GIGO

A Climate Modeller Spills the Beans

“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.

Related

Soylent Green

Not The Onion. Not the Babylon Bee.

You have to think this is a PR stunt.

Scientist Says Eating Human Flesh Will Save Planet From Climate Change

To accomplish the goal of reducing CO2 emissions, it would seem as if Magnus Söderlund is not talking about eating people who die of natural causes. One wonders if he’ll be proposing using Swift’s A Modest Proposal, or Logan’s Run as the selection template.

Either way, Paul Ehrlich should be on the selection committee.

The human pestilence problem

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.

We might consider the Malthusian miscalculations of Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb and his proposals for forced sterilization (which was actually practiced in India); or the more gentle doomsayers calling for a Voluntary Human Extinction.

But, those are theoretical. Let me offer 3 real-world examples. 1) The millions of poor ‘people of color’ who’ve died of malaria and dengue fever because of Rachel Carson’s, campaign to ban DDT, 2) the malnutrition, blindness and death imposed on the third world by the boycott of golden rice, and 3) Clueless Minneapolis City Leaders and Sam Rockwell Are the Problem, Not Natural Gas Use

When politicians value signaling virtue above the health and well being of their constituents they are paving the road of good intentions with human bodies. Intentionally.

I repeat, nuclear power would solve the supposed CAGW problem. Greens oppose it because it doesn’t solve the human pestilence problem.

Unsustainable

Four minutes.

Until we see several orders of magnitude better battery energy density (we’re not even close), and we are mining lithium in space, while still also dedicating 30% of the land area in every state to wind and solar generation, and power storage, nuclear power is the clear choice to reduce carbon emissions and maintain a standard of living not tied to near feudal era definitions of good quality of life. Human life is not what is meant by ‘sustainable’ in the renewable power scenario.

By eliminating carbon emissions nuclear power would seem to be a perfect solution, but dedicated Greens say it’s too risky. Well, we have designs from the 1960s that pretty much eliminate the problem.

Also, you’re aware that Teslas spontaneously combust on a regular basis? How do you feel about 20 tons of those batteries piled up in every neighborhood?

The envirostatists ‘sustainability’ mantra comes with a caveat: There are too many of us, living in too much ease. And it must stop.

Environmental and economic insanity

“The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” [Sam] Ricketts [Climate director for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D)] greeted this startling notion with an attentive poker face. “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” [Saikat] Chakrabarti continued. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

Saikat Chakrabarti, was chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“Was” chief of staff. But he perpetrated too many outrageous gaffes even for AOC. Starting with the insanity of Green New Deal, a totalitarian aspiration of which Chakrabarti was the primary author, and culminating with a Tweet “comparing a Native American congresswoman to the Ku Klux Klan.

Yes, it’s a “change-the-entire-economy thing;” to levels of misery not seen since feudalism. And, in exchange for that, we get environmental degradation.

The Environmental Disaster of Solar Energy
“[T]he volume of waste produced by solar panels and wind turbines vastly exceeds that associated with reliable power sources…

“Vastly” is right, and solar panels are the worst offender. Check the chart at the link above.

There’s a lot of highly toxic cadmium behind the glass in those panels.

For Most Things, Recycling Harms the Environment

But for most other things [aside from aluminum cans and corrugated cardboard], recycling harms the environment. I’m not (just) saying it’s costly. I’m saying recycling is harmful. If you care about the environment, you should put your bottles and other glass in the regular garbage, every time.”

There’s a lot of glass in solar panels, which should be put in landfills – except for the Cadmium… Maybe we can put the solar panel waste in Yucca Mountain.

And wind isn’t any better:
Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy
(That article is from 2017, and the only change is that wind has gone from .46% to 2% of electricity generation, according to some more recent articles. Whether that’s all usable power is another question.)

…world energy demand has been growing at about 2 per cent a year for nearly 40 years…

If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000.. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry…

…that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels

As for resource consumption and environmental impacts, the direct effects of wind turbines — killing birds and bats, sinking concrete foundations deep into wild lands — is bad enough. But out of sight and out of mind is the dirty pollution generated in Inner Mongolia by the mining of rare-earth metals for the magnets in the turbines. This generates toxic and radioactive waste on an epic scale…

It gets worse. Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal… Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy.

…you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year… just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.

If the envirostatists really believe we have only a few years to “save the planet,” they should be pushing for a crash program to build nuclear plants. Financed by the money they could save if they stopped flying their private jets to environmental conferences.

See also, The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.

Earth hour

Apparently that’s today. Easy to lose track. Unless you’re in Venezuela or North Korea, where it’s every day.

It’s “A celebration of ignorance, poverty and backwardness.”
-Ross McKitrick.

My lights are all on, and I think I’ll go start my diesel tractor just for a sniff of the fumes. I’ll drive my car 200 feet to the barn.

Rationale to ration

Medical Welfare Programs Look To Price Another Year Of Life

Medicaid and other medical welfare entitlement programs have created expectations that are bigger than the resources available to meet them. As a result, some welfare bureaucracies are looking to ration expensive drugs through a controversial method designed to put a price on the value of a human life.

If a beneficiary of a social welfare program needs a particular drug whose price exceeds a predetermined value of a “quality-adjusted life year” for the individual, under this method, that person would not get the drug. It is already in use in Great Britain’s single-payer health care system and in other nations. Some in the U.S. think it should be used here, too.

When the government pays for something, it gives bureaucrats a taxpayer-based rationale to refuse to pay for it.

See the Green New Deal fantasy: It’s a list of things, including electricity, gasoline, home heating, land use, product design, hourly wages, preferred occupation, food choice, and, yes, health care; all of which will be rationed or regulated. Why? In order to implement their view of “social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality

Is it any wonder GND proponents support “some are more equal than others” thugs like Venezuela’s Maduro and Cuba’s Castro?

Which clueless totalitarian are you?

We need a Facebook quiz to find out which Atlas Shrugged character Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is like.

There might not be a match. Ayn Rand’s fiction has been criticized for unidimensional characterization, but even she would find AOC unbelievable.

Here Are The Most Shocking Proposals From Ocasio-Cortez’ “Green New Deal”

Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t provide any insight into how the trillions of dollars in spending will be paid for other than claiming, “The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit”. But as Ocasio-Cortez says, “the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity”.

Provide free, mandatory classes for every citizen in speaking ‘Venezuelan?’

(Update, 12:48PM here‘s one estimate of the cost.)

Here’s a snippet from an FAQ document, published by proponents, describing the wonders of the ‘Green New Deal:’

Yes, we are calling for a full transition off fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases. Anyone who has read the resolution sees that we spell this out through a plan that calls for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy. Simply banning fossil fuels immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically. We do this through a huge mobilization to create the renewable energy economy as fast as possible. We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.

Maybe “our new shared prosperity” will pay for little solar-powered methane suction devices attached to the rear of every cow.  “Methane Disposal,” you ask?  Well, we just inject it into the natural gas supply lines…  Oh wait, natural gas will be banned.

OK.  More likely, the cow problem solves itself when meat and milk are banned.

This manifesto attracted so much ridicule that they tried to disappear it from the internet. They forgot the internet is forever. It is humorous reading.

This great leap forward is on top of universal free college education and medicare for all. So, they desperately need the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, King Midas, and the Pope (for divine intervention).

What they’ve got is Modern Monetary Theory:

MMT Sounds Great In Theory, But…

If you haven’t heard about Modern Monetary Theory your IQ is higher than it would have been if you had. It is really neither modern, nor a theory (it’s not actually testable*); and it misapprehends the meaning of the word ‘monetary.’ However, it could be in your future as a general government policy.

This theory of infinite currency printing does not admit to being limited by inflation. Any excess currency is simply taxed back. Inflation is something that cannot happen with a proper implementation of MMT.

Proper. Implementation. By the ‘best and brightest.’ Like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

MMT has an obvious attraction for politicians. We’ve been playing at the edges of it for quite some time.

Let’s close with a last word from Ocasio-Cortez on the “Green New Deal”:

“I think one way that the right does try to mischaracterize what we’re doing as though it’s like some kind of massive government takeover. Obviously it’s not that because what we’re trying to do is release the investments from the federal government to mobilize those resources across the country.”

Obviously! Release! Investments! Mobilize! That explains the whole thing: She’s hired a fluent Newspeak expert. ‘Obviously’ means, “If you don’t understand, it’s because you’re stupid.” ‘Release’ means, oh, I don’t know, “the vast Federal budget surplus being held hostage by Trump’s wall proposal?” ‘Investments’ means, “Impossible government spending.” ‘Mobilize’ means, “At gunpoint.”

*Proponents will say, “It is testable, but it’s never been tried.” Well, that’s what they say about Communism, too. But, let’s even ignore the actual workings of an economy and admit that MMT depends on the refined judgment of virtuous politicians zealously balancing currency flow. And if you imagine that can be accomplished, you run into an even bigger problem: To do their job, these paragons also have to possess instant, encyclopedic, perfectly accurate information about every aspect of that economy.

Counter-Enlightment mobs on Twitter

Enlightenment Wars: Some Reflections on ‘Enlightenment Now,’ One Year Later

That Steven Pinker piece is rich in references, long, and thoughtful. You will certainly find some things in it to which you object.

For example, I think this sentence, “But no one would suggest that the state of the environment has improved in the past 250 years anyway — on the contrary, many of the improvements for humanity came at the expense of the planet,” is gibberish. A sop, as Pinker says later, to “the relentless fatalism of orthodox environmental journalism and activism.

In fact, allimprovements for humanity came at the expense of the planet,” so Pinker has given us an understated tautology.

At least since the failure of Eden Bank and Trust, none of the progress he documents would have been possible without drawing on the Bank of Gaia. Shall we define high environmental quality as “red in tooth and claw,” with human lives “nasty, brutish and short?” While extreme environmentalists may count humanity as a cancer*, what other environmental metric should sane humans use than human well-being?

It isn’t either/or. Caring about human well-being means we need to care about the environment, and wealthier societies are far better able to do this. We are the only species who are even capable of thinking about how our activities affect other life, but we’re likely to do little of that while starving, or suffering from deadly, preventable diseases.

Pinker more or less acknowledges this disconnect starting a paragraph later, but it doesn’t excuse that sentence.

I also think Pinker is subject to living too near the edges of the Trump Derangement Syndrome cabal, but his points about Trump all have some core validity.

Enough quibbling. A recommended read, which begins:

You wouldn’t think that a defense of reason, science, and humanism would be particularly controversial in an era in which those ideals would seem to need all the help they can get.

I guess! After this weekend’s events on the DC Mall, and the ongoing vitriolic hatred propelled by rushing to preconceived judgment.

The Enlightenment bequeathed us many things. Among them, transistors.  Leading, unfortunately, to Twitter. It’s the hair trigger of a polity in which 15 year olds receive near instant death threats for simply standing still, smiling nervously in the face of a practiced adult ‘bully for profit,’** while being vilely insulted by adult Black supremacists whose probability of being slaves would be far higher (as would everyone’s) without the Enlightenment.

Pinker describes the central Enlightenment idea these collectivists want to destroy:

“Practices that blatantly violate human freedom and dignity, like slavery, serfdom, imperialism, and caste systems, are to be condemned; all other norms and customs are incommensurable across cultures and may not be judged as superior or inferior.”

It’s Enlightenment values that proscribe and yet protect pre-Enlightenment tribal hatreds. Victims of grievance ideology can’t merely ignore the progress Pinker documents, they have to paint it as evil.

*See also, The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources
“[E]very additional human being born on our planet seems to be making resources proportionately more plentiful for the rest of us.

**No link to a GoFundMe campaign being run on his behalf, but the goal is $50,000.  Of which $380 has been pledged.  The beg:

On Friday, January 18th, 2019, Native American Vietnam War Veteran Nathan Phillips was mocked and harassed by a group of young men in “Make America Great Again” hats on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The disrespect and intimidation displayed by these young men were heartbreaking to me and many others across the country. Given the atrocious actions the U.S. has taken against Native American communities since colonization started in the Americas, this incident was a reflection of how much of that same ignorance and bigotry is still present in our society.

I know that this is a very small gesture relative to the harm that was caused by this specific incident and the many decades of history leading up to this. However, I hope that this GoFundMe campaign can make even a small difference for Mr. Phillips and his community.

Funds raised by this campaign will go directly to Mr. Phillips to use as he sees fit to aid himself and/or his community.

Nor any link to some far left site called Inquisitr:

“Now, the internet has responded by raising thousands of dollars to support Phillips and a non-profit organization he leads called Native Youth Alliance. The response was meant to put a positive spin on an ugly incident that has gained viral attention and to help the Native American activist, who was caught in the middle of the incident.”

Those are but two examples of fundraising off Nathan Phillips’ bullying.

Not so much

From Nature: How much can forests fight climate change?

Jason Funk, quoted below, is talking about planting trees to reduce Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. First, he assumes CAGW (emphasis on catastrophic and anthropogenic) as a clear and present danger. The data on that may be debatable, but everybody knows more trees will help reduce global warming. It’s embedded in the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accord; resulting in a global industrial complex based on selling carbon credits for planting trees. Planting trees is a lifeline we must seize or the planet will fry. Many governments’ common sense regulations and carbon taxes incorporate this certainty. It must be correct.

Well, no, not exactly.

“Scientists who champion forests say that although more research is always good, existing results are mature enough to support the use of forests to fight climate change, especially given the urgency of the problem. “We can’t necessarily afford to hold off on those things; we have to begin taking some action,” says Jason Funk, an environmental scientist in Chicago, Illinois, who served as an adviser and observer to the Paris agreement.

Researchers are now turning to sophisticated computer models and using larger and more-comprehensive data sets to nail down exactly what forests in different places do to the climate. [Why, if we already know we have to plant more?] In some cases, the results have been sobering. [What?] Last October, a team led by ecologist Sebastiaan Luyssaert at the Free University of Amsterdam modelled a variety of European forest-management scenarios. The researchers concluded that none of the scenarios would yield a significant global climate impact, because the effects of surface darkening and cloud-cover changes from any added forests would roughly eliminate their carbon-storage benefits.

Those models will definitely have to be tweaked. Or maybe ‘disappeared,’ as we’ll note below.

I found the implied separation of scientists from researchers amusing. If you substitute the same word to begin each paragraph, you might realize it says climate scientists think it’s a good idea to fund more research by climate scientists.

Implying there are two groups may just be writing to avoid repetition, but it definitely minimizes the self interest aspect. Scientists want researchers to have more funding is different from scientists want scientists to have more funding.

A short version of this article is that while trees absorb carbon dioxide, the incredible complexity of photosynthetic biology also results in emission of many chemicals. Among those; a lot of nitrous oxide, methane and isoprene, i.e., ‘greenhouse gasses.’ Trees also reduce Earth’s albedo (reflectivity), and thereby directly contribute to higher temperatures. Scientifically, it is not clear that the net effect of planting trees is what envirostatists tell us it is.

The most upsetting, if not unexpected, thing from this article is the following quote:
I have heard scientists say that if we found forest loss cooled the planet, we wouldn’t publish it.

“Never mind,” says Mr. Funk, “we have to DO SOMETHING!” Yes! Get the government to create a crony market* to solve a problem that may not exist, using a method that isn’t supported by science. Nice job of virtue signaling, and that’s “something.” Of course, the treasure we spend now won’t be there if we need it for a valid purpose later.

The article doesn’t mention it, so I don’t know if it occurred to any the modellers, but more CO2 makes trees grow (sequester carbon) faster.  What, if any, effect does that represent?

 

*With the additional effect of wealth transfer to poorer countries: Paying second and third world countries for space to plant trees by taxing corporations who need carbon indulgences because of first world regulation and carbon taxes. After all, poorer countries have more votes at the UN, and if we’re going to excuse India and China from much of the Kyoto and Paris agreements, everybody else should get something, too.