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Climate Policy without Results

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Carly Fiorina on Climate Change Strategy in National Review, Carly Fiorina Shows How to Address the Left on Climate Change

In the political battles over climate change, there are three distinct and relevant questions. First, does mankind have a material affect on the Earth’s climate? Second, if mankind does impact the climate, is that impact harmful? And third, if we assume that mankind is harming the environment, will any given American policy or collection of policies have a meaningful beneficial impact? So far, the conservative movement has mainly pushed back on the “scientific consensus” related to the first question — the extent of human influence over the Earth’s climate.

The short version of Fiorina’s argument is this: If the scientific consensus is that man-made climate change is real, there is also consensus that America, acting alone, cannot stop it. Indeed, the Chinese are only too happy to watch us constrict our economy as they capture the market in clean coal.

Americans have proven time and again that they’re willing to sacrifice — if convinced that their sacrifice has a purpose, that it accomplishes an objective. There’s certainly room for Cruz’s climate-change skepticism in the national debate, but there just may be more room for Fiorina’s economic, scientific, and geopolitical realism. The Left is asking America to sacrifice for nothing — for no true economic benefit, no true climate benefit, and no true or meaningful “global leadership.” That’s a bad deal even for those who believe in man-made climate change, yet that’s the “deal” the Left demands.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422395/carly-fiorina-climate-change-left

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Thoughts on the Climate Change Debate 2015 08 04

I think we miss the boat when we argue conspiracies, corruption, anti-science, authoritarians , etc.   You will find more illumination in understanding precisely what the consensus is. And precisely what the models and the theory are and whether these theories have held up to objective scrutiny, replication, and prediction the way a scientific theory should?  Without this clarity all the references to anecdotes, acronymed agengies, and assorted articles mean very little, except for the purpose of political posturing.

Is it a conspiracy or ignorance? Does it matter?  I think it is a lack of understanding of exactly what we are agreeing on.  It seems that there is agreement that we are in a warming period-even with a recent hiatus. There is agreement that humans affect the planet, but there the agreement starts to slide- there is less agreement of how much CO2 is the dominant factor, even less how certain, urgent, irreversible and catastrophic this problem is, and even less that any of the proposed solutions will have any effect.

Even among all of the top scientific acronyms you will find that the agreement is based on the questions asked.  I think that there is still much to be discerned, and that the science of this topic is still too primitive to reach the conclusions too many have reached with any degree of certainty.  The 97% is pure bogus, a statistical fraud,  and the willingness of one to quickly believe this number speaks volumes about whether this subject is approached scientifically or politically.

While we see old glaciers melt in one country, we find snow in Sydney, Australia in August for the first time since Andrew Jackson was president.  I do not understand what either anecdote has to do with true climate science.

I remain both ignorant and curious about the science in this debate. My skepticism is driven by the language, the authoritarianism,  the history of this and similar movements, and the weak  epistemology of the arguments.

 

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A Political Project

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Rupert Darwall writes in The National Review,  On Climate, Science and Politics Are Diverging

Excerpts:

Predictions of an ice-free North Pole are frequently accompanied by warnings of climate-change tipping points, tripping the planet into uncharted — and, by implication, scary — climate scenarios. A new paper by two scientists at the Scripps Institution suggests that previous concern about the irreversibility of the melting of the Arctic ice cap left out two key physical processes that had led previous studies to spuriously identify a tipping point that did not correspond to the real world.

Global warming is preeminently a political project. On Tuesday, the leaders of France and Germany met to set a goal for the December climate summit in Paris: to fully decarbonize the world economy by the end of the century. It required, Angela Merkel and François Hollande declared, “a profound transformation of the world economy and society.” The role of experts is to provide a scientific consensus to support the drumbeat of alarm. When the president of America declares climate change an immediate threat to national security and accuses skeptics of “negligence” and “dereliction of duty,” scientific skepticism becomes an enemy of the state. The shrillness of the president’s rhetoric draws attention to the weakness of the science. The true believers have given up trying to win over the undecided.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/418751/climate-science-and-politics-are-diverging-rupert-darwall

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Rational Ignorance

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Why It’s So hard to Convince Warmists by Matt Manos

Excerpts:

That type of smugness is almost impossible to penetrate. When a skeptic questions a warmist’s view on global warming/climate change, the warmist hears something vastly different than what the skeptic is saying. A skeptic might say, “The models don’t match the actual measured results.” What the warmist hears is how stupid deniers are because that’s what John Stewart told him he should think. If the warmist doesn’t prove that he thinks skeptics are stupid then he might be confused for a denier! And no one wants to be identified with being a denier because they’re mocked, don’t get tenure and don’t get invited to the right parties. No amount of science can penetrate the ROI the warmist has internalized in believing in CAGW.

Many of the warmist are running on pure rational ignorance. Rational ignorance is a belief that the cost/benefit to researching every issue is so low as to be a net negative in time utilization. Thus the ignorance is rational and everyone utilizes this mental process on certain topics. People who are rationally ignorant about global warming look to bellwethers that support their gut stance. Rationally ignorant warmists would look to world leaders, mockutainers and warmist scientists for guidance on how to communicate their position on global warming.

Penetrating rational ignorance is tough because the position warmists have taken isn’t based on logic. Their position is actually based on an appeal to authority. To question the rationally ignorant warmist is to question the field of science as a whole (to be a science denier) or to question the leadership of their favorite bellwether personalities. This will cause the rationally ignorant warmist to become defensive and try to stand up for their favorite bellwether. The rationally ignorant will also point to their favorite bellwethers and say, “Who am I to doubt all these intelligent people?” It’s intellectually offshoring. It’s lazy. It’s human nature.

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The Need for CO2

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From The Heartland Institute, Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, writes Why I am a Climate Change Skeptic

Excerpts:

Over the past 150 million years, carbon dioxide had been drawn down steadily (by plants) from about 3,000 parts per million to about 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. If this trend continued, the carbon dioxide level would have become too low to support life on Earth. Human fossil fuel use and clearing land for crops have boosted carbon dioxide from its lowest level in the history of the Earth back to 400 parts per million today.

At 400 parts per million, all our food crops, forests, and natural ecosystems are still on a starvation diet for carbon dioxide. The optimum level of carbon dioxide for plant growth, given enough water and nutrients, is about 1,500 parts per million, nearly four times higher than today. Greenhouse growers inject carbon-dioxide to increase yields. Farms and forests will produce more if carbon-dioxide keeps rising.

We have no proof increased carbon dioxide is responsible for the earth’s slight warming over the past 300 years. There has been no significant warming for 18 years while we have emitted 25 per cent of all the carbon dioxide ever emitted. Carbon dioxide is vital for life on Earth and plants would like more of it. Which should we emphasize to our children?