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Climate Change Has Jumped the Shark

by Steven F Hayward     •     Forbes

Global-Climate-Change-environmentLay aside for now all of the arguments that can be made about the weaknesses of catastrophic climate change predictions. In fact, for purposes of discussion, let’s assume that the worst-case scenario is likely to come true. The paradox of climate change is exactly this: the more serious the problem, the more implausible are the remedies of the environmental community. That’s what ought to make the climate campaigners realize that last weekend’s mega-march in New York City represents the dead-end for their cause. Truly we can invoke that overused cliché that climate change has “jumped the shark.”

Here’s why: From the beginning 25 years ago the arguments over climate science have dominated the scene and distracted us away from the fundamental problem: the prescribed method for preventing climate change is essentially replacing nearly all hydrocarbon energy, in the space of less than two generations. Climate orthodoxy calls for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, worldwide, by the year 2050, which would take the United States back to a level of hydrocarbon energy use last seen more than 100 years ago. For the developing world, it means remaining poor for several more decades.

There has been very little recognition and less candor about the sheer fantasy of the emissions target. Energy transitions, as the energy scholar Vaclav Smil has explained in great detail, are long-term affairs, even if a new superior technology exists to displace a current technology. But affordable large-scale, low- or non-carbon energy capable of replacing our current energy infrastructure simply doesn’t exist at present, and there isn’t much on the horizon. The developing world needs to triple its energy supply over the next generation if it is going to raise hundreds of millions out of abject poverty, and that means using abundant hydrocarbon energy, not expensive boutique energy popular with ever-preening rich Americans and Europeans. Just last week India’s new environmental minister, Prakash Javadekar, reiterated that India is not willing to discuss limitations on its rapidly growing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. “India’s first task is eradication of poverty,” Javadekar told the New York Times; “Twenty percent of our population doesn’t have access to electricity, and that’s our top priority. We will grow faster, and our emissions will rise.”

American and European climate change action advocates have ignored these realities, and have from the earliest engaged in relentless happy talk that a shift to renewable energy (chiefly solar, wind, and biofuels) would launch us down the golden road to a post-carbon energy future. The more economically illiterate among the climateers peddle the free-lunch argument that we’ll all get richer by mandating investment in more expensive, low-yield energy sources. The relatively modest amounts of low-carbon energy developed over the last two decades have required enormous government subsidies and have delivered negligible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. (In some cases, like biofuels from palm oil and corn, the full environmental tradeoff is likely negative.) The bitter irony for the climateers is that the most significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have been achieved by the production of newly abundant cheap natural gas through fracking, which has been displacing coal at a rapid rate.

The climate change community has reacted to this wreck of a policy not with second thoughts or openness to alternative frameworks, but with rage. The fact that global warming has slowed or stopped, and that an increasing number of peer reviewed studies conclude that climate sensitivity is overestimated (meaning that the problem is either over-predicted or will be much slower in developing) is greeted with denunciations, and a shockingly shallow new refrain that “97 percent of scientists believe in climate change,” which is like saying that “100 percent of scientists believe in gravity” in response to any query about the mysteries of how gravity actually works. When you point out the unreality of green energy dreams, you are met with foam-flecked denunciations of the Koch brothers. In fact the opposition to the climateers is tiny by comparison to the resources deployed by the environmental establishment, not to mention the massive sympathy they receive from an uncritical media. From the way people like Al Gore complain you’d think the climateers were up against the teachers union.

Which brings us back to last week’s crazy-quilt climate march in New York. The most conspicuous aspect of the march was its open expression of discontent not so much with climate change, but with our current civilization generally. It coincided with a new Naomi Klein book, This Changes Everything, that is getting a lot of buzz on the left (and even in Vogue magazine). In case you’ve forgotten your show notes, Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine, a book ragingly popular with the far left that is so far gone into absurd conspiracizing and looney renderings of “neoliberalism” that it makes Lyndon LaRouche look positively staid by comparison.

What is the “this” that “changes everything” in Klein’s new title? Why climate change, of course. And what does it “change”? Why capitalism, naturally. The argument of the book in one sentence is that only overthrowing capitalism can we solve climate change. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s how the progressive lefty site CommonDreams described it: “Forget everything you think you know about global warming. The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism.” This view was well represented in the banners and posters at the climate march last week. If climate change disappeared, one suspects the capitalism haters would still find a reason to march and rage against civilization. For this bit of candor, we owe Klein and the climate marchers a debt of thanks.

Even more revealing was the rage of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who told reporters during the march last week that climate skeptics should be jailed, and that the Koch brothers are “war criminals.” This is what passes for reasoning among environmental leaders? Quite obviously no one would pay attention to RFK Jr. if is last name was Jones instead of Kennedy; on the other hand, he received a standing ovation a few years ago from the Society of Environmental Journalists after another of his typically demagogic speeches, proving that most environmental journalists are just green activists with bylines. This is why you can expect that no environmental organization or prominent journalist will criticize Kennedy, Klein, or their extremist line of thinking.

The last big march in New York City like this was the 1982 march in favor of a nuclear freeze. It drew more than twice as many people as last week’s climate march, and was equally irrelevant, if not in fact a hindrance, to genuine efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear war. This is what a political movement looks like when it cannot recognize reality: it descends into ever more radical fantasies and rage, and gives its voice over to its most extreme elements. Like anti-nuclear activism 30 years ago, climate change activism has decayed into irresponsible advocacy, and deserves the increasing scorn of the public. And like the nuclear freeze movement of 30 years ago, if catastrophic climate change is a real prospect decades from now, these are the last people who should be put in charge of developing responses.

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 Steven F Hayward is currently the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy.

The Pass-the-Buck Presidency

The president has a pattern of deflecting blame and denying responsibility. With military action against ISIS underway, that’s a dangerous habit.

by Josh Kraushaar     •     National Journal

Obama Failed PolicyThe time-tested strategy for Obama: Blame, deny, and wait-it-out When national security is at stake, politics should stop at the White House’s edge ‘The president is the captain of the ship and should assume accountability.’

September 29, 2014 In attempting to downplay the political damage from a slew of second-term controversies, President Obama has counted on the American people having a very short memory span and a healthy suspension of disbelief. The time-tested strategy for Obama: Claim he’s in the dark about his own administration’s activities, blame the mess on subordinates, and hope that with the passage of time, all will be forgotten. Harry Truman, the president isn’t. He’s more likely to pass the buck. [Read more...]

Obama Has Missed Over Half His Second-Term Daily Intel Briefings

by Wynton Hall     •     Breitbart News Network

Smug-ObamaA new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.

The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.

The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. [Read more...]

Obamacare Doctor Networks to Stay Limited in 2014

by Chad Terhune, Sandra Poindexter, Doug Smith     •    LA Times

Obamacare-DelayFinding a doctor who takes Obamacare coverage could be just as frustrating for Californians in 2015 as the health-law expansion enters its second year.

The state’s largest health insurers are sticking with their often-criticized narrow networks of doctors, and in some cases they are cutting the number of physicians even more, according to a Times analysis of company data. And the state’s insurance exchange, Covered California, still has no comprehensive directory to help consumers match doctors with health plans.

This comes as insurers prepare to enroll hundreds of thousands of new patients this fall and get 1.2 million Californians to renew their policies under the Affordable Care Act. [Read more...]

Holder’s Legacy of Racial Politics

The attorney general battled against state voter-ID laws, despite all evidence of their fairness and popularity. What will his successor do?

by Edwin Meese III and J. Kenneth Blackwell     •      Wall Street Journal

HolderAttorney General Eric Holder, who announced his resignation on Thursday, leaves a dismal legacy at the Justice Department, but one of his legal innovations was especially pernicious: the demonizing of state attempts to ensure honest elections.

As a former U.S. attorney general under President Reagan, and a former Ohio secretary of state, we would like to say something that might strike some as obvious: Those who oppose photo voter-ID laws and other election-integrity reforms are intent on making it easier to commit vote fraud.

That conclusion is inescapable, given the well-established evidence that voter-ID laws don’t disenfranchise minorities or reduce minority voting, and in many instances enhance it, despite claims to the contrary by Mr. Holder and his allies. As more states adopt such laws, the left has railed against them with increasing fury, even invoking the specter of the Jim Crow era to describe electoral safeguards common to most nations, including in the Third World. [Read more...]

Press Helps Obama Censor The News

Investor’s Business DailyMedia Propaganda

It’s not often that the press exposes its own bias. But a Washington Post story this week reveals both the Obama administration’s attempts to censor the news and the media’s complicity in that effort.

For decades, news outlets have relied on pool reports from a rotating group of White House correspondents who follow the president on his travels to public or semipublic events and file quick-and-dirty reports. Their stories are then distributed to other news outlets to use as they wish.

Pool reports can be inane, such as the Sept. 4 dispatch making note of the fact that, while in Wales, “Obama and Prince Charles posed for the cameras and laughed. Obama greeted a group of children who were gathered behind the rope line.” [Read more...]

Holder’s Legacy as Presidential Protector

The attorney general is stepping down and leaving a trail of troubling questions behind.

by Peter Roff   •   U.S. News & World ReportHolder Head

Controversial figure U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be stepping down from his post, it was learned recently, leaving the Obama administration as soon as his replacement can be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Those who cannot see past race – and thus tend toward wanting to inflate Holder’s grade – are praising his tenure in office, lauding the attention he gave issues like civil rights and the manner in which, as NBC’s Chuck Todd suggested shortly after the news broke, managed to stay above politics.

In fact, almost every high-profile issue Holder took on had a political taint, especially his intervention in the civil rights arena where he and his department worked to thwart anti-election fraud reforms and to block reasonable photo ID requirements for voters. [Read more...]

The Unfree Speech Movement

I was among the student radicals at Berkeley in 1964, back when colleges actually had intellectual freedom.

by Sol Stern     •     The Wall Street Journal

Free speechThis fall the University of California at Berkeley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a student-led protest against campus restrictions on political activities that made headlines and inspired imitators around the country. I played a small part in the Free Speech Movement, and some of those returning for the reunion were once my friends, but I won’t be joining them.

Though the movement promised greater intellectual and political freedom on campus, the result has been the opposite. The great irony is that while Berkeley now honors the memory of the Free Speech Movement, it exercises more thought control over students than the hated institution that we rose up against half a century ago. [Read more...]

Targeting the Constitution

by Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz     •      Washington Post

IRS new logoIt is now well known that the IRS targeted tea party organizations. What is less well known, but perhaps even more scandalous, is that the IRS also targeted those who would educate their fellow citizens about the United States Constitution.

According to the inspector general’s report (pp. 30 & 38), this particular IRS targeting commenced on Jan. 25, 2012 — the beginning of the election year for President Obama’s second campaign. On that date: “the BOLO [‘be on the lookout’] criteria were again updated.” The revised criteria included “political action type organizations involved in … educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.” [Read more...]

The Divine Right of Barack Obama

The president who began as a champion of the legislature’s prerogative to declare war has morphed into Napoleon.

by Charles C. W. Cooke     •     National Review

Obama SmirkAsked earlier today how long he expected the bombing of Syria to last, Lieutenant General William C. Mayville Jr. advised reporters to think “in terms of years.” “Last night’s strikes,” Mayville confirmed, “were only the beginning.” A mile or so away, on the White House lawn, Barack Obama struck a similarly defiant note. “We’re going to do what is necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group,” the president explained, before assuring those present that the United States was but one part of a global alliance that stood “shoulder to shoulder . . . on behalf of our common security.” “The strength of this coalition,” Obama added, “makes clear to the world that this is not just America’s fight alone.” This much, at least, was true. Among the nations that have signed on to the attacks are Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates — all vital accomplices in the winning of hearts and minds. And yet, for all the cosmopolitanism, one crucial ally was conspicuously missing from the roster of the willing: the Congress of the United States. [Read more...]

Unemployed by ObamaCare

ObamaCare Sink HoleThree new Fed surveys highlight damage to the labor market.

Wall Street Journal Editorial

Most of the political class seems to have decided that ObamaCare is working well enough, the opposition is fading, and the subsidies and regulation are settling in as the latest wing of the entitlement state. This flight from reality can’t last forever, especially as the evidence continues to pile up that the law is harming the labor market.

On Thursday the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported the results of a special business survey on the Affordable Care Act and its influence on employment, compensation and benefits. Liberals claim ObamaCare is of little consequence to jobs, but the Philly Fed went to the source and asked employers qualitative questions about how they are responding in practice. [Read more...]

Free Speech Needs No Amending

Senate Democrats would restrict fundamental First Amendment rights in an election-year stunt

FreeSpeech_first amendmentAs election season enters full swing, Senate Democrats are taking the opportunity to garner votes by attempting to rewrite the Bill of Rights, something that hasn’t been done since those rights were enshrined. They want to ask the nation to change the First Amendment so that it protects political speech only up to a point.

The timing is right. Nationally eight Senate races have already received more than $10 million each in outside spending, according to the Federal Election Commission. In Michigan, huge amounts of outside money have flooded into the race between Rep. Gary Peters and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. [Read more...]

Covering for the IRS

New details on the Administration’s spin and stall strategy.

Wall Street Journal

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerThe IRS targeting of conservative groups has now become a story about the cover-up. More than a year after the scandal became public, the most transparent Administration in history has done everything in its power to spin the story, stymie Congressional investigators and run out the clock.

Take the latest moment of hilarity, er, clarity from the Justice Department, in which a communications aide to Attorney General Eric Holder mistakenly called Republicans on the HouseOversight and Government Reform Committee when he meant to call Democrats. The aide, Brian Fallon, told staffers he was calling to see if they could leak information to friendly reporters and give the Justice Department a chance to comment before the majority got their hands on it. [Read more...]

How to Transition from Obamacare to Real Health Care Reform

 by James C. Capretta and Yuval Levin     •     Weekly Standard

Obamacare-DelayObamacare—or at least the version of it that the president and his advisers currently think they can get away with putting into place—has been upending arrangements and reshuffling the deck in the health system since the beginning of the year. That’s when the new insurance rules, subsidies, and optional state Medicaid expansions went into effect. The law’s defenders say the changes that have been set in motion are irreversible, in large part because several million people are now covered by insurance plans sold through the exchanges, and a few million more are enrolled in Medicaid as a result of Obamacare. President Obama has stated repeatedly that these developments should effectively shut the door on further debate over the matter. [Read more...]

Large Government out of Place in a Society based on Small Technology

by Michael Barone    •    Washington Examiner

big government 1“Twentieth-century technology,” writes economic historian Joel Mokyr in the Manhattan Institute’s excellent City Journal, “was primarily about ‘large’ things.”

Large in physical size, that is. Mokyr’s examples include the diesel engine and the gas turbine, shipping containers, communications satellites launched by giant rockets, oil-drilling platforms, massive power stations, giant steel mills and huge airplanes.

Most are familiar sights today, but if we try to see them with the eyes of someone in 1914, they are awe-inspiring. This summer, I drove past the ruins of Henry Ford’s Highland Park plant, the largest manufacturing plant in the world when it opened in 1910. There, Ford set up the first auto assembly line and in 1914, the same year Europe went to war, started paying his workers $5 a day. [Read more...]