Sometimes I wonder how the left can remain so woefully ill-informed on the subject of climate change. Then I read articles like this piece of complete Chait that one of America’s leading liberal commentators has just produced for New York magazine and all becomes clear: because ‘progressive’ journalists who write about the environment don’t do research or due diligence — only fluffy sentiment and green propaganda.
Let me show you, with reference to Chait’s article — excerpts from which I’ll put in italics, with my gloss below — what I mean.
This weekend, leaders from 196 countries approved the first global agreement to limit greenhouse-gas emissions in human history. The pact is a triumph of international diplomacy shared by diplomats across the planet.
The agreement is non-binding, carries no penalties and is entirely voluntary. That’s why everyone signed: because it meant nothing — not because any diplomatic skills were necessary.
Obama’s climate agenda has lurked quietly on the recesses of the American imagination for most of his presidency. It is also probably the administration’s most important accomplishment.
That last sentence is probably true — but only because from Syria to Russia to Obamacare to Benghazi to Common Core to the proliferation of divisive #blacklivesmatter identity politics lunacy, everything else on the administration’s watch has been an even bigger fail.
Melted glaciers cannot be easily refrozen
Five Ice Ages say you’re a fool.
extinct species cannot be reborn
flooded coastal cities are unlikely to be rebuilt
Current rate of sea level rise — about 5 inches per century. You think, what, that in 500 years’ time when the seas have finally reached the bottom of people’s shorts, they won’t have figured out a way of dealing with the problem?
Paris is a BFD
OMG this guy is so DWTK he KATA!!* (*Down With The Kids; Knows All The Acronyms)
In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for a global treaty to limit the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions. The United Nations spent the next quarter century trying, and failing, to organize effective world action, despite increasingly dire warnings of massive, deadly, irreversible change that would threaten human life as we know it. An extremely simple conclusion can be drawn from this timeline: A worldwide-climate-change agreement is incredibly hard to do. If the Paris agreement were a simple matter of serving some nice French meals and writing some vague feel-good goals, it would have taken less than a quarter-century to happen.
I read English Literature at Oxford. I have re-read this paragraph several times. Can confirm: it makes no sense whatsoever.
The Obama administration’s climate strategy began with a massive infusion of $90 billion in green-energy financing in the stimulus, which set off a wave of new investment and research in wind, solar, storage, and other measures.
Solyndra? Bright Source? As a commenter below the article rightly says: “This was corporate welfare where politically connected businesses who gave money to the Obama campaign were given billions of dollars of taxpayer money to profit from.”
“It used its existing regulatory power under the Clean Air Act to devise innovative new regulations to control greenhouse-gas emissions across the economy
The net effect of Obama’s Clean Power Plan — according to calculations by Bjorn Lomborg — will be to reduce global temperatures by the end of this century by 0.004 degrees C. So: at an estimated cost of $292 billion — not to mention raised electricity prices and destroyed jobs and industries — Obama and the EPA may possibly have managed to effect a change in the earth’s temperature so small it’s barely measurable.
The plunging costs of solar and wind energy, plus new innovations in storage and other clean-energy technologies, made it suddenly plausible for governments across the world to transition their energy systems.”
Just hasn’t happened. Solar and wind are still only viable with massive subsidies. The world remains stubbornly reliant on fossil fuel because only fossil fuel provides reliable, cheap energy.
Climate change is a devilish issue for any politician, since the costs of action are heavily front-loaded, while the benefits lie far off in the future.
So far off that none of the politicians pushing these green measures will be alive to see the “benefits”. Lucky, really, because were voters around to see how little they were actually getting for all those lost jobs and all that wasted money and all those raised taxes they might start forming lynch mobs…
The United States has a somewhat unusual form of government in which the legislature and the executive branch can be controlled by opposing parties, which means that the president can negotiate a deal with other world leaders without being able to guarantee his government’s support for the result. Any formal treaty requires the approval of two-thirds of the Senate, which is itself an undemocratic body giving disproportionate representation to citizens from small, rural states.
Liberals loathe checks and balances. “If only,” they think, “we could run more on the lines of China. Then we’d really get things done.”
Worse still, the United States is the only country in the democratic world that has a major party that questions the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming.
Because the “scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming” has long since been discredited by real world evidence. What should worry us is not that the Republican party acknowledges this; but rather that no other “conservative” party anywhere else in the world does.
But the stance taken by the Republican Party, in which respected leading figures endorse kook conspiracy theories, is simply not heard anywhere else.
Never in global history has there been a theory more kooky or damaging or expensive than the notion that the trace gas carbon dioxide is the control knob for global temperatures.
The U.S. is the world’s largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases.
And now Honey Badger China is. And China just doesn’t care…
The pledges amount to about half of the reductions necessary to bring emissions down to a level scientists consider safe…
Actually no. If all the countries stick to these “pledges” — and this ain’t gonna happen, but suppose for one crazed second that they did — then the resultant fall in world temperatures by the end of the century, using the IPCC’s own calculation methods, will be 0.048°C. That’s 5/100ths of a degree: the same temperature change you experience when you climb two flights of stairs. At a cost of $1.5 trillion per year.
It is hard to find any important accomplishment in history that completely solved a problem. The Emancipation Proclamation only temporarily and partially ended slavery; the 13th Amendment was required to abolish it permanently, and even that left many former slaves in a state of terrorized peonage closely resembling their former bondage. The Lend-Lease Act alone did not ensure Great Britain would survive against Nazi Germany; the Normandy invasion did not ensure the liberation of Europe. Victories are hardly ever immediate or complete. The fight continues and history marches on. The climate agreement in Paris should take its place as one of the great triumphs in history.
No, no, you are absolutely right, Jonathan. There is simply no event in history — not the abolition of slavery, nor the defeat of Hitler, nor the liberation of the death camps, nor the fall of the Berlin Wall and destruction of Communism, nor anything else ever as you rightly say — which can match the moment when a bunch of green activists delegations went to Paris and signed a meaningless, toothless document which will require no one to do anything and which will most definitely fail to deal with the problem because the problem doesn’t exist in the first place.
Truly this is Obama’s finest hour!