The Paul Ehrlich Apocalypse is back!

Despite utter failure of predictions of deadly ‘population bomb,’ biologist still preaching humanity’s doom while ignoring role of human ingenuity

Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2023

We’ll say this for Paul Ehrlich—at least he’s consistent. In 1968 the Stanford biologist famously declared that “the battle to feed all humanity is over,” at a time when the earth’s population was about 3.5 billion. Today we have a population of eight billion (better fed than ever), yet there was Mr. Ehrlich, on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night, still predicting that “humanity is very busily sitting on a limb that we’re sawing off.”

The CBS narrator acknowledged that the green revolution in agriculture disproved Mr. Ehrlich’s prediction of mass famine. But the show went on to suggest that Mr. Ehrlich’s repackaged gloom about melting icecaps and the rate of extinction may finally prove him right in saying we are still heading the way of the dinosaurs.

As with Thomas Malthus, the father of doom-and-gloomers, the repeated failures of Mr. Ehrlich’s predictions of catastrophe to materialize never seem to discourage those who believe human beings are breeding and consuming our way to destruction.

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We need debate over role of fossil fuels that goes beyond Net Zero

Is massive attempt to transform global energy system working against the interests of humankind? We should be asking this question

By Terence Corcoran, National Post, Feb. 8, 2023

The global policy consensus on the future of energy is clear: Fossil fuels are done, finished, peaking, on the way out and never to return once their 100-year role as the engine of human progress has been reduced to net-zero by 2050. That, at least, is the general thrust of the 2023 edition of the BP Energy Outlook released last week based on BP’S carbon control policy models.

The BP outlook is short but densely speculative, and not particularly convincing one way or another. The outcomes are based on simulated future energy environments “dominated by four trends: declining role for hydrocarbons, rapid expansion in renewables, increasing electrification, and growing use of low-carbon hydrogen” along with a “central role for carbon capture and removal” — all directed and subsidized by governments.

But: Could it be that the massive effort to transform the global energy system is working against the best interests of humankind? That’s the question now being debated on the sidelines of the great transition between two climate policy wonks who have been branded by greens and some mainstream media as members of the climate “denier” community.

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2022: Another year of media climate exaggeration—because hysteria sells

News sources continue to mislead the public into thinking there is a dramatic change in frequency and intensity of hurricanes and flooding

By Hol­man W. Jenk­ins, Jr., Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2022

Exaggeration is the universal media bias. Hysteria sells and is also a form of personal signaling. No wonder 2022 was another busy year for hyperbole on many fronts, including on climate.

In a tweet thread, Patrick Brown, an atmospheric scientist at the climate-action-supporting Breakthrough Institute, wondered why, apart from increased rainfall, the news media “insist on a framing that misleads its audience into thinking we have experienced a dramatic change in hurricane frequency/intensity?”

Ollie Wing, a University of Bristol hydrologist, wondered in a tweet why the media publishes exaggerated flood maps to suggest centimeters of sea-level rise will result in meter-deep floods. The maps are based on so-called bare earth digital overlays that ignore natural and artificial flood barriers, including trees and other vegetation, which in any climate act to limit flooding.

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How computer models get it wrong while seducing their creators

A review of Escape from Model Land by Erica Thompson

By David A. Shay­witz, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28, 2022

We live in an information age, as the cliché has it— really an age of information overload. But “measured quantities do not speak for themselves,” observes Erica Thompson, a statistician and a fellow at the London School of Economics. Data, she notes, are given meaning “only through the context and framing provided by models.”

When we want to know how rapidly a new infectious virus is likely to spread, we turn to mathematical models. Models are used by climate scientists to project global warming; by options traders to price contracts; by the Congressional Budget Office to forecast the economic effects of legislation; by meteorologists to warn of approaching storms. Without models, Ms. Thompson says, data “would be only a meaningless stream of numbers.”

Ubiquitous and persuasive, models also drive decisions— one reason why, in Ms. Thompson’s view, they require our urgent attention. She tells us that, as a graduate student studying North Atlantic storms, she noticed how different models predicted different overall effects and produced contradictory results. She started to reflect on the role of models—as metaphors, as tools for understanding, as expressions of sociopolitical power. “Escape From Model Land” offers a contemplative, densely encapsulated summary of her reflection and research.

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New York under water by 2050? Not if you believe the sea-level data

The Battery’s sea level hasn’t done anything in recent decades that it hasn’t done over the past century

By Steven E. Koonin, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 5, 2023

A recent National Aeronautics and Space Administration report yet again raises alarm that New Yorkers are about to be inundated by rapidly rising seas. But a review of the data suggests that such warnings need to be taken with more than a few grains of sea salt.

The record of sea level measured at the southern tip of Manhattan, known as the Battery, begins in 1856. It shows that today’s waters are 19 inches higher than they were 166 years ago, rising an average of 3.5 inches every 30 years. The geologic record shows that this rise began some 20,000 years ago as the last great glaciers melted, causing the New York coastline to move inland more than 50 miles.

There is no question that sea level at the Battery will continue to rise in coming decades, if only because the land has been steadily sinking about 2 inches every 30 years because of factors including tectonic motion, rebound from the mass of the glaciers, and local subsidence. Rather, the question is whether growing human influences on the climate will cause sea level to rise more rapidly. To judge that, we can compare recent rates of rise with those in the past, when human influences were much smaller.

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False urgency of the ‘climate crisis’ gives no time or space to build a secure energy future

Thinking that we can minimize severe weather through using atmospheric carbon dioxide as a control knob is a fairy tale

By Judith Curry, Dec. 27, 2022, Climate Etc.

There is a growing realization that emissions and temperature targets are now detached from the issues of human well-being and the development of our 21st-century world.

For the past two centuries, fossil fuels have fueled humanity’s progress, improving standards of living and increasing the life span for billions of people. In the 21st century, a rapid transition away from fossil fuels has become an international imperative for climate-change mitigation, under the auspices of the UN Paris Agreement. 

As a result, the 21st-century energy transition is dominated by stringent targets to rapidly eliminate carbon dioxide emissions.  However, the recent COP27 meeting in Egypt highlighted that very few of the world’s countries are on track to meet their emissions-reductions commitment.

The desire for cleaner, more abundant, more reliable and less expensive sources of energy is universal.  However, the goal of rapidly eliminating fossil fuels is at odds with the urgency of providing grid electricity to developing countries.

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‘Net Zero’ goals completely unrealistic: electric industry report

How a net-zero grid could be built and function would be an issue worth studying if it were possible in the first place. But it simply isn’t.

By Steve Mil­loy, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 29, 2022

‘Net zero by 2050” is more than a slogan of climate activism. It has become a chief organizational principle for multinational corporations and the BlackRock-led cartel pushing environmental, social and corporate governance investing.

“Net zero” was mentioned in more than 6,000 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2022 and countless other times by publicly traded corporations and investor groups in statements and on their websites. The SEC says its proposed climate disclosure rule will help investors “evaluate the progress in meeting net-zero commitments and assessing any associated risks.”

“Net zero” and its corollary, the “energy transition,” are talked about so often and so loosely that many take them for granted as worthy goals that could be accomplished with greater buy-in from political and business leaders. But two new reports from the utility industry should put an end to such loose talk.

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Trudeau’s ‘Just transition’ program for millions of ‘green’ jobs? It doesn’t exist says auditor-general

Ottawa itself believes there will be ‘significant labour market disruptions’ in sectors of the economy employing 2.7 million Canadian workers — 13.5% of the nation’s workforce

By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, Jan. 21, 2023

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised it in the 2019 federal election and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said recently he hopes to unveil it early this year.

But when the federal environment commissioner, part of the auditor general’s office, reported on the progress of the government’s “just transition” program in April 2022, presumably after three years of planning, he concluded there wasn’t a program.

“We found that as Canada shifts its focus to low-carbon alternatives, the government is not prepared to provide appropriate support to more than 50 communities and 170,000 workers in the fossil fuels sector,” Jerry DeMarco said.

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Confronting the illusory truth about oil

The environmentalists can fool the public about a ‘clean,’ ‘sustainable’ future, but the numbers don’t lie: Oil and gas consumption is going up and will continue to go up

By John Feldsted, Jan. 19, 2023

What psychologists refer to as “illusory truth” is the tendency of people to believe anything, regardless of how false it is, if they hear it repeated often enough. Proponents of climate alarm endlessly repeat that the people of the world are using less and less oil and that this trend is relentless and inevitable. As their logic goes, reducing and ending the production of oil is, therefore a means to facilitate a trend that is happening anyway. Despite its constant repetition, it is not true.

The 2022 edition of the British Petroleum Statistical Review of World Energy provides the data on demand, by country, region and world, for crude oil and for the broader category of “crude oil and liquids”. Crude oil and liquids includes both crude oil and certain natural gas liquids such as condensate that can serve as substitutes for crude oil for some purposes.

According to the review:

• From 2011 to 2019, total demand rose by 11.2 million barrels per day, from 89.3 million barrels per day to 100.6 million barrels per day, or just over one million barrels per day per year. This is the fastest growth in oil and liquids demand over a comparable period in history.

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Move to Net Zero is way more than ‘just a transition’

Memo shows the federal plan won’t just cause upheaval in oil and gas provinces but will eliminate or reduce whole sectors of the Canadian economy

By Don Braid, National Post, Jan. 17, 2023

The federal plan to “transition” jobs and regional economies in the fight against climate change is even more vast and all-embracing than suspected by the most suspicious sovereignty fan in Premier Danielle Smith’s office.

“When I saw the memo, I felt a pit in my stomach,” Smith said Monday. “It’s worse than I feared.” She’s talking about a memo made public by Blacklock’s Reporter, a diligent subscription news service based in Ottawa.

This document is national dynamite packaged as question-and-answer notes for Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, the Liberals’ lead minister on “just transition.”

If nothing else, it should convince people across the country that the federal plan won’t just cause upheaval in oil and gas provinces, but nearly everywhere.

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