Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

Warning Labels on Everything

April 29, 2018

Last month, Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed his plans to sue the oil companies for first degree murder because of their contributions to and denial of climate change.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next mission: taking oil companies to court “for knowingly killing people all over the world.”

The former California governor and global environmental activist announced the move Sunday at a live recording of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast here at the SXSW festival, revealing that he’s in talks with several private law firms and preparing a public push around the effort.

“This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that,” Schwarzenegger said. “The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.”

Schwarzenegger said he’s still working on a timeline for filing, but the news comes as he prepares to help host a major environmental conference in May in Vienna.

“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” he said. “Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”

He argues that at the very least, this would raise awareness about fossil fuels and encourage people to look to alternative fuels and clean cars.

He added, “I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”

I think that those steroids that Schwarzenegger used to bulk up have caused his brain to rot. If we were to put warning labels on every single thing that uses fossil fuels in their manufacture, we would have to put a warning label on almost every single thing. Our manufacturers absolutely depend on the electricity provided by fossil fuels. Alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar do not even come close to providing, by orders of magnitude, the energy needed to keep our economy running.

Aside from that, fossil fuels themselves are components in various industrial processes. The gasoline in our cars is not the only petroleum product we use on a daily basis. Plastic is also created from petroleum. In his article at PJMedia , Tyler O’Neil provides a short list of the sort of things that would require a warning label if Arnold had his way.

ink, upholstery, vitamin capsules, dashboards, skis, mops, umbrellas, nylon rope, shampoo, guitar strings, refrigerators, toys (LEGOs, for instance), glue, cameras, pajamas, purses, life jackets, luggage, toothbrushes, toothpaste, crayons, pillows, balloons, football helmets, footballs, roller-skate wheels, nail polish, panty hose, insect repellant, ice cube trays, trash bags, sun glasses, paint brushes, artificial limbs, perfumes, soap, shoes, slacks, DVDs, dice, surf boards, tents, telephones, drinking cups, milk jugs, Aspirin, lipstick, rubbing alcohol, shaving cream, garden hose, heart valves, hearing aids, and toilet seats.

A more complete list can be found here. I suspect that even the warning labels would be made of plastic that comes from petroleum.

This campaign against fossil fuels is, in many ways, a campaign against modernity. Before the introduction of fossil fuels and the Industrial Revolution, humanity used such renewable sources of energy as the sun, wind, and most importantly the muscles of humans and animals. Life was not a utopia in which everyone lived in harmony with the Earth. Life, for most people, was nasty, brutish and short, with only a very small elite (the 1%) living in anything resembling the comfort taken for granted by almost everyone lucky enough to live in the developed world. Fossil fuels helped make our present levels of prosperity and economic development possible. If restrictions or punitive fines and taxation make access to fossil fuels and the power and products they provide more expensive, the cost of nearly everything will increase. For a successful movie star and businessman like Arnold Schwarzenegger, this would no burden, but for those of us who are not wealthy, this campaign against fossil fuels will result in a lower standard of living,and for those still living in poverty in the developing world, increased poverty and the loss of any hope of improving their circumstances. Whatever the intentions of Green crusaders like Schwarzenegger, the policies they advance may create a sort of neo-Medieval world in which a tiny elite live in comfort while the great masses lack the necessities of life.

Of course, they may not see it that way. Implied in this crusade against fossil fuels is the idea that alternative, renewable sources of energy will be able to pick up the slack as fossil fuels are regulated and taxed out of profitability. In the long run, fossil fuels will become obsolete, probably sooner than anyone believes, but I do not think that making us all poorer will speed up the process and I am not sure that these people really want us to have cheap, abundant energy from any source. Nuclear power is the one alternative to fossil fuels that is really viable right now and the same people who want us not to use fossil fuels do not seem to be very excited by the idea of replacing our coal plants with nuclear reactors, even though that would drastically lower our carbon footprint. I sometimes wonder if it is global warming or resource depletion they are worried about, or the idea of the common deplorables having access to cheap, abundant energy.

In any case, let’s hope that Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t get anywhere with his insane lawsuit.

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Looking Out the Window

September 17, 2014

I caught this article in Rolling Stone about the looming threat of climate change and what can be done about it. As you might expect from a magazine that usually covers music, it is short on science and reason and long on alarmism. There are only a few points here and there in the article I want to mention, so I am not going over the whole thing. Feel free to follow the link if you want.

After 25 years of failed climate negotiations, it’s easy to be cynical about the upcoming talks in Paris. But there are at least three factors that make a meaningful agreement next year possible.

The first is that climate change is no longer a hypothetical problem – it’s happening in real time all around us. Droughts, floods, more destructive storms, weird weather of all sorts – just look out your window. In the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s top scientists called the fact that the Earth is warming “unequivocal” and stated that humans are the cause of it. Without dramatic action, the planet could warm up as much as 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 F) by the end of the century, which would be catastrophic. As Kerry said of a report last September, “The response must be all hands on deck. It’s not about one country making a demand of another. It’s the science itself demanding action from all of us.”

If I look out my window, I would see two relatively mild summers in a row with a brutally cold winter between them. Ought I to conclude that the planet is getting cooler? Of course not. Looking out my window tells me nothing about the state of my local climate, much less the climate of the whole world. Looking at the weather for the past year or two also doesn’t tell us very much. In any case, we have not, in fact, been having more floods, droughts, more destructive storms, or weird weather over the whole world for the last decade.

I want you to look at this graph from the Paleomap Project. It shows how the Earth’s temperature has varied over time.

globaltemp

 

The Earth’s average temperature is presently around 17° Celsius or 61° Fahrenheit. Notice that the Earth has warmed, and cooled, quite a bit more than the four degrees that is supposed to be catastrophic. Contrary to what the global warming alarmists seem to believe, the Earth has not existed at a delicate equilibrium temperature for millions of years only to be disrupted by man. The Earth is a dynamic system, which is why it is so difficult to figure out what is actually going on and to what extent human beings are responsible.

The second factor is that until now, the biggest obstacle to an international agreement to reduce carbon pollution has been the United States. But that’s starting to change. Thanks to Obama’s recent crackdown on pollution, as well as the boom in cheap natural gas, which has displaced dirty coal, carbon emissions in the U.S. are on the decline. “What the president has done is very important,” says Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. “It allows the U.S. to look at other countries and say, ‘Hey, what are you doing?'”

Well, yes. No previous president has been as willing to disrupt the American economy as much as President Obama has. Don’t look for many other world leaders to be as foolish as he is, however.

The final reason for hope, paradoxically, is China’s relentless demand for energy. China is in the midst of a profound economic and social transformation, trying to reinvent itself from an economy based on selling cheap goods overseas to an economy based on selling quality consumer goods at home, while keeping growth rates high and cutting dependence on fossil fuels. Energy demand is expected to double by 2030, and at that pace, there is not enough oil, coal and gas in the world to keep their economy humming. So China’s ongoing energy security depends on the nation developing alternative energy sources in a big way. “We need more of everything,” says Peggy Liu, a sustainability leader who works across China. “Wind, solar, a modernized grid. We need to leapfrog over the past and into a clean-energy future.”

China’s leaders are also waking up to the fact that recent decades of hypergrowth, most of it fired by coal, have exacted a steep price. Air pollution in China’s big cities is among the worst in the world; one recent report found that poor air quality contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010. As Hank Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury and longtime China observer, has put it, “What is another point of GDP worth, if dirty air is killing people?” Earlier this year, a riot broke out in Zhongtai, a town in eastern China, when protests against a new waste incinerator turned violent, leaving police vehicles torched and at least 39 people injured; in southern China, protests erupted over the construction of a coal-fired power plant. Similar clashes are increasingly frequent in China as pollution-related illnesses rise.

And it’s not just the air that’s a problem in China. More than 20 percent of the country’s farmland is polluted. Sixty percent of its groundwater supply is unfit for human consumption. Rivers are industrial sewers. Last year, 16,000 swollen and rotting dead pigs were found dumped in the Huangpu River near Shanghai.

The Chinese are not going to stop using coal. They may invest in alternative sources of energy to supplement their fossil fuel but they are not going to let their economic growth slow down just to appease Barack Obama and John Kerry. The Chinese do have an awful lot of work to do towards cleaning up their environment and actual anti-pollution laws that are actually enforced would go a long way towards improving the quality of life in China. China cannot afford to be distracted by global warming alarmism.

The second revelation is that the Paris agreement is likely to be more about money than about carbon. That is not inappropriate: Climate change is, at its base, an environmental-justice issue, in which the rich nations of the world are inflicting damage on the poor ones. One question that has always haunted climate agreements is, how should the victims be compensated? In past U.N. agreements, developed countries have promised aid to poorer nations. But in translating these general commitments into hard numbers, says Elliot Diringer, a climate-policy expert at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, “the cash flows really have never been enough.”

In Paris, they will try again. The delivery vehicle of choice is called the Green Climate Fund, which was one of the few concrete accomplishments to come out of Copenhagen. The idea is simple: Rich countries pay into the fund, the fund’s 24-member board examines proposals from developing countries for clean-energy and climate-adaptation projects, and then it awards funds to those it finds worthy.

The Green Climate Fund was born in the closing days of the Copenhagen negotiations, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to lure China and other developing nations into a deal by promising that, in exchange for agreeing to a binding cap on carbon pollution as well as outside monitoring and verification of pollution rates, rich nations like the U.S. would pledge a combined $100 billion a year to help poor nations. Many negotiators thought it was a clever (or not so clever) ploy by the U.S. to make China take the fall for the collapse of the Copenhagen deal, since it was clear that China considers emissions data a state secret and would never allow outsiders to pore through the books. But regardless of the intentions, the deal fell apart. The $100 billion promise lingered, however, and was codified in later agreements. (Although $100 billion sounds like a lot, it’s a small part of the $1 trillion a year that will be necessary to transform the energy system.)

Right now, developed nations have a long way to go to live up to Clinton’s promise. The Green Climate Fund has taken four years to get up and running, and still nobody knows if it will primarily make loans or grants. So far, only Germany has come through with a meaningful pledge, offering $1 billion over the next nine years. Stern says the U.S. is putting “a lot of blood, sweat and tears” into getting the fund set up right, and that the $100 billion a year will come from a variety of sources, including private investment. But if the point of the fund is to demonstrate the commitment of rich nations to help the poor, it will need them to make real financial commitments. “Big new public funds are not viable,” says David Victor, a climate-policy expert at the University of California, San Diego. “This could be a train wreck of false expectations.”

Here we get to the real motive behind all this, money. This is not really about climate change or the future of life on Earth. This is about “environmental justice”. Like every other time that the noun justice is modified, environmental justice has little to do which justice and more to do with a left wing agenda, in this case the transfer of money from rich nations to poor nations.

This post is getting to be too long but there is only one more paragraph to highlight.

A few hours later, Kerry and his team jet off to Afghanistan. The world is a big, complicated place, and everyone – even the most committed climate warriors like Kerry – has a lot of other things to think about beyond how much carbon we are dumping into the atmosphere. And that, in a way, is always the problem: There is always something more urgent, more immediately catastrophic to seize the attention of policymakers – and in the coming years, many of the crises that will distract us from dealing with the realities of climate change will largely have been caused by climate change. Through all these short-term emergencies, the Earth will keep warming, the droughts will get worse, food will grow scarce, ice will vanish, the seas will rise, and starting around 2030, climate change will emerge from the background and eventually become the only thing we talk about. It will be the story of the century.

We’ll see what actually happens in 2030. My guess is that we are going to be told that there is some catastrophe looming around the corner and if we don’t take immediate action, the Earth will be uninhabitable by the year 2050. I also predict that the immediate action will consist of more government control over our lives and a willingness to accept a lower standard of living. Their rhetoric hasn’t changed in the last forty years and it won’t change in the next forty years, regardless of actual events.

 

Thankfully Dictatorial

June 9, 2014

In her article in the National Journal, Lucia Graves is thankful that Barack Obama has taken “dictatorial” action with the new regulations restriction carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and in so doing has managed to solve the greatest problem in political theory.

In college classes, climate change is taught as a textbook example of where democracy fails. And there are a whole host of reasons to think America will fail on climate change: We’ve waited too long; the consequences aren’t as tangible as in other areas of policy; we’re bad at sacrificing in the short term to achieve in the long term.

President Obama, who on Monday rolled out landmark regulations for coal-fired power plants, has found a way around that age-old political problem posed by climate change and democracies, in part by acting a little bit more like a dictator. This is something he’s been skewered for on the right, with Rush Limbaugh accusing the White House of focusing on global warming just because “it offers the president opportunities to be dictatorial.”

Limbaugh is onto something, but he has it precisely backward: The decision to use executive authority is the means, not the ends. It also makes a lot of sense when it comes to global warming given Congress’s failure to pass the Waxman-Markey energy bill in 2009, and, for decades before that, to pass any sort of comprehensive climate legislation whatsoever.

Considering that a fairly large number of Americans do not place global warming high on the list of problems they want solved, it seems that democracy in America is working just fine, on this issue. Congress has not acted because there has not been much public pressure to act. What Lucia Graves really means, of course, is that democracy has failed on this issue because the public has the wrong opinion on this issue, so the problem cannot be resolved democratically. A little but of dictatorship is in order.

If a little bit of dictatorship is necessary to deal with climate change, why not with other issues? There must be quite a few problems facing this country that are difficult to resolve democratically. Consider the federal deficit. Almost everyone agrees that the federal budget ought to be balanced, yet the government continues to run a deficit every year. Most people want the government to cut spending, except for the government spending they happen to be in favor of. So, spending increases. I wonder if Lucia Graves would approve of a president who decided that since Congress cannot act to balance the budget, he will make out the budget himself without consulting with Congress. For that matter, I wonder if she would approve if President Obama’s successor simply reversed the emissions regulations with a stroke of his pen.

Progressives have been impatient with the whole concept of checks and balances at least since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, if not before. In this view, checks and balances, rather than being a safeguard against tyranny, just get in the way of the wise and benevolent Tribunes of the People from doing good for everyone. If it so happens that the people don’t really know what is good for them, all the more reason for them to be ruled by those who know better. Unfortunately, people who wield power are seldom wise and benevolent and are usually most interested in what is good for themselves, which is why the framers of the constitution put in so many checks and balances. I wish that the people who write admiringly of President Obama’s “dictatorial” actions would think about what a president they thoroughly disapprove of could do if allowed to act as a dictator. Perhaps they would be less thankful of the example he is setting.

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Global Warming Nazis

March 25, 2014

Nick Cohen at the Guardian is upset because the  British and American governments have somehow opted not to destroy their economies and permanently reduce their citizen’s standards of living on the basis of not-so-settled science. I found his column via The Right Scoop. I wouldn’t bother mentioning the column except he takes the slander “climate change denier” and doubles down on it. I have long stated that the use of this phrase is dishonest and a sign that the other side has no real facts. Cohen, obviously thinks otherwise.

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

Very well. If that is how they want to play, I’ll give it right back at them. Henceforth, anyone who asserts that manmade global warming is a problem that requires catastrophic changes to the world’s economy will be known as a Global Warming Nazi. I think the phase is entirely appropriate since the Global Warming Nazis advocate policies that will end up killing millions of people all over the world, most of them dark-skinned, and consign millions more, mostly dark-skinned, to hunger and poverty with no hope of bettering their lives. No other word will do.

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Rising Climate Change Skepticism

March 22, 2014

Walter Russel Mead wrote about the rising rate of climate change skepticism in a recent post at the American Interest. Mead is something of  a moderate environmentalist in that while he agrees with the environmentalists on many points, he is also aware that the Green’s alarmism and their playing fast and loose with the facts has caused a great deal of damage to their credibility and effectiveness. His views on global warming aka climate change are close to my own so I will quote him at length.

 

 

 

Before we go any further, let’s get something out of the way. At the most basic level, climate scientists have a very solid grasp on a relatively simple set of facts: certain gases, carbon dioxide among them, “trap” the sun’s heat in our atmosphere, much like a greenhouse’s glass. Humans have been emitting these gases at very high rates of late, and that’s a problem, because it will lead to a warmer climate and a variety of new challenges to which life on earth will have to adapt, ourselves included.

The devil is, as usual, in the details. Our climate models weren’t able to predict the recent plateau in warming over the past decade or so, a reflection of our incomplete understanding of the “fiddly bits” of Earth’s climate. The central problem here is the enormous complexity of the system we’re dealing with. Our planet is filled with many different feedback loops and relationships, some of which we understand, but many of which we remain ignorant of. Because of that, any prediction of what might happen when we ramp up one variable like carbon dioxide is going to have a significant margin of error.

But the green movement has made a habit—and for some a living—of exaggerating the dangers of climate change to justify unworkable policies. In the past this probably produced some short-term payoff in terms of public support, but over time it has weakened the credibility of not just the environmental movement but the scientific understanding that these greens claim to be advancing. This recent Gallup poll reflects a damning fact for today’s greens: Climate alarmism tops “big oil” money as the leading cause of climate skepticism.

 

A great deal of my own skepticism regarding global warming is due to the fact that actions of the people most involved in promoting the idea are not the actions of honest people who have the facts on their side. If the facts were on their side, they would feel little need to slander their opponents by referring to the as “deniers” or implying that they are all funded by Big Oil. They would not corrupt the peer review process by attempting to censor any paper that opposes their received wisdom nor would they exchange e-mails discussing the best “tricks” to “hide the decline“. They would not call for jailing people who disagree with them. They would admit that current models have done a poor job of predicting changes in climate and work to create better models instead of dismissing and contrary facts as disinformation and insisting that the science is settled.

English: Graphic illustrating the percentages ...

The American people seem to have trust issues on the subject. Why would that be? Based on Rasmussen polling of 1,000 American adults conducted July 29-30, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many who would consider the results of the Gallup poll that Mead refers to as an indication of the ignorance of the American people, especially those who live in flyover country. I think that it shows that the bitter clingers are smart enough to know a con when they see it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Calling Them Out

August 14, 2013

Ivan Frishberg sent me another e-mail asking me to call out the climate change deniers in Congress.

David —

Today, all across the country, people are telling members of Congress that it’s not OK to deny the science behind climate change.

There are 135 climate change deniers in Congress — elected officials who refuse to believe that climate change is real, manmade, and dangerous. Today, we want everyone pointing and laughing at these folks.

It’s easy to join in. Can you help by sharing something on Twitter or Facebook?

Tweet at Speaker John Boehner, the lead climate denier in Congress — and call out the climate denial.


Or share this graphic on Facebook:

Call on Speaker Boehner to stop denying the science behind climate change.
Share on Facebook

It only takes a second — but if we do our jobs, it’ll be fun to watch these climate change deniers try to explain themselves.

Keep it up and tweet right now:

http://my.barackobama.com/Do-One-Thing-for-Climate-Change-Twitter

Or share the shame of climate change deniers on Facebook:

http://my.barackobama.com/Do-One-Thing-for-Climate-Change-Facebook

Thanks,

Ivan

Ivan Frishberg
Climate Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

It seems to me that an important part of science is observation. For instance, I have observed that the high temperature on the day I write this is about 75°. This is unusually cool for Indiana in the middle of August. I am aware, of course, that one unusually cool summer does not disprove the theory of global warming, but then, if we were having an unusually hot summer, the climate change alarmists would be taking that as proof that the Earth was getting dangerously warmer.

I wonder why we are having such a cool summer. I am a little concerned. I believe I’ve said before that I would be a lot more worried if there were a worldwide cooling trend than a warming. It really wouldn’t take much of a decrease in global average temperature to affect agriculture adversely. Of course, this is only one year and I am sure next year will be more normal. In the meantime, I will enjoy the pleasant weather.

Snake Oil

June 12, 2013

Al Gore is still at it. You might think he would be just a little ashamed to be continuing to spread the gospel of global warming considering that he sold his network CurrentTV to Al Jazeera which is backed by the decidedly ungreen Kingdom of Qatar, not to mention that there has been, in fact, no warmer for the past several years, as even the New York Times is forced to admit. Recently, Gore compared the fight against global warming to World War II. I found this article in PJMedia entertaining.

Comparing “global warming” to World War II, former Vice President Al Gore said America should “mobilize” to combat climate change and put a “price on carbon pollution.”

“Even though we give FDR and the New Deal the credit for ending the Great Depression, what really ended it was World War II when we mobilized for a great national effort in which the survival of our country and our values was deemed to be at stake and when we decided to act, then we put people to work and the economy started booming like never before,” said Gore on Tuesday at Rhode Island Energy and Environmental Leaders Day sponsored by Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

“Well, this time the threat is different and it doesn’t trigger the ancient reflexes we inherited from our ancestors when they were attacked by other humans with weapons, but it is nonetheless a threat to our survival. This stuff is no joke. We’re now, we’re seeing the acceleration of this.”

Gore, who won an Academy Award for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, said he is training 800 representatives from 91 countries in Turkey this weekend on a “new version” of his global warming slideshow presentation. After the training, Gore said, they would give the presentation in their home countries.

“Even though on a population basis the cities that are most affected by sea level rise are in India and China and so forth, Bangladesh – if you look at the value of assets at risk in coastal cities, number one is Miami, number two is New York, New Jersey and we are paying the cost of carbon pollution. It is well past time that we put a price on carbon pollutio

n and not just accept the price that it extracts from us,” Gore said.

The former Tennessee senator said retrofitting U.S. buildings and infrastructure would create more jobs and lower “global warming pollution.”

“It’s a huge fork in the road, huge choice that we have to make and if we mobilize the way we should, if we put a price on carbon and get the signals correct in the economy, then we’re going to put many millions of people to work installing the solar, installing the wind, reconfiguring buildings with more insulation,” Gore said.

“We can save 90 percent of the energy saved being used in most buildings – 25 to 30 percent of all the global warming pollution in the world comes from poorly insulated, poorly constructed buildings. The retrofitting of our buildings and our infrastructure, that’s the way to create jobs and the installation of the renewable energy systems.”

Pollution can be defined as “The contamination of air, water, or soil by substances that are harmful to living organisms.” Carbon dioxide in a naturally occurring substance in the Earth’s atmosphere and is necessary for life on Earth. Carbon dioxide, therefore, cannot be considered pollution. It makes just as much sense to complain of oxygen pollution.

Of course, it is the dosage that makes the poison and an Earth with substantially less carbon dioxide would be a frozen wasteland, while an Earth with a much greater level

English: Al Gore's Hearing on Global Warming

Just shut up Al (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

would be too hot for comfort. Still, the amount of carbon dioxide and the Earth’s temperature has varied somewhat over the ages without catastrophic results. There have been long eras with higher temperatures than present in which life has flourished.

I am pleased to see that Al Gore admits that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal did not end the Great Depression. Roosevelt did not really know what he was doing and it is likely that his policies made matters worse. To be fair, no one knew what to do about the depression and the different varieties of socialism that were fashionable at the time helped to make the 1930s  a lost decade in terms of world economic growth. Roosevelt was also worried about his chance of re-election as 1936 approached and tried to out-demogoguethe socialist populists like Huey Long and Father Coughlin. This did not help inspire economic confidence. By 1940, Roosevelt had begun to see that his antagonistic attitude toward business was making an economic recovery almost impossible. Since World War II had begun and it was obvious that America would eventually enter the war, he eased back on many New Deal policies.

The war did stimulate the American economy, but it doesn’t say much for Roosevelt’s policies that something as destructive and inefficient as war did a better job at promoting economic growth. In general, war is a terrible and wasteful way to stimulate a nation’s economy. Resources get used to make weapons, ships, tanks, or planes which are blown up or end up at the bottom of the ocean. Economic efficiency must make way for military necessity. People get killed. Aside from the horror of many deaths, there is also the loss of the talent and skills those killed in war could better have used in peacetime. If Al Gore is proposing that we undertake a massive, national effort to waste and squander resources on green energy that could better be deployed more efficiently, as the market decides, than he is simply a fool and a fraud. He really needs to stop selling the snake oil.

Global Warming and the Lizard People

April 8, 2013

I had another point to make about the poll I referred to the other day but I thought it would distract attention from my discussion of the Anti-Christ, and anyway the post was getting to be long enough. Let me quote the article again.

It’s official: Americans love their conspiracy theories. Public Policy Polling asked voters to weigh in on 20 more infamous ones, and the results show that a not-insignificant number of people believe that President Obama is the anti-Christ (13%), Big Foot exists (14%), and the planet is secretly ruled by the New World Order (28%). Four percent think our societies are actually ruled by “lizard people.”

  • 21% believe the government covered up a UFO crash in Roswell; 29% believe in aliens
  • 6% believe Osama bin Laden is alive
  • 5% think Paul McCartney has been dead for decades
  • 15% think there’s mind-control technology hidden in TV signals
  • 37% think global warming is a hoax
  • 7% think the moon landing was faked
  • 15% think Big Pharma develops new diseases as a way to make money
  • 14% see the CIA’s hand in the 1980s crack epidemic

If you look carefully, you will notice that one of these crazy conspiracy theories is not like the others in terms of plausibility. It is insane to believe that lizard people rule the world or the CIA distributed crack to minority neighborhoods. It is more than a little silly to believe that Bigfoot exists or the Moon landing is a fraud. These sorts of things are possible, but the available evidence is against their being true. The belief that the New World Order or the Trilateral Commission secretly rules the world seems like paranoia, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to watch any group of powerful people who meet on a regular basis.

What about the idea that global warming is a hoax? Well, given that the behavior of some of the principal proponents of the idea that man made global warming will lead to catastrophic results has been less than honest in their dealings with the public and given that at least some of these proponents seem to have a political agenda that is quite unrelated to any scientific evidence, it does not seem that the theory that global warming (or is it climate change or climate catastrophe or climate chaos?) is a hoax is quite in the same league as these others.

To be fair, I am not sure if the scientists at the Climate Research Institute and elsewhere were consciously engaging in fraud. Their misbehavior may be more due to self-deception, wishful thinking and shoddy scientific technique. They did not take Richard Feyman’s advice.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you   easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful aboutthat. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.

Instead of presenting the facts the best way they could, too many decided the matter was so important that they had to be alarmist. If global warming is a real threat, then they harmed their cause considerably.

When you consider the business people and politicians who stand to profit from this sort of alarmism, would be carbon credit billionaires and world leaders who will leap at any excuse to gain more power for themselves (Yes, I have Al Gore in mind), then perhaps hoax is not too strong a word to use.

Of course, the idea here is to associate people who are unconvinced by any lack of evidence for global warming with crazy people who believe that the lizard people rule the world.

The fact that 37% of the people in a poll believe that global warming is a hoax does not, of course, make it a hoax. But then, listing the idea that global warming is a hoax with a group of less plausible ideas does not make disbelief in global warming less plausible. One hurricane, however strong, does not prove that the world is getting warmed, nor was Sandy unprecedented in its size and destructiveness. Sandy was a category 3 hurricane, while the highest rating is category 5. There have been worse tropical storms in the Atlantic.

Hurricane Sandy was the largest hurricane on record as far as actual diameter, as well as the second most destructive in terms of property damage, with 2005’s  Hurricane Katrina causing the most property damage. You have to consider, however, that coasts are more developed today than they were decades ago and property is worth more, not to mention that both these storms struck urban areas in the United States.

I suppose that it is too much to ask that a television meteorologist be familiar with logic and the scientific method though.

 

The World Was Warmer

July 12, 2012
Dendrochronology

Dendrochronology (Photo credit: fdecomite)

I have been criticizing the Global Warming advocates of making exaggerated claims beyond what the data might warrant, but now I suppose I ought to take on the other side. I am referring to the article I read in the Daily Mail titled Tree-ring study Proves that Climate was Warmer. In fact, from what I read, the study does no such thing. You cannot, in fact, prove what the temperatures were a thousand years ago unless someone invents a time machine and takes thermometers into the past to measure them.

How did the Romans grow grapes in northern England? Perhaps because it was warmer than we thought.

A study suggests the Britain of 2,000 years ago experienced a lengthy period of hotter summers than today.

German researchers used data from tree rings – a key indicator of past climate – to claim the world has been on a ‘long-term cooling trend’ for two millennia until the global warming of the twentieth century.

This cooling was punctuated by a couple of warm spells.

These are the Medieval Warm Period, which is well known, but also a period during the toga-wearing Roman times when temperatures were apparently 1 deg C warmer than now.

They say the very warm period during the years 21 to 50AD has been underestimated by climate scientists.

Lead author Professor Dr Jan Esper of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz said: ‘We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low.

‘This figure we calculated may not seem particularly significant, however it is not negligible when compared to global warming, which up to now has been less than 1 deg C.’

In general the scientists found a slow cooling of 0.6C over 2,000 years, which they attributed to changes in the Earth’s orbit which took it further away from the Sun.

The study is published in Nature Climate Change.

It is based on measurements stretching back to 138BC.

The finding may force scientists to rethink current theories of the impact of global warming

Professor Esper’s group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC.

In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling.

I suppose that I should take into consideration that this is an article intended for a popular audience on a newspaper’s website and I am sure the authors of this study were more nuanced in the papers they wrote. Still, a more accurate headline might read “Study based on assumptions on the relation of tree-rings to temperature and climate infers that Europe, and possible the entire world was warmer in the past”. But, maybe they would have trouble fitting all that in.

The study seems to be a very extensive one and considering that there are other lines of evidence that show a warmer Earth at these times, the Romans growing grapes in Britain and the Vikings being able to colonize Greenland and Vinland, I really don’t have any doubt that their conclusions are accurate. I would like to emphasize, however, how tentative any such studies actually are.

By the way, if the Earth really is in a long term trend toward cooler weather, should we be worried about a new ice age? As I have said before, I would be a lot more worried about global cooling than I would about global warming. After all, the glaciers weren’t that far north of where I am sitting during the last ice age.

 

Climate Change

December 3, 2011

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed it yet, but it seems to me that the weather has been getting colder for the last month or so. I think we may be in for another ice age, no doubt caused by CO2 emissions or something. We have to put together a world-wide treaty protocol that will destroy the world’s economy in order to prevent this coming climate catastrophe.

I have also noticed that the days seem to be shorter lately. I wonder if maybe the sun is going out.


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