There are many reasons to be skeptical of the Green New Deal and the Green New Dealers behind it. In the blog post from two weeks ago - which I now admit, was far too long (1) - the importance of electricity to the US standard of living was discussed. This article discussed in detail where electricity comes from and the role renewables have played in the reduction of CO2 from electricity production. It was shown that the biggest source of reduced CO2 was not increased electricity from renewables. Instead, it was displacing coal fired electricity with natural gas fired electricity. The technology that has allowed so much more electricity to be produced from natural gas is fracking! Yet, the Green New Dealers are completely opposed to fracking.
Because the blog post from two weeks ago was so long, in this week's post I want to simply list some of the reasons to be skeptical of the Green New Deal, or to simply apply some perspective to the doomsday scenarios the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez's and Ed Markey's of the world are using to advance their agenda.
So here goes....
- By invoking the term 'New Deal,' the Green New Deal betrays a complete ignorance of the past. The fact that so many modern politicians invoke the New Deal as some type of archetypal perfect government program would come as a huge surprise to the people who lived through the New Deal. In the 1938 elections - a full-six years after FDR and the New Dealers had virtually total control over the country - the New Deal parties lost nearly as many congressional seats as the Republicans had in 1932! In 1932 the Republicans lost 100 congressional seats, while the Democrats and other affiliated parties lost 85 in 1938. See the chart below which only plots Republican and Democratic seats.
- Alarmists routinely claim that the temperatures are the warmest 'on record.' Well, reliable temperature records only go back to the late 19th century. So, the record is only about 140-years old. Furthermore, in the late 19th century the world was coming out of the 'Little Ice Age!' Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. Think of its vivid descriptions of a cold and snowy London. The London of a Christmas Carol was much colder than the London of today because of the enormous climate cycles the earth goes through. The temperatures that correspond to the beginning of all recorded temperatures were low because of this, not because there was less CO2 in Dickensian London.
- The Texas Sharpshooter Theory describes a very specific type of target shooting. This type of shooting is germane to the GND and the Green New Dealers. In this type of target shooting, shots are fired at a wall and then the targets are drawn around the bullet hole. Invariably, the bullet hole always ends up in the center of the target! The Green New Dealers do much the same thing with weather observations. The best example of this is the polar ice cap around the north pole. For years, pictures of polar bears forlornly sitting on a small block of ice are shown as evidence of the unprecedented warming that the earth is being subjected to because of increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, while the ice cap around the arctic circle was retreating, the ice cap around Antarctica was growing at enormous rates. In 2015, NASA's Goodard Space Flight Center revealed that for the years 1992-2001, Antarctica gained 112-billion tons of ice! Another 82-billion tons of ice were added from 2003-2008! (2)
- Using CO2 as the dominant influence on climate has a very checkered past. Shocking to many people is the fact that linking CO2 to changes in the climate is not a new theory at all. Way back in 1896, Svante Arrenhius first proposed that 'carbonic acid in the air' influenced temperature on the ground. The 'modern' greenhouse gas theory goes back to 1938 and G.S. Callendar. What many of the early scientists were attempting to do was to explain the ice ages. Many of these scientists reached the conclusion that as the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere rose and fell, ice ages fell and advanced respectively. However, we now know that CO2 concentrations have nothing to do with ice ages. The 'pacemaker' of ice ages are the slight variations in the the earth's elliptical orbit around the sun. (Milankovich Cycles) The connection between the ice ages and variations in the earth's orbit was only demonstrated in 1976! (3)
- The Green New Dealers reduce an incredibly complex system to a function of a single variable. The earth's climate is of course a very complicated system, even though it can be described in a very simple way. The earth absorbs energy from the sun via radiation. It then re-radiates heat to reach some sort of equilibrium so that the energy the earth absorbs from the sun equals the energy the earth re-radiates into space. However, almost nothing in this model, as simple as it is, is constant! The sun goes through cycles where it produces different amounts of energy. (The sun is an enormous fusion reactor where hydrogen is converted into helium.) As mentioned above, the earth's orbit around the sun is not constant and the variations in the earth orbit, while small, have enormous influence on the earth's climate. Volcanic activity on the earth can have huge impacts on the earth's climate, although these are transitory. (4) To think that this incredibly complicated system would then be dominated by a single variable - the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere - makes no sense at all. (It is the same mistake the Ben Bernanke's of the world make when they attempt to predict economic outcomes by merely varying interest rates.)
As important as it is to keep items like these - and the many, many others which could also be cited - in mind when discussing the implications of 'climate change,' their importance pales in comparison to understanding the psychological make-up of the Green New Dealers. The Green New Dealers crave power above all things and, exactly as described my H.L. Mencken, invoke crises as a way of accumulating more and more power. Writing in the 1960s - and discussing the central planning excesses that Keynesian economics was replete with - the great Wilhelm Ropke wrote of the politicians and economists then in the ascendancy,
"We are entitled to set least store by such moralizing attitudes when they are preached by intellectuals who have the open or secret ambition to occupy positions of command in such an economic system, but who are not critical enough of themselves to suspect their own, ethically none to edifying, libido domminandi. They want to use the horsewhip to drive the carriage of virtue through impractical terrain." (5)
What Ropke thought of the Keynesians in the 1960s applies to the Green New Dealers of today.
Sugar Land, TX 77478
April 28, 2019,
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(1) H.L. Mencken was Correct; Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ed Markey and the Green New Deal Proves It. http://www.the92ers.com/blog/hl-mencken-was-correct-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-ed-markey-and-green-new-deal-proves-it
(2) Maria-Jose Vinas, 'Study" Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater Than Losses," November 05, 2015. To put some perspective on how much ice is involved, the ice is measured by satellites. The satellites use altimeter measurements to record how the height of the ice sheet is changing. These changes in altitude are converted to volumes and the volumes to tonnes of ice. https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2361/study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses/
(3) Hays, Imbrie and Shackleton, 'Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages, Science, December 10, 1976 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/194/4270/1121
(4) In late 1815, Mt. Tambora erupted in what is now Indonesia. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of about 15-kilotons of TNT. According to the US Geological Survey, when Mt. St. Helen erupted, it was the equivalent of about 7-megatons of TNT, or over 460-times stronger than the Hiroshima bomb. Experts today reckon that Mt. Tambora released 100-times the enegy of Mt. St. Helens or 46,000 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb! The debris and ash lifted into the atmosphere by Mt. Tambora blocked energy from the sun and led to the 'year without a summer.' The slightly cooler temperatures then led to crop failures all around the world.
(5) Wilhelm Ropke, A Human Economy, ISI Books, Wilmington, DE, 1998, p. 6