Ann Gauger received her bachelor’s degree from MIT, did a postdoc at Harvard University, and received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington’s department of zoology. Her scientific writing has appeared in Nature, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and other scientific publications. These establishment credentials are helpful because she’s also
involved with the Discovery Institute, the world leader in developing and explaining intelligent design theory, which many establishment scientists despise. He
During the decades we’ve been waiting for actual climate data to validate or invalidate our climate models (we’re still waiting), at least one phenomenon has been reliably observed. This is the political domestication and cooptation of the once-vexing global warming hypothesis.
A pioneering shaman of this transmutation was BP CEO John Browne, who in the 1990s declared his company “beyond petroleum,” then proceeded on a series of mergers that made it an even bigger petroleum company. GE, Ford, DuPont and others quickly lined up behind a U.S. capand- trade bill. There can be something for everybody in treating carbon dioxide as a problem, they realized. That is, as long as nobody is so crazy (wink, wink) as to actually try to slow down materially the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere.
Which brings us to President elect Trump’s meeting this week with Al Gore.
Details weren’t released but we can be pretty sure of the message Mr. Gore delivered. It’s the message he’s been delivering since President Obama’s election in 2008: Climate change no longer requires any painful root-canal actions. No need for unpopular energy taxes or giving up our energy-rich lifestyles.
The problem can be solved with handouts to the green energy lobby. Who doesn’t like distributing handouts?
A credulous piece in the New York Times tells us Elon Musk makes a “compelling case” that Tesla would be better off without federal subsidies yet the paper doesn’t tell us what the case is. Here it is: Mr. Musk would certainly be better off without federal fuelmileage mandates that cause his competitors to make and dump electric cars on the market at a $9,000 loss. But those rules aren’t going away even under President Trump. And there is no sign Mr. Musk is eager to do without his own subsidies. He was last seen berating the California Air Resources Board for failing to create enough “zero-emission” credits to suit Tesla.
A new study from Arthur D. Little finds that, over its lifecycle, an electric car will generate just 23% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gasoline-powered car. If every car on earth were electric, this translates into a mere 1.8% decline in total emissions.
Forget climate change. Green handouts have become a political end in themselves.
Yet even a small electric car will cost its owner $20,816 more to own and operate than a comparable gas-powered car, and its total “human toxicity”—mainly due to heavy metals and graphite—will be three to five times greater.
This is hardly the first study to demonstrate that electric cars solve no environmental problem. Will it make a difference? No. We’re way beyond that now.
News reports say Ivanka Trump organized the Gore meeting, undoubtedly due to her keen nose for the social incentives that make complying with the climate narrative a no-lose proposition for the kind of people who have a Manhattan socialite’s ear.
Kara Alaimo, an assistant professor of public relations at Hofstra University, in a Bloomberg News oped this week stated that Exxon sells a product that “scientists have proven threatens the continuation of human life on earth”—an idiotic statement that no scientist would make and yet is the kind of thing that passes uncontested these days.
Which is ironic since the science has just started to get interesting again.
In its latest report, issued in 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expanded the range of uncertainty regarding future warming— and in the direction of less warming.
It abandoned its central forecast, in its 2007 report, of 3 degrees Centigrade of warming. Now it issues no central forecast.
It said in 2007 that a warming as slight as 1.5 degrees was “very unlikely.” Now it puts the bottom stop at 1 degree.
The latest climate models are backing off on the size of “climate sensitivity.” This implies climate change will be smaller and less severe than earlier estimates.
Even less noticed, it implies a higher, more astronomical cost for avoiding any given amount of warming.
If climate sensitivity is high, you might have to avoid only 50% of future emissions to avoid 2 degrees of warming. If climate sensitivity is low, as increasingly seems the case, you might have to avoid 100% of future emissions to avoid just 0.5 degrees of warming.
Don’t expect to hear about this in the mainstream media for a decade or so, and then only because today’s editors and reporters have retired. The climate reporting industry has long since given itself over to propaganda rather than actually reporting on climate science.
The larger lesson here isn’t about climate change. It’s about democratic sclerosis. It’s about the endless multiplication of v
I do hope Mr Trump gets into this space.
Whatever you think of Donald Trump, his candidacy represents an important opportunity. It’s a chance to dismiss a very particular elite about whom it could be said, borrowing from Cromwell, “For any good you have been doing . . . in the name of God, go!”
We are referring, of course, to America’s green-energy elite.
With a Hillary Clinton victory on Tuesday, America’s ludicrous Tesla subsidies would be certain to continue—because so many Democratic politicians aligned with the company, especially in California, are themselves too big to fail.
Washington’s Kafkaesque fuel mileage rules would only become more Kafkaesque. By forcing car makers and their customers to invest in economically unjustified fuel-saving technology, they’ve already perversely contributed to last summer’s breaking of a decade-old record for miles traveled and fuel burned.
Ethanol’s alleged greenhouse benefits have long since been scientifically debunked. Its putative contribution to America’s “energy security” has been rendered a joke by the fracking revolution. Never mind. Corn farmers like a handout, and corn-state senators like being re-elected. The cost to American motorists: $10 billion a year.
And making sure it remains so—we hardly needed the latest WikiLeaks dump to tell us—have been a handful of activist hedge-fund billionaires like Tom Steyer and Nat Simons. In the recent dump of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, we see these men, in return for being willing to write fourfigure checks to Democratic candidates, fishing for reassurance that policies that cost the American people billions, with no benefits, will be embraced by the next Democratic administration.
We see climate saints like Bill McKibben and Joe Romm conspiring at their behest to silence a scientist for saying perfectly accurate things about the lack of evidence for a worsening of extreme weather events. We see Mr. Podesta himself trying to orchestrate a media mugging of liberal Harvard Law Prof. Larry Tribe for representing the coal industry.
And to what end, exactly?
Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, is hardly a green-energy naysayer. Yet last week he estimated that even if electric vehicles accounted for half of global auto sales (currently EVs account for less than 1%), oil consumption would nevertheless continue to rise because the “demand growth is not coming from cars, it’s from trucks, aviation and the petrochemical industry and we don’t have major alternatives to oil products there.”
Mr. Birol politely failed to mention that the climate effect would also be nil, because these electric cars would be running on coal. China, the world’s biggest consumer of electric vehicles, fires up a new coal plant at the rate of one or two per week and will do so for years to come.
President Obama’s “clean power plan,” costing upward of $200 billion over the next 15 years, will have no discernible effect on temperatures even a century hence. A catastrophic idiocy has informed Europe’s favoritism toward diesel cars: In return for trivial CO2 gains, it got dirtier air in its cities. The Nature Conservancy, in a 2009 study, finds that even a modest U.S cap-and-trade program of the sort preached by greenies would require “an area larger than the state of Nebraska” for biofuels, wind and solar.
And still the effect would be meaningless: A 100% cut in U.S. emissions, by the standard climate sensitivity estimate, would influence temperatures by less than 0.2 degrees centigrade a century from now.
Even a carbon tax—the sensible policy—would offer no help unless the technological possibility already exists of meeting human needs with alternative energy at a price competitive with fossil fuels. If so, such technology will be forthcoming anyway for market reasons.
All this might be terrifically worrisome if climate change fears were soundly established by science. They aren’t. Al Gore-like forecasts of doom rely on doubtful computer simulations. As the International Panel on Climate Change delicately phrases it, numerous possible paths for future temperature are in rough “agreement with observations.” This is a roundabout way of saying that the observations have been unable to discern an effect, if any, of human- scale emissions on global temperature.
But then policies in a democracy are not sustained by their rationale. They are sustained by vested interests. Mr. Trump may be rude, crude, and largely visionless to boot. Yet purely by virtue of being out of sympathy with such elites his election would go a long way to de-corrupting America at least as far as energy policy is concerned.
We could still hope for action from Hillary Clinton on tax reform and other worthwhile pieces of the American agenda, but we will have missed an opportunity in this election to rein in perhaps the most dishonest, self-serving interest group of any in the American pageant.
A chance to clean up rampant cronyism in the energy sector won’t soon return.