Remaining Presidential Contenders Differ Radically on Climate, Fossil Fuels

Published June 17, 2016

Climate Change Weekly #213

Donald Trump’s views on climate change and energy production differ radically from those held by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Trump, a climate change skeptic, has said he will reverse regulations issued by the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit access to and use of fossil fuels, regulations he says harm the economy for little or no environmental benefit.

By contrast, Clinton and Sanders want to double down on Obama’s rules, ending the use of fossil fuels as quickly as possible, to battle climate change – which Clinton says is “an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our times” and Sanders calls the “the single greatest threat facing our planet.”

Clinton and Sanders would end fossil fuel subsidies (a move I support) while massively expanding subsidies and mandates for renewable energy (which I abhor). Indeed, one goal Clinton has announced is to generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America by the end of her first term. She shows little recognition this 400 percent increase in renewable electric power generation (even if possible, which it’s not) in just four years would require an even larger expansion of natural gas fired power plants, since they do most of the heavy lifting when intermittent wind and solar power are added to the grid, as I noted in CCW 211.

Clinton and Sanders split on fracking and the carbon tax. Sanders wants to ban all fracking and impose a carbon tax, while Clinton would allow fracking under increased regulatory scrutiny and rejects a carbon tax.

Trump is skeptical about the science behind the claim humans are causing catastrophic climate change and also skeptical about the policies enacted by the Obama administration to fight climate change. On Twitter Trump has called climate change a “con job,” a “canard,” a “hoax,” and a concept “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

In a September 21, 2015 appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Trump said, “I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. I mean, Obama thinks it’s the number one problem of the world today. And I think it’s very low on the list … we have much bigger problems.”

In response to a questionnaire provided by the American Energy Alliance Trump said he would reverse policies like the Clean Power Plan and other Obama administration rules imposing undue burdens on businesses. Trump said he would cut EPA’s budget dramatically and review all EPA regulations, eliminating many of them because, “Over-regulation presents one of the greatest barriers to entry into markets and one of the greatest costs to businesses that are trying to stay competitive.”

Trump rejects the carbon tax embraced by Sanders. He has indicated he would review the administration’s conclusion carbon dioxide endangers public health and welfare and re-evaluate the social cost of carbon calculation used to justify climate regulations.

Based on his history of funding far-left Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, as well as many Republicans, one can hardly know what Trump would do concerning energy or climate if elected. But whatever he does could hardly be worse for the country than the policies Clinton and Sanders have pushed in the past and have committed to enacting if they become president.

Wow! What a choice.

— H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Hillary; Bernie; and Climate Change Weekly


Victims of climate persecution fight backClimate change not causing worse droughts, warsPlankton safe from warmingPublished carbon dioxide sensitivity estimates are biased


In its April 20 response to Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker’s subpoena demanding 10 years’ worth of documents related to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) research on global “climate change,” CEI made it clear it will not comply with the subpoena. CEI’s attorney, Andrew Grossman, a co-founder of the Free Speech in Science Project, told Walker his targeting of CEI is “a blatant attempt to intimidate and harass an organization for advancing views that you oppose,” with the only reason to force CEI to turn over its internal research and documents concerning climate change being “to punish [CEI] for its public policy views, chill its associations, and silence its advocacy.”

Walker’s own statements at the press conference held by AGs United for Clean Power on March 29 show he launched this investigation to achieve political ends, not to “carry out any law enforcement duty.” Walker stated his investigation was intended to “make it clear to our residents as well as the American people that we have to do something transformational” about climate change, and stop “rely[ing] on fossil fuels.” While Walker is entitled to his opinions on public policy, Grossman says he has no right to wield his “power as a prosecutor to advance a policy agenda by persecuting those who disagree with [him].”

CEI says the subpoena “violates the First Amendment because it constitutes an attempt to silence and intimidate, as well as retaliate against, speech espousing a particular viewpoint with which the Attorney General disagrees.” CEI gave Walker a warning: “You can either withdraw [the subpoena] or expect to fight … the law does not allow government officials to violate Americans’ civil rights with impunity.”

SOURCE: The Daily Signal


A study by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) finds little evidence purported human-caused climate change is increasing the number or intensity of droughts or heatwaves in the United Kingdom or worldwide.

Citing research in Nature Scientific Data from scientists at the University of California, the GWPF study notes, if anything, there has been a slowly declining trend in drought since 1982. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found it almost impossible to attribute changes in drought since the mid-twentieth century to anthropogenic warming.

Concerning heatwaves and climate-related deaths, IPCC concluded the number of heat-related deaths has likely increased due to climate change; the GWPF study finds that conclusion to be a “case of the IPCC inventing conclusions rather than taking them from the peer reviewed literature” that finds most people can adapt to modest changes in temperature with no ill effects. One study shows the number of cold-related deaths was 18 times higher than deaths related to heat, meaning a modest warming could result in fewer temperature-related deaths overall.

Finally, the GWPF study finds the notion that manmade climate change will cause an increase in global conflicts is based on extremely flimsy evidence. The Stockholm Peace Research Institute noted, “‘conflict researchers’ find it hard to understand how such bold claims [linking climate change to global conflicts] can be made on the basis of such thin evidence, perhaps not realizing that this is normal in climate-related fields,” with one conflict researcher calling the link between manmade warming and increasing conflicts a “myth,” noting, “History shows that ‘warm’ periods are more peaceful than ‘cold’ ones. In the modern era, the evolution of the climate is not an essential factor to explain collective violence. Nothing indicates that ‘waterwars’ or floods of ‘climate refugees’ are on the horizon.”

SOURCE: Global Warming Policy Foundation


A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds climate change will not harm plankton, an important finding since plankton are the foundation for the ocean food chain.

Using a computer model of global ocean circulation to simulate how plankton follow the world’s ocean currents and the temperatures they are subjected to, the study found since plankton travel around the world on ocean currents, they have evolved to survive a wide range of conditions, enduring far more rapid and significantly larger temperature changes than those predicted by even the most dramatic models of global warming.

The study’s lead author, Martina Doblin, Ph.D. a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said in a press statement, “[D]rifting plankton, that are invisible to the naked eye, are responsible for half the Earth’s oxygen and for global fisheries yields, and are therefore important in providing other essential ecosystem services. Previous exposure to fluctuating temperature can influence how planktonic populations fare under future temperature changes. Our results suggest that the effects of climate change on ocean plankton will need to be re-evaluated to take this into account.”

SOURCES: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; and The Daily Caller


A new study from researchers at Charles University in Prague finds professional journals publishing research concerning the sensitivity of global temperatures to a doubling of carbon dioxide levels (“climate sensitivity”) exhibit publication bias, publishing research that significantly overestimates carbon dioxide’s effect on temperatures to the exclusion of research producing lower estimates more in line with observed climate sensitivity.

The Charles University researchers examined 48 estimates from 16 studies, which produced a range of climate sensitivity from 0.7°C to 10.4°C, with an average of 3.27°C. After correcting for bias, they found the estimated range of climate sensitivity is approximately half the mean of the sampled estimates, from 1.4°C to 2.3°C.

The researchers argue this bias has serious implications for public policy, since predictions of climate change purportedly caused by human greenhouse gas emissions influence national and international policy decisions. “Social cost of carbon” estimates, used in many countries to determine the stringency of the policies they should adopt to prevent a certain amount of global warming, are simply estimates of the amount of money spent on agriculture, human health, and other harms attributed to climate change caused by increasing carbon dioxide. Since the social cost of carbon is calculated on the basis of climate sensitivity, if researchers were reporting lower climate sensitivities, the amount of resources governments could justify devoting to reducing carbon dioxide emissions when compared to other social problems countries face would be lower as well.

SOURCE: Charles University

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