"The World is Holding it's Breath" - More Reasons for GND Skepticism, Including its Similarity to the Financial Crisis
Over the past few weeks, I have discussed the Green New Deal (GND). As a site largely dedicated to the 2008 financial crisis, it may not be immediately obvious why the GND has been featured on the site so much recently. This blog post will more tightly tie together the animating force behind both the financial crisis and the GND. However, before discussing the most significant common feature of the GND and the financial crisis, some additional scientific reasons to be skeptical of the GND will be discussed.
This week's article picks up where last week's, (1) left off and will start with a simple list. Here are some additional reasons to be skeptical of the GND and the Green New Dealers behind it.
- Timing: The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was founded in 1988 and began publishing reports - and making climate predictions - in 1990. The founding basis for the IPCC was the presumed dominant link between atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases -primarily CO2 - and the earth's climate. More specifically it was argued that mankind - by using fossil fuels - was causing the earth to warm-up. This was an amazing time for the IPCC to reach such a conclusion because understanding of global climate cycles was still very much in its infancy. Indeed, the seminal report that was able to identify the reason ice ages come and go was only published in 1976. (2) Nevertheless, just fourteen years later, the field of climate science had evolved so rapidly that the IPCC could conclude - with complete confidence no less - that a single variable, atmospheric concentration of CO2, exclusively drove changes to global climate? Not very likely and completely at odds with how knowledge advanced in fits and starts in all other scientific fields.
- The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO): The PDO refers to an oscillation of ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. There are times when the PDO is 'positive' and the affected ocean temperatures are increasing, and there are times when the PDO is 'negative' and the affected ocean temperatures are decreasing. The term PDO was only first used in 1996 and the scientists who discovered it weren't studying climate. Instead, they were studying salmon populations! As it turns out, these oscillations - which have no relationship with CO2 concentration - have an enormous impact on global climate. For example, the 1930's dust bowl was almost certainly driven by the PDO and its sister temperature oscillation in the Atlantic,the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). (3) A 'negative' PDO - by parking large volumes of cold water immediately next to California - is an enormous driver of the multi-year cycles of drought that California regularly goes through. Indeed, the recent multi-year drought in California - and the wildfires this drought helped spawn - coincide exactly with a negative PDO. Recall however, the many politicians, like the former governor, Jerry Brown, who claimed the drought and subsequent wildfires were a consequence of climate change.
- Complex Systems are not a Function of a Single Variable: It should go without saying that the earth's climate is incredibly complex, and it is somewhat naive to think we completely understand it. However, the foundational aspect of the IPCC is not only is global climate completely understood, it can be understood by knowing just one thing - how much CO2 is in the atmosphere. Unfortunately for the IPCC, we know this isn't true. Not only have the IPCC climate models failed to predict the formation of almost 200-billion tons of Antarctic ice between 1992 and 2008, see (4), these same models have produced other spectacular predictive failures. In contast to climate model predictions of marked warming after 2000, a 2015 report from the Scripps Institute for Oceanography admitted that there had been 'no clear warming since 2000.' (5) The study concluded that the 'hiatus' of global warming was the result of the PDO, yet the PDO is still not part of most climate models! Amazingly, among the many other things still not part of most climate models are the cycles that the sun goes through! Most climate models simply fix the sun's energy as a constant! The simple fact of the matter is that the climate models the politicians have seized on have been proven to have almost no predictive value whatsoever.
The Biggest Reason for Skepticism is Not Based in Science; It is Based in Human Nature:
As compelling as some of the reasons above are, the biggest reason to be skeptical of the GND and all the politicians pushing for its implementation is based on human nature. It goes back to H.L. Mencken's observation on the nature of politics; "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." As Mencken indicates, the people who go into politics tend to be cut from a different cloth than other people. Where a normal, psychologically healthy person would be loathe to immerse themselves in a topic they know little about, politicians only need one reason to do so; can they accumulate more power?
A hugely important factor behind the zeal with which so many politicians - and the United Nations in particular - have gotten behind climate science is the attendant conclusion that a problem this big can only be solved by powerful politicians and enormous central governments. That this is so can be demonstrated by merely quoting some of the leading figures behind the climate change movement.
- Tim Wirth (former US Senator, chair of the Clinton-Gore Campaign and UN official), "We've got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right things in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." (6)
- Al Gore, "Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there is problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that were are going to solve this crisis." (7)
- President Barack Obama called the Paris Climate Conference 'a turning point for the world.' (8)
- John Kerry, Obama's Secretary of State, called the Paris conference a 'victory for all of the planet and for future generations.' (8)
- French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, said during the Paris conference, "the world is holding its breath, it's counting on all of us." (8)
Note from the comments from Tim Wirth and Al Gore that the truth shouldn't get in the way as long as the political and environmental means are justified. (The fact that these same political and environmental means result in people like Al Gore and Tim Wirth accumulating great power and wealth is only a mere coincidence!). Note also the earth-shaking consequences of the Paris conference - 'a turning point for the world' and 'the world is holding its breath.' Exactly as Mencken warned us about, all these comments betray the all-too-human driving forces behind the climate change movement. These all too-human factors were also the same driving forces that caused the financial crisis. What was it other than a great lust for power that made Bill Clinton think he could determine - and produce - an ideal homeownership rate for the country, 67.5%? What was it other than the same 'save the world mentality' that prompted the Fed to make one disastrous intervention into the economy after another until the entire house of cards collapsed?
Let me close with just one more thought. The theory around global warming would have a lot more credibility if the people in the vanguard of the climate change movement started to follow the prescriptions they are more than willing to write for the rest of us. For example, President Obama's first trip as a citizen after leaving the White House wasn't by bicycle. He instead flew to Tahiti where he and many other stars in the Democratic party's firmament, including Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey, were entertained on David Geffen's 454-ft super-yacht, Rising Sun. Small carbon footprints are apparently for the little people. (The photo below shows President Obama on the Rising Sun; I believe he is taking the photo.)
Sugar Land, TX
May 5, 2019
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(1) The Green New Deal and the Green New Dealers - Reasons for Skepticism http://www.the92ers.com/blog/green-new-deal-and-green-new-dealers-reasons-skepticism
(2) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/194/4270/1121 The earth has an elliptical orbit around the sun, but it is only slightly elliptical. The shape of this orbit goes through very subtle periodic changes. The reason for these changes - at least as I understand them - is purely mechanical and gravitational. The earth is not a perfect sphere, it is an 'oblate spheroid,' slightly wider at the equator than it is at the poles. As a result the gravitational force that acts on the earth is not symmetric and these 'uneven' gravitational forces produce a moment around the earth's rotational axis. This moment then causes the earth's rotational axis to change or 'precess." These changes then have a very significant impact on the amount of energy that the earth is able to absorb from the sun. Some idea of the impact that these changes is of course the ice ages themselves. During the last ice age - which ended about 18,000 years ago - all of Canada was covered by thick sheet of ice. This ice sheet extended as far south as the Ohio River. It was changes in the earth's orbit around the sun that caused all this ice to melt, not changes in atmospheric CO2!
(3) Sumant Nigam, Bin Guaan and Alfredo Ruiz Barrandas, "Key Role of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) in the 20th Century Drought and Wet Periods Over the Great Plains," Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 38, August 26, 2011, https://www.atmos.umd.edu/~nigam/GRL.AMO.Droughts.August.26.2011.pdf
(5) The study showed that the 'hiatus' from global warming was the result of the PDO. https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/inter-decadal-pacific-oscillation-explains-global-warming-hiatus-2000
(6) Larry Bell, "In Their Own Words, Climate Alarmists Debunk Their Science" Forbes,, February 5, 2013 https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/02/05/in-their-own-words-climate-alarmists-debunk-their-science/#2016e45368a3
(7) David Roberts, "An Interview with Accidental Move Star Al Gore," Grist Magazine, May 09, 2006 https://grist.org/article/roberts2/
(8) "A Turning Point for the World:" Obama Praises Global Climate Change Pact in WH Address," Fox News, December 13, 2015 https://www.foxnews.com/world/a-turning-point-for-the-world-obama-praises-global-climate-change-pact-in-wh-address