Month: June 2019

From Climate Change, Holy Government Deliver us!

The nearly religious appeal to government to fix the “climate problem” is childlike, even in the mouths of progressive politicians.  James L. Payne writes at the The Foundation for Economic Education How to Talk to Children about Climate Change.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

If in coming years we hope to curb the naive governmental interventions that bring so much ruin to the world, we need to address this belief in the efficacy of government.

We smile at seeing those young faces waving placards out in the rain, urging action on the problem of climate change. But our smile is tinged with frustration, with the feeling that the youngsters live in another dimension and that we don’t know how to reach them intellectually.

How They See It

The natural impulse is to want to explain how crushingly complicated is this issue. First, we point out, there is the uncertainty about the connection between human-released CO2 and storms, floods and fires, and all the other bad things that might happen. Then we want to explain that cutting down on CO2 is not easy, that everyone will have to make great sacrifices.

One has to weigh the different possible benefits that might come from stopping (or slowing) global warming against the costs of trying to counter it. This cost-benefit analysis involves a bundle of economic and moral questions. (For a good overview of the complexities of the climate change issue, read former NASA scientist Roy W. Spencer’s 2008 book Climate Confusion.) For example, would saving butterfly X from extinction (assuming we could guarantee it) counterbalance the harm done to the working poor by taking $1,000 a year from each of them in a carbon tax? And so on.

However, I think this impulse to debate the complexities of the issue is misguided. The activists do not base their position on reasoning and calculations. The Climate Kids don’t come to their demonstrations pushing wheelbarrows full of cost-benefit analyses. Most of them don’t even know what cost-benefit analysis is. More importantly, they don’t think they need to know about it.

This is because, in their way of looking at the world, it is not their responsibility to fix society’s problems. That task belongs to a higher power, to government. Their mission is simply to beseech this higher power to act. Once it decides to act, they believe, government has all the expertise needed to make the correct calculations and the ability to craft policies that solve the problem without significantly hurting anybody—well, anybody except the very rich.

We should not be all that surprised by their deep, instinctive trust of government. It is a social predisposition, one that affects all of us to some degree. The belief in government’s wisdom and power is imparted to children very early in life as an article of faith, like the belief in Santa Claus. As children grow up, they begin to notice that government has flaws and that political leaders are not as wise as originally supposed. As a result, their faith in government declines somewhat, so that by age 30, as traditional wisdom has it, most people grow somewhat skeptical about government’s ability to cure the world’s problems.

But not everyone, and especially not today’s climate activists. Faced with a staggeringly complex cost-benefit analysis that has most of us (older) folks scratching our heads, they are brimming with certainty that catastrophe is coming, and government can fix whatever is wrong.

Government Can’t Save the Planet

We were given a telling illustration of this simplistic faith earlier this year when 29-year-old US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez presented her “Green New Deal” proposal. This House resolution mentions dozens of dangers and problems that she believes to be connected with climate change, from mass migrations, wildfires, and the loss of coral reefs to declining life expectancy, wage stagnation, and the racial wealth divide.

How are these all problems to be solved? Ms. Ocasio-Cortez does not propose any specific law or regulation. She does not advocate, let’s say, a 16 percent carbon tax and assure us that, according to her calculations, this measure will save 61 percent of the coral reefs, and prevent 53 percent of wildfires while reducing the income of the poor by only 8.2 percent.

Like the schoolchildren demonstrating in the street, she leaves the task of figuring out the specific answers to a higher power. Indeed, her resolution begins with this appeal to the higher power: “It is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.” Thus runs the thoughtless faith in government, a faith so deep that even an activist who literally is the government herself looks to “government” to solve problems she can’t begin to analyze.

If in coming years we hope to curb the naive governmental interventions that bring so much ruin to the world, we need to address this belief in the efficacy of government. We need to urge our young idealists to remember that government is not a god with magical powers to fix any problem we notice but an imperfect agency composed of fallible human beings. One way to begin this conversation is to pose this question: “Given what you know about the people who have been in charge of government, is it reasonable to expect, in the future, a high level of rationality and responsibility from government?”

Dr. James L. Payne is a research fellow at the Independent Institute and author. He earned his PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, and he has taught political science at a number of universities including Yale University.

Summary

As the stool above shows, the climate change package sits on three premises. The first is the science bit, consisting of an unproven claim that observed warming is caused by humans burning fossil fuels. The second part rests on impact studies from billions of research dollars spent uncovering any and all possible negatives from warming. And the third leg is climate policies showing how governments can “fight climate change.”

As the article says, this belief in governmental problem solving is naive, even if warming since the Little Ice Age were caused by humans.  The last 1.5C of warming was a boon to humans and nature, and the next 1.5C will likely also benefit the world.  In any case, expensive, intermittent wind and solar power is the proposed solution and has proven disastrous anywhere it has been tried.  In the meantime the children are appeased by declaring a “climate emergency.”

via Science Matters

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June 1, 2019 at 10:24AM

CO2 Exonerated

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Man-made climate alarm? No – nothing to see, move along please.

Science Matters

Vijay Jayaraj makes the case for carbon emissions in relation to the question: Will My Carbon Footprint Benefit or Harm the Environment? May 28, 2019 at Cornwall Alliance. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images. (Follow the title link to the article for many supporting reference links)

My cousin in California is excited about buying a Tesla. “It is environmentally friendly” he says. Maybe you agree. My friends in India, too, are excited about buying electric cars. They think doing so will help them prevent global warming.

But the evidence suggests otherwise.

Almost every environmental policy now makes reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the only way to “go green.” Advocates have even persuaded school children to strike against fossil fuels.

But as a climate scientist, I’ve researched the pros and cons of CO2. What have I found? That our CO2 emissions will actually benefit the planet, not harm…

View original post 567 more words

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June 1, 2019 at 09:28AM

Trump Allows For Expanded Ethanol Sales As Chinese Tariffs Squeeze Farmers

From The Daily Caller

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday it would allow the year-round sale of higher ethanol gasoline.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency was fulfilling President Donald Trump’s promise to Midwestern agriculture states, which have been hit hard by retaliatory Chinese tariffs.

EPA previously restricted the sale of “E15” gasoline — fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol — in summer months over air pollution concerns. Wheeler also announced transparency measures to comply for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Midwestern lawmakers and agriculture interests cheered the news as a way to expand corn sales, which are expected to take a hit this year as China cuts U.S. crop purchases. (RELATED: Trump’s Tariffs Put Mexico In A Tough Spot. Here’s How They Could Retaliate)

“We’ll see an increased demand for corn, thus creating an economic booster for our state’s growers,” Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said in a statement.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) asks a question as U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in WashingtonSen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) asks a question as U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) asks a question as U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein.

Corn exports are forecast to fall $1.4 billion this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). China was also the third-largest destination for U.S. ethanol exports, but that trade stopped in response to tariffs on Chinese goods.

“We kind of look at it as a key that finally unlocks the door to greater demand opportunities in the long term,” Geoff Cooper, chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association, told The Wall Street Journal.

“I’d characterize this as a shot in the arm, but the farm economy and the ethanol industry are still very sick,” Cooper said.

The Trump administration has offered $28 billion in aid to farmers since 2018, including $16 billion in direct payments approved in May.

However, Trump’s appeasing agriculture interests did not go over well with refiners, environmentalists and conservative groups that have long opposed year-round E15 sales.

Environmentalists warn that selling E15 in summer could exacerbate smog pollution in parts of the country. Though, E15 supporters say higher biofuel blends improve air quality through lower tailpipe emissions.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China's Vice Premier Liu at the White House in Washington,U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China's Vice Premier Liu at the White House in Washington,

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China’s Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

Conservatives added that E15 is damaging to small engines found in outdoor equipment, like in lawn mowers, ATVs, jet skis, boats and motorcycles.

“I hope Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley know how to fix small engines. Everyone should send their ruined equipment to them,” Dan Kish, distinguished senior fellow at the Institute For Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Refiners have long opposed the federal biofuel mandate, which holds them financially accountable for compliance. The RFS was initially passed in 2005, but expanded in 2007 to mandate ever-increasing amounts of biofuels be blended into the fuel supply.

Purchasing credits, or RINs, to meet RFS mandates costs refiners billions of dollars. The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), which represents refiners, said it would sue the Trump administration.

“EPA has left us no choice but to pursue legal action to get this unlawful rule overturned,” AFPM president Chet Thompson told WSJ.

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June 1, 2019 at 08:05AM

New Proxy Data Show Northern Europe Weather Variability In Sync With Natural Factors: Solar Activity, Oceanic Cycles

Another new paper, which of course will be ignored by the government-funded IPCC because it contradicts claims CO2 drives climate, shows that natural factors dominated the earth’s climate variability.

A team of scientists led by Jerome Goslin have published a paper titled Decadal variability of north-eastern Atlantic storminess at the mid-Holocene: New inferences from a record of wind-blown sand, western Denmark in the journal Global and Planetary Change, suggesting climate variability is driven naturally.


Image: NASA, public domain

Hat-tip: NTZ reader Mary Brown

Climate change driven by solar and oceanic cycles

Not surprisingly, as evidenced by hundreds of other publications (which are entirely ignored by the IPCC), climate variability is indeed tied to solar activity and “internal atmospheric and oceanic modes”.

The authors report they found “periods of high storminess activity to be significantly correlated with solar minima and relative pluri-decadal lows in the NAO.”

In layman terms: solar and oceanic cycles play the major roles in climate variability.

Co2 as sole driver is pathetic unscientific nonsense

Taking it a step further: suggesting that these powerful natural cycles stopped driving climate some 100 years ago and claiming a few extra molecules of CO2 have since taken over the climate driver’s seat is pathetic nonsense, one that could only be sustained by a government-funded mega-billion-dollar disinformation/scare campaign.

The paper’s abstract:

Disentangling the external and internal forcing responsible for the variability of the Earth’s climate and associated extreme events over the Holocene is crucial for producing reliable scenarios of adaptation to the effects of ongoing climate change. At mid-latitudes, significant relationships between westerly storminess, solar activity and internal atmospheric and oceanic modes of variability have been repeatedly evidenced to exist over millennial and centennial time scales. However, at shorter (decadal) scale, it is still challenging to establish clear control links between the forcing mechanisms and the spatio-temporal variability of past extra-tropical storms. This probably owes to the existence of complex multi-scale relationships and feedback loops, as well as to the difficulty of producing proxy-records of sufficiently high-resolution and wide spatial significance.

Here we present a reconstruction of westerly storminess in western Denmark between 4840 and 2300 yrs. cal. B·P. Past-storminess is retrieved from an organic-rich sedimentary succession by combining markers of aeolian sand influx, μ-XRF geochemistry and plant macrofossils. Particular focus is paid to the c. 4840–4350 yrs. cal. B·P. period for which our record is characterized by a pluri-annual resolution. We evidence concurrent pluri-decadal shifts in storminess and humidity regime at our site that we interpret as relocations of the mean westerly storm-track over the North-Atlantic. The signal is dominated by ≈ 90, ≈ 50–80 and ≈ 35-yr periods, evoking possible links with solar activity, the North-Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Atlantic Multidecadal oscillation (AMO) and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) modes of variability, respectively. The ≈ 35-yr periodicity found in our record is especially strong and stationary, suggesting that storminess could have been closely linked with the AMOC over the study period. Our records of storminess indeed show some great similarities with a record of deep overflow of a branch of the AMOC. Opposite to some model outputs, the strength of the AMOC seems to have often co-varied with storminess at pluri-decadal scales over the study period. We also find periods of high storminess activity to be significantly correlated with solar minima and relative pluri-decadal lows in the NAO. We suggest that small lowering in the strength of the NAO in an otherwise positive NAO context may have caused southward relocations of the mean westerly storm-track from subpolar latitudes to northern Europe. This invites to reconsider the importance given to using the NAO as a binary index.

Finally, an attempt is made to explore the temporal lead-lag relationships between storminess and different potential forcing agents such as the Total Solar Irradiance, the NAO and the AMOC. Unfortunately, the insufficient chronological precision of the proxy-records available for the TSI, the NAO and the AMOC over the study period prevents us from deriving any robust interpretations regarding potential teleconnections at a decadal-scale between past north-Atlantic westerly storminess activity, solar forcing, the NAO and north-Atlantic surface and deep oceanic circulation.”

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June 1, 2019 at 07:38AM