A Directory of Inconvenient Climate Information Websites

Conservative free speech advocates have been rightly concerned about internet censorship, but the focus of those concerns has been relatively narrow. Conservatives are pushing back against big tech suppression of online critics of globalism, mass immigration, identity politics. They are pushing back against big tech suppression of pro-Trump commentators. But there is another collection of online voices that have been quietly, and very effectively suppressed; climate skeptics.

Over the past 10-15 years, at the same time as identity politics was assuming a dominant position in America’s corporate, academic and media cultures, climate alarm followed a parallel trajectory. But starting in 2017, when the social media monopolies intensified their online offensive against politically incorrect content, climate skeptic content had already dwindled. It isn’t hard to understand why.

Identity politics, globalism, and mass immigration create obvious winners and losers, with Americans bitterly and almost evenly divided over what policies represent the best moral and practical choices. Policies and principles embracing “Climate change,” by contrast, have conducted their own long, slow march through America’s institutions without encountering serious resistance. Proclaiming one’s belief in climate change dogma carries minimal downside and plenty of upside.

Embracing climate change politics enriches and empowers the same cast of characters as embracing globalism – corporations, governments, the financial sector, nonprofits, academia, and the useful idiots in media and entertainment. Meanwhile, the downside of climate change policies is harder to articulate than the downside of globalism. As a result, financial support for scientists and analysts tagged as climate […] Read More

The Democratic Washing Machine

What on earth could this be referring to? Is it a metaphor? Is it to say the Democrats and their social justice cadres are washing away our history and traditions and culture? Is it conjuring the image of Democrat machine politics, selectively laundering corruption into barely legal schemes, backed by avaricious billionaires? Maybe it’s the Democratic media, brainwashing America’s gullible half?

No. Nothing so grand. The Democratic Washing Machine is just that. A washing machine. The sort of washing machine you’ll find on the display floors of retailers throughout California, coming soon to your state. An overengineered monstrosity, inflicting inconvenience and expense into something that for earlier generations had become easy and cheap.

The Democratic Washing Machine is so named because it was Democrats who decided to ruin a durable product in a mature industry. In the name of saving electricity and saving water, they couldn’t save just a little electricity and a little water. No, they had to force manufacturers to create a product that used almost NO water. And to save electricity, they turned the control panel on the washing machine into something resembling the bridge of a starship, with so many options you have to study a detailed manual to figure out how to even turn the device on. Do you want it to delay it’s start cycle to wait for a low electricity price today? Select option 7 from menu 3 unless it’s after 6 p.m., wherein you will select blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, […] Read More

The Opportunity Cost of Shutting Down Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

For nearly 35 years, Diablo Canyon Power Plant has pumped just over 2.0 gigawatts of electricity onto California’s power grid. Unlike hydroelectric power, which has good years and bad depending on rainfall, or solar and wind power which depends on sunshine and wind, Diablo Canyon’s nuclear reactors generate this electricity 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

But Diablo Canyon’s days are numbered. In January 2018 California’s Public Utility Commission voted to shut it down. Barring legislation to countermand this decision, by 2025 Diablo Canyon will cease operations, making California a nuclear free state. Is this a good idea?

Anti-nuclear environmental groups, as reported at the time in the Los Angeles Times, “hailed the decision, which was expected after 17 months of filings and debate, but also were concerned about what type of energy sources would be used to replace Diablo’s electricity.”

Good question. Especially since environmental groups are the groups one might expect to be most concerned about “greenhouse gas,” and the only way wind and solar power can operate is by having natural gas power plants to spin into action every time the wind falters or the sun goes down.

The alternative to natural gas backup is to overbuild wind and solar farms and store the excess energy with batteries. An interesting comparison would be to see what battery storage capacity would be required to replace the power Diablo generates during off peak hours of 12 hours per day.

The following chart projects a $12 billion […] Read More

Biden’s “Climate Plan” Requires a Savvy Response

Front running 2020 presidential contender Joe Biden has just released his “climate plan,” claiming that with a $1.7 trillion federal investment, U.S. carbon emissions will reach zero within 30 years.

You can say this for Biden, the canny old campaigner isn’t highlighting his climate plan as a cure all for social injustice. Unlike the “Green New Deal,” Biden is leaving out of his blueprint guaranteed jobs, healthcare, and housing. And while he includes the obligatory obeisance to inclusion, diversity, equity, indigenous peoples, vulnerable communities, people of color, and every other paint-by-number platitude, that isn’t his main focus.

Nope, Joe is marketing the lunch box issues. Union jobs. Infrastructure. Energy leadership. Exports. Industries of the future.

Moreover, Biden’s plan, unlike the Green New Deal, does not read like a college term paper. If you’re a climate skeptic, or if you’re skeptical that bigger government is the answer, this plan should have you worried. Because it comes very close to offering a consensus plan that even some of Trump’s swing voters might support: which is to fund technology initiatives and infrastructure projects that should be funded anyway, regardless of whether or not rising levels of atmospheric CO2 are a threat to our existence.

How Biden’s plan comes across depends on who is reading it. This ambiguity permeates the document. For example, the plan calls to “double down on the liquid fuels of the future” by developing “advanced biofuels.” But what are the details? If Biden is referring to land-dependent […] Read More

New Suburbanism – A Smart Alternative to “Smart Growth”

Solutions to California’s housing shortage invariably focus on increasing the density of preexisting cities and suburbs. Legislative solutions include SB 375, passed in 2008, which “incentivizes” cities and counties to approve high density land developments, and the failed (this time) SB 50, which would have forced cities and counties to approve high density development proposals.

How high density land development benefits special interests cannot be ignored. Politically connected developers enjoy windfall profits by selling overpriced homes crowded onto smaller parcels of land. Existing cities collect higher taxes from property owners and shoppers who would otherwise have moved into new cities. Government at all levels can spend more money on pay and benefits, and less on infrastructure. Investors harvest higher returns thanks to the real estate bubble.

In front of the hidden agenda of special interests, however, are moral arguments for so-called “smart growth.” The crux of these moral arguments for high density “smart growth” are that regional ecosystems bordering urban areas should not be sullied by new growth, and that high density development reduces emissions of greenhouse gasses, which furthers global ecosystem health.

Both of these moral arguments are flawed. As documented in an earlier analysis “Grand Bargains to Make California Affordable,” if 10 million new residents moved into homes on half-acre lots, three persons per home (with an equal amount of space allocated for new roads, retail, commercial, and industrial development), it would only use up 3.2 percent of California’s land. If all this […] Read More

Juliana v. United States – The Climate Case of the Century

Back in 2007, in the case Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. This year, another landmark climate case appears headed for the US Supreme Court, Juliana v. United States.

While environmental lawsuits have been around for fifty years, “climate rights” and climate liability lawsuits blaze new legal territory. As reported by CBS 60 Minutes, the Juliana v. United States lawsuit “was filed back in 2015 on behalf of a group of kids who are trying to get the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing the use of fossil fuels. They say it’s causing climate change, endangering their future and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property.”

On June 4th this case will be argued in the Portland branch of the 9th Circuit. Preceding this hearing, expect waves of well funded protests across the United States in support of the plaintiffs, who are a group of 21 children and teens who were recruited from places in the U.S. deemed particularly vulnerable to climate change.

The prospects for this case to reach the US Supreme Court and provoke a strong ruling in favor of the plaintiffs cannot be ruled out. Over the past few decades, and despite the convenient lie that they have not, the fossil fuel industry has embraced the climate change activists. The industry has determined that challenging the basic premises of climate change activists is not a practical […] Read More

Rational vs. Religious Environmentalism

Just over ten years ago, the world lost Michael Crichton, best selling author and screenwriter, who succumbed to cancer at age 66. His loss was greater than we could know at the time, because during the final years of his life he became increasingly focused on the politicization of science. Few critics of this corruption, if any, are as articulate and influential as Michael Crichton was in his time. And yet it is politicized science, and the justifications it provides activists, journalists, politicians, and corporate opportunists, that is now more dangerous than ever.

Crichton’s scientific background – obtaining a medical degree in 1969, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies – distinguished him from the typical author of thrillers, and informed his life-long interest in science and technology. To put it another way, whenever Crichton expressed skepticism with this week’s environmental crisis of the century, he had credibility.

Probably the most succinct and moving example of Crichton’s thoughts on this topic came in the form of a speech he gave in 2003 at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club entitled “Environmentalism As Religion.” The transcript offers a compelling defense of rational environmentalism vs. environmentalism as a religion, and warns against the politicization of science. Here are some of the key points he makes:

“DDT is not a carcinogen…the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people…”

“Second hand smoke is not a health hazard and never was.”

“The evidence […] Read More

Why Don’t Climate Activists Support Nuclear Power?

For several days in mid-April, downtown London was paralyzed by thousands of “climate activists” who were protesting the failure of the U.K. government to act swiftly enough to combat climate change. In mid-March, thousands of students across the United States staged school “walkouts” to demand action on climate change.

These protests are ongoing, but there is little underlying logic to them. The primary sources of anthropogenic CO2 are no longer Western nations, which in sum are only responsible for about 30 percent of global emissions. The biggest single culprit, if you want to call it that, is China, responsible for 28 percent of global emissions, nearly twice as much as the U.S., and literally 28 times as much as the U.K. Rapidly industrializing India, responsible for 6 percent of global CO2 emissions, is on track to become the most populous nation on earth. The chances that China and India will sacrifice their national future in order to reduce CO2 emissions is zero. The same holds for every emerging nation, including the demographic heavyweights Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, along with all the rest.

The logic of these protestors also fails when it comes to the science of climate change, although to even suggest this is heresy. So rather than point out that moderate warming might actually be beneficial to the planet, or that extreme weather is actually more highly correlated with a cooling planet, let’s accept all the popular wisdom with respect to “climate science.” So […] Read More

The Absurdity of Using the Biosphere to Power the Technosphere

In reaction to the proposed “Green New Deal,” there is a lot more discussion about the environmental and economic costs and benefits of renewable energy. Much of the attention, however, has focused on solar and wind energy. Meanwhile, the other big source of renewable energy, biofuel, has quietly elided closer scrutiny. This requires correction. With the purported goal of “saving the planet,” governments around the world are mandating increasing percentages of biofuel to be mixed into transportation fuels.

According to the International Energy Agency, transportation biofuel production in 2017 totaled 83 MTOE (million tons of oil equivalents), which represented only 3 percent of total worldwide demand for transportation fuel. Three percent isn’t very much. But we still have to grow the stuff that goes into biofuels. How much land are we already talking about?

When assessing how much land is already committed to biofuel production, theory and reality quickly diverge. Theoretically, it is possible that current levels of transportation biofuel production might “only” consume around 120,000 square miles of land. But two reality checks result in a far greater amount of actual land use: the fact that commonly planted transportation biofuel crops offer vast diversity in yields per acre, and the fact that biofuel, just like petroleum, is not used exclusively for transportation but also for direct heating and generation of electricity. According to the World Bioenergy Association, biofuel crops are already consuming nearly 550,000 square miles of land.

Why do we have biofuel mandates at all? […] Read More

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