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The Economist Wields the Stiletto



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The Economist, which has been all over the map on climate change, has a neat line in its latest leader:

“Testifying before Congress on March 21st, the former vice-president was as cautious and understated as any other movie star. “

The Goremobile



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Al and Tipper arrived at Wednesday’s Capitol hearings in a spanking new, black 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. Ford touts the “the most fuel efficient SUV in the world” as going over 30 percent farther on a tank of gas than a standard Mariner (32 mpg vs. 20).

Or, as the Goracle might say: “If your baby has a fever. . . you should feed it just two-thirds of a spoonful of poison.”

Of course, morality doesn’t come cheap: The $30,000 Mariner hybrid stickers for $5 grand more than the standard model. Uncle Sam chips in a bit with a $3000 tax break. And the Gores own two – one for DC, the other for their 10,000 square foot Nashville home.

So that’s a $6000 subsidy we taxpayers are putting in St. Gore’s collection box.

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Lomborg’s Defense



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You can read Bjorn’s own responses to several of the various charges laid at his door by Rep. Gordon here. One example: the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty invalidated their original finding of dishonesty and closed the case back in 2004.

An eye-witness account of Lomborg’s House testimony



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From a friend:

Lomborg did a great job attacking crisis mentality on Climate Change and Kyoto. Said all peer-reviewed cost-benefit studies suggest we should do very little re climate – “Vast frivolous projects like the Kyoto Protocol.”Chairman Bart Gordon did a vicious hit job on him in his introduction. Said while America takes great pride in freedom of speech, we have to separate science from opinion. Then said every credible organization has said Lomborg is basically wrong and dishonest. Danish Scientific Committee on Dishonesty, the NAS, Science, Nature, Scientific American, etc. Also said Lomborg believed “Jews weren’t singled out by Nazis.” Your opinion has been disputed on everything.
[That last insinuation is despicable. I can only presume it came from some ideologically-blinkered staffer reading this article, whose point is to show how despicable the argument is as used against Lomborg!]
Lomborg quietly responded “Thank you very much for your welcome here.”[Rep. Inslee] was even nastier if possible Said “You’re saying America is not capable of taking care of HIV, malaria and global warming all at the same time. But I am here to tell you you’re wrong. Maybe Denmark can’t do all those things at the same time, but America can.”Lomborg’s response was great. “If you say you can and will do all these things, why didn’t you do them in the past ten years?” Re Inslee and Gore, “If it’s so easy (costless) to reduce CO2, why did CO2 emissions rise 18% while Gore was VP?” “You not only didn’t do everything, you didn’t do either (anything)!!”

“If the costs are negligible, then just jump on it. If there are $50 bills just lying around, you would think someone would pick them up. That it wouldn’t be something you would have to regulate.” After Gordon’s initial ad hominen attack on Lomborg he left and only D who stayed was Inslee as chair. There were no other Ds at any time. About 9-12 Rs. Most of whom commented on fact that Ds had no interest in ideas or the truth. Only wanted to applaud Gore and then left. By far the two outstanding GOP stars who asked the most intelligent questions, asked for refutation of specific Gore points, and who seemed to understand what was going on, etc., were John Shadegg of AZ and John Shimkus of IL. Clearly they were both well-versed and had had some good staff work. (Shadegg also said the Ds must be afraid to hear what you’re saying and that’s why none of them are here.) Lomborg to Shadegg: re Gore freezing CO2 emissions, “You could do it but it wouldn’t accomplish anything.” Re then cutting C02 emisssions by 90%, “”I just think it is ludicrous and cost would be in excess of $85 trillion.” Sullivan of OK asked for two most outrageous Gorisms. Lomborg: “The 20 foot sea level rise is unbelievable — especially that he can get away with those things.” And “That it’s actually going to be costless and that we’ll actually make money doing it.” Sullivan — in 20 years will the world be a disaster? “No. Of course not.” Inslee became indignant that Lomborg was criticizing Gore, “You have constantly, repeatedly misrepresented what the Vice Preisdent of the United States has said.”Lomborg also stressed how Gore and others never discuss both sides of an issue. They go on and on about heat deaths and never mention cold deaths. Couple times he talked about how in UK everyone is still talking about 2,000 heat deaths from 2003 but don’t say a word about the 25,000 cold deaths that occur every year. Said of course there will be an increase in heat deaths, but there will be a vast decrease in cold deaths. Was also good and specific on malaria, hurricanes, and sea level. I’m sure he irritated Inslee and Gordon appearing suitless and shirtless and tieless, wearing his tight black muscle T-shirt.

A vastly important contribution to the debate we have to have. No wonder certain parties didn’t want to hear it.

Lomborg Online



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I meant to post this yesterday, but, via Ron Bailey at Reason, I see that Lomborg’s press release and testimony are online at Copenhagen Consensus Center.

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Lomborg: Gore Approach Costs Lives



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Bjorn Lomborg testified after Al Gore yesterday, although very few people saw it. In his testimony, not yet online as far as I can find, he made the following bold assertion:

Let us be frank. Al Gore and the many people he has inspired have good will and great intentions. However, he has got carried away and come to show only worst-case scenarios. This is unlikely to form the basis for a sound policy judgment. The problem is compounded in that if we follow Al Gore’s recommendations, we will likely end up choosing very bad policies to solve the many problems we agree need attention.

In short, following Gore’s logic, with its good will and fine intentions, will actually end up costing millions of lives.

But backed it up with the data:

Take malaria. Dealing with malaria by affecting a change in global warming through the Kyoto Protocol will probably save in the order of 0.1% of annual malaria deaths averaged over the century (289.5m/9109.5m * 7%/2 (Arnell et al., 2002:439; Wigley, 1998:2287) or save about 1,000 lives each year (at 1m deaths, (Awash & UN Millennium Project. Working Group on Malaria., 2005:1). In comparison, a targeted approach could cut malaria deaths by 75% or 750,000 per year averaged over the century. (Notice, because of growth in population and climate effects, the actual numbers would probably be about 1,400 and 850,000 on average over the century.) Moreover, the cost of Kyoto would be $180 billion annually, compared to just $3 billion annually for the targeted malaria policy (Awash & UN Millennium Project. Working Group on Malaria., 2005:2; Weyant & Hill, 1999). Kyoto would therefore save 140,000 people at 60 times the cost, whereas a targeted malaria policy would save more than 85 million. Not initiating the targeted malaria policy first means forgoing saving – or simply costing – 85 million lives.

If that doesn’t demonstrate the vast opportunity cost of the Gore approach, I’m not sure what will.

 

Two in the Post



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For your reading pleasure: Planet Gore’s Iain Murray and Corner-regular John Podhoretz both have great pieces on Gore in the New York Post today. 

The Goreacle Speaks



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A couple of videos from Gore’s testimony yesterday:

 

Fox’s Story on Gore’s refusal to the Republican opening statements countering his statements (unfortunately, the quality is kind of poor):

And here’s the aforementioned snippy clip between Inhofe and Boxer:


 
 And finally, here’s Inhofe asking Gore to “change the way he lives.”

 

Smoke This



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I was confronted yet again yesterday with a green alleging that by rejecting the lifestyle changes mandated by climate alarmism and its related proposals one is akin to someone paid by the tobacco companies to deny the link between smoking and cancer. This particular straw argument is I suppose a step down from the trendy “Holocaust denier!” or its shortened variant, “denier”, yet odd nonetheless–if only due to the seemingly disproportionate proclivity of greens to light up (based on my unscientific example of attending many Kyoto confabs).

But now we must also wonder about their Surgeon General, Al Gore, a chain-smoker under this analogy if ever there was one.

The Goracle



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Hillary Thinks Al’s Running



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At Al Gore’s Senate appearance, Hillary asked Al whether he prefers a carbon tax or economy-wide cap and trade.

Al said he wants “both.” No doubt like Samuel Gompers, at any given point when asked what is it that he wants, he will respond, “More.”

I’m Watching C-SPAN and..



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Sen. James Inhofe appears to have just asked Al Gore to commit to using no more energy than the average home without using “gimmicks” like carbon offsets. Gore has evaded, but doesn’t seem willing to respond in the affirmative.

The two are getting pretty snippy with each other, talking over each other and such. As far as C-SPAN goes, this is pretty tense television.

Update: Gore just invited Inhofe (who, I should’ve mentioned before, is probably the Senate’s biggest opponent of global warming policy) to breakfast. But now they’re getting snippy again.

Update 2: There’s a clip  of Sen. Boxer more or less reprimanding Inhofe–or at least asserting control–after he didn’t allow Gore to respond to a question over at Hot Air.  At the Corner, John Podhoretz thinks Inhofe was out of line.   

Barton’s Statement



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Rep. Barton, Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had a strong statement/commentary on Al Gore’s testimony that can be found here. This was a line that a lot of people will remember, I think:

You just gave us an idea for a straight CO2 freeze, if I heard you correctly. I think that’s an idea that’s flawed. If you take that literally, we can add no new industry, nor new cars and trucks on our streets, and apparently no new people. People are mobile-source emitters. Every person emits 0.2 tons of CO2 a year, so an absolute true freeze would be no new industry, no new people, and no new cars.

But in fact the next few lines are the substantive ones. Just what would we want from a global warming policy?

I think we need to approach any legislative initiatives in this area with an eye on four basic principles: We want to be sure it actually helps the environment; we want to keep the lights on at an affordable price; we want to keep the American economy strong and American jobs here, and we can’t get out in front of what is technologically possible at the current time.

Kyoto – which Gore endorsed – would do little to help the environment. Taxes and cap and trade will raise prices and turn lights off. Unliateral restrictions not matched by America’s competitors would harm American competitiveness and almost certainly move jobs – and their concomitant emissions, remember – overseas. And much of the technology Gore talks about is years away; carbon capture and storage, for instance, is at least ten years away from practical deployment. As a study in Science magazine in 2002 concluded, “CO2 is a combustion product vital to how civilization is powered; it cannot be regulated away.”

Gore’s contempt for the House



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So not only did Gore miss the opening statements, he also failed to submit his written testimony to the House Committees until just one minute before his scheduled appearence. Added to his misleading the committee on matters as diverse as European performance and the Chinese language, there is only one word for such an approach: contempt.

Al Gore’s Entrance



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An answer from a Republican Energy & Commerce staffer:

 It’s true — He came in after the statements. I don’t know the particular reasons. But for this hearing, only the Chairman and ranking member of the full Energy and Commerce and Science committees, as well as the Chairman and ranking member for the two energy subcommittess for E&C and Science gave opening statements. Mr. Barton and Mr. Hastert waived their opening statements, as did Mr. Boucher (and maybe Mr. Lampson) on the D side, so that they could have additional time for questions.

China, India, Kyoto, and Competitiveness



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Regarding Iain’s post/Al Gore’s comment that we’re foolishly resisting competitive enhancement found in shackling our economy with the Kyoto agenda, and since Al saw fit to invoke the experience of those laboratories of bureaucracy, the European Union, let’s remind ourselves of what a stunning success that has(n’t) been.

In truth, Kyoto is indeed already enhancing America’s competitiveness, but through Europe’s implementation. For example we have Kyoto to thank for these 175 identifiable “Kyoto jobs” in Carroll County, KY, sent there expressly, according to parent company Acerinox’s CEO Victoriano Munoz, because of Europe’s Kyoto experiment and our refusal to follow.

The Goreacle



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Rep. Markey just called Al Gore a “Prophet.”

Perhaps that 300 reference isn’t looking so good now?

Research vs. Reading



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From a reader:

[Iain Murray writes] “This is about as accurate as his other claims.”  I’m not sure if you realize how precise and profound your observation is.  This level of “expertise” is precisely what Al Gore is all about; grabbing a “truth” from here and a “truth” from there, taking on faith whatever fits his fancy, with no recourse to fact-checking or attempt at fundamental understanding.  This is exactly how deep his scientific knowledge goes as well, and it’s a bit scary that he will be publishing a treatise on the “creation of an environment dangerously hostile to reason” without citing himself and his level of “reasoning” as the prime example of the problem. It’s even scarier that we are being asked to bank our nation’s future on this level of “reasoning.”

I have a 7th grade daughter whom I am curing of the habit of saying that she has “researched” this or “researched” that.  “Dear,” I say, “you read up on it.  That’s not research.”  Al Gore probably believes he (himself, personally) has “researched” aspects of global warming.  No, he hasn’t.  He’s read what others (who have actually researched) have said (and probably only in layman’s translations * I can’t imagine him puzzling through the dynamical systems models, or even the statistical correlations, much less balancing a single chemical reaction); but he’s never, himself, “researched” anything.  Of course he also claimed that he and Tipper “experimented” with marijuana; I’m guessing it involved a similar level of scientific rigor as his “researches” into global warming, or into Mandarin Chinese, for that matter. 

Al Gore on Europe



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Al said that Europe is on target to meet its emissions reduction requirements under Kyoto. Perhaps he should tell Friends of the Earth:

While the EU has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 per cent by 2012 compared to 1990, recent data published by the European Environment Agency show that general greenhouse gas emissions are actually increasing ( 0,3 per cent in 2004).

More from FOE:

In 2004, the combined EU-15 [2] emissions were only 0.9% below 1990 levels, meaning that the EU-15 is shamefully off-course to meet its international Kyoto Protocol obligations to cut greenhouse pollution by 8% by 2012.

Jan Kowalzig, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
As these new figures embarrassingly show, our European leaders still haven’t woken up to the climate crisis. Europe’s governments make grand statements about their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, yet economy and industry Ministers continue to block or water down policy measures to switch to renewable energies, reduce energy waste or introduce fuel consumption standards for cars.”

According to the new data, Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Denmark and Ireland are the worst performers, drifting furthest from their Kyoto emission targets.[3] Across Europe, overall energy demand is on the rise, while renewable energy share to meet this demand is stagnating at around 6%. Also, the energy efficiency of the European economy shows only minor improvements over the past years.

Road and air transport are among the biggest culprits, with emissions from these sectors contributing most to the recent emissions increase. This is a result of a staggering growth in demand for cars and flights and because, for example, governments are failing to introduce binding fuel consumption standards for cars.

Governments do not have the option to give global warming a backseat in favour of short term interests. The benefits of avoiding catastrophic climate change will clearly outweigh the costs of abatement policies.[4] And switching to renewable energies will generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs throughout Europe and reduce the dependence on foreign energy imports at times of soaring oil & gas prices,[5] ” Mr Kowalzig added.

Indeed, the EU itself disagrees with him on page 1 of its official report for 2005:

“Even with planned additional domestic policies and measures, the target will not be reached.”

Has the Vice President misled the House?

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.

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