BETWEEN 1998 and 2013, the Earth’s surface temperature rose at a rate of 0.04°C a decade, far slower than the 0.18°C increase in the 1990s. Meanwhile, emissions of carbon dioxide (which would be expected to push temperatures up) rose uninterruptedly.
Then proceeds to offer a bunch of after the fact explanations but I wonder what environmental model predicted this, a priori? Probably not many.
“I’d even argue that people’s views about climate change are extremely inconsistent. (#2) If you believe that lower demand for fossil fuels in in clean countries will reduce fossil fuel prices in dirty countries, why aren’t First World greens worried that reducing their carbon footprint will counter-productively increase carbon emissions in the Third World?” — Bryan Caplan
A new study by the Cultural Cognition Project, a team headed up by Yale law professor Dan Kahan, shows that people who are more science- and math-literate tend to be more skeptical about the consequences of climate change. Increased scientific literacy also leads to higher polarization on climate-change issues
Economist David Henderson, in a book review, states oil economics that many environmentalists lack:
Another problem, state Hubbard and Navarro, is that America’s heavy oil dependence makes our economy far more vulnerable to slower growth and recessions triggered by sudden price increases. But because oil is traded in a world market, we are vulnerable to price increases whether we import all or none of our oil. So whether we produce all or none of the oil we use, an oil price increase hurts our consumers the same amount. To be sure, if we imported less oil and produced more domestically, a price increase would help our producers. But how would we put ourselves in the position of having more production? By guaranteeing a higher price to domestic producers. By insisting on higher-cost domestic production, we would avoid the possibility of more-expensive oil when prices spike for the certainty of more-expensive oil all the time.
To understand why, it’s worth going back to the 1970s, the crucible in which modern right-wing politics was forged.
The Seventies were a great decade for apocalyptic enthusiasms, and none was more potent than the fear that human population growth had outstripped the earth’s carrying capacity. According to a chorus of credentialed alarmists, the world was entering an age of sweeping famines, crippling energy shortages, and looming civilizational collapse.
It was not lost on conservatives that this analysis led inexorably to left-wing policy prescriptions — a government-run energy sector at home, and population control for the teeming masses overseas.
Social conservatives and libertarians, the two wings of the American right, found common ground resisting these prescriptions. And time was unkind to the alarmists. The catastrophes never materialized, and global living standards soared. By the turn of the millennium, the developed world was worrying about a birth dearth.
This is the lens through which most conservatives view the global warming debate. Again, a doomsday scenario has generated a crisis atmosphere, which is being invoked to justify taxes and regulations that many left-wingers would support anyway. (Some of the players have even been recycled. John Holdren, Barack Obama’s science adviser, was a friend and ally of Paul Ehrlich, whose tract “The Population Bomb” helped kick off the overpopulation panic.)
“The Walmart effect. The giant retailer sets sustainability requirements for suppliers and manufacturers. “We find that Walmart is the most powerful environmental regulator in the market,” says Arnold.” — Sharon Begley, writing in Newsweek on the forces that continue to help cut carbon
“First, the Environmental Protection Agency can relax restrictions on the amount of oil in discharged water, currently limited to 15 parts per million. In normal times, this rule sensibly controls the amount of pollution that can be added to relatively clean ocean water. But this is not a normal time. Various skimmers and tankers (some of them very large) are available that could eliminate most of the oil from seawater, discharging the mostly clean water while storing the oil onboard. While this would clean vast amounts of water efficiently, the EPA is unwilling to grant a temporary waiver of its regulations.” — Paul Rubin, via David Henderson
I think they see it as a way to keep the competition at bay. “Cap and trade” is essential to the Obama plan. If emission permits cost $20 per ton (per year, presumably), “then cap and trade might add $460 million a year to Alcoa’s annual operating costs.” That sounds pretty painful for Alcoa stockholders. But Alcoa is pushing for a plan in which the government gives, “companies like Alcoa nearly enough free permits in the early years of cap and trade to cover emissions.” In fact, there seems to be some expectation that Alcoa may get so many permits that it would have surplus permits to sell. What looks like a self-sacrificing corporation rising above itself to act in the social benefit turns out to be ordinary rent seeking.
And Alcoa is not the only established business in a position to enjoy such largess. “The White House has signaled a willingness to provide financial offsets and other relief to the states and companies that would be hit hardest by new cap and trade rules.” Existing firms are subsidized and startups are taxed simultaneously. Welcome to the brave new world tiresome old world of “partnership” between business and government.
“In fact, when I look back at almost every “environmentally friendly” alternative product I’ve seen being widely touted as a cost-free way to lower our footprint, held back only by the indecent vermin at “industry” who don’t care about the environment, I notice a common theme: the replacement good has really really sucked compared to the old, inefficient version. In some cases, the problem could be overcome by buying a top-of-the-line model that costs, at the very least, several times what the basic models do. In other cases, as with my asthma inhalers, we were just stuck.” — Megan McArdle
“Moreover, cutting our consumption of oil will not do anything to reduce our dependance on oil from the Middle East. First, because other countries–countries we trade with–will still be using the stuff, so changes in oil prices will continue to whipsaw our economy. And second, because the price of oil is set on the world market. If we cut world consumption back to 20 million barrels a day, we would be totally dependent on Middle Eastern oil, because they’re the low-cost producers–it takes, if I recall correctly, less than $5 a barrel to pull oil out of the ground in Saudi. The Middle East will be the last place to close the taps. The more we cut world consumption, the more dependent we’ll be on crazy Middle Eastern governments. Those governments might not be as rich. But we’ll still need them just as much, as long as oil remains critical.” — Megan McArdle, on Obama’s intentional misleading to the American public on oil dependence
“the World’s Saint, Mr. Gore, who lectures on carbon emissions and green behavior, built an ecological monstrosity of a castle that gulps energy at gargantuan rates; while the world’s villain, George Bush, built an eco-friendly, far more modest house that uses a fourth less power than the average home. But then when one compares the Kerry homes, the Edwards playhouse, and all the other liberal mansions, it makes sense. Modern liberalism for our elites is really a psychological state, in which an individual crafts an all-encompassing world view in the abstract to offset a rather materialistic and self-centered desire in the concrete. Here in California Sens. Boxer and Feinstein, and Rep Pelosi live like the privileged they are, while decrying the plight of the less fortunate. Someone who forbids drilling in ANWR rarely decides to down-size her home. A Senator Dodd who rails at the mortgage lenders’ greed has no problem taking a cut-rate loan from them–if it is a question of buying appropriate homes for his sixty-something efforts at establishing a young family. Hypocrisy is a human, not a political sin per se, but something about the combination of neo-socialist politics and extremely elite personal tastes suggests that there is a direct rather than an accidental connection—in the mind at least the former making possible the latter.” — Victor Davis Hanson
We import two-thirds of our oil, sending hundreds of billions of dollars to the likes of Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. And yet we voluntarily prohibit ourselves from even exploring huge domestic reserves of petroleum and natural gas.
At a time when U.S. crude oil production has fallen 40 percent in the last 25 years, 75 billion barrels of oil have been declared off-limits, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That would be enough to replace every barrel of non-North American imports (oil trade with Canada and Mexico is a net economic and national security plus) for 22 years.
That’s nearly a quarter-century of energy independence. The situation is absurd. To which John McCain is responding with a partial fix: Lift the federal ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling, where a fifth of the off-limits stuff lies.
Technological conditions have changed as well. We now are able to drill with far more precision and environmental care than a quarter-century ago. We have thousands of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, yet not even hurricanes Katrina and Rita resulted in spills of any significance.
The entire Arctic refuge is one-third the size of the United Kingdom (which includes Scotland and Wales). The drilling site would be one-seventh the size of Manhattan Island. The footprint is tiny. Moreover, forbidding drilling there does not prevent despoliation. It merely exports it. The crude oil we’re not getting from the Arctic we import instead from places like the Niger Delta, where millions live and where the resulting pollution and oil spillages poison the lives of many of the world’s most wretchedly poor.
“The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.” –Czech President Vaclav Klaus
“Politicians want lower gas and oil prices but don’t want more production to increase supply. They want oil “independence” but they’ve declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?”– “Windfall Profits for Dummies“, WSJ