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GIGO-based energy and climate policies

Paul Driessen's picture
Senior Policy Analyst Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Heartland Institute

PAUL DRIESSEN is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Heartland Institute, public policy institutes that promote...

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  • Mar 8, 2017
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Things are never quiet on the climate front.

After calling dangerous manmade climate change a hoax and vowing to withdraw the USA from the Paris agreement, President Trump has apparently removed language criticizing the Paris deal from a pending executive order initiating a rollback of anti-fossil-fuel regulations, to help jumpstart job creation.

Meanwhile, EPA Administration Scott Pruitt says he expects quick action to rescind the Clean Power Plan, a central component of the Obama Era’s war on coal and hydrocarbons. The US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is reopening its investigation into NOAA’s mishandling or tampering with global temperature data, for a report designed to promote action in Paris in 2015.

Hundreds of scientists signed a letter urging President Trump to withdraw from the UN climate agency. They warn that efforts to curtail carbon dioxide emissions are not scientifically justified and will kill jobs and exacerbate US and international poverty without improving the environment or stabilizing climate.

Hundreds of other scientists told Mr. Trump he must not waver on climate stabilization efforts or make any moves to defund government or university climate research. Hundreds of businessmen and investors told the President failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk.

Over in Britain, Members of Parliament say efforts to build a low-carbon economy have led to a 58% rise in electricity prices since 2006, sending manufacturing and jobs overseas, to countries that are under no obligation to reduce fossil fuel use or CO2 emissions. MPs are also angry that carefully hidden “green subsidies” will account for nearly one-fourth of sky-high residential electricity bills by 2020.

All of this is a valuable reminder that the Climate Crisis & Renewable Energy Industry is now a $1.5-trillion-a-year business! And that’s just for its private sector components, the corporate rent-seekers.

This monstrous price tag does not include the Big Green environmentalism industry, the salaries and pensions of armies of federal, state, local, foreign country and UN bureaucrats who create and coordinate climate and renewable energy programs, or the far higher electricity and motor fuel costs that businesses and families must pay, to cover the costs of “saving people and planet from climate ravages.”

Earth’s climate is likely changing somewhere, as it has throughout planetary and human history. Our fuel use and countless other human activities may play a role, at least locally – but their role is dwarfed to near irrelevance by powerful solar, oceanic, cosmic ray and other natural forces. Moreover, real-world ice, sea level, temperature, hurricane, drought and other observations show nothing outside historic fluctuations. Unprecedented disasters exist only in the realm of hypotheses, press releases and computer models.

So there is no reason to cede control over our livelihoods and living standards to politicians, activists and bureaucrats; replace reliable, affordable fossil fuel energy with expensive, unreliable renewables; destroy millions of jobs in the process; and tell billions of impoverished people they must be content with solar ovens, solar panels, wind turbines, and health, nutrition and living standards little better than today’s.

There is no reason to honor the document that President Obama unilaterally signed in Paris. As Dr. Steve Allen observed in a masterful analysis: “The decisive action promised in the treaty that is not a treaty consists of governments, most of them run by dictators and thieves, promising, on an honor system, to take steps of their own choosing, to change future weather patterns, and then coming up with ways by which they can measure their own progress and hold themselves accountable by their own standards for the promises they have made, on penalty of no punishment if they break their word.”

Mainly, Allen continues, the Paris con is about “taking money from taxpayers and consumers and businesspeople and electricity ratepayers, and giving it to crony capitalists; and taking money from people in relatively successful countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries, to benefit governing elites.”

India alone wants hundreds of billions of dollars in climate “adaptation and reparation” money from industrialized nations that are supposed to slash their fossil fuel use, CO2 emissions and economic growth, while pouring trillions into the Green Climate Fund. Meanwhile, India, China and other rapidly developing nations are firing up hundreds of coal-fueled power plants, burning more oil and gas, and emitting more CO2, to industrialize their countries and lift their people out of abject poverty – as well they should.

So just follow the money – and power-grabbing. That is the real source of the religious fervor, the Catechism of Climate Cataclysm, behind the vehement denunciations of President Trump for having the gall to threaten the global high priests who drive and profit from climate change fear mongering.

Those forces are desperate and determined to keep their power and money train on track. They’re ramping up indignation and cranking out “research” to justify their demands. For example:

Expert Market (whose core expertise is helping companies compare prices for postage meters, coffee machines and other B2B products) has just released a study purporting to show which US states will suffer most “from Trump’s climate change denial” and America’s “climate change inaction.”

The total cost will be $506 billion by 2050, just for hurricane and other real estate damages, extra energy costs, and more frequent and severe droughts. “Vermont emerged as the state worst equipped to handle the cost,” the study contends, while Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas are also “severely at risk.” California and New York are among those best able to endure the imminent chaos.

It sounds horrific – and it’s intended to be, the better to pressure the White House and Congress to codify and enforce the nonbinding provisions of the Paris non-treaty, and retain Obama-era anti-hydrocarbon energy policies. But the entire exercise is a classic example of Garbage In/Garbage Out (GIGO) black box computer modeling, carefully crafted to ensure the justifications required for a predetermined political outcome, especially the monumental “nationwide green initiatives” that Expert Market supports.

Thus, carbon dioxide will drive rapidly rising global temperatures that will warm the planet enough to increase sea surface temperatures dramatically – spawning more frequent, more damaging hurricanes, and melting polar ice caps enough to raise sea levels 23 inches by 2050, the Expert Market experts assert.

Global warming measured in hundredths of a degree over the past 19 years will suddenly be replaced by runaway heat waves. Seas now rising at 7 inches per century will suddenly climb at ten times that rate over the next three decades, sending storm surges far inland. Major US land-falling hurricanes that have been absent now for eleven years will suddenly proliferate to unprecedented levels.

How Vermont and the other top-five “worst equipped” states – all of them inland – will be affected by any of this is anyone’s guess. But the model says they’re at risk, so we must take drastic action now.

Soaring temperatures will increase demand for air conditioning, and thus raise household energy costs, says Expert Market. CA, NY and other “green” state electricity costs are already twice as high as those in coal and gas-reliant states. Imposing wind and solar initiatives on fossil fuel states would likely double their family and business energy costs, but that factor is not included in its calculations.

Droughts “will become more frequent and severe” in states already afflicted by arid conditions – assuming all the dire CO2 depredations, and ignoring both those states’ long experience with drought cycles and how California’s years-long drought has once again given way to abundant rainfall.

The Expert Market study is symptomatic of the politicized assumptions and data manipulation that have driven climate models and disaster scenarios since the IPCC began studying manmade climate chaos.

Indeed, the entire climate chaos exercise is akin to basing public safety policies on computer models that assume dinosaur DNA extracted from fossilized amber will soon result in hordes of T rexes running rampant across our land. We deserve a more honest, rational basis for policies that govern our lives.

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Gary Schlotzhauer's picture
Gary Schlotzhauer on Mar 16, 2017

Thanks for "Telling it the way it is" Hopefully, as a result of the new administration, we will at least be able to moderate the energy industry and more importantly, render ineffective the doomsday procostinators in the Climate Change Industry.

Barry FITZGERALD's picture
Barry FITZGERALD on Mar 16, 2017

This is a president who imagines that Obama wiretapped him without any evidence, yet like the author, out of hand, dismisses GHG caused Climate Change. It is so easy to bumper sticker a denial without ever having proof. Pruit, desciple of Inhofe of Oklahoma denies the earthquakes in Oklahoma are caused by fossil fuel drillers.....(Check the USGS earthquake map and compare it to anywhere in the world.)

The author cites alleged loss of manufacturing jobs in the UK while ignoring the vast increase in jobs in the renewable energy space. Texas, under of all people , Rick Perry has become the US wind energy capital and hard bit conservatives have embraced it. The reasons are stable, predictable energy prices.

So, would the author have shamed UK Greens if the jobs lost were to countries who massively were to pollute the worlds air with a visible and lethal gas? CO2 may be neither but the PROVEN and VISIBLE effect on the climate grows daily. What is the cost of that? What about the ludicrous spending on defense which produces no constructive outcome? Climate Change is much more of a destablizing event than any other threat we face today.

How about the roll back of US CAFE standards this buffon of a president calls for? What jobs does that create? We drop important technological advances that have so reduced fossil fuel use for transportation as to have driven down the cost of that fuel which now can return to higher levels both of emissions and $. He calls also for more coal miner jobs ???? I don't need to tell this audience the reason those disappeared.

I saw nothing in the article recognizing that the entire world scientific community is at odds with the money based arguments of the fossil fuel suppliers. Even Rex Tillerson's Exxon's OWN scientist have said that their product produces CLIMATE CHANGE. 

So lets let China and virtually the rest of the world move forward while we return to 19th century technology while pretending to save money.

Darby Hanson's picture
Darby Hanson on Mar 16, 2017

Mr. Fitzgerald, since you claim that climate change has been proven, and by that I assume you mean that it is driven by human activities that release greenhouse gases, perhaps you can answer a question I have. Was the so-called global average temperature about 1000 years ago either higher or lower than it is today? We are, after all, talking about climate and not the much shorter-term weather patterns that seem to shift every few decades.

Here is another one - are you aware that about 12,000 years ago much of the earth was covered in massive ice sheets?  We call this an ice age. There were apparently several such periods that lasted on the order of 100,000 years or so at a time. Then, for some reason, the climate changed! It got much warmer for about 10,000 years or so, even though there were scant numbers of humans (compared to today). We call these inter-glacial periods. Many moons ago I was taught in a 300 level class that the oceans rose over 300 feet since the last ice age. I am pretty sure there were no coal-fired power plants or gas-guzling SUVs on the planet back then.

As far as I have learned, the geniuses that programmed all the currently popular doomsday scenarios regarding the earth's climate consider solar activity to be a constant. Any intellectually honest scientist will tell you that such an assumption is false. You might even say that you could get a consensus on that point. Therefore, one of the very first things you should have learned about computers applies: garbage in = garbage out.

Without a healthy dose of skepticism, you won't have real science. The IPCC is a POLITICAL organization. They and their supporters have almost destroyed the regular scientific process with regards to our climate in order to further a political agenda. That agenda seems to be the transfer of wealth from the average people in the richer countries to the rich people of the poorer countries, along with the politically connected in both.

Barry FITZGERALD's picture
Barry FITZGERALD on Mar 16, 2017

Darby - No one denies that climate has changed drastically over the course of time driven by non-human sources. THIS one is clearly driven by GHG HUMAN sources. 

Imagine a very complex system, which is what the earth and climate are. Just like any control system there are control influences on it. Meteors, volcanos, and the complex interaction of light reflection, absorbtion, green house effect etc. Nature provides a lot of inputs but nothing eliminates the prospect that WE can do so as well with heat trapping GHGs.

As Neil DeGrass-Tyson points out, CO2 and methane are the key planetary temperture regulators for planets. There are dangerous positive feedback mechanisms we have set in play. The lack of reflectivity in polar regions (and others) due to ice loss and snow cover disappearing sooner, carbon black soot on the ice from diesel, thawing of permafrost releasing methane....the list goes on. 

If you knowANYTHING about control systems this should terrify you. A system reeling to instability is not a thing you want to have to deal with and positve feedback rarely helps any control system stability.

Living in a bubble like the USA, unlike virtually the rest of the planet, you can make bumper sticker comments like Climate change is a hoax or IPCC is a political organization and not really be required to provide proof. Even Holcaust deniers seem to feel more of a burden of proof for thier bogus claims.

Climate change deniers seem not to understand the differrence between weather and climate. Climate change is not something that produces NEW weather phenomena. But continuously they cite the existence of prior happenings as proof that nothing is new... "It's summer so it should be hot" Climate change produces extremes of weather we have seen before. The 100 year flood has always happenned but now it is a 10 year event. EVERY year sets global heat records. EF5 level tornadoes, extremely rare events, Oklahoma had TWO in one week! (FWIW I lived in Norman Oklahoma in the 60-70s for 8 years and never saw ONE tornado, they happenned but were relatively rare)

The author makes the claim that all is well in California now that rain returned.....RETURNED???? 60" in a month is NOT a normal event and created more catastrophes here than any in living memory. I am here I know. This after YEARS of drought. These are examples of extremes in weather from Climate Change.

To those who don't think man can create enough crap in the air to change climate, remember that CO2 is invisible. Have you ever flown across the US and seen massive pollution from the air and then on a day after rains seen it clear only to return a few days later? That is becasue you are looking at VISIBLE pollution. If we can refill that air mass in a day or so withvisible pollution it tells you the magnitude of our impact. The CO2 remains and builds except for what washes into the rivers and seas causing acidity rise endangering life AND food chain. Shell fish that can not build shells in the acid water as an example.

So, you are right, the earth can have its climate changed by forces other than man.....but NOW WE ARE THE PRIME DRIVER.

Darby Hanson's picture
Darby Hanson on Mar 23, 2017

As usual, another failure of a climate change/global warming propagandist to answer a simple question or two. I think you will find that the estimated temperatures were much warmer during the Midieval Warm Period when the Vikings had settlements in places like Greenland, and they were growing crops such as grapes.  You can't do that now, even though we are told that every year is warmer than ever.  Now, who can't understand the difference between climate and weather?  You are the one that cites weather conditions that might be a couple of degrees warmer than 40 years ago. I live in a semi-arid region that was previously a temperate forest and millions of years prior to that it was a rain forest.  Therefore, I don't deny that the climate changes. I deny that anyone has written a computer program that can predict the climate.  There are far too many variables (as you stated), many of which seem to be poorly understood, particularly in relation to all the others.

Is it true that CO2 and Methane absorb infrared radiation of several wavelengths and then radiate the energy back out in all directions?  If yes, then the solar energy that reaches the earth's surface and lower atmospheric levels would be less with an increase in levels of those gasses, since some percentage of that energy would be radiated back out into space.  Blaming a few trace gases (less than 1% of the atmosphere) for changing the climate, as you and others claim, doesn't pass the "smell test". For every scientist you want to cite, I can find several that directly refute his or her claims (if I had time to look them all up). I am not the one trying to end all debate.  That distincion goes to the ones who want to control all our lives.

Darby Hanson's picture
Darby Hanson on Mar 16, 2017

I almost forgot, but your statement about the possible wire-tapping of Trump and/or his campaign exposes your lack of awareness to what has been going on. Do you not remember the story about the content of Trump's conversations with other leaders, such as the prime minister of Australia, being leaked? What about General Flynn's conversations being recorded and at least partially transcribed and sent to the press? Someone has been busy recording these phone conversations and passing them along. Until proven otherwise, I believe that someone to be in the NSA, since the NSA basically records everything they can. This someone and/or their co-horts don't like Trump, so they are actively subverting the new administration.

Mr. Fitzgerald, do you consider that to be a good thing? What if that happened about 8 years ago? At least then, the anti-american Alinsky disciple would have been the target.

Barry FITZGERALD's picture
Barry FITZGERALD on Mar 16, 2017

Perhaps you need to make your revelations to the Republican investigators who publicly stated there was ZERO evidence of wiretapping Trump just a day or so ago. They might find your information very valuable.

I personally am amazed at the complete lack of critical thinking when a guy is a pathological liar to the point that every conservative paper endorsed his opponent and he has clear conflicts of interest with of all people Putin, and so much more..... yet seem to buy into his crap. 

When I think back on all the Benghazi empty scandal activity for 6 years and in 6 weeks we have a guy with dangerous personal issues, pathological liar, and the Russian connection and some seem to shrug....remember this guys "sucess" in business was defined by MULTIPLE bankruptcies and mode of doing business was to default on contractors. CRITICAL THINKING my friend.

 

Darby Hanson's picture
Darby Hanson on Mar 23, 2017

Lots of news over the last day or two regarding surveilance of the Trump people. The story continues and we might eventually know the full extent of what has been happening. Is it wrong for US citizens and government officials to talk to government officials from Russia?  I thought Hillary gave us a reset of relations with them? Speaking of Hillary and the Russians, isn't it she and her people who have the actual conflicts of interest?  Millions of dollars funneled into the Clinton Foundation while she was SecState and signed off on the sale of about 20% of the US uranium deposits.  This controversy seems to be a large case of psychological projection.

Do you really want to bring up Benghazi? You do understand that 4 US diplomatic and related persons died, don't you?  Do you actually believe it was all a result of a stupid internet video that hardly anyone saw prior to the event?  Here is another possible case of psychological projection.  The seemingly pathological liar is Hillary, in conjuction with Obama.  They tell some people in private that it was a terrorist attack, but they sent out UN Ambassador Rice to tell us and everyone else that it was some sort of spontaneous demonstration. They repeated this lie for several weeks. Can you name any other spontaneous demonstration anywhere in the world that lasted many hours and involved mortars, RPGs, and machine guns?

You, sir, are the one in need of some critical thinking. You seem to blindly believe whatever the Democratic Party wants you to believe.

Richard Hart's picture
Richard Hart on Mar 21, 2017

In general, what's really disappointing about this article is that it seems to have been dashed off quickly without full investigation of the sources or consideration of both sides of the story. So here's the research that appears to be missing.

1. The UK report that is referred to in the article says, " Decarbonisation of the electricity supply should be encouraged but in a more cost-effective way than it has been to date. Our report makes recommendations for how this can be achieved." The report targets the UK government for problems in implementation and transparency. The report also points out that there is no data to confirm or deny if firms have moved out of the UK due to high energy prices. See https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldeconaf/113....

2. The increase in energy prices in the UK are heavily driven by the collapse of the UK Pound following the Brexit vote. Coal and gas are imported in US dollar contracts. Also the 58% increase is off a 2003 low, and is not an annual increase. See the same source as above.

3. There are now more than 3.3 million Americans employed in energy efficiency, smart grid, and energy storage industries; electric power generation from renewables; renewable fuels production; and the electric, hybrid, and hydrogen-based vehicle industries. For example, going back to end 2015, in wind energy Texas leads the nation with over 24,000 wind energy employees. Oklahoma is in second place with more than 7,000 jobs. Kansas has over 5,000 wind jobs. These Americans are hardly the "rent seekers" characterized in the article. See http://www.awea.org/amr2015press.

4. The article claims that India and China are firing up coal-based plants to power their economies because that's the cheapest source. In fact, in 2016, "countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power." See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-11/india-s-solar-prices-....  

China has also committed to spend $361 billion on renewable energy by 2020 so that "installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power will contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020." See http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-energy-renewables-idUSKBN14P06P

Regardless of your position on climate change, the reality is that renewable energy and energy efficiency offer great returns to investors, to local communities, and to working Americans.

Barry FITZGERALD's picture
Barry FITZGERALD on Mar 22, 2017

How refreshing.....a balanced view laced with facts and cites. Thank you!

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