Sponsors of the Green New Deal (GND), and the socialist fellow travellers who publicly supported it got a black eye this week when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called their bluff and brought GND up for a vote.
It went down to defeat, with three Democrats and one Independent joining the entire Republican caucus in voting against it. Indeed, the bill garnered not a single vote in favor. Even its authors and sponsors voted “present” rather than be recorded in the Congressional Record as supporting this steaming pile of green socialist dung.
McConnell masterfully outmaneuvered the Democrats on this.
The GND is a package of government handouts combined with a government-directed industrial policy straight out of the old Soviet playbook. Instead of the five-year plan the Soviets regularly put forward, the GND proposes a ten year plan, promising, among other things, well-paying jobs and health care for all while calling for a complete makeover of the nation’s housing stock, its transportation system, and the entire energy supply for the country, all by 2030. As I’ve written before, tremendously high costs aside, GND is an exercise in socialist wish fulfillment, physically impossible to implement within the short period demanded (if ever).
Democrats ignored these facts, and more than 100 Democrat members of the U.S. House and Senate rushed to sponsor or publicly embrace the bill including Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), accounting for almost every senator vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
The wails of anguish, gnashing of teeth, and backpedaling contortions the bill’s sponsors went through upon McConnell announcing he was going to bring GND up for a vote were a pleasure to watch. In all my years of public policy work, I’ve never before seen sponsors and supporters of legislation ask for their bill not be brought up for a vote. Some senators wait years for a vote on legislation they sponsor, having to introduce it in multiple sessions of Congress, only to have their bills blocked by a filibuster, or defeated in committee. In this instance, when McConnell paved the way for an up-or-down vote, Democrats blinked, unwilling to support GND under the harsh glare of major media attention.
Democrats complained what they were really hoping for was for GND to spark a discussion of climate science and policies to prevent dangerous anthropogenic climate change. McConnell saw right through this ruse. He recognized what Democrats really wanted was two years of Mueller-type investigations and public flagellation of Trump’s climate policies, with Democrats’ handpicked alarmist climate scientists showing up at hearings to castigate Trump for withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement and rescinding egregious Obama era-climate and energy policies, and critique Republicans’ rejection of “mainstream” climate science.
They wanted a two-year climate show trial in the run-up to the elections, especially since their other main issue, allegations of Trump collusion with the Russians to subvert the 2016 presidential elections, collapsed with the release of the special counsel’s report finding no such thing. Democrats recognized the mainstream media, as they had with the Mueller investigation, would fawningly report every false aspersion, innuendo, mischaracterization, or lie about the Trump administration’s and Republicans’ climate and energy policies they made in the run-up to the next election as if they were the gospel truth.
McConnell and the Republicans didn’t take the bait. Instead, they essentially said, “If you truly believe the climate crisis is so bad that it needs immediate action to prevent the end of the world in just 10, 11, or 12 years, then the time to vote is now, not after years of hearings.” After all, the Republicans could argue, by the time all the hearings and climate change discussions concluded, it would be too late. By the Democrat’s own reckoning, the time to act is now.
“If you believe the Green New Deal is the prescription for America, why would you not want to vote on it?” asked McConnell, according to Yahoo News.
“I have to say, it’s remarkable enough to see a major political party coalesce around a proposal to forcibly remake the entire country according to what’s fashionable in Brooklyn and San Francisco,” McConnell said, speaking from the Senate floor before the vote. “But it is even more stunning to see my colleagues so angry and upset at the opportunity to back up their new philosophy with their votes.”
With the vote on the GND over, Democrats cannot complain about their inability get a vote on legislation addressing the so-called climate crisis. Supporters argued GND was the first bill to take the severity of human-caused climate change seriously. It was too late for half-measures or tinkering around the edges, its Democrat supporters claimed, so we must fundamentally transform America’s economy and our way of living. In the end, the Democrats weren’t up to the challenge of making the case for their radical embrace of socialism. Their vote of “present” showed they lacked the courage of their convictions.
The Green New Deal is Dead. Long May It Stay Buried!
- H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
The Forum for Democracy (FvD), a political party that is skeptical toward climate change alarmist policies, open immigration, and the Netherlands’ continued participation in the European Union, tied for the largest number of seats in the Dutch Senate after the 2019 elections gave the party 12 seats in a divided Senate. Post-election vote totals indicated Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party fell from 13 seats to 12 seats in the 75-member Senate, and his center-right coalition as a whole fell from 38 seats to 31.
On the campaign trail, Thierry Baudet, FvD’s leader, has often sounded like U.S. President Donald Trump, calling for fundamental immigration reform to stem the tide of illegal immigration, along with adoption of “Dutch first” cultural and economic policies and greater national sovereignty, including reconsideration of The Netherlands’ participation in the European Union. On climate change, Baudet and FvD have said the government should stop funding programs to meet the country’s commitments to international climate change agreements, saying such efforts are driven by “climate-change hysteria.”
FvD is a relatively new party on the Dutch political scene, having been launched in 2016 and winning just two seats in the Netherlands’ lower house of Parliament in the 2017 elections.
“We stand here in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization,” Baudet said, in a speech commenting on the party’s rapid ascension. “We won because the country needs us.”
In a recent paper in the journal Economics, the authors conclude the utility of models—including models used in economics, decision theory in war, and weather and climate forecasting—and their ability to aid decision-making rests on their consistency with the past and their predictive performance, not their underlying principles, their elegance, or the apparent visual realism of their outcomes.
According to the authors, scientists caught up in “model-land” operate in a “fairytale state of mind in which optimizing a simulation invariably reflects desirable pathways in the real world. Decision-support in model-land implies taking the output of model simulations at face value (perhaps using some form of statistical post-processing to account for blatant inconsistencies), and then interpreting frequencies in model-land to represent probabilities in the real-world.”
Though outcomes in model-land may be graceful and internally consistent, they often don’t reflect reality. Elegant though these systems may be, something is lost in the move back to reality. For instance, very low probability events may be predicted to occur much more frequently than they actually do, or “Big Surprise” events, those considered impossible or inconceivable in the models, may actually have a chance of occurring, with important implications.
All too often models rely on simulated or assumed variables which don’t reflect reality or aren’t tied to actual measurements. For instance, models may project geologic or climatic features in regions where they don’t in fact occur, or alternatively, they don’t include critical features that do exist in reality. Though the authors don’t discuss climate models in particular in great detail, examples of these kinds of failure are rife in model projections of catastrophic climate change, such as an unanticipated hiatus in rising temperatures, increased ice accumulation in Antarctica, and the lack of a tropical hotspot when one should exist per model simulations.
Even when models outputs don’t correspond with reality, the authors write:
It is comfortable for researchers to remain in model-land as far as possible, since within model-land everything is well-defined, our statistical methods are all valid, and we can prove and utilize theorems. Exploring the furthest reaches of model-land in fact is a very productive career strategy, since it is limited only by the available computational resource. …
For what we term “climate-like” models, the realms of sophisticated statistical processing which variously “identify the best model”, “calibrate the parameters of the model”, “form a probability distribution from the ensemble”, “calculate the size of the discrepancy” etc., are castles in the air built on a single assumption which is known to be incorrect: that the model is perfect. These mathematical “phantastic objects” are great works of logic but their outcomes are relevant only in model-land ….
A researcher is living in “model land,” the authors write, if he or she: 1. tries to optimize anything regarding the future; 2. believes decision-relevant probabilities can be extracted from models; 3. believes there are precise parameter values to be found; 4. refuses to believe in anything that has not been seen in the model (choosing to believe models rather than data when the two conflict, even going so far as to manipulate the data to make it conform to model projections); 5. thinks learning more will reduce the uncertainty in a forecast; 6. explicitly or implicitly sets the probability of a Big Surprise to zero; 7. believes there is nothing their preferred model or set of models cannot simulate; or 8. strives to have “one model to rule them all.”
Any review of the use of climate models to make projections and suggest desirable policy options and outcomes by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and by various government and international agencies shows they run afoul of several of these indicators of living in model-land.
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