Political Climate
Feb 01, 2017
Climate News

Alan Moran

Commenting on 2016 being the “hottest year on record” Richard Lindzen said, “the temperature is always going up or down a little. What is astonishing is that in the last 20 years it hasn’t done much of anything. Here’s how the New York Times depicted the El Nino-fueled 2016, which was about 1C above the 1880 level, in line with the Lindzen prediction of the eventual warming likely to occur and the fact that it already has taken place.



Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences who has long questioned climate change orthodoxy, is skeptical that a sunnier outlook is upon us.

“I actually doubt that,” he said. Even if some of the roughly $2.5 billion in taxpayer dollars currently spent on climate research across 13 different federal agencies now shifts to scientists less invested in the calamitous narrative, Lindzen believes groupthink has so corrupted the field that funding should be sharply curtailed rather than redirected.

“They should probably cut the funding by 80 to 90 percent until the field cleans up,” he said. “Climate science has been set back two generations, and they have destroyed its intellectual foundations.”

The field is cluttered with entrenched figures who must toe the established line, he said, pointing to a recent congressional report that found the Obama administration got a top Department of Energy scientist fired and generally intimidated the staff to conform with its politicized position on climate change.

“Remember this was a tiny field, a backwater, and then suddenly you increased the funding to billions and everyone got into it,” Lindzen said. “Even in 1990 no one at MIT called themselves a ‘climate scientist’ and then all of a sudden everyone was. They only entered it because of the bucks; they realized it was a gravy train. You have to get it back to the people who only care about the science.”


Controversy continues over causes of climate change. 14 Scientists Affirm the Sun, Not CO2, is the ‘Dominant Control’ over recent climate change, pointing to the concordance of solar radiation and temperature shifts over recent centuries.


Politics and investment

Trump wasted no time in starting to dismantle the Obama restraints on coal, oil and gas exploration and development.

Though at the time of writing, Mr Pruit had yet to be confirmed as EPA Administrator, his influence is already apparent. Mr Pruitt has rolled back EPA measures that were forcing closure of coal generators by limiting their emissions. And he has indicated that he will cease to allow California a waiver to continue pushing the envelope with stiffer auto emission requirements. That policy has brought a $500 million cross subsidy to the Elon Musk companies that have sold emission rights to other car companies; Mr Musk is disappointed that the boondoggle might be cut back.

And the Senate is moving to block EPA regulations that would impose additional costs on coal and gas generators by forcing them to monitor streams and limit methane venting.  EPA has also been forced to close down its climate change propaganda.

Myron Ebell, who led the EPA transition team, has called for the agency to be shrunk by two thirds, while Richard Lindzen has counseled the Trump administration not to simply rechannel funding on climate science, claiming the profession is now too rusted-on to the doom laden philosophy, and urges that spending on climate research instead be slashed by 80 per cent.

Myron Ebell also confirmed that Trump would pull out of the Paris agreement and visited Number 10 Downing Street to provide a briefing. But United Nations climate chief, Patricia Espinosa, has warned President Donald Trump against pulling out of the Paris agreement. The ex-diplomat apparently kept a straight face when she said, “Ultimately, this is about the competitiveness of the United States”.

Demonstrating the gulf between the global elites and popular opinion, the 2017 Davos meeting increased its focus on climate change with some 20 sessions devoted to it and an exhibition highlighting it as bringing calamities, “from rampant emissions to rising sea levels”. Polling of the 600 delegates showing that climate change had become the number one issue ahead of “involuntary immigration” and terrorism. Sharing the “Davos man” view is the European Environment Agency (EEA). Its latest report says we have to act soon to avoid rising sea levels, intense heatwaves, flooding, droughts, storms and increasingly extreme and frequent freakish weather.

Clean energy investments are not likely to save us.  Globally they seem to have stalled, falling 18 per cent in 2016 (though there may be an increase obscured by the falling price of some of the technologies which however remain three times more costly than coal)


Other proposals favoring economy-crushing policies to join two Australian states and California in opting for 50 per cent renewables include one from Scotland, though the director of policy at Scottish Renewables said the new renewable energy target was achievable but “absolutely depends on the right support from both the UK and Scottish Governments”.

South Korea claims it is to begin auctioning emissions rights from next year to meet its Paris commitment of 22 per cent reduction on 2012 levels (page 43). The first phase will provide 97% free allowances, and the next phase (2021-2025) only 90% free allowances and 10% auctioned. In the EU, carbon credits, having traded as high as 30 Euros per tonne of CO2 in April 2006, remain trading at less than one fifth of this ($) due to over-allocation and the economic effects of (regulatory induced) high energy prices. 

In Australia, the government-appointed “expert panel” examining the national electricity market came out with an astonishing paper that said the regulatory-propelled, green subsidy-laced electricity industry was actually being driven by consumers and technology! I demonstrated the fatuous nature of their report here and with my colleagues at the Australian Environment Foundation here. 

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whilst re-affirming the crippling 23 per cent renewable energy goal appears to be softening towards “clean” coal as a continued future energy source. He seemed to see no link between the renewable impositions and his statement “We have an abundance of coal, gas, sun and wind resources ... Yet our energy is among the most expensive in the OECD.” He did however in response to a question say, “The Renewable Energy Target was never intended to be perpetual.”

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