranteed.
Some of the job losses have come in the energy-efficiency industry which -- as long as it makes economic sense -- is regrettable. Everybody wants to pass less for energy, not more, so it the more we can make our appliances better and more efficient, the more insulated our homes are, the better it is for "the planet" (if the planet cares, which it doesn't) and our pocketbooks.
"Out of the 3.2 million people who work in the clean energy field -- or did up until this year -- the vast majority are in the energy efficiency field," Bob Keefe, executive director of the non-partisan advocacy group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), told UPI. "Those are people who go into buildings and do everything from installing insulation in the walls and ceilings to swapping out incandescent lighting for LED lighting."
The sudden idling in the industry has brought into focus impressive growth it has experienced in recent years. By late 2018, more than 2.3 million Americans were working the field, and the growth rate was more than 5%, according to last year's U.S. Energy and Employment Report.
Only a sheep could love them.
Another element in the slowdown are the declining sales of such talismans as solar panels, sold to a gullible public as helping to power your own home when the sun shines but in reality simply making the sucker pay to contribute to the electric grid for others.
One theory is that homeowners are wary of strange workmen coming to their homes while the Black Death runs wild in the streets, but a more likely answer is that the customer has finally wised up to the scam.
As for the unsightly goliaths slowing spinning their alien turbines above the water line, or disfiguring the landscape from sea shore to mountain ranges, the nearly prohibitive cost of making, maintaining, and disposing of them, the less said the better.
But it's an article of faith among the regressive Left that the way forward is backward, to the days of windmills and waterwheels. Lacking a belief in God, the feminized Left increasingly lacks a belief in Man as well, especially in his ability to adapt to changing conditions with inventions and common sense. As Camille Paglia wrote in her seminal treatise on sex and culture, Sexual Personae, "If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts."
This is the end result of a Safety First philosophy, under which any outcome that could possibly be bad is to be avoided by simply refusing to engage. No ships should cross the ocean, no wagons rolling westward ho, no rockets to infinity and beyond. Progress cannot come without death, the thinking goes, so if death cannot be tolerated, then neither can progress. Which means, in the end, that the end stage of "progressive" liberalism can only be totalitarianism: that which is not expressly allowed is forbidden, unless we whimsically decree otherwise.
Why, just this week, another embarrassing Antipodean country, New Zealand, ha suspended the shipments of one of the few things anybody wants to buy from it -- cattle -- after a boat bearing 6,000 moo cows capsized and sank, with a horrifying bovine death toll. Instead of finding out why the vessel sank off the coast of Japan (which doesn't have a lot of grazing land), the reaction was... well, let the New York Times tell it:
New Zealand has suspended the export of live cattle after a ship that left its shores with 43 crew members and nearly 6,000 cows capsized off Japan this week, raising fresh questions about the safety and ethics of transporting livestock by sea.
Animals rights activists say the move did not go far enough because the transnational livestock trade is rife with abuses. “Ultimately, this is a trade that has to be banned,” said Will Appelbe, a spokesman for SAFE, an animal welfare group in New Zealand.
Of course it does, along with everything and anybody else that could go wrong. And if -- like Pennywise the Clown from It, you have to live the rest of your life in a sunless subterranean lair, comrade, remember: it's for your own safety.
'Global Warming' Does Not Cause California Wildfires
Global Warming Alarmists have a habit of blaming everything on global warming. They even pivoted to the term “climate change” so they weren’t hemmed in by catastrophes that might be the result of global cooling. So, naturally, global warming is the reason for both the existence of wildfires (primarily but not entirely in California) as well as their number, frequency, and severity.
The “argument,” such as it is, goes something like this: global warming makes the air warmer, which more efficiently dries out flammable vegetation, making it easier to set ablaze.
Like most nonsense arguments, it fails to account for all the other factors that are involved in wildfires. The oversimplification and lack of intellectual and scientific rigor is a hallmark of Leftist “thought,” and this scenario is no different.
We can dispense with the claim that the number of fires has been increasing. The National Interagency Fire Center shows that there is no obvious trend whatsoever, with an average of 41,617 fires per year and a standard deviation of 5,283 – meaning there’s a wide variance, as well.
There’s more. The area of forest land that has been burned in the US – even in years where consumption was greatest -- is far below both the average and peak years from 1926 to 1950.
Remember, the peak period of fires occurred prior to the years of alleged man-made global warming. The reduction in fire isn’t because of deforestation, either. The USDA Forest Service reports that forest area “has been relatively stable since 1910.” Yes, dry fuel feeds and maintains fires. Northeasterly winds kick up and spread the fires. Some spark, such as lightning strikes or arson or public utility incompetence, lights the proverbial match.
Yet none of this is the result of global warming. California is dry in the summer because the Pacific Ocean doesn’t throw off thunderstorms. It’s cooler than the Atlantic. The jet stream also shifts further north in summer. Thus, by the time “fire season” rolls around, all the fuel lying around for fires is going to be naturally dried out. Even if they weren’t dried out, the winds that kick up during fires would dry them out anyway.
All of this is to say that "global warming" doesn’t matter. California is dry, period. Fuel is added to the inevitable fire during the winter rains, as more grass and plant life grows. When summer rolls around, all of this life still dries out, adding to the undergrowth.
Does global warming contribute to higher rainfall in California, thereby contributing to more vegetation growth, and therefore more fuel? Nope. The National Climate Assessment demonstrates that rainfall from December to March has no discernible pattern.
This leaves the question of the winds. Almost every wildfire in California is accompanied by the famous Santa Ana winds. These winds are generated in the intermountain west by high pressure at the surface that builds up. Once it crests at the level of the terrain, known as “ridging,” the winds start to blow.
There are other factors that contribute to the wildfire situation. If one insists on attaching human involvement in wildfires, it isn’t global warming that’s the culprit.
A major contributor to wildfires is fire suppression itself. While there is an obvious need to protect homes and property, there is a natural inclination to just knock down fires wherever they spring up. Yet doing so creates thick underlayers of growth that merely provide more fuel for the next fire.
Nature has a purpose, and fire serves a purpose. We refer to wildfires as “devastating” but any biologist will tell you that fires burn overgrowth, effectively “re-booting” nature in any given area. When chaparral and other growth become thick and prevalent, most wildlife moves on and is replaced by scavengers and bottom-feeders. New life emerges when areas burn naturally, and burn out naturally.
Fire suppression forestalls this process. Fire suppression is unnatural, and we’ve been doing it since 1905.
Have you hugged a tree today?
Then there’s the environmental movement itself, in which preservation of land seems to be almost sacred in comparison to permitting timber activity of any kind. That creates more fuel. Almost half of California is federal land and political battles have restricted the timber industry, as well as livestock grazing.
Not only that, the importance of controlled burns – “prescribed fires” -- to reduce fuel is undisputed. The National Forest Service says:
Prescribed fire is one of the most important tools used to manage fire today. A scientific prescription for each fire, prepared in advance, describes its objectives, fuels, size, the precise environmental conditions under which it will burn, and conditions under which it may be suppressed. The fire may be designed to create a mosaic of diverse habitats for plants and animals, to help endangered species recover, or to reduce fuels and thereby prevent a destructive fire.
However, a host of problems have kept this tool in check in California. The sad state of affairs in California is that global warming isn’t the problem.
Seven months after the Camp Fire killed 85 people and destroyed much of Paradise, and with another potentially catastrophic wildfire season getting underway, a growing body of experts say California is neglecting a major tool in its battle against mega-fires: the practice of fighting fire with fire.
These experts say state and federal firefighting agencies should allow more fires that don’t threaten the public to run their natural course. What’s more, they say fire agencies should conduct more “prescribed” burns — fires that are deliberately set, under carefully controlled conditions, to reduce the fuels that can feed a disaster.
In California, the debate over prescribed burns is complicated by a deadly history with wildfires that have grown quickly out of control, the state’s stringent environmental regulations, fear of liability lawsuits and infringement on property rights, and the huge swaths of federal forestland with their own management rules and oversight.
There are several other problematic policies that set communities up for wildfires. Almost one in twelve homes in California are located in wildfire zones. The lunacy of permitting high-risk wildfire areas to be zoned for residential housing can be laid at the feet of the state and federal governments. While multiple parties stand to benefit from the creation of housing – home builders, the construction lobby, large businesses that seek new population zones to open stores in – it is the state and local government that stand to benefit the most. Property taxes aren’t as lucrative on undeveloped land, after all.
New neighborhoods bring people, which bring families, which bring children, who need to go to school. Schools require teachers and unions, and more government services and regulations, and of course, more income taxes. The wealthier the community, the higher the taxes that get collected.
Insurance companies are hip to these poor decisions, however. They have become increasingly restrictive in writing and maintaining policies in wildland – urban fire zones. Naturally, California state government tried but failed (this time) to force them to insure those zones where homeowners engaged in mitigation, known as “home hardening.”
The bottom line is that global warming does not cause or contribute to wildfires in California. Foolish and short-sighted policies are to blame.
May on Venus: Portrait of a Canadian Climate Zealot
As in many other countries, climate science in Canada has become both heavily politicized and cognitively polluted. Our government, like our science community, has grown thoroughly infected with faddish assumptions about climate change, the nature of greenhouse gasses, the presumed disaster of energy extraction and delivery, and the impending fate of the planet.
Though not alone in the propagation of error and pro-forma panic, former leader of the Green Party and still parliamentary leader of a caucus of two MPs, Elizabeth May has become Canada’s most prominent doomsayer. She is not only a climate zealot but a typically aspiring political autocrat who, according to CBC News, has been accused “of consolidating her power within the party through her position as parliamentary leader, and through her husband's new position on the party's federal council.” But as her husband suggests, nothing to see here, move on.
May seems to act with a self-assurance bordering on sanctimonious disregard. She had no compunction about violating a court order against blocking access to a pipeline site, for which she was charged with criminal contempt. Equally, her kookiness seems to have no bounds. May tweeted warnings about the possible dangers of WiFi which, she alleged, might be related to the “disappearance of pollinating insects.”
Venus: surface temperature 932 Fahrenheit.
With a degree in law and studies in theology, May has a provocative knack for the lectern and the pulpit, lecturing the lost and the fallen with pontifical fervor, whether in speech or screed. Writing in Policy: Canadian Politics and Public Policy under the rubric “Climate Apocalypse Now: Venus, Anyone?” May informs us that “The alarm bells are ringing ever more loudly: We are in a climate emergency.” A brief overview of her sources and authorities will help us put her deposition in a wider, evidentiary perspective.
May relies on what she dubs “a clear and compelling warning from the world’s largest peer-reviewed science process,” the United Nations IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and summons the prestige of the UN’s General Secretary Antonio Guterres, who claims that “we are running out of time” to address an imminent climate cataclysm by reducing carbon emissions.
Following Guterres, she worries about the “low-lying island states for whom failing to meet that goal is an existential threat”—a charge that has been thoroughly rumbled, although neither Guterres nor May seem to know that—or if they do, they’re not letting on. Even the pro-warmist site ResearchGate (Global and Planetary Change) admits to the contrary that “the average change in island land area has so far been positive.”
Coming in for an underwater landing at Malé.
The presumably sinking Maldives have just built four new airports and propose to build even more to accommodate the expanding tourist trade and the presumptively sinking atolls and reef islands of Tuvalu are actually growing larger. As Energy Research Institute founder and CEO Rob Bradley Jr. writes, “[The alarmist temperature and sea-level predictions] constitute yet another exaggerated Malthusian scare.” We recall the Club of Rome’s prediction of resource exhaustion, Paul Ehrlich’s population bomb and M. King Hubbert’s Peak Oil scare.
All in all, I’m not sure Guterres is the best advocate to call upon. There’s enough wind in the man to power a wind turbine all by his lonesome. Guterres, who gives the impression of believing in “climate change” with holy zeal, is a Davos stalwart, an apologist for the corrupt, China-friendly W.H.O., and a China hack to boot.
Investigative journalist Matthew Russell Lee points to “China Energy's proven bribery at the UN, and bid to buy an oil company linked to Guterres through the Gulbenkian Foundation.” Indeed, Guterres' 2016 online disclosure “omits… his listed role through 2018 in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.” The arrangement is being concluded via Partex Oil and Gas, of which the Foundation holds 100 percent of the share capital. Despite his melodramatic public pronouncements, Guterres is clearly untroubled by the (ostensible) impact of oil extraction on the environment.
As for May’s beloved IPCC, it is another apocryphal gospel. In The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert, Donna Laframboise shows that the IPCC “has been recruiting 20-something graduate students” as lead authors, many of whom had not even earned their degrees and some of whom were majoring in non-climate disciplines. The IPCC relies heavily on non-peer reviewed material (so much for May’s erroneous contention regarding IPCC peer-reviewed authenticity), including newspaper items, press releases, magazine articles, unpublished graduate theses and Green activist sources. It is nothing less than a privileged lobbying organization for vested financial interests, and anyone who consults its findings for fiscal or ideological purposes is either venal or ignorant.
Elizabeth May is a member in high standing of this troupe of contemporary climate fanatics. But she has good company in our deeply uneducated prime minister Justin Trudeau and our new finance minister, the incompetent Chrystia Freeland, who argues that “the restart of our economy has to be green”—no surprise from the political maladroit and “social justice” evangelist who bungled our NAFTA negotiations with the U.S.
Many of the major figures in the Conservative Party are also Green missionaries. They may be her competitors but they are also Elizabeth’s children, all playing the dangerous game of climate politics. As Charles Rotter writes introducing the new documentary film Global Warning, “Canada is fast becoming the leading global example for what can happen when climate politics meet traditional energy industry. It has the third largest known reserves of oil and gas on the planet and could provide affordable, reliable energy to many parts of the world… It is a country living a potentially tragic story of climate politics.”
May is far from finished in her climate scaremongering. She next informs us, parroting a host of predictions, that 2020 “is on track to be the hottest year on record.” The hottest year on record was, it appears, 1934—although the inevitable margin of error renders such predictions suspect.
May is also, as expected, a big fan of wind farms, urging the country to “accelerate the rapid deployment of wind turbines.” She would be better advised to consult the Members of the Ohio General Assembly, who have thoroughly exploded the wind turbine scam. After having reviewed the Icebreaker wind turbine project, placed before the Ohio Power Sitting Board, with a view to its costs, massive job losses and multiple negative environmental effects, they affirm that they “do not want this project to move forward in any form.” To mention some of their concerns: The leakage of industrial lubricants from the 404 gallons per gearbox, the tendency to catch fire, the absence of full Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) (which neither government nor industry is keen to furnish), and the inability to provide permanent jobs.
May’s glib deceptions, appeal to authority, and cynical indifference to indisputable facts is scrupulously anatomized in an email exchange with a knowledgeable opponent on the health problems associated with turbines, including sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, exhaustion and various forms of “sick building.” May, of course, does not live in the vicinity of a wind farm and need not worry about this Aeolic species of neurological radiation.
In her conclusion, May insists that “We cannot cave into [sic] Alberta and the oil sands” but must instead follow “the brilliant lead of TransAlta’s new solar investments using Tesla batteries. We have a sustainable future within our grasp.” Here May’s ignorance is truly staggering. As The Manhattan Institute’s senior fellow Mark Mills enlightens us, “the annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of materials are mined, moved, and processed for every pound of battery produced.” The ground contamination is off the charts.
Nonetheless, we are apprised that CO2 must be dramatically reduced before Armageddon strikes. Perhaps this is not such a great idea. In Oh, Oh, Canada, William Gairdner, basing his estimates on the scientific research conducted by the Fraser Institute’s 1997 publication Global Warming: The Science and the Politics, reminds us that CO2 levels during the Ordovician Age of 440 million years ago were ten times higher than they are at present. And that the Ordovician happened to coincide with an ice age.Princeton physicist William Happer also highlights the fact that “Life on earth flourished for hundreds of million years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today.” CO2, he writes,“will be a major benefit to the Earth.” Something to ponder.
A perfect example of this strategy is May’s rhetorical question, “Venus anyone?” The surface temperature of Venus is more than 900 degrees Fahrenheit; on Earth it is approximately 58 degrees. The atmospheric mantle of Venus consists of approximately 97 percent carbon dioxide, Earth’s approximately 0.4 percent, lower by a factor of around 245.
But then, who knows what may happen in another trillion years or so. Elizabeth May and her ideological cronies might well be vindicated.
When Satire and Science Speak Inconvenient Truths
Just lately two very different people—one a German satirist, the other an American Nobel Prize-winning scientist—have fallen afoul of those concerned citizens who have taken on the unpaid role of “Censors to Prevent the Apocalypse.” And without your having any more information than that, gentle reader, you know that they have done so on the topic of climate change.
Let’s look at the satirist first. Dieter Nuhr is a well-known comedian who, presumably because of his public profile as a scourge of left and right impartially, was invited to contribute a statement to a public information campaign of the German Research Foundation about its work. That statement ran as follows on the website No Tricks Zone:
Knowledge does not mean you are 100% sure, but that you have enough facts to have a reasoned opinion. But many people are offended when scientists change their mind: That is normal! Science is just THAT the opinion changes when the facts change. This is because science is not a doctrine of salvation, not a religion that proclaims absolute truths. And those who constantly shout, “Follow science!” have obviously not understood this. Science does not know everything, but it is the only reasonable knowledge base we have. That is why it is so important.
If we want to classify it, that’s a defense of truth, science, and freedom all in one. It’s not the most eloquent of such defenses, but it covers a lot of ground in few words and it’s admirably clear. Score one for the satirists here. Almost inevitably therefore it provoked an outpouring of hostile criticism from the organized twitter mobs which don’t usually know a great deal but which do seem to have a reliable instinct when one of their idols or shibboleths is being impermissibly doubted. In response to these attacks the German Research Foundation, fearing damage to its reputation, did the usual thing and took Nuhr’s statement down.
The Research Foundation obviously didn’t know its man. Nuhr responded to his defenestration with a very powerful defense of freedom of thought and inquiry in society and of diversity of opinion in science in particular. In it he was unsparing in his criticism of the Foundation for its surrender.
That strong response evoked an even larger volume of external criticism of the Foundation for its loss of nerve, together with an internal serious reconsideration of all the issues raised by the banning of Nuhr. Within a week it issued an apology of the handsomest sort to Nuhr and reinstated his original statement on its site, saying “The DFG expressly regrets that the statement by Dieter Nuhr was taken hastily from the website of the online campaign #forknowledge.” (Not my Boldness.)
And—you can’t fault the Germans for not being thorough—it went on to connect that error with a growing culture of groupthink and particular orthodoxies in the universities, scientific institutions, and other centers of intellectual discussion, and to pledge to lead a campaign of resistance to this culture in the interests of genuine science and free inquiry.
That strong promise of leadership is both welcome and necessary in today’s world. It should be chastening to us, however, that only a few decades ago such a statement would have seemed a string of nice platitudes because no one, except perhaps a few cranks, would have considered advancing the opposite opinion. Some distinguished Marxist historians in Cambridge, for instance, submitted their academic work to communist party committees for pre-publication approval.
What happened to change the intellectual climate not only in Germany but throughout the entire West in this authoritarian direction?
Mr. Nuhr in his response suggested that a Science that outlawed the competition of ideas was turning—or had already turned—into a religion. If religion is a body of beliefs that denies the possibility of its own falsification, then his criticism is acute and correct.
My own tentative sense of the matter, however, is that this is a late stage in climate alarmism. Before it developed religious certitudes, the dogmas of global warming and climate change had morphed into a branch of politics. That is to say, that they were seen as “convenient truths” (h/t to former Vice-President Gore) because they seemed to justify, indeed require, the extension of state power and regulation on a world scale in order—to employ the cant phrase—to deal with global problems.
Once adopted by the statist side of the political spectrum (which was running out of good reasons for increasing its power over people), this convenient "truth" gave funds and prestige to those scientists, economists, and politicians who embraced and propagated it. And because there are some—more in science than in politics—who doubted its doctrines and disputed them, the science of climate change became a political issue everywhere.
That analysis doesn’t mean that its doctrines are false. But it does mean that like every other scientific proposition, they should be treated with a proper skepticism, and if seemingly well-founded on the evidence so far, treated as provisionally true unless and until falsified by subsequent events. After all, they may prove to be convenient falsehoods or timely errors. When the Blair government ordered Gore’s movie on climate change to be shown in schools, a judge ruled that it would have to be accompanied by a corrective point of view since some of its inconvenient truths weren’t actually true.
Something to watch for, then, is when the tone of commentary on some aspect of climate policy changes from the dry, detached, scientific kind to the passionate committed political sort. And that’s where the Nobel Prize-winning American economist comes in.
William D. Nordhaus is an American economist, educated at Cambridge, MIT, and Yale, who at present holds the Stirling Professorship of Economics at Yale, and who for some years has devoted himself to work on climate change and economic modelling. He won his Nobel Prize for his work developing the so-called Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model (NICE) which is essentially a cost-benefit analysis designed to tell us what are the costs of particular changes in the climate, the benefits of policies designed to mitigate or adapt to them, and the trade-offs between the two.
It’s a great deal more complex than that, of course, but the usefulness and reliability of DICE are demonstrated by the fact that Nordhaus’s work is repeatedly cited by scientists and other economists of all opinions in their work. That’s made easier because Nordhaus himself holds moderate opinions on climate policy, endorsing such policies as a carbon tax and tariffs on countries that refuse to follow the Paris Agreement. And though his work can be disputed, no one has yet found serious technical errors in it.
All of a sudden, however, he’s coming under attack from those in science and economics on the alarmist end of the climate spectrum. As is pointed out by Benjamin Zycher, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, in a recent monograph, these attacks are quite severe without being based on anything like a discovery of economic errors by Nordhaus. In fact, they seem to arise from annoyance that Nordhaus’s cost-benefit analysis, if accurately applied to their favored climate policies such as ending the use of fossil fuels by the end of this century, would show many heavy costs and incommensurately low benefits.
That irritation is glaringly evident in the judgment of Marlow Hoode that “leading scientists and economists, however, say there is [in addition to corrupt leaders, the rich, etc.] another impediment to climate action that merits closer scrutiny: the profoundly influential work of 2018 Nobel economics laureate William J. Nordhaus.” (His middle initial is in fact D.) Among other leading scientists and economists, for instance, Gernot Wagner of New York University is quoted as arguing: “If [Nordhaus] had won the Nobel Prize 20 years ago, it would have helped climate policy. But the fact that he won it two years ago is, in many ways, a step back.” Similarly, Joseph Stiglitz, another Nobel Prize-winner, asserts that DICE is “dangerous because we don’t have another planet we can go to if we mess this up. The message [that Nordhaus has] been conveying is foolhardy.”
Nordhaus might be wrong, of course, and Zycher has his own criticisms of him. He has responded to some criticisms, conceding they’re “half right,” but he defends the main body of the work that won him the Nobel Prize. His modest concession can’t satisfy critics because it implies that a careful cost-benefit analysis is still heavily negative towards extreme climate alarmism (“we don’t have another planet”) that mandates net-zero carbon emissions or banning fossil fuels. And since they have failed to show that DICE is flawed, the logic of their criticisms is that Nordhaus is an obstacle to their climate alarmism because he’s shown that it’s either wrong or greatly exaggerated.
Look out, therefore, for still more criticisms of the distinguished Yale professor, especially if he continues to defend himself and DICE with the determination of a German satirist. For such courage will certainly be required of those who doubt either general or particular aspects of climate alarmism. Out there in the obscurity of the academic jungle, the drums are beating out the message that there can be no exceptions to observance of the tribal lays. As picked up and transmitted by the vigilant website WattsUpWithThat?, here are two Edge Hill University academics, Psychology Professor Geoff Beattie and Education Research Fellow Laura McGuire, advising us on how to ensure that the people are inspired to love climate alarmism:
[T]o prevent optimism bias, we also need to avoid presenting “both sides of the argument” in the messaging – the science tells us that there’s only one side. There also needs to be a clear argument as to why recommended, sustainable behaviours will work (establishing a different sort of confirmation bias).
We also need everyone to get the message, not just some groups – that’s an important lesson from COVID-19. There can be no (apparent) exceptions when it comes to climate change.
Let me concede that our two Edge Hill academics are being refreshingly candid. They’re telling us: we know what’s right; we’re going to ensure that you accept our view on climate change and policy; and we won’t do so by rational persuasion either, but by limiting your knowledge on the matter in question and getting under your psychological guard to smuggle our view into your mind.
I hope a good many people get to read about their strategy—which strikes me as neither liberal or democratic—but I’m not as alarmed as I might be by it. I don’t believe that human beings can be “conditioned” like Pavlov’s dogs or Orwell’s Outer Party members because we are self-conscious animals who reflect on ourselves and our own thinking. That’s why people can change religions, political parties, and even scientific views.
That said, our Edge Hill scientists are clearly hard cases. So I ask them to reflect on this passage from Dieter Nuhr’s first response to the German Research Foundation cited above:
I find the phrase “Follow science” questionable because it suggests that there is one, untouchable opinion and solution strategy for climate change, because this way science is declared a narrative of redemption. That is the opposite of science.
There are different scenarios and different solution strategies not only among the population but also among climate scientists. It is even a basic condition of free research that different theses are allowed and discussed. This is what happens in science. In the public, however, diversity of opinion is increasingly actively suppressed by denunciation. Individual groups proclaim inviolable truths, claim that science is on their side and accordingly treat critical thinkers as heretics, then lump them together with madmen and conspiracy theorists and try to discredit them. That is Dark Ages and frightening.
To Nuhr, I can only regret that neither Dryden nor Pope is still around to celebrate his admirable and perhaps historically significant defeat of modern obscurantism in appropriate terms. So here’s a contribution from my own Imatitive Muse:
Thus, Science, Reason, Freedom leave the Stage/ Owning their Debt to Satire’s witty Rage.
Global Warmists Go Disney
“The more one has paid for a forgery, the more one defends it in the face of all the evidence to the contrary,” writes John Le Carré in his novel about espionage and deception, Smiley’s People. This certainly seems to be the case with the four major weather-tracking agencies—the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain; the Christy group at the University of Alabama; the Remote Sensing Systems Inc. in California; and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York (GISS).
In a previous article for The Pipeline, I examined the malfeasance of the influential Hadley Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, where two major email dumps (aka “Climategate”) showed the outfit’s determined efforts to fudge the data, suppress unfavorable results and eliminate dissenting voices. This should have put paid to the "global warming" farce once and for all, but the deception shows no sign of abating.
The reason seems obvious. The entire climate consortium has invested its resources into perpetuating the racket by whatever means it can come up with, slandering its opponents, merchandising outright lies that would make Pinocchio blush ("Right and wrong? But how will I know?"), and inflating temperature data. To take one example from myriads, the Goddard Institute, which feeds the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has no thermometers north of eighty degrees latitude and so extrapolated its readings from its more southerly apparatus to pump up the global average. In fact, GISS Arctic anomalies are high by as much as 4 degrees.
As Larry Bell, author of the richly informative Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind The Global Warming Hoax, reports in Forbes, Goddard data is unreliable. He quotes a certain Dr. Ruedy of GISS who confessed in an email that data are not routinely kept up-to-date, and that NASA had inflated its temperature data since 2000 on a questionable basis. “NASA's assumption that the adjustments made the older data consistent with future data…may not have been correct,” Ruedy said. Plus ça change.
It seems the so-called scientists working at such institutes just pull their figures out of a hat. No wonder that the Goddard/NOAA bunch advertised for magicians—you read this right—to conduct seminars featuring “magic tricks, puzzles, brain teasers, word games… designed to demonstrate how to… practice needed skills and competencies.” This is an outright invitation to scientific fraud.
Former American Under-Secretary of State Tim Wirth has gone on record justifying scientific fraud. “Even if the theory of global warming is wrong,” he said, “we will be doing the right thing.” How doing the right thing by perpetrating the wrong thing is a conundrum only a climate advocate can propound.
Frank Tipler, professor of mathematical physics at Tulane University, has diagnosed the problem clearly. “How did we ever come to this?” he asks, and answers: “Government financing of scientific research caused it.” The political establishment, in its quest to gain ever-increasing control of public and economic life, has seen to it that AGW ("anthropogenic global warming") scientists are “the only ones with federal grants,” and, moreover, that these malleable scientists “are much more likely to get university jobs, since universities are now almost wholly dependent on federal money… Soon there are none but true believers in the field: a consensus has been reached!”
Many of the major scientific journals have also been adulterated as a result. William Gray, professor emeritus of the atmosphere department of Colorado State University, laments that “fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong. But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out.”
These scientists don’t seem to care that the climate hoax will cost the polity of the Western world a bundle, leading inevitably to economic catastrophe. As Anthony O’Hear, editor of the journal Philosophy, points out, global warming “will bankrupt the developed nations of the West by driving fuel costs up unsustainably, reduc[ing] the influence and prosperity of nation states in the face of a ‘global’ threat.” Millions of jobs will be lost in the developed world and the quality of life in the industrialized nations will sink to substandard levels.
Moreover, the Third World will be deprived of the minimal essentials, immunities, comforts and amenities to which it aspires. Fiona Kobusingye, coordinator of the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda, condemns in no uncertain terms the attempt to impose energy restrictions on African nations in the name of fighting global warming. “These policies kill,” she writes. As for Warmist-in-Chief Al Gore, he “uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year.” Her conclusion: “Telling Africans they can’t have electricity—except what can be produced with some wind turbines or little solar panels—is immoral. It is a crime against humanity.”
But too many people, corporations and enterprises are raking in enormous profits from the climate boondoggle. What Paul Driessen, author of Eco-Imperialism Green Power Black Death and co-author of Cracking Big Green, calls the Climate Industrial Complex is a $2 trillion per year business based on a “steady diet of false information and alarmism.” Driessen shows how “the growing gap between computer model predictions and satellite temperature measurements, as well as questions about data manipulation by scientists advocating the dangerous manmade climate change narrative” are sufficient to scuttle the entire eco-globalist project. The truth is that massive Green alternatives “are not workable, affordable, green, renewable, ethical, ecological or sustainable,” though they are obscenely lucrative for their proponents.
Climate alarmists will fight tooth and nail to keep the truth from getting out. Writing in Climate Realism, Anthony Watts advises “pushing against a group-think narrative and exposing the lies and real misinformation surrounding the climate scare.” Climate alarmists retaliate against exposure by “using dirty tricks like labeling [their critics] as if they were radical enemies of the state, worthy of imprisonment in the gulag.” Indeed, a gaggle of “University of Exeter professors, advocate[s] fines and imprisonment for people publishing ‘climate misinformation’…It gets worse. An ugly theatrical play, called Kill Climate Deniers, was even created in Australia about the issue.”
This is an old story by now. James Hansen at the Goddard Institute employed the same scary, autocratic sentiment, urging that CEOs of fossil energy companies “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” Similarly, British lawyer Polly Higgins, author of Eradicating Ecocide, petitions the United Nations to define “ecocide” as a punishable crime and to prosecute “climate deniers” for “crimes against peace.” Consider, too, the authoritarian looniness of Canada’s own David Suzuki who, addressing the McGill University Business Conference on Sustainability on January 31, 2008, stated: “What I would challenge you to do is put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there’s a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act.”
The hypocrisy is staggering. In Not for Greens, Ian Plimer uses the example of a stainless steel teaspoon to show that neither wind, solar nor biomass energy could have produced such an artifact. This is the argument from extrapolation: none of the technological, industrial and agricultural infrastructures, the safety measures, the medical advances, the devices and appliances we casually and indiscriminately use and rely on every moment of our lives would have been possible under a Green dispensation. The Greenies were born with a stainless steel teaspoon in their mouths, which a moment of honest reflection would tell them they could not do without.
Rupert Darwall in Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex, reveals how in pursuing its repressive agenda, “the Red-Green coalition upped its institutional firepower” by recruiting some of the world’s most influential energy agencies, banks, insurance groups, foundations, and even the Catholic Church under Pope Francis via the Pontifical Academy of Science. He continues: “the effect of wall-to-wall government-and-foundation-funded green propaganda is not so much to silence dissenting voices as to asphyxiate them.”
The complicity of high finance, as potently influential as it is entirely misguided, is well illustrated by the CEO of the $7 trillion BlackRock asset manager firm David Fink, who said, as The New York Timesreports, “BlackRock would begin to exit certain investments that ‘present a high sustainability-related risk’… [thus encouraging] every company, not just energy firms, to rethink their carbon footprints.” Fink went on to say, as if in emulation of Tim Wirth, that “even if only a fraction of the science is right today, this is a much more structural, long-term crisis.”
The issue, however, has nothing to do with fractions; the problem is that nearly all of the accepted science is wrong today. People like Fink are not solving a crisis, they are helping to create it. One is sometimes hard put to decide whether our Global Warmists are shrewdly calculating or vastly ignorant.
The kindling of environmental fright has given these radical enthusiasts, corporate plutocrats, statist visionaries, Davos elitists, power-seekers and global technocrats the “green light” to legislative domination of Western electorates and the projected reorganization of society along synodic or absolutist lines. Writing for the Mises Institute, economics professor Antony P. Mueller warns that
Under the auspices of the World Economic Forum (WEF)), global policymakers are advocating for a ‘Great Reset’ with the intent of creating a global technocracy [whose] agenda says that the completion of the current industrial revolution requires a thorough overhaul of the economy, politics, and society.
The new social contract instructs us, among other things, that “climate change requires us ‘to decarbonize the economy’ and to bring human thinking and behavior ‘into harmony with nature.’” Mueller points out that the ideology of the Great Reset “includes many elements of earlier collectivist ideologies.”
And so it does. As founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab writes, we are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, “blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” This will affect “our identity and all the issues associated with it… leading to a “quantified” self [and assuring that] “governments will gain new technological powers to increase their control over populations, based on pervasive surveillance systems and the ability to control digital infrastructure.”
“What's a conscience?"
This is one of the main planks in the Democratic Party platform to reduce the United States to a command and control economy—in Joe Biden’s words, to “create millions of good-paying union jobs”—nota bene, union jobs—by financing a slew of projects and “"to meet the climate crisis.” This is cartoon thinking. As Heartland Institute editor Chris Talgo writes, Biden’s $2 trillion energy plan “will implement social justice via a convoluted and nonsensical attack on the energy industry,” resulting in monumental debt, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and an unaffordable as well as unreliable power grid.
Canada, of course, is wholly and officially on board with the climate hysteria syndrome wreaking havoc on an energy industry that accounts for a fifth of Canada’s exports and further intensifying the country’s economic miseries. Bill C-69, known as the pipeline killer, looks set to drive investment out of the country. Pipeline construction to tidewater is a dead letter. Pipeline builders like TC Energy Corp., Kinder Morgan Inc., Keystone XL and Enbridge Inc. are being put to sleep, energy companies like Encana and others are moving away to more hospitable climes, the Alberta oil sands, in Trudeau’s own words, will be gradually “phased out” of operation, and Trudeau has signed on to the crippling Paris Climate Agreement from which the U.S. under Donald Trump has wisely withdrawn. Indeed, major energy producers like China and India have also opted out.
As Rex Murphy writes of our feckless prime minister, “you can choose Paris, or you can choose Calgary. And up to now, it’s been Paris all the way.” Conrad Black also points to a PM who “wages war on Alberta and the oil and gas industries for spurious climatic reasons,” who leads “the derelict hulk of contemporary liberal (and Liberal) pseudo-virtuous tokenism,” and who ensures that we continue “failing to make our way in a Darwinian world.”
Not only is the price tag for these policies and developments prohibitive, they consort with the Liberal agenda to bring the country’s economic sector under increased government sway in accord with the socialist project to place competitive and prosperous free-market societies under hegemonic state control. "Global warming" is a totalitarian’s dream come true, eventuating in a renewed primitivism for the majority of the population. The masters will prosper but the servants, those who elect them, have forgotten the old joke: What did the socialists use before candles? Electricity.
Eco-fanatics and their Warmist brethren accuse skeptics and so-called “deniers” of being oblivious to the health of the environment, but once again they are egregiously wrong. No one opposes reduced impact logging and sustainable forest management, measures for reducing air pollution, or the practice of cleaning up our rivers, all agreed-upon initiatives that have nothing to do with “climate change.” Rich Trzupek justly points to the “distinctions that separate healthy environmental protection from irrational ecological puritanism.” The confusion between environment and climate, whether ignorant or deliberate, is but another arrow in the Warmist quiver.
The three defining characteristics of the “climate change” movement should by this time have become obvious:
Ostracism of dissenting voices
“Cancel culture” was a staple of the Climate-Industrial Complex long before it became a Leftist issue of the day. One might add a fourth feature: fantasticality. Serious conviction has been largely replaced by earnest frivolity. The eco-celebrants are a fervid congregation of believers, do-gooders, talking heads, Leftist apparatchiks, academic elitists, cynical exploiters, eco-fascists, petty despots and saints-in-the-making, all chanting together the holy mantra of climate warming.
"Quiet! Let's get out of here before something else happens.”
The fact is that Project Climate is no less a fantasy than another Disney cartoon, Futurama, in particular the Into the Wild Green Yonder episode with its silly eco-feministas, its Martian muck leech, and the planet-destroying Dark Ones—though, of course, the best scientists and most informed laymen would be considered as the latter’s real-world equivalents. For the Global Warming movement is a sacrosanct object of national and cultural worship and the occupants of the Planet Express starship with its precious cargo of eco-feministas and hangers-on must be protected at all costs.
We should give the last word to Paul Driessen. It is time, he urges, to “stand up to these Climate Totalitarians who want to destroy our nation, in the name of saving the planet from climate disasters that exist only in computer models, Hollywood movies, and self-serving assertions by the Climate Industrial Complex. Alarmists have controlled the climate narrative thus far. Now we need to give other experts a chance to weigh in, loud and clear.”
Further in the all-effects-of-climate-change-are-bad category, we hear that “Tropical plants closer to the equator are most at risk from climate change because it is expected to become too hot for many species to germinate in the next 50 years, UNSW researchers have found.” On the face of it this conclusion is implausible. Global warming should drive species from their current habitats to ones that used to be cooler, away from the Equator toward the poles, in which case cold-weather life forms would hit the wall first (say, those obstinately flourishing polar bears) while things like orchids would be the last to go, migrating from Central America to Wisconsin and ultimately Baffin Island before going off the edge. As even the Guardian admits, “When left unattended, trees migrate toward more favorable conditions through a process known as seed dispersal, in which seeds are carried by the wind or birds to new places, taking root where the weather and water are right.” But when it’s climate change, warming can’t even expand the range of things that like warmth.
How about that! It's almost as if Mother Nature reacts protectively during times of (slow, gradual, perfectly normal climate evolution) and takes steps to ensure her progeny's welfare. As the Guardian story cited above observes with wonder:
There is an impressive array of pine species at the Nature Conservancy’s Plum Creek preserve in Maryland – loblolly, Virginia, shortleaf – creating a landscape that emits the smell of Christmas well into the summer. But a newcomer to the preserve has fueled an ethical debate about the role of conservationists in the age of climate change.
But longleaf is not native to Maryland, and many scientists believe they should not be planted at Plum Creek, or anywhere outside of theirnaturalrange. These relatively young trees are part of an experiment to determine if human intervention could help the pines migrate north as climate change alters its natural range... Assisted migration has been accused of being expensive and risky, a case of humans playing God.
This being the Guardian, the worry is that even with the help of Scientists (the new priest class of the atheist Left), neither gimpy old Gaia nor God himself won't be able to move fast enough to save herself. And a "restoration ecologist" named Deborah Landau blames -- you guessed it -- the coming of the white man for the retreat of the ugly, scrub longleaf pines.
Longleaf pine once blanketed 90 million acres of the American southeast, but today it inhabits only 3% of its original range. According to Landau, longleaf was “practically knocking on the door” of the Chesapeake Bay when Europeans showed up 400 years ago. “We truly feel it would have eventually arrived on its own,” she says. Instead, longleaf pine forests were decimated by logging and fire suppression, their growth fragmented by human development.
Climate change -- is there anything it can't do?
'Climate Cassandras' -- Plus ça Change
Remember “Anthropogenic Global Warming”? “Global warming” became “climate change” because the warming… didn’t exist. It still doesn’t. The global temperature has, since 1997, flattened. This is explained-away by the climate alarmists as a “pause.” The problem? Here’s TIME magazine in 1974:
However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.
"Three decades." Or since circa 1944. Added to the 1997 – 2014 “pause,” the global temperature has been cooling or flat for at least 47 of the past 76 years, or more than half the time. And this as post-war prosperity accelerated and hundreds of millions of people increased their use of carbon-based fuels to enter into and prosper from the Industrial Age.
Exactly zero temperature data sets exist supporting warming. None. Never have. Sure – a few data sets exist by once-reputable climate science organizations (NASA, East Anglia / CRU), but those are re-manipulated every few years to show whatever curve is required to support the climate alarmism-of-the-day. This manipulation is of the original data sets, both at the upper end (“The earth has a temperature!”) and at the lower end (“See how fast the temperature is increasing?!”). The original data did not show the temperature increase or steeper slope demanded by the alarmists, so the data were … adjusted. This is called many things, but “science” is not one of them.
Remember the “Hockey Stick” curve that started all this? This “curve” has been the subject of constant controversy since its creation, the foundation of Al Gore’s ridiculous film – and the basis for world governments to waste hundreds of billions (trillions?) of our dollars. The problem? The curve doesn’t exist.
MIT also rejected the 'hockey stick' and the algorithm that created it, noting that random numbers provide a similar curve and fundamental mistakes are present in the underlying math. A large body of “science” supports the AGW argument, though, right? Don’t 97 percent of scientists support "Climate Change"?
Why, then, do so many researchers and academics support it? Here’s the answer from Dr. Richard Lindzen, the now-retired Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
It was the narrative from the beginning. In 1998, [NASA’s James] Hansen made some vague remarks. Newsweek ran a cover that says all scientists agree. Now they never really tell you what they agree on. It is propaganda.
So all scientists agree it’s probably warmer now than it was at the end of the Little Ice Age. Almost all Scientists agree that if you add CO2 you will have some warming. Maybe very little warming. But it is propaganda to translate that into it is dangerous and we must reduce CO2 etc.
If you can make an ambiguous remark and you have people who will amplify it ‘they said it not me’ and the response of the political system is to increase your funding, what’s not to like?
For the Left, “Science” is spelled “capitali$m,” as most “research” papers supporting “climate change” are written for, or occasioned by, grant money. We have a surfeit of unsupported climate fantasy funded by NGOs, academia and “philanthropic” organizations because academics can be greedy. They see Big Dollars or Big Careers (which equals Big Dollars) in supporting the climate flavor-of-the-month fixation of Big Government or Big Philanthropy. Whatever those organizations are demanding, they supply: the same kind of capitalism the Left is burning down America to protest.
Climate change policies are about one thing: collectivism. The ruling class rejecting the rising individualist middle class of the Western world and billing us for that rejection. It’s about rejecting the voice of people globally, people who, because of the internet and information awareness, now are knowledgeable of how badly and for how long the various Western governments have been and are continuing to screw their citizens.
Notice who the climate change “deniers” are: middle class Western individualists, while the climate change True Believers are anti-Western collectivists. Who makes the world go-round? Individualists (we invent everything). Who mooches off the going-round world? Collectivists (they invent nothing). And now the collectivists want to collect money from the individualists under the unsupported nonsense of “climate change,” usurping the power to choose what to do with our earnings, our property, our life’s work.
Every government needs authority and a common purpose in the eyes of those governed. These can be gained via both external and internal threats. Covid-19 masks and unlawful house arrest/lockdowns by some governors and mayors serve to control you. “Climate change” is being used to achieve that common purpose as well. It's all about control.
The data didn’t support anthropogenic global warming, so the name was changed, but the goals are the same: global totalitarian collectivism under our self-anointed betters, the destruction of entire industries, and robbing the West of wealth, progress, liberty and individualism in order to enrich the totalitarian ruling class in the guise of helping the Third World with cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner parks and playgrounds, and better schools.
When even the globalists at the U.N. admit that the entire climate hoax is not about the climate, but about destroying capitalism, you can be pretty sure that climate change is a feature for the left, not a bug; an excuse to advance totalitarianism and crush the middle class – and to get the middle class to join in, and pay for, its own destruction.
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism. "This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.
We’ve seen this movie before. In the words of Princeton Professor Emeritus of Physics, William Happer, in 2017,
I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the consensus on climate change and the consensus on witches. At the witch trials in Salem the judges were educated at Harvard. This was supposedly 100 percent science. The one or two people who said there were no witches were immediately hung. Not much has changed.
A recent edition of the Sunday Chicago Tribune featured a story with the provocative headline “Chicago Air Dirtier in July than Notoriously Smoggy LA”, with the subhead “It didn’t improve during the lockdown, and more unhealthy days are coming." The story that followed was equal parts dishonest, foolish and lazy. But it provides this writer with a stellar example with which to demonstrate how deceptive environmental journalism is routinely fashioned by today’s mainstream media.
It’s no secret that mainstream media coverage of politics is unapologetically agenda-driven these days, but I’m not sure the public realizes how deeply that cancer has infected the MSM’s coverage of science and environmental topics. Let’s put "climate change" to the side for a moment. Politically-correct climate change coverage is symptom of the disease that metastasized decades ago when legacy journalists grew blind to the distinctions that separate healthy environmental protection from irrational ecological puritanism.
The dishonesty that infects MSM coverage of science and the environment is rarely apparent to the general public. Why should it be? Most of the deceptions involve technical points that appear too complex or obscure to pore over. Worse, the most skilled deceptions don’t involve outright lies, but skillful arrangement of only those facts that support the narrative. It’s not fake news so much as it is selective storytelling. The author of the doomsday yarn featured in the Sunday Trib, environmental writer Michael Hawthorne, is a master of this particular art.
In his piece, Hawthorne implies that Chicago’s air is now chronically unhealthy and is doomed to be so for a long time to come. He concludes that usual suspects are to blame for this sorry state of affairs: Donald Trump and climate change. And, of course, there is no shortage of supporting quotes from hand-picked “experts” and selective use of data to buttress the argument.
So, let’s start with that headline, is Chicago’s air quality now worse than the chronically smog-filled L.A. basin? To find out, we have to examine relevant data. To do that, we should start by understanding what the data is telling us.
A convenient way to look at air quality data is a metric the EPA has long used called the Air Quality Index, or AQI. The AQI is a comparison between actual readings by air quality monitors in the EPA system and the target concentrations that officially define what is clean air for a variety of air pollutants. These target concentrations are known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS. An AQI score less than 100 means that the highest monitor readings that day did not exceed the applicable NAAQS. Such days are described as “good” or “moderate” depending on how far below the NAAQS the worst case monitoring data proved to be. An AQI score greater than 100 is described as some degree of “unhealthy.”
There are really only two air pollutants that routinely cause NAAQS exceedances in urban areas: fine particulate and ozone. Fine particulate, officially known as PM-2.5 and for some reason known only to Hawthorne and God as “soot,” consists of very, very small airborne particles about 1/40th the diameter of a human hair. Ozone, sometimes called smog, is produced from an interaction between two air pollutants. The first is oxides of nitrogen, or NOx, that is generated by forms of combustion, be it industrial boilers, your car’s engine, a forest fire, etc. The second is Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC, which describes organic vapors of all kinds, from gasoline fumes, to paint thinners to the solvents used in nail polish. When these two pollutants have an opportunity to interact and a relatively hot and windless day provides the energy and environment for the right reactions to occur, ozone forms. Ozone in the upper stratosphere is a good thing, protecting us from ultraviolet light. This sort of ozone, much of which stays low in the troposphere where it can be inhaled is not desirable.
It should be noted at this point that the reason ozone and fine particulate are the most problematic pollutants in urban areas is not because emissions related to either have increased over the decades. The opposite is true: emission rates of ozone precursors and fine particulate have steadily and dramatically dropped in the United States since the Clean Air Act was first passed in 1970. It’s the definition of clean air that has changed. Administrations of both parties have steadily reduced NAAQS for these pollutants again and again, effectively moving the goal-posts to points that make compliance a distance speck on the horizon.
Now that you have earned your official air quality ranger merit badge, we can dive into Hawthorne’s claims. Let’s start with fine particulate. Here is a plot of worst case fine particulate PM-2.5 data for the greater Chicagoland metropolitan area for 2020, through July 13:
And here’s the Los Angeles basin for the same time period:
The LA monitors pop the limit seven times in the selected time period, while Chicago monitors do so only twice. And what might be the cause of that big peak that makes for the two days in July that both LA and Chicago monitors showed exceedances? The dates of the exceedances might provide a clue: July 4 and July 5. In his story, Hawthorne observes that “Independence Day celebrations added to the (air quality) problem”. A more realistic appraisal would be that Independence Day celebrations were the problem.
It’s also important to note that neither industry nor transportation sources contribute much to PM-2.5 pollution any longer. According to EPA data assembled during the Obama administration, about 80 percent of PM-2.5 emissions are generated by “miscellaneous” sources like natural activity, forest fires, agriculture, use of consumer products, etc.
This brings us to ozone. While it is true that June and July have been warmer on the average than mean temperatures in Chicago over the last twenty years, temperatures have not been outside of normal bounds. And though Chicago has seen a jump in ozone concentrations, there’s really no comparison to L.A. area ozone concentrations:
Through July 13, the Chicagoland area logged 16 “unhealthy” days based on ozone AQI. The L.A. Basin had 46 such days in the same time period, 6 of which exceeded the single worst ozone AQI day recorded in Chicago in 2020.
One question should remain in a genuinely curious journalist’s mind: even if Chicago’s air quality isn’t worse than Los Angeles’ – which it clearly is not – there has been a blip in ozone concentrations in the Chicagoland area. If that’s not the result of climate change or the president MSM journalists are sworn to hate, what is the cause? To quote Bob Dylan: the answer my friends is blowing in the wind.
We learned earlier that ozone forms when NOx, VOC and sunlight interact on relatively hot, windless days. In most places, the sum of the complex chemical reactions that produce ozone can be thought of as NOx playing the role of the “ore” than yields ozone, while VOC acts as the “pick” that “mines” the ore. In most places. Not in Chicago. In Chicago the prevailing winds and the location of Lake Michigan on the normally downwind side of local weather patterns can change this equation substantially. In many circumstances NOx emissions don’t matter all that much and in some of those they are even beneficial, reducing rather than increasing ozone formation in the Chicagoland air-shed. In recognition of this unique atmospheric chemistry, the USEPA issued a “NOx waiver” to Illinois back in the '90s that allowed the Agency to ignore NOx emissions as they related to ozone formation in the Chicagoland metropolitan area.
The waiver has since been revoked, but the science remains unchanged. Once the lockdown in Illinois began, monitoring data shows that ambient concentrations of NO2 (the portion of NOx that EPA monitors) dropped by about two-thirds compared to seasonal norms, as would be expected with the corresponding drop in traffic and industrial activity. The evidence thus strongly suggests that neither climate change nor the Trump administration is responsible for the odd spike in Chicago area ozone, but rather the odd meteorology of the area itself. Don’t expect Michael Hawthorne or the Chicago Tribune to consider that possibility however. For them, it’s all about the narrative or it’s about nothing at all.