Trumpism against environmentalism

Trumpism against environmentalism

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Photo: twitter.com/POTUS
Photo: twitter.com/POTUS

Last week Donald Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, the former state attorney of Oklahoma, for head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt had a difficult time going through his hearing in the Senate, where the left, led by Bernie Sanders, attacked him for his disbelief in man-made climate change. Scott Pruitt has in fact spent the better part of his career fighting federal regulations on coal and oil in court, so it’s no wonder why Trump picked him for this position. The new American president ran a campaign that was based on the promise to return jobs to the states that have been hurt by Obama’s environmental regulations. Alongside the nomination of Pruitt, Trump also introduced a draft budget for the EPA in Congress that proposes 25% cuts in funding (down to 6 billion) and 20% staff cuts (down to 12,000 employees) in 2018. The EPA itself was created in 1970 by (the Republican!) president Nixon, and it was designed to preserve the purity of water and soil on the federal level, which at the time was a popular decision enjoying bipartisan support. In the 80s and 90s when climate change became a political issue, the agency began to exercise additional power, overreaching its initial purpose. During the Obama Administration, the federal intrusion in states’ energy policies hit unprecedented levels. Obama was blocking the exploration and exploitation of deposits located on federal land (and since Roosevelt, the government has owned a significant amount of land), as well as on the shores and the gulfs. Many drilling licenses were purposely slowed down or not granted at all. Meanwhile billions of dollars were poured in clean energy subsidies in order to give renewables an unfair advantage against fossil fuels on the market. However, they neither succeeded in offering competitive prices nor managed to create enough jobs to replace what was lost. In 2015 Obama signed the Clean Energy Plan which was designed to coerce electricity producers to cut carbon emissions by 32% by the year of 2030 compared to the levels of 2005. This measure is, however, still locked in a legal battle over constitutionality. In the same year Obama signed the Paris Agreement and promised to cut US emissions by 26-28%. The Agreement entered into force on the 4th of November 2016, exactly four days before the election of Donald Trump, which was a huge blow for its supporters. Let’s examine their arguments and find out whether Trumps climate revisionism has basis.

 

Direct carbon effect and greenhouse effect

 

A little-known fact is that the so-called „denialists” do not actually argue against the effect of carbon emissions on temperatures. They don’t agree about the precise numbers – warmists consider that for every doubling of carbon emissions the temperature should rise by 1,1 degrees, while denialists claim no more than 0,6. Data shows that the truth is somewhere in between, in any case below 1 degree. The real issue of political relevance here is the question about the feedbacks and the greenhouse effect. This is the most important pillar of warmism, which today dominates the media and even appears in elementary school books. According to the greenhouse theory, when temperatures rise due to carbon emissions, this will increase the evaporation from oceans, which will trap even more heat because water vapor is the main greenhouse gas. This must eventually amplify the carbon effect by a factor three – from 1,1 to 3,3 degrees for every doubling of the emissions.

 

The warmists’ case, however, cannot pass examination with actual collected data. First of all, the climate change models presented by James Hansen „the father of global warming,” in 1988 in front of Congress, as well as the subsequent models and predictions made in the 90s turned out to be highly exaggerated. According to them, the temperatures should have already risen by 1,2 degrees in 2012. Temperatures not only haven’t risen, but their change follows a much more complicated pattern of amplitudes than the climate models suggests  – for example in the late 90s there is a 0,5 degree increase, but since then it has fallen back to 80s levels. It’s similar with ocean temperatures, which we can only measure properly since 2003 when the Argo program was launched. For one decade Argo hasn’t detected any stable change. At the same time, the very idea of a greenhouse effect steps on two assumptions, neither of which has been proven right by data. First, a significant warming in the tropics, around 10 km up, must occur – the so-called hotspot. The existence of this hotspot would prove that extra evaporation has caused a greenhouse effect. We have been measuring atmospheric temperatures with weather balloons since the 1960s. Millions of weather balloons have built up a good picture of atmospheric temperatures over the last few decades, but the data was not released publicly by the climate establishment until 2006. They show no hotspot. Then, the amount of outgoing radiation that the earth releases back into space must decrease and thereby confirm the amplification supposedly caused by water vapor. Satellite measurements state exactly the opposite – the amount of outgoing radiation grows proportionally. All this shows that warmists are not only wrong in their predictions, but they also don’t have as good an understanding of the climate and how it works as they claim.

 

The scientific consensus

 

Although the data collected from satellites, Argo and weather balloons cannot confirm their theory, warmists can still manage to sustain the myth of „the 97% scientific consensus” that climate change is real and is man-made. This myth is based on selective representation of the statistics. Out of the thousands of academic papers taken into account, only 2% hold this opinion completely. Another 95% reach middle ground conclusions, and the remaining 3% deny it absolutely. Of course, warmists put all the papers that do not hold a radical opinion against global warming, in their own basket. They sweep under the rug many other inconvenient facts about the consensus – for example in the 70s a huge number of publications came out claiming that a global cooling period was happening and they even made it into mass media like Newsweek and Time. Data shows conclusively that climate scientists are as confident, systematic and precise in their predictions as fortune tellers.

 

Warmist politics

 

In the absence of pure scientific evidence and real academic consensus, the only reason why warmism is so popular and influential apparently has a lot to do with politics and business – because of the same reason the US government taxes the hell out of coal and oil and then subsidizes them. The point is to establish state control over strategic industries and energy tops the list. This sort of economic fascism should worry you if you’re right-leaning and you believe in a free market. In the last 30 years green propaganda has been turned into a powerful instrument for control over entire economic sectors. It’s a convenient and altruistic excuse for government interference in private business. For that purpose governments invest piles of money in biased research. The Canadian climate scientist Tim Ball told James Delingpole in his podcast two months ago that the USA and Canada give huge grants for climate research, but it’s impossible to receive a grant or even a doctoral scholarship if you’re not on the “right side” of the issue. In this vicious circle scientists begin to exaggerate the results of their studies in order to secure future financing and to influence political decisions. In the peer-reviewed American Journal of Agricultural Economics, in 2014, an astonishing article was published, which explained how climate scientists should exaggerate their findings because studies show that the more pessimistic their predictions are, the more they can influence politicians into signing climate agreements. The major international programs for combating climate change are also a fruitful soil for corruption. According to a study carried out by Transparency International between 2010 and 2012, only governments have invested more than 30 billion dollars in such programs and NGOs without accountability in spending, transparency in decision-making or clear anti-corruption mechanisms. Meanwhile big market players take advantage of the regulatory burden to crush smaller competitors because only they can afford the compliance costs; stock jobbers make quick profits by investing against failing coal and oil companies. In 2015 the famous green philanthropist George Soros invested millions into the failing coal giants Peabody Energy and Arch Coal who owed much of their struggle to Obama’s regulations, which were more or less inspired by Soros himself as he was one of Obama’s largest campaign donors, so he could later sell them at a huge profit when the next boom occurs.

 

What can we expect of Trump?

 

Obviously, Donald Trump will try to destroy the corrupt warmist matrix. He promised to revive coal and oil and restore jobs; also to defund the UN’s climate programs and use the money to rebuild American infrastructure. These promises can be fulfilled to different extents and depend on strong will.

 

On the national level Trump is capable of acting quickly and effectively.

 

We can expect his administration to work in a couple of directions:

  • ■ First, to unshackle federal land, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Coast from exploration and drilling bans. Oil and gas prices, however, are at a record low at the moment, so companies might want to withhold their investments for now.
  • ■ Then to revise all assessments and regulations made by the EPA in past decade – stuff like ozone pollution, fuel quality standards and carbon taxes.
  • ■ To give the green light to the construction of oil and gas pipelines that have been blocked by Obama. The latest examples are the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was fiercely protested by green activists last September, and the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was designed to connect Canada and Nebraska, but it was killed by Obama in 2015. What makes these pipeline projects so important is that Trump promises to build them only with American steel.
  • ■ To transfer subsidies and tax incentives from renewables back to fossil fuels.

 

Meanwhile it will be interesting to observe how the issue with the Paris Agreement is going to turn out. Trump promised to put it to a vote in the Senate, where the Republican majority strongly opposes the document. However, from a strictly legal point of view, the agreement is an integral part of a wider international framework – the UN Framework Convention On Climate Change from 1992 – which has already been voted on. In this sense, it is impossible to withdraw from the agreement without violating the entire international legal system. On the other hand there is no effective enforcement mechanism (and the document was criticized for that by activist and scientists, including Hansen, “the father”). Obama’s promise to reduce emissions by 26-28% is not binding, so Trump can break the agreement by simply not making any effort to meet that target. Defunding the UN might be a little bit more complicated.

 

Global warming as a matrix for corruption and a geopolitical tool is quickly devaluating. Western societies are facing much more serious issues and green policies, especially when they are not scientifically justified, are becoming an expensive luxury.

 

Donald Trump’s administration not only needs to change the current course of climate change politics, but also to expose the manipulations of the left and to regain the moral high ground they are standing on.

 


Sources:

https://mises.org/library/skeptics-case

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/19/climate-philanthropist-george-soros-invests-millions-in-coal

https://mises.org/blog/exaggerating-damage-caused-climate-change

http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/climate_change_funds_safe_from_corruption

 

By Toncho Kraevski

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