The (potential) joys of global warming

Investors Business Daily notes about Hurricane Irma:

Perhaps the best indication that Irma failed to live up to its billing is the fact that the broad stock indexes — including insurance companies — rallied on Monday while various construction-related stocks took it on the chin. When can we expect to see stories about how global warming deserves the credit?

There’s no question that Irma was and continues to be destructive. But there’s also no question that it was not nearly the storm it was predicted by all the experts to be.

Last week, there was talk of massive destruction across the state, with damage estimates ranging up to $200 billion. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levin called it “a nuclear hurricane.” Storm tracks last week showed Irma remaining a Category 4 hurricane for a significant portion of its trek across Florida. When Irma shifted to the west as it approached, it was described as the “worst-case scenario” for the state.

However, when Irma made landfall in the U.S., it’s strength quickly diminished and the actual damages to Florida in dollar terms will likely be 75% lower than predicted.

While those dire forecasts were being made, environmentalists and politicians were busy pinning the blame on global warming.

It was the same after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding in Houston. It’s the case whenever there is an adverse weather event. If there’s a drought, it’s because of “climate change.” If there’s flooding, climate change. Wild fires, climate change. Blizzards? Climate change.

So will environmentalists credit climate change for Irma’s unexpected turn for the better?

Even if that were true — and, for the record, we aren’t saying it is — environmentalists wouldn’t admit it, because the only thing that never, ever gets linked to climate change is good weather.

Indeed, any talk of the benefits of climate change is treated as dangerous nonsense, not because the benefits are unlikely, but because that sort of happy talk might cause people to become “complacent” about the need to fight climate change through onerous, intrusive and massively expensive government edicts.

That’s why you rarely hear about longer growing seasons that a warmer planet would produce in northern regions, which would lower food prices and reduce hunger, or the reduced number of fatalities from extreme cold, or how past periods of non-human-caused warming were ones of relative abundance.

It’s also why there’s so little research into other potential benefits of climate change, or what the relative balance between costs and benefits would be. Who is going to fund research into such things when the entire government-science-research complex is singularly devoted to proving that climate change will destroy humanity?

This one-sidedness isn’t evidence that global warming is real or inherently cataclysmic. It is, instead, evidence that global warming advocates are more interested in pushing a political agenda than actual science.

Occasionally, however, some good news slips through the climate change praetorian guard.

One was in the form of a study published by the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Nature in April 2016. The authors found that the weather in America had actually become increasingly pleasant over the past 40 years because of climate change — winters have been less severe while summers didn’t get much hotter.

As a result, the authors said, “80% of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather than they did four decades ago.”

This summer, University of York environmental professor Chris Thomas published a book, “Inheritors of the Earth”, in which he showed how global warming could be good for biodiversity, because species that need warmth would benefit while those that don’t would be largely unaffected.

Needless to say, these findings were not greeted with adulation from environmentalists.

In fact, when Rep. Lamar Smith made the case that climate change could be an overall benefit to humanity, he was mocked by Michael Mann, the climate scientists who as we noted in this space has been accused of manipulating temperature data but who is still the go-to expert for journalists. Mann told the far-left Huffington Post “it is clear” Smith is “slowly advancing through the stages of denial … having apparently now moved from ‘it’s not happening,’ to ‘ok—it’s happening, but IT WILL BE GOOD FOR US.”

Don’t expect Mann to apologize if he, not Smith, turns out to be wrong.

Joe Bastardi adds on Twitter:

Let me be clear, I believe in climate change, and always have. Its what history has always shown. Warm=climate optimums its natural

The last two Wisconsin winters have been historically mild. This past summer was certainly not hot, and it was wet, as predicted. Mild winters mean lower heating bills, which means more money in your pocket. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing, except, I guess, for those who want to control our lives through government.

Or, in cartoon form:

Winters are a major reason to not live in Wisconsin. I am favor of anything that makes winter less hideous.

 

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Hurricane facts and hysterics

The arrivals of hurricanes Harvey and Irma led to predictable screaming about global climate change and the connection to hurricanes.

The truth comes from Mike Smith:

Whether it is Leonard Pitts or New Republicthe misinformation about global warming and its connection, if any, to U.S. hurricanes gotten really silly. Because the genuine science doesn’t support the contention, their argument is reduced to this:

“And the timing of them, combined with the historic awfulness of them, feels more sinister than simple coincidence, does it not?”

Feels more sinister”? — The arguments for catastrophic global warming have jumped the shark.

Fact: Until August 25, 2017, when Harvey came ashore, the United States (including Hawaii) went a record 11 years and 10 months without a major hurricane. The period of record is from 1850 to the present. The former record was from 1900 to 1906, so we nearly doubled the previous record — very good news. 

Fact: Worldwide, there is no upward trend in hurricanesSee the data for yourself (below).

Both graphs courtesy Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., click to enlarge

Fact: Worldwide, natural disaster costs are lessening.

Is global warming an issue? Yes, it is, as I have stated many times. But, exaggeration or appeals to feelings do far more harm than good.

During a hurricane in 1900, a storm surge rose out of the Gulf of Mexico and annihilated Galveston, Texas, killing about 8,000 men, women and children.

In 1935, at least 408 people died when another cyclone slammed into the Florida Keys, many of them World War I veterans working on construction projects.

And in 1957, Hurricane Audrey’s storm surges crashed into the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, killing 390 people.

Hurricane Irma, which slammed into Florida over the weekend, was in a similar league as those storms in its sheer power, and the number of people living in vulnerable areas has only grown.

So how has the number of deaths — in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as of Monday night — remained in single digits?

The answer is the modern science of hurricane monitoring and preparation, which has saved countless lives as forecasting, satellite monitoring and government planning have dramatically improved in recent decades.

One study in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews calculated that America suffered an average of 1,400 hurricane deaths per decade from 1910 to 1939, 700 deaths per decade from 1940 to 1969, and about 250 deaths per decade from 1970 to 1999.

“The number of people killed in hurricanes halves about every 25 years, in spite of the fact that coastal populations have been increasing, because of what we’re doing with forecasting,” said Hugh Willoughby, a professor of meteorology at Florida International University in Miami.

Journalists with agendas, hurricane edition

Christian Britschgi wrote this late last week:

The flood waters from Hurricane Harvey are mercifully receding from Houston. Unfortunately, the flood of hot takes blaming Houston’s development for the floods has continued unabated.

Despite repeated debunking from a wide range of commentators and urban policy experts, the idea that unregulated development caused the massive swell of storm water has seamlessly shifted from off-the-cuff observations to conventional wisdom.

“Houston’s sprawl gave the city terrible traffic and an outsized pollution footprint even before the hurricane. When the rains came, the vast paved-over area meant that rising waters had nowhere to go,” wrote Paul Krugman in his Monday New York Times column. Roane Carney of The Nation made the same claim last week, saying that Houston has witnessed a continual battle between developers who want to pave over green fields and the engineers and scientists who want to stop that in the name of flood prevention.

For a more informed view, I spoke with Neil Sander, a principal at Dynamic Engineering Consultants, P.C. who holds a master’s in civil engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Sander has worked on commercial developments in the Houston area for the past five years.

Far from being an unregulated wild west, Sander says, Houston is typical in how it regulates storm water runoff.

“Houston is governed by a number of different storm water ordinances from different entities,” he tells Reason. “The City of Houston, Harris County Flood Control District, and the Texas Department of Transportation all limit the amount of water you can release from a development, regardless of how much you pave.” These regulations lay out rules for the quantity and rate of storm water runoff allowed from developments and for how that runoff is managed.

One need only look at the City of Houston’s Infrastructure Design Manual for evidence of this.

Nearly a quarter of the 400-page manual—which governs everything from traffic signals to easement requirements—is devoted to storm water collection and drainage requirements, dictating how much water must be detained for a given amount of pavement and how quickly that water must be drained from a property. Other rules cover everything from the design and capacity of drainage ditches and culverts to the minimum spacing of storm water inlets.

Asked how well Houston regulates storm water runoff compared to other areas, Sander says the city does it “as well as anyplace else.”

“Some places are very heavily overregulated, especially in the Northeast, but there is nothing uniquely awful about Houston,” he tells Reason. “They look at all the same measurements that other municipalities look at. Certainly they have hundreds of pages of regulations on the subject.”

Sander adds that the post-Harvey focus on impervious surfaces is misplaced.

According to analysis from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and Engineering Center, Hurricane Harvey was a 1-in-1,000-year event, dumping nearly 20 trillion gallons of water on the Houston area in only a few days. No amount of planning or infrastructure can handle that kind of water, Sander notes. Even for green fields, “little water beyond a two- or five-year event is infiltrating anyway.”

Sander suspects that current calls for more comprehensive urban planning are opportunistic. “Somebody has a solution sitting on a self, waiting for what they think is the right opportunity to roll it out,” he says. But when it comes to surviving storms like Harvey, “I can say confidently that introducing zoning to Houston would make zero difference.”

Instead of waiting for government …

Brian Doheny:

After a natural disaster of the hideous and shocking scope of the floods along the Texas coast this week, government response will never be—can never be—sufficient to people’s needs, either for immediate rescue or for long-term rebuilding.

If you don’t believe a libertarian on that point, a friend of mine with zero ideological antagonism toward government experienced in volunteer disaster relief in post-Katrina New Orleans and elsewhere stresses to all his curious Facebook followers that government, local or federal, is just not actually equipped to deal with providing all the help people require when storms like this hit, the existence of agencies with names like “Federal Emergency Management Agency” (FEMA) notwithstanding.

FEMA, as Mark Lisheron explained yesterday, brings with it as much or more harassing control and time-and money-wasting bureaucratic bungling as it does actual intelligent, well-managed life-saving aid.

The New Yorker this week shines a light on one of the real solutions in the wake of disaster, one that thankfully doesn’t feel obligated to wait for government orders, funding, or control: the Cajun Navy, a private organization out of Louisiana skilled and experienced at boat rescues of people trapped in (or on top of) their homes in a flood.

The Cajun Navy’s John Bridgers says modern private technology/communication companies like Facebook make the all-important communication of who is in need of help and where much easier, even as government’s 911 is strained beyond its capacities, as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner admitted it was.

Reason‘s Jesse Walker has reported and argued in the past, the issue isn’t just governmental vs. private: even big private bureaucracies such as the Red Cross fall prey to institutional imperatives and the impossibility of accurate and fast-moving local knowledge that make them often inefficient and ineffective.

As Walker wrote in 2014 (though not discussing the Cajun Navy specifically) “such networks [are known] to be more flexible, more capable of adjusting to conditions on the ground, and—when the groups are themselves locally based—more receptive to local knowledge” in delivering needed aid quickly and smartly.

Walker has also importantly reported on the fact that humans in deemed-ungovernable post-disaster situations actually have a greater tendency toward self- and other-aid than toward reduction to some sort of violent and chaotic Hobbesian “state of nature.”

The men and woman of the Cajun Navy live out the message of Walker’s reporting: the attitude that we must, or can, rely on public bureaucracies in moments of great crisis is insanely unsafe and wildly un-American. As we see so often, Americans inspired not by central commands and government contracts but by the will and desire to help, exist and rise to the occasion.

It is, alas, never enough to either save everyone that needs saving or fully blunt the terrifying damage nature can cause, and no single source of aid will get everything right. But privately organized and funded aid is real, and necessary, and can be as simple and direct as what the Cajun Navy’s Bridgers told The New Yorker: “We’re all sportsmen around here,” he said. “Pretty much every other person has a boat. So we got going.”

One would hope Wisconsinites faced with a massive natural disaster would have the wherewithal to help their neighbors instead of waiting for government to show up. (Though probably not in Madison and Milwaukee.)

 

More inconvenient truths

Alex Epstein chops up Algore’s “An Inconvenient Sequel”:

The more than seven billion people living in the world today need affordable, abundant energy — and a livable climate — to flourish. But the world’s leading source of energy is also the leading source of increasing greenhouse gases.

What to do? This is the vital question Al Gore took on in his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, and takes on again in his newly released follow-up An Inconvenient Sequel.

As the most influential figure in the international climate conversation, Gore has a responsibility to give us the whole picture of fossil fuels’ impacts — both their benefits and the risks they pose to humans flourishing. Unfortunately, Gore has given us a deeply biased picture that completely ignores fossil fuels’ indispensable benefits and wildly exaggerates their impact on climate.

The running theme throughout An Inconvenient Sequel is that Gore’s first film was even more right than he expected. The movie begins with defenders of fossil fuels mocking or ignoring the dramatic predictions of An Inconvenient Truth. Leaving aside a heroic (and highly disputed) portrayal of Gore rescuing the Paris climate accord, the rest of the movie focuses on vindicating Gore’s two chief predictions: 1) That we could replace fossil fuels with cheap solar- and wind-powered “renewables”; and 2) that continued use of fossil fuels would lead to catastrophic temperature rises, catastrophic sea-level rises, catastrophic flooding, catastrophic drought, catastrophic storms, and catastrophic disease proliferation.

To justify these claims, Gore makes extensive uses of anecdotes: he shows us the town of Georgetown, Tex. and its use of 100-per-cent renewable energy, a deadly heat wave in India, a deadly flood in Miami, a deadly drought in Syria, a deadly storm in the Philippines, and the Zika virus penetrating the United States.

Some of his anecdotes are meant to prove that cheap solar and wind are, as 2006 Gore prophesied, quickly dominating the world’s energy supply and, as 2006 Gore also warned us, that our rapidly warming climate is killing more and more people each year. But he has not given us the whole picture.

Take the rising dominance of solar and wind, which is used to paint supporters of fossil fuels as troglodytes, fools, and shills for Big Oil. The combined share of world energy consumption from renewables is all of two per cent. And it’s an expensive, unreliable, and therefore difficult-to-scale two per cent.

Because solar and wind are “unreliables,” they need to be backed up by reliable sources of power, usually fossil fuels, or sometimes non-carbon sources including nuclear and large-scale hydro power (all of which Gore and other environmentalists refuse to support). This is why every grid that incorporates significant solar and wind has more expensive electricity. Germans, on the hook for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s self-righteous anti-carbon commitments, are already paying three times the rates for electricity that Americans do.

Stories about “100-per-cent renewable” locations like Georgetown, Tex. are not just anecdotal evidence, they are lies. The Texas grid from which Georgetown draws its electricity is comprised of 43.7 per cent natural gas, 28.8 per cent coal, 12 per cent nuclear, and only 15.6 per cent renewable. Using a virtue-signalling gimmick pioneered by Apple, Facebook, and Google, Georgetown pays its state utility to label its grid electricity “renewable” —  even though it draws its power from that fossil-fuel heavy Texas grid — while tarring others on the grid as “non-renewable.”

If we look at the overall trends instead of engaging in anecdotal manipulation we see that fossil fuel energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the world — still. Fossil fuels have never been more vital to human flourishing. There are 1,600 coal plants planned for the near future, which could increase international coal capacity 43 per cent. Advances in technology are making fossil fuels cleaner, safer, and more efficient than ever. To reduce their growth let alone to radically restrict their use — which is what Gore advocates — means forcing energy poverty on billions of people.

Gore and others should be free to make the case that the danger of greenhouse gases is so serious as to warrant that scale of human misery. But they should have to quantify and justify the magnitude of climate danger. And that brings us to the truth about climate.

The overall trend in climate danger is that it is at an all-time low. The Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) shows 6,114 climate-related deaths in 2016. In other recent years the numbers have maxed out in the tens of thousands. Compare this to the 1930s when, adjusted for population, climate-related deaths hit the 10-million mark several times.

The most significant cause of our radically reduced climate danger is industrial development, which takes a naturally dangerous climate and makes it unnaturally safe. And industrial development is driven by cheap, plentiful, reliable energy — which, today, overwhelmingly means fossil fuels. Climate will always be dangerous so priority number one is to have the energy and development to tame it. Modern irrigation, residential heating and air conditioning have made once uninhabitable places perfectly comfortable.

Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel gives a biased, self-serving, and convenient picture of fossil fuels and climate — convenient for Gore’s legacy, that is, but inconvenient for the billions his energy poverty policies will harm. As citizens, we must start demanding responsible thought leaders who will give us the whole picture that life-and-death energy and climate decisions require.

Algore (and his supporters), hypocrite(s)

The National Center for Policy Analysis:

In February 2007, the day after his panicky global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Academy Award for best documentary, a shocking report based on public records revealed that Al Gore’s Nashville home consumed 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

Facing scrutiny for his extreme electricity consumption, the former vice president pledged to renovate his home to become greener and more energy-efficient. The extensive and expensive overhaul of Gore’s house included installing solar panels and geothermal heating.

In order to determine the effectiveness of the environmentally-friendly remodel and learn whether the self-appointed spokesman of the environmental movement has amended his energy-devouring ways, the National Center for Public Policy Research obtained Gore’s electricity usage information through public records requests and conversations with the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In powering his home, Gore still greatly outpaces most Americans in energy consumption. The findings were shocking:

  • The past year, Gore’s home energy use averaged 19,241 kilowatt hours (kWh) every month, compared to the U.S. household average of 901 kWh per month.
  • Gore guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.
  • In September of 2016, Gore’s home consumed 30,993 kWh in just one month – as much energy as a typical American family burns in 34 months.• During the last 12 months, Gore devoured 66,159 kWh of electricity just heating his pool. That is enough energy to power six average U.S. households for a year.
  • From August 2016 through July 2017, Gore spent almost $22,000 on electricity bills.
  • Gore paid an estimated $60,000 to install 33 solar panels. Those solar panels produce an average of 1,092 kWh per month, only 5.7% of Gore’s typical monthly energy consumption.

No matter how the numbers are viewed, Al Gore uses vastly more electricity at his home than the average American – a particularly inconvenient truth given his hypocritical calls for all Americans to reduce their home energy use.

Al Gore resides in a 10,070-square-foot Colonial-style home in the posh Belle Meade section of Nashville, the eighth-wealthiest neighborhood in America according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The home, which was built in 1915, contains 20 rooms – including five bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half-baths. Gore purchased the property, including the home and the surrounding 2.09 acre lot, in 2002 for $2.3 million. …

Gore also owns at least two other homes, a pied-à-terre in San Francisco’s St. Regis Residence Club and a farm house in Carthage, Tennessee. …

Al Gore has attained a near-mythical status for his frenzied efforts to propagandize global warming. At the same time, Gore has done little to prove his commitment to the cause in his own life. While Gore encourages people throughout the world to reduce their carbon footprint and make drastic changes to cut energy consumption, Gore’s own home electricity use has hypocritically increased to more than 21 times the national average this past year with no sign of slowing down.

This is nothing new for environmentalists, who fly to Switzerland every year to proclaim that global climate change is destroying Gaia, which they worship instead of God. To paraphrase what Instapundit Glenn Harlan Reynolds has said about Gore and others of his ilk: I’ll believe global climate change is a crisis when Gore and his ilk start acting like it’s a crisis.

 

The correct view of climate change

The Wall Street Journal prints some inconvenient truth about our global climate

Climate change is often misunderstood as a package deal: If global warming is “real,” both sides of the debate seem to assume, the climate lobby’s policy agenda follows inexorably.

It does not. Climate policy advocates need to do a much better job of quantitatively analyzing economic costs and the actual, rather than symbolic, benefits of their policies. Skeptics would also do well to focus more attention on economic and policy analysis.

To arrive at a wise policy response, we first need to consider how much economic damage climate change will do. Current models struggle to come up with economic costs commensurate with apocalyptic political rhetoric. Typical costs are well below 10% of gross domestic product in the year 2100 and beyond.

That’s a lot of money—but it’s a lot of years, too. Even 10% less GDP in 100 years corresponds to 0.1 percentage point less annual GDP growth. Climate change therefore does not justify policies that cost more than 0.1 percentage point of growth. If the goal is 10% more GDP in 100 years, pro-growth tax, regulatory and entitlement reforms would be far more effective.

Yes, the costs are not evenly spread. Some places will do better and some will do worse. The American South might be a worse place to grow wheat; Southern Canada might be a better one. In a century, Miami might find itself in approximately the same situation as the Dutch city of Rotterdam today.

But spread over a century, the costs of moving and adapting are not as imposing as they seem. Rotterdam’s dikes are expensive, but not prohibitively so. Most buildings are rebuilt about every 50 years. If we simply stopped building in flood-prone areas and started building on higher ground, even the costs of moving cities would be bearable. Migration is costly. But much of the world’s population moved from farms to cities in the 20th century. Allowing people to move to better climates in the 21st will be equally possible. Such investments in climate adaptation are small compared with the investments we will regularly make in houses, businesses, infrastructure and education.

And economics is the central question—unlike with other environmental problems such as chemical pollution. Carbon dioxide hurts nobody’s health. It’s good for plants. Climate change need not endanger anyone. If it did—and you do hear such claims—then living in hot Arizona rather than cool Maine, or living with Louisiana’s frequent floods, would be considered a health catastrophe today.

Global warming is not the only risk our society faces. Even if science tells us that climate change is real and man-made, it does not tell us, as President Obama asserted, that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity. Really? Greater than nuclear explosions, a world war, global pandemics, crop failures and civil chaos?

No. Healthy societies do not fall apart over slow, widely predicted, relatively small economic adjustments of the sort painted by climate analysis. Societies do fall apart from war, disease or chaos. Climate policy must compete with other long-term threats for always-scarce resources.

Facing this reality, some advocate that we buy some “insurance.” Sure, they argue, the projected economic cost seems small, but it could turn out to be a lot worse. But the same argument applies to any possible risk. If you buy overpriced insurance against every potential danger, you soon run out of money. You can sensibly insure only when the premium is in line with the risk—which brings us back where we started, to the need for quantifying probabilities, costs, benefits and alternatives. And uncertainty goes both ways. Nobody forecast fracking, or that it would make the U.S. the world’s carbon-reduction leader. Strategic waiting is a rational response to a slow-moving uncertain peril with fast-changing technology.

Global warming is not even the obvious top environmental threat. Dirty water, dirty air and insect-borne diseases are a far greater problem today for most people world-wide. Habitat loss and human predation are a far greater problem for most animals. Elephants won’t make it to see a warmer climate. Ask them how they would prefer to spend $1 trillion—subsidizing high-speed trains or a human-free park the size of Montana.

Then, we need to know what effect proposed policies have and at what cost. Scientific, quantifiable or even vaguely plausible cause-and-effect thinking are missing from much advocacy for policies to reduce carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “scientific” recommendations, for example, include “reduced gender inequality & marginalization in other forms,” “provisioning of adequate housing,” “cash transfers” and “awareness raising & integrating into education.” Even if some of these are worthy goals, they are not scientifically valid, cost-benefit-tested policies to cool the planet.

Climate policy advocates’ apocalyptic vision demands serious analysis, and mushy thinking undermines their case. If carbon emissions pose the greatest threat to humanity, it follows that the costs of nuclear power—waste disposal and the occasional meltdown—might be bearable. It follows that the costs of genetically modified foods and modern pesticides, which can feed us with less land and lower carbon emissions, might be bearable. It follows that if the future of civilization is really at stake, adaptation or geo-engineering should not be unmentionable. And it follows that symbolic, ineffective, political grab-bag policies should be intolerable.

To save the planet, your life must suck

Last week it was revealed (or, more accurately, re-revealed) that environmentalists are socialists.

On the similar theme of making your life worse, Julie Kelly writes:

The Merchants of Misery — a.k.a., climate scientists — are working overtime to shame you about all the pleasures you’re enjoying this summer and how your selfish indulgences will cause the planet’s demise. Grilling your favorite cheeseburger? Glutton! Packing up your brood for a drive to the lake house? Monster! Hoping vacation sex will result in a new baby to add to the family? Hedonist! Even mowing your lawn earns a tsk-tsk.

A study from Sweden’s Lund University published July 12 lists many of the sacrifices you should make to reduce your carbon footprint. Most of the media coverage — and criticism — focused on the study’s recommendation to have one fewer child (as the mother of two teen girls, I have my own irrational reasons for sharing that same advice right now, but I digress).

Not only did the researchers consider more than three dozen scientific papers to compile their list, they also reviewed a handful of school textbooks and government publications to see whether the ruling class in Canada, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. was appropriately indoctrinating the masses, particularly young people, about which “high-impact actions” will most effectively reverse global warming. But apparently, public authorities are falling short of that goal. (This will come as a surprise to anyone with school-age children, who are routinely admonished, in every subject from science to health class, about the dangers of manmade climate change.) “Textbooks overwhelmingly focused on moderate or low-impact actions, with our recommended actions mostly presented in a less effective form, or not at all,” the researchers found. “No textbook suggested having fewer children as a way to reduce emissions.” *Hint hint, McGraw-Hill*

The one-less-child policy was just one example of the study’s absurdity. Other suggestions include eating a plant-based diet, living car-free, and avoiding air travel. The paper also ranks other “low-impact” recommendations made in government guides and textbooks, such as keeping backyard chickens, letting your lawn grow longer, and hanging your clothes outside to dry. Thankfully, pet owners get a pass for now: “We originally hypothesized that two additional actions, not owning a dog and purchasing green energy, would also fit our criteria for recommended high-impact actions, but found both to be of questionable merit.”

So your life, according to the Merchants of Misery, should look something like this: stuck at home without a car, washing laundry in cold water and then clipping it on a clothesline while chasing down chickens and preparing locally grown vegetables for dinner. It’ll be just like Little House on the Prairie!

As if on cue, another study issued the following week warns about the price that extra child will pay should you be foolish and selfish enough to have one. James Hansen, known as the “father of climate-change awareness,” is the lead author of a paper published July 18 entitled, “Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions.” It’s not now sufficient to just limit CO2, we now need to remove it from the atmosphere: “Such targets now require ‘negative emissions,’ i.e., extraction of CO2 from the air.” “Continued high fossil-fuel emissions today place a burden on young people to undertake massive technological CO2 extraction if they are to limit climate change and its consequences,” the study’s authors conclude.

Hansen’s continued activism on climate and his growing hysteria about the future have nothing to do with staying relevant and everything to do with the children, of course. His latest study is intended to support a lawsuit he enjoined that was filed in 2015 by nearly two dozen young people, including his granddaughter, to sue the federal government over climate change. The lawsuit, Juliana et al. v. U.S. et al., claims that due to “the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.” A trial date has been set for February 2018.

During a hearing last fall, Hansen told a U.S. district-court judge that “this lawsuit is made necessary by the at-best schizophrenic, if not suicidal nature of U.S. climate and energy policy.”

If you think that the Merchants of Misery have a preoccupation with death, you might be right. Now a few of them are just waiting (hoping?) for so-called climate deniers to die so they can get on with their misery message unchallenged. Here’s what climate catastrophist Bill Nye, aka The Science Guy, told the L.A. Times last week:

Climate-change deniers, by way of example, are older. It’s generational. So we’re just going to have to wait for those people to “age out,” as they say. “Age out” is a euphemism for “die.” But it’ll happen, I guarantee you — that’ll happen.

People are guaranteed to die — hey, science!

So while most of us are enjoying the fleeting delights of summer, the Merchants of Misery are ratcheting up their message of death, doom, and sacrifice. No wonder people are tuning them out.

I wonder which climate scientist will tell Muslims they need to stop reproducing so much. Muslim birth rates are far higher than European birth rates.

An inconvenient truth

James Delingpole reports what climate change hysteria is really all about:

Only the abolition of property rights can save us now from the horrors of ‘climate change’, argues an Australian academic.

Dr. Louise Crabtree, a researcher at the University of Western Sydney, makes her claim in a piece for the leftist academics’ favorite online watering hole, the Conversationtitled“Can Property Survive the Great Climate Transition?”

Her question is, of course, purely rhetorical. No, apparently, it can’t:

If our cities are to become more resilient and sustainable, our systems of property need to come along for the ride.

and

We might also need to start thinking about our claims not being static but dependent on the web of relationships we are entwined in, including with non-humans. Some say that First Peoples might have a grasp of property dynamics that is more suited to the times we are entering.

So, making cities green might be the easy part. It remains to be seen whether property law and property systems are up to the task of transition.

This might sound like obscure, pseudo-academic, sub-Marxist gobbledegook. As indeed it is.

It would be nice to console ourselves that this dangerous thesis was written by a left-wing research student of no account.

Unfortunately, as Eric Worrall points out at Watts Up With That? there are people who take this woman’s lunatic redistributionary jottings seriously.

Her bio may raise the question—are we actually paying for this?:

Louise was awarded her PhD in Human Geography from Macquarie University in 2007 and has been with Western Sydney University since 2007. Her research focuses on the social, ecological and economic sustainability of community-driven housing developments in Australia; on the uptake of housing innovation in practice and policy; on complex adaptive systems theory in urban contexts; and, on the interfaces between sustainability, property rights, institutional design and democracy. Her recent and ongoing projects focus on two practical areas funded by a series of competitive research grants—community land trusts and participatory mapping methodologies. Both are being used to simultaneously foster social innovation and equity outcomes on the ground, and explore and build theory on multi-stakeholder governance, decolonisation, property law, resilience and citizenship.

But the scary part is the last bit:

Louise’s work on resilience and governance in community housing was the basis for her receipt of the inaugural Housing Minister’s Award for Early Career Researchers in 2009; in announcing the award, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek described the work as ‘crucial’.

Yes, an actual minister in the Australian government once called this drivel “crucial.”

To most of us here, property rights are not negotiable, they’re one of the pillars of Western liberal democracy.

But to many members of the green movement including this “sustainability” expert Louise Crabtree, they are negotiable. Indeed, that’s what UN’s Agenda 21 is about—wealth redistribution and the erosion of property rights in the name of saving the planet.

Climate for these people is just the pretext. Really it is—and always has been—about global governance.

The irony, as P.J. O’Rourke pointed out in one of his books, is that the capitalist West has been much more environmentally responsible than the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were. That requires an understanding of history, which apparently is unnecessary for the Gaia worshippers.

 

The end is (again) near!

Oren Cass:

Thirty-nine percent of Americans give at least 50-50 odds that “global warming will cause humans to become extinct,” according to a poll released last week by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. This extreme view, unsupported by mainstream climate science, is more widely held than the belief that climate change either is “caused mostly by natural changes in the environment” rather than human activity (30 percent), or else “isn’t happening” at all (6 percent). As if on cue, New York published a cover story on Monday entitled, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” with this grim subtitle: “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak—sooner than you think.” David Wallace-Wells’s 7,000-word article is so disconnected from reality that debunking loses its thrill within a few paragraphs. Even Michael Mann, among the most strident climate scientists, wrote on Facebook that “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it.”

Mann notes that, in his first section alone, Wallace-Wells “exaggerates” the threat of melting permafrost, while his claim about satellite data is “just not true.” The story next intones ominously about “a crack in an ice shelf [that] grew 11 miles in six days, then kept going.” But the Guardian (no climate-change denier), covering the ice-shelf crack last month, explained it differently: “What looks like an enormous loss is just ordinary housekeeping for this part of Antarctica.”

Wallace-Wells’s article is a quintessential illustration of what I have described in Foreign Affairs as “climate catastrophism.” He ignores humanity’s capacity for adapting to changes that will occur slowly over decades or centuries, inserting the classic catastrophist disclaimer in his introduction: “absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives . . .” But humanity will obviously make significant adjustments in the coming century, especially if faced with the catastrophes he posits. The qualifier undermines everything that follows, just as it did the Population Bomb and Peak Oil prognosticators of the past.

Likewise, Wallace-Wells seems not to understand that the world of future centuries will look vastly different from today’s, and that climate impacts must be understood in this context. Thus, he takes a particularly extreme warning that climate change might reduce global output 50 percent by 2100 and invites readers to “imagin[e] what the world would look like today with an economy half as big.” But the study in question is producing estimates for the world of 2100, not 2017—the loss is “relative to scenarios without climate change.” Even growing at only 2.5% annually, the global economy of 2100 would be seven times larger than today’s. Cutting that in half is a catastrophe, comparatively speaking—but still yields a dramatically wealthier world than we have today. Wallace-Wells claims to have conducted “dozens of interviews and exchanges with climatologists and researchers in related fields,” but he seemingly could not find any to go on the record validating any of his claims. He even acknowledges that the three whom he does quote—one on mitigating climate impacts, one on the history of climate science, and one on past extinctions—are all optimists about humanity’s ability to “forestall radical warming.”

The reaction among commentators to the New York article helps to explain why public attitudes tilt toward catastrophism. Farhad Manjoo, the New York Times technology writer, called it “phenomenal.” David Roberts, the Vox climate writer, deemed it “superb.” Mann was sharply critical, but nonetheless complimented Wallace-Wells as “clearly a talented” journalist. (By contrast, Mann identified no errors in my Foreign Affairsessay but called it “#Koch climate denial propaganda” and then blocked me on Twitter.)

Similarly covering criticism with endorsement, Mashable’s Andrew Freedman laments that “in several places,” Wallace-Wells “either exaggerates the evidence or gets the science flat-out wrong.” But this, in his view, is merely “unfortunate, because it detracts from a well-written, attention-grabbing piece. It’s still worth reading, but with a sharp critical eye.” At The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer reports that “at key points in his piece, Wallace-Wells posits facts that mainstream climate science cannot support” and “at other points, Wallace-Wells misstates what we know about the climate change that has already happened.” Nevertheless, writes Meyer, “this isn’t to say that his piece is worth discarding in its entirety.”

Any article that so badly mischaracterizes the state of knowledge on an issue as contentious as climate science should have been rejected for publication. New York magazine should be posting corrections, not tallying clicks.

I appeared recently on a podcast hosted by John Cook and Peter Jacobs, two specialists in “climate communication” and authors of the famous “97 percent consensus” study claiming that almost all climate scientists agree on anthropogenic global warming. I asked them whether they feel obligated to police overly catastrophic claims, or only what they call “denialism.”

“If you see it, I think it can be helpful to call out,” said Cook. “But I also think that it would be a mistake to try to do a 50-50 where you try to spend half your time debunking exaggerators and half your time debunking denial of the science because I don’t think that’s an accurate picture of what is out there in terms of distorting the science.” But if anything, today’s landscape suggests it is the exaggeration that requires the greatest attention. Scientists and journalists genuinely committed to providing the public with an accurate picture, rather than just the picture most conducive to a preferred policy agenda, have lots of work to do.

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