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“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.

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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.

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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?

Al’s Big Adventure



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Many possibilities spring to mind as to what members might ask former Vice President Al Gore during his appearances Wednesday before the House Energy Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committees. Before one gets too optimistic, however, bear in mind Gore’s newfound reluctance to actually take questions (see debate-refusal clock on the latter, and scroll down here for yet another example). Instead, we should expect be treated to evasive non-responses designed to run out each member’s five-minute allotment. The respective chairmen – especially Barbara Boxer – are likely more willing to gavel down challengers more readily than they would bark at Gore for going over-time. As such, the wise member will use his or her own time to enumerate inconvenient truths about Mr. Gore’s scientific and political claims.

Suggested topics one might raise during such mini-speeches include:

* It is nice to see Mr. Gore’s newfound respect for Congress’s role in these matters. Recall that in July 2001 the Senate, noting how the Clinton-Gore administration betrayed no intention to seek Article II, Section 2 “advice”, offered unsolicited instruction 95-0 that the administration not agree to any treaty meeting the description of the Kyoto Protocol. Of course, an intervening event was an August 4 meeting in the Oval Office with Enron’s Ken Lay and (then-) Sir John Browne of BP, instructing them that indeed the U.S. should ignore the Senate’s advice and agree to Kyoto. We know who won.

On December 11, 1997, the day his administration agreed to Kyoto thereby manifesting its preference for Enron’s advice over the Senate’s, Gore is quoted by CNN.com as saying, “‘As we said from the very beginning, we will not submit this agreement for ratification until key developing nations participate in this effort,’ Gore declared.” (emphasis added)

This is what Bush noted when announcing continuation of this Clinton-Gore policy. Nothing has changed as regards this condition except that the exempt majority of the world has hardened its position against agreeing to any Kyoto-style limits.

* Presidents sign treaties. Senates ratify them. And Congresses enact legislation. The latter two have done nothing relevant since the U.S. signed Kyoto. So everything is Bush’s fault, despite the above reminder.

This begs the question of what, precisely, prompts Gore’s persistent insistence of Bush’s supposed Kyoto irresponsibility in slavish service of special interests? Does he suggest that Bush do a better job of negotiating than Gore and sign a new treaty, even though a signed offer remains on the table, the only substantive thing about which Bush could do is unsign it? Should he instead ask the Senate to ratify Kyoto, as dictated by protocol (if not the Constitution)? What about Gore’s prescribed condition has changed since the Clinton-Gore administration spent 801 days not making this push before skipping town?

Like his call for a “World War II-style commitment” that he intimates means switching out some light bulbs and stringing a clothesline, Gore’s complaints about Bush and Kyoto remain quite vague, and equally hypocritical.

You Can Call Me, Al



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John Fund:

Columnist Steven Milloy recalls talking with Mr. Gore in 2006 about the 1997 Kyoto Protocol he helped negotiate as vice president. “Did we think Kyoto would [reduce global warming] when we signed it? . . . Hell no!” said Mr. Gore, according to Mr. Milloy. The former vice president then explained that the real purpose of Kyoto was to demonstrate that international support could be mustered for action on environmental issues. Mr. Gore clearly believes that the world hasn’t acted with enough vigor in the decade since Kyoto, which may explain his growing use of the global-warming hype that concerns many mainstream scientists.

Mr. Gore has called the campaign to combat global warming a “moral imperative.” But Mr. Gore faces another imperative: to square his sales pitches with the facts and his personal lifestyle to more align with what he advocates that others practice. “Are you ready to change the way you live?” asks Mr. Gore’s film. It’s time people ask Mr. Gore “Are you ready to change the way you live, as well as the way you lecture the rest of us?”

The Goracle Gets a Grilling



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Drudge previews Wednesday on the Hill.

Words Fail Me...



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…Other than I am so ever-more deeply sorry for all of the Doughboy and GI lives lost on the fields of Flanders.


Belgian Ministers Quarrel over Al Gore

From the desk of Luc Van Braekel on Fri, 2007-03-16 17:29

Last week, a big row broke out in the federal government of Belgium. The reason? Al Gore and his campaign on climate change. But it was not about measures to limit CO2 emissions that the government ministers were quarreling. No, they were fighting about this picture which appeared in the Belgian press:

Some ministers were angry that Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (right) and Vice Prime Minister Didier Reynders (left) were on the picture, but they not. Why hadn’t they been invited? They also wanted to be on the picture with Al Gore! Especially Laurette Onkelinx and Freya Van den Bossche, two Socialist Vice Prime Ministers, were angry that the Liberal Vice Prime Minister Reynders was present, and they not. According to the Brussels newspaper Le Soir, the discussion about the Al Gore photo lasted for three hours during a restricted meeting of top ministers, known as the “core cabinet”. In the end, Prime Minister Verhofstadt reprimanded Vice Prime Minister Reynders because he had shown up for the meeting with Gore without being formally invited.

The row confirms a few things about the status of climate change and Al Gore: in Belgium, Al Gore is looked upon as a hero, a superman, the only man in the world who can save the planet. And the discussion about climate change in the media and among politicians is not about the scientific data and conclusions, but only about the question whether we are doing enough to fight climate change and whether we are making enough new laws to save our planet.

Treaties for Dummies



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They just don’t get it. Today’s Financial Times carries the following wishful thinking from two of Europe’s most dissonant Kyoto cheerleaders:

“David Miliband, the British environment minister, told the FT it was ‘a matter of “when” not “if” the US becomes part of a global drive to reduce emissions’. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s environment minister, said the US would join an international emissions trading system ‘when Europe’s system was made to work properly. The US won’t let it happen that there’s an international financial market [for emissions certificates] that it is not a part of’.”

Ignorance of our comparative performance and euphemistic treatment of the disaster that is the Emissions Trading Scheme aside, this repeats a meme being ever-more aggressively advanced by the Kyotophiles. Other high-profile examples include the suggestion by UNFCCC executive secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar, at the December 2006 Nairobi talks on the Kyoto Protocol, to postpone until 2010 the negotiations over a “post-2012” Kyoto pact slated for next year. This is purportedly to accommodate the next U.S. president, candidates for which job, Cutajar et al insist, are certainly more amenable to Kyoto than that mean George W. Bush.

Certainly, all of these remarks represent the Kyoto establishment seeking to blame the U.S.’s refusal to join Kyoto for the looming failure of a successor agreement to attract approval by even Kyoto’s original core, covered countries. But raw ignorance is also on full display, particularly the common but false presumptions of the intentions of possible candidates for president, none of whom actually indicate any intention to join Kyoto let a lone a more stringent “Round II”, but instead merely argue for a domestic law that a fraction as stringent as “Kyoto I” (if still opposed by a majority of the U.S. Senate).

Finally, it seems entirely beyond the grasp of Kyotophile politicians and bureaucrats to understand their key problem when it comes to roping the U.S. into this scheme: They will never, ever get the required (Article II, Section 2) two-thirds’ Senate vote to ratify such an agreement. This dreamy notion that a President McCain or Clinton would ride up on a white steed to sign another treaty seems intentionally ignorant of the fact that Bush’s predecessor also signed such a treaty – Kyoto – which got them nowhere, because not one Senator has lifted one finger to try and force a vote.

The evidence suggests that that is highly unlikely to change and, if it did, it would still fail.

Compassionate Conservatism at Work



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Solar research grants to the needy.

The Kind of Green You Can Spend



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The New York Times has a piece on venture capital firms that portray themselves as environmentally friendly—investing in alternative energy and such—but don’t always live up to their eco-conscious images. The article seems shocked and dismayed that any such firm might also invest in fossil fuels, but has a great bit from Erik Straser of Mohr Davidow Ventures:

“It’s called browntech,” said Erik Straser, a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures. One of that venture firm’s investments is in a start-up called Panasas, which has developed computer storage technology to help oil companies become hyperefficient at finding new places to explore.

Mohr Davidow invests in energy markets, he said, because they are big, and have big profit potential, not foremost because they offer an opportunity to help the environment.

“I’m here to make the kind of green my limited partners can spend,” Mr. Straser said.

Yes, it’s true: investment firms exist to make money—and that’s exactly why they should exist. Not to add some nebulous, ill-defined “social value” to non-interested “stakeholders.” Not to fund pet projects of activist outsiders. Not to limply bend to the will of environmental pressure groups. Nope, none of this. Just to make a profit. As anyone who has ever seen an assembly line knows, specialization creates efficiency, and thus we don’t want companies trying to be all-purpose do-gooders. No, as Milton Friedman famously wrote, the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. And that’s it.

Al Gore’s Science Fiction



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CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis is giving a briefing to Hill staff on this subject soon (from 12:15pm EST) that you can watch on C-Span 2 or via their website here.

Supporting printed material is available here.

The Climate Change Hypocrites



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18 Doughty Street has a great video on the climate change hypocrisy:

The Great Debate



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The Senate EPW Committee Minority blog has more on the debate this week on whether global warming is a crisis.

A transcript of the debate can be found here.

Two Headlines



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From the front page of The Daily Telegraph website this morning, two headlines, the stories running one after the other: Arctic ice hits ‘tipping point’ Snowy forecast sees off spring hopes

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