Green Luddites Are Coming for Your House, Your Car and Your Freedom

On March 25th, the New York Times published a guest opinion column entitled “Why Housing Policy Is Climate Policy.” The authors, Scott Wiener and Daniel Kammen, argue that in order to reduce “greenhouse gas,” we need “denser housing and public transportation.” They go on to state that “low-density, single-family-home zoning is effectively a ban on economically diverse communities.”

Like so much coming from the corporate Left in America, probably the most dangerous aspect of this column is the blithe presumption that every premise they put forth is beyond debate. The climate is going to catastrophically change, and emissions from burning fossil fuel are the culprit. High density housing will help lower CO2 emissions. Public transportation is a good thing.

Just hold on. Stop right there. Emissions of CO2 may not change the climate very much at all, and the cost of precipitously curtailing them condemns billions of people around the world to prolonged poverty and misery. And in any case, high density housing is creating more CO2 emissions, because existing roads cannot handle the increased traffic. And no, public transportation is not always a good thing.

Scott Wiener, a California legislator, and Daniel Kammen, a Berkeley professor who submits reports to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are part of the “consensus” that has decided any of us who question their premises are either stupid, evil, or paid hacks. They are part of the “consensus” that thinks it’s not just ok, but morally necessary to suppress […] Read More

The Politics, the Science, and the Politicized Science of Climate Change

“Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying” – David Bowie, Five Years, 1971

One has to wonder if the shock and despair described in David Bowie’s 1971 hit, “Five Years,” would be the preferred collective mentality for humanity, at least if the relentless propaganda campaigns of climate change activists are successful. And one must admit they have powerful allies at their disposal. A climate alarm consensus informs America’s entire educational, entertainment, and media establishments, along with most corporate marketing, and most political platforms from the local city council to the United Nations.

Climate alarm shouldn’t be a hard sell, and it isn’t. The horror of natural conflagrations taps into primal, instinctual fears; when vividly imagining terrifying acts of nature, even the most hardened skeptic might have a moment of pause.

California’s horrifying wildfire that incinerated the town of Paradise in November 2018 is a good example. Later that month, retired Governor Jerry Brown appeared on Face the Nation, and predicted, “in less than five years even the worst skeptics are going to be believers.”

Taking shameless advantage of every natural disaster to stoke fear of global warming has become normal. In October 2018, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report predicting imminent global climate catastrophe. […] Read More

How California Can Do Its Part to Stop Sea Level Rise

California is a global leader in fighting climate change. California’s citizens consistently have supported cutting edge technologies to wean their state off fossil fuel and nuclear power, and are on track to be using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. But is this enough? How else can Californians do their part? What more can they do to set a fine example to the rest of the world?

Clearly, more can be done. So why not flood California’s Great Central Valley, sequestering billions of gallons of ocean water that might otherwise be endangering coastlines around the world?

The feasibility of such an endeavor is hardly a pipe dream. One great dam, extending south from the Marin Headlands across the Golden Gate, plumb into the mountainous ramparts of the tony Pacific Heights neighborhood in San Francisco, would easily permit the establishment of a gigantic lake, over 1,000 feet deep, to extend from majestic Mt. Shasta in the north to the red rock Tehachapi Mountains far to the south. For nearly 500 miles from north to south, and 150 miles or more from east to west, this gigantic reservoir could absorb 100 percent of California’s precipitation and storm runoff for decades, slowing the rise of our expanding oceans.

At the same time, Californians can quickly harvest the “low-hanging fruit” of seawater sequestration, by flooding the Imperial Valley. Since much of the Imperial Valley is below sea level, all it would take would be a pipeline, siphoning water out of the ocean off the […] Read More

Attack of the Watermelon People

Supposedly, the “Green New Deal” is “green” because it would help the environment. But a close reading of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed resolution reveals a deal that looks more red than green.

The freshman congresswoman from New York released more specifics of her sweeping idea this week. In simpler times, we called extreme environmentalists “watermelons,” because they were green (environmentalists) on the outside, but red (socialist or communist) on the inside. Ocasio-Cortez, her Green New Deal, and all her fellow travelers, are watermelons through and through.

Almost everything about Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is wrong. The premises, the priorities, and the “solutions.” It’s easy, and necessary, to criticize the priorities and the solutions proposed by this very red, outwardly green plan. But to have a completely honest debate, you also have to challenge the premises.

In the preamble, the resolution claims that sea levels are rising, wildfires are increasing, and extreme weather “threatens human life, healthy communities and critical infrastructure.” It claims humans are to blame. These are flawed premises.

Flawed Scientific Premises

The most threatening of these claims is sea level rise, but even mainstream publications that have completely embraced climate change hysteria are backing off of the most catastrophic forecasts. One of the most credible climate “lukewarmists” (a somewhat derisive term that alarmists attribute begrudgingly to skeptics they haven’t yet managed to silence or discredit) is Dr. Judith Curry, who is frequently called upon for congressional testimony. She recently completed an 18-month study on […] Read More

California’s Green ‘Bantustans’ Are Coming to America

If the “smart growth” urban planners that dictate land use policies in Democratic states and cities have their way, the single family dwelling is an endangered species.

In Oregon, proposed legislation would “require cities larger than 10,000 people to allow up to four homes to be built on land currently zoned exclusively for single-family housing.” In Minneapolis, recent actions by the city council mean that “duplexes and triplexes would be allowed in neighborhoods that only previously allowed single-family housing.”

The war on the detached, single family home, and—more to the point—the war on residential neighborhoods comprised exclusively of single family homes, is on. And it’s gone national.

In California, ground zero for this movement, state legislation now requires cities and counties to fast track permitting for “accessory dwelling units.” This scheme will allow developers and ambitious homeowners to construct detached rental homes in their backyards, but since they’re called “accessory dwelling units,” instead of “homes,” they would not run afoul of local zoning ordinances that, at one time, were designed to protect neighborhoods from exactly this sort of thing.

“Smart growth,” however, began long before the home itself came under attack.

First there was the war on the back yard. Large lots became crimes against the planet—and if you doubt the success of this war, just get a window seat the next time you fly into any major American city. In the suburbs you will see a beautiful expanse of green, spacious, shady neighborhoods with lots designed […] Read More

Twilight of the Malthusians

Thomas Malthus was an English cleric and scholar living in the early 19th century who developed the theory that global population increases exponentially, while global production increases arithmetically. His theory—and the eventual collapse of civilization that it implies—enjoys influence to this day. In California, it found early expression in a 1976 speech by Governor Jerry Brown, who announced that we had entered an “era of limits.” For more than 40 years now, influential politicians such as Brown, supported by like-minded environmentalists, have embraced the Malthusian vision. But an alternative exists.

First, global population growth was only increasing “exponentially” for a few decades in the middle of the 20th century. As the chart below indicates, using data from the United Nations, the annual rate of global population growth peaked in 1980 at just over 2 percent. Since then, it has already dropped to half that rate, estimated at around 1 percent per year in 2020. By the end of this century, global population is projected to be growing at a decidedly “arithmetic” rate of under 0.2 percent per year.

At the same time that the rate of global population growth is slowing significantly, global productivity continues to increase. Virtually all recent estimates—World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations—forecast global GDP growth to exceed 3 percent per year into the foreseeable future. This rate of growth is low by historical standards and, notwithstanding temporary disruptions caused by future recessions, is likely to be much higher over […] Read More

New Cable Series “Mars” Lays Leftist Fearmongering Onto a Whole New World

If you haven’t watched, you would think the National Geographic Channel’s cable series “Mars,” would be a straightforward dramatization of human colonization of the Red Planet in the near future. You would be half right.

The show is indeed a well-imagined portrayal of the first colonies on Mars, but rather than being a straightforward dramatization of this exciting next chapter in human civilization, the “Mars” series is saturated with leftist propaganda.

By the end of the second mini-season, which concluded December 17, the messages were clear: humans have brought planet Earth to the brink of apocalyptic ruin—capitalist, climate-denier humans in particular—and they’re going to do the same thing to Mars. They will, that is, unless an underfunded, heroic and beleaguered, transnational band of multicultural warriors with seductive accents manages to stop them.

The contrast down on the Martian surface couldn’t be more obvious. On one side the aforementioned “good” colony of scientists and environmental justice zealots. On the other, the “bad” colony, lavishly funded by the “Lukrum Corporation,” populated by remorseless shills, bent on destroying the fragile ecosystems of Mars for fun and profit.

Just in case this cartoon caricature of ideological struggle extending itself into the solar system isn’t obvious enough, the Martian drama is frequently interrupted with documentary interludes. These segments alternate between sober commentary by climate scientists, warning us of imminent disaster, and the usual images—mountain-sized formations of ice calving into a warming ocean, raging wildfire infernos, and, of course, oil-soaked waterfowl in their final death […] Read More

The Great Green Wave Hits the American Petri Dish

The Great Green Wave is cresting again. In October, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a terrifying special report predicting widespread and imminent climate catastrophe. In November, legacy bureaucrats at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an equally terrifying “Fourth National Climate Assessment.” In both cases, news reports in establishment media included the usual cataclysmic images; starving children, dying cattle with their ribs poking through their emaciated flesh, monstrous masses of ice cascading into the ocean, and raging wildfire infernos.

Needless to say, none of these media reports bothered to explore for possible examples of exaggerated findings, or selective use of data, or political bias, much less any hidden agendas at work. In terms of providing more moderate interpretations of the data, notwithstanding the dismissive coverage of the Trump Administration’s skeptical reaction, consumers of establishment media got nothing. The BBC has now gone so far as to ban any coverage of climate skepticism; the major search engines and social media merely relegate it to the algorithmic backwaters.

Worse, however, is the establishment media’s complete inability to fathom—and report—just how utterly impossible it is to accomplish the goals supposedly required if we are to avoid climate catastrophe. One economic estimate—outlandish but at least as credible as the temperature forecasts—puts the cost of the U.N.’s climate recommendations at over $100 trillion for a reduction of 0.5 degrees centigrade.

But the experts who craft these alarming reports and temperature forecasts aren’t […] Read More

The Immutable Algebra of Global Energy and Population Trends

Compassion for a child in distress is automatic. You do everything you can for that child. You use all the resources you can muster. But what if an entire continent is in distress? What if billions of children are in distress?

This is the question for which there are no easy answers. Because across the developing world, billions of people still endure political violence and extreme poverty. The most afflicted nations are almost always the nations experiencing rapid population increase. And the solutions being proposed, mass immigration and rapid transition to renewable clean energy, require authoritarian, global governance that will rob the people of the developed world of their freedom and prosperity, at the same time as it does little or nothing to help the people living in the developing world. But it is the path of least resistance.

The reason for pursuing flawed solutions has more to do with where the global elites mean to apply authoritarian pressure than with whether or not more lives will be improved, or the planet’s climate will be preserved.

Before exploring alternative solutions, the scope of the challenge should be quantified. The best way to do this is by reviewing trends in global population and energy consumption. The figures to be presented draw on two sources, the World Bank Population Estimates and Projections, and the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

GLOBAL POPULATION TRENDS

The two pie charts below depict projected global population by region in 2020, and 30 years hence, […] Read More

Alternatives to the Nihilistic Futility of Mass Immigration

In 1968, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. Ehrlich predicted mass-starvation by the mid-1970s due to an exploding human population outstripping agricultural capacity. Global population in 1968 was 3.5 billion. Today there are 7.6 billion people living on planet earth. Clearly, Ehrlich’s dire predictions were wrong, but the book was a huge bestseller.

In 1987, author and commentator Ben Wattenberg published The Birth Dearth: What Happens When People in Free Countries Don’t Have Enough Babies? In this prescient book, Wattenberg correctly identified the early signs of what is now widely understood—in every developed nation on earth, birthrates are well below replacement levels. Wattenberg’s book didn’t sell nearly as well as Erlich’s. The truth is, Ehrlich wasn’t entirely wrong. Throughout most of the so-called “developing world,” birth rates remain well above replacement levels.

To illustrate his point, Ehrlich made frequent reference to the “doubling time” of a population. It’s an apt concept because it refutes the argument that human innovation and enterprise can accommodate limitless population growth. In a public lecture at Stanford in the 1970s, Ehrlich drew a grim laugh when he explained that eventually unchecked human population growth would result in a solid sphere of human flesh expanding into the universe at the speed of light.

The fact that population growth rates vary among nations, with extremes at both ends, is not sufficiently acknowledged. It is central to discussions of immigration and refugee policies, environmental health, economic models, and the fate of nations […] Read More