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Robert Samuelson on Global Warming Policy



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From RealClearPolitics :

Unless we can replace coal or neutralize its CO2 emissions, curbing greenhouse gases is probably impossible. [emph. added]

[snip] 

[T]here are no instant solutions, and a political dilemma dogs most possibilities. What’s most popular and acceptable (say, more solar) may be the least consequential in its effects; and what’s most consequential in its effects (a hefty energy tax) may be the least popular and acceptable.

Al on China and India



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Realpolitik, Al argues, means that we can’t ask China and India to impose limits on their emissions through treaties. America must therefore show leadership and wait for China and India to realize what fools they are. And this leadership will make America more competitive.

Glad that’s cleared up.

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Amory Lovins in his own words



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“If you ask me, it’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won’t give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other.”

“Wrenching transformation” no more



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Al Gore is now claiming, per Amory Lovins, that the US can alter its economy as he described at no cost. This is way out of line with mainstream economics. Even the Stern Report, which quite probably understimated costs, says early action will cost 1 percent of global GDP. Most studies suggest limiting CO2 concentrations to 550 or 650 ppm – well above the environmentalist favored target of 450 ppm – will cost 2 to 5 percent of global GDP.

Danger + Opportunity = Crisis?



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The former Veep has also used his regular shtick that the Chinese characters for Danger and Opportunity combine to make the character for Crisis. They don’t. This is about as accurate as his other claims.

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Al Gore: Famous for D.C.



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Beltway denizens often talk about being “famous for D.C.,” which is sort of a backhanded compliment–it means you’re known by the Blackberry-toting wonks and bureaucrats and operatives that populate political Washington but not by anyone who might count as a “normal person.” Thanks to An Inconvenient Truth and his Oscar, Gore has enjoyed some time as actually famous. Watching him testify here, it seems like he’s really hoping that his Hollywood fame will bestow some glitz and glamour on his appearance today. He’s just got that righteous, stepping-down-from-his-perch to deliver The Real Official Truth About Global Warming air about him–talking about how global warming isn’t a political problem but a “moral imperative.” He’s even making Hollywood references, comparing the global warming “crisis” to Thermopylae.* 

But I have to say, I don’t think his shtick isn’t working.  Talking about CAFE standards (Sam Kazman wrote about CAFE for NRO here ) and regulatory power and such, he’s back to being just “famous for D.C.”–another D.C. policy guy talking about economic impacts and think tank statistics. 

 *Yes, I know this is technically a historical reference, but do you really think he would’ve mentioned it if not for 300?

Al Gore Live!



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Gore: “We ought to aim for defacto compliance with Kyoto.”  And he’s now suggesting that we push the compliance date from 2012 up to 2010. 
 

Speaking of



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I understand the former vice president skipped the GOP opening statements. Or am I buying Fox spin?

Gore and Lomborg Live



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You can watch House testimony of Gore and Bjorn Lomborg live on C-Span 3. Gore will be speaking before the Senate this afternoon. That will also be covered on C-Span .

Al Gore is in Da House



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Let’s drop-in on Big Al’s Excellent adventure for a snapshot or some of its 3D hour:

Gore denies that he is a reflexive opponent of nuclear power. That’s good, as it is the only way one could ration CO2 emissions from electricity production without what one might call a “wrenching transformation of society” (which one can still achieve through the rest of the Kyoto agenda — at least for those of us without the means to buy Gore-like volumes of climatically meaningless carbon indulgences); and upon scrutiny it is also a subtle way of saying most of the alarmists are wrong even according to the Oracle (Cassandra?).

He doesn’t come out and support it, however. You see, as he tells us, invoking his famed lack of proportion, “I’ve been to Chernobyl. I’ve been to Three Mile Island.”

Oh, dear.

Next, Hollywood’s Henry Waxman and Gore do their Goofy Gophers routine, endlessly taking turns thanking each other for their leadership. Waxman does find time to thank Gore for educating Congress and the American people “about the gravest threat” in the world. Apparently not as grave as an increase in the federal minimum wage, cutting the interest rate on student loans, or peeking at emails about US Attorneys and other pressing matters for humanity that Congress has found time to focus their laser beam on, unlike adopting the solutions that for six years we’ve been told we know about and are necessary. After all, Gore reminds us, “this is not partisan; this is not political; this is a moral issue.” Waxman dismissed criticism of their claimed agenda as “smack[ing] of fear, and fear can be paralyzing.”

Those mean skeptics, trying to scare people.

Europe Fades to Green



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John O’Sullivan covers the European front and cautions:

Europe’s green establishment believes that global warming is caused by carbon usage and thus can be solved only by its massive reduction. But global warming has several possible causes, some of which, such as the activity of the sun, are unrelated to humans.

While we are seeking to understand global warming scientifically, we should adapt to it — shoring up coasts against erosion, changing the use of agricultural land to suit the changing climate, building dams, developing new technologies. Adaptation would include measures to encourage the use of cleaner fuels, notably nuclear energy. It would be a practical solution to the effects of warming, whatever science eventually established definitively as its cause.

To be sure, adaptation would be expensive. Not nearly so expensive, however, as trying to close down the free market in Europe and to reverse the Industrial Revolution in Asia. But Gaia is a jealous goddess and does not consider costs.

“Consensus is reached: Gore’s global-warming alarmism is overblown.”



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Steven Hayward previews what the former VPOTUS faces on the Hill today.

Some questions for Al Gore



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Reps Hastert and Barton have asked some questions of former Vice President Gore in advance of tomorrow’s hearing with him and Bjorn Lomborg. The full letter is here.

Meanwhile, Czech President Vaclav Klaus has written to the House Energy and Commerce committee further expounding his views on global warming. Some highlights of the letter:

“It becomes evident that while discussing climate we are not witnessing a clash of views about the environment but a clash of views about human freedom.”

“As someone who lived under communism for most of my life I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st century is not communism or its various softer variants. Communism was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism.”

“The – so called – climate change and especially man-made climate change has become one of the most dangerous arguments aimed at distorting human efforts and public policies in the whole world,” Klaus said.

Economist David Friedman has a few relevant posts about the motivations, methods and preferred policies of environmentalism.

Speaking of the Former VPOTUS



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A reader points out: Gore has apparently written “a sensationalistic, hysterical book opposing sensationalism and hysteria”

“The Second Great Debate”



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Must...avoid...obvious...joke



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From today’s Greenwire, in reference to a massive crowd of “a few hundred people” demonstrating about global warming on this balmy first day of Spring:

Splashed against a backdrop of a polar bear and an inflatable 20-foot globe with flames racing up its sides, the crowd heard from speakers ranging from a Fairfax County, Va., third grader who runs a web blog urging action to protect polar bears to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

No comment.

Free-Market Environmentalism



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Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith has a splendid little essay in the new issue of PERC Reports on Free-Market Environmentalism. This is very important:

Traditional thinking about environmental issues tends to emphasize incentive problems inherent in markets but ignores them in the context of political processes. Many economists and policy analysts assume that an e%uFB03cient allocation of resources will be reached when government correctly accounts for the costs and bene%uFB01ts. Free Market Environmentalism challenged this presumption and provided a more realistic way of thinking about environmental policy—a way that emphasized the important role of incentives, transaction costs, and well-de%uFB01ned property rights to natural resources. These rights, whether held by individuals or a group, create inherent incentives on resource users because the wealth of the property owner is at stake if bad decisions are made.

By placing property rights at the heart of the system rather than government control, FME offers a better way to solve genuine environmental problems like overfishing, where government command-and-control systems have failed disastrously. More on this to come.

McCain’s Faux-Kyoto



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Matt Continetti has an interesting piece on John McCain and conservative discontent with the Republican presidential hopefuls in the New York Times this morning.  It’s worth reading, but one line sticks out as problematic.  In talking about why many conservatives react negatively to McCain, he writes:

Many refuse to accept the scientific consensus on global climate change and recoil at Senator McCain’s attempts to find a free-market solution to the problem.

But McCain’s proposal was not really a free-market solution–and no matter how you label it, it certainly wasn’t an effective solution.  As Marlo Lewis wrote for NRO at the time, it was just a rehash of Kyoto.  Whether or not you accept the so-called “scientific consensus” on global warming doesn’t even matter here.  McCain’s proposal was simply bad policy.

Climate of Denial, Part Infinity



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The Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) published a letter today stating in pertinent part:

“The opinion of climatologists is unanimous. Global climate change is a
fact. There are no articles in any peer-reviewed scientific journal that deny
the impact that man is having on his planet. If someone knows of one, please
bring it to my attention. …”

…before trailing off into mumbo-speak claiming the debate is all a matter of degree – so to speak – of how bad things will be, and about using electricity when the sun shines and wind blows.

That a letter-writer would posit such a claim is one thing; that a letters editor would print it is another altogether.

Regardless, methinks that the writer’s call for help is the epitome of a rhetorical question, but just in case he actually will listen to heretical realities, I refer him to Dr. Benny Peiser’s debunking of the claim. And here, here and here. Or simply, the UN IPCC (particularly when the actual science, that in classic IPCC style was purportedly summarized in February, is completed and for scheduled May publication).

That Peiser’s analysis is so damning is found in the sadly typical experience that it – and he – have been the subject of relentless and by now essentially irrelevant assaults; but this doesn’t change that the claim is utterly unsupportable and now thoroughly debunked.

Hard as it may be to discern without context (which I’ll provide in a moment), that this claim is nonsense is further found in the following, a correction in Science made necessary by but failing to do justice to Peiser’s analysis:

“Letters. CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS: Essays: ‘The scientific consensus on climate change’ by N. Oreskes (3 Dec. 2004, p. 1686). The final sentence of the fifth paragraph should read ‘That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “global climate change” (9).’ The keywords used were ‘global climate change,’ not ‘climate change.’”

Science 21 January 2005: Vol. 307. no. 5708, p. 355, DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5708.355.

Our friend in Santa Cruz is parroting the line of one Naomi Oreskes, a professor of history at UC-San Diego who did however tout this line on the Santa Cruz Community Television (beamed also to all DishTV subscribers). Oreskes, as I detail in my book, “conducted a computer search for articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals that contained the phrase ‘global climate change.’ She found 928 since 1993. In her article explaining her findings, however, she claimed to have searched for all articles using the phrase “climate change” a search that would have yielded about 10,000 more articles.

Oreskes claimed to have reviewed these articles and proven that ‘there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change.’ She continued: ‘Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen.’

Oreskes claimed that man-made (anthropogenic) global warming had not been questioned once in any of the relevant papers since 1993. Specifically, she claimed that “75% [of the studies]… either explicitly or implicitly accept [] the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.”

Particularly given her obvious intimation of having read the papers, her thesis is a dog’s breakfast of half- and non-truths.”

In reality most of the 928 papers turned up by Oreskes’ flawed search do not even mention anthropogenic global warming, let alone confirm alarmism in their conclusions. Further, some papers merely assumed for their purposes that rising CO2 levels from burning hydrocarbons will affect the climate, as opposed to having research findings establishing this. Most didn’t present any analysis or conclusions at all about it, as Peiser found.

He notes in an email that, “It turns out that her claim to have analyzed 928 abstracts is erroneous as this number of abstracts doesn’t exist…In any case, the vast majority of abstracts doesn’t even mention anthropogenic climate change, let alone support the consensus Oreskes claims that 75% either explicitly or implicitly endorse.”

In the thrall of big oil



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The current Entertainment Weekly has an interesting little tidbit about the pre-Oscar party for Al Gore thrown by Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith (photos here if you can stand it). Apparently the event was part-sponsored by BP and all attendees were given, because Hollywood Celebrities are in such need of gifts, a $100 gas card.

So the glitterati are allowed to drive–and for free?

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