Friday, March 24, 2017

The New York Times goes full Duranty on CO2 Scaremongering

Duranty was the lying Soviet-era reporter for the NYT.

What makes a newspaper take it upon itself to foist propaganda on to children? This recent article in the New York Times contains lesson-plan instructions on how to indoctrinate youngsters in Climate Alarm Orthodoxy. It hardly needs Fisking, the bias is so blatant, the intention so obvious. When will it ever end?

Comment from Lubos Motl:

"In the 1980s, we thought that some of our Communist-era education was biased and manipulative. But it has never reached more than 1% of what these two individuals propose - which is a full Orwell 1984. It's just incredible if Trump is paying teachers who are actually willing to do things like that. They should hear "You're Fired" within minutes"

Excerpt from the article:

The New York Times recently published an eight-part series exploring how climate change is displacing people around the world. This series travels from a lake that disappeared in Bolivia, to a Pacific island nation slowly being swallowed by the ocean, to an Alaska town threatened by increased flooding and erosion. Other articles detail climate change’s effects in China, Africa and the mainland United States.

Working in pairs or small groups, students can examine different articles and report back to the class, either through a jigsaw activity or class presentations. To prepare, they can take notes on and discuss the following questions:

 *  How has global climate change affected the local climate and geography of the region discussed in your article?
 *  How have these changes affected the people living there?
 *  How have the people tried to adapt to climate change’s effects?
 *  All of these articles include images which were selected to have an impact on the reader. What do these images show? Which image is the most powerful? Describe it and discuss what makes it an effective image.
 *  Why is this story important for the world to know?

Here’s the home page for the Carbon’s Casualties series, and you can see links to the individual articles below.
Carbon’s Casualties

Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world.

You might consider including one additional article, not in the series, as part of the activity. In “Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun,” Justin Gillis reports on the pressure that increased flooding is placing on communities in the United States, from Virginia to Florida.

After students have presented what they learned from their article, you can encourage them to make connections between the various articles by posing the following prompts, either in writing or verbally:

 *  What are some links or connections that you heard between the various articles in terms of the impact of climate change?
 *  What do you know now about climate change that you didn’t know before?


The social cost of carbon regulations

Anti-fossil fuel SCC relies on garbage models, ignores carbon benefits and hurts the poor

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

“If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy,” Bill Gates has said. “Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” World Bank VP Rachel Kyte and Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen agree.

The UN Development Program also calls energy “central to poverty reduction.” And International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol notes that “coal is raising living standards and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” In fact, all fossil fuels are doing so.

Indeed, fossil fuels created the modern world and the housing, transportation, other technologies and living standards so many of us take for granted. They are essential for electricity and life, and over the past 250 years they more than doubled average life expectancy in countries that took advantage of them.

But the Obama Administration and radical environmentalists despise fossil fuels and used every tactic they could devise to eliminate them. One of their most important schemes was the “social cost of carbon.”

Federal agencies used the SCC to calculate the “hidden costs” of carbon dioxide emissions associated with fossil fuel use, by assigning a dollar value to every ton of CO2 emitted by power plants, factories, homes, vehicles and other sources. However, the entire process was little more than junk science and Garbage In-Garbage Out forecasting.

First, each ton of U.S. emissions averted would initially have prevented a hypothetical $25/ton in global societal costs allegedly resulting from dangerous manmade climate change: less coastal flooding and tropical disease, fewer droughts and extreme weather events, for example. But within three years regulators arbitrarily increased the SCC to around $40/ton.

That made it easier to justify the Clean Power Plan, Paris climate agreement, and countless Obama Era actions on electricity generation, fracking, methane, pipelines, vehicle mileage and appliance efficiency standards, livestock operations, carbon taxes, and wind, solar and biofuel mandates and subsidies.

Second, the supposed bedrock for the concept is the now rapidly shifting sands of climate chaos theory. New questions are arising almost daily about data quality and manipulation, the degree to which carbon dioxide affects global temperatures, the complex interplay of solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces, and the inability of computer models to predict temperatures, sea level rise or hurricanes.

Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures rapidly fell back almost to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Met Office and other experts. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years. Nor are other predicted disasters happening in the real world.

That means the very notion that U.S. emissions impose major climate costs is increasingly indefensible. Moreover, developing nations are burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide at many times the U.S. rate; that means even eliminating their use in America would have no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels.

Third, the SCC scheme blames American emissions for supposed costs worldwide (even though U.S. CO2 emissions are actually declining). It incorporates almost every conceivable cost of oil, gas and coal use on crops, forests, coastal cities, property damage, “forced migration,” and human health, nutrition and disease. However, it utterly fails to mention, much less analyze, tremendous and obvious carbon benefits.

That violates a 1993 Bill Clinton executive order requiring that federal agencies assess both benefits and costs of proposed regulations. It is also irrational, and completely contrary to human experience.

Fossil fuels created the modern world and lifted billions out of destitution and disease. They supply over 80% of the energy that powers United States and other modern civilizations; they will continue doing so for decades to come. They generate up to $70 trillion in annual global GDP.

Using readily available data on global living standards, economies, disease, nutrition, life spans and other benefits – and the government’s own SCC cost figures and methodologies – we estimate that carbon benefits exceed costs by orders of magnitude: at least 50 to 1 and as much as 500 to 1!

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that fossil fuels will provide 75-80% of worldwide energy through 2040 – when the total amount of energy consumed will be at least 25% greater than today. That means these notable benefit-cost ratios will continue. The Obama Era SCC ignores all of this, too.

Fourth, SCC schemes likewise impute only costs to carbon dioxide emissions. However, as thousands of scientific studies verify, rising levels of this miracle molecule are “greening” the Earth – reducing deserts, and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition. No matter which government report or discount rate is used, asserted social costs of more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere are infinitesimal compared to its estimated benefits.

Fifth, government officials claim they can accurately forecast damages to the world’s climate, economies, civilizations, populations and ecosystems from U.S. carbon dioxide emissions over the next three centuries. They say we must base today’s energy policies, laws and regulations on those forecasts.

The notion is delusional and dangerous. The rate of change in energy generation and other technologies has become exponential over the past several decades, with forecasting ability declining at an equal rate. Uncertainties over man and nature-driven climate changes during the next 300 years are equally colossal. Combining all the SCC assumptions, methodologies, fabrications and omissions, and injecting its absurd predictions into high-speed computer models, just means bogus forecasts are generated more quickly.

Finally, the most fundamental issue isn’t even the social cost of carbon. It is the costs inflicted on society by anti-carbon regulations. Those rules replace fossil fuel revenues with renewable energy subsidies; reliable, affordable electricity with unreliable power that costs two to three times as much; and mines, drill holes, cropland and wildlife habitats with tens of millions of acres of wind, solar and biofuel “farms.”

Anti-carbon rules are designed to drive energy de-carbonization and modern nation de-industrialization. Perhaps worst, their impacts fall hardest on poor, minority and blue-collar families. Those families spend proportionately three to ten times more of their incomes on energy than families earning $50,000 to $250,000 a year. They have little discretionary income and face the greatest risk of having their electricity cut off – as happened to 330,000 families during 2015 in ultra-green Germany. Worldwide, billions of people still do not have electricity – and the SCC would keep them deprived of its benefits.

Bureaucrats, activists, scientists and corporate rent-seekers certainly welcome the SCC mumbo-jumbo. They have profited the most from the countless billions that Obama regulatory agencies lavished on them every year, and from the tens of billions that Mr. Obama stashed in dozens of agencies, programs and crannies throughout the government, so they couldn’t easily be found or cut.

Above all, they would profit massively from the $93 trillion that the Financial Stability Board’s climate task force says the world must spend in low-carbon infrastructure programs over the next 15 years, as part of the Obama-UN-FSB-Climate Crisis, Inc. plan to de-carbonize and de-industrialize the planet.

Taxpayers, consumers and families would be hammered if the Climate Cabal got even more power over energy policies, economic growth, livelihoods and living standards. Thankfully, eliminating the social cost of carbon and programs implemented under it requires little more than applying the same rules and standards that government regulators have imposed on Volkswagen, Fiat and Wall Street dishonesty.

That is why the Trump Administration is challenging the SCC, climate cataclysm deception, and the bloated EPA budget behind so much of it. It’s why the House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees held a hearing on the SCC, and why we and other experts will eviscerate it during the upcoming Heartland Institute 12th International Climate Conference in Washington, DC.

It’s time to rescind and defund the SCC – and replace it with honest, objective cost-benefit analyses.

Via email

How Leonardo DiCaprio Can Persuade Me on Climate Change

You probably know that actor Leonardo DiCaprio is a climate activist, and he is trying to persuade the world that climate change is both real and serious. Someone asked me on Twitter what it would take for DiCaprio (for example) to persuade a person like me.

I’ll take a swing at that.

For starters, you must separate the questions of real and serious. The real part refers to the climate models. The serious part refers to economic models. Those are different topics.

If you want to convince me that climate change is real, the best approach is to abandon the current method that packages climate models in a fashion that is identical to well-known scams. (Or hoaxes, if you prefer.)

Let me say this doubly-clear. When I say climate models are packaged in a fashion that is identical to known scams, I am not saying they are scams. I’m saying they are packaged to look exactly like scams. There is no hope for credibility with that communication plan.

To make my point visual, imagine walking into your kitchen and finding an intruder wearing a ski mask and holding a gun. You assume this person is not your friendly neighbor because he is packaged exactly like an armed burglar. If you shoot that intruder, and it turns out to be your neighbor playing a prank, you probably won’t go to jail because it isn’t your fault. The problem was that your neighbor packaged himself to look exactly like an armed burglar.

Climate scientists tell us that there are hundreds of climate models, all somewhat different. I assume that most of them do a good job predicting the past (hindcasting) because otherwise they would not be models at all. Hindcasting is one minimum requirement for being a model in this field, I would assume.

Then science ignores the models that are too far off from observed temperatures as we proceed into the future and check the predictions against reality. Sometimes scientists also “tune” the models to hindcast better, meaning tweaking assumptions. As a non-scientists, I can’t judge whether or not the tuning and tweaking are valid from a scientific perspective. But I can judge that this pattern is identical to known scams. I described the known scams in this post.

And to my skeptical mind, it sounds fishy that there are dozens or more different climate models that are getting tuned to match observations. That doesn’t sound credible, even if it is logically and scientifically sound. I am not qualified to judge the logic or science. But I am left wondering why it has to sound exactly like a hoax if it isn’t one. Was there not a credible-sounding way to make the case?

Personally, I would find it compelling if science settled on one climate model (not dozens) and reported that it was accurate (enough), based on temperature observations, for the next five years. If they pull that off, they have my attention. But they will never convince me with multiple models. That just isn’t possible.

If climate scientists want their climate predictions to be believed, they need to vote on the best model, and stick with it for a few years. If they can’t do that, all I will see is lots of blind squirrels in a field of nuts. Some squirrels will accidentally find some nuts. But it won’t look like science to me because of the way it is packaged.

I do realize that picking one model as the “best” is not something science can do with comfort. It would feel dishonest, I assume, since they don’t know which one will perform best. But if science wants to be persuasive, they need to pick one model. And it needs to be accurate(ish) for the next five years. Nothing else would be persuasive to me.

On the second point, about how serious the alleged problem of climate change is, we have to rely not on scientists but on economists. And economists have zero credibility for long-term forecasts of that type. So the serious part is beyond the reach of persuasion. You can’t get there from here because economic models are no more credible than astrology.

By the way, my educational background is in economics and business. And for years, my corporate jobs involved making complex financial projections about budgets. In other words, I was perpetuating financial fraud within the company, by order of my boss. He told me to pretend my financial projections were real, and I did. But they were not real. My predictions were in line with whatever my boss told me they would be. I “tuned” my assumptions until I got my boss’s answer.

When I tell you it would be hard to convince me that a stranger’s economic model is credible, keep my experience in mind. I’ve seen lots of economic models. I’ve built economic models. In my experience, they are nothing but guesses, bias, and outright fraud.

The only way to convince me that climate change is bad for the economy is to wait until it starts breaking things. If I see it, and scientists agree I am seeing it, I might believe it. But long-term economic predictions can’t get me there.

I remind you that my topic is about persuasion, not the underlying truth of climate change. I don’t have access to the underlying truth because I am not a scientist working in the field. My information comes from strangers that tell me their interpretation of what the scientists are saying. I am as far from science as you can get.

The people who are hallucinating the hardest on this topic are the non-scientists who believe they have done a deep dive into the scientific papers and the climate models and arrived at a rational conclusion. The illusion here is that getting information from other humans is the same as “science.”

Another group of hallucinators believe that they can determine the scientific truth of climate change by counting the number of scientists on each side. But that ignores the fact that science often has the majority on the wrong side. That happens every time a new idea is starting to replace an old one. Darwin did not agree with the consensus when he introduced evolution. Einstein’s ideas were slow to catch on, etc.

When the majority of scientists are on one side, what matters most is the flow rate from one side to the other, not the raw numbers. I need to know which direction the scientists are moving. Are more climate scientists moving toward climate skepticism or away from it? Give me that data and I’ll have something useful. But counting the number on each side during one slice of time is meaningless for persuasion.

My point is that Leonardo DiCaprio would have a tough time persuading me that climate science is both real and serious. But it isn’t his fault, because science has packaged climate science to look like a hoax, and sent him out to sell it. I respect and admire DiCaprio for his heart on this matter, and his effort on behalf of the planet. But science has failed him by giving him hoax-looking sales collateral.


Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy

President Trump is poised in the coming days to announce his plans to dismantle the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy, while also gutting several smaller but significant policies aimed at curbing global warming.

The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change. The timing and exact form of the announcement remain unsettled, however.

The executive actions will follow the White House’s release last week of a proposed budget that would eliminate climate change research and prevention programs across the federal government and slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, more than any other agency. Mr. Trump also announced last week that he had ordered Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, to revise the agency’s stringent standards on planet-warming tailpipe pollution from vehicles, another of Mr. Obama’s key climate change policies.

While the White House is not expected to explicitly say the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and people familiar with the White House deliberations say Mr. Trump has not decided whether to do so, the policy reversals would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions reduction goals set by the Obama administration under the international agreement.

In an announcement that could come as soon as Thursday or as late as next month, according to people familiar with the White House’s planning, Mr. Trump will order Mr. Pruitt to withdraw and rewrite a set of Obama-era regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, according to a draft document obtained by The New York Times. The Obama rule was devised to shut down hundreds of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants and freeze construction of new coal plants, while replacing them with vast wind and solar farms.

The draft also lays out options for legally blocking or weakening about a half-dozen additional Obama-era executive orders and policies on climate change.

At a campaign-style rally on Monday in the coal-mining state of Kentucky, Mr. Trump told a cheering audience that he is preparing an executive action that would “save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work.”

Experts in environmental law say it will not be possible for Mr. Trump to quickly or simply roll back the most substantive elements of Mr. Obama’s climate change regulations, noting that the process presents a steep legal challenge that could take many years and is likely to end up before the Supreme Court.

Economists are skeptical that a rollback of the rules would restore lost coal jobs because the demand for coal has been steadily shrinking for years.

The policy reversals also signal that Mr. Trump has no intention of following through on Mr. Obama’s formal pledges under the Paris accord, under which nearly every country in the world submitted plans detailing actions to limit global warming over the coming decade.

Under the accord as it stands, the United States has pledged to reduce its greenhouse pollution about 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That can be achieved only if the United States not only implements the Clean Power Plan and tailpipe-pollution rules, but also tightens them or adds more policies in future years.

“The message clearly is, ‘We won’t do what the United States has promised to do,’” Mr. Molina said.

In addition to directing Mr. Pruitt to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the draft order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request that a federal court halt consideration of a 28-state lawsuit against the regulation. The case was argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in September, and the court is expected to release a decision in the coming months on whether to uphold or strike down the rule.

According to the draft, Mr. Trump is also expected to announce that he will lift a moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands that had been announced last year by the Obama administration.

He is also expected to order White House economists to revisit an Obama-era budgeting metric known as the social cost of carbon. Economists and policy makers used the metric to place a dollar cost on the economic impact of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution: about $36 per ton. That measure formed the Obama administration’s economic justification for issuing climate change regulations that would harm some industries, such as coal mining, noting that those costs would be outweighed by the economic benefits of preventing billions of tons of planet-warming pollution.

Eliminating or lowering the social cost of carbon could provide the Trump administration the economic justification for putting forth less-stringent regulations.

The draft order would also rescind an executive order by Mr. Obama that all federal agencies take climate change into account when considering any form of environmental permitting.

Unlike the rollback of the power plant and vehicle regulations, which could take years and will be subject to legal challenges, Mr. Trump can make the changes to the coal mining ban and undo Mr. Obama’s executive orders with the stroke of a pen.

White House staff members and energy lobbyists who work closely with them say they have been expecting Mr. Trump to make the climate change announcements for weeks, ever since Mr. Pruitt was confirmed to head the E.P.A. on Feb. 17, but the announcement has been repeatedly rescheduled. The delays of the one-page announcement have largely been a result of disorganization and a chaotic policy and planning process, said people familiar with that process who asked to speak anonymously to avoid angering Mr. Trump.

“To undo the rule, the E.P.A. will now have to follow the same procedure that was followed to put the regulations in place,” said Mr. Lazarus, pointing to a multiyear process of proposing draft rules, gathering public comment and forming a legal defense against an expected barrage of lawsuits almost certain to end up before the Supreme Court.

But he can suspend application of the rule while the lawsuits go on -- JR


Look out when science and politics tell us the future

Comment from Australia

A growing mood of catastrophism is enveloping our more serious newspapers as the cost of anthropogenic change to the business climate bites.

A decade of ill-judged environmental and energy policy has exacted a terrible toll on the national economy. There is little chance of the investment needed to rid South Australia of its basket-case status while the government is unable to guarantee a stable power supply. Across the country, household electricity prices have more than doubled in less than a decade, and gas is running out on the eastern seaboard.

A decade ago, Australia enjoyed an efficient and reliable energy market and some of the cheapest power in the world. Hubristic government intervention has changed that and the damage could take decades to repair.

The politicisation of the global warming debate began almost 30 years ago with the 1988 climate change conference in Toronto. It was the start of a series of international gatherings, each larger than the last, with escalating apocalypticism and ever more strident demands for action.

The hyper-dramatisation of the millennial drought and the release of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth set the stage for Kevin Rudd to declare climate change our greatest moral challenge.

“There are two stark choices,” Rudd said in an extraordinary speech in late 2009, “action or inaction.” A pedant might describe it as a single choice constructed around a false dilemma, but his rhetorical point was made.

His government, naturally, would choose action since in modern progressive politics the urge to do something is stronger than the imperative to assess the likely consequences of the thing they are intending to do.

Time has helped illuminate the dewy-eyed naivety of the climate change policy Rudd took to the 2007 election. Ineffectiveness is one thing; the damage caused by the unintended consequences is quite another.

By setting a 20 per cent renewable energy target for 2020, the government privileged the suppliers of intermittent energy — wind and solar — over sources of energy capable of producing a reliable supply.

The costs of the scheme were seriously underestimated. The myth was allowed to percolate that renewable energy was free.

If we thought we’d been let off the hook when the Abbott government scrapped the carbon tax, we were wrong. The collective weight of government interventions, large and small, driven by compassion for the planet, has made us poorer than we would otherwise be. The Garnaut report in 2008 spoke of the massive economic transformation required to adapt to a carbon-constrained future but greatly underestimated the cost.

Its logic was obscure and its economic modelling so ambitious that it was frankly unbelievable. Treasury had forecast Australia’s gross national product for the next 92 years, yet one has only to read old budget papers to realise that their modelling breaks down over four.

Today the Garnaut report, with its lofty, theoretical arguments, reads like a brilliant postgraduate thesis. As a blueprint for government policy, however, it is dangerously flawed.

Yet by 2008 science and politics had become indistinguishable. Science provided the justification for political action; politics provided the grants that sent science heading along a single track.

Some say the politicisation of climate change picked up where the Cold War left off. There are certainly parallels: Marxism, according to Friedrich Engels, was scientific socialism; its theories supposedly held to an empirical standard, based on the methodical observation of history.

Once you understood — or thought you understood — the rules according to which human beings operated, you could build a perfect society and create economic order from chaos. There was no room for dispute because the science was settled; authoritarianism was its natural consequence.

The science of global warming offered the intellectuals another chance to organise the world as they wanted it to be, to take charge of human affairs and to bypass the irksome process of democracy. It was a global problem that called for global action.

It was an opportunity to settle old scores by re-fighting the lost battle of the Cold War: the fight against free markets. It justified a new technocratic world order, constructed in the spirit of Thomas Paine: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” And they weren’t shy to admit it. As Christine Figuerres, executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, put it in 2015: “This is first time in the history of mankind that we set ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

From the perspective of free-market liberals, this is bound to end in tears. The massive collective interventions that have distorted the energy market are choking the economy in the 21st century, as surely as socialist interventions did in the 1990s.

An ideological commitment to address market failure has resulted in something worse: non-market failure. Australia is running short of baseload electrical power, but the disincentives for investing are large.

So the South Australian government now talks of taking electricity generation back into public ownership. Others talk about subsidising baseload power plants from the public purse, falling back on the industrial welfare habit.

It all makes perfect sense to the technocrats and central planners.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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