'Deniers' of the World, Unite!

Much is made of the fact that former "climate change" advocates have now defected to the side of reason. But much more needs to be done to defeat climate change propaganda. The latest defection, as we’ve noted here, is Michael Shellenberger, author of Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. His arguments are well-documented but he’s been denied a voice in the major media.

The major media shut-outs are not the only way climate change skeptics are made non-persons and their arguments, studies and critiques of the prevailing view silenced. The most important search engine, Google does it, too. David Wojick   tested it by searching his own works and those of other climate change skeptics on Google.

The pattern is obvious — attack the skeptics of climate change alarmism. The ever present use of the wacko DeSmogBlog attacks, usually in the top 5 items and often first or second, is actually pretty funny. But it is also telling, as is the going back many years to pick up attack pieces, while the informational pieces are far more recent. This pattern cannot be accidental; the algorithm is clearly tuned to discredit skeptics of climate change alarmism.

The interesting question: is this illegal? After all Google boasts that it has billions of dollars invested in renewable energy. Skepticism of alarmism probably threatens those investments. Deliberately discrediting people in order to protect or enhance your business interests sounds illegal to me. Maybe there is even a class action suit in this.

This censoring of contrary opinion on climate change is not merely a matter of free speech and inquiry. It’s critical, because it’s likely to be the next woke campaign—overturning western civilization by piling on the moral panic which has already led to such absurdities as denouncing terms like “master bedroom” and “blacklisting,” and demolishing statues of abolitionists because of some fancied connotations of slavery and racism. (I did Google Michael Shellenberger and see Google’s algorithms have not yet made him a non-person. His most recent works and statements are at the top.)

The censoring of climate skeptics is or should be of interest to more than those of us interested in this issue. It’s likely to be the next “woke” campaign theme. And the censoring is likely to be even more extreme. Using the Forbes deletion of Shellenberger’s article as a warning, the author, Ross Clark, concludes:

A US journalist who tried to find out why was issued only with the following statement: ‘Forbes requires its contributors to adhere to strict editorial guidelines. This story did not follow those guidelines, and was removed.’ It is not hard to decode: a bunch of climate alarmists decided that Shellenberger is inconvenient to their cause and have tried to cancel him by complaining to the website – and the website caved in...

The attempt to classify climate change ‘denialism’ as a hate crime has been coming for quite a while. The very use of the word ‘denial’ is an attempt to put anyone skeptical of climate alarmism in the same pigeonhole as holocaust deniers.

There are so many fine blogs on the subject, including The Pipeline, Wattsupwiththat, and Climate Audit, for example, the question no longer is who can refute the silliness of the doomsday movement, but how can we make our voices heard in the face of the media-attempted blackout and the education establishments’ embrace of  climate alarmism?

Battling phantoms since 1212.

School children are especially vulnerable to the climate-change movement, which is the genius of using Greta Thunberg to appeal to the public on this issue. She’s a modern Stephen of Cloyes who’d lead frenetic children on a disastrous endeavor—in this case abolishing the fossil fuels that keeps us living well.  Her backers use her to inspire a repeat of the ill-fated Children’s’ Crusade, because children are so lacking in knowledge and experience an emotional appeal is most effective on them.

So, how do we reach the young formative minds? I went to the National Education Association’s website for its statement: “Climate Change Education: Essential Information for Educators.”  It directs teachers to a series of reports by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, PBS, and the KQED Education network. Picking one such study at random, the NOAA study, teachers will learn things like this:

Impacts from climate change are happening now. These impacts extend well beyond an increase in temperature, affecting ecosystems and communities in the United States and around the world. Things that we depend upon and value — water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health — are experiencing the effects of a changing climate.

Or, to take a second example, the KQED Education Network:

Scientists around the globe have noticed that over the last 40 years Earth, as a whole, has been warming. This phenomenon, known as global warming, is affecting regional climates differently. For example, some regions may experience warmer summers, while other regions may see winters with heavier snowstorms.

A rise in Earth's average temperature isn't always immediately apparent. For example, some places still get snowy winters, which might appear to contradict the idea of global warming. (Check out Andy Warner's comic to learn how global warming can actually lead to heavier snowfall). So, how do scientists know Earth is warming?

The NEA lists its “Green Partners,” among them:

I stopped at the first, Earth Day Network, where I learned, “Our food system accounts for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, making animal agriculture one of the largest contributors to climate change. Food production and consumption are rapidly deteriorating the planet. And what we’re eating is pushing the planet to the breaking point on climate change and deforestation.”

My point is as far as I can tell, the NEA guides for teachers rely on sources in which no countervailing opinions seem readily to appear, and often make assertions of fact which are simply untrue. This underscores what Paul Driessen wrote last year.

From kindergarten onward, our young people are repeatedly told that they, our wildlife and our planet face unprecedented cataclysms from manmade climate change, resulting from our fossil fuel use. The science is settled, they are constantly hoodwinked, and little or no discussion is allowed in classrooms.

They thus hear virtually nothing about the growing gap between computer model predictions and satellite temperature measurements; questions about data manipulation by scientists advocating the dangerous manmade climate change narrative; the hundreds of scientists who do not agree with the supposed “consensus” on manmade climate chaos; or the absence of any real-world evidence to support claims of carbon dioxide-driven coral bleaching, species extinctions, or the seemingly endless litany of ever more absurd assertions that fossil fuel emissions are making sharks right-handed, arctic plants too tall, pigs skinnier and salmon unable to detect danger, to cite just a few crazy examples.

It all seems hopeless.

I haven’t any brilliant notions of how to combat this propagandizing and enlisting half-formed student minds to the cause, but it should start with pressuring our federal agencies to stop producing, promoting on its own fact-free propagandizing, and funding outside groups to do the same. The agencies producing the pap the NEA recommends need to be monitored and forced to provide in its place more objective, documented material for the public. The NEA needs to be challenged regarding the sites and material it is endorsing. If you encourage teachers to teach nonsense, you’re paying them to mis-educate their students.

There is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are “rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.” A glance at the standards, arranged by grades, seem far more objective than the NEA site. States that have not signed on to this should be encouraged to do so.

Perhaps all of the climate-change-skeptical sites should consider a feature occasionally explaining the truth of "man-made climate change" in terms children (and their parents) can understand, a sort of Scholastic Science feature now and then.

In the meantime, the climate cult is turning out students like those at Milwaukee’s North Division High School, which holds regular school-sanctioned walkouts on topics like Climate Activism. (Only one student out of 105 there are proficient in English and only two  are proficient in math.) Its most recent teacher-approved Red Guard-like march of the Milwaukee Public Schools was organized by “The People’s Climate Coalition" and specifically targeted Wells Fargo and Chase banks. Apparently they were singled out because they supposedly provided funding for fossil fuel companies. Parents and citizens should challenge the manipulation of students who certainly do not need time away from school to serve as leftist foot soldiers.

We skeptics can’t just talk to ourselves if we mean to bring greater support for rational energy and environmental policies, and we can’t persuade others they are being duped and misinformed if we don’t do more.

No Nukes? Then Stop 'Thinking Green'

A report issued last month by the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley asserts that the United States can achieve environmental utopia in a mere 15 years. Entitled 2035: Plummeting Solar, Wind and Battery Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future, the study is sure to be referenced ad nauseum by progressive candidates and journalists during this election season. On its surface, the report appears to address the two biggest public perception problems that renewable energy faces: cost and reliability. The authors claim that we can make changes to our electrical infrastructure to ensure that 90 percent of all energy generated by 2035 is derived from “clean” sources, that we will actually save money by so doing, and that executing this plan will not have any significant detrimental impact on power availability or reliability.

It must be said that 2035 is a step or two above AOC’s “Green New Deal” fantasy in the sense that it at least acknowledges there are challenges involved in repowering the largest economy on planet earth we should probably consider. That is not to say that 2035 is entirely realistic about how to address those challenges. It’s not. But we may take some slight comfort knowing that there at least a couple of people obsessed with the green energy fantasy who have a vague awareness that electrical generation, transmission and distribution are rather complex topics. Baby steps people – baby steps.

Before we get into the weeds, you should understand that despite what politicians and PR types have said, and will continue to say, the 2035 plan does not claim that the delivered cost of renewable sources of energy will be cheaper than that of conventional sources in fifteen years, nor should one confuse the term “clean energy” as used in the plan with the term “renewable energy” as it has been traditionally used by environmental activists.

The 2035 plan claims that net renewable energy costs will be lower if its recommendation are followed, but only if one ignores tax credits and factors in nebulous economic benefits associated with fractional reductions in conventional air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. The report also places nuclear energy and hydro-power on the “clean” side of the energy-generation balance sheet. While this author and many a like-minded scientist have long agreed that both sources of energy are indeed quite clean, as well as being cheap and reliable, few environmental groups have agreed, particularly in the case of nukes.

To be perfectly clear: any candidate or environmental group that signs off on 2035 is, de facto, a nuclear power advocate. And most welcome they shall be! Jump on in guys, the water’s fine and radiation free, but feel free to grab a banana at the snack bar if you need some rads.

If we’re going to fairly assess the 2035 plan, we need to understand three key concepts that are central to managing a power generation and distribution system: load, dispatchability and capacity factor.

Load, in the power generation sense, is a measure of electrical demand. In general, a given distribution system on the grid will require a minimum amount of power on the lines at all times, day or night. This is called “base load” and is typically filled by generation assets that run steadily at all times. At the other extreme there is power that is only briefly needed because of intermittent increased demand, like during the hottest part of a summer day when air conditioners are working their hardest. This condition may last for a few hours, depending on season and location, and is called “peak load.” In between, we have intermediate load.

Dispatch refers to how the folks managing a portion of the grid ensure there is enough power to meet load demand. These are assets with which the grid operator (often, but not always, referred to as an Independent System Operator, or ISO – the acronym we’ll use to refer to the grid manager for the balance of this piece) has to work. “Dispatchable” assets are those that the ISO knows will be available over a given time period and whose maximum power output is a fixed, known quantity. The ISO uses dispatchable assets to develop a plan, including dispatch order, to ensure that each day’s demand forecast can be reliably filled, plus a reserve amount of generation in case the forecast is off a bit. Non-dispatchable assets are those generation assets whose availability and generation capacity cannot be reliably and consistently known due to the nature of the asset.

Lights on, everybody's home.

Finally, capacity factor is a measure of how much power a generation asset can produce compared to how much it actually produces. A power plant that runs at 100 percent capacity-factor is generating the maximum amount of power possible, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Another plant that generates 50 percent of the power it's capable of generating and runs only half the time available earns a 25 percent capacity factor (0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25).

In order to manage the grid reliably, ISOs want to fill in load requirements using dispatchable sources of energy as much as possible. The best, most reliable, sources of dispatchable power are those that typically run at high-capacity factors. According to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, coal-fired power plants, combined-cycle natural gas-fired plants, and nuclear power plants typically run at capacity factors between 80–90 percent each.

Both wind and utility-scale solar plants are classified as “non-dispatchable” by the Department of Energy. To understand why, let’s compare capacity factors. Capacity factors for wind and solar vary by region, but EIA has developed historical data that defines the boundaries. Wind farms rarely exceed 40 percent in the best cases and 20–30 percent are more typical. Utility-scale solar plants, which generate far less power than wind in most places, typically operate in the 20–30 percent range and sometimes closer to 10 percent.

Anyone claiming that they can run the nation’s power grid solely on "renewables" inevitably runs into this basic problem: neither wind nor solar is sufficiently reliable to do anything but “gap fill,” while dispatchable sources are running to provide most of the load, along with sufficient excess dispatchable capacity available to pick up the slack when/if wind and solar sources drop off.

The solution to this problem proposed in 2035 is fourfold: 1) include nuclear and hydro in the mix, both of which are dispatchable and can provide reliable base load, 2) grudgingly allow some natural-gas generation to remain in place, 3) buy a crap-load of battery storage capacity, and 4) build every bit of wind and solar capacity one possibly can and run it as hard and as often possible whenever conditions allow.

Technically, there is much about this scheme that is laughable and some aspects that are downright dangerous. Unfortunately, space considerations preclude discussing these issues in detail in this particular article. Economically, both EIA and the folks at the Goldman School acknowledge that the Levelized Costs of Power generated by wind is typically more expensive than power generated by nukes or fossil fuel-fired sources. It is only by including tax credits and – in Goldman’s case – the fanciful economic benefits supposedly accompanying further coal plant retirements that one can begin to claim that the 2035 plan is economically sound.

It’s not. It’s another fanciful exercise designed to solve an equally fanciful problem in the fanciful presumption that even if climate change represented a clear and present danger to the globe any unilateral action taken by the United States could have the slightest effect. However, we should look on the bright side and be thankful that at least a tiny bit of reality has somehow made it’s way into this particular plan.

Baby steps.

'Climate Change' Hysterics Seeing the Lights

One by one, prominent members of the Doomsday Cult of Climate Annihilation are beginning to defect to the side of reason and rationality. First came filmmaker Michael Moore and his heretical movie, Planet of the Humans, which castigated the "environmental movement" for selling out to corporate America. Next up was Michael Shellenberger, whose new book,  Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, is currently setting the kat among the klimate konformist pigeons by daring to argue that -- hold on to your Greta baseball caps! -- in fact, we're not all going to die and that there is a sane alternative to Thunbergianism. Among his findings:

I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism. In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.

Shellenberger made these points in a piece he wrote the other day for Forbes... which of course yanked it from its website within hours, thus proving Moore's point about corporate hijacking of climate alarmism. So he reposted it on the Australian-based website, Quillette; have a look for yourself:

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.

In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the financial, political, and ideological motivations. Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to end poverty and instead make poverty “sustainable.” And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism.

Shellenberger calls out the impractical Ludditism of the "Green Movement" Neanderthals, and offers policy recommendation that will turn the Greenies purple with rage, including a defense of clean nuclear energy:

Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is hard not to feel duped.

Clean energy or Green energy? Your choice.

Well, as Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute, including some very famous ones, among them chimp conservationist Jane Goodall, 86, who's moved on from general monkeyshines to weighty issue of climate, diet, the coronavirus and -- of course -- Why Everything Now Must Change:

With a background in primatology, Jane Goodall became well known in the 1960s through films about her work studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. She famously gave the animals human names. Her discovery that chimps in Tanzania and elsewhere were threatened by habitat destruction due to human activity informed her view about the interdependency of the natural world. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, and it's now a leading voice for nature conservation.

Dr Goodall’s analysis of COVID-19 stays true to her beliefs. Speaking at an online event held by the group Compassion in World Farming, Goodall said our global food production system is in need of urgent reform. “Our disrespect for wild animals and our disrespect for farmed animals has created this situation where disease can spill over to infect human beings. We have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world.”

Talk about hostility to modern civilization: here we are: after more than half a century of the relentless battering of Western civilization by the likes of the Frankfurt School and their bastard children in academe, there are suckers aplenty in the West, who will go to their graves convinced that everything modern man has done to improve his life is wrong and bad, and that a prelapsarian state of nature is the way forward. Such is the suicide cult of Leftism as articulated by Rousseau and then passed down by Marx and Marcuse.

And yet, some common sense is beginning to reassert itself. In addition to Shellenberger, the Danish author and climate-hysteria skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg, the "skeptical environmentalist," has a new book out as well, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. As Richard Trzupek, an environmental consultant and analyst at the Heartland Institute, notes in his review:

Lomborg addresses his core mission statement early on: “[W]e’re scaring kids and adults witless, which is not just factually wrong but morally reprehensible. If we don’t say stop, the current, false climate alarm, despite its good intentions, is likely to leave the world much worse off than it could be.”

Everyone knows the meme: “Catastrophic global warming is real and it’s manmade.” It’s a simple statement of the perceived problem, one that would surely earn an “A” in Marketing 101. Whatever else it is, that simple statement is not science. The issue of climate change cannot be explained by any one statement, but must be addressed by answering a series of questions. This is what Lomborg bravely attempts to do in “False Alarm.”

And now along comes a lady with the felecitious sobriquet of Zion Lights, a spokewoman for Britain's lunatic Extinction Rebellion movement. When last seen, she was being memorably eviscerated by the BBC's Andrew Neil in October:

Today, however, she's singing a different tune.

Extinction Rebellion's spokeswoman has quit the protest group to become a nuclear power campaigner. Zion Lights, 36, has left the climate change cause, which brought London to a standstill last year, to join pro-nuke outfit Environmental Progress. The former XR communications head said she had felt ‘duped’ after being surrounded by anti-nuclear campaigners until she read more into the radioactive fuel.

Mother-of-two Zion said: ‘The facts didn't really change, but once I understood them I did change my mind.’ The switch took non-campaigners by surprise given her new role seems entirely at odds with her old position. Zion, who was born in the West Midlands and given her unusual name as a baby, said: ‘I have a long history of campaigning on environmental issues, most recently as a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion UK.

‘Surrounded by anti-nuclear activists, I had allowed fear of radiation, nuclear waste and weapons of mass destruction to creep into my subconscious. I realised I had been duped into anti-science sentiment all this time. Now, I have quit the organisation to take up a position as a campaigner for nuclear power.’

It's easy to laugh, but pay attention to the statement above: I had allowed fear... to creep into my subconscious. Fear is a hallmark of all zealous crackpotism, along with an urgent insistence that the world change right now in order to accommodate what is manifestly a form of mental illness akin to aliens sending you messages through the fillings in your teeth.

The environmentalist Left needs more people like Moore, Shellenberger, and Lights, struggling out the darkness of their former irrational anxieties and obsessions and joining the community of the sensible, and fewer deluded children like poor exploited Greta, shamelessly manipulated by the "movement" for malicious ends.

After all, who doesn't want the best for Mother Earth? There are many paths to conservation and civilization. We need not let fear prevent us from seeing the solution, and the light.

The GOP's Green New Deal?

There's an old joke to the effect that Republicans are just Democrats who want their policies implemented slowly. This has certainly been the case throughout most of my life, though I'm starting to wonder if it's still accurate. That is, it increasingly seems to me that Republicans have closed the gap, and desire all sorts of revolutions on the same timeline as Democrats.

You get a sense of this from the outcomes of and reactions to the recent slate of Supreme Court decisions coming out these past few weeks. Not just the fact that the suddenly-reliable-liberal John Roberts pulled a novel constitutional principle out of his hat, namely that an executive order cannot be undone by another executive order ( at least if it deals with illegal immigration) unless he satisfies the Supreme Court that his motives are pure, and that -- under the largely imaginary doctrine of "stare decisis" -- a case that he dissented from just four years ago, established a strong enough precedent that it can never be overturned. Nor just the precedent-setting decision in Bostock authored by Trump's prized Scalia replacement, Neil Gorsuch, which legally redefined the word "sex" to include meanings which would never have occurred to the authors of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (It isn't for nothing that Justice Alito said, in his dissent, “There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation.”)

More than those examples is the relief they seemed to have occasioned among the Republican elites like Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, the latter of whom responded to Bostock by saying "It's the law of the land. And it.... probably negates Congress's necessity for acting." Oh good.

Another counter-example: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has announced his support for a new conservative climate plan. Though it claims to be an attempt to move the climate conversation beyond Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal, its proposals read like the GND for squares. It eschews "debilitating taxes or punitive mandates," but calls for investment in new technologies which will reduce carbon emissions, including currently not-super-effective carbon-capture technology. Most notably, it calls for the U.S. to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, putting the GOP leadership on exactly the same timeline as the Democrats.

This is clearly designed to win millennials over to the GOP, but something tells me that even the Harry Potter generation aren't gullible enough to fall for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 without mandating anyone to do anything. "Bring on the cow-fart bans," they'll say.

So maybe that joke has outlived its usefulness. Then again, the left are currently tearing down statues and ex post facto cancelling people for decades-old politically incorrect statements, which seems to indicate that Democrats desire for change has sped up from "Right Now" to "Yesterday," so perhaps it still stands.

Who's Afraid of 'Climate Change'?

If you don't already keep tabs on Michael Shellenberger, you should. While you may not always agree with him -- Shellenberger is a self-described environmentalist and man of the left -- you will find him to be an honest, insightful, and even brave writer. Brave because he consistently uses facts to counter the hysterical narrative of the Green New Deal wing of the green movement, which as you might imagine doesn't win him a lot of friends.

One example of this: Forbes, where he is a regular contributor, pulled down his most recent piece, 'On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare,' within a few hours of publication.

In the piece, essentially a pitch for his book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, Shellenberger reviews his environmentalist bona fides, working to save the California redwoods and lobbying the Obama administration to spend billions on so-called renewable energy, etc. Increasingly, however, he became disturbed by other environmentalists distorting the science to make a case for hysteria, and shutting down anyone who questioned their conclusions.

Shellenberger

They've been so successful that children routinely report having nightmares about climate change and people around the world are convinced the end is near. Eventually Shellenberger came to feel he had a responsibility to speak out and counter their propaganda.

Here are some facts few people know:

• Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
• The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”
• Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
• Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
• The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
• The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
• Air pollution and carbon emissions have been declining in rich nations for 50 years
• Adapting to life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor
• We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
• Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
• Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
• Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture

I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism.

(more…)

A Drowned World? Bilge!

Bjorn Lomborg has an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Examining the Latest False Alarm on Climate," which contains a helpful illustration of the way the media uses studies to whip up anxiety around one of their pet projects.

In the piece, he discusses a spate of recent startling headlines all of which suggest that, in his words, "Rising sea levels from climate change could flood 187 million people out of their homes." This claim has its origin in a paper published all the way back in 2011, and when you actually read the paper, you see that it needed to make some pretty questionable assumptions in order to arrive at that figure. As Lomborg explains, the paper found that "187 million could be forced to move in the unlikely event that, in the next 80 years, no one does anything to adapt to dramatic rises in sea level."

In other words, in order for their projection to make sense, the paper's authors had to take worst-case climate scenarios (which are already questionable) projected out over a century and then disregard what we know about actual human behavior. If sea-levels rise as much as these authors are claiming (which is, once again, not certain), leading to significant coastal flooding, one hundred eighty-seven million people -- not to mention their governments -- aren't just going to sit there until they're neck-deep in water. What would actually happen, says Lomborg, is we would deal with those problems as they arise.

We have more know-how and technology than ever to build dikes, surge barriers and dams, expand beaches and construct dunes, make ecosystem-based barriers like mangrove buffers, improve building codes and construction techniques, and use land planning and hazard mapping to minimize flooding.

The one hundred eighty-seven million displaced people headline, then, is a canard, based on dubiously applied data, whose object it is to frighten you into signing onto a sprawling environmentalist program. While flooding will likely be a serious problem over the next 80 years, as it is in many parts of the world today, targeted policies and spending could go a long way towards reducing their human and financial costs.

They're also more likely to be successful than the beef-and-airplane bans our mainstream media overlords have in mind.

Gov. Blackface and the Greening of Virginia

You're forgiven for still thinking of Virginia as a conservative state. If you went to school before the Leftists leveled our educational system, you'll know that securing the buy-in of steady, aristocratic Virginians like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson helped convince the colonists that the dispute those rowdy New Englanders were having with Britain wasn't just a regional affair. But as a matter of more recent history, between the elections of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and Barrack Obama in 2008, Virginia was only won by one Democrat in a presidential contest. This isn't to say that the Old Dominion has been governed exclusively by the GOP -- when Linwood Holton was elected governor in 1970 he was the first Republican to hold that position in a century -- but no matter the party power in Richmond, they had to conform to the small 'c' conservative culture of the state.

In a relatively short time, however, that Virginia has been fundamentally transformed. After the most recent gubernatorial contest, which saw the election of the fourth Democrat in the last five cycles, journalist Matthew Continetti wrote a piece about his home state entitled 'How States Like Virginia Go Blue.' In it he paints a picture of modern day Virginia as "a hub of highly educated professionals, immigrants, and liberals," with an exploding population comprised of both the wealthy and educated and the comparatively poor, both key Democratic constituents:

Over the last 29 years, Virginia has become wealthier, more diverse, and more crowded. The population has grown by 42 percent, from 6 million in 1990 to 8.5 million. Population density has increased by 38 percent, from 156 people per square mile to 215. Mean travel time to work has increased from 24 minutes to 28 minutes. The median home price (in 2018 dollars) has gone from $169,000 to $256,000. Density equals Democrats.

The number of Virginians born overseas has skyrocketed from 5 percent to 12 percent. The Hispanic population has gone from 3 percent to 10 percent. The Asian community has grown from 2 percent to 7 percent. In 1990, 7 percent of people 5 years and older spoke a language other than English at home. In 2018 the number was 16 percent.

If educational attainment is a proxy for class, Virginia has undergone bourgeoisification. The number of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher has shot up from 25 percent of the state to 38 percent. As baccalaureates multiplied, they swapped partisan affiliation. Many of the Yuppies of the ’80s, Bobos of the ’90s, and Security Moms of the ’00s now march in the Resistance.

Which is to say that, in that time, Virginia has been culturally and demographically tugged away from the rural, southern states and towards the urban, mid-Atlantic states. As one might expect, these trends are significantly more pronounced in the DC suburbs of Northern Va., especially Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. The populations of these counties have exploded in that time. Fairfax gets more press, but Continetti points out that the population of Loudoun has more than quadrupled since the early '90s. Immigration is an important factor, but the expansion of the federal government during the Bush and Obama administrations might be more significant. Bureaucrats and defense contractors have to live somewhere, and they vote according to their interests.

Transformations like the one Continetti describes have consequences. In 2017, Virginians elected Democrat Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, as its governor. A lot of ink has been spilt on Northam's expanding abortion access in Virginia (including his controversial comments related to post-birth abortion) and his war on guns (as well as the extremely civil protests against his anti-2nd Amendment initiatives, which were nevertheless vilified by the mainstream media), as these have particularly enraged the Old Virginians. And who could forget his racist yearbook photo, which he originally claimed did not depict him until he eventually apologized, though without clarifying whether he's the Klansman or the guy in black face. Somehow Democrats are always able to survive these things, while Republicans have their careers ended over more ambiguous incidents.

As Politico noted at the time:

In a bid to salvage his job, the Democratic governor of Virginia denied he was one of the men dressed up as a Klansman or in blackface in a picture on his medical school yearbook page — after admitting the night before he was, in fact, in the photo.

In a different yearbook at Virginia Military Institute, Northam was nicknamed “Coonman.” Why? He wasn’t quite sure, he said. “My main nickname in high school and in college was ‘Goose’ because when my voice was changing, I would change an octave. There were two individuals, as best as I can recollect, at VMI — they were a year ahead of me. They called me ‘Coonman’. I don’t know their motives or intent. I know who they are. That was the extent of that. And it ended up in the yearbook. And I regret that.”

Right.

A less publicized aspect of Northam's agenda has been his environmental extremism. Last September he signed an executive order setting a goal that the state produce 100 percent of its energy via "carbon-free" sources by 2050, and 30% within the next 10 years.

Chris Bast... of the [Department of Environmental Quality] told The Center Square that he did not have an estimate on how much the executive order will cost consumers or taxpayers, but said that investments to fight climate change are necessary. “The cost of inaction outweighs the cost of action,” Bast said.

Of course.

After the state elections in November flipped both legislative houses to the Democrats, they set about turning that goal into a mandate, and this spring -- in the midst of the pandemic and Virginia's lengthy and onerous lockdowns -- Northam signed the Green New Deal-inspired Virginia Clean Economy Act, which did exactly that. He also approved the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act which puts Virginia on the path to joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This multi-state compact imposes new regulatory burdens on Virginia's oil, natural gas, and coal power plants, and introduces a cap-and-trade scheme on the 30 largest of them.

As Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, told The Daily Signal, “Virginia could hardly have picked a worse time to join RGGI,”

Everywhere RGGI has gone, higher electricity prices have followed. In Virginia’s case, however, membership will coincide with trying to recover from the self-imposed economic collapse of the statewide lockdown. At a time when millions have lost their jobs, many of them from small businesses that may never reopen, Gov. Northam and his supporters in the General Assembly are knowingly adding to the burdens of families trying to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown. It is a direct assault on the disposable incomes of the state’s most vulnerable residents by an out-of-touch political elite. Absurdly, with natural gas abundant, reliable, and cheap, the governor chooses this moment to hitch Virginia’s fortunes to taxpayer-subsidized wind and solar power, which are intermittent, unreliable, and expensive.

Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, adds that this push will ultimately be harmful to the environment and ignores the fact that the fracking revolution has led to a significant decrease in America's carbon emissions.

“If you’re going to require all of the state’s power to come from 100% carbon-free sources by 2050, this will require a lot of [the] state’s land, which probably means impacting the state’s agricultural lands or cutting down some forests and probably both... So much for the environment.”

“It’s also completely unnecessary,” he said. “If the goal is to stop climate change, the U.S. is already the global leader in carbon dioxide emission reductions. Between 2005 and 2018, CO2 declined 12%. The free market is already taking care of the environment.”

Unfortunately these trends seem unlikely to turn around any time soon. The Virginia Republican party is made up of factions which seem to despise each other more than they hate the Democrats, but it just might be the case that the numbers to change course just aren't there. Northam's opponent in 2017 was the GOP establishmentarian Ed Gillespie, a two-time loser in state elections, who attempted to appeal to nationalists by focusing on issues like crime and immigration. He received only 45% of the vote.

Perhaps the only solution might be a proposal which started gaining steam during the Second Amendment battles earlier this year -- secession. Specifically secession for those counties in western and southern Virginia disturbed by the direction of their state and interested in joining the more conservatively inclined West Virginia. And the free state of West Virginia, which itself seceded from the slave state of Virginia in 1863, seems ready to welcome their separated brethren with open arms. Should that transpire, and the size and relative importance of Virginia decrease on Northam's watch, his face will no longer be black or even green. It will be red.

Man is Not the Measure of All Things

The sophist philosopher Protagoras is known for having said,  “Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not.” There are certainly several ways to interpret this, but I see it from a modern perspective as a foolish claim for the primacy of subjective truth. This  notion  has led us to catastrophic wastes of resources. At the moment these fortunes are being wasted battling a new virus the transmission and treatment for which there was no empirical evidence and trying to control the weather for which there is little evidence of anthropogenic cause or resolution. We conflate hypothetical models for empirical fact. Perhaps Protagoras meant it as a claim for a moral life, regardless of laws or prevailing religious beliefs. In reality today, it is a pernicious concept that belief, absent evidence, is all that matters.

My email folder contains a blurb from the Economist repeating the claim that the lockdown, ostensibly needed to halt the spread of the corona virus, provides a new opportunity to reduce fossil fuels:

Our cover this week calls for a global effort to tackle climate change. Covid-19 creates a unique chance to steer the economy away from carbon at a much lower financial, social and political cost than before. Rock-bottom energy prices make it easier to cut subsidies for fossil fuels and to introduce a tax on carbon. The revenues from that tax can help repair battered government finances. The businesses at the heart of the fossil-fuel economy—oil and gas firms, steel producers, carmakers—are already going through the agony of shrinking their long-term capacity and employment. Getting economies back on their feet calls for investment in climate-friendly infrastructure that boosts growth and creates new jobs. Low interest rates make the bill smaller than ever. The world should seize the moment.

Yes, indeed, the smart set at the Economist have it nailed: With people struggling to survive massive unemployment, certain scarcity, rising prices, and social welfare costs, they’ll welcome even higher fuel costs and the multiplier effect of the raises, all to make us reliant on unreliable and more expensive energy. The Brits seem to have a penchant for modeling miscalculation. Despite their scary projections about the fatality rate of the virus it appears, says Dr. John Ioannidis, that “At a very broad, bird’s eye view level, worldwide the IFR [infection fatality rate] of Covid-19 this season may be in the same ballpark as the IFR of influenza.”

On the other hand, even California governor Gavin Newsom was just forced to kill his “green new deal” in large part, because the enormous costs and revenue loss to California, a result of his stay-at-home statewide order, made California’s bizarre budgeting even more untenable. That disaster was based on the same British-born modeling as his green new deal. At the beginning of the year he proposed a $12 billion “climate budget” for a state already deeply in the red with an aging, decrepit infrastructure, a failing but lavish government pension scheme, and enormous social costs (including payments to thousands of illegal aliens welcomed into his sanctuary state). Someone must have shown him the balance book, and with an already projected deficit of $54.3 billion exacerbated by his statewide lockdown , he had to withdraw that scheme.

The Brits are certainly not alone in fantastical thinking. CNN reported this week that the sun is experiencing a “solar minimum.” This hot news was hardly unanticipated. The earth has been always subject to solar cycles, and the minimum was predicted to come about soon for years. People not wedded to subjective interpretations of weather, consider this: there are as many as 18 observed variables determining the earth’s climate, and hardly any of them depend on human activity: precipitation; surface pressure; surface radiation; surface wind and direction; near surface temperature; surface water vapor; earth radiation; lightening; upper air temperature; upper air vapor; cloud properties; upper air wind speed and direction; aerosol properties; carbon   dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases; ozone; precursors (supporting the aerosol and ozone. I think there are even more likely candidates for variables, for example, meteors hitting the earth, volcanoes, the variations in the earth’s orbits and  rotations-- and  doubtless there are other such effects we are as yet unaware of,and can neither influence nor alter.

As as my friend, James Lewis explained lucidly thirteen years ago, "climate science" is an immature discipline trying to deal with “hypercomplex systems.” It is completely “model dependent” and  full of surprises.

Now imagine that all the variables about global climate are known with less than 100 percent certainty. Let's be wildly and unrealistically optimistic and say that climate scientists know each variable to 99 percent certainty! (No such thing, of course). And let's optimistically suppose there are only one-hundred x's, y's, and z's --- all the variables that can change the climate: like the amount of cloud cover over Antarctica, the changing ocean currents in the South Pacific, Mount Helena venting, sun spots, Chinese factories burning more coal every year, evaporation of ocean water (the biggest "greenhouse" gas), the wobbles of earth orbit around the sun, and yes, the multifarious fartings of billions of living creatures on the face of the earth, minus, of course, all the trillions of plants and algae that gobble up all the CO2, nitrogen-containing molecules, and sulfur-smelling exhalations spewed out by all of us animals. Got that? It all goes into our best math model.

So in the best case, the smartest climatologist in the world will know 100 variables, each one to accuracy of 99 percent. Want to know what the probability of our spiffiest math model would be, if that perfect world existed?  Have you ever multiplied (99/100) by itself 100 times? According to the Google calculator, it equals a little more than 36.6 percent. The Bottom line: our best imaginable model has a total probability of one out of three. How many billions of dollars in Kyoto money are we going to spend on that chance?

We just impoverished ourselves based on hypothetical models out of Britain on Covid-19; are we to further reduce ourselves to satisfy yet another British hypothetical model out of Imperial College?

The last ice age ended about 40,000 years ago, when an increase in methane in our atmosphere led to fast rising temperatures just to give you an idea of how just one of these variables effects climate. The sun, which seems to have just peeped over CNN’s horizon now that their Russian fantasy has been laughed off the stage, alternates regularly between high and low sunspot numbers, usually on an 11-year cycle. The best guess is that this time the minimum will last to 2025. Like predicting the climate of the earth, predicting the sun’s activity and—more important to humans, its effect on us -- is difficult. We can only make estimates based on observations, but CNN asserts it definitely won’t spark another ice age because of “climate change.”

"The warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from the human burning of fossil fuels is six times greater than the possible decades-long cooling from a prolonged Grand Solar Minimum," they wrote. "Even if a Grand Solar Minimum were to last a century, global temperatures would continue to warm. Because more factors than just variations in the Sun's output change global temperatures on Earth, the most dominant of those today being the warming coming from human-induced greenhouse gas emissions."

Wait. What?  “Human-induced greenhouse gas emissions” will save us from another ice age? Just two months ago, CNN was reporting that millions were suffering from climate change, and greenhouse emissions were to blame. Their source? The same Imperial College that gave us the absurdly overhyped Corona-19 virus fatality projections:

"Given that greenhouse gas levels continue to increase, the warming will continue. A recent decadal forecast indicates that a new annual global temperature record is likely in the next five years. It is a matter of time," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. Climate change is making these extremes more common. This latest report serves as a valuable mile-marker of the climate crisis. Without climate action, populations around the globe can expect to see continued disruptions to their everyday lives.

"This report is a catalogue of weather in 2019 made more extreme by climate change, and the human misery that went with it," according to Brian Hoskins, chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College in London and not associated with the WMO State of the Climate. "It points to a threat that is greater to our species than any known virus -- we must not be diverted from the urgency of tackling it by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible."

You have to be nuts to imagine that CO2 and not the sun or the many other variables, including the variations in our blue globe’s rotations and orbits, determines our climate.

A far more reliable source than Imperial College projections is the known record that for some time now solar sunspots at each minimum have been growing weaker. The year 1913 was notable for the lowest number of recorded sunspots “on the order of 311 days” and that year was “filled with wild weather extremes including the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth in Death Valley, CA.” Similarly, cosmic rays from solar activity, to take another variable out of our reach to manage, seem from observational studies to have a far greater impact on climate than CO2.

There’s money and power to be gained from projecting and peddling rank disinformation, so you can be sure that every wild weather extreme modeled by the now discredited Imperial College studies will be promoted by the Economist and the popular press as evidence of climate change requiring vast infusions of capital to control. Those who still find them credible will take those changes as proof  we must  stop using fossil fuels. What we need is more people reminding us that we're simply not that important in the cosmic scheme of things.

Spike This

If you haven't yet twigged to the British website Spiked, it's about time you did so. The online publication describes itself as "the magazine that wants to change the world as well as report on it. We are committed to fighting for humanism, democracy and freedom." It expresses that admirable commitment via articles by some of the best young British writers, who daily deconstruct modern shibboleths such as "climate change," the Greenie weenies, and, latterly, the hysteria over the coronavirus. Like us here at The Pipeline, the gang at Spiked clearly sees the link between the overreaction to the virus and the longer-term agenda of the "climate change" privateers, who seek to destroy the Western way of life in the guise of rescuing it. A sample:

Covid-19 is a frightening dress rehearsal of the climate agenda

Months into the pandemic and many unknowns still cloud our understanding of the virus. The basic parameters of its transmission rate are still contested by scientists. Rather than shedding light, experts from prestigious institutions descend into acrimonious, politically charged, point-scoring debates. Even the grim daily ritual of the body count is slated as either an overestimate or a grotesque underestimate. But the biggest unknown yet is the damage the virus and attempts to control it have done to society and the economy, and how we will recover. From this wreckage, the green blob has re-emerged from an all-too-brief period of obscurity with a list of demands that will destroy any hope of recovery.

From the outset, there has been a palpable sense of green jealousy of the virus as it stole attention from the climate fearmongers. For half a century, greens have been prognosticating the imminent collapse of society. Yet with each new generation, deadlines to stop the destruction of the planet pass without event. In reality, the world’s population has become healthier and wealthier, and we live longer lives than ever before. Panic about the virus achieved in days what greens have been demanding for years: grounded planes, empty roads, and a halt in economic growth.

Experience of coronavirus shows that the kind of fear, panic and mistrust ramped up by doom-laden forecasts has had severe consequences for humanity. Fear of the virus has threatened to dissolve the essential relationships of mutual dependence between human beings, almost in an instant – and on a greater scale than anything Gaia can throw at us in her angry revenge. Greta Thunberg’s maxim – ‘I want you to panic’ – should cause environmentalists to pause and consider what they actually want for society.

But such reflection is unlikely to be forthcoming. After all, lockdown gives greens what they have always wanted: the abolition of flight, and of travel deemed ‘unnecessary’ by technocrats; and the prohibition of goods which have been designated ‘non-essential’. Indeed, this is apparently what a green utopia looks like.

Read the whole thing, of course, if only for this line:

Green platitudes are nothing more than a veneer of bullshit for no-mark politicians to hide behind.

The key is that the "green economy" is a malignant fantasy of New Ludditism, a branch of cultural Marxism that openly seeks the destruction of the Western way of life. Its embrace by callow and mendacious politicians the world over is a triumph of stupidty and short-term thinking over reason, facts, and history.

So what if it comes disguised as "environmentalism"? The devil is the devil no matter what he's wearing, even if it's nothing at all.

 

The Coming Struggle for Power with China

In the 1930s John Strachey, later a sober moderate cabinet minister in Clem Attlee’s postwar U.K. Labour government, wrote a book with the ominous title, The Coming Struggle for Power. As anyone familiar either with the politics of the day or with Orwell’s writings about that time could have guessed, Strachey called himself a Marxist but was in fact a comfortable bourgeois journalist, the son of the then-editor of the Spectator, who had never come closer to a genuine struggle than when he disputed with a friend over who should pay the bill for lunch.

But his book was one of many in those times which weakened the moral self-confidence of the Western democracies in their own free societies with the result that they would enter the Second World War and later the Cold War hesitant, badly-prepared, and uncertain of purpose. If a book named The Coming Struggle for Power were to be published today, its title would carry an ominous double entendre because the West today is locked in a struggle with China over both geopolitics and world energy resources.

We have been understandably reluctant to acknowledge this conflict (which like an iceberg is only one-eighth visible above the surface) because no one wants to repeat the failure of Franco-British policy in dealing with the rise of the Kaiser’s Germany prior to 1914. The horrors of the Great War explain our fears well enough. But that war also undermined the illusion cultivated by some of the best minds of that time that trade and economic cooperation between the great powers—aka the “power of facts”—had made war between them illogical, pointless, almost impossible.

In August 1914, however, as one historian wrote, the power of facts took a terrible hammering from the facts of power.

One relevant fact is that industrial development, prosperity, and mutually beneficial trade do not automatically convert a country to political liberalism at home and commercial pacifism abroad. Wilhelmine Germany had enjoyed its own great economic rise in the 19th century, but it saw the rapid industrialization of Czarist Russia as a reason to wage war before its emerging rival became too powerful and a threat. The Kaiser’s Machtpolitik demonstrated that a nation’s interests and intentions, evidenced in its political culture, may dictate war on the grounds that security is more important than prosperity. And every now and then an event occurs that, whether large or small, inadvertently throws a spotlight on what is really driving a country’s overall “grand strategy.”

The Wuhan virus, as we’re not supposed to call it, has just thrown such a spotlight on Beijing’s drive for a more powerful role in world politics. Such a drive is itself legitimate. And if it’s accompanied by a willingness to work cooperatively with other countries and to abide by agreed international rules, other nations should strive to accommodate the rising power in collective global arrangements.

But the Chinese government’s handling of the Wuhan virus combined brutality in its suppression of ordinary citizens in its attempt to suppress the virus, an obsession with secrecy as it sought to protect its own image, a failure to inform other governments that a dangerous epidemic was spreading in and over its borders, pressure on the World Health Organization to delay warning the world of what was coming its way, outrageously dishonest propaganda blaming the virus on  the US, and forbidding air flights from Wuhan to other Chinese cities while allowing them to other countries as the epidemic was still raging there. All of this represented irresponsible national egoism on a global scale.

Big Trouble in Big China.

It also reminded other countries of how China under its present regime has behaved on other matters in recent years: its imprisonment of vast numbers of its Uighur minority in a new gulag; its creation of a virtual panopticon that keeps watch on dissidents via the internet, even to the point of being able to instruct airlines not to allow them to board flights; its widespread theft of intellectual property; its purchase of political influence in other countries by hiring senior political and civil service figures for Chinese companies, as well as by outright bribery; its attempt to control Chinese minorities abroad; and at home the restoration of a quasi-Maoism by Xi Jimping who also proclaimed himself President for Life (an absurd but revealing title.) As a result of Wuhan all these factors now seem to demonstrate the naivete of the idea that bringing communist China into the structure of global governance, in particular the World Trade Organization, would make the country a liberal democracy over time.

Or, as I quoted Rupert Darwall as writing last week: “Xi’s historic accomplishment is falsifying the globalists’ liberalization thesis.” That means not that we are heading for a war between the world’s two major nuclear powers, which would be a disaster for all mankind, but that the West, above all the United States, should be sufficiently strong to deter China from any foolish military provocations and, more broadly, to contain China as we contained the Soviet Union until its political system evolves or its political leadership changes course.

Right on cue, the same important story appeared last week in the London Times, the Daily Mail, and The Australian. Here is the Mail’s opening salvo:

The US would lose a war with China fought in the Pacific, is unable to defend Taiwan from an invasion and fears the Guam military base is at risk now, US defense sources have warned. ‘Eye-opening' Pentagon war games have revealed growing fears the US is vulnerable to threats from China and that any attack would lead to the US 'suffering capital losses', the sources said. The worrying analysis is expected to come to light in the Pentagon's 2020 China military power report this summer.

This is alarming, of course, but far from despair-inducing. Most of the studies of a US-China military clash are based on what the military balance between the two nations will be like in 2030. The Pentagon is now planning a larger military commitment to East Asia; the U.S. economy is still more technologically advanced than the Chinese (and will now be more watchful towards technical espionage); and though both economies are likely to suffer some damage from the Covid-19 and lockdown crises, historians will recall that the prospect of war was what pulled the U.S. economy out of its New Deal doldrums and into a massive expansion both industrially and militarily.

For the one requires the other. It’s not possible to build up strong modern military forces except on the basis of a strong modern advanced economy which in turn must rest on the most efficient energy-producing industries. China recognizes that fact and acts upon it. Despite his brief flirtation with President Obama when they  shook hands and agreed to pursue the carbon reduction targets under the Paris accords, President Xi Jimping has adopted a very different practical agenda. As Darwall points out:

Despite being feted as a climate saviour, China’s drive for coal continued unabated. A 2018 plant-by-plant survey by CoalSwarm found that 259 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity are under development in China, comparable to the entire US coal fleet (266 GW). If completed, the new plants 29 will increase China’s current coal fleet of 993 GW by 25%. Abroad, China is involved in 240 coalfired power projects in 25 countries as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

China’s military strength thus rests upon cheap abundant reliable energy. And its rivals?

Before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. had a successful and expanding economy based in part upon the fracking revolution that gave it low-cost, high-productivity, reliable energy without subsidies. That was a solid foundation for a stronger American military. Europe was a sadly different proposition: continental Europe has embarked on a quixotic crusade to reduce the rise in world temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the advent of industrialization by reducing its use of fossil fuels to net zero-carbon emissions by 2050. Not surprisingly its economies are stalled. Britain has adopted the same self-destructive target and, in doing so, has abandoned the fair prospect of its own fracking revolution. And almost all predictions of the effects of this net-zero ambition, if it is seriously attempted and sustained, are that the countries concerned—all Western countries—would suffer a prolonged depression.

And all that was before the virus and the lockdowns.

Now, it is becoming the conventional wisdom in Western Europe, Britain, and Canada that the hoped-for post-Convid-19 economic recovery will be rooted in a Green New Deal that will direct resources not to recovery as such but to ensuring that any recovery will favour “Green” industries and deny investment to industries dependent on fossil fuels. And if Joe Biden were to win the November election, this same policy approach would be adopted in the United States too.

In his new study of the likely effects of such a policy, John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Foundation points out these results would be extremely damaging.:

[I]t is the adoption of high-productivity energy sources that is responsible for modern growth. Turning our backs on those energy sources would have been unwise even in a state of continuing global growth fundamentally driven by Asian use of coal and oil, as well as a resurgent North American use of gas. To do so in time of suppressed global trade and growth has the potential to be genuinely dangerous in the longer term, and perhaps even in the short term.

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Dr. Constable thinks this would be a “counterproductive disaster,” and he does not take account of the West’s military competition with China in his calculation. Nonetheless, he thinks that the civil service [in Britain] will press the policy, and that the politicians will not resist. One might add that in the U.S. and throughout the West the media, academia, most cultural institutions, and large numbers of the voters will be eager partisans of the same counterproductive disaster. And if the Chinese communists win the battle for power as energy, they will be hard to beat in the struggle for power as geopolitical hegemony.

John Strachey abandoned Marxism in 1940, left the Communist Party, joined the Labour party, and volunteered for the Royal Air Force in which he served until 1945 when he was elected as a Labour MP and appointed Minister of Food in the Attlee government. For the remainder of his career, he was a forceful voice for moderate social democracy and common sense in British politics.

Almost certainly, there will be decent people who similarly realize the terrible consequences of this New Green Disaster when they see the poverty it visits upon their fellow-citizens, and who make the same political U-turn as Strachey did. But will that realization dawn before the Chinese Communist Party has achieved an economic and military world hegemony?