A climate skeptic in the White House? Yes, that’s what we have.
While there are several ways in which the climate debate can move, as a skeptic, observer, and occasional participant, I wanted to outline some key points.
Who does the climate issue belong to? Here is one of the darkest, damnedest of secrets of climate/AGW activism: the climate issue belongs to no one. As a political issue, climate change has no owner. Climate has no natural constituency. It has no vote bank, no demographic, no sect or group.
What this means is, if you don’t push the climate cause as an elected government, no one will be angry or upset because there is no one to be angry or upset. No one cares about the climate, including climate activists who pretend to do so the most. Despite their best efforts not enough people have taken up climate change as part of the array of topics they hold partisan views about. ‘Climate change’ is an unparalleled repellent and buzz kill. But there is a constant noise and drumbeat in the media about climate, where does it come from? Only paid activists. There are many paid activists but they have precisely one vote each, and their money cannot buy elections. See Clinton, Sanders, Jeb Bush … See Obama, he did not utter the word climate in his re-election campaign.
If this comes as a shock you don’t have to take my word for it, I can provide two impeccable sources. First, the scholarly work of Roger Pielke Jr. He proved conclusively there is a ‘iron law’—people will pay for the climate cause to a point but not more. This is the same as above stated in reverse. If you don’t care at all about something, you would still be willing to part with some money for it. Second, the climate activists themselves. There is an entire body of academic work obsessing about why climate change has not earned widespread public support, with such luminaries as Stephen Lewandowsky and Dan Kahan, to mention a few. They wouldn’t be doing it if climate had widespread support, would they?
The climate issue needs a public face. Myron Ebell is a great pick for the EPA. While the apoplexy proceeds apace on the regulatory side, it would be good to be proactive on the climate side, too. Pick Roger Pielke Jr to front your climate policy team (create one, you’re going to need it). Now skeptics might hem and haw a little but Pielke Jr is one of the ‘good guys.’ It would be karmic justice and a triumphant comeback, having been knifed by Obama climate ‘czar’ John Holdren and perennially wrong data czar Nate Silver, for saying no more than the most reasonable and scientifically valid things. He is a veteran, knows the climate players and the issues very well. He and his Hartwell colleagues are stabilists – they have the uncanny ability to make perfectly agreeable statements on climate policy that lead nowhere. Plus, Pielke Jr has the added benefit of driving climate activists completely nuts whenever he says anything. That is exactly what is needed.
The Paris agreement is a dead duck. Obama and the Democrats figured they could screw over sections of the US whose livelihoods were directly connected to coal. They tried to electorally counter-balance it by recruiting ‘Hispanics, Blacks, and women.’ Hispanics, Blacks and women do not care about the climate, did not vote in enough numbers to propel the Democratic candidate to the presidency, and coal communities voted strongly against. Implementing the Paris agreement would mean replicating this clean coal voting experiment throughout the country. Wanna try?
Even if implemented, the Paris agreement is not binding on countries that enter it. Such agreements harm western countries like the UK, UK or Australia more than the developing world, for a variety of reasons. Governance and regulation are of a higher standard and penalties are stiff, and there is a tendency to obey rules, even unenforceable and self-harming ones. People don’t see it this way but one of the innovations of the Paris agreement is its non-binding nature, and it needs to be shot down for this very corrupting influence.
Moreover, there is science on the skeptics’ side. The Paris agreement is scientifically absurd and nonsensical.
Funding and how it is organized
This is a longstanding issue in the climate field. The funding of climate studies – be it in science or the humanities – is a major driver of climate activism and alarmism. Much has been written about the self-fulfilling and self-aggrandizing nature of climate alarmism. Sections of ‘the science,’ and in particular certain climate scientists, are relentless alarmists and have carved out whole careers in ‘scicomm’-ing and climate alarm. Climate humanities are fully sold on alarm and constantly spend their efforts trying to figure out ways of persuading, or pathologizing the public. Vast sums of money are expended on climate models that never provide output commiserate with reality but yet form the basis of policy-making. These models are under IPCC/UNFCCC evolutionary selection pressure and ones with jacked-up sensitivities and lacking natural variability get picked. Warmed-up model output is even used to up-tweak raw observational data.
A dramatic shift toward observational science and a break away from modeling is needed. This can be achieved by restructuring funding. Take the example of Australia, which reorganized and pared down its CSIRO workforce.
Global temperature average measurement has been excessively complicated. The NOAA/NCDC collects global data and produces its own average. But it cannot provide satisfactory justifications for the numerous adjustments that are made in the process. Certain adjustments may be necessary but there is suspicion the rationale behind them is politically motivated and unsound. A lack of openness and transparency has only worsened doubts. Adjustments are propagated retrospectively to data, meaning trends, values, even the whole shape of centuries-long global temperature curve can change overnight. There is no telling what lies ahead in the peer-reviewed publication conveyor belt of adjustment logic, down the road. Additionally, there are multiple agencies producing a global temperature average, creating a sense of independent confirmation but under the hood they rely on the same data. In other words, there is wasteful expenditure. To top it, government officials spread alarm on social media using monthly global average figures that are meaningless in a climatological sense.
To prevent conflicts, as a starting point, temperature data gathering and archival and average estimation functions must be separated. Secondly, duplication can be eliminated between NOAA and GISS. Thirdly, the land and ocean average can be co-analyzed and cross-verified with satellite data to estimate a single temperature index, eliminating a portion of the ad-hoc adjustments, and reducing waste in one go. Two birds with one stone.
Renewable energy porkies and handouts are entirely wasteful. Renewable energy projects are environmentally harmful. But ‘renewable energy’ research is research – it provides for tinkering and good things can come out of even the worst research. As much as the electorate hates hearing the words ‘climate change’, a baseline bare minimum of renewable projects keep guilty consciences sated, and years of climate propaganda has produced some guilt. Withdraw the boondoggles but don’t completely drain this swamp.