Klein’s Climate-driven Anti-Capitalism Is Light on Facts, Disaster on Policy

Published October 31, 2015

Climate Change Weekly #190

Observers of the climate change debate are increasingly souring on Naomi Klein’s green-cloaked dated Marxist indictment of capitalism. Most recently, Jonathan Chait, a writer for New York Magazine, dissects Klein’s polemical, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, and finds its arguments woefully inadequate and contradictory.

According to Chait, Klein runs afoul of the “purist fallacy”: the argument that one’s vision for the world is failing only because leaders are pushing a compromised version of that vision and watering-down the vision’s policy proposals.

Chait notes Klein insists liberal remedies that leave in place the underlying structure of the market economy cannot work to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. When evidence belies her claims, she ignores it and sticks to her purist vision. In this sense she’s like climate modelers and their proponents at the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: When facts run contrary to model predictions and the theory of human-caused global warming, they cling to theory and model projections and adjust the data, the real evidence, until it is twisted to match the model output. For Chait:

The most fascinating thing about This Changes Everything is how much factual refutation of Klein’s thesis is contained within the book itself. Klein’s major thesis, remember, is that the triumph of anti-corporate economics is the only way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions … [yet] she concedes that a number of governments with sufficiently progressive economic character have taken power in recent years, citing Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, and Greece. Alas, she admits, they “have so far been unable to come up with economic models that do not require extremely high levels of extraction of finite resources, often at tremendous ecological and human cost.”

In other words, Klein’s proposed remedy of addressing climate change by electing a left-wing government has been tried repeatedly, and it has failed every single time.

As the visible environmental damage in China and the environmental disaster areas that arose under communist control behind the Iron Curtain attest, capitalism is a far better conservator of the environment than is communism. Contrary to her sycophants’ claims, the fact that Klein fails to recognize this despite the evidence shows she’s either not that bright, or not that concerned about the environment, or both.

— H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCE: New York Magazine


Poll: Warming happening, cause?French mathematics society declares climate crusade ‘absurd’Bioenergy is not greenScience Committee to investigate research claiming no warming pause


A recent poll highlighted by The Brookings Institution confirms what previous polls have discovered: While Americans generally agree Earth is warming, they are split concerning the cause of the warming. The 2015 National Survey on Energy and the Environment (NSEE) from the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College finds just over half (53%) of Americans surveyed think global warming is happening and humans are at least somewhat responsible. The remaining 47 percent reject or are unsure about the evidence of global warming, or attribute temperature increases to natural causes.

SOURCE: The Brookings Institution


The Paris-based French Mathematical Calculation Society, SA, in a white paper examining the evidence for catastrophic human-caused climate change, has determined:

There is not a single fact, figure or observation that leads us to conclude that the world’s climate is in any way ‘disturbed’. It is variable, as it has always been, but rather less so now than during certain periods or geological eras. Modern methods are far from being able to accurately measure the planet’s global temperature even today, so measurements made 50 or 100 years ago are even less reliable.

Concentrations of CO2 vary, as they always have done; the figures that are being released are biased and dishonest. Rising sea levels are a normal phenomenon linked to upthrust buoyancy; they are nothing to do with so-called global warming. As for extreme weather events – they are no more frequent now than they have been in the past. We ourselves have processed the raw data on hurricanes.

The study concludes human efforts to prevent climate change are pointless, stating, “we are fighting for a cause (reducing CO2 emissions) that serves absolutely no purpose. … You would probably have to go quite a long way back in human history to find such a mad obsession.”

SOURCE: Société de Calcul Mathématique SA


Princeton Research Scholar Tim Searchinger explores reasons biofuels fail to live up to their environmentally beneficial billing in an interview with the Breakthrough Institute. Searchinger notes it is common for wood power plants to end up using material as fuel that would have gone into pulp wood, meaning trees are cut down elsewhere for pulp wood. In addition, the claim marginal land can be used to grow biofuel is an instance of double-counting, since so-called “marginal lands,” such as grazing lands, wetlands, and scrub and woodland savannas, are home to enormous biodiversity and store large volumes of carbon. In one form or another, they are already providing substantial environmental benefits. Searchinger notes very little energy is actually produced from biomass for the huge amounts of water, land, human effort, etc, used to produce it. Biomass energy is produced via photosynthesis, which is inefficient, requiring land, plenty of rain, and warm temperatures.

By contrast, his team calculated if the world were foolish enough to use the world’s most productive agricultural land in Brazil for solar photovoltaics (PV) – even as inefficient as solar panels are at converting sunlight into usable energy – that would produce 30 times as much energy as you would get from using the land to produce sugarcane for biofuel.

SOURCE: The Breakthrough Institute


Another battle is brewing in the ongoing war between the House Science Committee, with oversight over science and environmental agencies, and the Obama administration over its continued use of secret science to justify agency rules and claims concerning global warming.

On October 24, the federal government’s chief climate research agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), informed Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House Science Committee, it will not provide documents he requested in furtherance of the committee’s investigation into the science behind NOAA’s June study claiming there has been no 18-year pause in rising global temperatures. In refusing to turn over the subpoenaed documents, NOAA claimed much of the material requested, despite being paid for by taxpayers, is confidential.

A study by NOAA researchers published in the June issue of Science claimed there has been no lull in rising temperatures. NOAA produced a new temperature record showing consistently rising temperatures by selectively adjusting “biases” in ocean temperature readings from ships and buoys while adding to the record measurements from additional land-based monitoring stations. NOAA’s findings contradict data and research produced by climate skeptics and climate alarmists alike.

Smith, believing extraordinary claims merit caution and a modicum of outside scrutiny, issued a subpoena to NOAA in early October for communications among the scientists involved in the study, raw data, and the methodologies used to reach its conclusions. Smith said the Obama administration’s ongoing lack of transparency and the fact NOAA’s new findings are at odds with previous research and data justify the Science Committee’s investigation. In a statement Smith says:

This scandal-ridden administration’s lack of openness is the real problem. Congress cannot do its job when agencies openly defy Congress and refuse to turn over information. When an agency decides to alter the way it has analyzed historical temperature data for the past few decades, it’s crucial to understand on what basis those decisions were made. … It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades. The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made.

SOURCES: Washington Post and The Hill

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