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

Intellectual dishonesty

potus sotuPresident Obama's stance, expressed in his 2014 State of the Union address, is that the debate is settled, and climate change is a fact.

Obama is by no means unique in that view. Former Vice President Al Gore declared that "the science is settled."

This "settled science" vision about climate is held by many, including those in academia.

To call any science settled is sheer idiocy.

Misunderstanding The Nexus Between National Security and Environmental Issues: Back to the Future

navalAs the commencement speaker at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on May 20, President Obama warned that climate change is a growing and “serious threat” to national security. He linked severe weather to the rise of international instability and to threats such as the extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria and the civil war in Syria.

The president invoked tired metaphors of hazards at sea: “When you’re on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. You plan for every contingency. And if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don’t sit back and do nothing. You take action — to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. And so, too, with climate change.”

I’ve heard more stirring middle school valedictory speeches.

Europe’s Crazy Climate Policy Is Threatening Forests And Wildlife

EnvivaEurope’s appetite for wood pellets could lead to more carbon pollution for decades to come, while also putting some of the East Coast’s most productive wildlife habitats at risk. In Georgia, where most of the trees for wood pellets are grown on pine plantations, natural forests are rapidly disappearing as landowners see new opportunities to make money, said Ben Larson, forestry and bio-energy program manager for the National Wildlife Federation. --Joby Warrick, The Washington Post, 2 June 2015

When scientists become bureaucrats: A recipe for tyranny

cartoon gw heresy lg(h/t amirlach) The headline read: “Liberal MPs hold press conference on muzzling of scientists.” As usual, the headline differs from the story. The real story is the most egregious use of bureaucrat scientists for a political agenda in Canadian history. It is part of a larger problem of bureaucrats establishing policy and running governments. Mary McCarthy explains, Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.” 

Three Liberal MPs are singing the same song as the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the largest multi-professional union in Canada with 60,000 members. This Union held public rallies a week before the MPs protestations about government interference. An anonymous bureaucrat set out the claim against the Harper government as follows:

New Study Confirms GWPF Report On Greening Sahel

Sahel Region of AfricaClimate change has achieved what Bob Geldof and Live Aid failed to do by ending the drought in the Sahel region of Africa that killed more than 100,000 people in the 1980s, a study has found. Rising greenhouse gases caused rains to return to the region south of the Sahara, from Senegal to Sudan, boosting crop yields since the 1990s and helping the population to feed itself without relying on foreign donations. The study, in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that Sahel summer rainfall was about 10 per cent, or 0.3mm, higher per day in 1996-2011 than in the drought period of 1964-93. --Ben Webster, The Times, 2 June 2015

In spite of the gloomy predictions of even more frequent and severe droughts and famines caused by global warming, vegetation in the Sahel has significantly increased in the last three decades. This has been a very welcome and very beneficial development for the people living in the Sahel. The increase in rainfall, which was probably caused by rising temperatures and rising CO2 concentrations might even - if sustained for a few more decades - green the Sahara. This would be a truly tremendous prospect. --Philipp Mueller, Global Warming Policy Foundation, 12 August 2011

Five More Things Environmentalists Got Wrong

beeI wrote recently about seven big failed environmentalist predictions, from global cooling to the population bomb (which the New York Times, always on the cutting edge, has just noticed was a complete bust). But it’s not only the big scientific theories they’ve gotten wrong. When science gets harnessed for a political cause, it tends to produce a running series of oversold theories that don’t bear up under further examination.

Here are five examples that recently crossed my desk.

1) Electric cars aren’t all that “green.”

Electric cars, like the ones produced by Elon Musk’s Tesla, a darling of the environmentalist crowd, are not the first step to a post-industrial utopia. They are a product of heavy industry and are resource-intensive and energy-intensive. I’m not just referring to the “long tailpipe,” in which the energy used in an electric car spews its exhaust through the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant hundreds of miles away. I’m also referring to reports like this one.

Epic Fail: ‘Climate Change Voters’ Attempt To Protest Scott Walker NH Cruise With ‘Floating Iceberg’

floating iceberg failWhen Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the 2016 GOP frontrunner who hasn’t declared his candidacy yet, visited New Hampshire this weekend for a fundraising cruise, the Institutional Left embarrassed itself when it tried to protest his opposition to the lefties’ position on global warming.

Before Walker went on a fundraising cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee, Americans United For Change (AUFC)—a liberal organization—announced it would be organizing a counter-protest to Walker’s cruise. A couple things made this different than any normal protest, however. First off, the people “protesting” Walker on global warming—who they called “climate change voters”—would be dressed as moose. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they’d be on a “floating iceberg” behind Walker.

Federalism and the great and powerful Oz maneuver

drainage ditch“If you make citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together. Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances in this government.” — Patrick Henry, 1787

For all its genius, we should remember that the U.S. Constitution had is critics and detractors, including Virginia’s great Revolutionary firebrand. While John Jay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton argued that a new federal government would benefit the nation as a whole while protecting individual liberties, preserving the independent power of the states and curbing “factions” (what they called political parties), others were not so enthusiastic. As a group, they were called “anti-Federalists,” and, perhaps, the time has come to re-consider their arguments.

Is Global Warming Curing Droughts In North Africa?

drought africaA new study claims that global warming has actually benefited Africa’s arid Sahel region in the form of increased rainfall. After suffering devastating droughts in the 1970s and 80s, rainfall has significantly increased.

“Scientists often study how greenhouse gas levels in the future will influence the climate,” Rowan Sutton, the study’s lead author and science professor at the University of Reading, said in a statement.

Sutton’s study used supercomputer-simulated climate scenarios to study the factors that change rainfall in North Africa. Most studies have said Sahel rainfall is influenced by temperature changes over the Atlantic and Indian oceans, but Sutton and his colleagues conclude that the increased rainfall is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA’s latest target has 18 wheels

tractor trailerWhether you watch the regulatory actions of the Environmental Protection Agency with support, amusement, disbelief or horror, it’s worth noting what’s coming next.

In this case, it’s the rumble of the tractor trailer that could be the next target of EPA’s chomp-chomp-chomp regulatory battle against global warming.

This week, EPA is likely to propose regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks, reported Aaron M. Kessler and Coral Davenport in The New York Times.

It means the government will provide a steeper challenge for tractor-trailer fuel efficiency, seeking to raise the average from the current five to six miles a gallon of diesel up to nine miles a gallon by 2027.

Director of Science Museum Responds to Inaccurate Guardian Article

atmosphere exhibitI wanted to respond to a story in the Guardian in which a campaign group that opposes sponsorship by oil companies highlights the Science Museum’s relationship with Shell, with whom the museum has a long-standing partnership.

Shell was a major funder of Atmosphere, our climate science gallery which provides our visitors with accurate, up-to-date information on what is known, what is uncertain, and what is not known about this important subject. The gallery has been hugely popular since it opened four years ago and has now been visited by more than 3 million people.

U.N. climate deal in Paris may be graveyard for 2°C goal

climate talks DOAThe U.N.'s Paris climate conference, designed to reach a plan for curbing global warming, may instead become the graveyard for its defining goal: to stop temperatures rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Achieving the 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) target has been the driving force for climate negotiators and scientists, who say it is the limit beyond which the world will suffer ever worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas.

But six months before world leaders convene in Paris, prospects are fading for a deal that would keep average temperatures below the ceiling. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached record highs in recent years.