The Children’s Crusade
By the inestimable James Lileks
The Climate Panic Movement is all about saving the children who walked out of school to protest and got a three-day weekend. If you argue with the children, you hate science and want them to die when melting seas push a tsunami of hungry polar bears into Nebraska.
Well. The “deniers” need a manifesto to read to these children. Something along these lines.
Of course, you’ve already heard this joke: Question: What did socialists use for light before candles? Answer: Electricity.
Millions of Californians probably don’t think that’s funny.
California is trending ‘third world.’ There’s syringes and human feces scattered all over San Francisco sidewalks, lice and rats infest Los Angeles municipal buildings with an associated return of medieval diseases like typhus, water is periodically rationed due to deliberate political inaction, there’s sky-high regressive sales and gasoline taxation, homelessness is quadruple, and poverty is triple the per capita rate of the rest of America, and California has the fourth highest income inequality of all states.
California has experienced a rash of costly wildfires due to irresponsible State stewardship of forest lands through which run electrical transmission lines improperly maintained by State regulated-monopolies.
This confluence of ill-advised State policies is forcing those State controlled corporations to cut power to millions of Californians when the wind blows strongly.
Californians pay the highest electricity rates in the continental United States. In part, because California is forcing its electricity companies to fund windmills (which can’t operate in such high winds) via a mandate of 100 percent electrical power generation from ‘renewable’ (excluding nuclear and hydroelectric) sources by 2045. Idled windmills notwithstanding, millions of customers can’t buy power now at any price.
This is a result of central planning. The sort favored by Liz “I have a plan” Warren, Bernie “I don’t have to say how we’ll pay for it” Sanders, and the rest of the Dem presidential wannabe drove.
Exemplifying California’s philosopher king approach, California’s previous Governor vetoed a bill that would have reduced fire risk by prioritizing the clearing of trees and brush dangerously close to power lines.
California’s current Governor blames “dog-eat-dog capitalism” for the state’s current wildfire blackout crisis. Is that code for “the accumulated burden of State malfeasance“? He can’t mean capitalism, given State direction of the power companies’ business plans. Apparently, the Governor is unfamiliar with the actual economic system that implies. And he can’t even make the train projects run on time.
Both those .gov gentlemen have been otherwise occupied with pouring $10.7 billion, of the $6 billion budgeted, into the first 119-mile stretch of their bullet train to nowhere project. And the $64 billion budget for the total project looks to be way low based on current cost projections of $113 billion – and rising. Maybe they should have trimmed some bushes and buried some power lines instead.
The Governors also reached a consensus that rising CO2 levels are responsible for the fires. Even as the preventable fires spew vast amounts of CO2; negating reductions from the windmills and bullet trains.
Ironically, reducing CO2 emissions is how they justified all those poor policy decisions. Even though a zero-emissions California would have no discernible effect on climate according to the IPCC.
Why does California prattle futilely about dubious future risks beyond their control rather than deal with what they could control: Mitigating the obvious, immediate risks of wildfire and blackouts? Because, vague existential threats are politically superior to mundane good governance when your object is heroic virtue signaling.
Never waste a crisis, especially if you’ve created it.
“Proper ocean modelling would require a tenfold improvement in spatial resolution and a vast increase in computing power, probably requiring quantum computers. If or when quantum computers can reproduce the small-scale interactions, the researchers will remain out of their depth because of their traditional simplifying of conditions.”
This is far from the most important part of that article, but I use it to make the following point: If Greta Thunberg and the Green New Deal hysterics have their way we won’t ever see the quantum computers necessary to those calculations, because we’ll be poor and shivering in the dark while the minimally available electricity is used to heat Al Gore’s pool. We will have already spent all the money we could have used for mitigation of any possible climate change.
In a post describing social media propaganda techniques Corey Doctorow says the following:
“We’re not living through a crisis about what is true, we’re living through a crisis about how we know whether something is true. We’re not disagreeing about facts, we’re disagreeing about epistemology. The “establishment” version of epistemology is, “We use evidence to arrive at the truth, vetted by independent verification (but trust us when we tell you that it’s all been independently verified by people who were properly skeptical and not the bosom buddies of the people they were supposed to be fact-checking).”
The “alternative facts” epistemological method goes like this: “The ‘independent’ experts who were supposed to be verifying the ‘evidence-based’ truth were actually in bed with the people they were supposed to be fact-checking. In the end, it’s all a matter of faith, then: you either have faith that ‘their’ experts are being truthful, or you have faith that we are. Ask your gut, what version feels more truthful?””
However unintentionally*, Doctorow has accurately described the ‘argument from authority,’ shut-down-the-debate propaganda of ‘climate change’ activists. *He’s compared Greta Thunberg to Joan of Arc. I.e., he approves of Thunberg’s propaganda. She can hardly be considered an authority.
“SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.”
“The dog ate my temperature data” would be far less suspicious if the scientists involved hadn’t been caught discussing how to avoid FOIA requests for their data; if they hadn’t asked each other to delete emails expressing internal doubts about some of their research assumptions; if the programmers hadn’t complained in their comments about unreliable data custodianship and sloppy organization, or pointed out algorithms where the actual data record was ‘corrected.’ It might be more believable if one of those scientists, Micheal Mann, hadn’t refused to release data and algorithms used in his hokey stick calculations, and if he hadn’t viciously attempted to destroy – professionally and personally – any who voiced the slightest question about that tree ring magnum opus, including interference and intimidation of scientific publishers. Science is falsifiable or it isn’t science.
“The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.”
“Canadians already suspicious of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax are likely be even more suspicious given a report by Ottawa-based Blacklock’s Reporter that Environment Canada omitted a century’s worth of observed weather data in developing its computer models on the impacts of climate change.
The scrapping of all observed weather data from 1850 to 1949 was necessary, a spokesman for Environment Canada told Blacklock’s Reporter, after researchers concluded that historically, there weren’t enough weather stations to create a reliable data set for that 100-year period.
“The historical data is not observed historical data,” the spokesman said. “It is modelled historical data … 24 models from historical simulations spanning 1950 to 2005 were used.””
Maybe the models they used as input to the models were meticulously prepared even though the preparers had a conflict of interest. Maybe it would be better if when they don’t know something, they say so.
Here’s an easily understood critque of how data is manipulated in U.S. National Climate Assessment. My Gift To Climate Alarmists ~13 min
No way to spin that: So-called scientists feel free to cherry pick their data. The choices strongly imply an agenda. An agenda related to funding.
Finally, here’s a long, insightful, humorous post (That last quality being one possessed neither by Greta Thunberg nor Joan of Arc, though one might suspect Gretadoes have a martyrdom complex.) touching on arguments from authority and proper skepticism at the website of the invaluable Dr. Judith Curry. A philospher’s reflections on AGW denial An excerpt:
“…what, if anything, to do about AGW is a political decision, subject to the same forces at play in any other political decision, namely the interplay of conflicting interests. One can hope that someone else’s interests, as she herself sees them, will dovetail with one’s own. But to get in high moral dudgeon when hers don’t betrays the moral maturity of a three year old.”
Ah yes, it is a public policy question about which we’re told we must accept the judgment of some experts (though not experts in public policy) regarding a complete redefinition of our economy.
Ultimately, argument from authority must end in attempts to rank the sincerity, knowledge, methods, and success of predictions from theory of the authorities invoked by each side. The point I want to leave you with is that it’s not the climate change skeptics who are insisting global warming theory is not falsifiable. So, which authorities are practicing science rather than religion?
I had a note from a reader wondering if I wasn’t being hyperbolic in my contention that by “sustainability” “Green” fanatics intentionally mean to impose lower standards of living and a forced reduction in human population.
Highly recommended: Mark Steyn’s “A Disgrace to the Profession“, to anyone interested in the genesis of Michael Mann’s Hokey Stick. Steyn’s book is not an attack on the idea of AGW, it’s an exposé of, arguably, the biggest scientific fraud since Piltdown; and, indisputably, the most consequential.
Using the words of scientists who strongly believe AGW is true and of those who are more skeptical, it lays out a convincing case that there are differences of opinion among scientists on AGW, if not so much about Michael Mann.
If you (mistakenly) conflate Mann’s agenda with the discipline of climate science, you will like the book still less than even Mann’s “allies” like him. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it: If you are concerned about erosion of public support for “doing something” about AGW, you should read it so you can help climate science regain a modicum of respectability. As long as Mann is left to hijack the discussion, threaten the careers of distinguished scientists and subvert the peer review process, it is unlikely reasonable people will find any common ground on the topic.
Mann has been able to force the entire discipline of climate science into a corner where failure to defend his work is equated with failure to defend, in Mann’s words, “the cause.” A strange way for a scientist to think. If there is a single principle that distinguishes science from religion it is that scientific theories are falsifiable. Mann is pushing the religion of Mann, not the science of climate study.
The damage to science itself is profound. The damage to freedom of speech is, perhaps, even worse – which is how Steyn got involved in a lawsuit. And came to write this book. The First Amendment is as much subject to Mann’s attack as is the scientific method.
I consider myself well informed on the AGW debate, but I learned quite a bit from this book. You probably will too. This book does not deny AGW, it denies Michael Mann’s devious, unprincipled, ad-hominem attacks on those who dare ask a single question.
We’re being asked to restructure the world economy because of a drawing based on misrepresentation, willful hyperbole and astounding arrogance. You should read “A Disgrace to the Profession” in order to understand what that means, whatever your position on AGW. You should buy “A Disgrace to the Profession” (also at Amazon) because doing so helps defend free speech. Even if Mann were right, it is long past time his bullying lawfare was stopped.