President Trump is expected as soon as next week to order the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its Clean Power rule that is blocked by the courts. But the President faces another test of political fortitude on whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
That’s suddenly uncertain. Mr. Trump promised to withdraw during the presidential campaign, correctly arguing that the accord gave “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use.” His transition team even explored strategies for short-cutting the cumbersome, four-year process of getting out of the deal.
But the President’s is now getting resistance from his daughter, Ivanka, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who are fretting about the diplomatic ramifications. No doubt many countries would object, and loudly, but this risk pales compared to the potential damage from staying in the accord. Continue reading
By Robert Tracinski • The Federalist
For pro-free-marketers, the big bright spot of the Trump administration is the hatchet he’s taking to the Environmental Protection Agency: doing things like packing the agency with global warming skeptics and rolling back absurd new automobile mileage mandates.
The man in charge of this is new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who up to now has been cautious about saying anything that would express his skepticism that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing global warming.
Except now he’s done it. In a CNBC interview, the host asked, “Do you believe that it’s been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate?” Pruitt answered: “No, I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we don’t know that yet. We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.” Continue reading
by Lamar Smith • Wall Street Journal
Transparency for thee, but not for me—that seems to be the motto of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Last year they led a group of their colleagues—dubbed the “Green 20”—in a sweeping initiative to target dissenting views on climate change. Exxon Mobil, for instance, was asked to turn over decades of documents.
The Green 20 investigations have been criticized as blatantly political. Last year a federal judge overseeing Ms. Healey’s suit against Exxon expressed concern that she may be conducting it in “bad faith.”
For nearly a year, the congressional committee I lead has been trying to understand the effects of these investigations on scientific research. Unfortunately, the attorneys general have obstructed our inquiry at every turn. Last July, after two months of unanswered requests for information, the committee issued subpoenas to Mr. Schneiderman and Ms. Healey. Continue reading
by Julie Kelly • National Review
Climate-change alarmists who have been largely unchallenged by the media over the past decade have finally met their match in Fox News host Tucker Carlson. And it ain’t pretty.
Since the premiere of his new nighttime show, Carlson has frequently confronted the dogma of man-made global warming, pushing “experts” to cite data and evidence to back up their claims rather than allowing them to repeat well-worn platitudes about a scientific consensus and the planet’s impending doom. In January, Tucker took on California State University professor Joseph Palermo, who wrote, “If President Trump and his cohort believe the science of global warming is bogus, then they shouldn’t be allowed to use the science of the Internet for their Twitter accounts” based on the commonly accepted factoid that “98 percent of all scientists” believe the climate is changing because of human activity. When Carlson repeatedly asked Palermo to give the source of that figure, which Carlson correctly said was unknowable, the professor couldn’t do it. Climate fail. Continue reading
A key Obama administration scientist brushed aside inconvenient data that showed a slowdown in global warming in compiling an alarming 2015 report that coincided with the White House participation in the Paris Climate Conference, a whistle blower is alleging.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a major 2013 report, concluded global temperatures had shown a smaller increase from 1998 to 2012 than any similar period over the past 30 to 60 years. But a blockbuster, June 2015 paper by a team of federal scientists led by Thomas Karl, published in the journal Science in June 2015 and later known as the “pausebuster” paper sought to discredit the notion of a slowdown in warming.
“Our new analysis suggests that the apparent hiatus may have been largely the result of limitations in past datasets, and that the rate of warming over the first 15 years of this century has, in fact, been as fast or faster than that seen over the last half of the 20th century,” Karl, who was at the time director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said at the time. Continue reading
by Michael Bastasch • Daily Caller
Liberal billionaire George Soros gave former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental group millions of dollars over three years to create a “political space for aggressive U.S. action” on global warming, according to leaked documents.
A document published by DC Leaks shows Soros, a Hungarian-born liberal financier, wanted his nonprofit Open Society Institute (OSI) to do more to support global warming policies in the U.S. That included budgeting $10 million in annual support to Gore’s climate group over three years.
“U.S. Programs Global Warming Grants U.S. Programs became engaged on the global warming issue about four years ago, at George Soros’s suggestion,” reads a leaked OSI memo. Continue reading
By Robert Tracinski • The Federalist
They say that mathematics is the language of science, which is a way of saying that science is quantitative. It is moved forward by numbers and measurements, not just by qualitative observations. “It seems hot out” is not science. Giving a specific temperature, measured by a specific process at a specific time, compared to other systematically gathered measurements—that is science.
So when you read an article proclaiming that, for the third year in a row, last year was the hottest year on record, you might expect that right up front you will get numbers, measurements, and a statistical margin of error. You know, science stuff. Numbers. Quantities. Mathematics.
And you would be wrong. Continue reading
by Michael Bastasch • The Daily Caller
Scientists were shocked by what they found while pouring over accounts by famous South Pole explorers from about a century ago — findings that could change the way experts think about Antarctica and global warming.
Researchers found that Antarctic sea ice extent has barely changed since Ernest Shackleton’s botched expedition to map out the South Pole in 1917.
Antarctic sea ice conditions in Shackleton’s day mirrored those of today, according to a new study using logs compiled by Shackleton, in addition to data from other noteworthy Antarctic forays during the early 20th Century. Continue reading
Conservative legal group blasts agreement to withhold documents
by Lachlan Markay • Washington Free Beacon
A conservative legal group is accusing state Democratic officials of conspiring to flout public records laws in order to keep secret details of a campaign to bring racketeering charges against climate policy dissenters.
Democratic attorneys general led by New York’s Eric Schneiderman are seeking to block efforts to obtain documents about their efforts by invoking an overbroad claim to secrecy in ongoing legal proceedings, according to the Energy and Environment (E&E) Legal Institute.
“These activist AGs are trying to write themselves out from freedom of information laws their legislatures have written them into,” E&E senior legal fellow Chris Horner said in a Wednesday statement. Continue reading
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen targets group that exposed green group coordination
by Lachlan Markay • Washington Free Beacon
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) is scheduled to attack the Energy and Environment Legal Institute on the Senate floor on Tuesday as part of a coordinated PR offensive against conservative and libertarian nonprofit groups.
Nineteen Senate Democrats involved in the effort were tasked with using floor speeches to attack specific groups, which they are branding as parts of a “web of denial” seeking to impede Democratic energy and environmental policies. Continue reading
List of ‘web of denial’ targets circulated ahead of climate resolution
by Lachlan Markay • Washington Free Beacon
Democratic senators have been assigned conservative nonprofit groups to call out by name on the chamber floor in speeches on Monday and Tuesday criticizing corporations and advocacy groups for opposing Democratic climate policies, internal emails reveal.
Nineteen Senate Democrats will attack specific organizations in what they are calling a “web of denial,” according to a schedule of floor speeches circulated by Emily Enderle, a top environmental policy adviser to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), who is spearheading the effort.
Internal emails about the effort obtained by the Free Beacon reveal a highly coordinated plan between members of Congress and environmental activist groups to fuel a public relations and legal offensive against fossil fuel companies and groups they support. Continue reading
Setback for coalition of Dem AGs seeking racketeering charges
The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands withdrew his subpoena of oil giant Exxon Mobil on Wednesday afternoon, dealing the first setback to a group of Democratic officials seeking racketeering charges against the company.
Exxon told a federal court that AG Claude Walker had agreed to walk away if the company would drop a related lawsuit alleging that the subpoena violated its constitutional rights and the laws of its home state of Texas.
Walker was the third state attorney general, after New York and Massachusetts, to subpoena Exxon Mobil over allegations that it committed fraud and racketeering by misleading customers and shareholders about the risks of climate change.
Walker is the first to walk back the effort against Exxon, but he is also in litigation in Washington, D.C., over a separate subpoena sent to a libertarian nonprofit that received donations from Exxon more than a decade ago.
Both subpoenas have triggered legal action. In a federal lawsuit filed three weeks after it was subpoenaed, Exxon alleged that Walker’s subpoena violated its “rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Texas Constitution, and Texas common law.”
District Judge Ed Kinkeane ordered Exxon and Walker to meet no later than July 11 to discuss “the possibilities for a prompt resolution of the case.” Exxon’s filing notified the court that they’d reached an agreement to withdraw both the subpoena and the resulting lawsuit.
Walker had asked for a massive number of internal Exxon documents, including documents pertaining to its internal deliberations and projections about climate change, but also requested communications with nearly a hundred nonprofit groups.
They included conservative and libertarian advocacy groups, but also more mundane organizations such as the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Arizona State University office of climatology, and Africa Fighting Malaria.
New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey asked for communications with many of the same research and advocacy groups, including the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute.
Schneiderman is the leader of a group of 20 state attorneys general that have seized on reports from news organizations funded by environmentalist groups that allege that Exxon misled the public about the risks its product poses.
Exxon and other critics say it is an unconstitutional effort to use state governments’ legal authority to shut down political speech and advocacy with which the attorneys general disagree.
The attorneys general, all Democrats, have been planning the legal campaign for more than a year. When a Schneiderman aide emailed a questionnaire to other attorneys general involved in the effort, Walker said he was “eager to hear what other attorneys general are doing and find concrete ways to work together on litigation to increase our leverage.”
Though Walker has withdrawn his Exxon subpoena, he also subpoenaed the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian group that used to receive Exxon funding, seeking evidence in its investigation into the company.
Walker has dropped his effort to enforce that subpoena in D.C., where CEI is based, but has not actually withdrawn it. The group is now alleging that the effort violated a DC law against lawsuits designed to censor, harass, or intimidate a public critic. A federal judge heard arguments on that motion on Tuesday.
The larger campaign was orchestrated behind the scenes with leaders of prominent environmental groups and deep-pocketed foundations that fund them and the news organizations whose reporting ostensibly spurred the investigation.
According to internal documents detailing the effort, its goals are to “delegitimize [ExxonMobil] as a political actor,” “force officials to disassociate themselves from Exxon,” “drive divestment from Exxon,” and “to drive Exxon & climate into center of 2016 election.”
Democratic lawmakers have also pressed the Justice Department to bring civil racketeering charges against Exxon over the same allegations. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said that she referred the case to the FBI, which is deciding whether to prosecute.
by Michael Bastasch • Daily Caller
Former Vice President Al Gore told The Hollywood Reporter his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth” actually underestimated how serious global warming would be — despite all the patently false predictions he made in the film.
“I wish the film had over-estimated the seriousness of the crisis, but unfortunately it actually underestimated how serious it is,” Gore told THR in an interview Thursday, just days before the 10th anniversary of his film.
“But on the positive side, solutions are now being developed so quickly that there is real cause for hope and optimism,” Gore said.
Gore’s 2006 film claimed global warming was the greatest challenge facing mankind, and that human-produced carbon dioxide emissions were pushing the Earth towards an ecological disaster. The film even won Gore and his crew two Oscars in 2007, and the movie revitalized Gore’s political relevance. Continue reading
Want an independent thinker out of your university? Instigate a “passionate emotional reaction” against him.
Brendan O’Neill • Reason.com
“Are you now or have you ever been a climate contrarian?”
How long before this McCarthyite question is asked of everyone who enters into academia, in order to weed out those who refuse to bow and scrape before green orthodoxy?
If you think this sounds like a far-fetched proposition, consider a recent scandalous act of academic censorship at the University of Western Australia (UWA). And consider, more importantly, the lack of outrage it caused in the West’s professorial circles.
It involves Bjorn Lomborg, the blonde-haired, Danish annoyer of environmentalists everywhere.
Famous for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist—in which he argued that, yes, climate change is real, but, no, cutting back on economic growth won’t help—Lomborg has been a brilliant piece of grit in one-eyed green thinking for more than a decade.
The Australian government, headed by the semi-skeptical Prime Minister Tony Abbott, decided to offer a base to Lomborg for his greenish but pro-growth analysis and agitation. Continue reading
By Robert Zubrin • National Review
Recently, the attorneys general of a number of states have launched an effort to use the RICO anti–organized-crime statute to prosecute opponents of climate-change alarmism. This is nothing less than an all-out attack on science.
There are several vital issues involved here, involving not only substance, but, even more important, process. Let’s start with the latter.
Science is not a collection of facts; it is a process of discovery. Science, alongside its sister, conscience, is based on the signature Western individualist belief that there is a fundamental property of the human mind that, when presented with sufficient information, is able to distinguish right from wrong, justice from injustice, truth from untruth. Matters of science must therefore be determined by reason, not by force. To attempt to prevail in a scientific dispute through the use of force is equivalent to the use of a gun to prevail in a courtroom, or, for that matter, of rape to prevail in courtship. It is nothing less than a criminal rejection of a basic principle of our civilization. Continue reading