Signs of Peak Progressivism

 

shutterstock_123731821Last week at a Capitol Hill hearing, Sierra Club president Aaron Mair was flummoxed when confronted with the inconvenient truth of an eighteen-year-and-counting cessation of global warming. Under persistent questioning from presidential contender Ted Cruz, Mair had only the flimsiest appeal-to-authority by way of response — boiled down, the discredited assertion that 97 percent of scientists agree with whatever the left is pushing this election cycle.

This exchange, transcribed at PJ Media, is particularly illuminating:

Cruz: Is it correct that the satellite data over the past 18 years demonstrate no significant warming?

Mair: No.

Cruz: How is it incorrect?

Mair, after consulting with his staff: Based on our experts, it’s been refuted long ago, and it’s not up for a scientific debate.

The Progressive catechism teaches that, in Mair’s words, “our planet is cooking and heating up and warming,” no matter the actual data.

Global warming is the most important global issue of our time. Islamic State beheading its way across the Middle East is positively jayvee compared to climate change. Pay no attention to Russian military adventures in Syria, or China’s incipient hegemony over the South China Sea. You need to live a harder and meaner lifestyle because, well, because that is the very definition of leadership.

President Obama explains in his recent interview with Steve Kroft:

Steve Kroft: He’s [Putin is] challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He’s challenging your leadership–

President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris.

Sometimes you have to wonder if Mr. Obama lives at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry rather than the White House.

But our President is not alone. Exhibit A: California Governor Brown, who, it would seem, has leadership bursting from every pore. CalWatchdog reports:

Gov. Jerry Brown warned at a recent climate change workshop that trillions of dollars, the transformation of our way of life and a worldwide mobilization on the scale of war will be required to stave off climate change’s “existential threat” to mankind.

Brown also said the problem is so complex that it’s likely no one knows how to solve it.

California already mandates a 2030 reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40 percent compared to 1990. Brown is targeting an astounding 80 percent decrease by 2050, when, like a political cicada, the once-and-future governor will presumably be ready for another season as chief executive of America’s zaniest state.

That’s leadership.

Brown acknowledges that this science stuff is hard:

I come today because this is a topic that is not easy to grasp,” he said. “It’s complicated. The more you dig into controlling air pollution or measuring greenhouse gas emissions or attempting to understand the [climate] models that examine and attempt to predict how world climate patterns will change over time, it definitely is a very complicated science that we mere lay people just get little glimpses of.

Nevertheless, the little glimpses are enough to reach the only possible scientific conclusion, the one that fits tongue-and-groove into the Progressive edifice. The science is settled. There is no debate. We must mobilize.

So when we say we are going to reduce [emissions by] 10 percent, 20 percent, 40 percent, we are setting forth a huge challenge that is very easy to state. But anybody who has any understanding of what is implied by what is being called for, realizes this cannot be done lightly or without a mobilization globally that we have never seen before outside of time of war.

As with any war, pain and sacrifice will be necessary for everyone without access to a private jet.

It will also require Californians driving a lot less, he said, by living closer to where they work and telecommuting. “Californians drive over 330 billion miles a year – 32 million vehicles of various kinds moving around on almost entirely fossil fuel,” he said. “We’re going to reduce and take fossil fuels out of our lives and out of the economy.

More leadership: You will live closer to work. You will telecommute. You will take fossil fuels out of your life. No doubt you will enjoy it, too, or else.

However, no matter how brilliant our Progressive masterminds, they inevitably find themselves caught short by reality. In California, nobody has yet figured out how to refuel all of these mandatory, expensive, short-range electric vehicles. From Saturday’s New York Times:

In California, Electric Cars Outpace Plugs, and Sparks Fly

SAN FRANCISCO — Of all the states, California has set the most ambitious targets for cutting emissions in coming decades, and an important pillar of its plan to reach those goals is encouraging the spread of electric vehicles.

But the push to make the state greener is creating an unintended side effect: It is making some people meaner.

The bad moods stem from the challenges drivers face finding recharging spots for their battery-powered cars. Unlike gas stations, charging stations are not yet in great supply, and that has led to sharp-elbowed competition. Electric-vehicle owners are unplugging one another’s cars, trading insults, and creating black markets and side deals to trade spots in corporate parking lots. The too-few-outlets problem is a familiar one in crowded cafes and airports, where people want to charge their phones or laptops. But the need can be more acute with cars — will their owners have enough juice to make it home? — and manners often go out the window.

How do you achieve Green Nirvana when the mandated alternative to the gasoline-powered automobile has limited range and a refueling time measured in hours rather than minutes? No worries, Progressives have a knack for spreading the pain and misery of artificial scarcity. The trick is to present the Darwinian nastiness as market failure, not the inevitable result of state-directed social engineering, thereby justifying additional regulation.

Like most hangover cures, another shot of regulation in the morning is not a viable long-term solution.

Meanwhile, the world’s jayvee teams continue to limber up for the main event. Reality has a funny way of reasserting itself over time. My sad prediction: A few short years from now, climate change will not be anyone’s pick for the most significant threat facing our planet.

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  1. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    George Savage: My sad prediction: A few short years from now, climate change will not be anyone’s pick for the most significant threat facing our planet.

    For several years polls have placed it very, very low on Americans’ lists of important issues. Democrats still pretend it’s issue #1.

    Complete disconnect from reality. Unless your goal is complete control over the lives of the proles. In which case they are focused like a laser.

    • #1
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    The exchange reminds me of an old saying: a bald assertion is not necessarily the naked truth.

    Seawriter

    • #2
  3. Paul J. Croeber Inactive
    Paul J. Croeber
    @PaulJCroeber

    One shouldn’t preoccupy oneself with fire breathing dragons when actual fires are approaching.

    When questioned on leadership, Obama simply redefines it.  When the data didn’t support global warming, again redefinition.

    Obama will never judge himself to have been wrong, negligent, ignorant, foolish, etc.

    • #3
  4. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    George,

    Who will we send the bill to for all the chaos that the false belief in Global Warming has caused? Governor Moonbeam, The Sierra Clowns, and Barack the Magic Dragon will slip away into the mist. Oh that they could just receive an infinitesimal fraction of the misery they’ve created.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
  5. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Let’s say that California is very successful and coerces enough motorists so that a third of the automobiles in California are electric.  And let’s say there are charging plugs galore.  Where are they going to get all that electricity from?  The California legislature is not going to allow a new power plant to be built if it’s powered by natural gas, coal, or uranium.  The greenies are somewhat skeptical of wind farms because they cannot abide with an occasional bird getting killed.  They hate hydro-electric dams.  Solar power is still cost-prohibitive.

    The city of Los Angeles was planning on buying electricity from a proposed solar farm in the Mojave Desert, but cancelled the plan for environmental reasons.  The Sierra Club stands behind the city because this project would have inconvenienced 100 bighorn sheep.

    I had some hope that the technology behind the Ivanpah Solar Power Plant might be able to make cost-effective electricity in places with a lot of desert wasteland.  This design doesn’t use photo-voltaic panels and ought to be cheaper.  But it’s making approximately 40% less electricity than they projected.  Even if it worked and made affordable electricity, you can bet the greenies would be complaining about the birds cooked in mid-air.

    • #5
  6. SpiritO'78 Member
    SpiritO'78
    @SpiritO78

    Climate change will drop off as a BIG issue for regular Americans sooner rather than later, hard to say exactly when. Nothing brings important issues into focus like a consistently bad job market and depressed wages over the long term.

    • #6
  7. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Climate change is NOT an issue for Americans.  As comment #1 points out, this is not about science but about imposing authoritarianism upon us.  It is no surprise that California is also criminalizing the sale of any object containing ivory, is banning the use of “Redskin” for team names, etc.  This is an exercise in creeping totalitarianism.  Kudos to the American right for recognizing this and fighting it in all the ways that we are. Kudos to Ted Cruz.

    • #7
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Excuuuuuse me!  BHO is about the least-magic Muggle in creation, and I hope he’d be turned away at the door of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  I would certainly take great pleasure in slamming the door in his face.

    –RushBabe 49, proud member of Hufflepuff House.

    • #8
  9. Ford Inactive
    Ford
    @FordPenney

    The progressive mind deludes itself with its own fantasies and then try’s to play them out as ‘truths’ and we get inarticulate drivel thrown out as some sort of de facto answer to well, everything. ‘Reality is just a bummer man’. And the big CA leads with its sanctuary cities, snail darters, no such thing as an ‘illegal alien’, high speed trains and controlling global warming while using pixie dust to create energy.

    But when Tehran actually has the bomb, their single goal in life, then global warming in a relativistic way, is gonna get very real. And the reality is going to upset the little moonbeams because the rest of the world will be very real, and very dangerous for every living thing.

    • #9
  10. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Randy Weivoda:Let’s say that California is very successful and coerces enough motorists so that a third of the automobiles in California are electric. And let’s say there are charging plugs galore. Where are they going to get all that electricity from? The California legislature is not going to allow a new power plant to be built if it’s powered by natural gas, coal, or uranium. The greenies are somewhat skeptical of wind farms because they cannot abide with an occasional bird getting killed. They hate hydro-electric dams. Solar power is still cost-prohibitive.

    The city of Los Angeles was planning on buying electricity from a proposed solar farm in the Mojave Desert, but cancelled the plan for environmental reasons. The Sierra Club stands behind the city because this project would have inconvenienced 100 bighorn sheep.

    I had some hope that the technology behind the Ivanpah Solar Power Plant might be able to make cost-effective electricity in places with a lot of desert wasteland. This design doesn’t use photo-voltaic panels and ought to be cheaper. But it’s making approximately 40% less electricity than they projected. Even if it worked and made affordable electricity, you can bet the greenies would be complaining about the birds cooked in mid-air.

    Five years ago, I posted Savage’s Law in a comment here on Ricochet:

    The political attractiveness of any power generating technology is inversely proportional to its readiness for large-scale commercial deployment.

    Keeping this in mind will instantly clarify why hydroelectric power generation–the only truly practical form of solar power–is so unpopular that AGW alarmists are actively working to dismantle existing dams. It is the same dynamic with nuclear power, where at least there is a credible though easily addressed safety argument. Intermittent, high-cost, impractical forms of energy are the preferred solution. Ditto transportation.

    Governor Brown gives away the real game above when he lets slip the usual no-tradeoffs mask.

    It will also require Californians driving a lot less, he said, by living closer to where they work and telecommuting…

    Gee, I guess our politicians actually do understand that our future carbon-free utopia will come at a substantial cost.

    The Left’s is a philosophy of less, with the resulting scarcity managed by our ever-helpful public servants.

    • #10
  11. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    RushBabe49:Excuuuuuse me! BHO is about the least-magic Muggle in creation, and I hope he’d be turned away at the door of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I would certainly take great pleasure in slamming the door in his face.

    –RushBabe 49, proud member of Hufflepuff House.

    Granted, but the President certainly has a talent for magical thinking.

    • #11
  12. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    George,

    The Left’s is a philosophy of less, with the resulting scarcity managed by our ever-helpful public servants.

    This is an incredibly generous statement. Something more accurate would be, “The Left’s is a philosophy of suicide and it is enforced by our ever-psychotic public servants.”

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
  13. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Have you ever driven past that horrible solar place at Ivanpah? It is unsightly, and fries your eyes, not to mention birds. And where did they put the desert tortoises that used to live on that vast acreage? Ridiculous, ugly boondoggle.

    • #13
  14. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    James Gawron:George,

    The Left’s is a philosophy of less, with the resulting scarcity managed by our ever-helpful public servants.

    This is an incredibly generous statement. Something more accurate would be, “The Left’s is a philosophy of suicide and it is enforced by our ever-psychotic public servants.”

    Regards,

    Jim

    I prefer the subtlety of George’s formulation.

    • #14
  15. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    George, you may be interested in the discussion we had yesterday about the weirdness of that 60 Minutes interview, to which many of us had the same response. I couldn’t figure out quite how to describe it, but your formulation comes very close: Obama seemed to be speaking for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, not the White House. 

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This is an article about the bird problem at the Ivanpah solar facility. The environmentalists are hypocrites in every way.

    • #16
  17. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    We have always been at war with global warming.

    • #17
  18. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    I’m continually amazed by the number of environmentalists who will pontificate about “the science says X” for hours – when it’s obvious from the first word that they don’t understand the science at all.

    I actually majored in environmental sciences for a while in the 1970s – and part of the reason I got out of it was that a majority of the people I met (including instructors) had no idea of how science actually worked. It’s even worse nowadays, when you realize just how many “scientists” have only a passing acquaintance with the actual scientific method.

    I’m starting to think the worst thing to happen to science was making statistics software that non-statisticians could operate – if the answers don’t look right, try a different method until the curve fits the answer you wanted in the first place.

    • #18
  19. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    I kind of wish that, in response to the mantra that 97% of scientists agree with Gaeian Orthodoxy, Cruz had brought up the Global Warming Petition which has been signed by 31,000 scientists including 9,000 Ph.D.’s.  It says that all this hysteria about catastrophic warming is a load of manure.  http://www.petitionproject.org/

    Cruz should have asked the witness to identify, by name, each of the one million scientists who would make up the 97% in opposition to this 3%.  (The names of 31,000 who signed the Petition are all online.)

    The answer, of course, would be that all those people with advanced degrees in various fields of science do not count, because they are not “climate scientists.”  And even though “climate scientists” purport to rely on data from fields like meteorology, geology and biology, the opinions of meteorologists, geologists, and biologists about their work must be disregarded.  You see, to be a “climate scientist” you must be admitted to the peer-reviewing, mutual admiration fraternity of those who make their livings by predicting climate catastrophe.

    It really leaves me wondering who the 3% are supposed to be.  Since nobody is admitted to the fraternity unless they are a true-blue Gaeian, I find it odd that there would be as many as 3% of dissenters/heretics who are recognized as “scientists.”

    • #19
  20. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    James Gawron:Who will we send the bill to for all the chaos that the false belief in Global Warming has caused?

    It really has been costly, hasn’t it?

    Personally, I’d like to see all the main actors in this fake drama charged with fraud and thrown in prison.

    • #20
  21. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    At the rate this is going, there won’t be an adequate amount of reserve electrical power sources in the U.S., which will have catastrophic results when a primary source unexpectedly goes offline.  While I would like to think that a string of extended and regular power outages would finally get the public fed up with the green agenda, I’m not sure that the greenies would get the blame.

    • #21
  22. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Just read this on another post a quote by Churchill. “A lie travels around the globe ( global warming) before the truth gets its shoes on”. Ted has his shoes on.

    • #22
  23. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    DrewInWisconsin:

    James Gawron:Who will we send the bill to for all the chaos that the false belief in Global Warming has caused?

    It really has been costly, hasn’t it?

    Personally, I’d like to see all the main actors in this fake drama charged with fraud and thrown in prison.

    Drew,

    You’re just saying that to make me feel better. People who scream fire in a crowded theater are just amateurs. These guys are the pros.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
  24. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    cirby: I’m starting to think the worst thing to happen to science was making statistics software that non-statisticians could operate – if the answers don’t look right, try a different method until the curve fits the answer you wanted in the first place.

    This is as much a failure of experts as it is a failure of laymen.

    Many highly expert and qualified scientists are committed to the junk science of AGW.

    • #24
  25. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    iWe: Many highly expert and qualified scientists are committed to the junk science of AGW.

    Follow the money. Their grants and continued employment depends on scaring people about AGW.

    Seawriter

    • #25
  26. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Seawriter:

    iWe: Many highly expert and qualified scientists are committed to the junk science of AGW.

    Follow the money. Their grants and continued employment depends on scaring people about AGW.

    Sure. But we always have to avoid the ad hominem. The science is junk, whether or not they are corrupted by the money. Because a great many believers and fellow travelers are onboard even while they are not recipients of the dough.

    • #26
  27. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    iWe:

    The science is junk, whether or not they are corrupted by the money. Because a great many believers and fellow travelers are onboard even while they are not recipients of the dough.

    It is junk because it is religion, not science. Environmentalism, especially the Gaia Hypothesis is neopaganism.

    Seawriter

    • #27
  28. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Seawriter:

    iWe:

    The science is junk, whether or not they are corrupted by the money. Because a great many believers and fellow travelers are onboard even while they are not recipients of the dough.

    It is junk because it is religion, not science. Environmentalism, especially the Gaia Hypothesis is neopaganism.

    I agree, of course (you have my book).

    But the motives notwithstanding, the science is wrong.

    Neopaganism is right about some things, I am sure. Just because it is motivated by neopaganism does not make it wrong.

    • #28
  29. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    It will also require Californians driving a lot less, he said, by living closer to where they work and telecommuting.

    I live in a lovely little suburb east of San Francisco.  It takes me about 90 minutes to get to work.  Yes, 90.  Every village and hamlet between me and San Francisco is much more expensive than the one I live in.   I simply cannot afford to live closer to work.  I can perhaps find something closer to home and I have been trying but even that trivializes the impact.

    Many people have an investment in where they work and live, they can’t necessarily just pick up and move without some significant consequences.  The governor trivializes that.

    (edited to make clear the first bit was a quote)

    • #29
  30. Ross C Member
    Ross C
    @RossC

    You remember Nancy Pelosi’s claim with respect to the Waxman Markey Bill that global warming could be prevented for the cost of a postage stamp per day?

    Did that not work out?

    Why are Californians struggling with this if it only costs $160 per family per year?

    • #30

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