Apocalypse Never and False Alarm

by Judith Curry

Two important new books to discuss.

Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarm Hurts Us All, by Michael Schellenberger [amazon]   ‘Best Seller’

Schellenberger’s op-ed:  On Behalf of Environmentalists I Apologize For the Climate Scare [link]  originally published at Forbes, but then they pulled it.

Schellenberger’s slide deck for the book [link]

Review in Daily Mail: The eco-warrior who’s made greens see red [link]

Review from Environmental Progress [link]

Schellenberger was banned for awhile from Facebook for his ‘heretical’ posts about the book [link]

The KIDZ at Climate Feedback don’t like the book; snooty, mostly content free ‘fact check’ [link]

RealClimate: Michael Tobis makes a more serious effort to critique the book, but lands few punches. [link]

False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet, by Bjorn Lomborg [amazon]

Read the first 25 pages here [link]

New York Times thinks this is a dangerous book [link]

Michael Schermer’s interview with Lomborg [link]

——

Alex Trembath has a good review of both books:  Alternatives to Climate Alarmism


I’ve read both books, well worth reading.  Refreshing and complementary perspectives.

Seems like Schellenberger is taking more ‘heat’ from the usual consensus enforcers; apparently they figure that that they’ve already sufficiently dismissed Lomborg as a ‘denier.’

Not sure how much bandwidth there is for climate change at the moment, but it seems the sales especially for Schellenberger’s book are really taking off.

125 responses to “Apocalypse Never and False Alarm

  1. Hans Brinkley

    Thanks. We are living in the age of alarmist cults, with some of the world’s wealthiest corporations and wealthiest humans working in lockstep to enforce cult discipline.

    Something has to give, and it may not be pretty when it does.

    • Hard to guess what Q Anon will do when their world crashes down. Oh, wait… they just move on to another cult and conspiracy theory.

      • Don Monfort

        But what about Schellenberger, jimmy? He used to be a hero of the left loon CAGW alarmist crowd. Don’t you have something nasty to say about his epiphany? Shouldn’t he be cancelled by the left loon mob? Why isn’t your little accomplice joshie bombarding this thread? Where are your other little left loon pals? Haven’t you all received your Schellenberger cancellation marching orders, yet?

      • Don Monfort

        Judith has got them stumped with this one. They have crawled back into the woodwork.

      • Russell Seitz

        James nailed it.

        The countdown has begun on Climate Depot or Fox blaming the Siberian meltdown on CAGWuhan Flu.

        https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/07/schellenberger-sequel-will-connect-dots.html

      • Don Monfort

        he gets lonely on his fake blog

      • Robert Hope

        Lol. Quite amusing that someone would mock Q within this world we live in.
        The religion of ‘progressivism’ is built upon lies, delusions and yes..
        Conspiracy theories.

      • Isn’t the climate alarmist cult heavily populated by the hilariously unembarrassed former peak oil cult?

      • Schellenberger has been a thorn in the side of eco-doomers since 2003 – criticising the link between environmentalism and Malthusian policies. Lomborg a thorn since 1997. Lomborg’s argument is more a cost-benefit one. Shellenberger’s that nuclear power is best for decarbonization and, increasingly, that renewables are a hinderance and an environmental harm. On climate: Schellenberger is a warmist and Lomborg a lukewarmer.

      • Russell Seitz

        “. On climate: Schellenberger is a warmist and Lomborg a lukewarmer.”
        to paraphrase a much missed mentor of mine,

        “There’s plenty of room in the middle.”

        Schellenberger’s Apocalypse Now ballyhoo has been so over the top that it has repulsed even friends he turned to for blurbs for the book’s cover:

        https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/08/a-blurb-too-far.html

      • Nobody is going to your lonely fake blog.

    • David L Hagen

      Bjorn Lomborg: Climate change: Democratic alarmism leads to failing policies

      “Climate change needs to be addressed but the Democrats’ plan is alarmist and not going to save the planet. We need to weigh costs and benefits of climate action.”
      “…climate change has been cast in ever more apocalyptic terms” …~40% now believe “…global warming will likely lead to the extinction of the human race.
      Incessantly claiming the end of the world is near is simply unbridled alarmism and untethered to the actual research presented by the UN Climate Panel. However, such scare scenarios are ideal for politicians; they can promise to save the world, and they can leave the substantial bill to future election cycles.”

      Crying Wolf
      Climate panic is raising false alarms over mild warming. The latest European ice core shows far faster warming and cooling in recent history:

      The total range of the fast temperature swings is also quite interesting. For example, in the fifty years from 1190 to 1240, the temperature dropped by 2.3°C.
      And the steepness of the natural warming trends is instructive. In 35 years, from 850 to 885, the temperature rose by 2.3°C. Zowie!

      Modern Ancient Temperatures Willis Eschenbach
      Climate fearmongering, inspired by the father of lies, will impoverish us and destroy our children’s future. Restore sane public evaluation with prudent strategic investment NOT panicked waste of enormous resources with negligible benefit.
      Strategic investment
      Our “geologically stored solar bioenergy” (aka “fossil fuels”) have been an enormous boon, enabling rapid economic and technical development. However, they will not last forever.
      We need strategic investment now into cheaper dispatchable sustainable energy like laser fusion that will last for 1000s of years. By contrast >95% of proposed “climate” expenditures are probably wasted resources which only give centralized tyrannical control by unelected bureaucrats.
      Stand up for truth and wise stewardship. Act prudently. Vote wisely.

  2. The Roman Warm Period was 2°C warmer than today, yet the climate alarmists and cancel culture crowd are concerned about 2°C of global warming. Why?

    • The alarmists are most concerned about having any emergency, any “sky is falling” story, to scare people to give them control while they “save the world”, actually, “take over the world”

      • It was not a lot of years ago that their alarmist sky is falling threat was the next ice age coming really fast. They saw it failing and changed the cold threat to warm threat really quickly with no notice by their liberal supporters. They blindly follow their leaders.

      • “….the next Ice Age coming really fast.”

        When I started following AGW 10 years ago, there was great effort to discredit this assertion. As the evidence for just what you say kept mounting up, the discreditors got discredited themselves. They apparently didn’t realize people were actually alive then and followed the events in real time.

      • Because they are pessimists, eco-doomers, and ultimately misanthropists. The don’t have a plan to scare us into one world government. It’s just a plan to scare us. In fact – hardly a plan – more a world view – that we should be scared.

    • The eco alarmists are spreading fear because they can make a lot of money preying on people’s emotions. Classic case of follow the money. Corporations (including utilities) are on the climate-change bandwagon for the same reason.

      • jungletrunks

        Perhaps a more apropos framing in the scenario you present targeting eco alarmists is: “follow the power grab”. Power and money are somewhat synonymous concepts of desire; but contextually they segregate between certain relevant considerations that drive principles, and goals.

        The low hanging fruit to attain cultural political power is the human propensity to embrace “official” messaging. Media is a conduit for exploitation, so is education. It’s no surprise why the Left targets these institutions. The proverbial cliché—everyone believes what they hear on TV, or sees in print; propagandistic messaging works. Saul Alinsky; Goebbel’s, and others profoundly understood these avenues and designed methodologies to target populations, for power.

      • No. They are just dark people with a pessimistic worldview. I get this from them by talking to them. Every conversation I try to have with such people is navigated by them into some projection of doom. If not the climate, then the plastic, or the virus. They assume the worst possible interpretation to be a future norm.

  3. “Some people will, when they read this, imagine that I’m some right-wing anti-environmentalist.”
    Quote from the Forbes link.

    They will still believe you are that and some. They will no doubt add the obligatory ‘funded by big oil’ too.

  4. From Bjorn Lomborg https://mailchi.mp/lomborg/jbpl570n9d-623728?e=cd46d6390c

    “Hurricanes batter our coasts. Wildfires rage across the American West. Glaciers collapse in the Artic. Politicians, activists, and the media espouse a common message: climate change is destroying the planet, and we must take drastic action immediately to stop it. Children panic about their future, and adults wonder if it is even ethical to bring new life into the world.

    Enough, argues Bjorn Lomborg in his new book False Alarm – How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. Climate change is real, but it’s not the apocalyptic threat that we’ve been told it is. Projections of Earth’s imminent demise are based on bad science and even worse economics. In panic, world leaders have committed to wildly expensive but largely ineffective policies that hamper growth and crowd out more pressing investments in human capital, from immunization to education.””

  5. Alan Longhurst

    Both books address a perceived, but unreal, problem by assuming that CO2 warming is real, and ignoring the evidence that the critical SAT and SST temperatures have been selectively ‘warmed’ by the agencies that manage the archives. That is what should be, but will not be addressed, because the reputation and financing of too many research centres would be destroyed.

    Alan Longhurst

    • CO2 content in Earth’s atmosphere is measured to be some 400 ppm.
      400 parts per million is one part per 1.000.000 /400 = 2.500

      So we have one molecule of CO2 for every 2.500 molecules of air.
      Or to make it even more clear:
      1 /2.500 = 0,0004 or 0,04 %

      Now let’s compare the 0,04% CO2 content in Earth’s atmosphere with the water vapor content of about 1% on average.

      0,04% CO2 /1% H2O = 0,04 or one molecule of CO2 for every 25 molecules of H2O in Earth’s atmosphere.
      One may say there are still too many CO2 molecules.

      But Earth’s atmosphere is very thin, it is a transparent atmosphere in both ways – in and out. It is not only the CO2% content in the Earth’s atmosphere content that matters, but we have to consider how many CO2 molecules are in Earth’s atmosphere in total.

      If Earth’s atmosphere consisted from CO2 only, the atmosphere pressure on the Earth’s surface would have been 0,0004 bar.

      http://www.cristos-vournas.com

  6. David Wojick

    By way of stark contrast we have the new Greta et al letter:
    https://climateemergencyeu.org/#letter

    It seems we have a civil war between the moderates and the radicals.

  7. Ulric Lyons

    I think the problem is with the science and not the climate, so I regard Lomborg as selling false alarm by claiming that there is a ‘real’ problem which we must deal with.

    • David Wojick

      Yes but it is a very moderate false alarm compared to the radicals he disagrees with.

      • Exactly. Lomborg’s solutions will cost little, and can be easily discarded when the temperature starts dropping again. As it certainly will.

      • His proposed solutions of carbon taxes and geoengineering are not moderate. The latter is thoroughly misguided and potentially dangerous. Any form of solar dimming would exacerbate El Nino conditions which are already increased due to the centennial solar minimum.

      • David Wojick

        They are moderate compared to restructuring society as the radicals are calling for.

  8. “Readers will discover that, far from being a defense of white supremacy, ‘Apocalypse Never’ exposes ­European and North American environmentalists for promoting discriminatory anti-development policies toward poor African, Asian and Latin-American ­nations.” ~Mike Shellenberger

  9. “Maddeningly, the same environmentalists who oppose coal in India have also opposed the largest alternative clean and sustainable energy source – nuclear,” says Mark Lynas (India’s coal conundrum…climate or the poor?)… “Solar on its own will not provide sufficient power to run megacities and industrial revolutions. Without nuclear, India will need coal to develop – a lot of it.”

  10. Is global warming alarmism morally defensible? Most of the world’s energy is from fossil fuels. Raising prices of oil, coal and natural gas to limit their use would have an obvious result. “Climate action through increased energy costs will likely harm the poor the most, both in rich and poor countries.” ~Testimony of Bjorn Lomborg

    • David L. Hagen

      Alex Epstein provides The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

      You’ve heard that our addiction to fossil fuels is destroying our planet and our lives. Yet by every measure of human well-being life has been getting better and better. This book explains why humanity’s use of fossil fuels is actually a healthy, moral choice.

  11. Mars’ and Earth’s carbon dioxide CO2 gas planet atmosphere partial pressure comparison

    The partial carbon dioxide pressure in Earth’s atmosphere is 0,0004 bar.

    The atmosphere pressure on Mars is 0,636 kPa or 0,00636 bar.

    The partial carbon dioxide pressure in Mars’ atmosphere is

    0,00636 bar * 95,97% CO2/100% = 0,00610 bar

    Let’s compare: Mars CO2 /Earth CO2 = 0,00610 bar /0,0004 bar = 15,26

    Conclusion:

    Mars has 15,26 times higher CO2 partial pressure content.

    What it means? It means that per planet surface square meter Mars’ atmosphere has

    15,26 times more than Earth carbon dioxide molecules.

    From Wikiperdia for planet Mars:

    Atmosphere[10][15]

    Surface pressure 0.636 (0.4–0.87) kPa 0.00628 atm

    Composition by volume

    95.97% carbon dioxide

    1.93% argon

    1.89% nitrogen

    0.146% oxygen

    http://www.cristos-vournas.com

  12. David Wojick

    WUWT has a piece on the new super sensitivity study that claims to rule out low sensitivity values. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/24/settled-science-new-climate-study-shifts-the-goalposts-to-2-6-3-9c/

    But the study says they are now taking the first 150 years after quadrupling CO2 for ECS. Here is their statement:

    “In choosing the reference scenario to define sensitivity for this assessment, for practical reasons we depart from the traditional Charney ECS definition (equilibrium response with ice sheets and vegetation assumed fixed) in favor of a comparable and widely used, so-called “effective climate sensitivity” S derived from system behavior during the first 150 years following a (hypothetical) sudden quadrupling of CO2.”

    This is nothing like standard sensitivity to doubling CO2. What gives? There is no comparison. Quadrupling? No wonder they rule out the lower values.

    Note too that they must ignore the dozen or so observational studies that put sensitivity near 1.0 degrees.

    Not credible.

    David

    • David L. Hagen

      Fraud by slight of hand – relabeling “ECS” from doubling to quadrupling CO2! Beware the fearmongers lining their pockets with hard earned taxpayer funds.

  13. From Lomborg’s First 25 pages

    “The rhetoric on climate change has become ever more extreme, and less moored to the actual science. Over the past twenty years, climate scientists have painstakingly in- creased knowledge about climate change, and we have more—and more reliable—data than ever before. But at the same time, the rhetoric that comes from commentators and the media has become increasingly irrational.”

    And

    “There are strong incentives to tell the scariest possible story about climate change. Media gets more clicks and views with frightening sto- ries. Campaigners get attention and funding. Researchers who position themselves as addressing apocalyptic threats get outsized attention, more recognition for their universities, and more future funding oppor- tunities. Politicians who emphasize the scary scenarios get to promise to save us, and in the process gain the authority to distribute significant resources to fix the problem.“

    On target in every way. Confirmed every day. Three cheers for irrationality. Seems to fit the new media model.

    • We have so much data today on the climate that we know CO2 cannot be a big factor in climate change. Without their models and projections, doomers have nothing. They still cannot show me a greenhouse gas effect from first principles (by arguing from the evidence). AGW and the greenhouse gas effect is Lysenkoism, Phlogiston and Ptolemy’s concentric spheres all over again.

  14. Ireneusz Palmowski

    In three days in the south of Texas, up to 15 inches of rain can fall.

  15. Roger Knights

    Alex Trembath at National Review gives both books lukewarm reviews. A lot of background information.
    https://app.getpocket.com/read/3058179253

  16. The consensus was that the earth was the center of the universe. Consensus is irrelevant to science.

    • copernicusi was credited with demonstrating that the earth revolved around the sun circa 1540 (ish). then Galieo was treated as a heretic by the church in the early 1600’s, though the church’s issue with galieo was due to a lot of others issues between the church and G. It is thought that a lot of astronomers thought the earth revolved around sun as early as the 13th century.

  17. Thank you Dr. Curry.

  18. Judith thanks for the new post.

    I have finished Apocalypse Never and am in the middle of False Alarm. I took some time off after reading Shellenberger and read Thomas Sowell’s new book on Charter Schools and Their Enemies and Alex Berenson’s book on the dangers of marijuana use for young people. I just finished Alex Trembath’s review.

    Shellenberger’s extensive condemnation of alarmism and fear mongering is refreshing. Alex Trembath rightly calls him out on his promotion of nuclear without considering the full scope of what would be required for nuclear power to make a real dent in the electricity supply problem. Roger Pielke Jr. actually points this out in one of his articles in Forbes.

    As pointed out by Rupert Darwall in “Green Tyranny”, the nuclear industry was front and center in trying to foment climate and environmental alarmism in the ’70s and 80’s in Sweden and elsewhere.

    Lomborg’s focus on carbon taxes and geo-engineering leave me a bit cold but his takedown of alarmism and media malfeasance is worth reading.

    Both Shellenberger and Lomborg too readily accept the simplistic notion that most of climate change is due to CO2 and human consumption of fossil fuels for my taste. I don’t know whether they really believe this or not. They may just feel that it’s easier to let this one go so that they can argue for their proposed “solutions”.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Mark S,
      Re pace of nuclear.
      Yet France made the major transition to mainly nuclear electricity in an adequate few years. Are you claiming, in essence, that French engineers 50 years ago were superior to USA engineers today?
      The intense political manipulation going on now is evident from France’s plans to reduce existing nuclear and increase windmills. Not a credible engineering approach. Also, German phasing out nuclear while building more brown coal is simply unbelievable politics.
      But then, powerful elements in Germany are the leaders of this stupid renewable energy push globally. I cannot understand why Germany has not been laughed out of court. It already has clear demonstrations that its policies on electricity have failed and failed badly.
      What induces people to want to do stupid electrical engineering? The basic principles were known 50 years ago and they have stood the test. What did we know bank then? Renewables are not renewable. They are unreliable. They are intermittent. They are expensive. They require backup. Nuclear has not one of these drawbacks. Geoff S

    • The Leftists’ fascination with Gleick is puzzling; he doesn’t even lie well. His and other supposedly knowledgeable peoples’ attacks (including Hausfather) indicate an unhealthy willingness in CliSci to obfuscate and lie for the cause. Its scientific fraud, the same as the attribution “studies” I’ve read.

      • Dr. Gleick concluded that- “What we lack are adequate efforts to prioritize solutions, fix governmental and institutional failures, motivate policymakers, and, sadly, talk rationally to each other about moving forward quickly and effectively.”

        Knowing some of the assumptions built into the 100% WWS plan I’d say that Shellenberger will be remembered for highlighting the holes in that plan and no prioritization EXCEPT questioning the “quickly” over effectively is possible.

        I wonder if Shellenberger will be receiving an honorable mention, or high honor as-

        “The very best thing that you may do in your life is create a speck of intense irritation for someone whose views you vigorously dispute, around which a pearl of new intelligence may then accrete.”

        https://crookedtimber.org/2020/07/24/in-praise-of-negativity/

      • “Dr. Gleick concluded that- “What we lack are adequate efforts to prioritize solutions, fix governmental and institutional failures, motivate policymakers, and, sadly, talk rationally to each other about moving forward quickly and effectively.”

        We’ve been reading that since 1992- almost 30 years. When you’ve spent 30 years trying, and failing, literally everywhere on earth to get governments to do your specific “solutions” it should be obvious that there is a flaw in your proposal rather than in the governments.
        Governments and societies have, and will continue to, move quickly to abandon entrenched energy sources for new ones. Coal replaced wood, oil replaced horses and wood and coal for transportation, nuclear was – and natural gas is – replacing coal for power generation. The only requirement is that the new solution has to work. For 30 years a stubborn subset of activists who’ve effectively hijacked “climate change” has promoted “solutions” that don’t work and mumbling to the media that there are “inadequate efforts to prioritize” action that no credible government will take.

    • Scott Arnold

      Just read Gleick’s review. Thought this rather oversimplistic statement was telling:

      “The imbalance of these viewpoints is key however: if Malthusians are wrong, all they would have done is made the world a better place. If Cornucopians are wrong, apocalyptic outcomes are indeed a real possibility.”

      Seriously? “Hey, if we’re wrong, no harm done. Pay no attention to the millions who will have starved to death as a result of our policies.”

  19. From the Daily Mail’s piece on Michael Shellenberger’a book:

    Western banks and governments should stop forcing renewable energy technology such as batteries and solar panels on developing countries and let them build hydroelectric dams and efficient fossil fuel power stations. Rich nations are trying to make poverty ‘sustainable’ rather than ‘history’ in the Third World, he says damningly.

    “Sustainable poverty”.
    Nothing sums up the goals of the climate alarmist movement better than that.

    • One of the problems with capitalism is managing the distribution of wealth. One of the problems with socialism is managing the distribution of poverty.

      • It’s easy to level the playing field by making everybody poor. That’s how socialism succeeds and sets up it’s ultimate failure.

    • Curious George

      That poverty would not be even sustainable in the world with a population of 7 billion. It could be sustained after a major reduction of that number, but political correctness forbids us to think how to achieve that reduction. Is socialism the way to go?

  20. Don Monfort

    Schellenberger destroys Chicken Little climate alarmists in about a minute 30 seconds:

    https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/508891-author-michael-shellenberger-says-climate-change-isnt-biggest-environmental

  21. I read Zeke Hausfather’s criticisms, and they came to essentially nothing. His CV says that he is a climate scientist who got his Ph.D. from Berkeley in Energy and Resources. His undergraduate degree is in economics, and he studied a year in the Netherlands for a masters in Environmental economics. I have a physics degree and don’t understand what kind of science courses he took for that Ph.D.

    Is his Ph.D. in Energy and Resources a policy degree or a science degree?

    • My read of Hausfather’s critique is that he kind of agrees with most of what Shellenberger says but he doesn’t like the way that he says it.

      In true book selling fashion, Shellenberger may lean a bit toward overstatement………..a minor sin when compared with the coverage of Climate by the MSM and the NYTimes.

      Zeke needs to write his own book if he feels the need to improve balance.

      Kerry Emanuel’s critique is hairsplitting sophistry.

  22. This can get confusing.

    Jennifer Francis’ critique of Schellenberger is: “For example, it’s ludicrous to state “climate change is not making natural disasters worse.” An abundant and rapidly growing body of peer-reviewed scientific research identifies numerous ways that climate change is increasing the likelihood and intensity of various extreme weather events, exacerbating coastal flooding, and destroying ecological systems[1,2,6,18,19]

    The first reference is the IPCC (2014) Climate Change 2014: Summary for Policymakers. That states: “Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability (very high confidence). {1.4}

    Yet the science body of the 2014 report states that the evidence for climate change has been increasing droughts, floods, hurricanes or intensity of hurricanes is “low.” Those sections are clear, so what gives with Francis’ saying Schellenberg’s statement is “ludicrous”?

  23. I am making progress on Lomborg’s book. As would be expected, it’s more focused on economics and logic and less emotionally charged than Shellenberger’s book and interviews.

    His description of the worst case projected economic impact of the worst case projected climate change is clear and important and easy to understand. Will anybody read it?

  24. The more interesting climate news this month is the combined efforts of the media to use “fact check” columns to attempt to claim Joe Biden never said he would ban fracking or eliminate oil and gas even though there are multiple video clips of him doing that.
    Here’s the video where he was directly asked if he would do it even if it cost “hundreds of thousands of blue collar jobs” and he said ‘the answer is ‘yes'” followed by the pretense that the workers could get green jobs.
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/12/19/biden_yes_we_must_be_willing_to_sacrifice_oil_and_gas_jobs_to_transition_to_a_green_economy.html

    Like the violence in Portland, the message from Democrats is clear: “nothing we say is actually true other than the simple fact that we’re going to destroy your economy and your cities if you don’t give us absolute power. And then we’ll just deeply damage them.”

  25. Roger Knights

    National Review is out with a long, positive second review of Shellenberger’s book. https://app.getpocket.com/read/3063305928

  26. Climate sensitivity or plain old natural variation?
    Nick Stokes Moyhu blog is throwing up interesting for skeptics data in the current Moyhu NCEP/NCAR index, which came in at 0.223°C in June,
    Gistemp in The current Lead post (still had June tied with 2019 as the warmest June in the record.) Jim Hansen’s report is here.
    Jim Hansen’s report shows that 2020 was on track earlier for the warmest year and currently second.
    Now we have vague indications of a La Niña brewing.
    Interesting times.

  27. Climate sensitivity or plain old natural variation?

    Jul 28 0.04 C THAT IS LOW

  28. David Wojick

    Biden’s false climate promises

    By David Wojick
    https://www.cfact.org/2020/07/30/bidens-false-climate-promises/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bidens-false-climate-promises

    Biden’s multi-trillion dollar climate action plan is full of promises that the law says he cannot keep. Promising to do what you cannot do is a false promise. Here are some big ticket examples.

    Biden says “If I am elected I will do the following:

    Create millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure from roads and bridges to green spaces and water systems to electricity grids and universal broadband…

    Create 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry, domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, from parts to materials to electric vehicle charging stations…

    Provide every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options through flexible federal investments with strong labor protections that create good, union jobs and meet the needs of these cities…”

    What is wrong with these grand promises? Simple. The President of the United States has no authority, or the money, to do any of these things. That authority (and money) belongs solely to the U.S. Congress. So here is what these promises really amount to.

    Biden really says “If elected I promise to do the following:

    Beg Congress to do something about America’s crumbling infrastructure. I will propose a big plan but what they do is up to them.

    Implore Congress to somehow create a lot of jobs in the American auto industry. How they do it is up to them.

    Repeatedly ask Congress to build a lot of zero-emissions public transit stuff. I will bug the hell out of them. (What they do is up to them.)”

    Not quite so grand sounding, are they? In fact they are pretty humble, because Congress, not the President, runs the U.S. Government. That who is President is all important is just a myth, albeit a seemingly universal myth.

    Nor is the Congress likely to do much of this hugely expensive stuff, even if the Democrats win both houses, which is also unlikely. Unlikely + unlikely = very unlikely. This is especially true because Biden’s undocumented cost estimate of two trillion dollars is way low. It is more like twenty trillion.

    It would require trillions of dollars in new taxes, which is political suicide, especially in the House where every seat is voted on every two years. The symbolic House Climate Crisis Committee put out an even grander plan than Biden’s, but like the toothless Committee that plan is just symbolic.

    Note by the way that there is no mention of all these jobs being union in the real promises. Even Congress cannot make that happen. There are “Buy American” clauses in Federal contracts, but no “Only Unions Shops Can Bid On This” clauses. That would be truly unconstitutional.

    It has been suggested that all this pro-union rhetoric is to make up for Biden’s unacceptably truthful admission that killing the fossil fuel industry would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs. Or it may be because AOC, who is hot on unions, is his top climate plan planner. In any case it is yet another false promise.

    People running for President should only promise to do what Presidents can actually do. They cannot speak for Congress so should not pretend to. Biden’s climate promises are so false they are absurd. You can’t get there from here.

    (There are working links in the article on CFACT.)

    Fun stuff! Letting the hot air out of the Biden bag.

    David

  29. Please, the guy is called Shellenberger, without a “c”. Change it in the post; it makes an unprofessional impression.

  30. July 29 -0.014 very small but negativeNCEP at Nicks, 2 days of data left will June anomaly tie the July anomaly?
    Why does Nick shift his baseline below zero rather than inverting the negative results?

  31. Both Shellenberger and Lomborg undercut their argument by conceding the most essential point, that “climate change” is real. Once one accepts the so-called “science” of climate change, there is really no effective way to counter the alarmist meme, especially when it takes the form of such dire warnings from trusted establishment organizations such as the IPCC.

    There is, in fact, no reason whatsoever to accept the basic premise that CO2 emissions are leading to a dangerous rise in global temperatures. Over and over again the so-called “scientists” have failed to produce meaningful evidence of any of their claims. So what passes for science is not viable theories based on facts, but imaginative hypotheses based on various reasons for why the facts do not support the theory.

    One especially telling instance is analyzed in the following blog post, which exposes the fallacious reasoning behind an attempt to claim a correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures: http://amoleintheground.blogspot.com/2018/10/thoughts-on-climate-change-part-8-tale.html

    Similar instances of pseudoscience are discussed on various other posts from the same blog.

  32. Lomborg just won’t let go of a carbon tax even after he calculates that it would reduce the “worst case” economic impact of climate change from 3% of GDP to 2.6% of GDP by 2100. I don’t get it.

  33. David Wojick

    An elementary level lesson that raises a big question. How much processed CO2 do we eat and drink each day?

    David

    Watching CO2 feed the world
    By David Wojick

    https://www.cfact.org/2020/08/01/watching-co2-feed-the-world/

    Watching a child grow is seeing carbon dioxide in action. Plants turn CO2 into the food we eat to live and grow on. “You can’t live on air” is a common saying but that is just what we do; we live on air and water.

    Few people appreciate this amazing fact, that CO2 in the air is the global food supply. Our meat, fruit and veggies, also our candy and ice cream, milk and wine, are built almost entirely from carbon dioxide and water. Everything we eat and drink.

    There is also a bit of nitrogen, to make protein, plus a bunch of trace minerals and vitamins, but you and I are basically composed of processed H2O and CO2.

    We should be very thankful that this CO2 food supply is increasing every year, along with our hungry mouths. Instead the climate alarmists want to reduce it, supposedly to make the weather better. This is truly stupid. Carbon dioxide is feeding the world, more every year. The last thing we want to do is reduce the global food supply.

    The chemistry is complex but the facts are simple (and miraculous). Plants use the energy of sunlight to transform CO2 and water into their food. They both live and grow on this food, just as we do. Animals eat the plants and each other, then we eat both. Thus we all live on processed carbon dioxide.

    It is no accident that we exhale water and carbon dioxide. We are simply completing what is called the carbon cycle when we do this. Our bodies use some of the CO2 based food for the energy they need to live and this returns the carbon dioxide and water to their original form. All living things exist this way.

    Carbon cycle: CO2 (+ water) in ­> Life­> CO2 (+ water) out.
    Life is a CO2 based miracle.

    It is a tragedy of ignorance that almost no one knows about this miracle. I have seen school lessons that actually teach the carbon cycle without mentioning carbon dioxide. They talk as though plants get their food from the ground, not the air.

    Even worse, CO2 is demonized as air pollution. The world’s food supply cannot be pollution. How stupid is that!

    To correct this ignorance it might be useful to label our foods with the amount of carbon dioxide they embody. We already label them for calories, fat, vitamins and such. People should learn how much CO2 they eat every day and be thankful for it.

    Water is plentiful in most places, but carbon dioxide is scarce everywhere. For every million molecules of air only about 400 are CO2. That plants can actually find and consume these scarce molecules is amazing in itself. That all life ultimately feeds on these molecules is even more amazing.

    A hundred years ago there were less than 300 molecules per million but happily that number has increased steadily. Plant productivity has increased accordingly, helping to feed our growing population. This is called the greening of planet Earth.

    The climate alarmists have people calculating their so-called “carbon footprint” which is how much CO2 they cause to be generated. Everyone should be proud of their carbon footprint; it is helping feed the world. Make it bigger, not smaller.

    For more on the miracle of carbon dioxide, check out the CO2 Coalition. For a lot of the science see the CO2 Science website.

  34. Thank you, David.

    The CO2 gas is very important for life.

    Christos

  35. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Hurricane Isaias will move closely along the US east coast all the way to Canada. Will cause huge material losses.

  36. Roger Knights

    Here’s Ronald Bailey’s long review of Shellenberger’s book:
    https://app.getpocket.com/read/3066911669

  37. Judith,

    This is your blog, but maybe you should consider renaming it Joshua etc.

  38. FollowTheAnts

    Just found these book references. Shellenberger’s book is great.

    This is the world I live in. Travel the large global ecosystems on the ground, document the larger quantities and relationships – then try to understand the uncertainties of large scale implementation of theories.

    (I helped create both stationary and mobile source emissions regulations in the US, so know very well how significantly wrong the “best science” forecasts of that era are. Also have been checking the basic input data in the IPCC against the real world. Most of the folks in the bottom-level teams have close to zero experience in the industries they “measure” – like their fleet-stock models of motor vehicles.)

    So I find Shellenberger quite refreshing.

    Maybe his green credentials will get rid of the absurdities offered by junior Congress people…

    ….but probably not.

    Congress runs on – literally – $ Trillion of hot air – so they are not likely to bring that overly warm atmosphere down to cold reality any time soon.

    Wishing everyone – be safe and healthy.

  39. Benjamin Zycher at AEI has published a useful and on target analysis of the negative Stiglitz review of the Lomborg book: https://www.aei.org/articles/joe-stiglitz-reviews-bjorn-lomborgs-new-book/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTURBM1l6TXdOelpqTVRFMyIsInQiOiJDYkptV3pBbDZuVW1TVndodTFWTDhROGdlVkJBcXpzR1wvRFwvcWRmUkV5RElHUktGbDZVMDFSclBGWFNZVVJCNlJCQkJSSXNBa1RXdE5UMWxZaDVwVWF3THR3QllIeXhuKzFHcURQcWQySlRjYTBWMTZtdnFTNkRNZ21Cc1BFaitzIn0%3D

    “Lomborg’s book is an important review of the benefits and costs of policies to reduce GHG emissions, but it and his general outlook on ACC are subject to wholly reasonable criticisms. He believes, and has stated numerous times, that it is a real problem with negative prospective consequences. What evidence supports that assertion? How does he know that the net effects of ACC will be negative? After all, the “greening” phenomenon — carbon dioxide fertilization — is very real, and far more humans are killed by cold than by heat. A future glaciation is a virtual certainty, however distant in time, and ACC might provide an important benefit. Moreover, the pitfalls of such government policies as carbon taxes are no secret, as Lomborg recognizes explicitly, and his willingness to rely on

    • Excellent quote. Thanks you. I have the book.

      • This last post had me intrigued, so I checked the book on Amazon. On the Amazon customer review comments, an Edgar (same as above?) said at the end of a long para: “— useless to policy makers.”.
        Seeing how policy makers reacted to Covid, makes me think it should read “policy makers are useless”. Covid disruption to an ‘integrated’ civilisation has been a major disaster. Yet Covid is a small thing compared to what Nature can dish out in its anger. But as always, we don’t see the woods for the trees; – its convenient? – still blinded by ancient dogma? – ??

      • melitamegalithic,

        Thank you for this comment. I agree with you that “policy makers are useless”. They have been captured by the climate alarmists and culture cancel warriors.

        However, I doubt nature (other than a bolide strike) is likely to do more damage to the global economy or health than Covid. So far Covid has killed some 712,000 people and the number will climb to many times that by the end. In contrast, the 2004 Indonesian earthquake killed some 230,000.

        Regarding the impacts of global warming, empirical evidence indicates that global warming will be overall beneficial, not harmful, for ecosystems, global health and the global economy.

      • 2c of comment:
        1c: Recall the Five Stages of Management. St4 – measurement; Stg 5 Control. In St2-Planning, there is always a provision for High-Impact low Probability Fault, to which a Secondary PlanB is implemented at 4,5. I recall the IMechE bringing this subject to notice (re the Cereals), to prepare for fast implementation in the event of wars or natural disasters. The hardships of the past are lessons for the future. We failed there.

        1c: ‘Regarding the impacts of global warming.’ Depends how far back in time one looks. I think we are not seeing the woods for the trees and acting on cult-like impulses. Whatever, global warming is a time of change. In the holocene it was a time to fear. Which calls for a PlanB. Covid showed that the Food-Chain did suffer badly (I saw a virtual acquaintance overjoyed at the end of the harvest, change to despair the next day with the total collapse of his outlet, with his produce now rotting).
        Hunger kills millions.

      • melitamegalithic,

        Thank you for your reply. You said:
        “1c: ‘Regarding the impacts of global warming.’ Depends how far back in time one looks. I think we are not seeing the woods for the trees and acting on cult-like impulses. Whatever, global warming is a time of change. In the holocene it was a time to fear.”

        I disagree that global warming periods during the Holocene were a time to fear. Evidence suggests they were the good times. The empirical evidence – as distinct from the model projections – indicate that global warming is beneficial.

        Empirical evidence over hundreds, thousands, millions, and tens of millions of years suggest all except sea-level rise are likely to benefit from global warming and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. And the economic impact of sea-level rise is miniscule.

        There are eight main impact sectors. The below chart shows the FUND model projects the impacts of global warming by impact sector (Forestry is included in Agriculture). However, the projections for most impact sectors seem to be pessimistic when compared with empirical data.


        Source: https://doi.org/10.3390/en12183575

        I think the real problem is the “cult like” beliefs that global warming is or will be harmful. I think this belief and the policy responses, such as the Paris Agreement, are doing enormous harm to the global economy. As a result we are slowing world economic growth and slowing the rate the poor nations and their people will emerge from poverty.

      • Peter Lang: Thank you for the reply; and the link to an interesting paper.
        As someone who spent his life/career in power-gen the paper has a particular interest. In my case, over a period of forty yrs+ for a miniscule nation, we had an increase in demand of somewhere of 800%. It was not due to the climate. It was due to industrialisation, energy wasteful building design and culture of utter waste of energy. Like bread, energy is expected to be dirt cheap.

        However that was not what I had in mind by ‘times of fear’. This site in the ‘Nature Unbound IX’ pointed me to something that tied many perspectives together in one cycle of changes. The RomanWP and Medieval WP are well known. Going back in time on the cycle there is ~800bce – the ascendance of Greece and Phoenicia; 1750bce – Babylon of Hamurrabi; ~2700bce ascendance of Akkad/Sumeria. All were civilisation peaks but heading for great changes. That is from historical and ice core temps. The next, near 3600bce in the Holocene Max is more of a beast, abrupt not gradual, and far reaching. Some idea here: https://melitamegalithic.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/searching-evidence-4-prehistoric-mass-burials/

        We are again at another Warm Period; it is also a time of change. This WP has been good considering the dark ages we know of historically (and some of us pre-boomers know and lived the change). In the remote past those who were prepared survived – we have the evidence (for those who want to see it). In such matters Agriculture is key (read the food chain) and it must not fail, or worse, be the first to fail like this time with Covid.

      • melitamegalithic,

        Thanks you for your reply. However, what persuades me is empirical data of the total impact of global warming on the impact sectors globally. Not selected “examples”. These are commonly referred to as examples of selection bias. I’ve posted comments on CE on this subject previously. I’ll repost one on the empirical evidence that suggests that overall ecosystems benefit from global warming.

  40. UK-Weather Lass

    melitamegalithic, I share this view. We seemingly have policy makers who are only capable of understanding consensus and are incapable of thinking outside the box. IMO it’s a recipe for many disasters to come.

  41. Judith, I don’t know if you check these threads, but Tropical Storm Isiaias was probably the most accurately forecast hurricane/storm I’ve ever seen.
    The storm hit us Tuesday exactly where the Saturday forecasts said they would and with exactly the wind speed the Sunday forecasts called for.
    Rainfall amount forecasts were dead on

    I noticed the “sphaghetti graphs” of various model runs disappeared from the weather sites. I like those and you can still find them but this time was harder.

    The Weather Channel. Ugh. My favorite was the anchor “reporting” that there were “sustained winds over 50 knots and gusts over 70” while the map overlay behind him with the direct data feed to the weather station was showing 25-knots sustained and 35 knot gusts.
    This is actually getting to be a problem. I always knock at 20% off what the weather channel says and read NOAA advisories.

  42. Optimum GMST for ecosystems

    Geological and palaeontological evidence suggests the optimum GMST for ecosystems is that which existed around the Early Eocene Climate Optimum [1] and during the ‘Cambrian Explosion’, i.e. ~25–28°C (i.e. ~10–13°C warmer than present).

    Mass extinction events:

    1. Most major extinction events [2] have been due to bolide impacts, volcanism and ice ages, not global warming

    2. The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was due to warming but it was less severe than most mass extinctions. “The most dramatic example of sustained warming is the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, which was associated with one of the smaller mass extinctions.” [3]. The PETM occurred when GMST was above optimum for life on Earth.

    3. The Permian-Triassic Boundary mass extinction event has recently been reported to have been caused by extensive volcanism that caused acidification and an ice age, not global warming (Baresel et al., 2017) [4]

    4. There appear to have been no major extinction events that were due to global warming when GMST was below the optimum (approximately ~7–13°C above present)

    Rapid warming:

    5. Even very rapid warming is beneficial for ecosystems. Coxon and McCarron (2009) [5] Figure 15:21 shows temperatures in Ireland, Greenland and Iceland warmed from near LGM temperatures to near current temperatures in 7 years 14,500 years BP and in 9 years 11,500 year BP. Life thrived during these events.

    6. Biosphere productivity is increasing during the current warming – the planet has greened by about 14% during 35 years of satellite observations (Donohue et al., 2013) [6], Zhu et al. (2016) [7], Greening of the Earth and it drivers). GMST increased by about 0.4°C during the period analysed (1982–2010).

    Biosphere productivity is higher in warmer climates:

    7. Biosphere productivity is higher at low latitudes (warmer) than at high latitudes (colder). Gillman et al. (2015) ‘Latitude, productivity and species richness’ [8]

    Contrary to the recent claims, we found strong support for a negative relationship between latitude and annual NPP of forests with all datasets, and NPP was significantly greater in tropical forests than in temperate forests. Vascular plant richness was positively correlated with NPP.

    8. Biomass density (tC/ha) ~10 times higher in tropical rainforests than extratropical [9].

    Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.4155/cmt.13.77

    A rough calculation of biosphere and soil organic carbon density from charts A and B shows that carbon density decreases from tropics to high latitudes, as follows (tC/ha versus latitude):
    Soil Organic Carbon: y = -0.125x + 105
    Biomass: y = 110.31e-0.026x
    Total: y = -1.975x + 241

    9. The mass of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere has increased substantially during the warming from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Jeltsch-Thömmes et al. 2019 [10], find that the mass of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere increased by about 40% (850 GtC) from LGM to preindustrial times. This compares with 10%-50% (300-1000 GtC) increase from LGM to the pre-industrial inventory of about 3,000 GtC stated in IPCC AR4 WG1 Chapter 6 [11]. This also indicates that warming is beneficial for ecosystems.

    These points suggest that global warming is net beneficial for ecosystems when GMST is below the optimum (which may be around 7–13°C above present GMST).

    References:

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eocene

    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event#List_of_extinction_events

    [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

  43. Mike Shellenburger’s slide deck is an excellent resource.

    https://environmentalprogress.org/apocalypse-never-slide-deck

    • Thanks Phil. I’ve had a quick flick through. The slides certainly seem to tell a story. I’ve saved the link to study later.

  44. New research shows that in the US at least, the “insect apocalypse” is yet another dystopian fiction founded on crappy science, which under real scientific investigation turns out not to exist:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200811125040.htm

  45. Roger Knights

    Here’s a new, just-out National Review review of Lomborg’s “False Alarm”:
    https://app.getpocket.com/read/3078831613