Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Jay Richards: what should Christians think about global warming?

Here’s a lecture Jay Richards did for the Acton Institue.

And here is a related article from Boundless.

Excerpt:

The big environmental issue nowadays is global warming. Anyone who watches or reads the news even occasionally has been told that humans are causing global warming through all the fossil fuels we’re burning. They’ve also been told that this warming process eventually will prove catastrophic if we don’t reverse course as soon as possible.

As thinking Christians and good stewards, how should we respond?

The short answer is, we should respond thoughtfully. Thoughtless stewards are rarely good stewards.

Notice that my brief summary of the global warming controversy bundled together several distinct claims. To think clearly about this issue, we have to tease apart this bundle of claims and consider each one. For each claim, there is a corresponding question we need to answer. And it’s only after answering these questions that we can be in a position to determine what, if anything, we ought to do about global warming.

Here are the four central questions:

  1. Is the earth warming?
  2. If the earth is warming, is human activity (like carbon dioxide emissions) causing it?
  3. If the earth is warming, and we’re causing it, is that bad overall?
  4. If the earth is warming, we’re causing it, and that’s bad, would any of the proposed “solutions” (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol, legislative restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions) make any difference?

It’s important for us to think carefully about how best to achieve the goals set out by the Bible. And that means undertaking a close study of how the world works and how best to affect change for the good.

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The ten worst energy policies of the Obama administration

Heritage Foundation put this list together.

Here are a few examples:

5) The EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck: The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ream of new regulations will adversely affect existing power plants, requiring them to be retrofitted or in many cases shut down because it will be too costly to install emission-reduction controls The most recent announcement of the President’s ongoing campaign against carbon-based fuel, the EPA released a new rule to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, which would effectively ban new coal power plants, as its emissions standards are too low to be met by conventional coal-fired facilities. That will result in higher energy costs, fewer jobs, a less prosperous economy and no discernible difference in global temperatures.

6) Cap-and-Trade and the Clean Energy Standard: When he came into office, President Obama latched on to the notion of cap-and-trade — a system of energy taxes and credits designed to reduce carbon emissions. The end result would have been disastrous for American businesses and the economy. When that legislation failed, the President proposed a Clean Energy Standard mandating that the power industry  meet government-determined goals with respect to renewable energy production. The effect, though, is the same.  Both serve as a draconian energy tax that burdens businesses and consumers – with no environmental benefits.

8Terminating the Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.  The Obama Administration   says it wants to pursue nuclear power, but its rhetoric does not match its nuclear policy.  Its decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project without any technical or scientific data is a case in point.  With nearly $15 billion spent on the project, the data indicates that Yucca would be a safe place to store America’s used nuclear fuel.  Yet purely for political reasons the Obama administration decided to terminate the program without having anything to replace it. Absent any nuclear waste disposal options, the United States simply will not significantly expand nuclear energy.

9) Green Jobs Stimulus: With the U.S. economy struggling to recover from a recession, President Obama turned to a trillion dollars in stimulus spending in an attempt to spend America out of the economic doldrums. A significant part of that stimulus was directed toward a new “green” economy with taxpayer dollars directed toward creating alternative energy jobs. Obama promised to create five million green jobs over 10 years. The trouble is that his plan didn’t work, and the jobs didn’t materialize. As The New York Times reported, it was nothing more than “a pipe dream.” Further, these are taxpayer-funded jobs that destroy jobs elsewhere in the economy. When the government gives money to build a windmill, for example, those resources cannot simultaneously be used to build other products. The net effect is job and income losses.

10) Job-Killing CAFE Standards: Obama’s EPA has imposed a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard requiring auto makers to hit an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—a 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to today. The Center for Automotive Research warned that overly stringent standards could add $10,000 to the cost of a new car, decreasing sales and thereby reducing production, destroying as many as 220,000 jobs, according to a report by the Defour Group. And a 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concludes that CAFE’s downsizing effect makes cars less safe and contributed to between 1,300 and 2,600 deaths in a single representative year.

Do you wonder why the unemployment rate is more than double what it was in during the Bush administration? Or why we are running deficits four times higher than what we had in the Bush administration? Or why gas prices have tripled compared to what they were under the Bush administration? Well, when you look at a list like this, you will realize that it is all the deliberate result of incompetence in policy making by the Obama administration. They did everything wrong, and now we are paying the price for it.

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New study shows that the medieval warming extended far and wide

From the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

Current theories of the causes and impact of global warming have been thrown into question by a new study which shows that during medieval times the whole of the planet heated up.

It then cooled down naturally and there was even a ‘mini ice age’.

A team of scientists led by geochemist Zunli Lu from Syracuse University in New York state, has found that contrary to the ‘consensus’, the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ approximately 500 to 1,000 years ago wasn’t just confined to Europe.

In fact, it extended all the way down to Antarctica – which means that the Earth has already experience global warming without the aid of human CO2 emissions.

At present the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argues that the Medieval Warm Period was confined to Europe – therefore that the warming we’re experiencing now is a man-made phenomenon.

However, Professor Lu has shown that this isn’t true – and the evidence lies with a rare mineral called ikaite, which forms in cold waters.

‘Ikaite is an icy version of limestone,’ said Lu. ‘The crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.’

It turns out the water that holds the crystal structure together – called the hydration water – traps information about temperatures present when the crystals formed.

This finding by Lu’s research team establishes, for the first time, ikaite as a reliable way to study past climate conditions.

The scientists studied ikaite crystals from sediment cores drilled off the coast of Antarctica. The sediment layers were deposited over 2,000 years.

The scientists were particularly interested in crystals found in layers deposited during the ‘Little Ice Age,’ approximately 300 to 500 years ago, and during the Medieval Warm Period before it.

Both climate events have been documented in Northern Europe, but studies have been inconclusive as to whether the conditions in Northern Europe extended to Antarctica.

Lu’s team found that in fact, they did.

What that means is that the Medieval Warming Period was not local to Northern Europe, but extended all the way to Antarctica, as well. Now you might be asking yourself “how could medieval knights riding around on horseback cause global warming? Wouldn’t they have to be driving SUVs and drilling for oil and generally do nasty capitalist things like that?” Yes, they would. But they weren’t. And so this clearly shows that the warming and cooling of the Earth has nothing whatsoever to do with CO2 emissions. Whatever will the socialists do now to trick people into voting for higher gas prices?

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Electric car company that got $500 million in stimulus announces layoffs

From the left-wing Politico.

Excerpt:

In another setback for President Obama’s clean energy loan programs, the recipient of more than a half-billion dollars in federal loans is laying off workers at their Delaware and California operations.

Delaware’s News Journal reports that Fisker Automotive, a California-based electric car start-up company, is laying off an undisclosed number of staff to try to reserve enough capital in order to qualify for more federal help from the Department of Energy, according to a Delaware state development official.

“They’re trying to preserve the cash that they have,” said Alan Levin told the News Journal. “And unfortunately, until they meet the milestone that DOE continues to set … they’re not able to access the additional capital that they need.”

The company also came under fire last year for taking federal loans while producing cars in Finland. Company officials told ABC News at the time that “there was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle.” The company was working on reopening a shuttered General Motors plant in Wilmington to produce vehicles — an effort that top Obama administration officials lauded.

[...]“This is proof positive that our efforts to create new jobs, invest in a clean energy economy and reduce carbon pollution are working,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “We are putting Americans back to work and reigniting a new Industrial Revolution that is paramount for the economic success of this country.”

The company received $529 million in loans to produce two lines of plug-in hybrid cars.

The Wall Street Journal explains who stands to gain from the loans that were given to Fisker.

Excerpt:

A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.

The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.

[...]Kalee Kreider, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gore, confirmed that the former vice president backs Fisker and purchased a Karma. “He believes that a global shift of the automobile fleet toward electric vehicles, accompanying a shift toward renewable-energy generation, represents an important part of a sensible strategy for solving the climate crisis,” she said in a statement.

Fisker’s top investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a veteran Silicon Valley venture-capital firm of which Gore is a partner. Employees of KPCB have donated more than $2.2 million to political campaigns, mostly for Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign contributions.

Officials at Kleiner Perkins didn’t return requests for comment.

So let’s recap. A company connected to Democrats gets a $500 million pay-off, then lays off employees to qualify for more payoffs. And all of this money is coming f

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16 scientists explain why global warming is not a threat

From the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Levin)

Excerpt:

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 “Climategate” email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.

And:

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word “incontrovertible” from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question “cui bono?” Or the modern update, “Follow the money.”

Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.

Read the whole thing! This is a must-read.

UPDATE: My friend Neil Simpson has found another recent study showing that there has been no significant global warming for 15 years – and the numbers come from the British Met Office, and the University of East Anglia (home of Climategate).

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