Biden’s Climate Plan Would Put Us on the Road to Serfdom
Climate Change Weekly #368
Recently a colleague of mine, David Wojick, Ph.D., opined that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s climate and energy plans are full of promises Biden can’t keep. Wojick is correct in the sense that Biden makes many promises he can’t enact through executive actions alone. Unfortunately, I fear Wojick is being far too optimistic about whether Congress would go along with the crazy climate initiatives Biden has promised.
Even if the presidency and both houses of Congress fall into the Democrats’ hands in the 2020 elections, Congress will shy away from enacting the climate restrictions Biden is pushing, Wojick argues. But most of these policies come from his advisors, who are in fact among the most radical members of Congress—think Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—and they’ve pushed these policies even in the current divided government. Think what they would do if presented with even full control of the federal government.
For years, these delusional climate alarm Chicken Littles and some Republican allies have pushed policies that would wreck the economy. Why believe they won’t practice what they preach if the Democrats finally get virtually unfettered power?
Wojick correctly points out Biden’s climate policies would cost trillions of dollars, but that erects no barriers to a Congress that just spent trillions of dollars with little concern for fiscal responsibility during the pandemic, much less a legislature controlled entirely by Democrats with no ability for fiscal conservatives to keep them in check. To avoid the electoral punishment Wojick warns of, these aging, experienced, radical political mandarins (such as Raul Grijalva, D-AZ, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI) will simply establish a timeline sufficiently distant in the future for meeting the policy targets that the full impact won’t be felt until after they have died or left office, likely for cushy jobs with green energy or green consulting companies that benefit from the climate laws they will pass under Biden.
What would Biden’s climate policies entail?
Many of the climate policy promises Biden has made come straight out of the Green New Deal (GND) handbook. In February 2019, I broke down some of the incursions on personal freedom that would flow from the GND if it were to become law. At the cost of trillions of dollars, Biden’s climate plans, like the GND, would require a complete makeover of the economy and peoples’ lives within only 10 to 15 years.
“There’s no more consequential challenge that we must meet in the next decade than the onrushing climate crisis,” said Biden in announcing his Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice, taken from the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force. Biden’s plan says “the United States … must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and no later than 2050. To reach net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible, Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035.”
To reach this goal, power plants, mines, oil and gas fields, and refineries would have to be prematurely mothballed, throwing out of work millions of high-paid, often union workers, and vast expanses of the country would have to be covered with a minimum of 60,000 new wind turbines, five million solar panels, and tens of thousands of miles of new power lines.
I guess the workers forced out of the coal mines, oil fields, and power plants might wind up stringing wires or installing solar panels, but destroying productive jobs that supply cheap, reliable energy for a set of lower-paying jobs to produce more-expensive, less-reliable energy seems like a bad trade to me, though the wealthy stockholders who would benefit from higher profits under this scheme will probably disagree.
The Biden-Sanders plan also targets homeowners and brick-and-mortar businesses, stating,
[Democrats] will set a bold, national goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030, on the pathway to creating a 100 percent clean building sector. Within five years, we will … retrofit four million buildings, including helping local governments save money and cut pollution by weatherizing and upgrading energy systems in hospitals, schools, public housing, and municipal buildings. Democrats will encourage states and cities to adopt energy-efficient building codes … and leverage the federal footprint to model net-zero and 100 percent clean energy building solutions.
Whether they welcome it or not, homeowners and businesses would see federal agents or local building code inspectors come into their dwellings and offices to determine the buildings’ energy efficiency and require them to upgrade to meet new energy standards. Manufacturers would be forced to replace popular appliance models with a whole new series of appliances designed not to satisfy consumers’ demands for quality and effectiveness but to meet the government’s energy efficiency mandates. Under Biden, for example, people would have to say good-bye to their gas grills, gas stoves and ovens, gas dryers, water heaters, and air and heating systems. Manufacturers of the new, approved systems will be the ones to benefit.
I advise readers to remember President Barack Obama’s broken health-care promise that under Obamacare, “If you like your health care plan and doctor, you can keep them,” when Biden promises, “If you like your computer, doors, stove, windows, and water heater, you can keep them.”
The same is true for drivers. Biden would force people to replace their gasoline- and diesel-powered personal and commercial vehicles with more-expensive, less-reliable electric vehicles per government diktat, over a decade or so. The country’s entire transportation infrastructure would have to be remade too, with new charging stations replacing the ever-present gas stations along the nation’s streets and highways. People will have to tack on charging time to any trip they take of more than a couple hundred miles.
This may all sound like utopia to freedom-hating politicians, professors, and protesters, but it sounds like an authoritarian nightmare to me.
— H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
CHANGES IN CARBON DIOXIDE AND TEMPERATURES NOT CORRELATED … NATIONAL SCIENCE ORGANIZATIONS GET CLIMATE REALIST MANIFESTO … STATES WARMER IN 1910s AND 1930s THAN NOW
CHANGES IN CARBON DIOXIDE AND TEMPERATURES NOT CORRELATED
Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, Ph.D., an emeritus professor at the Saarland University of Applied Sciences in Germany, recently compared data from two independent, peer-reviewed studies, one examining temperature changes over the past 600 million years and the other plotting atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over that same period. His comparison of the two datasets shows there is no evidence that changes in carbon dioxide concentrations drive changes in temperatures and there is in fact no correlation between the two.
When overlain in a chart, the two datasets show some periods when rising carbon dioxide levels precede increases in temperature, but it shows other periods of millions of years where carbon dioxide were increasing while temperatures were falling, and other multimillion-year periods in which temperatures were increasing as carbon dioxide concentrations declined.
Lüdecke’s chart shows, for example, approximately 150 million years ago atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were above 2,000 ppm—five times today’s atmospheric concentration of 410 ppm—yet the global average temperature was more than 2°C below the long-term mean. Even more starkly, 450 million years ago atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were 10 times higher than at present, yet global average temperatures were 3.5°C lower than the mean used by climate alarmists as the supposed temperature optimum against which temperature deviations, which they refer to as anomalies, should be compared.
An honest examination of the data demonstrates, “There’s no correlation between earth temperature and CO2,” says Lüdecke.
NATIONAL SCIENCE ORGANIZATIONS GET CLIMATE REALIST MANIFESTO
The Climate Intelligence Foundation, a research organization of hundreds of scientists and researchers spanning 26 countries, sent an open letter with its Scientific Manifesto expressing concern academic freedom is being suppressed in the field of climate science and replaced by demands for conformity of opinion. The letter was addressed to the presidents of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Academies Science Advisory Council, the International Inter-Academy, and the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The mid-June letter and manifesto lay out 10 principles CLINTEL’s associated scientists say are critical to the success of scientific research.
Here are some of the principles:
- Sound scientific research is open-minded and characterized by a wide variety of viewpoints without dogmas and prejudices. The letter states, “Within established climate science, curiosity and diversity are being suppressed and the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) dogma is ruthlessly enforced. … [S]cience is neither a religion nor a political faction. Science advances not by chanting ‘I believe!’ but by asking ‘I wonder?’ … Censorship complicates and all too often prevents the publication of critical articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.”
- The history of science shows that new insights do not come from followers but from dissenters; doubters and dissenters make history in science. The letter points out “Copernicus, Galilei, Newton, Gauss, Curie, Einstein, Watson, Crick, Wilkins and Hawking all looked critically at the prevailing consensus and dared to take a different path. Progress would not have been possible without them. In contrast, the mainstream climate community have produced few advances. They have diverted themselves into an ever-bitterer defense of the narrow CO2-warming hypothesis. Doubters and dissenters are not tolerated.”
- Separation of science and politics is a great good; Academies of Sciences should protect scientists from political ideologies
- Academies of Sciences have a moral responsibility to warn society of senseless conclusions that follow from naive belief in immature scientific models. The letter states, “So far, climate models have proven unable to make reliable predictions of global warming. Therefore, their predictions are not a sound basis for making government policy.”
- “The science is settled” is a consensus statement that will never be used by scientists of integrity. CLINTEL’s letter states, “Argument from consensus conflates two ancient logical fallacies—of appeal to pure headcount and of appeal to imagined authority (argumentum ad populum and argumentum ad verecundiam). The statement that ‘the science is settled’ is an assertion of imagined consensus deployed by climate activists as a substitute for science.”
CLINTEL’s letter concludes by calling for the various national and international science academies, which rightly or wrongly see themselves as the guardians of science, to defend academic freedom, the primacy of data, and the scientific method in the realm of climate research, all three of which are critically endangered.
STATES WARMER IN 1910s AND 1930s THAN NOW
Despite climate alarmists’ repeated assertions that the past three decades have been the warmest in recorded history across the United States, temperature and extreme-weather records for each state catalogued by the National Climate Data Center tell a different story.
The vast majority of record-high temperatures for each state were recorded before the 1960s. Forty states’ record-high temperatures were set before 1960, with 25 of the record highs being set or tied in the 1930s alone. Since 1988, when NASA’s James Hansen, the godfather of global warming hysteria, first pronounced (in a Senate hearing carefully staged by Sen. Al Gore, D-TN) humans were causing dangerous global warming, only eight states have set (or tied previously set) record-high temperatures. Three times as many state record temperatures were recorded in the 1930s alone—two decades before humans began adding significant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—than have been recorded since alarming stories about global warming became a nearly daily feature of the mainstream media’s news cycle.
New high-temperature records have been set in only two states since 2000, with the 1930s, not the 2010s, being the decade with the largest number of record-high temperatures. In fact, more states’ record highs were recorded in the 1890s than in the first two decades of the current century.
The Earth has warmed modestly since the mid-to-late 1800s when the planet began to thaw out of the Little Ice Age of the previous 300 years or so. The highest temperature extremes during this period occurred decades before humans began emitting significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.