Frozen in Time
Mar 29, 2016
The Devastating Impact Of Germany’s Green Energy Transition

Green Europe Lets Its Poor Freeze To Death

No Tricks Zone, 29 March 2016 Pierre Gosselin

The poor are the real victims of Europe’s green energy drive: tens of thousands of deaths every year, millions losing their power.

The latest story on “green energy” here at the German online FOCUS magazine website actually shocked me.

Europe’s energy policy is, under the bottom line, costing the lives of tens of thousands of citizens - all at the holy altar of “climate protection”.

The title of the FOCUS article:  “The grand electricity lie: Why electricity is becoming a luxury”

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One of the sickest things about Europe and its disconnected leaders is that often a full-scale disaster first needs to happen before policy gets corrected. Often the scale of the death and devastation becomes known only after the clean-up crews have come in and sifted through the rubble.

FOCUS now cites a documentary film which is set to be broadcast this evening on European television station ARTE.

The documentary presents how Europe’s electricity prices are spiraling out of control, and horrible consequences this is having on the continent’s citizens.

The situation, we are discovering, is far more disturbing than even the earlier worst case scenarios every imagined.

FOCUS reports:

In 2014 in Europe there were about 40,000 winter deaths because millions of people were unable to pay for their electric bills - the so-called energy poverty currently impacts about ten percent of all Europeans.  In the past 8 years the price of electricity in Europe has climbed by an average of 42 percent.

7 million German households in energy poverty

FOCUS writes that the poor are the real victims of “socialist” Europe’s clean energy drive.

In Bulgaria people see half of their income gobbled up by energy costs alone. In Spain 28 percent of the citizens live in “energy poverty”.

In Germany, FOCUS writes, 7 million households are considered to be living in “energy poverty”.

The consequences of energy poverty are profound: tens of thousands of deaths every year, millions losing their power.

Full post

The fact that Germany is a world leader in green power is by now familiar. Much less familiar is the price the country is paying for it, not just in cold hard cash, but in growing losses and dislocations across the entire economy. The losers include once-stalwart utility giants like E.ON and RWE that are struggling with rising debt and falling shares. Manufacturing companies, from chemicals maker BASF to carbon fiber producer SGL Carbon, have shifted investments abroad, where energy costs are often a fraction of Germany’s. Losers include laid-off workers in these industries, but also millions of ordinary consumers. Their utility bills have skyrocketed, largely driven by subsidies for eco-friendly fuels. Germany’s “green” revolution has a dark shadow. --Gilbert Kreijger, Stefan Theil and Allison Williams, Handelsblatt, 24 March 2016

European global warming policies are hurting the continent’s poor, according to a Manhattan Institute study published Thursday. Europe has tried to fight global warming with cap-and-trade schemes and lucrative financial support to green power since 2005. Though well-meaning, the continent’s environmental efforts have only made life harder for Europe’s poor. Between 2005 and 2014, residential electricity rates on the continent increased by 63 percent according to the study.  European-style global warming policies hurt the poor 1.4 to 4 times more than they hurt the rich, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. --Andrew Follett, The Daily Caller, 25 March 2016

Since 2005, members of the European Union have aggressively pushed policies aimed at addressing climate change. Those policies are primarily designed to decrease carbon-dioxide emissions and increase the use of renewable energy. At the same time, several European countries are restricting the production of natural gas and, in the case of Germany, aiming to phase out nuclear energy. These policies have resulted in dramatic increases in electricity costs for residential and industrial consumers. Although the E.U. has seen a reduction in its carbon-dioxide emissions since 2005, those reductions pale in comparison with increases in the developing world. The observable results from Europe thus offer a cautionary tale to policymakers in the United States who seek to tackle climate change via government mandate. --Robert Bryce, Manhattan Institute24 March 2016

Steel giant Tata is holding a board meeting in India which could decide the fate of thousands of UK workers. In January, Tata said it planned to cut more than a thousand jobs at its UK plants - with 750 due to be lost at Port Talbot in south Wales. Unless the board meeting in Mumbai agrees to this turnaround plan, the future of the plant could be in doubt. The UK steel industry has been hit by a combination of factors that have hit its competitiveness. These factors include relatively high energy prices, the extra cost of climate change policies, and competition from China. --BBC News, 29 March 2016

See Winters not Summers cause Excess Mortality here

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Enlarged

The administration, the environmentalists and Hollywood are pushing us to become a European like nation. The poor will suffer here too!

Mar 25, 2016
New AMS members survey on climate change

by Judith Curry

The American Meteorological Society has issued a draft report on the results from a survey of the views of their membership on climate change.

Their report on the initial findings is found [here].  Excerpts from the Summary:

This report provides initial findings from the national survey of American Meteorological Society (AMS) member views on climate change conducted by George Mason University and AMS, with National Science Foundation funding.

Our survey was administered via email between January 6 and January 31, 2016. After making an initial request to participate, we sent up to five additional requests/reminders to participate to those people who had not yet completed a survey. A total of 4,092 AMS members participated, with participants coming from the United States and internationally. The participation rate in the survey was 53.3%.

Funding for this research was provided by NSF Award # DRL-1422431.

Views on climate change:

* Nearly all AMS members (96%) think climate change as defined by AMS is happening, with almost 9 out of 10 (89%) stating that they are either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ sure it is happening. Only 1% think climate change is not happening, and 3% say they don’t know.

* A large majority of AMS members indicated that human activity is causing at least a portion of the changes in the climate over the past 50 years. Specifically: 29% think the change is largely or entirely due to human activity (i.e., 81 to 100%); 38% think most of the change is caused by human activity (i.e., 61 to 80%); 14% think the change is caused more or less equally by human activity and natural events; and 7% think the change is caused mostly by natural events. Conversely, 5% think the change is caused largely or entirely by natural events, 6% say they don’t know, and 1% think climate change isn’t happening.

* AMS members have diverse views on the extent to which additional climate change can be averted over the next 50 years, if mitigation measures are taken worldwide. Only 18% think a large amount or almost all additional climate change can be averted, while many more think a moderate (42%) or a small (25%) amount of additional climate change can be averted. Only 9% think almost no additional climate change can be averted, and 6% say they don’t know.

* AMS members also hold diverse views about the extent to which harm - to people’s health, agriculture, fresh water supplies, transportation systems, and homes and other buildings - can be prevented over the next 50 years. About one quarter to one third (22% to 37%) think a large amount or almost all of the harm to these things can be prevented, while approximately another one third (30% to 43%) think a moderate amount of harm can be prevented, and about one quarter (17% to 28%) think only a small amount or none of the harm can be prevented. About one in ten (7 to 10%) don’t know, and about one in twenty (3 to 5%) don’t think there will be any harm from climate change in the next 50 years.

* Nearly one in five AMS members (17%) say their opinion about climate change has changed in the past five years. Of those, the large majority (87%) say they now feel more convinced that climate change is happening, most commonly because of one or more of the following reasons: new peer-reviewed climate science (66%); the scientific community becoming more certain (48%); having personally seen evidence of climate change (46%); or one or more climate scientists who influenced them (30%).

Views on local impacts of climate change:

* Nearly three out of every four AMS members (74%) think the local climate in their area has changed in the past 50 years as a result of climate change, while one in ten (11%) think it hasn’t, and a nearly one in six say they don’t know (15%).

*Seven out of ten AMS members who think their local climate has changed say the impacts have been primarily harmful (36%) or approximately equally mixed between harmful and beneficial (36%). One out of five (21%) AMS members say they don’t know.

* Almost eight in ten AMS members (78%) think the local climate in their area will change over the next 50 years. About half (47%) of these respondents say the impacts will be primarily harmful, while 29% say the impacts will be equally mixed between beneficial and harmful. One in five are not sure how climate change will impact their local area.A diverse group of AMS members participated in the survey:

* Approximately eight in ten respondents are men (81%) and one in five are women (18%). Respondents range in age from 18 to 29 (6%) to 70+ (11%), with a modal age category of 50 to 59 (25%).

* Most respondents hold a BS (32%), MS (30%) or Ph.D (33%) in meteorology/ atmospheric science. Other commonly reported degrees are BS (17%), MS (10%), or Ph.D (12%) degrees in another STEM field.

* More than one in three (37%) AMS members who participated in this survey consider themselves ‘expert’ in climate science.

JC reflection

The key issue is what % of AMS members agree with the IPCC conclusion on attribution (extremely likely that more than half...).  According to these numbers, 67% think that humans are causing at least 61% of the warming.  For comparison, the previous AMS survey found 52% thought the warming was ‘mostly’ attributed to humans.  It is not clear from the survey how strong these convictions are, in terms of ‘extremely likely’, etc. We’ll see if their final report includes further insights.

While this is not one of the better constructed surveys on this issue, I regard the AMS membership as an extremely important one to survey on this issue. While Ph.D.s comprised only about a third of the respondents, I regard B.S. and M.S. meteorologists as more qualified to judge on the issue of attribution than are many ‘climate’ scientists included in such surveys that have Ph.D.s in ecology, economics, health impacts, etc.

One final comment.  I did not respond to the survey, because I did not receive the email soliciting my response (some snafu over renewing my membership b/c of an expired credit card).  Peter Webster did receive the survey and showed it to me.  I have to say my first reaction to the survey would have been not to respond; the lead author on this is Edward Maibach, of the RICO 20 - second signatory after Shukla (I wonder if other AMS members reacted in this way).  My concerns with the George Mason group being in charge of this is that they are on record as advocates on this issue.  From my perspective, the selection of questions was not as meaningful as it could have been (e.g. better questions were asked in the Netherlands survey).

See Anthony Watts and Roy Spencer takes on the survey here.

Two colleagues I know locally also got this survey, and they didn’t send it in because they didn’t believe their opinion or identity would actually be protected. Given that the operator of the survey, George Mason University is a hotbed of calls for prosecution and jailing of “deniers”, and that Edward Maibach is one of the people who signed the letter to the Whitehouse and who operated this particular AMS survey, I can’t say that I blame them. I wouldn’t have sent it in either when the man asking the questions might flag you for criminal prosecution for having an opinion he doesn’t like.

ICECAP NOTE: We too are concerned that the AMS continues to work with the eco advocacy enviros at GMU especially Fast Eddie Maibach. In the last survey, I did not receive a survey and I contacted a dozen other AMS members who I know are skeptical and only 1 received a survey and did not respond. 

Mar 08, 2016
No traction for climate change; Study Shows How Climate Science Could Be All Wrong

Thomas Pyle

Tom Steyer’s priorities are at odds with America

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To be fair, Mr. Steyer does appear to hold sway over the Democratic presidential candidates. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have, at Mr. Steyer’s insistence, pledged to achieve at least 50 percent “clean” energy by 2030. Mr. Steyer, who has yet to throw his support behind a candidate, appears to be dangling his wealth and endorsement over the Democratic candidates to cajole them to do even more.

Just days before the New Hampshire primary, Mrs. Clinton was asked if she would support banning the extraction of natural gas, oil, and coal on public lands. “Yeah, that’s a done deal,” was her reply. Clarifying her position to another activist, she said, “No future extraction. I agree with that. “Similarly, Mr. Sanders has co-sponsored legislation in the Senate that would block the development of these resources on federal lands. According to a recent study commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research, of which I am president, these “keep it in the ground” proposals would forgo millions of jobs, trillions of dollars in higher wages, and $20.7 trillion in economic activity.

Fortunately, on the whole, Mr. Steyer’s campaign to restrict affordable and reliable energy isn’t getting many converts. Mr. Steyer spent $73.7 million of his own money in a failed effort to make climate change a major issue in the 2014 elections. He wasted millions of dollars on ads that often didn’t even address climate change and whose truthfulness was disputed by fact-checking organizations like Poltifact and Factcheck.org. After his nearly yearlong campaign, climate change actually dropped as a priority among voters, ending up near the bottom of their list of concerns.

Mr. Steyer shouldn’t be entirely surprised if presidential hopefuls aren’t jumping through his hoops with enthusiasm. In a recent Gallup poll of the most important problems facing the United States, climate change was not even listed. The broader “Environment/Pollution” was in 18th place as a concern of just 2 percent of the respondents. The political reality is that candidates must attract the mainstream electorate, who prioritize the economy, jobs and poverty - issues that are in direct conflict with Mr. Steyer’s goals.

Mr. Steyer’s own state of California is ripe with examples of his agenda clashing with the people’s needs. Due in part to regulations that require non-hydroelectric renewables to represent 33 percent of the state’s electricity supply by 2020, residential electricity bills are nearly 40 percent higher than the national average and the ninth highest in the nation. Nevertheless, last year, Mr. Steyer testified in favor of legislation that would have bumped the current 33 percent renewables target up to 50 percent by 2030.

Mr. Steyer also supports California’s cap-and-trade program, which could raise gasoline prices by anywhere from 16 cents to 76 cents per gallon. Meanwhile, he’s pushing a ballot measure that would impose a 10 percent tax on oil extraction. This tax would, of course, raise gasoline prices for the state’s motorists, who already pay a 59 cents per gallon gas tax - one of the nation’s highest and about 11 cents more than the national average. Even without new taxes, California already has some of the highest gasoline prices in the country.

Higher energy costs have created a serious problem in California. According to a report by the Manhattan Institute, one million California households live in energy poverty, which is defined as a household in which 10 percent or more of the residents’ income is spent on household energy costs (excluding gasoline and other transportation-related costs). Higher energy costs leave these families with less money to spend on other necessities like groceries or proper healthcare.

Candidates seeking the presidential nomination - particularly in the Democratic camp - can’t square their rhetoric with their policies. They claim to help the poor, but they support energy policies that will make it harder for low-income families to make ends meet. Meanwhile, poll after poll shows Americans are more concerned about growing the economy and creating jobs than sacrificing their economic futures at the altar of Tom Steyer’s climate agenda.

* Thomas J. Pyle is the President of the American Energy Alliance.

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See Chuck Wiese’s very rigorous proof that a warming arctic can’t cause increased severe weather and temperature extremes here.

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CAPITAL HILL IBD

A New Study Shows How Climate Science Could Be All Wrong

By John Merline

What could the theory of “ego depletion” possibly have to do with global warming?

Ego depletion is the idea in psychology that humans have a limited amount of willpower that can be depleted. It’s been largely accepted as true for almost two decades, after two psychologists devised an experiment in self-control that involved fresh-baked cookies and radishes.

One group of test subjects were told they could only eat the radishes, another could eat the cookies. Then they were given an unsolvable puzzle to solve. The researchers found that radish eaters gave up on the puzzle more quickly than the cookie eaters. The conclusion was that the radish eaters had used up their willpower trying not to eat the cookies.

Daniel Engber, writing in Slate, notes that the study has been cited more than 3,000 times, and that in the years after it appeared, its findings “have been borne out again and again in empirical studies. The effect has been recreated in hundreds of different ways, and the underlying concept has been verified via meta-analysis. It’s not some crazy new idea, wobbling on a pile of flimsy data; it’s a sturdy edifice of knowledge, built over many years from solid bricks.”

But, he says, it “could be completely bogus.”

A “massive effort” to recreate “the main effect underlying this work” using 2,000 subjects in two-dozen different labs on several continents found ... nothing.

The study, due to be published next month in Perspectives on Psychological Science, “means an entire field of study - and significant portions of certain scientists’ careers - could be resting on a false premise.”

Engber laments that “If something this well-established could fall apart, then what’s next? That’s not just worrying. It’s terrifying.”

Actually, it’s science.

As Thomas Kuhn explained in his 1962 book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” this kind of event is typical in the course of scientific progress.

A “paradigm” takes hold in the scientific community based on early research, which subsequent studies appear to confirm, but which can later collapse as findings that don’t fit the paradigm start to accumulate. Kuhn found several such “paradigm shifts” in history.

The ego depletion findings also come as scientists are starting to realize that much, if not most, of what gets published is essentially bogus because it can’t be reproduced by subsequent studies.

“By some estimates,” notes an article in Quartz, “at least 51% - and as much as 89% - of published papers are based on studies and experiments showing results that cannot be reproduced.”

The Quartz article says one reason is a bias in scientific journals to produce “exciting studies that show strong results.”

“Studies that show strong, positive results get published, while similar studies that come up with no significant effects sit at the bottom of researchers’ drawers.”

So what does any of this have to do with global warming?

Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of being “anti-science” because they tend to be skeptical about claims made by climate scientists - whether it’s about how much man has contributed to global warming, how much warming has actually taken place, or scary predictions of future environmental catastrophes.

There’s a scientific consensus, we’re told, and anyone who doesn’t toe the line is “denier.”

Yet even as deniers get chastised, evidence continues to emerge that pokes holes in some of the basic tenets of climate change.

Evidence such as the fact that actual temperature trends don’t match what climate change computer models say should have happened since the industrial age. Or that satellite measurements haven’t shown warming for two decades. Or that past predictions of more extreme weather have failed to come true.

It is certainly possible then, that today’s climate change paradigm - and all the fear and loathing about CO2 emissions - could one day end up looking as quaint as Ptolemy’s theory of the solar system or Galen’s theory of anatomy.

It’s possible. And anyone who believes in science has to admit that.

Mar 04, 2016
Comments on New RSS v4 Pause-Busting Global Temperature Dataset

Dr. Roy Spencer

Now that John Christy and I have had a little more time to digest the new paper by Carl Mears and Frank Wentz ("Sensitivity of satellite derived tropospheric temperature trends to the diurnal cycle adjustment”, paywalled here), our conclusion has remained mostly the same as originally stated in Anthony Watts’ post.

While the title of their article implies that their new diurnal drift adjustment to the satellite data has caused the large increase in the global warming trend, it is actually their inclusion of what the evidence will suggest is a spurious warming (calibration drift) in the NOAA-14 MSU instrument that leads to most (maybe 2/3) of the change. I will provide more details of why we believe that satellite is to blame, below.

Also, we provide new radiosonde validation results, supporting the UAH v6 data over the new RSS v4 data,

While Carl and Frank have yet to provide a new analysis of the most popular Lower Troposphere (LT) temperature product, their new analysis for the Mid-Troposphere (MT) has greatly increased their reported warming trend, which used to be very close to ours:

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RSSv4-vs-UAH-MT-original-series

If we plot the difference between the two curves, we see more clearly where the discrepancies between the two datasets arise:

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RSSv4-vs-UAH-MT-original-series

Here I have included their Fig. 7 as an inset to show that they know there is a substantial trend difference between the old NOAA-14 MSU and the newer NOAA-15 AMSU measurements. That trend difference amounts to +0.20 C/decade...a large discrepancy.

Importantly, Mears and Wentz choose to leave this calibration drift in without adjustment for it. In effect they are saying, ‘we don’t know which of the two satellites is at fault, so we will leave both satellites in without adjustment’.

Here are the reasons why we believe we can blame the calibration drift on the NOAA-14 MSU instrument, and why we remove that spurious warming from the NOAA-14 data in our v6 LT and MT products:

(1) the old MSU instruments’ calibration did not have near the sophistication of the newer AMSU instruments (NASA AMSU design engineer Jim Shiue once told me the AMSUs had “Cadillac"-quality calibration)
(2) the NOAA-14 satellite orbit was drifting far beyond any of the other dozen satellites in the record, leading to warming of the instrument itself (which is why we cut the record short after 6 yrs, RSS uses all 10 years), while the NOAA-15 satellite had very little orbital drift during its overlap with NOAA-14.

We find it curious (to say the least) that RSS would treat these two satellites as equally accurate.

About a third of the trend difference appears to be due to a change in the RSS method for diurnal drift adjustment, as indicated by the dashed ovals in the second plot, above. (Diurnal drift is the result of the satellite overpass time changing over the years, so that measurements are made at a different times of day; over land in particular this causes a drift in measured temperature due to the day-night cycle, not climate). Their new adjustment appears to provide a stronger correction for the diurnal cooling of the NOAA-11 satellite (first oval) and the NOAA-18 satellite (second oval). RSS uses the diurnal cycle from a climate model (CCM3), with empirical adjustments. We (UAH) use a pure empirical adjustment based of the the observed drift between NOAA-18 and NOAA-19 (for the “1:30” satellites) and NOAA-15 and Aqua (for the “7:30” satellites).

Details of our diurnal drift adjustments (now submitted for publication) were discussed here; for example, here are the diurnal drift coefficients (deg. C/hr) used during June:

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RSSv4-vs-UAH-MT

Radiosonde and Reanalysis Comparison

After Carl made the new RSS data available to us, John Christy computed the level of agreement (explained variance) that three satellite datasets (RSSv4, UAHv6, NOAAv3.0) have with the corresponding values from various radiosonde and reanalysis datasets. The results indicate that, with the exception of one reanalysis dataset (MERRA-2, which has by far the warmest trend), the UAH anomalies have better agreement with other data sources than does the RSS (or NOAA) dataset:

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GL_MT_r2_vs_roab_and_reanalysis

Regarding the NOAA-14 period in particular, John also computed the change in global average temperature between two 5 yr periods, 1990-94 versus 2003-2007, in both the radiosonde data (average of RICH, RAOBCORE, RATPAC, UNSW) and the satellite data. The results suggest that there is spurious warming in the RSS product over this time period:

2003-07 minus 1990-94 MT, Global

UAH_v6: +0.16 deg. C
RAOBav: +0.16 deg. C
RSS_v4: +0.28 deg. C

Conclusion

The evidence suggests that the new RSS v4 MT dataset has spurious warming due to a lack of correction for calibration drift in the NOAA-14 MSU instrument. Somewhat smaller increases in their warming trend are due to their use of a climate model for diurnal drift adjustment, compared to our use of an empirical approach that relies upon observed diurnal drift from the satellite data themselves. While the difference in diurnal drift correction methodolgy is a more legitimate point of contention, in the final analysis independent validation with radiosonde data and most reanalysis datasets suggest better agreement with the UAH product than the RSS product.

Update (4 March 12:35 p.m.)

Chip Knappenberger has pointed out that, while the warming in RSS v4 versus UAH v6 might be as described above, when RSS v4 is compared to RSS v3.3, the increase in warming might be mostly due to their new diurnal cycle adjustment. In other words, the NOAA-14 calibration issue was also in their v3.3, but maybe it was obscured more by diurnal drift adjustment issues.

Feb 24, 2016
Global Warming and the Irrelevance of Science

By Dr. Richard Lindzen

Extracts from the insightful text of lecture delivered on August 20, 2015 to the 48th Session: Erice International Seminars on Planetary Emergencies by Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Emeritus Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In many fields, governments have a monopoly on the support of scientific research. Ideally, they support the science because they believe objective research to be valuable. Unfortunately, as anticipated by Eisenhower in his farewell speech from January 17, 1961 (the one that also warned of the military-industrial complex),

“Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.”

Under these circumstances, when the government wants a particular scientific outcome the ideal arrangement is vulnerable. However, as I hope to show, the problem is not simply bias.

Rather, the powers that be invent the narrative independently of the views of even cooperating scientists. It is, in this sense, that the science becomes irrelevant. This was certainly the case in the first half of the twentieth century, where we just have to look at Lysenkoism in the former Soviet Union, Social Darwinism, and Eugenics throughout the western world, as well as, in the 1960s, the unfounded demonization of DDT. Each phenomenon led to millions of deaths. And, in each case, the scientific community was essentially paralyzed, if not actually complicit.

Will climate catastrophism join this list? It appears so. The position of the policy world is clear.

Here is President Obama’s constant refrain:

“Climate change is contributing to extreme weather, wildfires, and drought, and that rising temperatures can lead to more smog and more allergens in the air we breathe, meaning more kids are exposed to the triggers that can cause asthma attacks.”

Pope Francis, President Hollande, and virtually all state leaders have chimed in with similar proclamations. And yet, the whole proposition is largely without basis and highly implausible. The association with asthma that is regularly made by both Obama and Hillary Clinton is a good example of nonsense driven by focus groups who find this to be an effective scare theme. The other claims are no better.

Of course, some political figures skip any embarrassing pretenses concerning science and move directly to their agenda. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change:

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

Ms. Figueres is not alone in taking this approach. Pope Francis’ closest adviser castigated conservative climate change skeptics in the United States, blaming capitalism for their views.

Speaking with journalists, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga criticized certain “movements” in the United States that have preemptively come out in opposition to Francis’s planned encyclical on climate change.

“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.”

It is difficult to know whether the statements of prominent political figures represents dishonesty, ignorance or both. Ms. Figueres may be the most honest. No proposed measures will have any discernible impact on climate (regardless of one’s view of the physics) unless one rolls back the industrial revolution everywhere and permanently - and even then significant impact on global climate is dubious. Of course, no country outside the western world would even consider this, though they are perfectly happy to endorse the efforts of the West to do so.

A constant feature of the public presentation of the issue is the exploitation of public ignorance. A large poster appearing in the Paris Metro showed the World Wildlife Fund’s signature panda leading young people in mass demonstration (intentionally mimicking the storming of the Bastille) calling for the elimination of CO2. Presumably these young people have never heard of photosynthesis and fail to realize that advanced forms of life would largely cease for levels of CO2 less than about 150 ppmv (we are currently 400 ppmv).

It is clear that the issue of climate does constitute an emergency. However, as is so often the case, the emergency does not arise from science and technology, but rather from politics. It is worth examining whether science can play a role in the mitigation of this emergency. It is doubtful whether the answer will consist in research grants. However, science has much at stake. Its hard earned raison d’etre as our most effective tool for objective assessment is being squandered, and with it, the basis for public trust and support.

If we do nothing to stop this insanity, science will rightly be regarded as just another racket.

This might just be more collateral damage than we can readily afford.

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