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Democratic Platform Calls for Prosecution of Skeptics, Backlash Grows

July 15, 2016

Climate Change Weekly #218

Coming from way out of left field, Democratic operatives responsible for writing their party’s platform this year have unanimously adopted a provision calling for the Department of Justice to investigate companies who disagree with Democrats on global warming science or economics.

The drafting committee, led by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, included noted alarmist climate activist and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben and Carol Browner, who directed President Barack Obama’s White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.

The platform-drafting committee also unanimously approved a provision to get rid of fossil fuels by 2050. According to the platform summary, “Moving beyond the ‘all of the above’ energy approach in the 2012 platform, the 2016 platform draft re-frames the urgency of climate change as a central challenge of our time, already impacting American communities and calling for generating 50 percent clean electricity within the next ten years.”

Should the proposed platform be adopted with the climate investigation and fossil fuel provisions intact when the Democrats hold their national convention later in July, this will represent a real break of several sorts: a break with the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech; a break with the scientific method and the mounting evidence no human-caused climate disaster is in the offing; a break with the reality of physics and the fact the energy system needs fossil fuels; a break with Democrats’ traditional allies in organized labor, since the proposals will put tens of thousands of union workers out of work; and finally, a break with the Democrats’ self-claimed constituency, the nation’s poor, who will be most hurt by the policies that would be required to effectuate those platform planks.

This draft platform represents a true take-over by the extreme progressive wing of the Democratic party; moderates, blue dogs, and members concerned about workers and the poor are left to freeze in the dark.

Interestingly, though perhaps not coincidentally, the platform-drafting committee’s actions come just as the climate investigations they long for so passionately are falling apart. Of the 16 Democratic attorneys general who joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on stage in late March under the name “AGs United for Clean Power” to announce a concerted effort to sue climate skeptics into submission, only Schneiderman and Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker have actually launched formal investigations, including issuing subpoenas. And Walker, who issued subpoenas to ExxonMobil and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), has subsequently withdrawn both subpoenas. At the first sign of resistance from Exxon and CEI, in the immortal words of Monty Python’s describing Sir Robin, Walker “bravely turned his tail and fled.” Almost simultaneous with Walker’s retreat, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey delayed her subpoena of Exxon.

In June, 13 Republican attorneys general sent a letter urging their Democratic colleagues to stop persecuting those who challenge the Obama administration’s position on climate change. The letter warns if Democratic attorneys general can pursue climate change skeptics for fraud, then climate alarmists, whose predictions of climate disaster have consistently failed to materialize, might also be prosecuted.

Led by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin ask their Democratic counterparts to consider carefully the legal precedent and threat to free speech, writing, “We think this effort by our colleagues to police the global warming debate through the power of the subpoena is a grave mistake.”

The letter continues, “Actions indicating that one side of the climate debate should fear prosecution chills free speech in violation of a formerly bipartisan First Amendment consensus,” yet “If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration. If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud.”

And the world just keeps getting more interesting.

-- H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Daily Caller; The New York Post; and Republican State AG’s Climate Fraud Letter


IN THIS ISSUE …

New climate scientists survey: No 97 percent consensus concern human climate changeBrexit impacts climate treatyScientist Mann says science unnecessary to prove human climate changeNew carbon dioxide – climate relationship proposed


Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch released the results of their latest international survey of climate scientists concerning the causes and consequences of climate change. Only 651 scientists returned the survey, a tiny fraction of the number of scientists entitled to hold opinions or have insights into this “super wicked problem.”

Most of the scientists who responded said they believe “most of the recent or near future climate change is, or will be, the result of anthropogenic causes,” but they are much less confident about this than the IPCC claims to be. Fewer than half (47.6 percent) claimed to be “very much” convinced of this. Just 65 percent of the scientists surveyed felt some degree of confidence that climate models accurately simulate the climate conditions they are designed to portray, with only 23 percent expressing a high degree of confidence in climate models. Interestingly, nearly 43 percent of respondents felt within the climate science community, “the collective authority of a consensus culture of science paralyzes new thought.”

Like past surveys by Bray and von Storch, this one will be cited as proof of a “consensus,” even though it reveals considerable uncertainty about the underlying science. In the past, the authors admitted such answers amount to cognitive dissonance – holding two contradictory views at once – and therefore exposes the triumph of “post-modern science” over genuine scientific knowledge. Don’t wait for them to express such politically incorrect views today.

SOURCE: International Climate Scientist Survey


The United Kingdom’s (UK) vote to leave the European Union (EU) is throwing climate commitments into doubt. Many in the Brexit camp were climate skeptics. Europe’s green leaders and outgoing United Nations climate head Christiana Figueres had warned against Brexit, calling on voters to oppose separation. Figueres noted Britain’s climate-action pledge was included in the EU’s pledge, thus, “From the point of view of the Paris agreement, the U.K. is part of the EU and has put in its effort as part of the EU, so anything that would change that would require then a recalibration.”

The EU intended to deliver to Brussels later this month its climate action plans detailing how the 28 member states would meet the goals set in 2015’s Paris climate agreement to cut emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2040. With the UK’s pending withdrawal from the EU, such plans will likely be put on hold. The climate website Climate Home tweeted, “A UK exit from the European Union is likely to be bitter and protracted, soaking up the political will of a region that has long led on tackling climate change … http://sumo.ly/kEKD via @ClimateHome.”

“The reality is the EU will be utterly inward looking and navel gazing – it will be very hard to deal with any other serious issues [during the Brexit negotiations],” said Chris Huhne, the UK’s energy and climate chief between 2010 and 2012.

Climate alarmists fear a new post-Brexit, post-David Cameron government in Britain could be less committed to climate action. Cameron, who resigned as prime minister after campaigning hard to keep Britain in the EU, was replaced by Theresa May, another member of the Conservative Party, who The Independent pronounced is not “green.” In a speech she gave on July 11, 2016, the day she was announced as the new prime minister, May said, “I want to see an energy policy that emphasizes the reliability of supply and lower costs for users.”

Only if the UK ends its support for renewable energy can it meet that goal. Since many of the conservatives who campaigned for Brexit are climate skeptics, they will likely have more power in a new government. A poll of 1,168 people by ComRes taken before the Brexit vote found Brexit supporters were twice as likely to believe climate science is a hoax as those polled who supported staying in the EU. A group of approximately 100 Conservative MPs, including energy minister Andrea Leadsom, calling themselves “Fresh Start,” released an energy policy paper in May 2016 calling for ending the UK’s renewable energy targets for 2020 and investing in shale gas development and new nuclear energy.

SOURCES: Grist; Climate Change News; and The Independent [https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/278507/Fresh_Start__full_.pdf]


Climate scientist Michael Mann has given up trying to justify climate alarmism by pointing to scientific evidence, stating at a meeting of the Democratic platform-drafting committee, data and models “increasingly are unnecessary” because the impact is obvious. The Washington Times quotes Mann saying, “Fundamentally, I’m a climate scientist and have spent much of my career with my head buried in climate-model output and observational climate data trying to tease out the signal of human-caused climate change ... [but] these tools … increasingly are unnecessary because we can see climate change, the impacts of climate change, now, playing out in real time, on our television screens, in the 24-hour news cycle.”

What Mann counts as an obvious or visible sign or human-caused climate change is puzzling to me. Scientific evidence is mounting daily to show the climate is less sensitive to carbon dioxide and natural factors play a greater role in climate change than alarmists like Mann have claimed. In addition, the weather events (the evidence of our senses) cited by Mann as showing “the signal of climate change is no longer subtle, it is obvious” – hurricanes, flooding in Texas and South Carolina, the California drought, and heat waves in Arizona – are either not historically unusual or actually contradict climate disaster predictions.

Neither droughts nor extreme rainfall events are outside historic norms, polar bear populations are stable or growing as is ice extent in Antarctica, and the United States is experiencing a nine-year “hurricane drought” of Category 3 storms starting in 2006, beating the previous mark of eight years from 1861–1868, the longest such streak since such recording began in 1851.

Dr. Mann, where is this human-caused climate change of which you speak?

SOURCE: Washington Times


A new study in Science Direct offers “a simple and novel proposal” for the causes of ice ages and interglacial cycles, and for the relationship between carbon dioxide and major climate shifts.

According to the study, shifts between ice ages and interglacials are caused by an interplay among carbon dioxide, dust, and Earth’s albedo. During glacial periods, the northern ice sheets reflect back so much sunlight global temperatures are driven down, and over millennia increasing amounts of carbon dioxide are sequestered in the oceans with atmospheric concentrations reaching a critical minima of approximately 200 ppm. Low carbon dioxide combined with arid conditions causes a die-back of temperate and boreal forests and grasslands, with ensuing soil erosion generating dust storms that, over time, result in dust deposition on the northern ice sheets, reducing the sunlight they reflect back into space. As dust-laden ice-sheets warm, they undergo rapid melting, forcing the climate into an interglacial period during which carbon dioxide levels rise.

The critical point to note is this: Should this research prove true, the relationship between carbon dioxide and warming is just the opposite of alarmists’ predictions. According to the study:

Ice age [carbon dioxide] reductions coincide with an increase in ice sheet extent and therefore an increase in global albedo, and this should result in further cooling of the climate. But what actually happens is that when carbon dioxide reaches a minimum and albedo reaches a maximum, the world rapidly warms into an interglacial. A similar effect can be seen at the peak of an interglacial, where high CO2 and low albedo results in cooling.

Put that in your climate models and see what happens!

SOURCES: Forbes and Science Direct

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Energy Environment
Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org

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