Monday, March 12, 2018

Still Peddling the “97%” Myth

Shortly after Trump took office, an op-ed appeared in the NJ Star-Ledger offering Advice for Trump from N.J.'s former EPA chief: Phone a scientist. The op-ed equated Trump’s intention to roll back Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan”—which is really a war on reliable energy more drastic than Germany's failed energy poverty scheme—with the rollback of “environmental policies that keep our air and water safe.”

Obamacare isn't the only major health reform on the chopping block under President Donald Trump. So are the environmental policies that keep our air and water safe.

The Clean Power Plan to limit the smog and soot flowing into New Jersey from other states, the Paris climate pact to help contain global warming, the hard-fought settlement with polluting companies to clean up the Passaic River -- all could become casualties of Trump.

The equation of policies to reduce harmless greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide in order to “contain global warming” with actual pollution that is harmful to human life is a common trick of environmentalists.

But the goal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan is to drastically roll back co2 emissions by restricting and ultimately outlawing fossil fuels, not contain pollution. The purpose of embedding global warming into a paragraph about pollution is to sneak in the real motive of the anti-reliable energy crowd by equating them. They do not equate.

Environmentalists claim to have science on their side. But if so, why the deceitfulness? Perhaps because the science doesn’t support them. So, they deceitfully distort the science, as well. In a section asking former Obama Northeast EPA administrator Judith Enck if she has “Any advice for the Trump administration?,” she answered

I think the best thing is for them to get briefed by scientists. If they objectively listen to the science, they will understand how serious a threat climate change is.

I often cite a peer-reviewed scientific paper in which the author surveyed about 13,000 scientists, and asked them, “Do you believe that climate change is real and is primarily caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and burning forests?”

Ninety-seven percent of the scientists said yes. What we need the Trump administration to do is listen to the science. The leadership, including the president himself, should randomly call up any credible scientist and have a conversation about climate change.

My emphasis. I left these comments:

Notice the bait and switch under the question “Any advice for the Trump administration?” [Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith] Enck first asserts that “science” will tell you “how serious a threat climate change is” if we will only “listen” to them.

But the actual question that 97% of scientists supposedly agree on says nothing about any threat, serious or not, posed by climate change. The question she cites asks, ““Do you believe that climate change is real and is primarily caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and burning forests?” The “97%” merely agrees that climate change is real and that human activity is a factor.

Climate change is real and humans are partly responsible? Even if "primarily" responsible—i.e., more than 50% responsible—so what? It doesn't say they agree there is a threat of catastrophe. It doesn’t say they agree that fossil fuels and other life-giving activities should be curtailed or eliminated. The question implies no moral evaluation at all. So why do environmentalists and their political allies keep regurgitating the 97% statistic? Because they want to establish the "big lie" that climate change in and of itself is bad if caused by human activity. They are anti-human race.

Environmentalists believe that human-caused environmental change—not negative change, but change as such—is bad and thus human impact must be curtailed at all costs. But non-impact is an anti-human flourishing standard, and we should reject it. Humans survive and thrive by changing the Earth from a danger-filled environment to a place hospitable to human life and flourishing. Life is better with climate change and fossil fuels than without either. Humans don’t need a stable climate. We need plentiful reliable energy and the freedom to produce it, in order to drive all of the industries that improve our lives. Climate change is not the threat. The Environmentalists’ war on energy and industrial development is the real threat.

I’m surprised that anyone still peddles the “97% of scientists agree” myth. That statistic has been debunked as meaningless ad nauseam. The truth is that, on proper analysis, only about 2-4% actually agree that catastrophic climate change is imminent and humans are the primary cause. Catastrophic climate change is pure speculation. What is scientifically demonstrated is that climate change is mild and is partly natural and partly human-caused, and has not led to more dangerous weather extremes despite decades of increasingly hysterical and failed predictions of disaster.

But even if global warming causes weather extremes to become a little more extreme, so what? The fundamental issue is not whether or not we should clean up actual pollution whose harm to humans is greater than the benefits. The fundamental issue is human non-impact on nature versus human well-being. The truth is life keeps getting better and safer for more and more people as fossil fuel energy usage increases. Someday, viable replacements for fossil fuels will become technologically and economically feasible, provided the energy free market that enables energy entrepreneurs to flourish is not totally crushed. That would not make environmentalists happy, but it would be great for humanity. In any event, rolling back reliable, industrial-scale energy production would cause a real catastrophe—for human life.

Trump should pay attention to the big picture, rather than be swayed by scientists who simply claim that “climate change is real and is primarily caused by human activities” and blindly accept that that is a bad thing.

Related Reading:

Unreliable Energy, Not ‘Dirty’ Energy, Threatens New Jersey

World’s CEOs are Right to Demote Climate Concerns, Worry About “Over-Regulation”

Obama's War on Energy Producers and Consumers by Ari Armstrong

King Obama's Carbon Emission Mandate


tony in san diego said...

So as a Randian objectivist, are you going to build that sea wall around your own house all by yourself?

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

A non sequitur, Tony.

tony in san diego said...

I guess you are too smart for me, then. Must be that objectivism.