Daily stories of climate death build a Green New Deal!

Summary: The propaganda barrage for the Green New Deal is accelerating. Science plays a small role in them. Every day brings a new crop of articles like this one. Let’s look under its hood and see what we find.

World on tightrope over flames.
ID 96004453 © Mike2focus | Dreamstime.

Where our New World Begins:
Power, politics, and the Green New Deal

By Kevin Baker in Harper’s, May 2019.

Baker provides an extended argument by analogy. It is propaganda for children – or adults with child-like thinking. Here is a blow-by-blow analysis.

Two-thirds of its 5300 words discuss FDR’s New Deal, although it has little in common with our situation. The history of the New Deal is accurate (although much of the rest is exaggerated or false). Here is the only explanation given why the New Deal history has relevance to us.

“We find ourselves today in much the same place, confronted by an array of emergencies – seemingly disparate, but in fact closely connected – ­that threatens to destroy us.”

That will make little sense to anyone not an avid consumer of doomster literature. The follow-up is misleading.

“Braced against them is a set of ideas put forward in a congressional resolution by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (the notorious AOC), a twenty-nine-year-old freshman congresswoman, and her young, ad hoc brain trust.”

Proposals for a Green New Deal go back at least to 2007 (e.g., by Thomas Friedman). Many have developed it into a proposal for a radical revision of America’s economy and society (see Wikipedia and HuffPo). The Left knows best; we are their lab rats.

Hand holding dry tree in front of a catastrophic background
ID 9523824 © Noahgolan | Dreamstime.

Then follows mockery of those that disagree with the GND, such as this bon mot. Plus the occasional moment of honesty: “we must transform the way our political and economic systems work in this country.”

“It’s the future, Dick, if we’re going to have one.”

Between such rare moments of honesty are powerful but mendacious statements like this.

“We have known that man-made, preventable climate change is happening for a long time. …President Lyndon Johnson’s science advisory committee issued a report highlighting the potential dangers in 1965.”

Very exciting, but the reality is less so. It refers to a 352 page report “Restoring the Quality of Our Environment” by The Environmental Pollution Panel of the President’s Science Advisory Committee. One  paragraph of 101 words discusses CO2. Of the 104 recommendations, only three mention CO2 – all calling for more research. For a good reason. Appendix Y4 (pp 111-133) discussing “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” gives this mild conclusion about rising CO2.

“This may be sufficient to produce measurable and perhaps marked changes in climate …At present it is impossible to predict these effects quantitatively.”

At last, some climate science.

Finally, 6500 words into the article, it mentions science. But it gives mostly misleadingly, exaggerated, or false information.

“We have increased the temperature of the earth by nearly 1° Celsius since the 1880s …”

No, we have not. Natural warming brought Earth out of the Little Ice Age. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions became a dominant force after WWII. As the WGI Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC’s AR5 said, “It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

“which has led to climate events of unprecedented frequency and ferocity, including terrible fires, hurricanes, the decline and extinction of entire species, and dire food and water shortages that have precipitated wars and refugee crises.”

All of that is fallacious. Not true about wildfires (see here, here, and here). Not true about hurricanes (see this, and also here and here). As for “extinction of entire species”, the first likely case was this year – the Bramble Cay melomys, which lived on an island in the Great Barrier Reef (species living on one island are vulnerable to disruption, and account for a large fraction of threatened species). The claims about wars and migrant flows are quite bogus.

“We are headed rapidly toward doubling that increase to 2 degrees, which could kill off the world’s coral reefs, melt enough global ice to flood every city by a seashore, and turn “the biggest cities of the Middle East and South Asia …lethally hot in summer,” according to the climate journalist David Wallace-Wells writing in a New York Times article headlined ‘Time to Panic.‘”

First, those claims about effects of an additional 1°C of warming are, to be generous, speculative. For example, to “flood every city by a seashore” would take many generations, or even centuries (see below). Second, this is Baker – a novelist and columnist (see Wikipedia) – citing another journalist, David Wallace-Wells. Neither is a scientists or even a journalist covering the sciences. Third, it was a NYT op-ed, not an NYT article. That is a big difference.

“What will happen when we get to a 3-degree, or 4-degree, or 6-degree increase – all incredibly likely, if we continue to do nothing – is so terrible as to be beyond useful contemplation. Suffice it to say, those temperatures will destroy us.”

This is the big lie of climate alarmists. None of those numbers are “incredibly likely.” There are four scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways, RCPs), first used in the IPCC’s AR5. The two likely ones are RCP4.5 and RCP6.0. The worst case scenario, RCP8.5, gets most of the attention. But it is either unlikely or impossible (also see this), as a good worst-case scenario should be. Look at the projections through 2065, for which the projections are moderately reliable. After that there, forecasting becomes less reliable.

See this graph from “Robustness and uncertainties in new CMIP5 model projections” by Reto Knutti & Jan Sedláček in Nature Climate Change, April 2013 (open copy here). For another perspective, see Table SPM.2 of the Summary for Policymakers from Working Group I. Temperatures are shown vs. the average of 1986–2005. The likely range through 2065 is 0.9 to 1.8°C. and (more speculatively) 1.1 to 3.1°C through 2100. The closest thing to the range Baker gives is for the implausible RCP8.5 in 2100: 2.6 to 4.8°C. Six degrees C is beyond the RCP8.5 worst-case scenario.

From "Robustness and uncertainties in new CMIP5 model projections" by Reto Knutti & Jan Sedláček in Nature Climate Change, April 2013.

Table 2 of the Summary for Policymakers of Working Group I the IPCC's AR5: temperatures through 2100 by scenario

About that “flood every city by a seashore” – look at one paper’s projections of global sea level rise by 2100 for each RCP (S.Jevrejeva et al. in Global and Planetary Change, January 2012. Open copy here.). The ranges are large, since many of the factors are poorly understood. The average for the two middle (i.e., likely) scenarios are under three feet of rise by 2100. Easily manageable for most cities, although those underwater and sinking (e.g., Venice and New Orleans) might join the list of cities submerged over past millennia by the rising seas.

Increase in global average sea level to 2100 by RCP

Conclusions

“A student in Wendy Petersen Boring’s climate-change-focused class said she woke at 2 a.m. and then cried for two solid hours about the warming ocean. …Petersen Boring, an associate professor of history, religious studies, women & gender studies at Willamette University in Oregon, has been teaching about climate change for a little over a decade. In that short time, she has watched her students’ fear, grief, stress and anxiety grow.” {From CNN.}

This Harper’s article was on the May 8 menu of Naked Capitalism’s daily diet of science-free climate Armageddon articles. These terrify liberals every morning (other than these, I find NC’s daily links quite useful). After years of this, their readers have a largely fictitious understanding of climate science. Much like conservatives’ faux economics and faux history. Amazingly, some activists want more. Naomi Klein wants journalists to deliver even more alarmism and less science.

Most of these climate doomsters articles have three defining characteristics. First, they’re written by journalists – not even science reporters. Second, they ignore the IPCC and major climate agencies – citing alarmists and other journalists. Third, climate scientists ignore their exaggerations and even falsehoods. As the ancient adage says, silence means complicity (see here and here).

But these articles debunking the alarmists are futile. They are long and complex vs. alarmists’ exciting and simple stories. The alarmists will dominate the public media until climate scientists speak out. Alarmists are polluting the public policy debate, making rational decisions more difficult. So we are unprepared not just for likely climate change, but for the repeat of past extreme weather. The price of our folly might be large.

For More Information

Important – Media phenomena like Greta Thunberg don’t just happen. They result from careful work by powerful special interest groups. See how she became an icon for the climate apocalypse: “Greta Inc.” by William Walter Kay at Friends of Science.

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see The keys to understanding climate change and these posts about climate propaganda. The good news is that the very bad news is wrong.

  1. A look at the workings of Climate Propaganda Inc.
  2. Scary but fake news about the National Climate Assessment.
  3. New climate porn: it forces walruses to jump to their death!
  4. Weather porn about Texas, a lesson for Earth Day 2019.
  5. Terrifying predictions about the melting North Pole!
  6. Important: The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science.

Books about the doomster vision

The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine – “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: what climate change could wreak – sooner than you think.” Expanded into a book: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.

The five ways the human race could be WIPED OUT because of global warming.” By Rod Ardehali at the Daily Mail. H/t to the daily links at Naked Capitalism. Promo for Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, a book by Bill McKibben.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
Available at Amazon.
Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
Available at Amazon.

26 thoughts on “Daily stories of climate death build a Green New Deal!

  1. Another rebuttal to the doomsters’ narrative.

    Long‐Term Measurements Show Little Evidence for Large Increases in Total U.S. Methane Emissions over the Past Decade” by Xin Lan et al. in Geophysical Research Letters, in press.

    Summary

    “In the past decade, natural gas production in the U.S. has increased by ~46%. Methane emissions associated with oil and natural gas productions have raised concerns since methane is a potent greenhouse gas with the second largest influence on global warming. Recent studies show conflicting results regarding to whether methane emissions from oil and gas operations have been increased in the U.S. Based on long‐term and well‐calibrated measurements, we find that:

    1. there is no increase of total methane emissions in the U.S. in the past decade;
    2. there is modest increase in oil and gas methane emissions, but this increase is much lower than some previous studies suggest;
    3. the assumption of a time‐constant relationship between methane and ethane emissions has resulted in major overestimation of an oil and gas emissions trend in some previous studies.”
  2. The ‘Green New Deal’ proposal is CAGW hysteria on a massive scale. It buys votes for the radical dims, an adventure in scare tactics resulting in virtue signaling unparalleled in modern times.

  3. “This was on the May 8 menu of Naked Capitalism’s daily diet of science-free climate Armageddon articles.”

    In that regard, this passage from the Bible, Second Epistle of Paul, Thessalonians 2:11 comes to mind: “And for this cause God shall send them a great delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

  4. The potential extreme harms of climate change are highly speculative, but there is still an outside chance that significant anthropogenic warming will occur this century. But on the policy front it is certain that desires to reduce global emissions to near zero by 2050 will not be achieved. The “UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2018” shows that based on the INDC submissions made in 2015, emissions will be higher in 2030 than in 2017, whereas to be on track to prevent 2C of warming requires that they be 25% lower.
    On page 33 is “Table 2.1: Overview of the status and progress of G20 members, including on Cancun pledges and NDC targets.” In 2017 the US has 13.1% of global GHG emissions. Cutting this to zero by 2030 may only prevent global emissions from being higher than in 2017.
    Neither is there likely to be a change of heart. The “UNFCCC Paris Agreement” Article 4.4 states
    “Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move
    over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.”
    With two-thirds of global emissions and collectively accounting for all the global increase in CO2 emissions since 1990), the math does not work unless there is a mass change of heart. Neither are the nations who rely on producing fossil fuels for a large part of their national income (e.g. Russia, Saudi, Iran) willing to see that source of income disappear in a generation. It is thus highly misleading to suggest the New Green Deal will “save the planet”.

    1. Manic,

      Alarmists are good at moving the pea among the shells. We’re almost certain to hit the 2°C point. The relevant question is what will be the effects of that. Most simulations shows relatively minor effects.

      The terrifying predictions are from the far higher temperature increases in RCP8.5, and arrive in the late 21st century (most after 2065). That’s not likely, for many reasons.

      Also, there is no basis in the science literature for the 1.5 or 2°C targets. See these for an intro.

      The Invention of the Two-Degree Target” in Der Spiegel, 2010.

      A scientific critique of the two-degree climate change target” by Reto Knutt et al. in Nature Geoscience, 2016.

      1. Larry,

        Insofar as policy is concerned, there are a number of relevant questions. One of those is whether 2°C of warming above pre-industrial levels (i.e. 1-1.2°C above present day levels) is a severe problem.

        However, another relevant question is whether the policy will deliver. When the Stern Review was launched in 2006, mitigation was promoted as “investing in future generations”. Money spent now would be more than repaid in terms of future catastrophes averted. It is making sacrifices now for the sake of future generations. This argument falls down when the vast majority of countries, responsible for most of global emissions, have no intention of implementing serious emission constraint policies. As I point out above most of these countries have no obligation to implement such policies.

        As such, the marginal impact of mitigation policies in the US – with one seventh of the global total – is small, but the marginal adverse impact on the people of the US is considerable.

        What you are pointing out is the lack of evidence for a big problem – or at least just beyond 2°C of warming. My points concern the lack of a big solution. Both issues undermine case for the New Green Deal when promoted as “saving the planet”.

      2. Manic,

        All true points!

        Making your last point even more significant, US CO2 emissions decreased roughly 12% from 2005-2017 (with a slightly larger drop from their 2007 peak). See the EIA’s graph of energy-related emissions and the C2ES graph of all emissions. And they are projected to continue dropping – even without the draconian (and massively expensive) policies of the misnamed Green New Deal.

        For more about this, see About the Green New Deal, (leftist) dreams given form.

        For more about the Left’s proposed solutions, see “Want an Energy Revolution?” by Mark P. Mills at City Journal – “It won’t come from renewables—which can never supply all the power we need—but from foundational scientific discoveries.”

  5. Thank you for yet another level-headed, evidence-based take on climate change. A year ago it looked like climate alarmism, Inc. was dead in the water. The vested interests realized this and got busy, hence the flood of doom-is-nigh articles in all the usual media outlets in the last few months. Turns out that if you repeat something often enough, people really do start to believe it.

    It says much about the state of our politics that AOC, the ultimate lightweight, is accorded stature normally reserved for persons who have actually accomplished something.

    God help us all.

  6. The ‘Climate Crisis’ on steroids:

    BBC: “Climate change: Scientists test radical ways to fix Earth’s climate

    Scientists in Cambridge plan to set up a research centre to develop new ways to repair the Earth’s climate. It will investigate radical approaches such as refreezing the Earth’s poles and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. …

    The initiative is co-ordinated by the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Prof Sir David King. “What we do over the next 10 years will determine the future of humanity for the next 10,000 years.

    1. Ron,

      Thanks for posting that. I added a title and quote from it, so readers would appreciate the madness. This is how sci-fi disaster flicks begin.

      Got to love Sir King’s weird science. He probably gets everything he knows from the propagandists at the BBC.

      1. Larry,

        Thanks,
        That’s not science, it’s science fiction. Sweet deal for some scientists, government grants (peoples own money) used to scare the sh!t out of them. It’s all about control…I guess.
        Sad.

      2. Ron,

        All true. But it is a smart bit of agitprop. In the West lots of people want to be frightened and entertain – just like at horror films. Info-tainment, common to both Left and Right.

      3. One of the weaknesses that seems pretty universal among alarmists is a complete lack of understanding of the scale on which this planet actually operates, both physically and temporally. “Refreezing the poles” indeed. As we speak both poles are quite solidly frozen, and likely to stay that way on any time scale appreciable by humans.

        But this quite aside, how, exactly do they plan to accomplish this epic feat? Using what resources? At what cost? And who will pay for it? This is the sort of whiz-bang, googly eyed nonsense that the profoundly ignorant AOC and her equally silly followers swallow without even a moment’s reflection.

      4. Scott,

        All true. But projects like this are politically useful. And the scientists — and many many non-scientists — involved all get paychecks. Real research is often boring. Concocting fantasies about refreezing the poles is fun!

        This disease affected NASA from the beginning. Instead of focusing their limited time and money on getting us established in near-Earth orbit – with a few trips to the moon as proof-of-concept – they spent a lot of time in fantasies about trips to mars and such.

  7. Public enemy #1, the Sierra Club.

    Why We Didn’t Act on Climate When We Had the Chance” in the Sierra Club magazine – “Nathaniel Rich tracks the tragic and complicated history of ‘Losing Earth’.”

    “In a major report published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers revealed new data about the melting rate of the Greenland ice sheet, and the findings make clear that we’re in big trouble.

    “Starting in the 1980s, the natural variability of the earth’s climate started to transition as a result of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions, leading to warmer temperatures, increased melting in Antarctica, Greenland, and other regions, and a steadily rising sea level.”

    1. Ron,

      I added a full cite and quote of the opening paragraphs. The description of climate is quite false, as usual for climate activists.

      To mention one thing, there is no consensus of melting in Antarctica since the 1980s. Other than the West Antarctica peninsula (a small land area), the mass balance for the rest – the giant ice sheet – appears roughly stable.

      For another, it is unclear if the rate of sea level rise has accelerated since 1980. Papers differ, esp on the data before the satellite era.

      This kind of misstating the science is the core reason we have not acted on climate change. Activists have ignored the science when it did not suit their needs, and often exaggerate or lie about it. They have polluted the public debate. Climate scientists as a group have been silent, and so are complicit.

      1. Larry,

        Thanks for fixing things up for me.

        ” Climate scientists as a group have been silent, and so are complicit”.

        You know, we can argue for eternity about CAGW but it’s a political game at this point. And the way I see, skeptics are losing the game.

        From amateurs like me, academics, and scientists, we are doing a poor job of countering the liberal media.
        If the Dems win the WH in 2020 over this, back to the Paris accords we go, along with every stupid idea that goes along with it. Socialism to chase down 200PPM of CO2 is not my idea of a good path to follow.
        I don’t want to be on the streets wearing a yellow vest protesting gas at seven bucks a gallon and alarmists sending Cows to the gallows. Better to head it off now.

      2. Ron,

        “we can argue for eternity about CAGW but it’s a political game at this point.”

        Remember that reality trumps politics in the end. At some point the weather will answer all our questions.

        “Socialism to chase down 200PPM of CO2 is not my idea of a good path to follow.”

        They only need to win once. In that sense, it is as you say – all politics.

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