Tag: Climate Change

Who Reviews the Reviewers?

 

In an era where politicians and judges increasingly turn to academic research for information about issues that affect us all, “Is this science any good?” is, literally, not just an academic question. As I wrote about in The Federalist, The Unskewed Project — of which I’m the content editor — launched earlier this year to provide an extra layer of review on recently-published social science and on the reporting about it.

Unfortunately […] social science, exists in a highly politicized and media-saturated environment that celebrates novelty over consensus and drama over diligence. When presented with university press releases making bold claims, harried reporters often neglect to ask the kind of informed, challenging, and skeptical questions they’d ask anyone else. Even when journalists intend well, research that confirms popular worldviews tends to be welcomed without reflection. At the same time, scholars whose conclusions are out of fashion are often subjected to hostile scrutiny based less on evidence than ideology…

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The Fine Line Between Activism and Mental Illness

 

I wonder how many of you saw this story about David Buckel. It’s got all the tropes: gay, legal activist, food co-ops, composting, Brooklyn, climate activism. Let’s just say I doubt he was a Trump voter. His suicide note apparently said that…

[p]ollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather . . . . Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels and many die early deaths as a result – my early death by fossil fuels reflects what we are doing to ourselves.

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The latest FEMA “strategic plan” mentions “risking natural hazard risk” but not a peep about global warming, rising sea levels or devastating weather. Alice Hill, a Hoover Institution research fellow focusing on building resilience to catastrophic events, discusses the Trump Administration’s reluctance to utter the phrase “climate change” and where scientific debate stands in 2018.

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Though it’s a relatively small expanse (just one-and-a-half times the size of the US), the Arctic Ocean is fraught with global strategic concerns. David Slayton, a Hoover research fellow and co-chair of Hoover’s Arctic Security Initiative, explains the Trump Administration’s options on “the top of the world” regarding military expansion, resource development and maritime passage.

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Earth. In the Balance.

 

Anyone who’s taken a middle-school science course knows that plants depend on carbon dioxide in much same way that we animals need oxygen to keep on living.

But what happens when the carbon dioxide levels start to rise? How does that affect the vegetation on the planet?

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California Bans Cremations to Save the Planet

 

Sacramento, December 10, 2018 — In one of his last official acts as governor before Gavin Newsom is sworn in next month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation today that was passed by an over two-thirds majority of the state legislature and state senate, titled the California Green Mortuary Act.

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A Liberal Lexicon Addendum

 

Last week, I published a list of liberal clichés and their real meanings. The style was, of course, based on The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, while many of the entries were plagiarized from inspired by Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Clichés. I asked for ideas on further entries in the comments, and this addendum […]

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Saturday Night Science: The Planet Remade

 

“The Planet Remade” by Oliver MortonWe live in a profoundly unnatural world. Since the start of the industrial revolution, and rapidly accelerating throughout the twentieth century, the actions of humans have begun to influence the flow of energy and materials in the Earth’s biosphere on a global scale. Earth’s current human population and standard of living are made possible entirely by industrial production of nitrogen-based fertilisers and crop plants bred to efficiently exploit them. Industrial production of fixed (chemically reactive) nitrogen from the atmosphere now substantially exceeds all of that produced by the natural soil bacteria on the planet which, prior to 1950, accounted for almost all of the nitrogen required to grow plants. Fixing nitrogen by the Haber-Bosch process is energy-intensive, and consumes around 1.5 percent of all the world’s energy usage and, as a feedstock, 3–5% of natural gas produced worldwide. When we eat these crops, or animals fed from them, we are, in a sense, eating fossil fuels. On the order of four out of five nitrogen molecules that make up your body were made in a factory by the Haber-Bosch process. We are the children, not of nature, but of industry.

The industrial production of fertiliser, along with crops tailored to use them, is entirely responsible for the rapid growth of the Earth’s population, which has increased from around 2.5 billion in 1950, when industrial fertiliser and “green revolution” crops came into wide use, to more than 7 billion today. This was accompanied not by the collapse into global penury predicted by Malthusian doom-sayers, but rather a broad-based rise in the standard of living, with extreme poverty and malnutrition falling to all-time historical lows. In the lifetimes of many people, including this scribbler, our species has taken over the flow of nitrogen through the Earth’s biosphere, replacing a process mediated by bacteria for billions of years with one performed in factories. The flow of nitrogen from atmosphere to soil, to plants and the creatures who eat them, back to soil, sea, and ultimately the atmosphere is now largely in the hands of humans, and their very lives have become dependent upon it.

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Americans watched with forlorn fascination as devastating hurricanes laid waste to stretches of Florida and Texas. Hoover research fellow Alice Hill explains how the nation can better prepare for future natural disasters. The key word is “resilience.”

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are aghast as the threat to life along the Texas coast gets more dire but they are amazed at the tireless efforts by exhausted heroes to save thousands and thousands of lives. They also disgusted, but not surprised, as North Korea fired a missile over Japan in one of the most provocative acts in years. And they sigh as the mainstream media leap to the conclusion that man-caused climate change is responsible for the extent of the devastation in Texas.

Also a note to our listeners, Three Martini Lunch will spend next week on vacation before resuming on Monday, September 11. We will have episodes for the rest of this week.

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In this AEI Events Podcast, AEI’s Aparna Mathur hosts Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who present their carbon tax proposal. They discuss what their plan would entail and comment on the importance and controversy surrounding their proposal.

Following the senators’ remarks, a panel of experts discusses the possible costs and benefits of a carbon tax proposal. Veronique de Rugy (Mercatus Center) argues that the potential benefits of a carbon tax policy are complicated and minimized by the drawbacks. George Frampton (Partnership for Responsible Growth) believes that the only solution will entail bipartisan compromise. Myron Ebell (Competitive Enterprise Institute) states that a carbon tax is “all pain and no gain” due to the loss of revenue. Adele Morris (Brookings Institution) argued that the proposal is an efficient and comprehensive plan.

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This week on Banter, Myron Ebell and George Frampton debate the advantages and disadvantages of implementing a carbon tax. Ebell is director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment and chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition. Frampton is a cofounder of The Partnership for Responsible Growth and was previously senior of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP in the firm’s climate and clean energy practice. Both participated in a panel discussion at AEI to discuss the implications of the carbon tax proposal Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced at the event. The link below will take you to the full event video.

Learn More:

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EPA’s Pruitt Asks for TV Climate Debate

 

The science may not be settled, but EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants it televised. He raised the idea of a TV climate change debate in an interview with Reuters:

“There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change),” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

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Rick Perry Is Right: CO2 Is Not the Control Knob of Climate

 

Energy Secretary Rick PerryTo listen to the corrupt, know-nothing mainstream media, Energy Secretary Rick Perry really stepped in it when he said human emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) is not the major driver of global warming. And, as usual with the MSM, it’s not true. The story is merely fodder for a false narrative about Perry, and the state of climate science.

On Monday, CNBC “Squawk Box” host Joe Kernen asked the secretary whether he believes carbon dioxide “is the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate.” Perry’s answer:

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Trump’s Speech Should Have Been About Nuclear Power, Not the Paris Climate Agreement

 

Maybe the best reason, such as it is, to support American withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement has nothing to do with the climate. Under President Obama, the United States agreed to a de facto treaty without submitting it to the Senate for ratification. As the editors at National Review rightly note, “In a government of laws, process matters.” Government certainly doesn’t need more unilateralism by its chief executive.

Unfortunately, the actual reasons driving withdrawal had more to do with populist politics, nationalism, partisanship, and unreasonable disbelief in climate science than constitutional conservatism. Oh, and plenty of reflexive anti-Obamaism in there, too.

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Forget the Paris Accords

 

The Trump administration is currently facing a major decision—whether to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accords on climate change. The huge multi-national agreement was finalized in the closing weeks of the Obama administration, just days before Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election. The key commitment made by the United States under the accords is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the next decade by about a quarter of their 2005 rate, with further reductions to come thereafter. But during his campaign, Donald Trump promised to pull out of the accords, and, at the recent meeting of the G-7, was the lone holdout against a ringing endorsement of the agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been insisting that the United States stay the course, but it appears as if Trump is inclined to honor his campaign promise to pull out of the accords, a position in line with that of Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The President’s instincts are spot on here. He should withdraw the United States from the accords and be prepared to stoutly defend his decision on both political and scientific grounds. Ironically, the best reasons for getting out of the accords are the evident weaknesses in the reasons that a wide range of businesses and environmental groups offer for staying in.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy watching Hillary Clinton remain immersed in her state of denial, as Hillary takes responsibility for losing to Donald Trump but seems to blame everyone else. They also react to Pres. Trump tweeting about nuking the legislative filibuster and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it’s not going to happen. And they’re almost speechless as the Democrat running for Congress in Montana invites skeptics of the liberal line on climate change to go into their garages and start their cars.

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