Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Joe Biden and the Green New Deal

When asked by moderator Chris Wallace during the first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign season if he supports the Green New Deal (GND), Joe Biden said, “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”

However, according to his website, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.”

In fairness, the Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice does not go nearly as far as the super-radical GND.

In general, Biden’s plan does not include the vast array of social programs, such as Medicare for All, a universal basic income, a federal jobs guarantee, free college, etc. that make the GND one of the costliest and most socialistic bills in American history.

Yet, Biden’s plan is far from moderate. And does anyone actually believe that a Biden administration would not kowtow to the radical Left and end up supporting the GND, should he win the upcoming election?

For starters, the Biden Plan does include the following:

“Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”

“On day one, Biden will make smart infrastructure investments to rebuild the nation and to ensure that our buildings, water, transportation, and energy infrastructure can withstand the impacts of climate change.”

“He will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change – he will go much further than that.”

“The Biden plan will make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice, paid for by rolling back the Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations at the expense of American jobs and the environment.”

“Biden will set a target of reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock 50% by 2035, creating incentives for deep retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and on-site clean power generation.”

“Make climate change a core national security priority.”
These are just a few examples of the radical progressive elements in Biden’s plan.

But, again, if Joe Biden does emerge victorious in the upcoming election, it is almost naïve to believe that he would not inch closer to supporting more of the GND than he already has. There are many reasons why.

First, Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), is a co-sponsor of and leading advocate for the GND.

On March 26, 2019, Harris said, “Climate change is an existential threat, and confronting it requires bold action. I’m a proud cosponsor of Senator Markey’s Green New Deal resolution. Political stunts won’t get us anywhere. Combatting this crisis first requires the Republican majority to stop denying science and finally admit that climate change is real and humans are the dominant cause. Then we can get serious about taking action to tackle the climate crisis at the scale of the problem.”

And because 77-year-old Joe Biden, if elected, would be the oldest president to ever take office, one cannot ignore the fact that there is a likelihood that Harris could take over at some point.

Second, the most vocal supporter of the Green New Deal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently said, “I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues. … Our main priority is to make sure that the vice president is successful and victorious in November so that we can have those kinds of conversations in the first place from a more effective stance with him in the White House.”

In other words, Ocasio-Cortez wants Biden in the White House because she thinks she can push him into supporting her socialist agenda, including the GND.

Third, if the Democrats win the White House and control of the U.S. Senate this November, current-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that he would do anything and everything to ensure that his party’s agenda comes to fruition.

Schumer has repeatedly said, “everything is on the table.” This would include statehood for Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, which would increase the Democrat’s control of the Senate, possibly for decades. Schumer said, “I would love to make them states.”

Schumer has also pledged his support to end the filibuster, saying “As for the filibuster, I’m not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing done.”

If Schumer’s wish list becomes reality, that would only increase the prospect that the GND and other radical policies are rammed through Congress.

And if the GND shows up on Biden’s desk, with his party and special interest groups in full-favor, do you really think he would veto it?

For now, Joe Biden is walking on a political tight rope. On one hand, he is trying to appeal to moderate Democrats and independents by trying to portray himself as middle-of-the-road. On the other hand, he needs to retain the support of his party’s increasingly powerful far-Left flank, which fully support the Green New Deal and several other socialistic proposals.

The $50,000 question is: If Biden wins, which version will occupy the White House, the moderate or the radical?


New Study: Strong Likelihood That Temperature Drives CO2 Changes

Prompted by the observation that dramatic COVID-related reductions in 2020 human CO2 emissions had zero impact on the Earth’s CO2 concentration, two scientists conduct extensive statistical probability analyses to conclude temperature changes lead to CO2 changes, not the other way around.

The nearly global acceptance of economically-devastating lockdowns as a mitigating response to the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired many to question the assumption humans drive changes in CO2 concentration.

As Drs. Koutsoyiannis and Kundzewicz point out in their iconoclastic new study, “despite an unprecedented decrease in carbon emission, there was an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which followed a pattern similar to previous years.”

Utilizing the obvious condition that causes precede effects, or that effects do not lead causes, the authors first point out that the paleoclimate record shows CO2 changes follow temperature changes by about 1,000 years.

Then they examine the sequential relationship between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration during 1980–2019.

While they find the causality direction for CO2 leading temperature (T) changes does exist, the results of their study clearly “support the hypothesis that the dominant direction is T → CO2,” not CO2 → T.

In fact, the statistical probability is so robust “the p-values in the direction T → [CO2] are always smaller than in direction [CO2] → T by about 4 to 5 orders of magnitude, thus clearly supporting T → [CO2] as dominant direction.”

Temperature is shown to lead CO2 changes by about 6 months to a year.

Drs. Koutsoyiannis and Kundzewicz acknowledge the perspective “CO2 → T prevails in public, as well as in scientific, perception.”

So they point out that an IPCC analysis has a natural ground (soil) CO2 emissions reaching 114 to 119 gigatons of carbon (GtC) per year, whereas ground (fossil fuel) emissions from anthropogenic sources only amount to 8 or 9 GtC per year.

Consequently, the “change in carbon fluxes due to natural processes is likely to exceed the change due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions” as the “the intensity of biochemical process increases with temperature [and] leads to increasing natural CO2 emission.”

This study is not without precedent. Another analysis of the temperature-CO2 phase relation for 1980-2012 (Humlum et al., 2013) indicated “changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions” and “changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5-10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature.”

Atmospheric physicist Dr. Murry Salby authored a textbook highlighting the dependence of CO2 emissions on temperature. He insisted that “a significant portion” of the recent increase in CO2 “derives from a gradual increase in surface temperature” (pg. 253).

But there is also a “major inconsistency” in the currently accepted paleoclimate and straight-line (Mauna Loa) CO2 progressions, as they imply CO2 molecules do not respond to temperature like they are observed to do so chemically.

He concludes: “The two proxies of previous climate are incompatible. They cannot both be correct.”

A critical analysis of the paleoclimate CO2 record (Jaworowski et al., 1992) suggests the assumption we can accurately determine the entire Earth’s CO2 concentration by examining ancient polar ice bubbles – 36 to 100% of which are contaminated by exposure to today’s air – is “shown to be invalid.”

In Holocene-era ice cores, CO2 reaches 2,500 ppm, 2,900 ppm, even 7,400 ppm per measurements taken in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

These values were selectively rejected by those seeking to reach “consensus” that modern CO2 concentration values are unprecedented.

To further illustrate the currently accepted paleoclimate CO2 records are likely to be invalid, consider the fact that modern CO2 concentrations beneath snowpack in forests and meadows range from 600 to 1,800 ppm and these concentrations can fluctuate by as much as 200 ppm within a period of just four days (Massman and Frank, 2006).

If this kind of flux can be observed for modern conditions, assessing the CO2 concentration beneath a snowpack that is thousands of years old is little more than fanciful speculation.


Media Still Hyping Sea-Level Alarmism Despite No Evidence

Among the top Google News search results today for “climate change” is the Associated Press (AP) story, “Leaders to UN: If the virus doesn’t kill us, climate change will.”

In the article, the AP claims that some island nations like Tuvalu will completely disappear within 75 years due to rising seas. Scientific evidence, however, demolishes such claims.

The current sea-level rise is not at all unusual historically. Also, several peer-reviewed studies in recent years demonstrate that, even as the world has warmed modestly, many island nations are seeing their landmasses increase, not shrink.

As detailed in Climate at a Glance: Sea Level Rise: sea level has been rising at a relatively steady pace of approximately one foot per century since at least the mid-1800s, which was long before coal power plants and SUVs.

Moreover, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms here has been no significant recent acceleration.

It may be true that some low-lying islands are threatened by relentless but entirely natural sea-level rise.

However, as NASA reports, sea level always rises between ice ages as ice sheets retreat. Also, many islands and island nations, perhaps a majority in many locations, are actually seeing their landmasses increase.

The island of Hawaii, for example, added 543 acres of new land due to lava flows between January 1983 and September 2002.

In 2018 alone, Popular Mechanics reports, volcanic activity added an additional 875 acres to Hawaii Island. Volcanic activity is both creating a new Hawaiian coastline and adding height to the island, both of which diminish any threat to the island’s inhabitants from rising seas.

Research shows other natural factors are adding to the landmass of coastlines and tropical islands elsewhere around the globe, as well.

As discussed in Climate Change Weekly 356, recent research shows coastal mangroves are adding land to coasts.

Rising seas bring sediments and other materials that mangroves capture in their roots. The matter is then buried in the wet ground, storing the carbon dioxide and building up the land.

As early as 2010, research showed the small island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati are actually growing, not being submerged beneath the seas.

As discussed by the BBC, one study examined 27 islands spanning Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Federated States of Micronesia, and found that over the last 60 years, 80 percent of the islands either maintained their size or grew, with some growing dramatically.

The 2010 scientific findings were confirmed and expanded upon in 2015 when the same group of researchers published a peer-reviewed study of 600 coral reef islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The researchers found that approximately 40 percent of those islands remained stable, and 40 percent grew in size.

As National Geographic reported, “Some islands grew by as much as 14 acres (5.6 hectares) in a single decade, and Tuvalu’s main atoll, Funafuti—33 islands distributed around the rim of a large lagoon—has gained 75 acres (32 hectares) of land during the past 115 years.”

As a result, despite political gimmicks designed to induce climate “reparations” from Western democracies, Tuvalu’s government feels confident enough in its long-term future that it is building brand new government buildings.

In addition, the population on Fongafale, Tuvalu’s largest island, has increased by 33 percent.

Not only is Tuvalu not being swallowed by the sea, but research published in 2018 by GIScience & Remote Sensing found 15 of the 28 uninhabited islands on Tuvalu’s Funafuti Atoll saw their shorelines increase in recent years.

In 2019, the same group of researchers conducted laboratory experiments to explain the islands’ growth and found strong wave action washed sand and gravel inland resulting in many atolls and islands being “continually replenished by sediment from the surrounding reef.”

In other words, the natural interaction of land and sea protect islands from sea-level rise.

Even on islands where some shoreline is lost to the seas, the researchers found storms and wave action carrying sand and gravel inland adds to the height of such islands, making them more resistant to further rising seas.

Seas are rising and will continue to rise as they did, without any help by humankind, for centuries and millennia.

Even so, the evidence shows many coastlines and island nations are actually gaining acreage, gaining height, and supporting growing populations.


NYTimes Rains On Sea Walls Protecting Venice From Flooding

How miserable to you have to be in order to find the raincloud in every silver lining? This miserable:

After decades of bureaucratic delays, corruption and resistance from environmental groups, sea walls designed to defend Venice from “acqua alta,” or high water, went up on Saturday, testing their ability to battle the city’s increasingly menacing floods.

By 10 a.m., all 78 floodgates barricading three inlets to the Venetian lagoon had been raised, and even when the tide reached as high as four feet, water levels inside the lagoon remained steady, officials said.

“There wasn’t even a puddle in St. Mark’s Square,” said Alvise Papa, the director of the Venice department that monitors high tides.

Had the flood barriers not been raised, about half the city’s streets would have been underwater, and visitors to St. Mark’s Square — which floods when the tide nears three feet — would have been wading in a foot and a half of water, he said.

“Everything dry here. Pride and joy,” tweeted Luigi Brugnaro, Venice’s newly re-elected mayor.

So, good news — right? Not so fast.

At the New York Times, the Pravda of America, there can be no upside to the idea that mankind, blessed with inventiveness and determination, can overcome natural elements and triumph over them. It’s not only regrettable but bad form.

Imagine waking up every day and asking yourself, “how can I spin a positive news story — such as the potential rescue of one of Western civilization’s greatest treasures — and convince our gullible, guilty, fearful, timorous, locked-down readers in their lonely Upper West Side apartments to hate this development?”

It’s easy if you try. Having delivered the good news — San Marco is not underwater — the Times drags in a history of the sea wall project, merrily observing that “the mobile barrier system was delayed by cost overruns, corruption, and opposition from environmental and conservation groups.”

There were huge cost overruns, plus a characteristic Italian bribery scandal.

Further, the system is not fully operational yet — that is slated for the end of next year — but when it is, the gates will go up whenever high-tide levels reach four feet and are expected to protect the archipelago city from water levels as high as ten feet.

But… there’s a but (as you knew there would be with the Times and the “but” has to do with not “racism” but — “climate change”!

So without further ado, bring on the hypotheticals and the counterfactuals:

“With climate change, there’s a chance that the floodgates could be employed 150-180 days a year, becoming an almost fixed barrier and severing the lagoon’s relation to the sea,” said Cristiano Gasparetto, an architect and former provincial official who has long opposed the project.

“If the lagoon is cut off from the sea for long periods, it dies, because the natural exchange of waters stops, and all of its organic life risks decaying,” he said. “If the lagoon dies, Venice dies,” he added. “It loses its characteristics.” Concerns also remain about the costs of maintaining the floodgates and potential damage from saltwater.

Of course, they do. In Times-land, there are always “fears” and “worries” behind every new development, no matter how ostensibly good.

Like the Dreaded COVID, “climate change” is another almost wholly imaginary terror that can’t be seen, can barely be detected, and will end the world if left unchecked by the power of government in ten, twelve, twenty years, or maybe five minutes if we don’t do something right now.

On the hard Left, where the Times has unabashedly been squatting for the past several years, the perfect is always the enemy of both the good and the good enough.

Under current leftists thought processes, if it might not be work in the direst, barely foreseeable calamity, there’s no point in doing it at all.

No wonder the Left loves the lockdowns so much.



Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life — as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together — which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here

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