“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin

Making Predictions

futureIf there is one thing pundits like to do it is to make predictions. If they turn out to be right you can always look back and quote them as proof of your prescience and if they are not, you can always ignore them.

The best ones, of course, are those filled with doom and I suspect they are the most prevalent. We all live to some degree in fear of the future. It is, after all, unpredictable and we are conditioned to believe something awful will happen. That’s what keeps insurance companies in business. Governments continue to create problems and then promise to solve them.

For example, at some point there will be a huge earthquake in California thanks to the San Andreas Fault and in a comparable fashion the Yellowstone National Park will have an even bigger event due to a huge volcano that lies beneath it. The loss of life and economic impact will be historic no matter when they occur.

Pope Embraces the Green Religion

vatican-takeoverAnd up until now now Pope Francis had been doing so well: pious, popular, a scourge of incompetence and corruption, a champion of the poor….

But unfortunately, 2015 looks like the year he’s going to blow it all by casting his lot with the morally bankrupt, scientifically illiterate, world-poverty-inducing cause of environmentalism when he issues a papal encyclical on the subject of “global warming” – apparently with a view to influencing the next round of UN climate talks in Paris in September.

Of course, the Pope’s views on climate change will only be as good as the “expert” advice he gets. And unfortunately, on this score, the auguries do not bode well – as we learn by studying the list of delegates at a workshop staged by the Vatican in May 2014 with the grisly theme “Sustainable Humanity Sustainable Nature Our Responsibility.” (H/T Bishop Hill)

My Person of the Year: Ben Trovato

trovatoExcerpts from The Federalist:

He has been everywhere and had a hand in just about every big story, from Ferguson to the University of Virginia. He has been most active in his usual fields, journalism and politics, but we can see his impact as far afield as espionage and even retail.

You’ve never heard of him? Maybe so, but you already know him very well.

For those who suspect that Ben Trovato is not a real, literal person, you’re right. But the whole point of old Ben’s influence is that it doesn’t matter whether he’s literally real. Or whether anything is literally real, for that matter.

Government, Not Consumer, Is North to Auto Industry’s Compass

fordNews this week indicates the extent to which climate policy has assumed the driver’s seat of the auto industry.

In a story on market “disrupters” in yesterday’s Financial Times ($), Robert Wright highlighted Ford’s decision to use aluminum to render the body of the F-150, the sales of which comprise up to 90 percent of the company’s profits. Aluminum never before has been incorporated into a mass produced vehicle on such a scale; Ford is using it in order to make the trucks lighter, and thereby achieve greater fuel efficiency/lower greenhouse gas emissions. Reports Wright:

“It’s a huge change,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst at autotrader.com says…Ford is hoping to gain first mover advantage. It believes that General Motors and Chrysler will have to redesign their vehicles to meet new fuel efficiency[/GHG] standards—and the first manufacturer to make the transition should retain a long term lead in the market.  

Five Climate Lies of 2014

images/pics7/Polar_Bear_-_Alaska.jpgThe year 2014 is coming to an end and with it its lies about global warming/climate change/climate disruption/extreme weather. Considering the media bias on the subject, here are five such news you may have missed.

The year 2014 is the hottest ever recorded

Since the climate hysteria has been created, it seems that every year is hotter than the preceding one. It’s going to be the case for 2014.

However, this is (very likely) hot air. Indeed, satellite records of temperatures not only show no increase of temperatures for the past 18 years – climate models have nearly all failed at predicting trends – but 2014 isn’t even hot for that period. Plus, when looking at a larger picture the modern warm period is nothing compared to what human civilization has lived before.

UKIP Skeptical of Global Warming Alarmism, Praises Fracking: Reports

fracking wikimediaThe United Kingdom Independence Party's (UKIP) energy spokesman called the current climate alarmism in the country excessive and praised fracking in an interview with The Independent Tuesday.

"If we were to have a UKIP government elected in [the general election] May [2015], one of the first things we'd do would be to repeal the Climate Change Act," Roger Helmer, UKIP energy spokesman and Member of the European parliament for the East Midlands, told The Independent.

The Climate Change Act, which was adopted in 2008, aims to reduce carbon emissions at least by 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.

Helmer also said that scientists' warnings about the catastrophic consequences of current temperature rise are excessive, and that "there are a great number of scientists who actually think that the sensitivity figures that the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] is using – of 3 degrees for a doubling of CO2 – is grossly exaggerated".

How A San Diego Scientist Helped Shape The Pope’s Climate Change Plans

RamanathanClimate change will be high on the Catholic Church's agenda in the coming year, and a San Diego scientist played a role in convincing Pope Francis to take up the issue.

In 2015, the pope will reportedly issue an edict calling on the world's estimated 1.2 billion Catholics to take action on climate change. He'll also visit regions devastated by recent natural disasters, and will attempt to influence United Nations' climate talks taking place in Paris late next year.

The church is prioritizing climate change just months after the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Veerabhadran "Ram" Ramanathan organized a Vatican meeting on the issue.

Pope Francis Errs In Linking Church To Green Movement

francisPope Francis' recent leftist statements should trouble Catholics and non-Catholics alike, but even more disturbing are the pope's latest declarations on the dramatic action needed to fight climate change.

The Vatican apparently now has been infiltrated by followers of a radical green movement that is, at its core, anti-Christian, anti-people, anti-poor and anti-development. The basic tenets of Catholicism — the sanctity of human life and the value of all souls — are detested by the modern pagan environmentalists who worship the created, but not the creator.

At its core, Big Green believes that too many human beings are the basic global problem. People, according to this view, are resource destroyers. Climate change, they say, is due to the overpopulation of Mother Earth.

Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014

Inside the EPAInside the EPAJust in the last few weeks, the Obama administration has proposed or imposed over 1,200 new regulations on the American people that will add even more to the already crushing $2 trillion per year cost burden of the federal regulatory machine. According to data compiled from the federal government’s Regulations.gov website by the Daily Caller, most of the new regulatory schemes involve energy and the environment — 139 during a mere two-week period in December, to be precise. In all, the Obama administration foisted more than 75,000 pages of regulations on the United States in 2014, costing over $200 billion, on the low end, if new proposed rules are taken into account.

Forbes: Corn Ethanol Is Useless

cornHere’s an interesting article about corn ethanol and its having been touted as a viable “alternative fuel” deserving of subsidies and mandates. It just so happens that you don’t improve the environment by switching from petroleum products to ethanol…

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two of its Working Group reports at the end of last month (WGI and WGIII), and their short discussion of biofuels has ignited a fierce debate as to whether they’re of any environmental benefit at all.

The IPCC was quite diplomatic in its discussion, saying “Biofuels have direct, fuel‐cycle GHG emissions that are typically 30–90% lower than those for gasoline or diesel fuels. However, since for some biofuels indirect emissions—including from land use change—can lead to greater total emissions than when using petroleum products, policy support needs to be considered on a case by case basis” (IPCC 2014 Chapter 8).

Abundance of New Species Found in 2014 is Another Nail in Coffin of Climate Alarmism

aldabra banded snailAldabra banded snail221 new species were described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2014, further allaying fears that climate change could be causing a mass extinction event. The species were discovered in sites worldwide, and include ants, fish, sea slugs, plants and even a small mammal. (h/t Watts Up With That)

“Biodiversity scientists estimate that we have discovered less than 10 percent of the species on our planet,” said Dr. Meg Lowman, the Academy’s Chief of Science and Sustainability. “Academy scientists tirelessly explore the unexplored regions of Earth—not only to discover new species, but also to uncover the importance of these species to the health of our natural systems. Our findings help to sustain the future of life for our children and grandchildren. Even in our own backyards new discoveries abound!”

Greenland Ice Melt Geothermal, Not Manmade

greenland surfaceNewly released research, primarily from NASA and the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, indicates that melting of selective Greenland Glaciers is related to geologically induced heat flow, and not manmade atmospheric global warming.

Previous articles posted here and here have documented the effect of geologically induced geothermal heat flow on the West Antarctic continent and Arctic Ocean Ice Sheets. In both cases relatively recent research was used to show natural variations in climate, climate-related events, and warmed from geothermal heat. You can learn more about plate climatology and global warming here.

A summary of the very extensive NASA Greenland Ice Sheet Study shows that Greenland Glacier dynamics are very complex. Certain glaciers are retreating, others are unchanged, and still others are expanding. Additionally, individual glacier dynamics change with time, e.g., advancing for years, then suddenly retreating. In some cases the retreating rates are astounding.